You can’t let the difference in our upbringings get between us any more than I can do that with my blindness. We can’t afford that.
—Rhiannon Kraen to Kavlis Burke
Born in 8 BBY as the only daughter of founding colony members Selusda and Milya Kraen, Rhiannon Kraen was the delight of her parents from the day she was born, despite her not being Force-sensitive. After an illness cost Rhiannon her eyesight at a young age, they grew incredibly protective of her, but still raised her in a loving environment. At the age of twelve, she traveled offworld to see the Pan-Galactic Symphony and her singing talents quickly found her lured into performing for the famous holopera director Taelros Bac on Coruscant. Despite unexpected dangers on Coruscant, she survived and returned to Yanibar. Eventually, though, her parents had to come to terms with the fact that Rhiannon was going to leave them.
Rhiannon was born in the rough early years of the Yanibar refuge, only seven years after its inception. Unlike both of her parents, she was not Force-sensitive, but that did not matter to them. However, when she was two, she fell ill during an epidemic on Yanibar. Due to the lack of modern medical treatment, she lost her eyesight during the battle with the disease, though she did recover otherwise. After this, her parents lobbied to allow the sale of the drug ylannock in order to provide more funds for the Yanibar refuge to prevent such tragedies from occurring again due to lack of facilities or care.
She was raised in a loving environment and between her parents and her aunts and uncles, she had a happy childhood. Rhiannon was gifted with a beautiful singing voice and was encouraged to develop her talents by her friends and family. In addition to singing, she also dabbled around with the stringharp. She was a quiet, happy child and generally was obedient to her parents—although when in the company of her best friend and cousin Jasika Kraen, she was prone to following her impulsive cousin's lead.
When she was twelve, her mother agreed to take her to see the famed Pan-Galactic Symphony. However, a Force-based premonition caused her parents to delay their trip to investigate a mysterious Force-sensitive alien named Morgedh clan Kel'nerh, who they recruited and brought back to the Yanibar refuge. Though she was disappointed, Rhiannon accepted the necessity of her parents' mission and trusted that the postponement would be made up to her—she was deliberately kept in the dark about the true nature of her parents' activities. In the mean time, she stayed with her Uncle Spectre and Aunt Sheeka and their daughter Jasika.
By the time Selu and Milya returned, Rhiannon was ready to go. Her mother, finally freed of obligations, departed with Rhiannon to the world of Eriadu to see the Pan-Galactic Symphony, with them both traveling incognito. Rhiannon enjoyed the concert immensely, to say the least. Afterward, while she and her mother were walking outside, she hummed some of the music she had heard. That caught the attention of a certain passer-by: holopera director Taelros Bac, who was at that moment looking for a talented young female singer to fill a recently vacated role in his next production. There was Imperial pressure on Bac to produce a masterpiece and he was desperate to fill that role. Hearing Rhiannon, he immediately tried to recruit her.
Milya immediately tried to protect her daughter, but when Bac's Imperial liaison officer arrived and obligated them to at least demonstrate Rhiannon's voice, there was little she could do. Besides, Rhiannon wanted to sing in the opera. After obtaining a reluctant Selu's approval, Milya agreed and she and Rhiannon traveled to Coruscant with Taelros Bac to start rehearsing.
For the opera, Rhiannon was to play the part of a young Outer Rim girl lamenting the destruction caused by a galactic war. She learned the music quickly and, aside from some minor disagreements about her costume, did quite well. She knew her cues and was thrilled to be singing onstage with the Pan-Galactic Symphony. During the performance, her voice captivated the audience, stirring everyone that heard her.
Just as she started exiting, however, disaster struck. A Dark Jedi named Silri crashed into the opera house, intent on wreaking havoc. Milya immediately leaped from the audience to defend Rhiannon, who was injured slightly by falling glassine. While Milya dueled Silri, Rhiannon was taken to Taelros Bac's backstage office by the director and attended to. Silri eventually departed and Milya was reunited with her daughter—but her lightsaber display meant that they both needed to get offworld. At any other time, it would have been impossible, but while Milya had fought Silri, the Second Death Star had been destroyed, leaving Coruscant in chaos. A Rebel friend of Bac's, Pooja Naberrie, was able to conduct Rhiannon and Milya offworld to a Yanibar Guard Intelligence safehouse. From there, they returned home to Yanibar, exhausted.
While recuperating on the Yanibar Guard's orbital space station, Rhiannon was kidnapped by a spy of the underworld Zann Consortium, who tried to use her as a hostage. Her parents quickly dealt with the spy and rescued their daughter, who they sent back down to Yanibar for her own safety. That was not the end of Yanibar's troubles with the Zann Consortium, however. The underworld empire brought a fleet to attack the refuge and during the battle, Selu's and Milya's house came under attack by none other than the Dark Jedi Silri, who had been tracking Rhiannon and Milya.
Her parents' droid, J7-A0, and Morgedh clan Kel'nerh held off Silri long enough for Milya to arrive and duel the Dark Jedi once more for the life of a terrified Rhiannon. After a prolonged duel, Milya and Morgedh slew the Dark Jedi, while elsewhere, the Yanibar Guard defeated the Zann Consortium on the ground and in space. The victory came at a high price though—Rhiannon's uncle Spectre as well as her cousin Nate both perished in the conflict.
A year after the Battle of Yanibar, Rhiannon accompanied the other Kraens and her parents' friends the Knrrs to a vacation on R'alla to escape the cares of Yanibar. Rhiannon enjoyed the time on the beach with her parents and Jasika, and was also taken shopping by her mother and aunts in order to meet her adolescent needs. During the vacation, though, her parents discovered a mutilated alien body floating to shore. While the adults went to investigate, Rhiannon and the other children were left behind.
The impulsive Jasika, along with her cousins Akleyn Kraen and Bryndar Knrr, wanted to investigate as well. While Rhiannon distracted her Aunt Sheeka, the other young people slipped out and helped their older relatives find and shut down a hidden Imperial lab. They all returned safely from the incident, although the younger generation's actions had placed them in grave danger and cut their vacation short. Before they left, though, the older Kraens and Knrrs revealed their true occupations and family history to the young ones, including Rhiannon, who was astonished to hear it all.
In 6 ABY, Rhiannon interviewed her Aunt Cassi as part of a school assignment for a schoolmaster named Sowsren. She did well in her education and graduated in 11 ABY. From then on, her parents did not wish for her to work, so she stayed at home. She did receive an offer from Taelros Bac to come sing for him, but turned it down on the advice of her parents.
Life grew lonely for Rhiannon. Her friends were finding occupations and some of them were also getting married. For her twenty-fourth birthday, her parents gave her J7-A0 to serve as a companion, but she was still lonesome. Even Jasika had moved on with her life, becoming engaged to Bryndar Knrr. With her parents away and her little brother Ryion occupied with school and Force-training, Rhiannon turned to long speeder rides outside the Yanibar refuge to alleviate her boredom.
She and J7 would journey kilometers out into the wilderness just so she could experience something different, though the droid disapproved of her adventurous habit. On one such occasion, a sudden storm blew in and a bolt of lightning struck J7 and the speeder. Unable to see or find her way back, she was stranded in terrible weather.
Fortunately for her, a man named Kavlis Burke who lived nearby saw her and took pity upon her. The Outsider brought her to his farm to find shelter from the storm, showing her hospitality. After her father came to bring her back, she remained curious about Kavlis and other Outsiders.
Based on news she had learned from J7, she sought to meet Kavlis again in the Outsider city of Darnak. She "accidentally" ran into him at the market there one day and asked him to show her around, which he did. Upon her return to the refuge, though, her parents confronted her about it and instructed her not to meet Kavlis Burke at his farm or in Darnak again. They told her about previous history between them and Kavlis's father and pointed out that Kavlis's worldview looked dimly at Insiders, or those who lived in the refuge. Rhiannon was upset, but after her parents apologized for impugning Kavlis's character, agreed to not seek him out again.
This left her morose, though, and she confided to her best friend Jasika about it. Jasika agreed to help her circumvent her parent's dictum and brought Kavlis to meet Rhiannon at a picnic outside Darnak. She found the farmer charming, with his rustic manners and the way he called her "Rhinny." She liked him, despite her parents' decree, and Jasika agreed to help her woo Kavlis.
Jasika next arranged for Kavlis to take Rhiannon riding on his new thak. She enjoyed the thakback rides and continued to meet with him over the next five months, sometimes for meals, but usually for riding across the open plains of Yanibar. Their attraction deepened during those months, but another matter began worrying Rhiannon as the year waned into autumn.
She usually attended the Harvest Ball with a man whom her parents had picked out, but this year, Rhiannon desired to go with Kavlis Burke. After talking with J7 about it, she resolved to ask him to go. He agreed, but insisted that she get her parents' permission as well. This concerned her due to their earlier vehement insistence that she not see him again. She did confess the night before the ball and asked their approval. To her surprise and delight, they agreed, but told her that they would talk with Kavlis afterward.
Rhiannon met Kavlis inside the refuge after her date was brought in by J7 and the two had a wonderful time with Jasika and Bryndar at the ball. Kavlis was amazed at the relative splendor of the refuge and the sight of Rhiannon all dressed up dazzled him. After several dances, they retreated outside for a breath of fresh air. Kavlis tried to tell her that she couldn't leave the comfort of the refuge to live with him, but she insisted that she would go with him wherever he was and confessed her love for him. He returned her affection and asked her to marry him, pending the approval of her parents. She gladly accepted and the two danced the night away until the ball ended.
A week later, Rhiannon and Kavlis met with her parents to discuss their relationship. Her father spoke with Kavlis and told him that he could marry Rhiannon only if he first took a full year away from her in order to provide the means to support her and evaluate his commitment to her. Kavlis agreed to the terms, and though Rhiannon was saddened to be separated from him, she understood that it was for the best. She and Kavlis shared a passionate kiss before they departed.
Thirteen months later, due to a delay in bringing in the harvest, Kavlis finally returned for her. She had been worried that he had forgotten her, pining away, but his return brought her joy back. Her parents gave their blessing to the marriage and Rhiannon happily began planning her wedding to the love of her life.
The night before her wedding, she met with her parents and a Jal Shey mentor named S'vollke, where her memory was altered to cloud much of the specifics of the Yanibar refuge, as required by a refuge statute for all who left the refuge for unofficial reasons. Henceforth, she would only be allowed to visit on rare occasions, and many of the details of her childhood were a blur to her. She recognized and remembered her parents, but little of her previous life remained with her after she married Kavlis Burke. Before she left the refuge, her father gave her a pendant that would trigger complete memory recall, an act that was strictly forbidden by the refuge's statutes, and told her not to use it except in the most dire need.
Rhiannon was happy to live in the Outside as Kavlis's wife, though life was much harder for her than it had been in the sheltered refuge, particularly due to her handicap. She also gave J7 back to her parents, knowing that the droid's memory would have to be wiped if she kept him, and wanted to spare him that fate. Her biological family grew more distant from her, as her altered memories pained them whenever they were with her. In 19 ABY, she had her first child, a son named Tameron Burke. Two years later, Rhiannon's second child, another son named Tavin, was born. Her experiences with her younger brother Ryion helped her raise the two boys, and Kavlis helped as much as he could. The boys did their best to mind their gentler mother, knowing that their father would not hear of his wife being disrespected. In 23 ABY, Rhiannon had her third child, a daughter named Aurelise, whom she treasured, as Aurelise took more after her than the rambunctious boys, both of whom took after their father.
Unbeknownst to her, in 27 ABY, several local men passed on slanderous words to their children about Rhiannon, and her sons heard about it. Her parents also found out, but they allowed Kavlis a chance to handle the matter, which he did while Milya surreptitiously observed. After Kavlis confronted and defeated the men in a barfight, Milya revealed herself and told him that she approved of his handling of the situation. Pointing out that his boys had barely recognized her, Kavlis invited Milya over and asked if she and Selu would like to visit more often, which they agreed to.
In 28 ABY, her mother contacted her via a secret comlink and told her to activate the pendant Selu had given her, as Yanibar had been attacked by the Yuuzhan Vong and the altered orbit of its moon meant that the entire planet would soon suffer.
The planet began evacuation preparations, a ten-year process that affected both the Insiders and the Outsiders, many of whom were angry at the refuge for bringing this calamity on Yanibar. Rhiannon and her family were active proponents of accompanying the Insiders to Atlaradis, but that was not the only offer presented. Representatives from Naos arrived and pitched a resettlement option of their own, which was convincing enough to a majority of the community that they elected to go there instead.
Rhiannon was despondent when Kavlis told her of the results, fearing that she would be forever separated from her biological family, while her friends and two of her children's significant others lived in the Outside. Kavlis sent her and her second son Tavin back to visit the Yanibar refuge to help make up her mind. She and Tavin arrived at her parents' home only to find that they were gone; Sarth and Cassi, along with their son Akleyn, took them in instead. They explained to her that Selu and Milya and many others from the Kraen family were hunting a rogue Elite Guardian named Ariada Cerulaen, whose agents had even managed to infiltrate Yanibar and injure Sarth severely.
As Rhiannon wrestled with her decision, her family encouraged her to choose her own path. Her parents were supportive of her, if torn between their desire and what was best for Rhiannon. Jasika and Bryndar likewise said they would agree with whatever decision they made. However, word reached Rhiannon and Tavin that Morgedh clan Kel'nerh had fallen fighting Ariada. Not long afterward, in the final battle against the Dark Jedi, Selu and Milya fell as well. Rhiannon was heartbroken, and at that moment, she knew she could not remain with the Insiders with all the painful memories they now represented. She attended the memorial service for Selu and Milya and then departed with her family for Naos along with the rest of the Draskar community.
Behind the scenes
The character Rhiannon Kraen was first developed for Force Exile IV: Guardian, though Force Exile author Atarumaster88 had conceptualized the character long before writing the novel. He sought to create a child for Selu and Milya that would break the stereotype of typical Jedi children being just as Force-sensitive as their progenitors. In addition to making Rhiannon lack Force-sensitivity, he also decided to physically handicap the character, due to what he felt was a glossing over of the issue by canonical authors.
When choosing character traits for Rhiannon, Atarumaster88 wanted to make her gentle and obedient, basing the character off of Mary Ingalls in the Little House on the Prairie series. He also provided her with considerable musical talent, which played into a major plotline for Force Exile IV: Guardian. Rhiannon also had a small role in a follow-up story, Deception on R'alla.
She next appeared in the short story Through Her Eyes as an adult. This story centered on Rhiannon's unlikely romance with the Outsider Kavlis Burke. As an adult, Rhiannon displayed more independent streaks as well as a bolder sense of humor, though she retained many of her obedient, demurring characteristics. Her initial loneliness was also highlighted in the story, as Atarumaster88 sought to explore her character more, fleshing out areas of her personality that had not been previously explored. She had a brief cameo at the end of Force Exile V: Warrior.
Atarumaster88 brought Rhiannon back for a greater role in Force Exile VI: Prodigal, as Atarumaster88 created a tension between whether or not Rhiannon would follow her biological family to Atlaradis. He himself wrestled with Rhiannon's decision, at times considering sending her and her family, or just Tavin, to Atlaradis. Ultimately, Atarumaster88 felt that thematically Rhiannon belonged with her immediate family on Naos for thematic reasons—otherwise, it invalidated her decision to leave the refuge for Kavlis. One scene that was cut in the editing stages was a scene where the apparitions of Selu and Milya visited Rhiannon shortly before they left and wished her goodbye. A scene that was added showed Kavlis at the meeting where the Draskar community voted in favor of Naos.
Rhiannon's love story incorporated elements of the Little House on the Prairie series, the movie A Walk to Remember, and the tale of Aragorn and Arwen in The Lord of the Rings. Her in-universe nickname "Rhinny," given to her by her fiance Kavlis Burke, was originally coined by Star Wars Fanon reader Jedi Master 76, who dubbed her that while reading Force Exile IV: Guardian. Out-of-universe, Rhiannon is the name of a Welsh goddess as well as several people; though Atarumaster88 did not research the name prior to selecting it. In-universe, it is stated to be an Echani name meaning "rays of a star."
As a little girl, Rhiannon was depicted by Miranda Cosgrove for the cover of Force Exile IV: Guardian. She is played as an adult by Mandy Moore, who also played the lead role in A Walk to Remember.
- Force Exile IV: Guardian
- Deception on R'alla
- Through Her Eyes
- Force Exile V: Warrior
- Force Exile VI: Prodigal