Vessyk (/ˈvɛsˌɪk/) was an Iscali Centurion of the Order of Keltrayu. A native of the Iscali colony world of Tershin, he was one of the earliest Centurions of the Order. He acquired lasting infamy when he betrayed Rin Sakaros and turned Ekshi into his own personal dictatorship before becoming the first victim of Kasshralhyot.
Born on Tershin in 87 ABY, the same year as the foundation of the Golden Empire, Vessyk was the third child and second son of two Separation Party politicians in Tershin's planetary legislature, and was raised in a politics-dominated home. He learned the competitive nature of politics by observation and attended private school, and by 95 ABY had already proven himself an exceptionally talented and intelligent pupil.
In that year, Iscandar joined the Golden Empire and pledged Tershin to the Empire's fold as well. Debate ensued among Tershin's population, and there was an upsurge in popular support for the Separation movement. However, while visiting in an attempt to sway the populace, the Centurion Keltrayu came across Vessyk, who had gone to the legislature with his parents. Immediately sensing the boy's strong connection to the Force, Keltrayu discussed the matter with his parents and, acting as delegate of Queen Rin Sakaros, offered Vessyk a place in the Order which would come to bear his name years later. Seeing the potential to give their son more than they could arrange otherwise, they allowed this. In one fell swoop, Keltrayu not only gained a new Novice, but also decapitated resistance to Tershin's joining the Empire; with their own son joining the Royal government, Vessyk's parents could hardly continue to oppose membership in the Empire, and the Separation movement was crippled by their defection.
Vessyk integrated himself quickly into the burgeoning Novice community, becoming a friend of both his fellow Iscali Melnanooin and later the Vuul Eskol Kaartinen. He looked up to both Aquila Corcer and Keltrayu, admiring their air of confident self-assurance and skill.
Vessyk took quickly to training, spending many hours in lightsaber sparring with both Keltrayu and Tariun Sakaros. He quickly chose Djem So as his style, appreciating its straightforward power and lethal efficiency. He also demonstrated an early proficiency for Force persuasion; he and Melnanooin occasionally practiced mind tricks on unsuspecting Royal Navy personnel until Rin caught them at it and ordered them to stop.
Vessyk watched the progress of the Great Liberation with interest, and was particularly intrigued by the shadow war Tariun and Keltrayu were running to undermine the Tetrarchy of Mezlagob from within. Like the rest of his siblings, Vessyk accompanied Rin to the Battle of Tizgo V and saw Keltrayu sacrifice his life to protect Rin. He was driven to go on the attack, despite being only fourteen, though Tariun pulled him back before he could get too far. Undeterred, the young Iscali simply grabbed a rifle from a downed soldier and shot at the enemy instead.
The loss of Keltrayu hit Vessyk hard, and he threw himself with renewed intensity into his training. He was commissioned as a Centurion in 106 ABY a few months after Melnanooin, becoming (at nineteen) the youngest Centurion to date. He took numerous assignments rooting out the remaining dissident groups who longed for a return to the Tetrarchy and was considered unusually good at it by his superiors, though Rin had to reprimand him more than once for his ruthlessness in the hunt, which bordered on illegality. He brought a similar attitude to the pursuit of the Nightside Raiders pirate gang.
After the assassination of Kilwyo Kesh, hoping to curb some of Vessyk's temper, Rin appointed him to her Royal Guard in 109 ABY. She hoped that exposure to the different aspects of governance might broaden his horizons, while simultaneously monitoring his thoughts and emotions. Vessyk did indeed become substantially more controlled and poised while serving directly with Rin, and demonstrated a marked skill for political wrangling. He was able to persuade new systems to join the Empire and, after the Battle of Waldragos in 111 ABY, had an aptitude for manipulating local loyalties and pitting dissident groups against one another, causing them to fracture internally and cause less damage to the Empire.
Though not entirely satisfied with Vessyk's progress, Rin saw the value of his skills and released him from the Royal Guard to aid the new Consul of Waldragos in pacifying the system. The Iscali stayed on Waldragos for two years, finally departing to participate in the Hunt for Red Eclipse.
He fought with Tariun Sakaros's landing party in the Battle of Harth Gool, and was one of the Centurions assigned to hunt down the Red Eclipse leader, Zhin-Vel. Murderously enraged when his colleages Aquila Corcer and Melnanooin cornered the Zyked, only to be slain by him, Vessyk redoubled his efforts to find Zhin-Vel, although it was Eskol Kaartinen and Rajj-Yo who finally dealt with the slaver lord. Bitterly disappointed at having missed Zhin-Vel, Vessyk took pleasure in rooting out Red Eclipse cells while the syndicate was breaking down. Tariun Sakaros had given orders to bring prisoners in alive "if feasible", and Vessyk made it a habit to ensure that such captures were "infeasible" as often as possible.
Vessyk spent the next several years alternating between law enforcement duties and political appointments, serving on the Consular staffs of new member worlds. Most of the Consuls he served described him as an invaluable aid to diplomacy and governance, and the Royal Integration Corps in particular became fond of him. He was able to demonstrate the Golden Empire's power and ability to protect its citizens, touting the extermination of both the Nightside Raiders and Red Eclipse, and helped the Armada set up recruitment offices and Orhyo language training centers. After years of success, he was appointed Consul of Ekshi in 121 ABY.
The Tyrant of Ekshi
Finally a Consul in his own right, Vessyk took over Ekshi and put many of the political lessons he had learned to work. He created numerous jobs for the unemployed and dissolute, first offering aid in joining the Armada, then later planetary law enforcement bodies. He also worked to subtly confound the opposing parties in Ekshi's parliament, ensuring they were constantly bickering with one another and unable to form a majority government to contest his leadership. Strong, centralized rule had proven itself to Vessyk, and he intended to make Ekshi an ideal system for the Empire.
In time, however, he began to see potential beyond serving Rin. In the absence of any functioning legislature, Vessyk had been governing by edict. Discontent was growing, so he expanded the police force, changing it into a gendarmerie with increased power. He also developed a secret police force charged with rooting out "dissidents" and traitors. Since all Consuls governed in Rin's name, Vessyk defended his actions by referencing back to Rin's authority, and on the most onerous decrees even issued them in Rin's name, allowing himself to appear merely the middleman for a higher power. For himself, Vessyk had the native Colorrbiz drastically expand the Consul's House into an enormous, opulent palace.
Vessyk had the state buy out all media companies, forcibly closing those which refused to sell, and thus censored transmissions offworld. Traders coming onto the planet were confined to spaceports and their ships were subtly checked for refugees before takeoff. In the annual meetings of the Consular Assembly, Vessyk mentioned having difficulties with a quasi-mutinous populace, and openly admitted that he had used some "forcible correction" to keep the locals in line. Though disappointed, Rin was not immediately suspicious—numerous other systems also had problems—and thus Vessyk's hold on Ekshi only grew tighter and tighter.
Inevitably, rebellion sprang up, but Vessyk put it down with lethal efficiency, having every rebel exterminated. He had the families of suspected dissidents kidnapped, and some even tortured, blinded, maimed, or executed as a warning to others. A particularly impoverished district which had turned in inadequate tax revenues went up in flames and local emergency response teams did not actually respond; though no one dared make the accusation aloud, all were convinced that Vessyk had had the entire district burned alive to send a message.
Convinced as they were that Vessyk's dictatorial decisions came from Rin Sakaros, most of the population of Ekshi had no hope of resisting him, and consequently didn't try; they knew they could never defeat his personal army, and even if they did, they would stand no chance against the Armada. But by 127 ABY, the situation had grown so unbearable that a Colorrb named Niximot Grundo broke into a Royal communications station and established contact with the Sith Star. Managing to communicate directly with Rin, he begged her to rescind the most burdensome of "her" decrees and have some mercy on his people. Totally baffled, Rin could not even respond before Vessyk's gendarmes arrested Grundo and transferred the contact to Vessyk himself. Thinking quickly, she pretended to have had no clear transmission until Vessyk came on, and even spoke to the Iscali Consul at length about trade policy before letting him go.
Vessyk was convinced, and had Grundo tortured for information instead of executing him outright. However, Rin journeyed secretly to Ekshi with a group of her most servants and a Star Destroyer full of ground troops. Leaving the Star Destroyer just outside the system, she went to the surface in disguise with her Centurions to observe the world firsthand. Devastated by the abuses she saw, and horrified that many of them had been carried out in her name, she led her strike team in a direct assault on Vessyk's palace.
Vessyk only became aware of the danger when Rin ripped the thirty-foot doors off his palace with the Force. Unable to flee before the Centurions massacred his guards, he attempted to wheedle his way out of Rin's fury, then argued that his way was the only way to govern people when Rin proved unpersuadable. But the queen was having none of it, and the two fought a brief lightsaber duel. The finest lightsaber duelist in the Empire, Rin would probably have won anyway, but having reigned over Ekshi in relative luxury for more than half a decade, Vessyk was out of shape and out of practice, and was defeated easily.
Not content with killing him, Rin first cut off Vessyk's hands at the wrists, then his legs at the knees before his amputated hands had even hit the ground. While the maimed Centurion screamed mingled curses and pleas for mercy, Rin slashed through his eyes to blind him, then tortured him with Force lightning. She then cut him off from the Force and, giving him only enough time to scream in the horror of what had happened to him, erased his mind completely. Rin gave the stunned guards, civil servants, Centurions, and Colorrbiz who had followed her through the door a moment to look at the pitiful shell that remained of Vessyk, then killed him completely with a single decapitating lightsaber blow.
Still not satisfied with her punishments, Rin had every piece of Vessyk's corpse loaded into a hyperspace-capable delivery vehicle and launched it into Ekshi's sun. She also deleted every record of Vessyk's existence from all databases in the Empire and forbade anyone to ever speak his name again. This new and horrifying punishment became known as "Kasshralhyot".
Vessyk's death began a process which came to be called the "Cleansing of Ekshi" and included numerous programs to put right Vessyk's abuses, the most drastic of which was amending the Charter of the Golden Empire to include a government officer on each world, elected by the people, to report separately to the Sovereign and thus check any wrongdoing by a Consul. Niximot Grundo, the Colorrb who had risked everything to warn Rin, became the first Tribune of Ekshi.
Vessyk was villified particularly on his native Tershin, and though Rin specifically commanded that none of his crimes were to be avenged on his family, Vessyk's father committed suicide by poison out of shame. Though he could not be mentioned by name, Vessyk's life and gruesome end became an object lesson to every Consul and Centurion about the need to remain vigilant against the lure of corruption, as well as the unimaginable wrath which would find anyone who betrayed Rin's trust.
For the rest of her life, Rin considered Vessyk among her greatest failures, and took to keeping a closer mental eye on her Novices in the future. She also felt enormous remorse for what had happened to the Colorrbiz and strove to amend Vessyk's damage.
Powers and abilities
Like all Centurions, Vessyk received extensive training in telekinesis and telepathy. His normally secretive nature made his ability to shield his thoughts from others particularly strong, and he demonstrated the ability to manipulate other minds from an early age.
Vessyk chose to study Djem So, as it fit his domineering personality, and became one of the best swordsmen in the Order of Keltrayu at his peak. However, his skill slipped due to lack of practice in the last years of his life.
Appearance and personality
Like the majority of Iscali, Vessyk had blue skin, though the tone was paler than many of his species. He had green eyes and cream-colored hair, and stood 5'11" (1.80 meters) tall. For most of his Centurion career he had a muscular build, though his gut grew and his upper body shrank slightly during his time as Consul of Ekshi. While serving as a Centurion, he preferred to wear his service or dress uniform at all times when in public; as Consul, he wore white robes bordered with gold (which acquired more embellishment as time went on).
Vessyk had an interest in power his whole life. Raised by politicians and then brought into the Order of Keltrayu during a time of expansion, then war, he tended toward a shrewd, manipulative approach to politics which would advance the goals of one group by pitting competitors against one another. He was considered a gifted political manipulator by his colleagues, and made regular study of the various political cultures of the Golden Empire's member worlds.
Long after his death, Rin, Tariun, Eskol Kaartinen, and others who had known Vessyk tried to determine when he had started to turn from shrewd to dark. It was obvious that Keltrayu's death, and especially the deaths of Melnanooin and Aquila Corcer, had affected him deeply, and some believed that the feeling of lost control in these events (especially as he could not avenge them himself) contributed to his corruption. However, his political manipulations in the service of other Consuls were also reexamined, and Rin believed that he had been allowed so free a hand that it gave him a taste for power that he could never slake.