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Zhin-Vel was a Zyked slaver, warlord, and criminal, the head of the notorious slaving operation Red Eclipse until his death in 115 ABY.

Biography

Early life and rise

Born on the Zyked homeworld of Deshad, little was known about the early life of Zhin-Vel. Investigations into his origins following his death dated his birth within a few years of 60 ABY. When he left his homeworld and how he became involved with the notorious slaving group Red Eclipse are also not known, but by 90 ABY he was a Sector Captain for the organization, pillaging ships in the vassal worlds of the Tetrarchy of Mezlagob.

It was Zhin-Vel who first established a base on Harth Gool, blazing a new hyperlane out of the Vall`to sector with a fleet of a dozen attack freighters and small capital ships. This, combined with his ruthless enslavement of the peaceful native Heshoos, won him great fame among his fellows. When Selti Lurn retired to live off his vast slaving fortune, there was no objection from the ranks as Zhin-Vel ascended to lead the syndicate.

Under Zhin-Vel's command, Red Eclipse continued to prey upon merchants and civilians in Tetrarchy spacelanes, as well as exploring nearby systems for sentients to exploit. Several more "resources" were acquired this way. Red Eclipse maintained its characteristic secrecy throughout the Great Liberation and into the early years of the Golden Empire's reign over the former Tetrarchy states, quietly striking unwary convoys. Much of the syndicate's action was blamed on the Nightside Raiders, adding to the infamy of the already notorious Kilwyo Kesh while Red Eclipse remained comfortably off the viewscreen. Zhin-Vel built a palace for himself and his retainers on Harth Gool with labor from his Heshoo slaves and resources bought with his growing fortune. Much of the day-to-day operations passed to his second-in-command, Sayl Leikvold, while Zhin-Vel himself oversaw Red Eclipse's expansion and courted new clients.

The Hunt begins

After the death of Kesh and the dissolution of the Nightside Raiders in 109 ABY, however, the group's fortunes began to decline. With attacks continuing, Queen Rin Sakaros tasked Royal Intelligence and the Order of Keltrayu with discovering just what was going on. Investigations on the Empire's new systems finally put a name to the shadowy fear hovering around the Empire's outskirts, and the inadvertent ambush of a Red Eclipse slave delivery convoy in 114 ABY brought the Empire prisoners to interrogate. That same year, Zhin-Vel was declared an Enemy of the Empire.

Though the Golden Empire was on his trail and Sayl urged her master to retreat, Zhin-Vel offered nothing but scorn to the suggestion of retreat or scaling down operations. In 115 ABY, he left Harth Gool, ostensibly to meet with a mining company still outside the Empire's jurisdiction…thirty-six hours before the Glorious Armada of the Golden Empire attacked. Zhin-Vel's agents in the Empire had informed him of the impending attack, and he abandoned his organization to its inevitable extinction while taking a substantial fortune with him.

The traitor betrayed

However, failing to find Zhin-Vel among the mountain of dead, the Royal forces continued their hunt. Having barely escaped the slaughter at Harth Gool and furious at her master's betrayal, Sayl covertly had Zhin-Vel traced and sent his location, through intermediaries, to the Empire. He was ambushed by two Centurions of the Order of Keltrayu on Synno, but managed to kill both Aquila Corcer and Melnanooin. A furious Rin Sakaros directed her Centurions to kill him at all costs, and they spread out in teams.

Eskol Kaartinen and Zhin-Vel's fellow Zyked Rajj-Yo succeeded in tracking the fleeing slaver to Haerch, where they shot him down. Zhin-Vel survived the crash, managing to land his ship in a lake, but when he made it to shore, he was killed in a brief and violent clash with Kaartinen and Rajj-Yo.

Appearance and personality

6'1" (1.85 meters) in height, Zhin-Vel had the mottled green and black skin most common to Zykeds. Initially possessing the muscularly thin build of most of his race, he grew slightly overweight during his years of rule from Harth Gool, with a protruding belly and slightly bowed legs. He could move quickly and hit hard when necessary, but his endurance suffered. He had beads implanted under his skin in artistic designs, including under his bulbous black eyes and along his tail.

Zhin-Vel was clever and ruthless when he had the upper hand, and seemingly possessed no conscience at all, willingly subjugating and enslaving any individuals or even entire species he could. When endangered, however, he was cowardly and would flee from any threat whenever possible, even if it meant leaving valued objects or allies behind. He was driven primarily by profit, and would reward underlings who brought him greater wealth or new slaving opportunities.

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