"Shall we balance the scales?"
Character name: Bela Khess
-- Aliases: The Kingmaker
Age: 55 (born 74 BBY)
Faction: Jedi Order
-- Rank/position/title: Jedi Master, Jedi High Council Member, General of the Grand Army of the Republic
Personality, appearance and history
[+] Political Savvy
[+] Expert Pilot
[+] Battle strategist
[+] Powerful duelist
[-] Prone to bending Jedi Code for own purposes
Bela sports a graceful yet prideful persona. She has the confidence to act but the strategic mindset to bide the time and restrain herself from rash decision-making. She is supremely intelligent, thus often delving into battles of the mind. She believes a true victory is where one is defeated on their wits rather than their strength. She is as politically savvy, through her extensive knowledge of politics and policy, as she is a warrior, never hesitating to utilize her Force-wielding prowess in defence of a worthwhile cause. Bela craves serenity and balance, striving to find peace within her own caged emotional trauma while actively "balancing the scales" for the most marginalized in society. When posed with an obstacle, she follows the old adage of "any means necessary" and sees that her pursuit goes unhindered. She often speaks and thinks poetically, believing that all peoples, cultures, tragedies and fortunes in the universe are interconnected; that is, every calamity equally yields a fortune of happiness. In denying her own inherent sadism, she allows the public to only discover her political astuteness, prideful grace, and sarcastic wit.
BELA'S ORIGINS: THE SILVER ROSE
Bela Khess was born a relentless spirit, battered under the weight of being a cushioned daughter in a family with far too many closeted skeletons for its own good. House Khess, represented by a silver rose, was known for its power, wealth and influence on Shilli and throughout the Expansion Region. Her mother, Abarra Khess, served as the family's matriarch, doubly representing her people as Shilli's Senator to the Galactic Senate. She was every bit the woman her daughter aspired to become. Few, however, dared to question the seemingly endless influence of House Khess, and for good measure, given her father's role in it. Bela's father, Juran Khess, was a businessman who covertly dealt in black market antics with criminal elements of the Mandalorian bounty hunter and Hutt variety. While Senator Abarra advocated for the needs of her people and indeed the security of all free and innocent people, Juran profited off the backs of the innocent. Juran's deeds would be the blood that forever stained the beloved silver rose, and consequently lose their only daughter.
From a young age, Bela was considered extremely wise and exemplified a remarkable connection with the Force, a gift she alone would hone for a time. She was raised by her mother to believe that a life of happiness depended upon one's willingness to serve people, or the greater good, at any and all costs. Indeed, this was a core family principle. To fail to understand it was to make you an outcast. To fail to uphold it was to make you irrelevant. Such was the demanding needs of House Khess. One must act the part, look the part, and play the part, as duty to family. Thus, the values of dignity, grace, legacy, and political prowess were instilled in Bela very early on. House Khess didn't want the rebellious, outspoken Bela; they wanted a symbol of elegance to charm the public, presumably to distract from the sins that underpinned her family's legacy.
Yet, Bela was unapologetically herself, eager to embark on new adventures, ready to not only serve her people in appearance but in deed, and daring herself to take on the most dangerous of challenges. She defied cultural and family traditions, raising her young voice and what small influence she had against the flawed policies of the Galactic Senate. Perhaps most interestingly, she quickly adapted to her natural gift at using the Force.
Bela's gifts were discovered at the age of 4. While her mother hosted the Senate Economic Summit on Shilli, Bela, in attendance, crossed paths with the Koru Tama, the Jedi Watchman stationed on her world. Through a brief 'playdate,' if you could call it that, he quickly realized she had a strong connection to the Force.
While most Jedi would've been brought to the Grand Temple on Coruscant to be trained as younglings, Bela had a different path ahead. Senator Abarra, backed by Jedi Knight Koru, was able to secure a special exemption through a combination of backroom deals with the Chancellor and subsequent political pressure applied to the Jedi Council. Consequently, as she ventured regularly between the Galactic Capital and her native world, Bela was raised among two families--the Jedi and the people of Shilli. When she wasn't learning from several Jedi instructors at the Temple, she was refining her abilities and testing new limits under her master Koru's tutelage.
THE THREAT OF PURPOSE
(70 BBY - 60 BBY)
Over the next decade, Bela quickly proved herself a formidable duelist and Force wielder, owed to her inherent connection to the Force, rigorous teachings of her master and the series of combat experiences they embraced in a relatively short period of time. Some learned through studies and training; others were thrown into action on various worlds, quelling rebellions, negotiating peace deals, bringing criminals to justice, and maintaining the peace on her own homeworld. You could guess where Bela fit. Through this, she became a renowned diplomat and one well versed in the art of politics, not unlike her mother.
Despite the decade-long training, Bela honed her skills as a Padawan rapidly and significantly. She was never one to settle for the status quo and always felt the need to learn, grow, adapt, and hone. It was in acting on these passions that the young Jedi became enamoured with the annals of history.
When on Coruscant, she spent significant time, with her master's blessing, in the Archives. If not there, then she learned while on missions for the Council. Gradually, her thirst for knowledge emerged in the form of nightmares and visions, reflective of both an inherently powerful Force Sense and the strongly rooted innate trait of her species. The more she connected with objects, people, and places through the Force, the more she was engulfed in nightmares and visions. She became haunted by the bloody and shameful past of history.
Bela would often ponder the battle of good versus evil, and the costs of victory and loss. While genuinely believing there was no greater calling than the Jedi, her keenness soon led her to a new state of self-awareness of the galaxy around her. Struggles between good and evil may lead to victory, but history showed life for what it was; a balancing act between two forces. Republics and empires, Jedi and Sith, Light Side and Dark Side, right and wrong, heroes and villains--the wheel of two was never-ending.
How could the Jedi not see this? To do what had always been done in the past would fail the Order and fail the generations of Jedi who were slain in service to the idea of hope. Bela's readings taught her that the greatest moments in history of Jedi victory were often matched not long after by an equally sinister threat. The Jedi would cut off the head of a snake, only to see several more rise in its place. She became paranoid about the Order she convinced herself was worth fighting for, that which brainwashed children to believing there is only one path for justice. When the Jedi felt the galaxy was at stake, how did they respond? The supposed peacekeepers took arms and went to repel the threat.
, the threat was never the immediate enemy. The threat, as Bela came to see it, was the Order's failure to see the consequences of its actions, which were the thousands upon thousands of innocent lives lost in the middle of their peacekeeping efforts. Freedom may have been secured on some worlds due to the Jedi's heroics, or so she tried convincing herself, but what were the casualties? How many lives must be lost for the Jedi to succeed? And who determines what is just in the universe--was it to be the Jedi themselves? Ah, so there it was. The Jedi had placed themselves, either through arrogance or ignorance, in the position of judge, jury and executioner--the inherent threat to peace and justice itself.
As an active voice in the political affairs of her world and eventually in the private affairs of her family, Bela was well rooted in what she coined, "balancing the scales." Justice didn't mean right or wrong; it merely meant that the greatest good had to be achieved by the greatest means. She didn't think the foundation of the Jedi were hypocritical because they wished to enforce peace, but that they thought themselves true peacekeepers when in fact they were weapons. Weapons, just like blasters, that have the potential to do good but could, even unexpectedly, inflict a great deal of harm.
That led to her subsequent dive into the Jedi's unique role in politics. Jedi, as she learned from her master, were meant to be independent of the political world, but she had come to see the Jedi as the greatest politicians in all of the Republic. Now more than ever, they were positioned at the pinnacle of power--above the remit of the courts, forever beyond the criticism of the Republic's citizens, and revered and feared across the galaxy.
Perhaps her nightmares were true, and the Order was already on a failed course. She had, for a moment, considered turning her back on the Order, but Bela was a fighter and advocate. She quelled the rising distaste for what her nightmares predicted, out of fear of what darkness that would bring within her, but she now had a clear mind of the galaxy's state and the illusion the victors of history painted it as. Among Bela's strongest traits was her proven ability to finesse through political circles and influence minds, so this notion sparked curiosity rather than rebellion. Most would've become disillusioned with the hallowed perspective of the Order they were taught to hold; Bela, however, wouldn't dare run from her fears.
If the wheel of history had forged an endless cycle, then she did not want to play into the wheel. She wanted to break the wheel. How? Stay the course, remain faithful to the Jedi Code, learn from the successes and failings of her peers and masters, rise in the ranks, and someday transform it from within. On that day, she would see the Order balance its own scales of justice by rooting out the injustices and ineptitude that had for far too long engulfed it.
THE BLOOD-STAINED ROSEBela had been actively embarking on missions for the Order when she received news from her mother of progress back home on Shilli.
Through Senator Abarra Khess' unyielding progressive reforms in education and economic prosperity, particularly on her own world, she had become a legendary force to be reckoned with. Having joined forces with a coalition of Senators, her sights were set on combatting all forms of Black market operations. While warned against doing so by her husband, Abarra felt it was time that the people of the Republic had representatives who would not turn a blind eye to underground operations. These operations were extremely profitable, yet were prone to lead to more harm than good, having had cases of poisoned food and sales of mass ammunition reported on the HoloNet. The result? Thousands of civilians dead, either by warfare, skirmishes or poison. So the legislative reform was tabled for the Senate's consideration, but first the coalition would use Shilli to stage a summit as a means to rally more worlds to the cause.
Threatened by the idea of what strong legislation, supported by Republic and Jedi forces, could mean for the future of the black market, unknown forces began amassing. The summit turned out to be successful, with over a thousand worlds publicly declaring their support for the Bill Against Human Profits and calling for immediate action by the Senate. An emergency session of the Senate was called.
For this, a moment anticipated to be quite significant for the Khess matriarch, Bela's parents would together journey to the Republic Capital. Jarun had expressed doubt as they packed for the journey, cautioning his wife against the mysterious chatter that he caught wind of from behind the scenes. While he couldn't pinpoint it, he knew something was amiss and it likely involved the future of this bill. Abarra remained resolute in her pursuit of doing what's right.
Meanwhile, having wrapped up their missions off-world, Bela and her master were on a return course to Shilli.
As Abarra and Jarun's cruiser set for hyperspace, the ship suddenly reported an engines malfunction. Then came the deactivation of their shields and communications system. As they investigated the source of the problem, six starfighters, marked with Mandalorian insignia, entered the system and descended on their position. The ship was immediately pummelled with blasts, the starfighters taking targeted shots that irreparably destroyed its engines. The attack set off a chain of events, the different parts of the ship combusting from within.
As Bela and Master Koru exited hyperspace, Bela screamed, shaken by the outcry of a dozen voices. No, twenty. No, fifty. The number of voices were rising, but why, who, and how? She hadn't felt something this painful since...
Following her senses, Bela led the duo into the heat of a battle. The starfighters seemed determined to finish off her parents. Knowing the odds weren't in their favour, they nonetheless launched their counterattack.
The exchange between her and her master were indelible:
"Bela, you must know there is little time," her master's voice had echoed over the comms of their own starfighters.
"Abarra and Jarun Khess are already dead," she had said in reference to the cruiser already spiralling towards the planet's surface. "It's not time I seek. It's knowledge."
With that, between Koru's mastery of the Force and her own natural senses and piloting skills, they repelled the unknown enemy--but not before retrieving key data. Bela’s plan wasn't to use this information to submit to revenge in hunting down those responsible for her parents’ death. Instead, she had immediately concluded that they were likely hired guns for someone else, and that unknown menace was likely a strong force behind the black market.
Bela returned to the surface of her homeworld, where she reconnected with the rest of her family and indeed all of the tribes of Shilli in mourning and celebration of her parents. Senator Abarra Khess was recognized as the sector's greatest senator of her time, while Jarun Khess was (ironically) treasured as the lion of Shilli, one always committed to public good through his numerous community-focused initiatives.
Bela was no longer just a Jedi Padawan. She was heir to the legacy, fortune, and esteem of House Khess, or at least what was left of it.
Months later, Bela would make a personal journey to the Senate, where her mother's bill had entered its final reading. Jedi were welcomed in the Senate, but rarely did they speak, presumably due to their false self-belief that they didn't involve themselves in politics. This, however, was unusual circumstances. The people of Shilli had appointed her to serve as a Special Envoy, within the context of her Jedi duties, to see her mother's work come to fruition. Due to the events, her master, who as a Jedi Watchman held a significant degree of autonomy, approved the nomination.
At the Senate's convention, Bela lent her voice to her mother's cause in a historical speech that considerably elevated her reputation within the Order and throughout the Republic:
"Esteemed Senators, there comes a time when one must lay down their arms for the greater good of society. To accept that peace cannot come at the cost of our own inclination to invoke violence. This is a founding principle of the Jedi Order, one that has been a value preciously preserved and, ironically, fought for over the generations. Where there is peace, however, there must be sacrifice. We cannot allow anymore of our innocent children, or indeed parents, to perish because of our inability to act. My mother, Abarra Khess, believed in the power of the Senate. That, when lives are threatened, the squabbling heard over petty feuds, the restless political machinations plotted for advancement, and the willful ignorance employed to avoid that which is uncomfortable, shall in one voice rise to protect the threatened. That bold, unified voice that can calm oceans, quell rebellions, repel any threat at the Republic's borders, and—if I may be courageously hopeful enough—protect our children and families from poisoned food, corrupt and greedy corporate practices, and the furtherance of violence in the streets of our worlds. That voice is here, Senators. That voice is ready. You need only use it. My mother died believing it. Now we must all live to see it." On that day, Bela's call for the Republic to uproot a system built on inequality and injustice resulted in the near unanimously approved Bill Against Human Profiteering, otherwise known as the Abarra Khess Act.
A Jedi was not taught to hold onto their feelings. She, especially, had learned to separate emotion from duty, yet her feelings were only buried—not released—until this moment. Bela now knew her mother stood proud of what she had become. Cherishing Abarra’s memory, would use all that she learned from her mother to fuel her resolve.
RESOLVE: A FAMILY TRAIT
15 years of peacekeeping across the galaxy, discovering injustices, and investigating assassins made Bela a highly-capable Padawan Sentinel. In her eyes, she was finally ready to take on the Trials. Alas, her master did not feel the same.
Master Koru chose a mission for them both that involved the apprehension of a rogue Force User who just happened to have gotten his hands on a lightsaber. The mission went off seamlessly, as it enabled Bela to engage the rogue on her own. Fortunately, her master's wise teachings gave her a superior edge, which culminated in her eventual victory over the Force adept. Next, the duo underwent a diplomatic mission to Chandrila. The thought of a diplomatic mission was rather enticing, having had her fair share of negotiations. While her master did his sightseeing, she was able to bring both sides together in lasting change. After two more successful diplomatic missions followed, she was tasked by her Master to take the final mission on her own.
This one brought her to the lower city of Taris, where she had the ever so wonderful task of bringing an end to a menacing criminal organization. The manpower behind the emerging Crime Lord was, admittedly, more than she had initially anticipated. Joining forces with local law enforcement, she was able to, eventually, dismantle the criminal organization.
After the mission, she was tasked with travelling to Coruscant. For what, she wondered? Upon her return, her presence was requested before the Council and, on arrival, she was surprised to see her Master already present. She had bowed in deference to the council members before, hesitantly, approaching the centre of the room beside her Master Koru. What followed that moment was what she had, unbeknownst to even herself, awaited eagerly--the Knighting Ceremony.
After successful completion of the Trials, she rose to the rank of Jedi Knight. Master Koru immediately encouraged Bela to take on a padawan of her own, having witnessed for himself her maturity and aptitude for knowledge, but Bela wouldn't be so inclined, not for awhile. The next 5 years would forge her place as a Knight of the Jedi Order.
ROAD TO MASTER
(55 BBY - Current)
Throughout her knighthood, Bela heavily focused on combat training and honing her ability to wield the Force. She wanted to have an even more intimate connection with it, allowing it to flow through her in thought, action, and purpose. The days of training stretched into months, then years, all culminating into the Jedi she became. She lad learned vast skills and gained a breadth of knowledge and understanding of the Force, diplomacy, combat, and battle strategy.
CHANGE FROM WITHIN
(40 BBY - Current)
In 40 BBY, the Council saw fit to reward her extensive service with the rank of Jedi Master and invited her to succeed the retiring Jedi High Council member Poli Dapatian. Such was a shocking honour, but one she accepted with great humility.
Navigating the Council became an interesting feat, often times challenging traditionalist and regressive perspectives among other lifetime members of the council. Her focus wasn't on what they had done for generations, if such practices proved harmful to the current state of the Order, but what could be done to see a better universe for the future generations to come.
As an Investigator, Bela would continue to shatter the veils of darkness, eliminate injustices wherever they brood, and advocate for reform within the Order, the Republic, and the galaxy.
Force Sensitive: YES
Lightsaber form: Form V (Shien/Djem So) - Expert
-- Tutaminis (Absorption of Energy) - Practitioner
-- Curato Salva (Self-Healing) - Expert
-- Altus Sopor (Masking ones presence with the Force) - Expert
-- Prima Vitae (Detection of Life) - Expert
-- Tactus Otium (Sensing the Force within others) - Expert
-- Psychometry (Using the Force to sense impressions, trace information from objects and areas) - Expert
-- Telepathy (Reading minds, mentally communicating) - Expert
-- Telekenisis (Ability to manipulate physical matter) - Expert
- Force Wave (Force energy that knocks back anything within the power's blast radius) - Practitioner
- Ionize (Overloads and damages electronic systems, such as droids) - Expert
- Battlemind (Uses the Force to empower oneself to fight through the hardest of conflicts) - Expert
- Alter Environment (Manipulates nature) - Practitioner
Possessions: x2 Gold twin curved-hilt lightsabers (sigil crystals), Datapad, standard-issued blaster
Personal ship: Standard-issued Jedi starfighter