- "Be careful. If you go over the edge I can't promise I'll catch you."
- ―Johun Othone to Tarsus Valorum, shortly before Valorum fell off the edge of the landing platform
In 990 BBY, the Anti-Republic Liberation Front terrorist organization attempted to kidnap former Supreme Chancellor Tarsus Valorum while he was on a diplomatic mission to the planet Serenno. The terrorist group, led by the Lethan Twi'lek Kelad'den, murdered servants of the Serenno House Nalju and replaced them with their own members. The party landed on a remote landing pad provided by the House and, when Valorum disembarked with his guard, the Chiss female Cyndra detonated explosives which destroyed the former Chancellor's ship and killed the entire crew. Johun Othone, a Jedi who voluntarily headed Valorum's security, defended the Chancellor against the assassins.
Two Human assassins were killed first by Othone and a third was killed by Kelad'den when he attempted to flee from the battle. The Twi'lek warrior was the last to remain after Cyndra and Paak fled the encounter, and he alone sparred with Othone. Although Kelad'den initially overpowered Othone with his skills, the Jedi Knight eventually attempted to sacrifice himself for the former Chancellor by taking himself and the Twi'lek into a plunge off the fifty meter high landing platform.
Kelad'den's neck had been broken during the fall but, due to the Force, Othone survived. In gratitude, Valorum decided to grant a request of Othone's, and petitioned the Galactic Senate to create a memorial for all the Jedi who died in battle on Ruusan.
- "Everything we need is right here. We have the weapons, and we're all trained to use them."
"We know where and when the Chancellor is coming. What else is there?"
- ―Kelad'den trying to convince the ARLF to go through with his plan to capture Tarsus Valorum
In 990 BBY, the Sith Lord Darth Zannah was sent to the planet of Serenno by her Master, Darth Bane, to sow seeds of confusion that would distract the Galactic Republic from the Sith's subtle acts. The Sith apprentice gathered contacts, seducing a red-skinned Lethan warrior Twi'lek named Kelad'den over a period of a few months under the pretense that she was Rainah, an employee at the Republic embassy. Zannah had known that the Twi'lek was part of a small, radical anti-Republic faction and was determined to use that to the advantage of the Sith.
She convinced Kelad'den to bring her to a meeting of the group, known as the Anti-Republic Liberation Front, to further bring them under her control. The Twi'lek gave a speech to those present at the gathering, using words largely fed to him by Zannah. The Sith relied on Kelad'den's eloquence and her own prodding with the Force to convince the members of the organization to follow through with the plan she had persuaded the Twi'lek to suggest. Within minutes, members involved began to undertake the details of the plot which involved taking captive diplomatic emissary Tarsus Valorum, who was the Republic's previous Supreme Chancellor. The anti-Republic faction would strike when the former Supreme Chancellor arrived to appeal to the Counts of Serenno about ceasing to fund organizations critical of the Republic. The morning after, Zannah left the group to its own devices and traveled to the Sith encampment on Ambria.
The members in charge of executing the strategy were required to take the place of six of House Nalju's employees and to lay out explosives on the landing pad selected for the diplomatic mission by the Great House, one of the most powerful families on Serenno. The ARLF selected Kelad'den to lead the five others on the mission, including two senior members—a Chiss female named Cyndra and a male Human known as Paak—as well as three other members of the faction.
- "Not my first choice of places to touch down."
"Well, I did ask Nalju to let us land someplace remote."
- ―Johun Othone discusses the landing platform with Tarsus Valorum
The New Dawn touched down on a platform which protruded from a cliff and extended over the ocean, a landing that Othone was not fond of. A few moments after descending the ramp to the platform, the Jedi was disturbed by a strong warning through the Force. He noticed that those ahead on the platform whom he had presumed to be members of House Nalju were armed, and that explosives were hidden under the landing platform. However, this forewarning did nothing to save those who were still aboard the New Dawn when the Chiss woman Othone had also noticed detonated charges which destroyed both the ship and much of the platform. As the end of the walkway twisted and began to bend downward due to the missing landing pad, Valorum was thrown off the edge. Othone managed to save him, though, catching the former Chancellor by his cape, while simultaneously deflecting blaster fire with his lightsaber.
Othone's three assailants abandoned their blasters in favor of vibroswords and swept towards him, slashing at his neck and stomach. In an attempt to whittle down their numbers one on one, the Jedi pushed the female attacker into one of his other opponents and faced the remaining one. Othone now pushed aggressively, ending his adversary's life. The woman and the other man were upright again, and the female charged. Instead of parrying, The Jedi dodged her blow and grabbed her by the wrist, pulling her down onto him, while placing his feet on her stomach and hurling her off the edge of the platform. Seeing that he was now alone against a superior foe, the remaining assailant fled. As he ran past Kelad'den, however, he was slashed in the throat by one of the crescent-shaped weapons wielded by the Twi'lek, effectively preventing his desertion. However, Cyndra and Paak were able to flee without retribution as they were too far away to be reached.
The Twi'lek warriorEdit
- "I've always wanted to test my skills against a Jedi."
- ―Kelad'den to Johun Othone
The Twi'lek offered his challenge and Othone, in order to finish the battle, charged forward to impale his adversary with his lightsaber. Kelad'den dodged, and slashed the former Chancellor's bodyguard's arm. Readjusting to his enemy's skill, the Jedi attempted to drive the Twi'lek back, knowing that his weapons were less effective at range. As his frustration grew with his inability to land a blow, Othone overstretched, and fell prey to Kelad'den's blades. The Jedi took two hits, one to his face, the other to his side, then head-butted the Twi'lek, breaking his nose.
After Kelad'den landed several blows and drove him to the edge of the platform, Othone recognized that his opponent could best him easily no matter how hard he fought. He decided on sacrificing himself for Valorum as a course of action, remembering the Jedi adage, "There is no death; there is only the Force." Dropping his weapon, the Jedi Knight lunged for his enemy and grabbed the Twi'lek's shirt. He then leaned back over the brink and fell down towards the water. The shock of the fall caused Kelad'den to break his neck but, due to the Force, Othone survived. Somehow the Jedi still found the strength to climb the fifty meters to the landing pad.
- "You saved my life. I can never repay you for what you have done, but if there is ever anything you want of me you need only ask."
"There is one thing. Hire yourself a kriffing security team."
- ―Tarsus Valorum to Johun Othone, shortly after the duel.
The outrage generated from the attempt to abduct Valorum caused the Counts of Serenno to pledge to eradicate separatist movements. It also affected Valorum in that he had the gratitude to petition the Galactic Senate to erect a monument for the Jedi slain on Ruusan.
Darth Zannah's involvement in this event caused her to be captured by Cyndra and brought to Hetton, the leader of the ARLF.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Duel on Serenno was written and conceived by Drew Karpyshyn for his 2007 novel Darth Bane: Rule of Two. The event was used to further develop the character Johun Othone. The repercussions of Zannah's involvement led to the Duel on Ambria.
- Darth Bane: Rule of Two (First appearance)