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- "You do justice to your station, tactician."
- ―Harrar, to Raff
Raff was a male Yuuzhan Vong who served as a battle tactician for Commander Tla during the early stages of the Yuuzhan Vong War. When Shedao Shai died at Ithor, Tla was promoted and on Raff's advice assaulted the library world of Obroa-skai. At Obroa-skai, Raff monitored the collection of the wealth of intelligence obtained from the planet's libraries, and entered into a discussion with a priest, Harrar, over the importance of the Jedi to the galaxy's inhabitants.
It was in this way that Raff tentatively became involved in Harrar's plot to assassinate the Jedi. In accordance with the plan, High Priest Jakan's daughter Elan "defected" to the New Republic, and a lengthy series of false re-capture attempts and battles were staged in order to make the defection seem sincere. Against his better judgment, Raff counseled Tla in expending resources and time in the support of Harrar's scheme, assured by the priest and his confederate, the executor Nom Anor, that it would eventually bear fruit. Ultimately, Elan's treachery was uncovered and she died during a pitched space battle, the ploy an abject failure. Supreme Commander Nas Choka punished Tla and Harrar, recalling them in shame to the Outer Rim Territories, but not before Raff had provided his opinion that Hutt Space was viable as the next target for the fleet.
- "We are waging a holy war."
To become a Battle Tactician, a breed of warriors dedicated to Yun-Yammka, Raff underwent advanced escalation processes. He spent much time in communion with yammosks, telepathic Yuuzhan Vong creatures which served to coordinate military forces, as well as dovin basals, gravitic devices which empowered the fleet's vessels. Raff had his bald, misshapen head adorned with swirling tattoos to illustrate the complexities of his thoughts, and over the years developed his capacity for retaining an extraordinary repository of knowledge. By the time of his species' invasion of the the galaxy promised to the Yuuzhan Vong by Supreme Overlord Shimrra, Raff was well versed in the capabilities of the forces of the New Republic and its allies. The tactician was assigned to the newly promoted Commander Tla, whose escalation had come following the failure of Commander Shedao Shai at Ithor.
The defection of ElanEdit
- "I fear this will be too costly an enterprise."
In 25 ABY, Raff advised Commander Tla to attack the library world of Obroa-skai, believing that the wealth of information, including charts, maps and other data, would be vital to the course of the Yuuzhan Vong campaign. Tla led the swift assault, and soon Obroa-skai was conquered; Raff set to work reading through the content of the captured libraries. Interference came from the priest caste, members of which had been assigned to oversee the sacrifice of captives taken during the assault on the planet. Tla grudgingly tolerated the presence of the priest Harrar at Obroa-skai, and Raff, continuing his perusal of library contents, showed the priest the information which had been so far recovered. Harrar, having held a discussion with a captive H'kig Gotal, took particular interest in the Jedi, and bade the tactician explain further on the nature of the mysterious Jedi Order. Raff and Harrar discussed the purge which they correctly supposed had exterminated thousands of Jedi almost half of a standard century prior to the Yuuzhan Vong invasion. Along with several others, Harrar and the tactician went on to observe via villip the sacrifice of thousands of captives, and Raff promised the priest that he would search the villip's images for portents and relay the information to Commander Tla, who held little stock in the priest caste.
The tactician, however, grew nervous when Harrar's pre-occupation with the Jedi persisted; the priest concocted a scheme which demanded time and resources from both Tla and Raff. Utilizing Elan, the daughter of High Priest Jakan, as an agent, Harrar planned to stage a phony defection. Elan would claim to have knowledge concerning the illness suffered by Jedi Master Luke Skywalker's wife—an illness in fact engendered by Yuuzhan Vong executor Nom Anor—and thus infiltrate the Jedi before wiping them out by means of a lethal virus, bo'tous, which incubated in her lungs. Raff, on the other hand, believed not only that the plan would come at an inordinate cost in terms of resources and time, but also that Elan's success was by no means guaranteed, as Jade Skywalker's continued survival was testimony to the strength of the Jedi. The tactician eventually deferred to Harrar and the scheme's other architect, Nom Anor, but his misgivings remained.
Elan faked her defection during a brief skirmish with the New Republic in the Meridian sector. As Raff predicted, this success came at a price; Harrar had demanded that the ship which Elan "escaped" from be destroyed to confer realism upon the Yuuzhan Vong defeat. Commander Tla was furious at the loss, and Raff became highly dubious of the plot in general, chiding Harrar for the priest's belief that Elan was already trusted by the New Republic. There was a victory of sorts, however, as Elan led the Yuuzhan Vong to the hidden New Republic world of Wayland, where a second staged conflict was enacted; an assassin from Domain Shai attempted to kill Elan. Thus Elan's credibility rose, and when she provided information to New Republic Intelligence that Ord Mantell was the next target of Tla's forces, she was believed. Thus Raff accompanied the fleet to Ord Mantell, where the fleet struck so as to provide Elan with an even greater degree of credibility. In service to Harrar's scheme, several ships were lost before Tla called for a retreat. Although retribution was exacted upon Ord Mantell and the New Republic forces present, it remained a defeat in Raff's eyes, albeit a calculated one. The arrival of another commander, the decorated Malik Carr, gave the plotters a chance to discuss the progress of the invasion. Raff concurred with Harrar that caution was vital, as the shipyards at conquered Sernpidal and Belkadan were overtaxed and an extension would cost the Yuuzhan Vong dearly. The tactician provided Carr with information on other viable targets, and Tla apprised the other commander of the plan to eliminate the Jedi, admitting that several minor victories had been granted to the defenders.
Failure and its aftermathEdit
To Tla's glee and Raff's vindication, Harrar's scheme soon came undone. A collaborative organization known as the Peace Brigade, ironically founded by Nom Anor himself, attempted to return Elan to the Yuuzhan Vong, believing her to be an actual defector. During the resulting battle on the outskirts of the Bilbringi system, Anor desperately tried to prevent a Peace Brigade shuttle from returning Elan, while at the same time deploying his forces as though he wished her to be recaptured, so as not to alert the New Republic to the bogus nature of the prized defector. As Harrar and Anor struggled to maintain control of the situation, Raff provided advice, and was ignored. Thus the ignorant Peace Brigade operatives managed to recover Elan in the face of Anor's constrained actions. In the complications which arose during the battle, Elan died, having failed to kill a single Jedi.
On Obroa-skai, Supreme Commander Nas Choka made contact with the architects of the defectio, and Harrar was forced to explain himself to Elan's father, High Priest Jakan. Raff remained silent as Harrar was reprimanded, but Tla could barely restrain himself from gloating over the priest's failure. However, when Choka summoned Tla and Raff forward to deliver their side of the report, he directed his address to the latter. The tactician criticized the scheme, citing the loss of support vessels and scores of coralskippers as overly costly. Raff proposed either cannibalizing the larger vessels to replenish the losses, or halting the invasion altogether until further resources could be obtained, claiming that there was an opportunity in Hutt Space to find such resources. Although Choka dismissed the idea of destroying larger vessels to replenish the fleet, he did dispatch Malik Carr into Hutt Space. To Raff's information that the New Republic were developing tactics to defeat Yuuzhan Vong biotechnology, Choka gave no regard. He punished Harrar and Commander Tla by recalling them to the Outer Rim; Nom Anor escaped this fate, as the executor fell under the charge of Drathul, a prefect of the intendant caste.
Coincidentally, Malik Carr joined Tla in disgrace several months later, after suffering a major defeat at Fondor. Commander Carr was recalled to Selvaris, a conquered backwater, where for the next two years he brooded unfavorably on his time with Raff, Harrar and Tla.
Personality and traitsEdit
Raff's intelligence and memory had been greatly enhanced, and as such the tactician often gave input and advice to others around him. His obvious temperament for analysis demonstrated itself in a streak of nervousness, and a tendency to voice his concerns, yet his cadaverous appearance and lisping tones often prompted those he addressed to ignore what he said, instead asking their own questions. Nevertheless, Raff was a cunning and shrewd member of his caste, and managed to remain at arm's length from Harrar's scheme. Testimony to his intellect, Raff foresaw the phony defection's failure long before the events at Bilbringi occurred. Thus, in an attempt to limit his punishment, Raff delivered his report to Nas Choka objectively, choosing not to focus on his own considerable involvement with the plot.
Behind the scenesEdit
Out of the three novels James Luceno wrote for The New Jedi Order series, Raff appears only in the first, and is mentioned in passing in the third, The New Jedi Order: The Unifying Force. His fate following the failure of Harrar's scheme is not specified; while Tla, his commander, is recalled to the Outer Rim, Raff's punishment is not mentioned by Choka, leaving it uncertain as to whether the tactician accompanied Tla, or remained on the front lines. That the Yuuzhan Vong usually tended to punish only individuals rather than their commands, the latter event is more likely. The picture used in the article's infobox was provided in Star Wars Gamer 8.
- The New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos I: Hero's Trial (First appearance)
- The New Jedi Order: The Unifying Force (Mentioned only)