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Tepha Leonis

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"Honestly, Leo. Let's not blame the entire Outer Rim for the actions of one man."
―Tepha, trying to moderate her husband's remarks[src]

Tepha Leonis was a female human who lived on the planet Lothal 13 years after the end of the Clone Wars. Tepha, married to Leo Leonis, was the mother of Dhara and Zare Leonis, both of whom enrolled in the Academy for Young Imperials. While both Tepha and Leo were for the Galactic Empire, Tepha was not such an ardent supporter of the Empire as her husband. Leo clung strongly to the belief that his daughter had simply gone missing from the Academy for Young Imperials, but Tepha did not accept this explanation. As such, only she learned the truth that Zare was entering the Academy to try to learn the truth about his sister's fate.[1] As things progressed, she was kept abreast of what both Zare and his girlfriend, Merei Spanjaf, learned regarding the truth of Dhara's disappearance.[2][3]

BiographyEdit

Chrona crops engineeringEdit

"Tepha and I remember when our inventions were stuck in Republic courts, and when the Trade Federation let our genetically modified crops rot in warehouses to protect their profit margins. The Empire changed all that—now our work is improving the lives of Imperial citizens, and the Trade Federation is just a bad dream."
―Leo describing he and his wife's experience with the Trade Federation[src]

During the last decades of the Galactic Republic, Tepha Leonis and her husband Leo worked for the Trade Federation to create genetically modified crops to help feed the people of Chrona. Since the crops were not ready for mass production, the Trade Federation disallowed their use to protect their profit margins. A case was filed in the Republic courts to allowed the Federation to withhold release until production was ready. Both Tepha and Leo both presented testimony to the Republic judiciary and the court ruled in the Trade Federation's favor. One year after their development the crops were released to the people of Chrona.[1]

Years later, the Galactic Empire rewrote that history to justify the presence of a strong central authority in galactic affairs. In their new narrative, they claimed that the Trade Federation had engineered a famine by suppressing harvests of genetically modified crops to make the population sick and dependent on the Federation's medical supplies. The Empire then alleviated the plight of the people of Chrona by nationalizing agriculture and reintroducing the modified crops. The Empire's version of history was later contested by Leo and Tepha's son Zare, who pointed out the factual inaccuracies in the Imperial account.[1]

Moving to LothalEdit

"Don't talk about war, either of you. I want you nice and safe, Dhara, and far from any kind of battlefield. And that goes for you, too, Zare."
―Tepha expressing her misgivings about sending her children to the frontline[src]

Following the rise of the Galactic Empire, Tepha and Leo found work as agricultural scientists with the Imperial Ministry of Agriculture. Their work led them to move between several different planets including Hosk Station, Moorja, and Viamarr. During that time, Tepha and Leo raised a family of two children: a daughter named Dhara and a son named Zare. To help raise their children, Tepha and Leo employed the services of an ancient nanny droid named Auntie Nags, who had belonged to the Leonis family for countless generations.[1]

About fourteen years after the rise of the Empire, the Leonis family settled on Lothal, a backwater Outer Rim world that was the target of an Imperial developmental project. Tepha's fifteen year old daughter, Dhara, enrolled at the Academy for Young Imperials in Lothal's Capital City. Following her successful admission, the family hosted a farewell dinner that was attended by several distinguished local Imperial dignitaries including Assistant Vice Minister Sarkos, Lieutenant Piers Roddance, and Governor Arihnda Pryce. During the dinner, Tepha complemented a patriotic speech by her husband but hinted to Pryce that he was capable of ranting for hours.[1]

Since her son Zare was one year too young to enroll at the Imperial Academy, he studied at the Junior Academy of Applied Sciences in Lothal's Capital City. While at school, Zare joined the school's grav-ball team, the AppSci SaberCats, and befriended a local human boy named Beck Ollet and another Core Worlds girl named Merei Spanjaf. Tepha and Auntie Nags regarded grav-ball as a dirty and dangerous sports but reluctantly consented to Zare's participation in lieu of his disappointment at being unable to attend the Academy with his sister.[1]

Ollet harbored substantial anti-Imperial feelings since the Empire had taken his family's orchard in the Westhills for mining extraction. This development distressed Zare and his friends. When Zare related this incident to his parents, Tepha followed up on their report. She surmised that the Ollet orchard had been mistakenly classified for mining extraction but failed to overturn the decision. By contrast, her pro-Imperial husband Leo argued that the loss of one orchard was a small sacrifice necessary to boost Lothal's economic growth. When Tepha expressed concerns about the Empire's emphasis on profits over people, her husband became defensive and even offered to lecture Beck on the benefits of Imperial rule.[1]

Between Faith and DoubtEdit

"I hope that law-enforcement action included a few good whacks with a rifle butt."
"Leo—there's no need for that. But how disappointing to discover such lawlessness here on Lothal."
―Leo and Tepha reacting to the Imperial suppression of a protest in the Westhills[src]

As the year dragged on, Tepha struggled to maintain her faith in the Galactic Empire. She rationalized that while the Empire's servants made mistakes, the Empire had overall good intentions for its subjects. Tepha's nominal loyalty to the New Order contrasted with her husband Leo's fervent devotion to the Empire. While both parents expressed delight that their daughter Dhara had been accepted into the Academy's officer training program, Tepha was concerned that their children would be sent to the battlefield in the future.[1]

Later, Tepha tried to mediate a discussion between her husband Leo and son Zare. Following a failed attempt by insurgents to destroy Imperial mining machinery in the Westhills, Zare had questioned Leo's view that the insurgents were malcontents bent on plunging the galaxy into disorder. He instead argued that the insurgents had legitimate grievances against the Empire; citing his friend Beck's family being pressured into selling their land to make way for an Imperial mining project. Stepping into the discussion Tepha contended that the Empire was capable of making mistakes but shared Leo's view that sabotage and civil disobedience would lead to violence and anarchy. Like Leo, Tepha still believed that the Empire was a force for good.[1]

On another occasion, Zare stood up to his bigoted school athletic director Janus Fhurek, who had demanded that he remove two Alien players, the Rodian Frid Kelio and the Aqualish Hench Sina from his grav-ball team. However, Zare stood his ground and related the incident to his parents. When Leo condemned Fhurek as a small-minded bigot and suggested that his actions were a symptom of the Outer Rim's backwardness, Tepha reminded her husband not to blame the entire region for the actions of one man. While she agreed that Fhurek was wrong, she urged her son to avoid conflict in order not to jeopardize his chances of getting into the Academy; citing Fhurek's connections to the Academy. In the end, Zare decided to stand up to Fhurek despite the odds stacked against him.[1]

Onespring evening, Tepha and Leo were watching a HoloNet news report by the holo-caster Alton Kastle describing a recent disturbance in the Westhills. According to Kastle, the insurgents had attached surveyors and destroyed mining equipment; forcing Imperial stormtroopers to open fire on them. When her husband advocated "whacking" the insurgents with a rifle butt, Tepha decried the need for such violence but lamented that Lothal had descended into a state of lawlessness. In reality, the Imperial authorities had opened fired on a crowd of peaceful protesters protesting the expropriation of their lands. Zare, who was an eyewitness, knew the truth but decided not to mention it to his parents since it would expose his and Beck's illegal visits to the Weshills.[1]

Losing a DaughterEdit

"She certainly wouldn't do it without letting us know."
―Tepha responding to her daughter Dhara's disappearance[src]

Later that year, Tepha's daughter Dhara took part in a training exercise in the Easthills. Dhara was incommunicado for more than a week which raised concerns since she regularly kept in touch with her family. After a week had elapsed, Tepha and her family were visited by Commandant Cumberlayne Aresko, the director of the Lothal Academy for Young Imperials. She and her entire family including Auntie Nags were greatly distraught to learn that Dhara had allegedly run away during her training exercise. Aresko's report seem at odds with Dhara who was known to be a loyal and patriotic Imperial citizen. Despite the Imperial authorities issuing an alert for Tepha, no sign of her was ever found on Lothal.[1]

For the next few weeks, Tepha and Leo spent much of their time contacting their friends at every Imperial ministry in Lothal and pleading for help to find their daughter. While sympathetic to the couple's plight, these officials were unable to help. While her husband Leo believed Aresko's report and blamed himself for not spotting any signs of Dhara's alleged distress, Tepha and Zare suspected that the Empire was witholding the full truth around her disappearance. In the end, Zare concocted a plot to infiltrate the Academy and learn the truth behind Dhara's disappearance. Tepha reluctantly consented to Zare's plot but warned that he could never tell their father.[1]

To maintain the farce that Zare was a loyal Imperial citizen, Tepha arranged another farewell dinner and invited several Imperial dignitaries including Governor Pryce, Lieutenant Roddance, and Commandant Aresko.[1] Following Zare's two week-orientation at the Academy, Tepha and Leo corresponded with their son via a datapad. Zare began crying upon seeing his mother's face but quickly regained his composure. While she was relieved to hear that her son's training was progressing well, they both knew that the Empire had covered up the truth behind Dhara's disappearance. When Zare mentioned Dhara during the conversation, Tepha buried her face in her hands in a sign of grief; prompting her husband Leo to comfort her.[2]

Zare at the AcademyEdit

"I'm worried, too, Mom."
"I lie awake thinking of Dhara in that terrible place on Arkanis and, and..."
―Zare and Tepha discussing Zare's plan to find Dhara on Arkanis[src]

During the fall season, her son Zare's girlfriend Merei Spanjaf paid a social visit to assure Tepha that she was continuing her efforts to find Dhara. When Tepha revealed that Commandant Aresko's assistant had told them that the Empire was monitoring every channel in case Dhara turned up, Merei replied that she had a feeling that this would change soon. Knowing that Merei was illegally accessing the Imperial systems, she warned her to be careful. Later, Merei discovered from hacking the Imperial network on Lothal that the official Imperial account of Dhara's disappearance was a fabrication. In reality, Dhara had been kidnapped by the Grand Inquisitor for a secret project called Project Harvester, which identified Force-sensitive individuals to train as Inquisitors. Project Harvester was run from a secret installation that was connected to the Imperial Academy on Arkanis.[2]

Merei shared this information with Tepha and Zare, who took care to conceal it from Leo since his pro-Imperial leanings had blinded him to accepting anything that question the official Imperial narrative. During the winter season, Tepha's son Zare visited and stayed with his family. Tepha was visibly uneasy when her husband Leo unquestioningly accepted an Imperial HoloNet report by Alton Kastle discussing the surge in rebel activities on Lothal. In response to her husband's pro-Imperial remarks, she told him not to "ruin" a good morning. Leo pretended not to listen and instead went on to praise Governor Pryce's policies. On the last day of the winter break, Tepha managed to talk with her son in private at a market place about his plan to rescue Dhara from Arkanis. She expressed her fear that she would lose both her son and daughter. Later, they witnessed stormtroopers arresting a Faust and Ugnaught in the market place. Upon returning home, Tepha learned from Leo that Governor Pryce had launched a planetwide crackdown against dissent and sedition.[4]

Later that year, Zare was transferred to the Arkanis Academy as a reward for exposing an attempt by a fellow Cadet named Nazhros Oleg to pervert the course of justice by shielding his uncles from arrest. Believing that the mid-year transfer was a good sign for his career development, Tepha and Leo bid their son farewell prior to his departure. However, Merei subsequently learned that the Imperials had transferred Zare to Arkanis in the hope of uncovering his connection to a rebel cell on Lothal. Durign a visit to the Leonis family home, Merei shared this information with Tepha under the pretext of taking a "ladies' walk." Tepha expressed her fears that she would never see her daughter and son again; prompting Merei to comfort her.[4]

After Merei promised to inform her about any new developments, the two parted company. Over the next few days, Tepha received a call from her son Zare Leonis at midnight. Leonis had managed to access a comm booth in Scaparus Port, a town near the Arkanis Academy. Before she could disclose what Merei had told her about the real reason behind Zare's transfer to the Arkanis Academy, her husband Leo appeared. For the next few minutes, she watch as Zare and Leo chatted about the weather and other news on Lothal. Before she bid her son farewell, she told Zare that he need to contact Merei urgently.[5]

Fleeing the EmpireEdit

"You're all gone crazy."
"Leo, if you want to wait for the Empire to manufacture some lie about how our son died, go ahead. But you'll be doing it alone."
―Leo and Tepha dealing with the revelation of Zare's arrest[src]

After Merei Spanjaf learned that Zare Leonis had been arrested by the Imperial authorities on Arkanis and scheduled for a military tribunal, she realized that the Empire would arrest Tepha and Leo next. Together with her mother Jessa, Merei traveled in a speeder to Capital City. Upon arriving, they told Tepha, Leo, and Auntie Nags that Zare had been arrested and that they needed to flee into hiding. Realizing the danger to their lives, Tepha told her husband that they needed to leave. By contrast, Leo was dismissive of Merei's account that the Empire had kidnapped his daughter Dhara for Project Harvester and that his son Zare had joined the Imperial Academy to find Dhara and to feed secret information to the Lothal insurgents.[5]

Before Leo could argue any further, Merei shot him with two stun bolts which knocked him unconscious. Before Auntie Nags could utter any protest, Tepha admitted that she wished she had stunned Leo months ago and instructed the nanny droid to help her evacuate Leon into the Spanjafs' speeder. While driving on the highway to their prearranged escape rendezvous point in the Westhills, Tepha and her companions were stopped by an Imperial roadblock consisting of two drivers and their speeder bikes. Before they could turn back, they were cornered by two more speeder bikes. Believing they were trapped, Tepha and her fellow passengers emerged from the vehicle to surrender.[5]

However, the Ithorian tavern keeper Old Jho arrived in his freighter and blasted the Imperial drivers. Tepha, Leo, Auntie Nags, and the Spanjafs then fled aboard the freighter which took them to the nearby planet of Garel. Tepha and her husband later stayed behind on Garel while Merei, Jessa, and three members of the rebel cell known as the Spectres traveled to Arkanis to rescue Zare and Dhara. Following the successful rescue mission, Tepha and Leo greeted both their children at the ramp of the rebel freighter known as the Ghost. While embracing their daughter, Dhara told them not to let go.[5]

Personality and traitsEdit

"I know what the numbers say, Leo. But sometimes it feels like those numbers have no room for growing things, or people."
―Tepha in a tense discussion with her husband[src]

Tepha Leonis was a loving husband and caring mother who wanted what was best for her family. While she was nominally loyal to the Galactic Empire, Tepha did not share the dogmatic views of her husband Leo, who was a staunch Imperial loyalist. She and her children, especially Zare, tolerated Leo's long-winded speeches and arguments extolling the Empire. While Leo welcomed the opportunity for their two children to serve the Empire in any way, Tepha was unwilling to entertain the idea of either Dhara or Zare being sent to fight on the front line.[1]

Tepha's loyalty to the Empire was shattered after she and Zare learned that the Empire had staged the disappearance of Dhara in order to hide the existence of Project Harvester, a secret Imperial project for identifying Force-sensitive cadets. She quietly supported Zare's efforts to infiltrate the Imperial Academy in order to rescue Dhara.[4] After learning of Zare's arrest and military trial, Tepha saw this as a sign that her suspicions about the Empire were true and abandoned the Empire.[5]

AppearancesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

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