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Uvak
Uvak
Biological classification
Designation

Non-sentient[1]

Physical characteristics



Skin color

Purple, Orange[2]

Eye color

Emerald[1]

Distinctions

Large, winged reptiles, sharp beaks[1]

Sociocultural characteristics
Homeworld

Kesh[1]

Members
"Such beautiful creatures."
Kaliska[src]

Uvak were a large, membranous-winged reptavian species with sharp beaks. They were native to the planet of Kesh, where they were used by both the indigenous Keshiri and the Human Lost Tribe of Sith for transportation. Uvak were known to become attached to their riders and could be temperamental when separated from him or her. On Kesh, in the time before the Omen crash landed, uvak riders, called Neshtovar, were highly respected members of Keshiri society and were thought to descend directly from the Skyborn.

Adari Vaal had inherited an uvak named Nink from her Neshtovar husband after he died. This same uvak is the one she used to escape the Keshiri mob and later during the Keshiri revolt against the Sith on Kesh around 4975 BBY. Later, Vaal also rode Nink across the sea to Keshtah Major. Following the Second Galactic Civil War, the Sith Vestara Khai owned an uvak named Tikk, which she obtained in a competition at the age of ten years old.

Biology and appearanceEdit

Uvak stables

Uvak of various ages at the uvak stables

Uvak were large quadruped reptavians with large leathery wings, sharp beaks, and large tails. Like most predators, they had one set of emerald eyes at the front of their heads.[1] A single uvak was larger than a full-grown Keshiri or Human being. Uvak also had four digits on their paws which ended in sharp claws. As a reptilian species, uvak were covered entirely in scales and were hatched from eggs.[2][3] Due to their strength and stamina, uvak were used as steeds and beasts of transportation in Keshiri society.[1][4]

Each uvak was capable of carrying a maximum of two Human-sized individuals.[5] The uvak were also capable of flying for long distances across landmasses and oceans by tapping into a jetstream current in Kesh's upper atmosphere. However, long-distance travel between Keshtah Minor and the other continents Alanciar and Eshkrene was considered by many Keshiri and Sith alike to be very dangerous if not impossible.[6][2] While uvak were known to live on Keshtah Minor and Alanciar, they did not live on the polar continent of Eshkrene in the planet's South Pole due to its harsh and frozen environment.[7][2]

Behavior and intelligenceEdit

Uvak were known to be temperamental and often developed a strong bond to their riders. Often, the deaths of their riders led many uvak to become insane. Thus, it was necessary to keep them stabled with the relatives of the deceased one in order to keep them sane. Wild uvak which lacked riders had a reputation for being slothful and hostile towards other living beings. Uvak were also known for their intelligence and were capable of developing personalities. One uvak known as Nink was known to have dumped its rider, Zhari Vaal, into the sea after enduring prolonged maltreatment from the latter. Nink subsequently developed a warm and close relationship with Vaal's widow, Adari Vaal.[1] Within Keshiri society, uvaks were regarded as a status symbol by any faction known to have ruled Kesh: the Neshtovar and later the Lost Tribe of Sith.[6]

Force-sensitive individuals were also known to be able to communicating with their uvaks. During Dreypa's rebellion in 2975 BBY, the leader of the Doomed, Kaliska, was able to use the Force power animal friendship to convince a herd of uvaks to travel from the port town of Eorm to Eshkrene, in the south pole.[2] By 37 ABY, prospective Lost Tribe riders had begun using the dark side of the Force to force their will on infant uvaks while they were still residing in their eggs. Their goal was to cause the uvak to "imprint" itself upon the Force-user, thus allowing the latter to claim the uvak for their own. The Sith Vestara Khai developed a close bond with uvak Tikk through this experience.[3] After the two had become separated in 44 ABY, Tikk was so driven to grief that Vestara's father Gavar Khai was forced to euthanize the uvak to put him out of his misery.[8]

HistoryEdit

Duel near Omen

Adari and Nink

The NeshtovarEdit

Uvak originated and evolved on Kesh, a remote planet situated in Wild Space. At an unknown stage, the Keshiri, a purple-skinned humanoid species who were indigenous to Kesh, tamed and domesticated the uvaks. The uvak subsequently became beasts of steed and burden in Keshiri society. By 5000 BBY, uvak had become a status symbol in Keshiri society and only members of the Neshtovar, an elite political and religious aristocracy, were allowed to ride them. Uvak had an important role in Neshtovari religion. According to Nesthovari cosmology, a group of gods known as the Skyborn had ridden gigantic crystal uvak during the "Great Battle" against the Otherside, malevolent entities associated with death, sickness, fire and rebellion.[1]

The Neshtovar regarded themselves as the "Sons of the Skyborn" who had brought the knowledge of the Great Battle and Keshiri's creation to oceanside mountains of the continent Keshtah. The Nesthovar used uvak steeds to unite the entire continent under their rule.[6] Many Neshtovari came to develop a deep bond with their uvak steeds which usually lasted a lifetime. One Neshtovari Zhari Vaal was known to have mistreated his uvak steed Nink. In retaliation, the uvak dumped its rider into the sea where Vaal drowned and died. His widow Adari Vaal, a geologist, subsequently inherited Nink and developed a close and amicable bond with the uvak.[1]

The Lost TribeEdit

In 5000 BBY, Adari Vaal's scientific research on tectonic plates challenged the teachings of the Neshtovar that Kesh's frequent volcanic eruptions were caused by Skyborn. As a result of repeated harassment by the Neshtovar, Vaal and her uvak fled into the Takara Mountains. While flying over these mountains on Nink, Vaal discovered the stranded Sith Empire ship Omen. She and Nink also saw a man, later revealed to be Yaru Korsin, pushing his estranged brother Devore Korsin over the cliff into the Southern Ocean. During this incident, Vaal lost balance and fell from Nink but still managed to hand on the uvak's foot until it landed on a seaside perch.[1]

Later, Vaal discovered the offworlders' mountain encampment and met Yaru Korsin. She learnt that the offworlders were a group of predominantly Human Sith who had become stranded on Kesh after the Omen had been attacked by a Jedi starfighter while delivering Lignan ore to Sith Empire forces during the Great Hyperspace War. There were also 55 Red Sith and a contingent of Massassi warriors but these either succumbed to the effects of Kesh's alien atmosphere or were later killed during the Red Sith Purge in 4985 BBY. Korsin convinced Vaal to help them escape their dire predicament. She agreed and led the Neshtovar to the Siths' mountain encampment. The Sith posed as the Keshiri gods known as the "Skyborn" and gained the complete allegiance of the Keshiri masses on the continent of Keshtah Minor.[1]

The Sith subsequently moved into the Neshtovar's homes in the capital Tahv. With the decline of the Neshtovar's power and influence, Vaal became an honored member of the new Sith government.[1] Shortly after their arrival, the Sith took the strongest uvaks for themselves. A group of Sith riding enthusiasts also formed an uvak-riding club known as the Skyborn Rangers, which later developed into the Tribe's air force. However, the Keshiri were still allowed to keep most of the uvak population as domesticated beasts of burden.[6] By 4985 BBY, uvak were also used to ferry water throughout Keshiri settlements and operated the pulley system that fed Tahv's aqueduct.[4]

Skyborn Rangers in action

Uvak were used as aerial attack platforms

Sith SubjugationEdit

Uvak also played an important role in facilitating Sith efforts to administrate the continent of Keshtah. Uvak were used to ferry Sith circuit riders to outlying settlements, who would consult with local bureaucracies which were staffed by former members of the Neshtovar. Neshtovar were also allowed to fly uvak for work travel and visits to the Sith's mountain retreat. Following the lakes poisoning incident in 4985 BBY, the Sith barred all Keshiri from riding uvak in order to control the circulation of information on Keshtah. Many of the former Neshtovari became little more than stable hands and policemen. The sole exception to this rule was Vaal, who was allowed to keep Nink so that she could continue to visit Korsin.[6]

Eventually, many Keshiri including Vaal and several disaffected Neshtovari came to oppose the Sith's rule over Kesh and formed an underground resistance movement. Their goal was to undermine Sith rule, force them offworld, and free the Keshiri species. By 4975 BBY, Vaal attempted to organize a strike against the Sith by stealing their uvaks. The Keshiri resistance managed to assemble an army of over a thousand Keshiri and five thousand uvak. By then, Vaal's uvak Nink was the oldest uvak at the age of forty and was regarded by the other uvaks as their natural leader. However, the Keshiri resistance's plans were foiled after Vaal's son Tona Vaal betrayed them and revealed the existence of the plot to Nida Korsin, the daughter of Grand Lord Korsin.[6]

As a result, many members of the Keshiri resistance were forced to flee into exile, while the rest were killed. Vaal along with a thousand Keshiri riders and their uvak fled across the ocean by tapping into a jetstream current. Due to the turbulent wind conditions, only three hundred riders and their uvak survived the journey.[6] They became stranded on an island but were rescued by Alanciari sailors. These Keshiri came from the continent of Alanciar, which was also home to another Keshiri civilization. Vaal and her fellow allies succeeded in warning the Alanciari Keshiri about the threat of the Sith on Keshtah. In response, the Alanciari Keshiri strengthened their military defenses and prepared for any Sith military invasion.[7]

Meanwhile, the Sith consolidated their rule over Keshtah. By 3960 BBY, several uvak were raised for rake-riding, a blood sports which pitted flightless Keshiri against human wranglers. These uvak were deliberately made flightless at infancy by having their wing muscles clipped upon hatching. Grass prongs were then screwed into their tough-winged edges. From young, these uvak were trained by their handlers to fight and kill in order to satisfy the bloodlust of the Lost Tribe. During one such rake-riding event, an unsuccessful assassination attempt was made by the uvak wrangler Campion Dey on Grand Lord Lillia Venn. However, this attack failed and Dey himself along with his uvak were killed.[9]

As a result, Dey's sponsors—the High Lord Candra Kitai and her daughter Orielle Kitai—were blamed for this assassination attempt and were reduced to the status of slaves. As punishment, Candra was forced to work as a slave shoveling manure at the Zoo, a facility where uvaks and other wild beasts were kept. Meanwhile, Orielle and her uvak fled Shyn to the farm of Jelph Marrian, a stranded human Jedi who had ended up on Kesh during the Jedi Civil War. Later, members of the Lost Tribe caught up with Orielle and killed her uvak and confiscated her lightsaber on the pretext that her family had conspired with the High Lords of the Gold and Red factions to assassinate Grand Lord Venn.[9]

This set the stage for a chain of events where Orielle attempted to regain their privileged status by revealing the existence of Marrian's Aurek-class tactical strikefighter to the Tribe. Ultimately, Grand Lord Venn and several of her followers were killed during an attempt to seize Marrian's starfighter. This event would later be remembered as the Night of the Upside-Down Meteor and ushered in a vicious power struggle which lasted almost a millennium and devastated much of Keshtah. Orielle and Marrian survived the Night of the Upside-Down Meteor and would live the remainder of their lives in secrecy in the jungle highlands of Keshtah's interior.[10]

The Hilts EraEdit

Takara helping Iliana

Uvaks were used as beasts of burden

In 3000 BBY, the reformist Grand Lord Varner Hilts managed to restore order and stability to Keshtah Minor, ending the centuries-long civil conflict. After rebuilding Sith society on Keshtah, he embarked on a program to explore and survey the unexplored seas and lands that lay beyond Keshtah. Following a visit to the ancient Sith ship Omen which was housed in the Kesh Sith Temple, Hilts learnt about the existence of a second continent known as Alanciar which was separated from Keshtah by a vast ocean. By 2975 BBY, one of Hilt's associates, fellow Sith Lord Edell Vrai, had developed a fleet of airships for long-distance travel which relied on uvak to provide the vessel with enough propulsion to control its direction. These uvaks were harnessed to the airship through metal harnesses and there was sufficient room on board the airships for the beasts to rest, eat, and sleep when their services were not needed. Despite the dangerous nature of these airships, the Sith were unable to develop sailing ships since Keshtah's hejarbo trees were unsuitable for building ships.[7]

Uvak-powered airships were used during the Sith invasion of Alanciar. Vrai led a small expedition of three airships to explore Alanciar. However, they were attacked by Alanciari ballistae and an "air force" consisting of uvak riders who were stationed at Garrow's Neck. During this skirmish, the uvak "Starboard", who had been attached to the airship Candra, crashed on the Alanciari man Jogan Halder, wounding him. He and his lover Quarra Thayn, an officer in the Alanciari military, were subsequently taken captive by the Sith and later cooperated with them in return for Vrai sparing the life of her lover. Later, the High Lord Korsin Bentado led a large invasion force of airships known as the Ebon Fleet to invade Alanciar. This breached an earlier agreement which he had made with Vrai to only attack after the latter had returned from his reconnaissance mission. These airships and their uvak were wiped out by Alanciari artillery defenses as well.[7]

Despite these losses, Bentado's forces were able to regroup and infiltrated the Alanciari capital of Sus'mintri where the killed the War Cabinet, Alanciar's military leadership. Bentado then attempted to rebel against Grand Lord Hilts and create a "Second Tribe" on Alanciar. However, he was thwarted by the combined efforts of Vrai, Quarra, and his own Keshiri assistant Squab, who personally killed Bentado. Ultimately, the Lost Tribe were able to take control of Alanciar peacefully after they coerced Halder into convincing the Alanciari Keshiri that the Sith were not a threat to them. Halder claimed that Bentado and his followers were "servants" of the malevolent Destructors and that Hilt's supporters were actually the Protectors. As a result, the Lost Tribe were able to gain control of Alanciar by winning the support of its people.[7]

Following the "conquest" of Alanciar, the Lost Tribe phased out its fleet of airships in favor of wooden ships. The Alanciari had been able to build large numbers of wooden sailing ships because Alanciar was home to large forests of trees with lumber strong enough to withstand the turbulent oceans. However, uvak were still used for transporting goods and people and relaying communications on both Keshtah and Alanciar.[7][11] During Dreypa's rebellion, the Sith princess Takara Hilts, daughter of Lord Varner Hilts, and the Doomed leader Kaliska stole an entire herd of uvak from the port town of Eorm. They used the Force to convince the uvaks to fly to the southern continent of Eshkrene, which was home to the Doomed, the descendants of stranded Jedi and Dark Jedi from the Hundred-Year Darkness. These Force-users had made peace with each and had dedicated themselves to protecting the Keshiri from external threats.[2]

During Dreypa's rebellion, uvak flown by the Sith's Skyborn Rangers played an important role in turning the tide of the Battle of the Marisota Floodplain against Baron Remulus Dreypa's rebels. Dreypa was an ancient Sith veteran of the Hundred-Year Darkness who had been imprisoned for four thousand years within an oubliette by the ancestors of the Doomed. He had been one of the most powerful Dark Jedi leaders and desired to return to the wider galaxy in order to seek vengeance against the Jedi and the Galactic Republic. Dreypa and his forces retreated to the volcano known as Sessal Spire where he unleashed Leviathans, ancient reptilian Sithspawn capable of draining the souls of other lifeforms, on both his pursuers and former allies.[2] These Leviathans devoured everything that moved including several uvaks. The Doomed and their uvak steeds later arrived but proved no match for Dreypa's dark side powers and his Leviathan monsters.[5]

Following the Battle of Sessal Spire, the Sith outcast Parlan Spinner, who had previously allied himself with Dreypa, changed sides and joined forces with his former enemies Takara and Kaliska in defeating Dreypa. Spinner used an uvak to ferry Takara's weakened mother Grand Consort Iliana Hilts back to the Sith capital Tahv.[5] Following the death and defeat of Dreypa, an uvak and its rider were seen flying above Tahv during the reconstruction of the city.[12] An important legacy of the Takara's contact with the Doomed was that the Lost Tribe learned the Force power known as animal friendship. Thus, the Sith on Kesh were able for the first time to use the Force to influence their uvak steeds. This brought relations between the uvaks and their Sith masters to a new level.[2]

Legacy eraEdit

By 37 ABY, relations between uvak and their Sith masters had progressed to a new level. By then, prospective Lost Tribe riders had begun using the dark side of the Force to force their will on infant uvaks while they were still residing in their eggs. Their goal was to cause the uvak to "imprint" itself upon the Force-user, thus allowing the latter to claim the uvak for themselves. The Sith apprentice Vestara Khai developed a close bond with her uvak Tikk through this experience.[3] After the two were separated in 44 ABY, Tikk was so driven to grief that Vestara's father Gavar Khai was forced to euthanize the uvak to put him out of his misery.[8]

Behind the scenesEdit

The Uvak were first introduced into the Expanded Universe by Christie Golden and first appeared in her novel Fate of the Jedi: Omen, the first book in the Fate of the Jedi series which was released on June 29, 2013.[13] Their relations with their Sith masters were further explored in her novella Imprint which was released in July 2009. Uvak later appeared in Golden's third Star Wars novel Fate of the Jedi: Ascension. Their anatomy, physiology, behavior, and history was further developed by John Jackson Miller, who authored the Lost Tribe of the Sith novella series which ran from 2009 to 2012.

Uvak also appeared in Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith: Spiral, a comic spinoff of Miller's novellas which ran from August 8 to December 12, 2012. They were drawn by Andrea Mutti, inked by Pierluigi Baldassini, and colored by Michael Atiyeh. In addition, they were also illustrated by the cover artist Paul Renaud. According to Miller, the comics were faithful to the original description of the uvaks in Omen but were more svelte than he had imagined. He also commented that the first uvak he had written about, Nink, was a rather fat member of his species.[14] Pablo Hidalgo's The Essential Reader's Companion, which was released on October 2, 2012, also included a painting depicting the Keshiri character Adari Vaal and her uvak steed. This painting was illustrated by Darren Tan.

AppearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

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