NAME: Jorus Quentin Merrill, callsign Gypsy
FACTION: A faction helps a character get into the galactic scene and grow in strength. Feel free to join any that suit the character.
RANK: General in the Underground, Judge of the Outer Rim Coalition, former General in the pre-Lasedri Rebel Alliance, former Captain in the Levantine Frontier Corps, former Captain in the Omega Defense Force, former Master of First Knowledge, co-founder and former co-CEO of Silk Holdings (T6). Holds the Corellian Bloodstripe, lower grade. Jedi Master.
SPECIES: Corellian Human
AGE: Not young, not old
SKIN: Olive-skinned white guy who spends too much time aboard ship and not enough in the sun.
FORCE SENSITIVE: Yes
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES (Required: 2 Weaknesses Minimum) :
(+) Jorus is an extremely experienced pilot and ship commander.
(+) Jorus is the most experienced hyperspace navigator and interstellar explorer in thousands of years. He is an apex-level instinctive astrogator, capable of manipulating hyperspace.
(-) Jorus is a Force-severed Jedi Master who used to specialize in instinctive astrogation and hyperspace manipulation. His new inability to trust his gut fully, or make brute-force hyperspace solutions, has been known to throw him off. (+/-) Jorus’ left hand is a prosthetic. It contains a hidden paralysis beam which ignores both shields and armour, but has no touch sensors, pain sensors, or contact friction pads. (-) Jorus is allergic to Zeltron pheromones: sneezing, hives, mild constriction in the throat.
(-) Jorus may be a senior Jedi Master, but he has practically zero Force abilities apart from instinctive astrogation.
(-) Jorus may be a senior Jedi Master, but he's a relatively inexperienced lightsabre duellist.
He’s the absolutely unremarkable spacer sitting in the corner of the dingy cantina. The guy’s seen better days, got scars around his eyes, with a hint of a tribal arm tattoo at the wrist. Maybe he takes his coat off or his shirt gets ripped, and you get the idea that the tattoo goes all the way up to his shoulder. If you’re the kind of person who can pick a veteran out of the crowd, you get the picture that maybe this guy has seen some crap. He seems to know people, or at least a couple of random Dressellians and a lonely Bereth-Aku gave him the high sign when he came in. When he stands up to get his drink, you see that his dingy old pants have a faded, broken yellow stripe down the side seams.
He’s got a gun, probably some kind of slugthrower that can take variable ammo. He’s got some muscle but he’s gone to seed a little; he’s got some heft to him. Built like a light tank, you could say. He’s one big smear of hyperdrive grease and other ship-related fluids: it’s in his hair, worked into the creases in his knuckles and the corners of his eyes. This guy lives and breathes hyperdrives. Pilot, mechanic, vet a bit down on his luck. Totally normal for this particular cantina, wherever you happen to be.
Now, look a little closer and you might see a thing or two that doesn’t quite line up. That might be a code cylinder in his pocket. He might have passed the barmaid a note and a hold-out blaster on his way in. Those Dressellians? They’re gone, and so’s the unusually clean-cut gentleman at the next table, the one on his way to a First Order world. Later tonight you’ll find that gentleman blank-eyed and shivering in the middle of the road, half-paralyzed. The paralysis wears off, but he doesn’t want to talk about it, any of it. Definitely not the Dressellians, or the barmaid, or the unremarkable spacer.
But you press your advantage, and the clean-cut First Order gentleman gives you a name: Merrill. And you realize the grimy fether who worked him over has a rap sheet and a resume as long as your arm. He’s been running guns and holocrons all over the ‘verse for fifteen years. Spent six or seven as Master of First Knowledge to a few different Jedi Orders at the same time, though you might not know about that unless you’ve got Jedi connections. They say he wrote the Code of the Outer Rim. Oh, and the Mara Corridor, the super-hyperlane you used last month? Him and his wife built that. Same goes for the HALCYON space trains that cross the whole galaxy. They’re slow fethers, but they’ll get you anywhere. There’s tall tales about the guy, too: hyperspace accidents that weren’t accidents, enemy ships that got ripped in half, Sith Lords nutted with a shotgun stock, fleets drowned in gas giants.
Couldn’t be the same guy, though. The one you saw just looked like a long-haul freighter pilot, nursing his lum before he starts the next leg of the trip. You probably imagined the hold-out blaster he gave the barmaid. In fact it’s better for everyone if you did.
Jorus Quentin Merrill was born in interstellar space to a family of Corellian spacers and, secretly, Wardens of the Sky. He was raised as a Warden, but though he could feel the Force in a limited way, he couldn’t learn the actual Force techniques of the Warden tradition -- or any techniques at all, for that matter.
His parents died when he was in his late teens, in a series of events involving the Jedi Master Je’gan Olra’en and the pirate king Ironwolf. Alone, he carved out a living as an independent freighter pilot from a young age. He served briefly with a number of minor insurgencies and planetary militias, including an early group calling itself the Rebel Alliance, but wanderlust drove him on. Still, he made strong connections in that early Alliance, including Sarge Potteiger, Thessa Kai, and @Delilah Castillon.
His Rebel career’s highlights included introducing a Nightsister Elder to concussion missiles and a Sith Lord to a shotgun. In those early years, he also encountered the Warden of the Sky called Chloe Blake, as well as the sociopathic Rebel @James Parker. He and Parker clashed often over treatment of prisoners and noncombatants, culminating in a fight where Parker permanently damaged his eyes with broken glass. Alongside Chloe, Jorus defeated Parker, but the maniac survived. Jorus’ eyes were replaced with prostheses.
Chloe was, by this point, one of Jorus’ closest friends and possibly more. Unwilling to take a risk, they did a sort of shy, quasi-platonic dance around each other for years, even when they shared a starship or crewed a starliner together. The most significant trial of their nascent relationship came when Jorus took a trip to Zeltros with some friends. In a series of shameful and chemically altered events involving Sarge, Thessa, allergies, pheromones, elixir of infatuation, a drunken prank, retribution, and at least two Zeltrons, Jorus lost his virginity, impregnated a local, and began to recognize how bad his alcoholism had become. Nine months later, his half-Zeltron daughter Mara was born. Her mother had carried her to term, but had no interest in taking care of her. Overnight, Jorus became a single parent. In a bitter irony, his only real sources of support were Chloe and Sarge; the latter became Mara’s godfather.
Clearly, his days of joining random insurrections had to be at an end. He began taking freight loads again, the kind of work he could do with baby Mara along for the ride. In short order, though, he found himself in debt to the Hutts.
He turned to Sarge for aid, and his old friend introduced him to a man named Ayden Cater. By this point, Jorus was a seasoned combat veteran and a bit of a wreck. He sobered up, passed Cater’s interview, and found himself employed by a fast-growing private military contracting firm called Omega Pyre.
Jorus’ combat record with the Pyre, later the Omega Protectorate, was second only to Sarge and a handful of others. He participated in numerous operations, from undead pacification on Denon to the rediscovery of Belsavis to the eradication of the Bando Gora Reavers. Over those years, he was promoted both normally and through battlefield commission, and decorated repeatedly. He also honed his limited Force skills in the one area where he could be considered competent: instinctive astrogation. Like many instinctive astrogators throughout history, Jorus had never considered himself functionally Force-sensitive. Still, as he sought out a variety of teachers, his astrogation instincts improved significantly.
His first inkling that he might be capable of more took place during the closing engagements of the Bando Gora war. As Bando Gora overran an ODF vessel, Jorus and an OP archaeologist found themselves stranded in an escape pod, in hyperspace. The archaeologist (secretly a disguised Cira, a leader of Omega) encouraged him to optimism, but only provoked frustration. Facing a long and inevitable death, Jorus snapped at her, slammed his fist into the viewport-
And the escape pod dropped out of hyperspace.
Once Jorus learned that his affinity for FTL travel had translated to an ability to alter hyperspace, his studies changed significantly. He sought out and learned from two Duinuogwuin, even visiting the Graveyard of Dragons, and was acknowledged as a Master. Still unable to use the Force for anything else, he had no real peers or sources of information other than experimentation, but he was more than willing to experiment, even at risk of his life. This quest was one of the factors that eventually drew him away from the ODF, though he would remain a reservist for many years after his retirement from active duty.
Spending more time with Chloe and his young daughter, Jorus traveled with the Vagrant Fleet. It was with the Vagrants that he made some of the most formative connections of his life: Judah Dashiell, Miktik, Spencer Varanin, and especially a salvager and shipwright named Alna D’Lessio.
Immediately, Jorus and Alna bonded as kindred spirits and friends. They performed numerous salvage operations across the Outer Rim, and became business partners. When Jorus hit on the idea of using his astrogation skills to forge a new hyperlane, something that hadn’t been done for millennia, Alna supported him enthusiastically and contributed equally. More than a decade older than him, she grounded him in a way that PMC culture and tramp freighter work and insurgencies never had. Though he remained friends with Chloe -- and faithful to her, keeping all other relationships as platonic as that one -- he and Alna grew close. Then one day, after much risking of lives, Alna closed the gap between them, irrevocably.
Alna and Jorus remained as business partners for quite some time, building their hyperlane together and raising Mara. Around the time they completed the Mara Corridor, they were married on an unknown, secret pre-technological world that Alna had discovered some years before. Alna, now Alna Merrill, worked with Jorus to turn their hyperlane, with all its disparate stations and shadowports, into a united entity. They incorporated as Silk Holdings, which -- almost overnight -- became one of the galaxy’s very largest and most lucrative entities.
After several years, however, the Silk project had snowballed. Mass transit, truck stops, kolto, bacta, shipbuilding, systematized exploration -- Silk Holdings was a monster. And Jorus and Alna realized that being infinitely wealthy and ridiculously powerful was a huge time sink with consequences for their quality of life.
They walked away. Without compensation, they passed the bulk of their stock to Aldiel D’Lessio and Selka Ventus (at the time, cover identities for the master illusionists Aleidis Ijet and Je’gan Olra’en). They set aside a good chunk of stock for Mara, in trust, and didn’t bother telling her about it. Now comfortably poor again, they returned to a life of salvaging and exploration, with copious amounts of time at their home on Q-27, the pre-technological world where they’d married. The Sith were on the rise, and Jorus turned some of his attention to another incarnation of the Rebel Alliance, this one led by his old friend Delilah Castillon. Putting his astrogation and piloting skills to work, Jorus ran guns, made contacts in shadowports, and led occasional raids against the Lords of the Fringe during the height of the Fringe/Omega Neutral Zone conflict. Other raids were directed at the early stages of the One Sith. For example, Jorus rescued the Great Holocron and Tionne Solusar’s holocron from occupied Coruscant. The Rebel Alliance transitioned into the Underground; the former name would eventually be adopted by an unrelated organization, unaffiliated with Jorus.
In the course of further exploration, Jorus found a role with the Levantine Sanctum, a nascent collection of remote worlds. He taught at the Levantine Astronautical Academy, led mapping expeditions, and trained Mara in instinctive astrogation. He rediscovered numerous planets, including the moons of Kyrikal, Verkuyl, Hagron’s World, Charal, Asahi, Kelsier, Tash-Taral, and Echoy’la.
It was during this time that Jorus returned to the ODF for two specific instances, at Ayden Cater’s request. One was the defense of Naboo against the Abrion Authority/CIS/Techno Union; the other was the invasion of Druckenwell. Both events were Pyrrhic victories that saw massive civilian casualties, albeit in vastly different orders of magnitude. At Naboo, Jorus presided over the defense of Theed; at Druckenwell, he commanded the largest starship in the galaxy, later dubbed the Spirit of Druckenwell. These events were formative to him. The One Sith were growing in strength, the Underground was perennially underarmed, and Jorus had been splitting his time between multiple priorities for years. In search of balance, growth, and allies, he was persuaded upon to join the Jedi Order.
Before this point, Jorus had been a Master of the Force and a relatively staunch Lightsider for many years, despite torture at the hands of the Lords of the Fringe. When Grandmaster Kiskla Grayson and some of his Levantine contacts convinced him to become a Jedi, not much really had to change. He was named Master of First Knowledge, a role he would hold for six or seven years, and was responsible for holocron security and the creation of boltholes during the Jedi Orders’ long retreat. He remained unable to use the Force for anything but his specialty, and it took many years before he became even mildly conversant in lightsabre combat, due to the eventual tutelage of Quorl, Sor-Jan Xantha, and Alkor Centaris.
During his time with the Jedi Orders, Jorus attempted to fill the role of Master of First Knowledge for the splintered Jedi factions. He secured many holocrons and created vaults and points of refuge throughout the Rim. Due to his and Grayson’s shared desire for unity, he initiated the first Jedi Convocation in many years, the first since Teferi Efreet and Ben Watts restored the modern Jedi Order. The Convocation took place in Omega Protectorate space, and brought together representatives of many Jedi and quasi-Jedi groups. Later Convocations would never match it for size or productivity.
After Grayson’s capture by the One Sith compromised her security access, Jorus and an old Levantine colleague, the Sith-poisoned Seydon of Arda, worked tirelessly to save the Order’s holocrons yet again. Through the Jedi Order Library Card network, Jedi of many factions had access to them; it was Jorus’ work and security measures that maintained the network.
He quarrelled, however, with Grayson’s successor, Corvus Raaf. Rather than work toward unity, Raaf focused on defining the Republic’s Jedi as the one true Jedi Order, and often did serious damage to the unification project by alienating other Jedi groups. She also instituted surveillance on other Jedi factions’ use of the Library Card network. In protest, Jorus removed the most significant holocrons from the network and turned them over to Jacen Voidstalker, along with a political mess. Jorus retired after nearly seven years as Master of First Knowledge.
They had been hard years. His Levantine work had suffered, and Sith pursuit of his access had kept him a near fugitive for the better part of a decade. The cost to his family relationships had been high. His sister had died, his daughter had grown up, his wife had retired, and in comparison, Jorus couldn’t look back on his Jedi service with any real satisfaction. Pulled in too many directions by his own wanderlust and variegated commitments, he’d sacrificed too much for any number of causes. Bitterly, he thought back to one of the precepts he’d written when solidifying the Code of the Outer Rim: ‘never sacrifice your sense of proportion for a cause or a grudge.’
The Levantine Sanctum, in no small part due to his absence, had folded into the Silver Jedi demesne after years of success. The Omega Protectorate was gone. The Jedi had fractured, despite his best efforts, again and again in a series of increasingly shrill and pointless schisms. All he had left was his family and the Underground’s long, ongoing war against the One Sith. But others had taken up that cause, including his longtime copilot General Beyyr and other skilled leaders. And Jorus, after a pitched battle against @Darth Vornskr took his left hand and his cyborg eyes, was in need of recuperation. Tired, Jorus returned to Q-27, intending to retire permanently.
For the first time ever, Jorus and his attention existed in just one place. He, Alna, and Mara remained there for a good while as Mara healed from combat injury and post-traumatic stress. He bolstered and tinkered with the orbital early-warning gear that kept him abreast of any traffic near the peaceful, pre-technological world. He had gone to great lengths to keep Q-27 secret and safe, including throwing a Moross God’s ship into hyperspace sideways and making all manner of backroom deals. The planet’s utter lack of conflict or offworld contact dovetailed horribly with its unsurpassed fortune in aurodium ore. Interstellar contact would be disastrous for Q-27 and Jorus’ family.
So when a Sith cult moved in next door, Jorus was understandably alarmed.
The Order of the Black Rose, a One Sith spinoff, had set up shop in the nearby Kathol Outback. Without revealing the existence or nature of Q-27, Jorus left home yet again and rallied the Underground for an extensive campaign. The Black Rose had collapsed by the time the Underground liberated Demonsgate from its remnants. Other remnants, as well as more serious local threats like the Qektoth Confederation, represented an ongoing threat to both Q-27 and, potentially, the galaxy. Restive, and still needing to secure the area, Jorus committed to the security of the Kathol Outback and its member governments.
It turned out, however, that the Outback and the Kathol Rift contained more serious threats than foreseen. After responding to an alien assault on a Kathol Republic colony, Jorus was struck by an unknown influence or weapon, and was severed from the Force.
To his surprise, he found himself adjusting well, even grateful for the chance to spend more time with his family. He felt the lack of his talents keenly, however, when he, Mara, and a few hundred of their closest friends crash-landed on Castameer at the height of the Omega crisis. Mara prevailed on him to meet with her Master, Aleidis Ijet Zrgaat, a hermit on the Wild Space world of Dayark.
In company with his wife, Jorus voyaged to Dayark and met with Aleidis, once the Barsen'thor of the Jedi Order. Though she was unable to heal his Force-severing, Aleidis proposed an alternate solution, one that shocked Jorus to the core. A master spiritualist, she could place both him and Alna in clone bodies, without the use of the Dark Side.
Long years and long careers had left him with numerous prosthetics and scars. Even so, left to his own devices, and choosing only for himself, he would never have taken the offer, no matter how much Mara trusted Aleidis' judgment. But the offer wasn't just for him, and Alna -- over a decade his senior -- was far less offput by the Jedi taboo against the technique Aleidis proposed. After weeks of deliberation, Jorus and Alna were transferred to young, cloned bodies. Jorus found his connection to the Force restored.
So far as the universe was concerned, Jorus had vanished into Wild Space alone for a few weeks, and returned considerably younger.