Kendar crystals, also sometimes called Force-bending crystals, are a type of crystal capable of storing vast amounts of energy within its matrices, though releasing that energy can be extremely dangerous. They are used by the Enclave of the Pureblooded Sith Sorcerers to enhance or power everything from Sith warblades to shield generators and hyperdrives.
- 1 Description
- 2 Kendar pulse events
- 3 History
- 4 Behind the scenes
The kendar crystals of the Kendalar system naturally absorb incoming radiation and Force energy, giving them extreme potential as a sort of battery. They are able to do this because of a unique property: their matrices have aligned themselves to Kendalar Prime, causing them to resonate with radiation received from the star. The first High Sorcerer of the Enclave theorized that they could be used to channel Force energy through the crystals, magnifying it to be released at a later time. However, he discovered a major problem during his experiments: while he could channel Force energy into the crystals, he couldn't control when or how it came out. When it did come out, it fried all electronics in the area, and, in one instance, knocked him unconscious (see "Kendar pulse events" below for more.) Eventually, High Sorcerer Nawair Highmind tried using an alchemical method which is normally applied to Sith warblades on a kendar crystal. He found that, by re-aligning the matrices within the crystal, he could channel a limited amount of Force energy through the crystal for a brief time before the energy exploded outwards, causing his heart to skip a few beats and possibly taking a month or two off of his life. He started tweaking the ritual and trying again, and eventually he came up with two extremely important rituals: the Ritual of Imbuement and the Ritual of Initiate Attunement.
Ritual of Imbuement
The Ritual of Imbuement re-aligns the matrices within a kendar crystal so that Force energy can be easily stored in the crystal for a significant time period. It also establishes a baseline below which the crystal will not discharge a large amount of energy at once, to help guard against completely draining the crystal, and it imbues the crystal with the Force. Additionally, the Ritual sets a top level beyond which the kendar crystal's energy collection is significantly reduced, helping to guard against the dangers of kendar pulse events. The ritual is based on the natural process by which kendar crystals aligned their matrices to Kendalar Prime.
Ritual of Initiate Attunement
The Ritual of Initiate Attunement begins in the kendar crystal mine. There, a hopeful is supposed to meditate, letting their mind sink into the cold, hard stone of the mine. Before long, they should feel a light calling to them; if they follow it, they will discover one or more kendar crystals. Kendar crystals cannot be harvested using normal tools: even diamond-tipped drills slip, and laser drills simply increase the energy level within the crystals to dangerous levels. Any attempt to use a pickaxe is likely to end in injury or death. Thus, the only known way to harvest a kendar crystal is for a Force sensitive to begin this Ritual, using their mind to gently detach the crystal and call it to their hand. Then, they make an impression on the crystal with their mind before taking it back to the High Sorcerer for the Ritual of Imbuement. Once the Ritual of Imbuement is complete, the hopeful can mount the imbued kendar crystal in their warblade (or other item), and then attune the kendar crystal to the item and to themselves. It should be noted that the Ritual of Initiate Attunement does not fully attune a kendar crystal.
Ritual of Apprentice Attunement
The Ritual of Apprentice Attunement picks up where the Ritual of Initiate Attunement leaves off, and it takes a full day to complete. It increases the amount of energy which can be safely stored in a kendar crystal by approximately 50%, and it gives the user more control over the rate at which said energy discharges when used.
Ritual of Full Attunement
The Ritual of Full Attunement typically takes another week, starting with the end of the Ritual of Apprentice Attunement. It increases the maximum Force energy level of a kendar crystal by an additional 50%, gives the user greater control over the rate and the intensity of the discharge, and it permits the user to intentionally discharge the full power from the crystal (excluding the baseline) to create a kendar pulse. It should be noted that there have been exceptions to the rules on how long it takes to attune a kendar crystal, as there is a particular talent which crops up once or twice every several generations and which allows an individual to complete all three Attunement rituals at once, in the time it takes to complete the Ritual of Initiate Attunement. Those who have possessed this talent in the Enclave have, without exception, ended up performing a good bit of work in Sith alchemy, with many of them being taken on as apprentices by the High Sorcerer of their time.
Partial Attunement is a term used to describe a temporary re-alignment of the matrices within a kendar crystal to allow someone other than the owner to use the kendar crystal-powered item. It can be done extremely quickly. A Force user throwing their lightsaber to a friend is probably the easiest picture to draw, though the kendar crystal must have the image of that friend projected onto it with its owner's full intent for that friend to use it in order to be partially attuned. Partially attuned items generally remain usable by the intended non-owner for up to twenty-four hours after the partial attunement takes place.
A specialized form of partial attunement is used to attune Force-imbued hyperdrives to the navigators who use them, and to attune kendar shielding to a ship's engineers. Unlike the three Rituals of Attunement, partial attunement can be used to attune a kendar crystal to multiple people at once. However, the more people the kendar crystal is attuned to, the more likely a kendar pulse event becomes. Partial attunement of a Force-imbued hyperdrive by a Zuguruk-caste sorcerer can last for up to one standard week. If the partial attunement is performed by a Zuguruk Sorcerer, it can last for as many as six standard months without renewal. Skilled Force-sensitive navigators can renew the partial attunement daily once the initial partial attunement has expired, and they must do so to continue using the hyperdrive. Without the re-attunement, the ship would be forced to travel via the continually-shifting labyrinth of Kendalaran Hyperspace as it would not be able to bypass the Kendar Shadow to enter true hyperspace.
Kendar pulse events
A kendar pulse event is a massive discharge of Force energy and radiation across the entire electromagnetic spectrum which occurs after a kendar crystal reaches its full capacity. In areas where kendar crystal formations exist, the energy is shared across all crystals in the formation, causing the time between kendar pulse events to be longer, but also causing the severity and range of the kendar pulse to be significantly greater.
Effects of kendar pulse events on technology
A kendar pulse event can be a tiny, highly localized event which does little more than short out nearby electronics, or it can be on a planetary scale, destroying electronics across a large part of a star system and likely killing anything near the origin of the kendar pulse. It is perfectly capable of pulling ships out of orbit (though no cases of orbital stations being pulled out of orbit have been recorded) and causing them to plummet towards the planet's surface after completely disabling them. The size of the ship does not matter very much, though more heavily armored ships seem to experience effects which have been slightly reduced in severity. Deflector shields can reduce the severity of these effects, also, but they are quickly overloaded. Force users proficient in the use of the Force shield ability can protect themselves from most effects of a kendar pulse event, though Force absorb and Force deflect are less effective.
Interestingly enough, starfighters tend to be torn to pieces by even minor kendar pulses, whereas somewhat larger vessels, such as shuttles, tend to only have their electronics shorted out. Shielded capital ships may survive with most of their electronics intact, but kendar pulse events are perfectly capable of causing unexpected hardware and software malfunctions, including pulling a ship out of hyperspace or forcing it to veer off-course in the middle of an asteroid field.
Effects of kendar pulse events on sentient beings
Kendar pulse events have been described, even by non-Force sensitives, as "a great, welling darkness which swallows everything. It's worse than a fog: at least fog reflects light. This darkness swallows everything." They can also prove highly disorienting, cause damage to long-term memory, cause severe and recurrent nightmares, and render an individual susceptible to mind control techniques. Force sensitives often refer to a "roaring" sound accompanying a kendar pulse, though non-Force sensitives experience a total cessation of sound. Regardless of a being's Force sensitivity, prolonged exposure to a concentrated kendar pulse event can make the afore-mentioned detrimental effects permanent, drive a person beyond the brink of insanity, or even lead to an individual's death from heart failure.
Kendar Shadow Hypothesis
Some Force sensitives experience a sort of Force vision during kendar pulse events: they see strange outlines of things and people; they see events which happened in the distant past or which may happen sometime in the distant future. Highly sensitive Force users who experience a kendar pulse event while in Kendalaran Hyperspace feel the universe dissolve into chaos, only to be instantly renewed.
Those traveling in true hyperspace can also collide with a kendar pulse event. The results are similar to entering a planet's or a star's mass shadow, abruptly pulling even properly shielded vessels out of hyperspace. Those which are not properly shielded may or may not make it out of hyperspace, but they will have their electronics shorted out, and it is possible that the hyperdrive will be fried. Thus, Force-sensitive navigators have to constantly watch for wreckage and even explosions in hyperspace. Asteroid fields have also been found scattered throughout hyperspace in the Rhid-Kendalaran Nebula, a phenomenon which has yet to be satisfactorily explained.
Collision with an ancient star system
Enclave astrographers, astronomers, prophets, engineers, and others have been trying for centuries to piece this puzzle together, with little success. Within the last hundred years or so, however, a Zuguruk-caste Sorcerer en-route to Kendalar V from an inspection of the orbital mining station above Kendalar VI was caught in a kendar pulse event. He heard not only the cacophanous roaring of the kendar pulse, but he also heard a nightmarish ripping sound, and, as he watched, the shadow of a star system appeared out of nowhere. When he looked back at Kendalar VI, the debris fields surrounding the planet were much sparser than he remembered, and he could see several shadow moons in orbit around the planet. Beyond Kendalar VI, he saw what appeared to be another planet none too far out.
He watched in horrified fascination as the shadow star system collided with the real Kendalar system. He saw the shadow moons around Kendalar VI ripped out of orbit. He saw the colliding system divide, part of it going out past Kendalar VI, and part moving inward around Kendalar V. He saw asteroids, comets, and even a moon collide with a cloud of impenetrable darkness which had engulfed each of the two planets, and the colliding objects burst into billions of fragments.
Over time, more such stories gradually became known, and the scientific community of the Enclave set to work developing what would become known as the Kendar Shadow Hypothesis. They posited that the kendar crystals absorbed so much energy that they bent space and time, causing them to behave differently than would normally be expected, especially in true hyperspace. They believed that, when the star system collided with the Kendalar system eons ago, so much energy was released that the kendar crystals of today still hold some of that energy, a tiny bit of which is released in each kendar pulse, creating a sort of record of that ancient collision. Further, they believed that the Force nexus in the Heart of Kendalar was formed at that same time and for similar reasons.
The term "Kendar Shadow" refers to the "shadow" of a kendar pulse event, which can pull starships out of hyperspace. Since there is always at least one kendar pulse event occurring at any given moment somewhere in the Rhid-Kendalaran Nebula, this shadow is constantly renewed. Only Force-sensitive navigators can evade this effect, though even they cannot stop a vessel from being yanked out of hyperspace when colliding with a kendar pulse event. The Force-imbued hyperdrive used by the Enclave Fleet partially negates this effect, however, allowing a Force-sensitive navigator to keep the ship in true hyperspace, though the rating of its hyperdrive is effectively reduced by several magnitudes until the ship's systems can all be simultaneously rebooted.
((A history of the usage of kendar crystals and the development of kendar crystal-related technologies in the Enclave should be inserted here.))
Kendar crystal shielding
Probably the first application of kendar crystal lore was to develop shielding capable of protecting the Enclave's orbital station and shuttles from the worst effects of kendar pulse events. Kendar crystals attract Force energy and radiation in a manner similar to that in which a lightsaber attracts Force lightning. Thus, after some experimentation, High Sorcerer Nawair Highmind and Zuguruk Sorcerer Saihaz came up with the first kendar crystal "shield", that being a set of four kendar crystals embedded within the hull of the High Sorcerer's personal shuttle and attuned to the High Sorcerer himself. They soon had the opportunity to observe the effect, as another kendar pulse event occured while the High Sorcerer was ferrying more members of the Enclave down from the orbital station, his shuttle being the first to be brought back online. Nawair was able, though with great difficulty, to channel the majority of the energy from the kendar pulse event which collided with his shuttle into the embedded kendar crystals - at which point he accidentally triggered something akin to a kendar pulse. However, he was able to direct the explosion of Force energy with his mind, forming it into a bubble around the shuttle and causing the remainder of the energy released by the planetary kendar pulse event to flow around his shuttle without further harming it. While the shuttle required extensive repairs after landing, its systems remained mostly intact, convincing Nawair and Saihaz that they were on the right track.
The standard for shielding a 30 to 40 meter long shuttle is now six to eight kendar crystals, all previously imbued and fully-attuned to the shuttle's pilot or captain, and partially attuned to other crewmembers. As a general rule of thumb, two kendar crystals are required per ten cubic meters to provide a bubble sufficiently large and strong to deflect the energy from a planetary-scale kendar pulse event around the ship. This is one of two reasons for the Enclave not using any ships larger than a light frigate: a 200 meter long vessel will require more than 400 kendar crystals to properly shield it (assuming that it is only 10 meters in height and 10 meters in width - which is an extremely unrealistic assumption to make!)
Two types of faster-than-light travel are possible in the Rhid-Kendalaran Nebula: following the ever-changing labyrinth of Kendalaran Hyperspace, or somehow bypassing the Kendar Shadow to enter true hyperspace. The only known instances of the latter being done with a standard hyperdrive were under the guidance of Kissai Huntmistress Rhidaesiuth Sirestep at the time of the founding of the Enclave. All attempts by anyone less skilled in Force-assisted navigation have ended in disaster. Thus, standard hyperdrives are not recommended for use in the Rhid-Kendalaran Nebula outside of Kendalaran Hyperspace.
Early Enclave engineers invented a Force-imbued hyperdrive to address the risks of hyperspace travel within the nebula. With it, a skilled navigator can bypass the Kendar Shadow and travel at normal hyperspace speeds under normal hyperspace conditions - so long as they watch for asteroid fields and wreckage along the way. Even with a Force-imbued hyperdrive, however, Enclave starships are not always able to stay in hyperspace when they collide directly with a kendar pulse event, though indirect collisions and skirting of such an event do permit continued hyperspace travel, just at a greatly reduced speed. These hyperdrives require both imbued and attuned kendar crystals and certain rare gems which are found in the atmosphere of Kendalar VI.
Planet-side power generation and storage
The most basic use for a kendar crystal is to store Force energy and radiation in it, as that occurs naturally, even without sentient intervention. The hard part is getting that energy back out safely in the desired amount, at the desired speed, at the desired time, and by the desired person. This is complicated even further by the fact that kendar crystals form in many different shapes and sizes, and those which have been attuned have an interior structure unique to the individual to whom they are attuned. Enclave engineers still have not completely given up on finding a way to directly power homes using kendar crystals, even after more than 250 years of failure. In the meantime, however, they came up with a working solution to keep the people of the Enclave alive and well.
A large shield generator is built into the roof of the Ruling Council building, with four dishes aimed in four different directions around it; a number of smaller generators run around the perimeter of the city. From each of set of dishes, a broad beam of dark light streams forth into a huge sphere which stretches both above and beneath the capital. Everything inside the sphere is protected from all but the most powerful of kendar pulse events. The power required to sustain this shield is enormous, however, and consumes enough fuel to be worrisome. The Zuguruk-caste engineers have been working for generations to imbue and attune entire kendar crystal formations so that the Force energy and radiation which they absorb can be siphoned off to reduce the fuel requirements of the shield generators. Of course, this means that every generation has to re-attune thousands of kendar crystals before the previous generation dies off, leaving only a little time in which to add more into the network.
A kendar pulse event powerful enough to overwhelm the capital's shields (and, thus also powerful enough to overwhelm the shields of every settlement on Kendalar V) is the stuff of nightmares, and methods for predicting and guarding against it are the subject of much intensive study. The Prophets of the Enclave have proven especially helpful in this regard: they have a better than ninety-percent accuracy rating in predicting kendar pulse events, and approximately a ninety-seven percent accuracy rating in predicting major kendar pulse events.
Kendar crystal-powered weapons
Where the rest of the galaxy uses vibroweapons and lightsabers, the members of the Enclave use a variety of warblades enhanced with kendar crystals. With the aid of properly attuned kendar crystals, even new initiates can learn to channel the Force weapon ability, though they will need to maintain their focus to keep it up throughout a fight. For those who have alchemically-treated warblades, however, channeling of this ability is unnecessary, and they are thus able to utilize the special properties of their kendar crystals to perform otherwise unthinkable tasks.
Force energy absorbed by an attuned kendar crystal in a warblade is essentially added to its owner's Force energy pool, permitting that person to continue using the Force significantly longer than they could manage otherwise. This does not come without its costs, however: an insufficiently skilled Force user attempting to use a higher difficulty Force power could accidentally trigger a kendar pulse event which has the potential to drive them insane or cause a fatal heart attack. It is also possible for a skilled opponent to absorb the full force of their attack and then channel it into a counterattack, or simply deflect their attack back to its source. If the two combatants are near-equal in strength, this could result in a deadly game of ping-pong where the "ball" grows more dangerous with each bounce until it takes down one or even both duelists. As a result, Initiates and Apprentices of the Enclave are strongly discouraged from attempting to use Force powers in combat which they cannot use and fully control without the aid of their warblades.
Occasionally, a Sorcerer will intentionally trigger a kendar pulse event in order to disable or kill nearby enemies, disable enemy vehicles or weapons, or to take down a particularly powerful opponent. This use, however, is fraught with peril, for even a tiny lapse in concentration can mean that the Sorcerer takes the full force of their own attack. A kendar pulse event also has no concept of the difference between friends and foes (beyond the basics of attunement), so a Sorcerer could conceivably cause just as many casualties to their own side as to their enemies.
While some kendar crystal-powered blasters have been developed, they are extremely rare, since a kendar crystal requires the use of the Force and most Force users tend not to wield blasters as their preferred weapons.
Kendar memory crystals
Kendar memory crystals are one part holocron, one part datapad, and one part something else entirely - or so they seem. A kendar memory crystal is fully attuned to its owner, just like the kendar crystals in a weapon are. And, just like weaponized kendar crystals, kendar memory crystals absorb and store Force energy and radiation. However, rather than releasing that stored energy in a dangerous form, kendar memory crystals make use of the Kendar Shadow Hypothesis to store information within their matrices for retrieval at a later date. While this information theoretically would degrade over time, that time is counted in millenia, putting kendar memory crystals almost on par with holocrons. However, unlike holocrons, kendar memory crystals cannot be used by a Force-sensitive who is simply powerful enough to activate them: they can only be used by a Force-sensitive they are attuned to (partially or otherwise.) This attunement can conceivably be overriden by an individual who possesses the talent for full attunement, but this is little more than theory.
Kendar memory crystals boast a significant advantage over datapads in that they can be used even in environments where electronics are typically useless. Further, their users can easily recharge them by simply channeling the Force into them - or even by leaving a crystal out in the sun on an exceptionally sunny day. The primary disadvantage of the kendar memory crystal is that which is common to all kendar crystals: if too much energy is absorbed, the crystal will give off a kendar pulse, shorting out nearby electronics and possibly causing bodily harm to nearby sentients - something which even holocrons are not widely known for doing (though their gatekeepers may be another matter entirely!) It is not known whether a kendar memory crystal will retain information stored on it if it is completely depleted of power.
Kendar memory crystals naturally react to others to whom they are not attuned as though to repell or discourage unauthorized access attempts. If the crystal should be stolen, the thief is liable to encounter strange occurences, including random Force illusions which draw on the thief's imagination and fears, Force nightmares which will almost certainly lead to insanity if not treated and removed from the presence of the kendar memory crystal, and high-intensity kendar pulses capable of causing minor heart attacks in perfectly healthy individuals (or potentially-lethal heart attacks in those who are ill, aged, or otherwise weakened.) The treatment for these effects is essentially identical to the treatment for Force nightmares. It should be noted that the intensity of kendar memory crystal-generated Force nightmares in particular was drastically increased as a side effect of the Dream-weaver Ritual.
Apprentice Valermit Mindseer is known to have imbued and attuned his personal Kendar Memory Crystal with the aid of a Darth's fury aura, though his method remains a mystery. He may have stored Force illusions within the crystal as a means of presenting information contained within to a target individual; it is unknown whether this was a means to circumvent the need to partially re-attune the crystal to the target individual.
Kendar cloaking device
There is a rare type of cloaking device which utilizes an entire cluster of kendar crystals as a focus and power source;. However, it is only usable by a master of the Force cloak ability, and even then, the cloaking device must be fully attuned to that individual. It works very much like the afore-mentioned Force power in that it bends light and sound around a small starship (possibly as large as a light freighter), making it invisible both to the naked eye and to most sensors. This permits the handful of Kissai Hunters who utilize these cloaking devices to land on hostile planets undetected to carry out their missions - or to escape from their enemies when things go wrong.
Despite the great strengths of these devices, there are several key weaknesses. First off, the cloaking device does nothing to disguise the radiation put out by a starship entering or exiting hyperspace, thus posing a risk of detection in the event that a vessel equipped with a soliton antenna is nearby. Secondly, the cloaking device makes use of the Kendar Shadow Hypothesis to fool sensors with the equivalent of feeding a loop of false footage to a camera: someone paying sufficient attention may notice some repeats in the incoming data, or even, if the Kissai hunter's concentration should momentarily waver, a slight dimming or distortion of the stars. Third, sentients entering the trail of such a cloaked starship typically suffer from minor disorientation and a dimming of their senses - this can be significantly worse for Force-sensitives. Those who know of the kendar cloaking device can use this to track the cloaked vessel at short ranges.
There is one known method for disguising the exit of a cloaked vessel from hyperspace: exiting hyperspace right on the edge of a planet's atmosphere. This requires extreme control and concentration, and even then the results are typically fatal. Only two Kissai hunters were known to have accomplished this feat and survived by the time that Valermit Mindseer departed Kendalar V on what would become the first contact between the Enclave of the Pureblooded Sith Sorcerers and the greater galaxy in nearly three centuries: the current Kissai Huntmaster, and Kissai Hunter Kraqmol Mindseer.
Behind the scenes
The kendar crystals' origin can be traced back to Vatharn's application to join the Dark Lords of the Sith as Valermit Mindseer. Rather than making a typo, he made a "mindo", as he originally intended to refer to the Enclave as using kyber crystals for their energy enhancement properties, but his mind blanked on everything except the 'k' and the 'r'. Once he realized his mistake about one week later, he decided to just grab the mistake and run with it - a decision which lead to a sudden burgeoning of Enclave lore.
Interestingly enough, the effects of a kendar pulse event are very similar to real EMP events: kendar pulse events are essentially Force-enhanced EMP events.