"When a gambler picks up a sabacc deck or a pair of chance cubes, he feels as though he has reduced an unmanageable galaxy to a finite, visible and comprehensive size.
— Thakk Ahren
Thakk Ahren is a professional gambler, slicer, forger and mercenary that has lived the majority of his life along a string of bad luck. An Iridonian Zabrak by birth, he became a con man and gambler when he left his homeworld after the death of his brother, Uris, during their Selenoren (the Zabrak rite of passage). After he lost his ship the Harvest Moon in a sabacc match on Atzerri, and subsequently blasting the winner, he went into hiding on Nar Shaddaa.
- 1 Early Life
- 2 Life on Ord Mantell
- 3 The Hard Nova
- 4 The Minta'cufal on Carratos
- 5 Atzerri and the Idiot's Array
- 6 Escape to Nar Shaddaa
- 7 Personality, traits and equipment
Clan Ahren’ru has a documented history on Iridonia for over two thousand years. Surviving records indicate that there was at least some ‘beast riders’ of Ahren’ru operating as mercenaries for the Brotherhood of Darkness during their occupation in 1,002 BBY. Though many of these records were purged on account of their association with the Sith, there are still latent connections to their associations with the Sith Academy evident in their language and usage of Sith terminology. This could also be reason for the sheer lack of Jedi that the clan has produced; the only known Jedi Knight of the clan was Besa Ahren who perished in the Battle of Geonosis in 22 BBY. Common traits of Clan Ahren’ru is a distrust of any and all Force users, regardless of their association.
Thakk and Uris
Thakk Ahren is the son of Nius Ahren, one of the jaki’ku or elder leaders of the clan. Nius was a proud warrior and beast rider, having many battle histories ritualistically tattooed onto his face after countless campaigns. When his wife, Lexta, announced she was to have twins he had proclaimed his lineage blessed by Ameeno. After Thakk had been born she encountered complications when the second child, Uris, had turned improperly in her womb. In order to save the child she was operated on and promptly perished due to blood loss. Her death during the breech birth of Uris was something Nius never let the boy forget, blaming him for the loss of his wife. As the boys grew they were nearly impossible to tell from one another, save for a jagged tooth that jutted out from Uris’s incisor. Though physically identical the temperament of the twins was what set them apart. Thakk was an avid fighter and trained extensively nearly each day whereas Uris spent much of his time pouring through the clan histories. The Am’Keynal of the clan proclaimed that where Thakk would rightfully take his father’s place as warrior leader Uris would naturally become a speaker of histories, or Keynal Slari'mai'ulen. When pitted against one another, however, Nius was astounded that Uris possessed a natural affinity to the zhaboka, a traditional two handed blade, and was capable of defeating Thakk in every match. He saw the boy’s disinterest in fighting while being such a formidable warrior a sign of weakness. A common rite of passage of young warriors of Ahren’ru when they reached thirteen was to be pitted against a juvenile reek and to defeat it without the use of any weapons. Thakk’s performance in the arena further proved his ability as a warrior; he butted the beast with his head and strangled it before the clan elders in a outward display of battle affinity. Uris, on the other hand, merely stood before the reek and matched its aggressive bellowing with his own. After it had charged him and attempted to maul him for hours the animal finally succumbed to fatigue. Thakk scoffed at his brother, Nius cried out to him in rage as to his reason for not slaying the beast. Uris only replied with, ‘I had no reason to’. Uris kept the reek and trained it to be his battle mount as it matured on his own, naming it Tominyetal (guardian in Zabrak).
Shortly after their warrior trials the boys were sent to the clan tolnitchal to be paired off with possible wives from other clans. As prompted by Nius, a wife for Thakk was to be chosen from rival warrior clan Dalis’ru.; Nius felt this would unite their clans when Thakk took his place, creating a firm bond and bloodline in their region. Uris on the other hand was offered to Vanu’ru, a clan that had been overtaken by Ahren’ru six generations ago and was seen as little more than a commoner caste. Nius spoke outwardly this would raise the rank of the lesser clan, but secretly saw it as a place to hide the shame of his weaker son.
When Pasflora of Dalis’ru and Jaeyra of Vanu’ru were presented to the twins the tolnitchal deemed them compatible, the girls welcomed into the clan and provided with attendants to prepare them for life as a wives. Thakk and Pasflora seemed to be inseparable, a trait not uncommon in compatible mates; Uris on the other hand spent the majority of his time away from his future bride Jaeyra. Jaeyra seemed to strongly pursue the young Uris, yet the boy showed little interest. Nius became further engrained in his disdain for his son, whereas one had begun to grow into a man the other still preferred to act as a child. He called together the clan elders and announced that the final rite of passage, the Selenoren, would be initiated with his sons.
At puberty, each Zabrak is given a series of personal challenges. These challenges are called the child's Selenoren (rites of adulthood). This event is extremely important in a Zabrak's life. Zabrak cherish Selenoren and never speaks about the challenges to non-Zabrak. Additionally, these trials are kept private from all outside the Parent-child relationship. There are three paths the child may arrive at: successful completion of the Selenoren, failure of the Selenoren, and refusal of the Selenoren. The Selenoren consist of three challenges: a physical, mental, and social challenge. Each challenge is personalized, tailored to each child's best abilities and their parents' Selenoren.
Nius had devised a challenge offered in tandem to both sons. He took them aside and told them to enter a cave together, and that within they would find their challenge. Uris bounded off, light heartedly tugging at his brother in childlike delight as they entered the abysmal cavern. They traversed it’s depths for hours, Thakk leading the way and never saying a word as Uris kept in step behind him. When they reached what appeared to be the end of a long chasm Thakk turned and confronted his brother, presenting a small blade from beneath his tunic. He then informed him that their father had taken him aside and told him his challenge was to slay his brother and return to him with his hearts, and that Uris’s challenge was to accept his fate. Thakk lunged at Uris and stabbed him in the stomach, the injured twin stumbling back and holding his bleeding abdomen in disbelief. When Thakk charged again Uris dodged him, counterattacked and after battling for a few minutes Uris gained the upper hand and crushed his brother’s skull with a rock. He looked before his fate, as his father intended, and promptly removed the jagged incisor from his mouth with his brother’s knife. He then removed Thakk’s hearts and returned them to his father, saying only ‘Uris is dead’ before collapsing from his injuries.
Now having adopted the name of his deceased brother, Thakk awoke to the clan elders in preparation for the final act of his Selenoren: to be tattooed with honed blades whilst a finely ground powder was pressed into the open wounds. The entire ritual took a day of incredible pain which the boy endured without exclaiming once. Once presented to his father he was informed that even the intended bride of Uris was as weak as he, for she was so overtaken with grief at the word of her mate’s demise she plummeted to her death in the canyons that surrounded their clan’s fortress. Thakk was confronted with the sullen notion that Jaeyra had unknowingly fallen for him, and that her death was on his hands as well. Prior to his ceremonial presentation before the clan, Thakk snuck off with his reek, Tominyetal, vowing never to return again.
The nearest starport to Clan Ahren’ru’s enclave was nearly 5,700 kilometers in a small trader outpost in Ghest’jira. When the clan traded with merchants from the starport it would normally take them nearly an eighth of the planet’s cycle to make the trip via speeders, it would take twice that on mount. Determined, the young Zabrak travelled by night and survived off what little offering the land provided, just barely sustaining the pair. Thakk and Tominyetal traversed the barren landscape for nearly half their journey before once again the warrior’s luck caught up to him. Confronted with the decision to navigate either a steep valley or forge their way through the mountains, Thakk opted to attempt the latter. The ridge proved too weak to support the duo and collapsed, leaving Tominyetal mortally wounded in the avalanche. Thakk did his best to save his battle mount but it perished from its injuries. Unwilling to use what had been his only companion since he was a child as food, he encased the reek in a makeshift tomb built from piled stones and struck out on foot.
Thakk arrived in Ghest’jira weary, beaten and without a credit to his name. He spent much of his time foraging for food from refuse bins and hanging around cantinas looking for work to no avail. It was here where he first encountered a complex game of chance called sabacc, he was enthralled how these spacers would sit across one other all night long and walk out with either a pocket full of credit chips or defeated expressions of loss on their faces. It wasn’t long before a Duros trader named Kem noticed the young Zabrak eyeing their table each night he was there, and in a benevolent turn of events he offered to allow him to play. Astoundingly, the young boy proved that even with little knowledge of how the game was played he was capable of calling the bluffs of some of the more seasoned players. Thakk didn’t win big, but he won, and he was hooked. He began to return each night, steadily filling his pockets amidst bigger wins and even bigger loses. Kem would drone on about his travels around the nearby systems, invoking wanderlust in the young gambler. When his ship was contracted out for a supply run, Thakk urged the Duros to allow him to go with him. Kem agreed and set out for his destination, Ord Mantell.
"A gambler is nothing but a man who makes his living out of hope.
— Thakk Ahren
Life on Ord Mantell
"In a bet there is always a fool and a thief.
— Thakk Ahren
Starting a new life
Thakk stepped out into the city sprawl of Great Rock with a wide-eyed stare, he had never seen such a variety of races living and trading amongst one another. The city was unlike any place he had ever been, structures built upon structures that created congested alleyways devoid of any directional markers. Kem guided the boy from the spaceport to the only place he felt comfort in its familiarity – a cantina called Qexi's. Thakk was left behind as Kem struck out to complete the necessary transactions for his employer, surprised when he returned that the boy had won close to two thousand credits in a sabaac match. After the illict cargo was delivered to a carrier outside the system, Kem returned with the young Zabrak to the capital city of Wolport, intent on utilizing his talents to turn a profit.
When Thakk wasn’t sleeping on Kem’s freighter, he was off in the local casinos. The youth and outward appearance of the boy made him the perfect player, many would assume him an easy mark at the table and let their guard down. He had a knack for pushing many gamblers to their limit and knowing when to quit and walk away. Kem would question him at times, curious as to why on more than one occasion he would abandon a game even though he was on a solid winning streak, Thakk attributing only to his gut reactions. Unbeknownst to either of them, Thakk had a natural affinity towards the Force and would pick up on emotional conveyance from other players when they were bluffing or had a winning hand. Regardless, some nights he won and some nights he broke even, but he rarely left the casinos at a loss.
The Spice Gamble
When Kem came to Thakk with a business opportunity, the boy jumped at the chance. Apparently, Thakk was to earn enough credits to buy into a spice shipment, requiring almost twenty thousand credits up front but would get back triple in return. He saw this as a way to secure his independence, not just from his clan but from Kem as well, and hurried off to the gambling halls and cantinas. It took Thakk weeks to aquire close to the necessary amount, having come up short a few hundred credits. Kem assured him it would be enough, taking the chips and setting a time to meet him at the spaceport with the shipment. He warned Thakk to be extremely cautious, that even this was illegal by Ord Mantell’s seedy standards. Thakk agreed and Kem left ahead of him, biding his time in the Lady Fate Casino.
Thakk arrived at the spaceport early, beaten and frustrated at having lost almost all his credits in a game. He waited as per the plan, but when minutes turned into hours and the sun began to rise Thakk began to feel a knot tighten in his belly. He waited an entire day before returning to the casino, bewildered and confused. Kem had been a friend, he couldn’t accept the notion he had betrayed him. Instead he continued waiting, living in a meager apartment and surviving off what little money he earned at the tables. Coming to the conclusion that regardless of what had happened to Kem he was on his own and had to do his best to survive.
"Gambling. The sure way of getting nothing from something.
— Thakk Ahren
Thakk began making rounds of the local cantinas, bars and gambling halls; slowly establishing a name for himself as a young, gruff Zabrak that spoke in broken Basic that was prone to fighting. More than once he was ejected from one of the seedy enclaves for assaulting other patrons, usually over his planet of origin or his vocal disdain for Force Users and bounty hunters. It was this reputation that drew a Lethan Twi’lek spacer named Mala Eyan to him, a smuggler and slicer ten years his elder, who had begun to notice the foul mouthed Zabrak as she herself toured the underhalls of Wolport. When she approached Thakk in an alleyway after receiving a beating by a gang of Mandalorians the young gambler was bewitched by her beauty and sultry nature. She said she saw promise in him, his ability to run tables was something she had never seen before, and that his shrewd nature was likely to either garnish wealth or get him killed. It was her prompting that guided Thakk to save his winnings and purchase a XS-800 light freighter from a local shipyard, dubbing it the Hard Nova.
"The subject of gambling is all encompassing. It combines a person’s natural play instinct with his desire to know about his fate and his future.
— Thakk Ahren
The Hard Nova
The Tricks of the Trade
"If you must play, decide upon three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time.
— Thakk Ahren
Mala took Thakk under her wing and once again the young Zabrak found himself in an unexpected partnership. Their relationship was shaky at the start, the wound still fresh from his previous partner abandoning him. However, as the year went by he found himself slowly relaxing into the seat beside Mala in the old freighter, even finding himself beginning to harbor feelings for her. If she was aware she did not allow Thakk to know, her flirtatious demeanor keeping the youth at a distance.
The smuggler began teaching Thakk the methods of her trade. They started small, ferrying shipments of illicit materials into nearby systems and doctoring requisition forms to ‘skim from the top’ of cargo manifests. Thakk was enthralled; it was like a much bigger game of sabaac where you had to stay one step ahead of your opponents and be prepared to fold if the pressure got too heavy. Under her tutelage he learned how to splice and forge documents; one of their more prolific schemes was ‘selling’ forged ship manifests to gamblers down on their luck (after Thakk had just sapped them of their savings), only for them to find they had just purchased a starship that didn’t exist. Thakk never felt a pang of moral obligation in their schemes, only that it was one big game of chance and that he was matching his wits and skills on a whole new field of play.
After a run in with a bounty hunter, Mala forced Thakk to purchase a blaster. More for show at first (as Thakk preferred the use of staves and self-made polearms), he began to practice nightly with his companion in rigorous training sessions as the off balanced, vulgar weapon was alien in the boy’s hands. Eventually, he became a novice at its usage, though still preferred to fight with his hands or plasteel lengths of tubing.
The End of the Beginning
A year had gone by and Thakk found himself living a comfortable life as a slicer and forger beside Mala. He was content but not happy; his feelings had grown strong for his female partner and was prone to fits of jealousy when she would disappear for days with other men, even if it was for a scheme they had hatched together previously. Finally he confronted her, setting all the cards on the table so to speak, and after a brief pause she responded with a kiss. Hand in hand, the pair went to a local cantina to celebrate their newly blossomed relationship and began a long night of binge drinking. Thakk didn’t remember when he passed out; only that he awoke hours later with a throbbing headache in a booth alone at the back of the bar. He was met only with dismissive shrugs when inquiring about his twi’lek companion, stumbling back towards the space dock in search of her.
What he found hurt more than a stun baton to the back of the head. The Hard Nova was gone, having left hours ago according to the local labor droid. A familiar tinge of rage began to well within him, confusion transmuting to suspicion as he sought out a credit kiosk. He had a bad feeling about all this, he had not consumed enough to black out, his ship was gone and Mala along with it. A quick scan of his credit chip revealed that he only one a single grave credit to his name, Mala having left him only with the clothes on his back. Enraged he returned to the space dock and forced the deck officer to reveal the course the Hard Nova had laid out prior to hyperspace. Mala Eyan had gone to Carratos.
The Minta'cufal on Carratos
"Most of the credits you’ll win at sabaac comes not from the brilliance of your own play, but from the ineptitude of your opponents.
— Thakk Ahren
Having no credits to buy his way on to a freighter, Thakk desperately hopped from cantinas to space docks in search of work that would get him to Carratos as quickly as possible. By sheer luck he came across a small band of Gand weapon smugglers enroute to Lok via the Corellian Trade Spine and they offered to drop him off on Brentaal in exchange for his services as a slicer to augment their cargo manifests. Thakk hastily agreed, sure that his luck had changed. Not only did he find a means to get closer to Carratos but he also managed to win a fair amount of credits during the voyage whilst gambling with his travelling companions, enough to pay for his passage to Carratos with a foul mouthed Toydarian smuggler.
Thakk found himself in a criminal underworld that paled even his worst experiences on Ord Mantell. Blaster fire echoed throughout the streets, the skies were a cacophony of launching and landing spacecraft. Hooded sentients plied illegal their wares in dark alleyways, groups of thugs and pirates staked themselves territorially on every corner. Not once during his journey had he considered even how to find Mala, planets were like compact galaxies and she could be anywhere. He found obstacles around every avenue throughout his search: spaceports rarely if ever kept any record; he was threatened by various criminals when he even attempted to inquire about the Hard Nova. It wasn’t long before he began to lose hope, Mala could be in the cantina next door and he’d never even know it.
His credits running low he returned to the only thing he knew how to do, gamble. Learning from his mistakes of the past he kept mobile, going from bar to bar and never playing any place more than once. He managed to earn enough to live comfortably in hotels, still casually inquiring about the Lethan Twi’lek smuggler, but still having no luck in finding her. Having no place else to go, he decided to let his options and to see where it would take him.
His life made a drastic turn during a sabaac game in the city of Chofin. After winning his sixth consecutive hand his opponent, a Mandalorian, accused him of cheating. The heavily armored bounty hunter threw the sabaac table and leveled a blaster on the young Zabrak. Seeing no point in fighting over something as petty as credits, Thakk handed over his winnings and turned his back on his enraged opponent. The Mandalorian took his demeanor as an insult and charged after him, forcing Thakk to fight. It had been quite awhile since he had met another in hand to hand combat, but the rigorous training of his youth was so ingrained he managed to parry the attempted attack from behind. Thakk was ushered out of the cantina and into the street, a circle of onlookers surrounding the two combatants. The Mandalorian once again charged at his smaller opponent, but in a fluid motion Thakk feigned from the maneuver and delivered a kick to an armored midsection. His opponent pressed the fight but never landed a blow, the Zabrak warrior bleeding profusely from his hands and elbows as he successfully pummeled his assaulter into eventual submission. Thinking the Mandalorian beaten he pushed himself through the crowd only to find himself confronted by his opponent’s companions, six more armored mercenaries with drawn blasters. Thakk cursed to himself and closed his eyes, exhaling softly in grim acceptance as a blaster bolt echoed throughout his ears. He opened his left eye to find the field before him empty, turning to his right to find three armored Zabraks eyeing him suspiciously, one of them holding a smoldering blaster rifle. The armed Zabrak stomped towards Thakk and informed him in his native tongue that he was impressed with his ability to defeat a fully armored Mandalorian in hand to hand combat honorably, and that he would be under the protection of the controlling crime syndicate of Chofin, the Anjiliac kajidic, if he agreed to join their ragtag clan. Figuring he had no other options at the time and that the mercenary had just saved his life from certain death, Thakk agreed.
The New Clan
"There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the moment. A man's whole life is a succession of moment after moment. If one fully understands the present moment, there is nothing left to do, and nothing else to pursue.
— Thakk Ahren reciting the Am'Jenor
Thakk would spend the next ten years of his life amongst the Zabrak mercenary clan. Their leader was Dakne Kir, an Iridonian by birth but banished from his clan after a failed coup d'etat. He had gathered a small group of Iridonian and colony born Zabraks over the years and fashioned a mercenary clan, calling them the Minta’cufal (beast riders in their traditional language). Though apprehensive at first Thakk grew accustomed to being around his own people, all with similar pasts, and was the only one within the self-made clan to have actually been a minta’cufal. As initiation, the young warrior (now barely nineteen in standard years) was pitted against one of the warriors within the group in hand to hand combat, a trial he passed with ease. Once accepted into the clan he was awarded a suit of traditional armor and a zhaboka fashioned from a cortosis alloy, and soon after began to accompany the clan on their missions.
For the most part they were used as enforcers by the kajidic liason, a Vodran named Cis'o Dane. Animosity brewed quickly between the pair, Thakk being incredibly outspoken in his distrust of Vodrans (and bounty hunters in general) and Cis'o Dane in turn questioning if the hot headed Zabrak could be trusted. Luckily for the two of them, Cis'o Dane rarely appeared in person to address the clan and Thakk had proven on more than one occasion his formidability in combat during successful assignments. Though useful, Dane still found the Zabrak’s desire to not kill his opponents somewhat unsettling, even more so when he would outright refuse to accompany the clan on bounty hunting missions. His oddly pious demeanor would begin to affect the clan, something that would eventually lead to a confrontation between the two.
The Keynal Slar'mai'ulen
"The way of the Dret'Vyshtal is found in death. Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day, when one's body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by weapons and beasts. Being carried away by surging waves of Aro, the Great River. Being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being shaken to death by a great earthquake, falling from the cliffs of Aro-voa, or dying of disease. And every day, without fail, one should consider himself as dead.
— Thakk Ahren reciting the Am'Jenor
As time progressed, Thakk found himself prompted to speak aloud the histories he had learned as a boy. Stories and morals that he had recited in silence to himself for years were once again spoken and sung to his new clan. It wasn’t long before he found himself standing before the band as a Keynal Slari'mai'ulen, the speaker of life journeys, reciting passages from the Am’Jenor (the Holy Knowledge). Dakne Kir and the rest of the clan were enthralled by the ancient mysteries many of them had never heard before, beginning to adapt them in their missions and combat styles. When word of this reached Cis'o Dane he became suspicious that the young warrior had begun to infect his mercenaries with false ideals, but since Dakne Kir and the rest supported him he was powerless to do anything about it. They were still a force to be reckoned with, now only carrying themselves with a much more prideful demeanor and spoke only their native tongue to one another. Thakk was confident he had fulfilled his destiny foretold by the clan elders in his youth: the speaker of a proud warrior clan that abided by the strict code of the Dret’Vysthal.
Conflict with the Black Sun
"Matters of great concern should be treated lightly. Matters of small concern should be treated seriously.
— Thakk Ahren reciting the Am'Jenor
After four years the Minta’cufal had established a reputation on Carratos that reached far beyond the city limits of Chofin. So much so that by the sheer mention of their name would suffice as a threat to keep the kajidic’s interests in line. Cis’o Dane began to develop a hatred for the clan, their achievements beginning to shadow his own kajidic before his Hutt master, Vago Gejalli Thokka. Where once his own kajidic was called upon for personal assignments for the elderly Hutt crime lord, now Dakne Kir was bestowed with the honor of the most profitable missions. Fearing Kir would soon replace him, Dane began to scheme a means to overthrow the Minta’cufal.
Dane got his chance when the Black Sun became interested in the increased export of glitterstim that had begun to stream from Carratos. The ruthless crime syndicate become aware that Vago had unified the spice cartels in Chofin, gaining a profitable foothold on the planet and possibly enough to rein control of the entire operation over to the Hutts. Freighter convoys were attacked, their cargo stolen, and soon processing plants on the planet’s surface were leveled and destroyed. Vago retaliated by sending the Minta’cufal to ransack Black Sun holdings within Chofin, all but driving them out. It wasn’t long before the conflict escalated into a war on the congested streets of the small city, the Black Sun blockading it in preparation for an invasion and inevitable eradication. Vago turned to Cis’o Dane to construct a battle plan, if they couldn’t win the battle then they would take as many of the Black Suns as they could with them to the grave.
Dane devised a plan to fortify the Hutt’s palace with his own kajidic’s mercenaries as well as the bulk of the other soldiers and bounty hunters under the Hutt’s employ. The Minta’cufal would be stationed at the far off entrance into the city, where they would no doubt meet with the bulk of the invading forces and surely be destroyed in the process. Dane watched as Dakne Kir and his warriors strode off beyond the walled palace, certain he would never see him or the clan again.
The Black Sun’s strategy was far more complex than either Vago or Dane had expected, not only did they invade from the exterior of the city but soldiers on jet packs landed into the palace from above. Vago roared in defiance as after the first day as he saw his palace in ruins with many of his own soldiers lying dead at his tail. No word had come from the exterior, the city being overrun with the Black Sun’s formidable assassins. When night came the enemy forces seemed prepared to attack but held their ground. An emissary was sent to Vago, the Hutt assuming it to be conditions of his surrender. To his surprise, however, it was a communication that detailed an agreement between the Black Sun and the Anjiliac kajidic, neither wanting the conflict to escalate beyond Carratos and into a full blown war with the crime syndicates. In addition, Vago was to be compensated for his loses as well as a significant sum in return for captured Black Sun members.
It had turned out that the Minta’cufal held their ground, losing only one man in the conflict, and had captured thirty-seven Black Sun mercenaries. When brought before Vago, Thakk spoke for Dakne and the clan to explain that they had no reason to take the lives of their opponents unnecessarily, sparing as many as they could. Thakk further explained that according to their beliefs each death taken without purpose is a burden upon their spirit, a debt to be paid when they meet their own end. Vago bellowed loudly, caring only that in light of the battle the clan had turned a hefty profit, announcing that the Minta’cufal would hence forth be his personal guard. Cis’o Dane raged in silence, not only had he failed to destroy the clan but his own kajidic had been reduced to mere foot soldiers in the syndicate’s employ.
The Jedi Master
Thakk forged a friendship with the ancient Hutt in the year that passed since the skirmish with the Black Sun. Vago, having seen much in his eight hundred and seventy-nine years, was always eager to recount stories of the Old Republic, the rise of the New Order, and many other pinpoints in history Thakk had never heard of. In exchange, the boy would recite the stories of his ancestors and argue the morals and reasons to the motives that had driven the galaxy into war countless times. He had heard some of the tales before in his youth, his own clan being used as pawns for the Sith in their own conquests. Soon, Thakk was entrusted with picking up the earnings from some of the outland depots beyond Choffin from various syndicates that traded with the kajidic, amongst them the Black Sun.
It was during one of these routine pick-ups, some 500km outside of Choffin, that Thakk found himself confronted with an opponent he had never met before. He had just exited a small Black Sun bunker, walking to his speeder and taking a quick hit from a spice sifter when he came across the smoldering corpse of a Black Sun mercenary. Out of sheer reflex he drew his zhaboka, just in time to hear the igniting hiss of a lightsaber. A middle aged human charged at him, a phantasmal shockwave blasting into his chest and knocking the Zabrak back. Having fought Jedi Knights in the past the warrior knew he had to press his opponent in melee, to keep him preoccupied and off balance so he would be unable to utilize Force powers.
The two battled into the ash crusted valley of the outland wilderness, neither landing a debilitating hit. Finally, Thakk disarmed his opponent and held him at bay with the bladed end of his weapon leveled at his throat. Snarling, he coaxed the Jedi’s reason for attacking him; the Jedi explaining that he was a Jedi Master, but that his presence on Carratos was a personal matter. The Black Sun had imprisoned his brother, and that he had followed them here to rescue him. He had mistaken the Zabrak for one of the mercenaries, evident when the boy drew his weapon in response to the corpse. Thakk immediately thought of his brother and his own childhood, dropped his arm and handed the Jedi’s lightsaber to him, saying only that he had no quarrel with him. He turned back towards his speeder, the Jedi issuing a warning that the Force was with him, but the shadow of the Dark Side had already begun to taint his presence. Thakk disregarded it, returned to Choffin and never spoke of the altercation to anyone.
"It is bad when one thing becomes two. One should not look for anything else in the way of the Dret'Vyshtal. It is the same for anything that is called a Way. If one understands things in this manner, he should be able to hear about all ways and be more and more in accord with his own.
— Thakk Ahren reciting the Am'Jenor
The Embrace of Pain
Another year had passed in the service of the kajidic, the Minta’cufal establishing a firm relationship with their Hutt master. They had become so firmly engrained in the hierarchy that Dakne Kir and Thakk were called upon to council Vago along with Cis’o Dane. Their distrust for one another was apparent, Kir accusing the Vordan of having a hidden agenda when sending the clan, especially Thakk, on missions he saw as unnecessary. Vago was unimpressed, so long as there was profit to be had there was no point in disputing the decisions of his majordomo.
It was one such ‘treasure hunt’ that nearly cost Thakk his life. Unbeknownst to the warrior, Dane had discovered through his own contacts that a small remnant group that resembled the Yuuzhan Vong had been attacking ships in the Nuiri Sector. Dane used the information as a ruse to convince the Hutt that this unknown group of pirates must have collected a considerable amount of illicit cargo in their assaults, and to send the Minta’cufal to relieve them of their wealth. Vago agreed, and to Dane’s surprise only Thakk and Dakne Kir volunteered for the mission.
The pair navigated through the dense asteroid field for days, certain that Dane had sent them on a wild nerf hunt, when on the eve of the fifth day they were attacked by a hail of plasma fire from a Yorik-trema’s Yaret-Kor. Their ship the Harvest Moon, severely damaged from the sudden onslaught, would not be able to escape in time. Kir opted to make the damage appear worse than it was and let the starship drift, hoping to buy them time enough to jury rig the damaged weapon systems. Unfortunately the living starship latched an umbilical to the freighter, the warriors preparing themselves for the inevitable boarding.
For the first time Thakk saw what he had only heard in stories as a child, the living demonic semblance of a Yuuzhan Vong warrior. Ignoring Kir’s order to stay hidden he attacked the fiend, finding the creature’s ability to fight far outweighing anything he had ever encountered. With Kir’s assistance they defeated it, Thakk rushing off into the pulsating living tunnel that linked the Harvest Moon to the bio-engineered starship. Kir would recount he did not know what occurred within the living ship, their fallen foe slowly regaining consciousness and the umbilical suddenly closing and suckled back into the opposing vessel. He barely had enough time to close the blast doors before the Yorik-trema disappeared from sight, having only the captive warrior and no means of pursuit in his damaged freighter.
Aboard the Yorik-trema, Thakk was placed in a torture apparatus called the Embrace of Pain and questioned by the seven remaining Yuuzhan Vong. They were looking for something Thakk had never heard of; he would later recall it was some sort of crystal. When pressed about the location of where his people had taken their captive warrior he refused to answer, losing consciousness over the next few days under the effect of their torture techniques. Though his captives remarked on his ability to ‘ease’ into the pain offered by the Embrace, they assured him he would surely die if he did not submit the information they required. His next memory would be of floating in a bacta tank. Dakne Kir would inform him that they had forced the whereabouts of the Vong ship from the captive warrior with their own torture techniques, staging a rescue against Cis’o Dane’s protests. Vago too was displeased, for not only was the Yorik-trema destroyed during the Minta’cufal’s attack but the clan had lost three of its own with nothing to show for it save Thakk’s rescue. Dane would later remark, however, that not many could survive a battle with the Yuuzhan Vong ‘barbarians’ and that Thakk and his clan should see it as an honor. All Thakk could see, however, was the blatant similarity between these so called barbarians and the kajidic.
"It is a good viewpoint to see the galaxy as a dream. When you have something like a nightmare, you will wake up and tell yourself that it was only a dream. It is said that the galaxy we live in is not a bit different from this.
— Thakk Ahren reciting the Am'Jenor