Raken is a singular engine of revenge. This is his history, such as it is...
== Character History ==
"The devil is not what you think..."
Raken's history is the journey of a man who was once child, then slave, then monster. His name is the Basic derivitive of the Dathomiri word rah-k'ah, or "beaten one". A fitting appellation given the unmitigated brutality of his existence. His tale ennumerates for us The Four Stages of the Darkside: Temptation, Imperilment, Submission, and Atonement. Within each phase we experience his pain and bear witness to his anger. He is a man lost to the universe through the cruelties of fate and the iniquities of those who serve themselves above all things. Say what one will, he has become what he was made.
===Enter the World of Pain===
8 BBY to 3 BBY
"And you too shall walk the path..."
Raken was born in the eighth year preceeding the Battle of Yavin. His parents, whose names are lost to us, were planetary engineers, or terraformers, who saw an opportunity for wealth and a secure future on a forgotten colony world. Making their home on the failed-core planet, the couple went about the arduous task of revitalizing the dead world. Raken was born on the Eve of Hope, an Elomin religious holiday, to his excited parents.
The enormously heavy gravity of the world required the use of powered exo-skeletons and made progress painfully slow. Horribly maimed in a terraforming accident, Raken's father would barely survive. Crippled and severely embittered by his condition, he distanced himself from the family forcing Raken's mother to take on more of the role of both mother and father. Over the subsequent years, Raken watched his father's health slowly fade as he drew away from his son to sink ever deeper into his misery.
Raken and his grief-stricken mother buried his father on the dead world when he was five years of age.
3 BBY to 2 ABY
"Only in the wake of fire can true strength be known..."
By the summer of his fifth year, Raken's mother had gone quite mad with guilt and regret over the death of her husband. The terraforming project was flirting with bankrupcy and many colonists had already begun an exodus from the planet amid rumors of corporate sabotage intended to recoup the company's losses through insurance fraud.
The summer winds brought a sour tang with them that was discovered to be an unusually high concentration of methane and ammonia. The air quality worsened to the point of mandatory evacuations being ordered by the company directorate. What flora had been seeded to help revitalize the atmosphere now turned black starved for oxygen and poisoned by the mounting concentrations of deadly gasses.
The change came rapidly causing wide spread panic until the remaining populous broke and ran scrambling for any ship that would lift them beyond the lethal grip of the world's atmosphere. Unable to secure transport and under the reason of madness and dillusion brought about by the noxious air, Raken's mother placed a small energy pistol in her mouth and vaporized the back of her head.
Finally alone, on a world in the throes of death, Raken succumbed to the thinning air at the feet of his mother's limp form.
Raken was rescued by the historically aloof figure, Vond. A merchant, trader, and sometimes slaver, Vond plucked the boy from the toxic planet while searching for items of value left behind by the fleeing colonists. A self-proclaimed Force lore enthusiast, a particularly dangerous hobby given the political climate of the day, Vond ravenously studied any and all artifacts he could lay hand to in his travels.
Having read of the famed Nightsisters of Dathomir, Vond travelled with Raken to the witch planet in hopes of bartering the boy for some insight into the reclusive matriarchal society. Shortly after arriving, Vond would find his head on a pike outside the Frenzied River Clan stronghold, and Raken found himself slave to a clutch of women whose evil would become legend.
"Without hope, the chains of weakness are released..."
Bartered away like chattel through the treachery of the slaver Vond, Raken found himself under the maniacal dominion of the Frenzied River Clan witches. This particularly brutal sect of Nightsisters viewed any male as property and as such, their lives were completely subject to the women's mercurial whim.
Ten years old, emancipated from his parents by death and madness, and sold as a slave, the already fragile psyche of the young Elomin began to unravel leaving it bare to the forces that would work their dark arts upon him. On this first day of his enslavement, Raken met the woman who was to be his Clan Mother. He would come to fear this personification of evil more than any other in his lifetime. Vasyn Cor Do’Muk Tu, Grand Dragoon of the Frenzied River Clan would teach Raken personally of The First Order of Suffering.
2 ABY to 3 ABY
"In madness, at least, one is never alone..."
Raken's new home was made on the blood stained floor of a cell in the witches' keep. The days were passed with gruelling labor in the fields reaping berries and fruits for the often harsh winters. The nights were often revels of dark side magic and madness that saw the deaths of many of the other male captives used as sacrifices. In between there was the torture.
The witches of the Clan firmly believed the path to greater power lay through the pain and suffering of the male sex. Adherents to fan-gal ma, or "the enlightenment of suffering", the sisters believed they could unlock the deeper secrets of their magics through the torture of their captives. The exquisite pain they induced upon the subjects opened their psyches to the subtler currents of the Force experienced by the men.
As if overhearing small voices, the women would pay great attention to every cry and moan uttered by the men in the throes of unrelenting agony. It was typical for a subject to slide into madness after only a few of the horrific rites were performed. Hence was the need for the sister's insatiable diet of subjects. Once driven mad, the men became as beasts and subsequently of equal use to the sanguinary witches.
For Raken, his experiences would be no different from the others. Over the next ten years he would be tortured, raped, mutilated, maimed and exposed to every vile experiment the sisters cared to perform. It was during this ceaseless physical and psychological cruciation that Raken would first hear the voices in his mind.
Initially they counseled him on small matters such as when to avoid a particularly angry sister who might invoke his end with a coarsely breathed spell. As his mind struggled to build barricades around what remained identifiably humanoid, the dark whispers offered greater service to his increasingly animalistic will. Nearby bits of food would come seemingly unbidden to his hand. The rats that would often gnaw at his toes could now be sent away under the influence of his increasingly predatory stare.
Unwittingly, the sisters themselves served to educate Raken through bits of overheard incantation and spell. Though he seldom spoke, he listened constantly. He watched in silence as the witches communed with the intangible powers of nature. Alone, he would recall the acts and spells and to his surprise, was rewarded with similar results. Though Raken had never heard of the Force, he had found a conduit to it through the focus of his anger and his mind's desperate bid to save him from the quiet death of despair.
If anything remained of the heart of a boy who ever-so-briefly knew of life and joy, it had been supplanted with a furnace of hatred that burned like the cores of a thousand suns. To be alive in his world was pain. To succumb to the cloying charms of death was to have lived only to die. Raken's mind, executing the ancient genetic instructions of self-preservation, had searched for any and all reasons to keep his body alive. When it finally settled upon revenge, it seemed to him as good as any.
3 ABY to 7 ABY
"That which you fear knows why..."
It would be in this time that the transformation would occur. Vasyn Cor Do’Muk Tu, or Vasyn the Tu as she was known in the slave quarters, undertook Raken's "education" personally. If the galaxy at large thought it knew the definition of the word "suffering", among the Frenzied River Clan, a new defining did await. The witches' ferocity and brutality were legend among even the Great Clans of Dathomir.
Raken's suffering would mark the pages of their history as the example by which their cruelty was defined.
To say that Vasyn the Tu took a disliking to the starving, gangly youth of an Elomin would be gross understatement. Though malnourished and sickly, Raken was tall for his species. Even at the age of 11 standard years, he was several centimeters taller than Vasyn or the other Sisters. His skin was red in hue where every other slave of the Clan was of ashen pallor like the Sisters, or an alien loam that helped them to hide among the drab tones that predominated slave life.
Raken's crimson hide, on the other hand, painted him like a target constantly in the sights of any prowling Sister looking for prey. To worsen matters still, Raken's species was possessed of a naturally occuring chitinous "crown" of horns that could take on a Kingly appearance found most insulting by the Clan Matriarchs. Further ostracizing would haunt him, though he would not realize the cause for many years. The witches could sense his Force acumen and knew the depths of that wellspring were dark and powerful. This final trait at once doomed him to incessant violation and spared his life. Raken was thereafter designated as fen-ma, "breeding stock".
And so it was that Vasyn would show him the meaning of power.
Somewhere between the merciless beatings, rapes, and denegrations of a life owned by another, Raken began to turn from what he was to what he would become. At night, the Sisters would circle round hearths for warmth and speak of things not fit for a slave's ear. They would muse that if The Eleventh Hour belonged to they of the Nightsister Order, then The Twelfth Hour under the Witch Moon was the domain of lo-sang, or "the devil", in the Dathomiri tongue. Though they feared no man, this decidedly male incarnation of death haunted their lore from the earliest beginnings.
It was told among them that a man would come from the sky. He would be unlike anything they had ever seen and before this man's life would know its fate, there would be a reckoning. A thousand moons and more would pass through the heavens, but under the satin light of one, the Frenzied River Clan, the Nightsister Order, indeed the planet itself would fall before his wrath. But this remains a legend and has yet not come to pass.
The rumors that circulated about him, along with the aforementioned physical peculiarities, are what led him afoul of not just the Sisterhood's collective, but of the Tu as well. To survive the mental, emotional, and physical torment, the shell of Raken's psyche hardened like an orbalisk seizing on its victim, drenching it in venom and beginning the aphotic symbiosis that would serve predator and prey.
At first, nothing visible could be seen to mark the change. Indeed the Sisters would likely have killed Raken had they been wise to the transmogrification taking place behind his eyes. The hunted was acquiring the tastes of the hunter. Slowly, gradually, his armor thickened to the point that derision nor violation could touch him. His skin became like iron both metaphorically and literally. As the beatings and ritual torture mounted in intensity and frequency, so too did Raken's resolve to stand over the lifeless bodies of every witch-[Expletive Deleted] that walked the grassy hills of the forsaken planet.
Though the change gradually progressed unknown, it was the Sisters themselves who gave Raken his first true outward expression of the nascent demon beneath the layers of scarified skin and calcified bone. It was on the night of his 13th year that he would receive the dark gift from Vasyn that would come to signify the monster under the skin of a child. It was she that would take both his eyes in a ritual arcane by even the Frenzied River Clan's measure. With an ancient and heavily runed stone blade, the Arch Dragoon took his sight so that he forever would know that she held sway over his future and over himself. For the Sisters, the eyes were symbolic of not only the way into one's soul, but their ability to decipher portent and past alike.
Little did Vasyn know how well her barbaric enucleation, meant to bind Raken's fate to her forever, had worked. Nor did she realize how much too late it had come. For the one known by many names: rah-k'ah, slave, paramour, defiled one, would one day come to be known by a different name. One of his own making, yet chosen by fate for him by what powers none could say. It was ever known to but a few heretical scholars of the arcane, but "Raken", in the old tongue of Elom--the homeworld of Raken's species--literally meant "devil", or what the Dathomiri witches feared above all: lo-sang.
===The Arts of Revenge===
7 ABY to 12 ABY
"To the disciplined mind and will, the body answers..."
As he had once prayed to nothing for death and release, so too did he now pray, but in a different form. He prayed to death not for release, but for salvation. Only the end of every life on this world of pain could address the anguish, shame and torment that churned his blood to fire. If intellect remained, and historians will argue if at this point in Raken's life it did, it attached itself with all the vigor and convention at its disposal to someday wield the power that would grant his prayers. Raken never expected Death to answer them. That he would have to see to himself.
Lo-sang was among them, yet they did not know. The Sisters continued the monotony of their spells, chants and tortures secure in the knowledge that no force on this world could oppose them. And indeed no force could...yet. Under their watchful eyes, but unseen, Raken absorbed their magics, tapped into the black eddies of power that swirled about him, and learned to harness his rage into something useful. Ability evolved where there had been only anger. His skill was sharpened by pain. Revenge powered his drive to pull into himself all the Dark Arts the Sisters could unwittingly teach him. To his surprise, other talents manifested all their own.
As Raken's power grew, he kept it buried beneath the fortress of his mind like a miser's treasure. It was for he and he alone. None other could know the sanctum where these riches lie, for his death would shortly follow their discovery. Time he needed. Time to learn, to perfect, to attain. And time he had.
For five long years he refined the tools that would serve him. Five years he endured further beatings, further mutilation, all in the knowledge that even then, at that jejune stage of his ascension, he could kill one or two, perhaps a handful of them before being brought down like an acklay gone mad. But his end transcended the death of a few. Lo-sang, as befitting the old bitches' prophecy, required the death of all.
"Freedom is like immense pain; one does not truly know it, til he has experienced it..."
At 20, Raken was an abomination. Years of torment had nearly killed him. He lived apart from the other slaves. None would go near him. Like a fine blade, the constant working of his mettle served only to harden his resolve to see every life of this world dead. He had no idea how many children he had fathered. When the time came, he would hunt them down and kill them too.
His power had grown nigh the point of escape. He knew he would never be able to meet out the Dark Justice he so desired unless he were to free himself of this world, travel beyond its borders and find teachers who could fill in the voids of power he could not attain on his own. But fate envisioned a different plan for Raken. Fate would deliver unto him a savior. A man from the sky not unlike himself. Though they would never meet, Kir Kanos would leave an indelible mark upon Raken's life.
It was to be this Crimson Knight from the Emperor's dead order of Guardsmen that would unwittingly free Raken from his enslavement. Kir and a band of operatives sought to dislodge the Imperial Remnant forces occupying the planet. During the ensuing battle, many of the Frenzied River Clan were slain or taken captive by Remnant forces. In the confusion, after 10 years of slavery, Raken threw off the chains of his tormentors. Blind and malnourished, he was like a reanimated corpse struggling to enjoy a moment of life's wonder free of the bonds of death.
It is not precisely known how Raken left Dathomir during the chaos. It is assumed he stowed away onboard a fleeing vessel, but the circumstances remain unclear to us. What is clear is that there will come a day when the man who was seemingly born to suffer will rise from the ruins of his beginnings to finish that which fate, and the voices in his head, have promised.
"With dark intentions, one may find himself in the company of wolves..."
Now free of the slave's mantle, Raken has sought out the Brotherhood. Not as unknown as they would have the galaxy believe, the Brotherhood is a repository of knowledge and treachery to plucked like a fruit ripened too long in the sun. The Elomin has entrenched himself among the squabbling, pedantic would-be dark siders. Unconcerned with their aimless lust for power, Raken moves among them continually learning where there is knowledge and readying himself for the day he will visit the witch planet of Dathomir again.
"Unto death forseen, he shall know no bar to his will..."
When Raken's eyes were taken by the Sisters in his 13th year, there was a dark vision shown him by the maddening whispers within his mind. As blood pooled in the sockets and his vision showed him his right eye removed with a dull stone knife, the pain sent Raken into a deep trance within the eddies of the Force.
A lake of blood stretched out before him rippling at his ankles as he wade deeper into its crimson depths. Floating face-down at the surface were the bodies of hundreds of Nightsisters slain by his hand. Their stringy dark hair spread out around their bloated heads like writhing snakes. Raken bled from many wounds inflicted during the battle. He could feel his life ebbing away, yet he was without fear. For the first time in his brutally short life he was at peace. The light faded as his refulgent eyes went dark and he slid beneath the surface of the lake.
From the relative peace of his vision, Raken was brought back to the muddy surface of consciousness by his own screams. The pulling of his left eye from its socket, he could of course not see, made all things dark forever.
Having seen his own death creates a liberation and calm for Raken that frees him to focus his considerable efforts to his misison.
==Rumors & Legend==
"In their mouths were the words of his deeds, and in those words both truths and lies would tell his story..."
Many among the Brotherhood have heard the whispers of Raken having once been known as The Spiderlord. This honorific was granted him by a primitive culture who worshipped their planet's giant arachnid species. They would send their warriors into the lush forest in search of the mighty spiders lurking within. Only the bravest and most skilled of them would emerge with the prize: the venom soaked fangs of the beasts ripped from their mouths by the warrior's own hands.
One in ten generations succeeded.
Raken accidentally had killed a villager in a contest of skill. The man was the small village's greatest warrior and next in line to assume the challenge of The Spiderlord. Indifferent, though not evil, Raken agreed to take the man's place so that the village would keep its honor and send its finest warrior into the dark wood.
Eight moons rose and fell over the tiny village before a silhouette emerged under the light of the ninth moon. Envenomated and near dying, Raken staggered to the village commons and before the assembled people raised two blood-drenched articulated fangs over his head. A cheer went up that the villagers repeated on each of the next nine nights: cua'toi wa'na-keh...
"Hail to ''The Spiderlord''