|Nicknames||Merk, Net, the Jade Inquisitor|
|Faction||Order of Revan, formerly Galactic Republic, Jedi Order|
|Force Form Specialties||Projection, Cloaking|
|Lightsaber Form Specialties||I (Shii-Cho), III (Soresu), IV (Ataru), V (Shien / Djem So), VI (Niman)|
- "What I was, once...I was part of the problem. 'The Jade Inquisitor' they called me. Ever vigilant for threats against Jedi 'purity'. Now, with others of like mind, I seek to be part of the solution. To excise the cancer from the Force that is the idea of Jedi and Sith as separate entities, of the Force perpetually at war with itself."
- - Master Merken Netalis, to Fal Antel
Merken Netalis is a Mirialan Jedi Shadow, Weapon Master, and diplomat. The younger brother of General Ketana Netalis-Linavil and the uncle of Captain Melena Linavil, he served in the Great War while training under Master Aken Tyrell, and then independently upon being Knighted; however, the war did not leave as great a burden on his mind as it did Tyrell's other student, Saxtus Fayhan - or so it seemed. However, Netalis eventually fell under the temptation of the Sith Lord Darth Verulam, who had secretly aligned with the Order of Revan.
Born on Mirial, Merken was the youngest of three children - his elder sister Ketana and his elder brother Sherin born before him. He was discovered to be Force-sensitive around the age of three, and was sent to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. At eleven, he was named as Padawan to Master Kardam Radino, a human Jedi Guardian, who recognized the acrobatic skill and grace of his student - recommending him for "supplimentary training" with his old colleague, Aken Tyrell, who had risen through the ranks around the same time he had. Radino was killed early in the Great War, and thus he formally became Tyrell's apprentice. He was knighted at the age of twenty-five; rather than remain at Tyrell's side, as Saxtus Fayhan did, he opted to serve on his own. Ironically, they would meet several times on numerous battlefields...and so would members of his family.
Ketana, his eldest sister, had enlisted in the Republic Army when the war began, and had undertaken officer training with the support of her husband, Toral Linavil, who described himself as a "career grunt". They had their first chance encounter on Coruscant, recuperating from wounds they had sustained during the war; despite the Jedi insistence on emotional detachment, he began a correspondence with her and their brother Sherin, who remained on Mirial to oversee the family home - and to act as guardian for Toral and Ketana's young daughter, Melena. Netalis was on Coruscant during the Sacking, and received his facial scars in a duel with the Sith Lord Esher Riesstiu.
Rise to Mastery
Near the end of the war, Master Tyrell and Knight Fayhan rescued sixteen Miraluka war orphans from a colony destroyed by the Empire. After initially undertaking the training of the group, Tyrell assigned the two eldest, Huldref and his sister Caradell, to other Jedi for formal training. While Caradell was sent to Gadren Zulek, Tyrell approached Netalis and asked him to train Huldref. Netalis agreed, and took the young Miraluka under his wing. Eventually, Huldref became a Jedi Guardian, and was Knighted three years later.
For three more years afterwards, Netalis focused less on fighting and more on diplomacy, including a stint at House Organa on Alderaan and looking to uphold Republic interests on Nar Shaddaa, as well as working with Senator Leontyne Saresh after her appointment as governor of the Taris Resettlement Initiative. For his efforts, Netalis was anointed a Jedi Master, remaining on Taris for another four years before accepting an assignment at the Jedi Temple on Tython as a Weapon Master, assisting the new Jedi trainees in the art of bladework.
In recent days, Netalis has become a "watchdog" for perceived corruption in the ranks of the Jedi Order, and his eye has particularly fallen on the Jedi Custodum, an autonomous enclave with a Masters' Council modelled on that of the Jedi High Council. It began largely with his following two Padawans who left without authorization to locate Master Dai Yarwin, who had seemingly been corrupted by the dark side, on the ruined world of Taris. Netalis took a hard line against allowing Yarwin to remain in the Order, even declaring him banished (which was never upheld), and soon began to look for other instances of Custodum "perfidy". The examples he cited included the pent-up anger of Archivist Caradell towards Master Fayhan (which led her into the clutches of the demented Sith sorcerer Darth Malagant), the mental breakdown and eventual death of Fayhan himself, and more recently the wedding of Shaantil Dumas to Prince Cordae Keyis of Erini, in violation of the taboo against such attachments.
Ironically, this contempt towards the Custodum and its members made him just as open to charges of emotionalism as he had levelled against them - and it would lead to a fateful encounter on the Rim world of Nikaea...
The Shadow Dispelled
- "I am sure Master Tyrell is quite proud of your courageous and - dare I say - passionate defense of the traditions of your Order. But you forgot something, didn't you? 'There is no passion, there is serenity'. Ergo, you're a hypocrite and a self-deluded fool, just like Saxtus. He was much harder to break...but I think you will do quite nicely."
- - Darth Malagant captures Netalis on Nikaea
Deciding to "do what Fayhan and his ilk could not" and liberate Nikaea, Netalis managed to sneak himself onto an Imperial transport on Nar Shaddaa and land in the city of Nikaeapolis, now called "Imperium Glorialis", and find a way to cause a revolt that would end the Imperial occupation. This trip coincided with the arrival of Malagant himself to conduct an inspection of his domain, guided by the chief overseer, a middle-rank Sith Lord. Netalis saw an opportunity to cut off the head of the Imperial "beast" that kept Nikaea in a stranglehold, and moved towards him; however, the lower-ranked Sith's senses were sharper than Netalis had anticipated, and detected the movement. In response, Malagant called out in the Sith tongue for the Narnevrans - the ancient Sithspawn found in the Nikaean sector, which allowed him to quickly conquer Nikaea and its environs - to attack, dispelling the Force shroud that hid him from sight. The beasts quickly incapacitated him, and Malagant ordered that the Jedi Master be taken to the Temple of the Eternal Watcher, the former seat of the Nikaean High Patriarch.
Locked in Force-deadening restraints, Netalis could do nothing as Malagant mocked him, and revealed that Fayhan had resisted him to the end - that he had "offered him a chance to be the warrior he wants to be, and he chose instead to allow Ammenkayn to kill him, so he could die as a Jedi." He then had Netalis taken to his estate on Dromund Kaas and subjected to torture, intended to soften up the Jedi Master's mind, and feed on his repressed hate and rage...and make him more amenable to suggestion. After leaving Netalis to the mercy of his modified 2V protocol droid, Malagant came himself to finish the job, using a specialized Sergorath neural blade to overload his nervous system with brief but excruciating pain. Once this was done, he injected him with the chemical for the Castellan conditioning that was often used for wayward Imperial agents...and deep-cover spies. Having learned the lessons from the same procedure he conducted with Caradell, Malagant made sure not to speak the command word aloud, instead imprinting it into his mind telepathically...and leaving the Jedi Master with no memory of his capture or torture, only that he had barely managed to escape from Nikaea.
Caradell was tasked by Master Iaera Farworlder, leader of the Custodum, to investigate incidents involving the Narnevrans attacking worlds on the Outer Rim and, if possible, prevent attacks from hitting Republic worlds or neutral worlds of beneficial interest to the Republic. Republic military intelligence had also been tracking Netalis, as he had arrived (relatively) incognito and disappeared near the spaceport facility the Hutts loaned to the Empire; the agent on scene was able to deduce Netalis' possible course and informed General Linavil, who in turn sent a message to Caradell requesting her assistance. Caradell, already feeling uncertain given the magnitude of her task and the mettle of her foe, was now conflicted; she was uncertain if Linavil was asking in her capacity as a Republic general or as Netalis' sibling. She believed it highly probable that this news was one of Malagant's traps.
To Caradell's surprise, Netalis himself arrived on Coruscant shortly afterwards, explaining the ordeal he believed he had undergone on Nikaea, and mentioning he intended to speak with Master Farworlder on joining the beast hunt. Caradell could sense something was wrong, but could not entirely place it - and Netalis himself was completely unaware, just as Malagant intended. That would change, however...
- "We have taken a first step on a new path. A path to restored order, a path that will ensure that the Force will reign over all of creation when we are dead, rather than be used as a toy by power-mad dictators on either side, and then fall into nothingness as its wielders are consumed from within. This view is regarded as treasonous, both within your Republic, and especially within the Empire. But it is the only way that the galaxy will not be left lifeless by millennia more of pointless conflict."
- - Netalis receives counsel from Darth Verulam
On Nar Shaddaa, Netalis had a chance encounter with Darth Verulam, a powerful Sith Lord who had spent more than a decade in hiding after faking his own death shortly after the end of the first war. Verulam gently coaxed the Jedi Master into following him into a private back room of the Slippery Slopes Cantina, where he entered Netalis' mind and broke the conditioning that Malagant had placed him under; when the Jedi regained consciousness, Verulam revealed that Malagant had subjected him to the conditioning during his ill-fated mission to Nikaea.
Netalis was horrified that he had nearly been used in such a manner...and listened as Verulam spoke of a "new path", decrying both the Jedi and the Sith alike, as well as the nations they served, for dooming the Force to obscurity by constant warfare and (in the case of the Sith) infighting. Though he had long held beliefs that the Force should be ruled by the dark side, as it seemed the "natural" state of the universe, Verulam also stated that he believed there must also be some light, represented by the stars themselves. He spoke of "new patrons" that he had found, and called for unity between the two of them for the sake of the galaxy. With that, and the words "consider yourself", Verulam left him to think on what he had said.
The meeting between Netalis and Verulam did not go unnoticed, however; Saliya Taldir, the first mate of the Republic privateer Direwolf, received a message from one of her former comrades in the InterStellar Regulators who had fled Makeb when it fell to the Hutts, reporting Netalis' presence in the cantina; Taldir in turn informed her captain, Eidan Zherron, who took it to Master Farworlder. Zherron, though mindful of the fact that Netalis was a Jedi Shadow and thus would be hard to track, offered his services to keep tabs on him. At the same time, agents of the Imperial State of Reydovan Prime - whose Sith governor, Darth Cyanoculus, had fallen under Verulam's spell - also spotted the meeting. Moff Euphrati Velade, Cyanoculus' chosen successor, joined with General Varan of the Imperial Reydovan Defense Force to investigate the matter as well, believing Verulam to have corrupted their beloved governor, and was now turning Jedi to his cause as well.
Confronted by Zherron in the cantina, Netalis admitted his alliance with Verulam before Force-pushing the captain against the wall and making his escape, returning to the temple established by Verulam, in a former "sky palace" used by Zherron and Caradell as a base to hunt for Malagant's Sithspawn. There, he and Verulam discussed where to go from there; Verulam outright admitted his new allegiance to the Order of Revan, and was pleased when Netalis remained part of his plans for the future.
Appearance and Personality
- "My old Master once told me that the art of diplomacy is two percent knowing what to say, three percent knowing when to say it, and ninety-five percent knowing when to shut up."
- - Master Netalis jokingly explains his modus operandi
Netalis is a figure of relatively short and slender stature, with reddish-brown hair (a trait shared with his siblings - though Ketana's has gone white over the years - as well as his niece). His ritual tattoos are the same as Ketana's: an interlinked diamond shaped formed by four smaller ones, a similar design on the upper bridge of his nose, and a line across the lower bridge, ending with another interlinked diamond and a five-diamond "arrow" pointed towards the ear on each cheek. He wears a black tunic, gloves, and trousers, with a red wrapping around his neck and shoulders, and red leather wristguards. While on humanitarian missions, he wears garb typical of Evocii and other refugees; without his lightsaber, he is often mistaken for a refugee himself. In addition to his native Mirialan, Netalis speaks fluent Basic and Huttese, the two predominant languages in common use on countless worlds.
Despite the fact that he is a trained Weapon Master, Netalis prefers to use words rather than weapons, and is an accomplished diplomat. He is a warm, sociable man, who is always quick to counter the assertion that Jedi were not supposed to have emotions; he points out that the Jedi way is to master one's emotions rather than be mastered by them, as the Sith are prone to doing. He attributes his success in diplomacy to knowing how to listen, and when to listen rather than speak - a point of advice he was given by Master Tyrell, also a "Jedi warrior" who preferred alternatives to battle. Though he is a veteran of the Great War and witnessed his share of Sith atrocities, Netalis does not suffer from the same emotional turmoil that has affected other Jedi veterans - including Saxtus Fayhan, who was also trained by Master Tyrell. In spite of his diplomatic background, however, Netalis is also an unsparing critic of those he believes to be "violators" of Jedi tradition, his eye having fallen especially hard on the Jedi Custodum.
Netalis agrees with those in the Order and the Republic that there can never truly be any peace with the Sith Empire, as their way of life (particularly the xenophobia, tolerance of slavery, and a regime largely dependent on state-sanctioned terror) is utterly incompatable with the free peoples of the Republic. After the collapse of the treaty, he obtained an advanced war droid with a stealth generator, specifically programmed to fight Sith - based on salvaged assassin droid technology.