- "But one fact has always remained constant: The Chiss must be approached from a position of strength and respect. One must have strength, for the Chiss will deal only with those capable of keeping their promises. One must have respect, for the Chiss must believe that those promises will be kept."
- ―Passage from Mitth'raw'nuruodo's journal
The Chiss Ascendancy was the oligarchic autocracy and empire of the near-human Chiss located inside the Unknown Regions of the galaxy which was highly secretive and strictly isolationist to outsiders, preferring a libertarian approach to the wider galaxy, and was regarded as mostly a legend even within the Unknown Regions.
The history of the Ascendancy was long and ancient, dating as far back as the Sith Wars between the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire. But being isolationist, it almost never involving itself in affairs that existed beyond the bounds of its own space, even keeping it hidden from other powers and was not inherently expansionistic, instead pursuing exploration and research.
The Chiss Ascendancy eventually discovered a mysterious threat in the Unknown Regions, where it deduced that the Galactic Empire would be both a suitable ally and easy prey for the threat to attack instead of the Ascendancy.
History[edit | edit source]
Early history[edit | edit source]
- "The history of the Ascendancy is in these rooms, some of the pieces dating back to Chiss participation in the wars between the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire."
- ―Thrawn, to Ziara
The Chiss remembered teachings of ancient philosophers, many of whom felt that all war was madness. Over a thousand years before the Nikardun conquests, a majority of the population of the Chiss capital of Csilla were forced offworld by changes in the planet's climate. Most of the exodus moved to planets such as Avidich, Rentor and Sarvchi. This exodus to other worlds was kept a secret from most in the Ascendancy. Instead, historical accounts of the event taught that the population had moved underground, leaving out the fact that the number of Chiss below the surface was a far lesser number than the population of four billion before the climate change. Nevertheless, the headquarters of both the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet and Syndicure, along with many merchant and cargo installations, were kept on Csilla. Additionally, most ruling families did not want to abandon the Chiss capital world entirely, though some did move their homesteads to other planets. By the time Mitth'raw'nuruodo had command of the Boco, the population on Csilla numbered around sixty to seventy million, with some living aboveground to maintain the illusion of a thriving capital.
In another point of Chiss history, which was not remembered fondly by subsequent generations, the Chiss Ascendancy participated in the Sith Wars, a series of conflicts between the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire. The Ascendancy encountered a number of aliens before retreating to their borders.
Prior to the Nikardun conquests, the Chiss Ascendancy launch a series of operations against Vagaari pirates. The Chiss were able to defeat the Vagaari, but, while the operations were a success in a military sense, they were a political disaster for the Ascendancy and caused uproar in the higher echoes of Chiss society.
Nikardun conquests[edit | edit source]
- "We have everything Supreme General Ba'kif sent us to find. The murdered refugees were Paccosh from the Rapacc system, their oppressors are called the Nikardun, and the Nikardun leader is General Yiv the Benevolent."
- ―Senior Captain Thrawn
During the Nikardun conquests, the Chiss Ascendancy's capital of Csilla suffered an attack from the Paataatus, who deployed three warships. Following the attack, Admiral Ar'alani launched an attack on the Paataatus homeworld.
However, all this was orchestrated by General Yiv of the Nikardun Destiny in an attempt to conquer various governments of the Unknown Regions, where he was successful in subjugating or otherwise making allies of several factions, including the Lioaoin Regime and Urchiv-ki but the involvement of the Chiss Ascendancy driven by Senior Captain Mitth'raw'nuruodo hindered Yiv's resolve. Eventually the Chiss were able to outmaneuver the Nikarduns in a battle near the Vak homeworld of Primea, taking Yiv into custody.
Exploration of the Outer Rim[edit | edit source]
At some point, Mitth'raw'nuruodo, also known by his core name of "Thrawn," was assigned to explore the Outer Rim of the galaxy. The Ascendancy had discovered a mysterious threat in the Unknown Regions, and wished to know if the Galactic Republic would be a suitable ally against the threat. Exiting hyperspace above Batuu, Jedi General Anakin Skywalker intercepted him, where Thrawn sought Skywalker's assistance in learning of the Clone Wars and helped the Jedi Order, as well as Senator Padmé Amidala, against the Confederacy of Independent Systems. However, Thrawn was unimpressed with the state of the Republic and believed it to be unfit for an alliance with the Chiss. Sometime later during his exploration of the Outer Rim after the end of the Clone Wars, he discovered a colony of refugee Neimoidians where colonists warned him of the tyranny of the Galactic Empire, and attempted to persuade him to bring the Chiss against the New Order. Mitth'raw'nuruodo refused their offer.
Seeking counsel upon his return, the Ascendancy ruled that the time had come to judge whether or not the Galactic Empire would be a suitable ally, and that it was time to infiltrate the Empire in order to either make them an ally or to weaken them as easy prey for the threat to attack instead of the Ascendancy.
Allying with the Empire[edit | edit source]
- "The Grysk Hegemony has intruded into the Galactic Empire and has furthermore committed multiple criminal acts against it. You are hereby ordered to withdraw immediately from this system and from the Empire and return to your own territory."
- ―Admiral Ar'alani
With the blessing of the Aristocra, Thrawn chose a planet in Wild Space to begin his fake exile and gain the attention of the Galactic Empire—the then galactic government. By the time Thrawn left, there were stirrings of political conflict in the Ascendancy, but he assumed the Aristocra would settle their issues, as they had numerous times before. On his "exile" planet, Thrawn was taken by Imperial Captain Voss Parck without resistance. Thrawn was then brought before Galactic Emperor Sheev Palpatine on the galactic capital of Coruscant in order to be questioned on the threats lurking within the Unknown Regions. Thrawn became his advisor on matters relating to the Unknown Regions and permanently assign Ensign Eli Vanto as his translator and aide. Despite his aid in helping the Empire to map the Unknown Region's hyperspace routes, Thrawn decided to withhold the location of Chiss worlds and bases. Thrawn also seeks out those who could be of great use to the Chiss, by this he sent Vanto to the Ascendancy as an Imperial liaison, where he believed that he could be a great help to the Chiss. During a insurgency in the Batonn sector, Thrawn offered shadowy insurgent leader Nevil Cygni, known as "Nightswan" a place in the Chiss, but he declined his offer. After Nightswan's defeat, Thrawn offered a position in the Ascendancy to Vanto, who accepted. Vanto rendezvoused with Chiss Admiral Ar'alani and was given a position aboard the warship Steadfast. In addition to being given the rank of lieutenant, he was tasked with studying codified information about the Ascendancy's Force-sensitive navigators. Vanto, however, was not told this was what the information was.
Some point later, the Galactic Empire would find the Grysks colonizing the moons surrounding the planet of Mokivj, leading to Thrawn, who had been promoted to the rank of Grand Admiral after the victory at Batonn, and the Empire rescuing the Force-sensitive Chiss girls from the Grysks, who were known as the Ozyly-esehembo, which translated to Galactic Basic as 'sky-walker.' Ar'alani then informed Thrawn that she would return the children to their families and also promised to bolster the defenses of the colony world from which the children were taken. Speaking with Darth Vader, Thrawn admitted that the Ascendancy could be taking its first steps into a civil war. He believed that the Aristocra could have failed to settle their differences or that one side was under the control of the Grysks.
Later, wile traveling back to a transfer point, Thrawn's flagship, the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Chimaera, stumbled upon the wreckage of the Allanar N3 freighter and detected a cloaking device and gravity well nearby which was hiding an asteroid observation post. Hiding beneath the asteroid was an armed Grysk warship. The Empire bombarded the enemy ship with turbolaser fire. Exiting hyperspace, the Steadfast deploys plasma spheres to draw away the Grysk warship's laser fire. Following the battle, Ar'alani and Eli Vanto received an invitation from Thrawn to meet him aboard the Chimaera. Before leaving, Ar'alani ordered her crew to salvage the debris from the Grysk warship. Eli and Ar'alani then boarded the Grysk warship to see the Empire had captured two Grysk prisoners. There was a tense exchange between Ar'alani and one of the Grysk's. Ar'alani later would question Thrawn about his loyalties, but he reassured her that his true loyalty lied with the Chiss Ascendancy and not the Empire. Soon after, the Chiss led by Ar'alani entered Imperial space to warn the Empire about the Grysks. Ar'alani warned the Grysk Hegemony to depart Imperial space. The Grysk commander mockingly asked if the Chiss were serving the Empire and tried to brush off the recent Grysk defeats. The Grysk starfighters then tried to drain the Steadfast's defenses. Observing the space battle, Vanto and the Chiss officers realized that the surviving Grysk starfighters are returning to their warships to inform newer reinforcements about their enemy's defenses. However, with the aid of Thrawn's TIE/d "Defender" Multi-Role Starfighters, the Ascendancy defeated the Grysk craft.
After the victory against the Grysk, Vanto was told the information he was working on was about the navigators, and Thrawn dispatched Assistant Director Brierly Ronan to join the Ascendancy. Emperor Palpatine also spoke to Thrawn, who admitted that the Chiss force breached Imperial space, but stated it was to warn the Empire of the Grysks, and said that the Grysk presence in the Kurost sector proved that they had an active interest in the Empire. The Emperor questioned Thrawn's loyalty, but due to the threat of the another open rebellion, he told Thrawn that they would discuss his "loyalty" at another time and ordered Thrawn to return to Coruscant for a "long, long talk" once the "business" on Lothal was finished. In reality, the Emperor now sought to take control of the Chiss, intending to use Thrawn to do so. Palpatine believed Thrawn would be killed if he committed treason against the Empire, and he questioned if Thrawn could be manipulated or persuaded into betraying the Ascendancy if he was loyal to the Empire. However, before the Grand Admiral and the Emperor could have their "long talk," Thrawn, the Chimaera, and Jedi Padawan Ezra Bridger were taken away into deep space by a pod of Purrgil that Bridger had summoned.
Organization[edit | edit source]
Government[edit | edit source]
- "Always comes down to the families, doesn't it?"
The Chiss Ascendancy was a hegemonic empire and was comprised of interconnected sovereignties governed by the noble houses that made up the Aristocra, a sociopolitical body who were mid-level members of the empire's Nine Ruling Families. The Aristocra were collectively conglomerated to serve, represent, and unite the Chiss species as a whole, thereby bringing them under one common order. Most notably, the Aristocra effectively constituted what was essentially the governmental hierarchy and bureaucracy of the Chiss, known as the Syndicure.
The power held by the ruling families was that from which the legitimacy of the Aristocra's authority fundamentally derived. As a consequence, they had the power to pass legislation and bless decisions to be instituted across the Ascendancy.
Defense[edit | edit source]
- "They're supposed to be great warriors. Clever, resourceful, proud. Intensely loyal to one another, too."
- ―Eli Vanto, on the Chiss
The Aristocra unilaterally oversaw and supported the upkeep of the Chiss Defense Force, the Chiss Ascendancy's military. The Chiss Defense Force included the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet, the Ascendancy's naval arm.
With the Command Articles guided the Chiss Defense Fleet and set out it laws. Its existence was primarily for purposes relating to exploration and peacekeeping, only used for war in the most extreme of cases, as well as defending both the Chiss homeworld and it colonies. It further role was to monitor battles between other factions and governments across the galaxy. The fleet used several types of starships, including Chiss warships and Chiss shuttles. The Chiss shuttle was also referred to as a Chiss courier ship.
All operations of the Chiss Defense Fleet were managed by an admiralty, which also held the power to exile traitors for crimes against the Chiss. Chiss officers were outfitted with a type of uniform which was able to absorb energy, protecting the user from blaster fire. There were multiple military ranks used in the Chiss Defense Fleet, including the ranks of admiral and commander. Though the Aristocra were not supposed to have influence over assignments in the Chiss military, it was still known to happen behind the scenes and against protocol.
Foreign policy[edit | edit source]
In contrast to many other galactic empires, the Chiss Ascendancy favored a more libertarian approach in how it conducted itself in galactic affairs, embracing a philosophy of strict non-interventionism and peaceful diplomacy. Although military service was an important component of Chiss culture and heritage, the very notions of conquest and aggressive expansionism were almost universally disdained by society, and such actions would be in fundamental defiance of military protocol. Despite not believing in the preliminary initiation of force, the Chiss supported going to war in the event that the Ascendancy fell under attack by external forces. Still, official military policy was to do everything possible to avoid a preemptive attack against a possible enemy. Though the act of entering another faction's space to gather intelligence was effectively allowed, it was close enough to breaking the rule to cause concern.
Despite not allowing involvement in non-Chiss battles without being provoked, the Chiss, who also disallowed deliberate provocation, allowed their military ships to provide humanitarian aid if they arrived in the aftermath of such battles. Nevertheless, the Chiss Ascendancy was also generally isolationist, almost never involving itself in affairs that existed beyond the bounds of its own space. Diplomatically speaking, on those rare occasions when the Ascendancy did engage in intergalactic matters, the Ascendancy displayed its pacifistic ethos by taking a benevolent approach in its dealings. Despite this, the Ascendancy always exercised extreme caution when doing so, taking measures to ensure that the location of Chiss Space would remain hidden, even to leaders of other galactic governments.
While it rarely embedded itself in galactic conflicts, the Ascendancy would sometimes send emissaries to observe large-scale wars and assess galactic geopolitics. Such would be the case during the Clone Wars, in which the Chiss officer Mitth'raw'nuruodo was sent into Republic space to analyze the conflict, during which he had an encounter with the Jedi Order and Anakin Skywalker. Years later he would be sent to the Galactic Empire's territory in order to assess its power and determine its viability as an ally against threats that lurked in the Unknown Regions, just beyond the bounds of Chiss territory. Though not initially part of the plan, he ended up infiltrating the ranks of the Imperial Navy, eventually achieving the rank of Grand Admiral. Even so, such external dealings were only carried out if they were somehow seen as being beneficial to Chiss interests, or if specific circumstances had the potential to produce consequences that could have a negative impact on the Ascendancy in the future. Unknown to the Chiss, by the time of the conflict with the Grysks, Emperor Palpatine sought to take complete control of the Chiss Ascendancy, which would make him their emperor as well.
While the Ascendancy was not inherently expansionistic, it often sent ships beyond its borders for the purposes of exploration and research. This allowed for them not only to successfully map and chart numerous expanses throughout Wild Space and the Unknown Regions, but also to discover the existence of forces that could serve as grave threats to the Chiss species.
Society and culture[edit | edit source]
- "Even advanced species like the Chiss had found a way to make icy planets into homes."
- ―An artist, in his journal
Philosophically speaking, the Ascendancy vindicated its positions through a kind of utilitarian lens, the Chiss themselves being an empirically-minded species. The Chiss saw their government as the inverse of the chaos that was the Unknown Regions, believing their Ascendancy represented order, security, steadfastness, power, glory, light, and culture.
The Chiss language was known as Cheunh, while written communication was done in Chiss script. In their rare contacts with outsiders, the Chiss used the Sy Bisti trade language, which was used across the Unknown Regions as a means of communication. Most Chiss names were multi syllabic and consisted of three distinct parts, as in Mitth'raw'nuruodo. The first portion identified an individual's family, the second was the given name and the third indicated other social factors.
The secrets of Second and Third Sights were among the best kept secret in the Chiss Ascendancy, to such an extent that many Chiss themselves were unaware of their full extent or even their existence. They were identified with the ability to use the Sight to act as navigators for the CDF and were known as ozyly-esehembo, the Chiss word for "sky-walker."
Much like how the Galactic Empire showed prejudice towards aliens, the Chiss Ascendancy was known for distrusting humans. When Imperial Commander Eli Vanto served the Chiss Defense Fleet, the Chiss treated him similarly to how Grand Admiral Thrawn was treated when he joined the Empire. Nevertheless, all mistrust towards Vanto ended when he proved his worth.
Astrography[edit | edit source]
The Chiss Ascendancy ruled a swathe of space beyond the borders of the known-galaxy. The Chiss cared a great deal for its sovereignty and the lengths that the government went to in order to avoid compromising even the location of its coordinates resulted in the Chiss' becoming a species shrouded in a certain curious air of mystery.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
- Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising
- Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising audiobook
- Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good
- Thrawn (First appearance, simultaneous with Thrawn audiobook)
- Thrawn audiobook (First appearance, simultaneous with Thrawn)
- Thrawn 1 (Indirect mention only)
- Thrawn 6 (First pictured)
- Thrawn: Alliances
- Thrawn: Alliances audiobook
- Thrawn: Treason
- Thrawn: Treason audiobook