Biology and appearance
The Echani had similar anatomy to that of humans, but were physically distinct due to their light skin, white hair and silver eyes. They exhibited among themselves a remarkable similarity to each other in their body type and facial features, with close family members such as siblings often appearing indistinguishable to an outside observer. The Thyrsian subspecies of the Echani, in contrast, shared few of these traits, possessing dark hair and skin, rather than the white hair and silver eyes the Echani became known for.
Due to the all-encompassing use of combat in all levels of their culture, Echani Generals were seen by others as having the ability to predict their opponent's next move. This was not a biological trait inherent to the Echani or their subspecies. Instead, it arose from a culture where combat was seen as the truest form of communication.
Society and culture
- "It is the way of the Echani to be able to read their opponents - to know where an opponent is going to strike before it connects, anticipate it, and then strike against them. Echani battles are fought several minutes in advance."
- ―Brianna, to Meetra Surik
The Echani were a matriarchal caste-based society originating from the Inner Rim world of Eshan that spread to worlds such as Bengali and Thyrsus to encompass a confederacy of six worlds known as the Six Sisters, governed by the all-female ruling council of the Echani Command.
On the worlds known as the Six Sisters, the Echani developed a kinetic communication style and can instantly identify an individual through subtle shifts in body language. This sensitivity translates well to physical combat.
Communication through combat
- "Duels among the Echani are rituals, and do not allow for armor or anything that restricts movement."
Echani culture held the belief that to know one fully, you must fight them. Echani fighting was not only self-defense, but a form of self-expression, a means of communication similar to art. During the Old Republic era, Echani Firedancers combined Echani fighting techniques with exotic weapons such as ritual brands, blending the two together in a manner akin to a dance. For the Echani, it was not at all unusual for children of the same parents to be born so as to be completely indistinguishable from one another to outsiders. Thus, being able to distinguish between like individuals through reading of body movement became an essential requirement.
The Echani were also known to be able to read feelings and emotion through combat. To an Echani, a combat between two people said more than hours of talking. They saw a certain purity in the way techniques were used in battle. The Maktites learned this to their own sorrow circa 3951 BBY, when their stores of thermal weaponry were rendered ineffectual by relatively simple adjustments in the traditional Echani light armor.
- "Personal shields, I love you so.. crafting and fighting with you… exhilarates me. You are the MAIN focus of my life… (except for my melee weapons and armor)… I love you so."
- ―An Echani Poem
The Echani were known to focus on unarmed combat and melee weapons. They were considered excellent craftsmen of these weapons, as common melee weapons throughout the galaxy before and during the Jedi Civil War such as vibroswords were based on Echani designs. However, mass-produced Echani weapons such as the foils crafted in honor of Raskta Fenni rarely survived the crafting process due to difficulties in weaving them with cortosis. Echani-made double-bladed vibroblades were used by Palpatine's Royal Guard, influencing their appearance. Though their personal energy shields were popular during the period surrounding the Meetra Surik's travel through the galaxy, they gradually fell out of general use.
The Echani largely eschewed the use of heavy armor, preferring to fight in light armor, whilst they trained in minimal clothing. Their fighting style focused more on agility and movement, and so anything that hampered their freedom of movement would be avoided.
Ergeron, a Mandalorian mercenary, was disgusted at the Echani and their relatively "light" weapons.
- "He was slain by Revan in the Jedi Civil War when Revan sought to destabilize the Echani worlds. Revan succeeded."
- ―Brianna, about Yusanis
The Echani were a culture of respected warriors, with Echani such as Raskta Fenni, who lived years before the Jedi Civil War and was famous for being known as the best duelists of their time, and Raskta Lsu, Jedi Master in General Hoth's Army of Light. Echani held a long-standing rivalry with the Mandalorians, which led to the Echani entering the Mandalorian Wars on the side of the Galactic Republic. The Echani General Yusanis fought alongside the Exiled Jedi Arren Kae in the conflict until the Battle of Malachor V, which led to Yusanis returning from the war alone to become a Senator. Following the assassination of an Echani Senator on the orders of Darth Revan during the Jedi Civil War, Yusanis challenged Revan to a duel, and was defeated by the Sith. After the outbreak of the Jedi Civil War, the Echani engaged in battle against Revan, and were defeated. As with the Mandalorians upon their defeat by Revan, the Echani respected the combat skill of their enemy.
By 1154 BBY, tensions between the ruling council of the Echani Command and the planets of Bengali and Thyrsus led to a revolt, beginning the Bengali Uprising. Though Bengali would rejoin Echani Command less than a century after the uprising, The Thyrsians led a string of crusades against the Echani Command until the independence of Thyrsus was recognised with the Pact of Almera in 899 BBY. During this conflict, the Thyrsian special forces division evolved into the seminomadic mercenary group that became known as the Sun Guard.
Echani fighting techniques remained in use by the Emperor's Royal Guard and Imperial Intelligence by the time of the Galactic Empire, while double-bladed vibroblades of Echani design were used by the Emperor's Royal Guard.
- Brianna - The half-Echani youngest handmaiden in the service of Atris. She also was a companion of Meetra Surik, the Jedi Exile.
- Raskta Fenni - The most skilled Echani duelist of her time.
- Handmaiden Sisters - The five elder sisters of Brianna and daughters of Yusanis.
- Raskta Lsu - So named for the legendary Raskta Fenni, Jedi Weapon Master also the most skilled lightsaber duelist of her time.
- Yusanis - Echani General, and later senator, who was father of the six Handmaiden Sisters.
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (Mentioned only)
- Darth Bane: Rule of Two
- Darth Bane: Rule of Two audiobook
- Darth Plagueis
- Darth Plagueis audiobook
- Star Wars: Crimson Empire (First mentioned)
- Star Wars Handbook 2: Crimson Empire
- The Emperor's Pawns
- Hero's Guide
- Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: Prima Official Game Guide
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Galaxy at War
- The Essential Atlas
- Star Wars: Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide