- "Grysks are a species living somewhere in the Unknown Regions. Creatures half of myth, whom few have ever seen. It is said that they are nomads, with no fixed home, traveling in spacecraft so numerous they blot out the stars. They are said to be terrifying warriors, overwhelming their opponents by sheer numbers and ferocity."
- ―Thrawn, to Darth Vader
The Grysks were a warlike sentient species that lived in the Unknown Regions. According to Chiss Grand Admiral Thrawn, they should not be underestimated and, if they fled, it would be because they chose to leave the battle. Thrawn believed that the Grysks were such a danger that they posed a threat to both the Chiss Ascendancy and the Galactic Empire. The Grysks would enslave the minds and souls of beings, having twisted their desires, fears, memories, and hopes to their will, to be their "clients." The Grysks ruled an empire known as the Grysk Hegemony.
Biology and appearance
Society and culture
Myths and culture
- "We can't tell right now which signal originated from which group of prisoners. Also, without knowing the encryption method they were using—or even their language, for that matter—it's impossible to know how much they could have said."
- ―Karyn Faro, to Thrawn on the language used by the Grysk
The Grysks were a species that were known to be half of myth who few had actually seen. They used a common script and a rare language. Stories about the Grysk were that they were nomads that traveled in starships numerous enough to block stars, and that the Grysk were terrifying warriors, using their numbers and ferocity to overwhelm their opponents. They controlled an empire known as the Grysk Hegemony. The Grysks employed "client species," which were beings they had convinced to serve them. The Grysks would probe deeply into a potential client's mind and soul, finding the individual's deepest fears and desires, as well as their most treasured hopes and comforting memories. The Grysks would twist all of these to their will, eventually enslaving the individual. These new "clients" were then willing to fight and die for their new masters. Because of this, the Chiss ozyly-esehembo named Vah'nya believed it only took three Grysks to rule a nation and only one hundred to rule a world.
The Chiss Grand Admiral Thrawn of the Galactic Empire believed, when compensating for the bias of artists on their art about the Grysk, that the stories of vast hordes of the Grysk were not accurate. Rather, he believed it was more likely that the Grysk used unfamiliar tactics and weapons to defeat their opponents. Thrawn also did not believe the myth that the Grysk were nomadic, as most species that begin on planetary worlds do not easily surrender them and because their starships, as depicted in art pieces, strongly demonstrated a preference for sun, sky, and soil, rather than the vast darkness of space. Additionally, the Grysks would isolate what mattered to a species, threatening it to help bring them under their will.
War capabilities and mentality
- "The Grysks are not to be underestimated. If they fled from combat today, it is because they chose to do so."
- ―Thrawn, sharing his deductions of the Grysk
Thrawn also deducted that the Grysk should not be underestimated; if they fled, it was because they decided to do so. The Grysk, being a warlike species, had several types of starships at their disposal, including elliptical ships resembling Corona-class armed frigates, a type of long-range heavy freighter, a type of small transport, a type of spacetug, and a type of warship.
Grysk warriors utilized a type of lightning gun, as well as a type of pellet gun. They also made use of armor and helmets, which had curves on the left half and a distorted right half. Grysk weapons and armor were ritualistically disfigured on the right side, with the measure of degradation possibly related to the amount of animosity the Grysk had for the particular species the Grysk fought against, or perhaps, the length and bitterness of the particular conflict. The damages done to the armor and weapons also appeared to be chronological, as the deformities to the leftmost part of the right halves demonstrated more signs of age. Thrawn believed that the trophy collection held by a particular group of Grysk warriors could be a representative of what he considered to be overall the entire military history of the Grysk, and also thought that he could use it to help him uncover the location of their homeworld. Thrawn also noted that there were tales of some of the Grysks' wars.
In what Thrawn believed to be an ingenious tactic, Grysk warriors had their teeth removed and replaced with upper and lower moldings that contained break-apart weapons, communicators, and lock-breakers. As such, they could participate in back and forth conversations with their coded language using ultrasound signals through the metal bulkheads of a starship, which was done on at least one occasion.
Because the Grysk had been surveying the Empire, they were aware of Imperial-class Star Destroyers, the capabilities and limits of TIE starfighters, and other Imperial weaponry and technology, and utilized that knowledge in combat against Imperial forces. The Grysk, however, had several cultural blindspots, one of them being that they considered the nearest enemy to be the most dangerous, and would adjust their combat tactics to supplement that bias. Despite the Grysks' knowledge of Imperial weaponry, they had not encountered a TIE/d "Defender" Multi-Role Starfighter before their encounter with the Chimaera, and as such, were unable to effectively combat against it.
Conquest and expansion
- "These are some of the artistic pieces that have been created in memorial by survivors of Grysk conquests."
- ―Thrawn, to other Imperial personnel
Sometime before the Battle of Atollon, the Grysks led conquests in the Unknown Regions of the galaxy, coming into conflict with the Chiss Ascendancy and other factions. Survivors of the conquests created artistic pieces in memorial.
Shortly after the defeat of Yiv the Benevolent and the Nikardun Destiny, the Grysk Jixtus and Haplif of the Agbui attempted to cause a civil war to erupt within the Chiss Ascendancy. The Chiss Ascendancy had records of many battles against the Grysks, some that they participated in and others they simply observed, while the Grysk degraded the right side of their helmets and armor on the previous wars they fought against various other species and groups.
Monitoring galactic affairs
- "I propose two questions. First: How did the Grysks know that cortosis would be an effective defense against blasters and lightsabers?"
"You suggest they were studying us as far back as the Clone Wars?"
"I do, my lord. After all, the Chiss were watching you. Why not the Grysks? My second question: Once the Grysks knew the value of cortosis against blasters and lightsabers, how did the Separatists gain that knowledge?"
- ―Thrawn, explaining to Darth Vader Grysk activities during the Clone Wars
During the Clone Wars between the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems, the Grysk maintained surveillance on both governments. It would later supply Count Dooku, Head of State of the Confederacy, with information on cortosis, which was resistant against lightsabers. Dooku dispatched Duke Solha to Mokivj to mine the cortosis and manufacture it into B2-series super battle droids. To the surprise of the Grysk, however, the Mokivj droid factory began producing clone trooper armor as well. Unknown to the Grysk, Dooku was Sith apprentice to Darth Sidious, publicly Supreme Chancellor of the Republic Sheev Palpatine, who sought to add cortosis to clone armor in order for the clone troopers to be better protected when they eventually betrayed their Jedi Generals as part of Order 66. Ultimately, the mine was destroyed.
- "The invasion is coming, Lord Vader. But I have now bought the Empire time to prepare."
- ―Thrawn, to Darth Vader
Shortly after the Battle of Atollon, which was part of an uprising rebellion against the Galactic Empire, the Imperial capital ship, Chimaera, traveled to Batuu in order to uncover the cause and meaning of a disturbance in the Force sensed by Emperor Palpatine. As the Chimaera was above Batuu, Sensor officer Commander Hammerly detected four small transports above the planet in loose formation, and together with the six starships already on Batuu's surface, made for ten. Commodore Karyn Faro spoke with Hammerly as the crew of the Chimaera attempted to gather as much information as they could on the vessels, deducing that they could be either small freighters or small warships. As the information gathering continued, two more ships exited hyperspace straight ahead from the Chimaera at a distance of 400,000 kilometers, which Hammerly deduced where a type of long-range heavy freighter at the least, bearing straight for Batuu. Faro believed that all of the unidentified vessels were headed for Black Spire Outpost, where Grand Admiral Thrawn and Darth Vader were investigating.
Hammerly discovered that the two new starships had arrived from over the Chimaera's shoulder on the same hyperlane that the Chimaera had arrived from. Shortly prior to a skirmish on Batuu between Thrawn and Vader against a group of Darshi, one of the heavy freighters was heading towards Thrawn and Vader's position while the remaining vessels maintained orbit above Batuu. Vader ordered Commander Kimmund and his unit to intercept, examine, and engage the other heavy freighter.
Shortly after the skirmish, Kimmund and his stormtroopers approached the heavy freighter in the Darkhawk, although the Grysk vessel was able to detect the Darkhawk and broke orbit. Defender Squadron One arrived and was able to prevent its escape by disabling the starship, and later chased away the other smaller transports.
After the expedition of the Chimaera, Grand Admiral Thrawn believed an invasion of the galaxy would be imminent, and had tricked the Grysk into possibly attacking the Chiss Ascendancy before the Empire, as Thrawn believed that the Grysk would continue with their bias of attacking the nearest enemy first. By 1 BBY, the Grysk had begun to make advances into Imperial territory, committing multiple criminal acts against it as noted by Admiral Ar'alani.
Behind the scenes
- "I'm hoping to develop more about the conflicts and threats of the Grysks with the Chiss and the Imperials in future material."
- ―Timothy Zahn
The Grysk first appeared in Timothy Zahn's 2018 canon novel Thrawn: Alliances as the primary antagonists. The Grysk share some similarities with other alien invaders like the Yuuzhan Vong species from Star Wars Legends, who originated from Del Rey's 1999-2003 book series Star Wars: The New Jedi Order, as well as to the Vagaari, who first appeared in Zahn's 2004 novel Survivor's Quest.
- Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising (Voice only)
- Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising audiobook (Voice only)
- Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good
- Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good audiobook
- Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil
- Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil audiobook
- Thrawn: Alliances (First appearance, simultaneous with Thrawn: Alliances audiobook)
- Thrawn: Alliances audiobook
- Thrawn: Treason
- Thrawn: Treason audiobook