"It's simple. There's no path to the Grand Lordship so long as Hilts lives. And Iliana, she'll see to it that Hilts will live you and I are too old to care."
―Bentado Korsin assessing Iliana's influence on Lost Tribe politics[src]

Iliana Hilts (née Merko) was a Force-sensitive female Human who was a member of the Lost Tribe of Sith, the descendants of Human Sith who had become stranded on the Wild Space planet of Kesh during the Great Hyperspace War. Iliana became the leader of the Sisters of Seelah, which was a splinter cult that revered the memory of Seelah Korsin, the estranged wife of the Tribe's founder Yaru Korsin. In 3000 BBY, Iliana attempted to manipulate Caretaker Varner Hilts to give her and her faction political on Testament Day. This attempt failed after Hilts tricked her into believing that the holocron of Yaru Korsin, which contained Korsin's Testimony, would only activate on Testament Day.

During Testament Day, the Tribe discovered an older transmission beneath Korsin's Testament which revealed that the Lost Tribe were actually descended from slaves of the Red Sith which ruled the former Sith Empire. This development sparked the Great Crisis which resulted in much rioting and unrest across Keshtah Minor. Iliana herself took part in the fighting and wounded several rival Sith. However, the Sisters of Seelah quickly fell apart within two weeks to internal infighting and Iliana barely survived. She eventually made it to the Sith Temple which was built over the ancient starship Omen, which had brought the Tribe's ancient ancestors to Kesh in the first place.

There she encountered Varner Hilts and his Keshiri assistant Jaye Vuhld, who were intent on discovering secrets that Korsin kept aboard the Omen which might hold the key to the Tribe's survival. After much difficulty, the three explorers discovered the Tapani heritage of the Lost Tribe's ancestors and learnt that Kesh had another continent known as Alanciar. Through these discoveries, Hilts was able to unite the various Sith factions and set the Tribe on a new mission of reaching and annexing this new continent. Hilts was unanimously elected by the other Sith as their new Grand Lord. Iliana subsequently became his wife, viewing this marriage as a means of sharing Hilts' power over the Tribe. While an ancient law stipulated that the consort of the Grand Lord was to be executed at the latter's death, Hilts vowed to protect her.

During the Hilts Restoration, Iliana reigned with her husband Lord Hilts during the Hilts Restoration and supported his efforts to explore and colonize Alanciar. She later gave birth to a daughter named Takara Hilts, who shared her mother's bright red hair and fiery temperament. Takara was also Force-sensitive like her parents and would later become the Prefect of Police of the Tahv Constabulary by 2974 BBY. That same year, Takara prevented an assassination attempt against Grand Lord Hilts and apprehended the assassin Parlan Spinner, a Sith outcast. While Iliana and her daughter Takara desired Spinner's execution, Lord Hilts decided to spare the youth and sent him on an expeditionary mission to Eshkrene, in the planet's south pole. Spinner would later be responsible for freeing the ancient Sith Lord Remulus Dreypa which led to Dreypa's rebellion that devastated parts of Keshtah Minor.

Iliana led the Tribe's forces against the rebels and inflicted heavy casualties on Dreypa's forces during the Battle of the Marisota Floodplain. Most of the Sith forces were later wiped out during the Battle of Sessal Spire by Dreypa's Leviathans, reptilian Sithspawn capable of draining the life energies and knowledge of sentient beings. Iliana was almost devoured by a leviathan but was rescued by Spinner, who subsequently joined forces with Takara and Kaliska of the Doomed to stop Dreypa. Iliana was greatly weakened by the Leviathan and as a resulted aged by several decades. Despite the loss of her fighting prowess, Iliana was still able to lead the defense of Tahv which marked the death and defeat of Dreypa. Following Dreypa's defeat, Spinner became a "hero" of the Tribe and began a romantic relationship with Iliana's daughter Takara.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

"I don't think Seelah Korsin had any sisters."
"Sisters in spirit."
―Varner Hilts and Iliana Merko during their first meeting[src]

Varner Hilts, the historian who became her husband

Iliana Merko grew up during the Time of the Rot, a period of turmoil in the history of the Lost Tribe of Sith, a group of Human Sith who had become stranded on the planet Kesh during the Great Hyperspace War. Following the Night of the Upside-Down Meteor in 3960 BBY which saw the disappearance of Grand Lord Lillia Venn, the Lost Tribe had descended into chaos and internal infighting with many rival Sith factions fighting for control of the Tribe. This conflict lasted for nine hundred years and devastated the continent of Keshtah Minor. Many of its cities including the capital Tahv ceased to functioned properly due to a lack of proper maintenance. At some time prior to 3000 BBY, Iliana became a member of the Sisters of Seelah, an all-female faction of the Lost Tribe. The cult consisted entirely of women and believed that Seelah Korsin was the true founder of the Tribe and that her husband Yaru and Nida Korsin were traitors. Like their role model, the Sisterhood practiced selective breeding and saw themselves as perfect specimens of humanity.[1]

Enter the Historian[edit | edit source]

"Sorry, they took out the Seelah statues after—after what happened, years ago. I don't think they kept any Seelah pieces at all."
"I'm not surprised. No one gave our lady the respect she deserved. She found the Tribe, you know—not these traitors."
―Varner and Iliana discussing Seelah Korsin's legacy[src]

In 3000 BBY, Iliana Merko and her fellow Sisters of Seelah took over the Kesh capitol building, a palace in the capital city Tahv, which had traditionally been the residence of the ruling Grand Lord. She visited the office of Caretaker Varner Hilts, who was entrusted with preserving the Lost Tribe's written historical records and lores. Hilts was an elderly sixty-year old man who was the Tribe's de-facto historian and who worked and resided in part of the Circle Eternal. Testament Day was going to be held within twelve days time and Iliana wanted to coerce the historian Hilts into giving her faction a political favor. Testament Day was a holiday held every twenty-five years where the final testament of Yaru Korsin, the founder of the Lost Tribe, was read out before the Tribe. For centuries, Testament Day had been the only time when the Tribe's entire hierarchy met peacefully together. Even after the Sith splintered into warrior factions following the Night of the Upside-Down Meteor, this day was respected as a time of peace out of deference to the Tribe's ancestors.[1]

Iliana's armed followers waited within the palace atrium while Iliana herself walked into Hilts' office, demanding to see him. She threatened Hilt's Keshiri assistant Jaye Vuhld with her lightsaber in order to draw Hilts' attention. Iliana expressed her displeasure that the palace atrium contained no statues of Seelah Korsin but only contained statues of her estranged husband Yaru Korsin and her daughter Nida Korsin. Millennia earlier in 4975 BBY, Seelah and her son Jariad Korsin had plotted to overthrow Yaru Korsin. This coup failed with Korsin killed and a crippled Seelah was banished to the Omen, the Sith warship that had brought the ancestors of the Lost Tribe to Kesh during the Great Hyperspace War. Since the failed coup, all statues of Seelah had been destroyed.[1]

Iliana wanted to talk with Varner Hilts about the contents of Korsin's Testament before the other Sith arrived for the conclave in twelve days time. Hilts responded that everyone already knew about the contents of the Testament since it had been transcribed many times. Iliana reiterated that she knew the basic facts but then revealed the true reason for why she had come. Iliana was aware that Korsin's Testament had been used by different Sith factions to support their claims and to denigrate Seelah. Since the Sisters of Seelah had little to gain from Korsin's Testament, she tried to convince Hilts to change the Testament to favor her faction. Iliana wanted Varner Hilts to tell the other Sith that he and his Keshiri workers had discovered Korsin's "true" Testament which declared that Seelah and those who followed her teachings today were the legitimate heirs to power on Kesh. As part of her plan, the Sisters had produced a fake scroll that purported to be Korsin's "true" Testament.[1]

By producing Korsin's "true" Testament, Iliana intended to uplift the Sisters of Seelah's standing within Sith society. However, the historian Hilts was unwilling to cooperate with Iliana's scheme. While he admired the Sith woman's initiative, Hilts contended that Iliana's plan would not work because the Caretakers in reality did not actually read Korsin's Testament. He explained that the Testament was actually read by a holo-recording of Yaru Korsin himself which was kept inside a holocron, a pyramidical crystal lattice device used by both the Jedi and the Sith to store historical memories and lesson. In an effort to buy time until Testament Day, Hilts lied to Iliana that the holocron would only activate on Testament Day. This did not stop Iliana from fiddling with the holocron in a vain attempt to activate the projector.[1]

Testament Day[edit | edit source]

"Human trash!"
"Traitorous wrench!"
―Iliana Hilts and Neera hurling insults at each other[src]

Yaru Korsin, the Founder of the Tribe whose Testament was read every 25 years

After four days, Iliana grew impatient with having to wait until Testament Day. Iliana's forces continued to occupy the Circle Eternal and imprisoned the workers in a room but left Varner Hilts and his secretary Jaye alone. Iliana and the Sisters' presence in Tahv was observed by the spies of several rival Sith factions including the Korsinite League, Golden Destiny, Force 57. The Sisters of Seelah guarded the Circle Eternal's entrance in an effort to deny entry to their opponents. Over this period, the number of visitors which included the Human Sith and their Keshiri followers grew which increased the risk of violence on the streets of Tahv. These Sith factions initially held off on violence but instead exploited the mass public gathering as a change to recruit people to their causes. This year's Testament Day also coincided with the Festival of Nida's Rise which commemorated the ascension of Nida Korsin to the office of Grand Lord every seventy-nine years. While there was a festive mood, there was also a risk that violence could escalate due to the high concentration of Sith factions.[1]

Throughout this period, Iliana struggled to activate the holocron. Since it was a recording device, she speculated that it must have a power source which she guessed was a Lignan crystal. Hilts told her if she found out how the holocron worked, she would become the Caretaker of the Tribe herself. While Hilts was physically attracted to Iliana's beauty, he disliked her arrogant, venal, and untrustworthy personality. Hilts was a bachelor who had never married due to his lowly position and the selfish nature of many Sith adherents. Frustrated at Hilt's unwillingness to help her to activate the Holocron, Iliana ordered her followers to harm Hilts' Keshiri secretary Jaye if he refused to cooperate. Hilts reluctantly took the Holocron in his hand and agreed to activate it.[1]

At that point, Iliana and Varner were both interrupted by the arrival of two rival Sith factions: the Korsinite League and Force 57. The Korsinite League was a Sith cult that had been founded by a former slave a century earlier which emulated Yaru Korsin and Nida Korsin. Each member adopted the name "Korsin" as their first name and their leader was Korsin Bentado. Meanwhile, Force 57 were another Sith cult that practiced ritual mutilation and scarring and were devoted to the original non-Human 57 aliens that were aboard the Omen. Since Seelah Korsin had destroyed all origins related to the Red Sith, no living Sith or Keshiri could remember how they looked like. Varner Hilts was able to bring peace to the three factions by offering to do a reading from the holocron.[1]

Iliana quickly got into an argument with Neera, the leader of Force 57. Neera blamed Seelah for banishing and marginalizing the original 57 from the Precious Pantheon. Iliana retorted that Seelah had been right to purge the original 57 and threatened to do the same to Neera and her followers. However, Varner Hilts restrained the two parties and reminded them that the Circle Eternal was not the place for violence. Korsin Bentado suggested that the three Sith factions take their fight outside into the streets where several other factions had gathered. Hilts was unwilling to let bloodshed take place and offered to do the holocron reading. When Iliana realized that Hilts had lied, he retorted that lying was a Sith characteristic.[1]

Bentado reiterated that the Korsinite League would not accept a reading of Korsin's Testament on any day besides the anniversary which was scheduled to occur within eight days time. At that point, Varner Hilts convinced his Keshiri assistant Jaye to present his calculations concerning the Sandpipes. Jaye explained that the first Sith colonists had brought their Galactic Standard Calendar to Kesh which differed from the planet's length of days and years. Millennia earlier, the Sith had calibrated their Sandpipes to the magical chrono aboard the Omen prior to abandoning the ship. However, the Sandpipes in Tahv flowed one second slower than those aboard the Omen. This time difference meant that the Standard Calendar was eight days ahead of the Keshiri calendar. Hilts and Jaye then deduced that Testament Day and the Festival of Nida's Rise actually occurred on that day. Thus, Hilts was able to declare the Pantheon's Peace and ordered the assembled Sith to bring in the other Sith factions into the atrium.[1]

An Inglorious Past[edit | edit source]

"They weren't conquerors. They were diggers in the dirt. And the great Yaru Korsin was just a delivery boy!"
―Iliana's response to the revelations of the Tribe's origins[src]

Naga Sadow, part of the Tribe's lost history

Twenty leaders from the various Sith factions watched the holocron recording of Yaru Korsin. Per Sith tradition, all Keshiri were excluded from the Pantheon's Peace since it contained sensitive secrets about the Tribe's origins. The Tribe's founder had been mortally wounded during Seelah's failed plot and had recorded his final testament to the Tribe. During the recording, Korsin expounded about the importance of the Tribe as a survival mechanism for the Human Sith on Kesh and how the Tribe's hierarchical structure should be managed to prevent future uprisings. Iliana was visibly angry when the late Grand Lord suggested the practice of killing the spouses of deceased future Grand Lords and talked about banishing Seelah. Iliana was also bored during Korsin's discussion about the political structure of the Tribe. Meanwhile, Caretaker Varner Hilts was worried that the holocron recording contained no resolution that would end the infighting between the rival Sith factions or protect his staff and his position.[1]

Following the end of Korsin's Testament, the assembled conclave descended into a verbal match. Korsin Bentado argued that the Tribe needed to adhere to Korsin's ancient tribal structure while the leader of the Golden Destiny, a faction obsessed with the Tribe's stellar origins, argued that the Tribe should reopen the Omen and return to the stars. Due to the loss of historical knowledge during the Time of the Rot, the Golden Destiny's leader mistakenly believed that Yaru Korsin was a "great conqueror" and that the Sith came from a powerful people who ruled the galaxy. While attempting to deactivate the holocron, Hilts discovered that the Testament recording had been recorded over an earlier transmission.[1]

The assembled Sith quickly learnt the true history of the Lost Tribe. It turned out that Yaru Korsin had used the holocron as a communications device during his servitude to the Sith Empire. Rather than being conquerors from a glorious past, the Human Sith had actually been slaves to the Sith Lord Naga Sadow, a red-skinned and tentacled-face humanoid. The "vaunted" Yaru Korsin was merely a "delivery boy." The Omen was a dreadnought which had been tasked with delivering Lignan crystals to Sith forces on Kirrek during the Great Hyperspace War. In addition, Sadow dispatched Ravilan Wroth and his Massassi warriors to work with Korsin. It quickly transpired that Wroth and the "Original 57" had actually been members of an alien species known as the Red Sith, the original forebears of the Sith Order and the alien masters of the Tribe's ancestors. Finally, Sadow warned Korsin that he expected nothing but success and that failure would be punishable by death.[1]

These revelations about the Lost Tribe's origins as slaves sparked anxiety and panic among the attendees. Korsin Bentado initially reacted with disbelief and commented that Naga Sadow had been "Korsin's celestial ally" in folk tales. He was shocked to learn that the "thing" actually owned the Omen and its crew. In response, Iliana commented that the Tribe's ancestors had not been conquerors but had merely been "diggers in the dirt" and that the Tribe's founder had merely been a "delivery boy". Similarly, Neera commented that this was not Sith but madness. Iliana herself commented that this "inglorious past" had been what motivated Seelah Korsin to implement eugenics policies on the Tribe. She deduced that Seelah was "sanctifying" the Humans on Kesh. Korsin Bentado accused Hilts and Iliana of tampering with the holocron. Hilts responded that he would not have known how to tamper with the device.[1]

The Caretaker then concluded that the Sith Tribe was just a "lost" Tribe that had ended up on Kesh because Korsin was unwilling to go back and face Sadow. Ashamed at the stigma that her ancestors had been merely runaway slaves, Iliana ignited her lightsaber and used it to destroy the holocron and the pedestal it stood upon. When asked by Hilts to justify her actions, Iliana warned the Sith that their ancestors did not want them to know about their "inglorious past." She reasoned that the Tribe's origins as slaves had motivated Seelah to forbid any records of what Ravilan's people really looked like. She concluded that Korsin had recorded over the message to preserve this secret.[1]

While the historian Hilts was open to telling the true story of the Tribe's origins, Korsin feared that this would inspire a revolt among the Keshiri. Neera vowed to kill anyone who revealed this secret while Iliana stressed that such measures would not be necessary since she had already destroyed the holocron. Despite efforts by the leaders of the Sith factions to preserve the secrecy of the Testament Day, a drunken Sith leader revealed the truth behind the Lost Tribe's origins to the Humans celebrating the Festival of Nida's Rise. This sparked a series of violent riots across Keshtah Minor, known as the Great Crisis, which resulted in the razing of several cities. Within eight days, the unrest had spread all over the continent. Since the Tribe had been reduced to a few thousand individuals, the ensuing bloodbath threatened the viability of the Tribe itself.[1]

Visiting the Omen[edit | edit source]

"I'm not your little clerk. Why should I follow you anywhere?"
"Because we may need help to find what we're looking for—and you're at a dead end. You said so yourself. Meanwhile, I actually have a plan."
―Iliana Merko and Varner Hilts[src]

The Kesh Sith Temple, the tomb of her idol

Following the disastrous Testament Day, Iliana and the Sisters of Seelah were distressed by the revelations that their revered ancestor had been a slave. The Sisters had taken part in the fighting following Testament Day but quickly fell apart within two weeks. During the fighting, Iliana severed the left hand of Korsin Bentado. Bentado survived but vowed vengeance against the Sith woman. Iliana herself barely survived the unrest and was wounded and bloodied during the fighting. Alone and destitute, Iliana made her way to the Kesh Sith Temple to escape the other Sith factions, who wanted her blood for killing several of their members during the fighting. Iliana flew her uvak, a large winged reptilian beast used for transportation on Kesh, to the Sith Temple' which was farthest to the west of Kesh.[5]

Iliana Hilts was determined to discover the fate of her heroine Seelah Korsin. According to the Testament, Yaru Korsin had left Nida Korsin to decide the punishment of her mother, which was either death or exile. She succeeded in finding the skeletal remains of Seelah Korsin since she wore a ring bearing the Korsin family seal, a Tapani commitment band. While in the Omen, she encountered Varner Hilts and Jaye, who had also decided to visit the Omen and unseal the temple.[5] During the Testament, Korsin had mentioned that he had secrets and that his true power was behind the throne on his ship the Omen, which was buried beneath the Sith Temple. The two had deduced that these secrets were what held the key to the Tribe's survival and recovery.[1]

By the time that Hilts and Jaye had stumbled upon her, Iliana was in a state of grief and misery. She was crying because she could not come to terms that her ancestor had died alone. She was distraught that her forebears had left Seelah to die alone and forgotten on the Sith Temple. Based on the barriers below, she surmised that Nida Korsin had punished her mother by exiling her to the ship. Iliana expressed her anger at the unjust treatment of Seelah. She also revealed to Hilts that she had experienced a Force vision during her childhood of Seelah telling her to avenge her. When Hilts asked Iliana whether this was how she learnt how to braid her hair, Iliana replied that she had seen Seelah washing the feet of the Sith quartermaster Ravilan. The revelation of Seelah's lowly origins destroyed the Sisters' unity of purpose and splintered the group. Enraged at this revelation, she smashed Seelah's skull against the wall which shattered into pieces.[5]

When Jaye revealed his presence, Iliana was startled but Hilts assured her that the Keshiri was on his side. A despondent Iliana chided Hilts for keeping "pets" at a time when the world was "coming to an end", exposing her speciesist streak. The Caretaker Hilts succeeded in convincing Iliana to follow them since they might need her help to find what they were looking for. Hilts also surmised that Iliana was at a dead end while he and Jaye actually had a plan. Iliana reluctantly complied and she led them to the Omen which was situated directly beneath the Sith Temple. They eventually discovered the starship and managed to enter it. Iliana tried to press the black panels but was unable to restart the ship since it had not be maintained for millennia. In frustration, Iliana slammed her fist on a panel, causing it to crack.[5]

However, Hilts and Jaye found that the ship's chrono still worked. The chrono was the model for the Tribe's Sandpipes which had been used for millennia to record time. This discovery validated Jaye's earlier theory that the Sandpipes at Tahv were eight days behind the Galactic Standard Calendar. However, Iliana was unable to find the command chair which was usually at the center of the command bridge. Hilts reasoned that the command chair was not inside the Omen since it have been moved by Yaru Korsin to the colonnade of the temple for use on the days when he received visitors. Iliana was perplexed that Korsin had ordered everyone to move from the mountain to Tahv. While their generation may not have been able to repair the Omen, she felt that Korsin was foolish to have stopped work on the ship entirely.[5]

Hilts responded that Korsin had wanted the Tribe to commit to living on Kesh based on the fact that they had built the Sith Temple around the Omen. Shortly later, the three explorers heard the voices of eight newcomers including Korsin Bentado and Edell Vrai, a young member of the Golden Destiny. These newcomers were disturbed that the Omen had been used to transport slaves eons ago and was the cause for their ancestors' "imprisonment" on Kesh. Bentando wanted the Tribe to meet its end with hatred against fate. Iliana reasoned that they would not be able to destroy the Omen due to its vast size and the lack of explosives. Hilts vowed to find a way to discover what Korsin had left behind before it was too late.[5]

False Clues[edit | edit source]

"Cheerleading claptrap from a doting mother. Even Korsin couldn't have believed this nonsense."
"Hush, girl. She was wise. She saw what we would build. And this proves that our people weren't destined to live as slaves forever. We have a future."
―Iliana and Varner debating Takara Korsin's legacy[src]

Alanciar, the Tribe's new hope

From the Sith Temple's cupola, Iliana, Hilts and Jaye observed thirty Sith warriors from various factions engaged in a massive engineering project. The participants included members of Iliana's former Sisterhood and Neera, the former leader of Force 57. They had planned to use several uvaks to pull the stone tower onto the chamber that held the Omen. Hilts knew that this would effectively destroy the chamber and the starship below. Iliana commented that Bentado and Vrai did not need to destroy the vessel since it was already dead and buried. Despite their fierce divisions, a desire to eradicate their "shameful" past had brought the Sith together. Meanwhile, Jaye had discovered a latch which led to the Sith Temple's rotunda. There, the three explorers found Yaru Korsin's vaunted command chair and a brazier.[5]

Since they were unable to see inside the planetarium, Iliana ripped Jaye's tunic and used it to start a small fire with the brazier in order to create a source of light. While Jaye was worried that their fire would attract the attention of the other Sith, Iliana was determined to discover Korsin's secret. The three explorers quickly realized that they were inside a planetarium which depicted the stars above Kesh. However, they could find nothing behind the throne and the star map above contained no clues to Korsin's secrets. Iliana sat on the throne and justified her actions on the basis that the outsiders were either going to bring down the Temple underneath them or they would find them. If she was going to wait, Iliana preferred to sit.[5]

Iliana commented that the star map above was useless since it only showed the sky at one time of the year. Hilts then reasoned that Korsin's secret was hidden inside the chair. He borrowed Iliana's shikkar knife and used it to cut a hole through the upholstery behind the seat. Hilts discovered a glass vial was sewn to the upholstery which contained a single rolled-up sheet of transparent film. Hilts brought it to the fire and discovered that it contained the old cant of the Tapani, the language of the Humans under Sith rule. This film contained a message from Yaru Korsin's mother Takara Korsin to her son prior to his fateful delivery run to Phaegon III during the Great Hyperspace War. Takara had a vision that their descendants would be ruling a great people one day free of the Red Sith. She also told his son that he had enough wisdom and purpose to guide their people.[5]

Jaye and Hilts realized that this message was what motivated Yaru Korsin to find the strength to go on in Kesh. While Iliana dismissed the document as "cheerleading claptrap" from a doting mother to her son, Takara defended Takara Korsin as a wise woman who foresaw that the Tapani ancestors of the Lost Tribe were not always destined to be slaves and had a future. Hilts believed that he could use Takara Korsin's document to reason with the other Sith and dissuade them from destroying the Omen. Iliana disagreed and argued that the other Sith were not willing to reason. Instead, she offered to rally the other Sith to her own cause. Hilts then realized that Korsin's holocron message had mentioned that the "true power" was literally behind the throne.[5]

Iliana dismissed Yaru Korsin as a dying fool and refused to see Hilts' point. Hilts defended Korsin by pointing out that he was smart enough to conquer a whole native people and to train his daughter Nida Korsin for war under everyone's nose. Hilts then explained that this message was important to Korsin but that it was not what he meant. He concluded that the star map was merely decorative and that Korsin's real focus was on building an empire on Kesh. Iliana recalled that Yaru Korsin had made his final testament after he had been mortally wounded and had made his way back to the chair to record the Testament. However, Hilts disagreed and pointed out that the room was too inaccessible for a seriously wounded man to have made the recording. Jaye then reasoned that Korsin had made his recording in the chamber beneath the Omen.[5]

A New Continent[edit | edit source]

"It's a map of Kesh. It's a map of Kesh's far side. It's the rest of the world!"
"But there's nothing beyond the oceans! They explored everything after Omen arrived!"
"They only knew what they could see, on uvak-back—and in places where uvak could reach. This was what was behind the throne. This is what Korsin meant!"
―Varner and Iliana responding to the discovery of "Keshtah Major"[src]

While Hilts was skeptical of this hypothesis, Jaye pointed out that the Omen had landed on a slope and that its surroundings were completely leveled up with stonework. The three explorers had entered the Sith Temple through an open passage at the twenty-third step on the staircase from the middle terrace. However, he recalled that they had passed a sealed door at the seventh step and theorized that there was another champer at the base of the Omen's support structure. Hilts and Iliana decided to test Jaye's theory especially since the other Sith were closing on them. The three explorers made their way to the sealed chamber at the seventh step. After reaching it, Hilts sent Jaye to search for glowrods while Iliana and him made their way into the chamber.[5]

Iliana and Hilts discovered that this chamber was a map room which contained a stone-carved map which depicted the continent of Keshtah Minor. This room also contained six stone panels that were the same size of the map of Keshtah Minor. Iliana was uncomfortable because this room was a dead-end. Hilts agreed and speculated that Korsin had died in this room from his injuries. Hilts speculated that Korsin's chair had been left upstairs in the planetarium by Nida as a ruse to mislead people into thinking that Yaru had spent all his time contemplating the cosmos and their return. Iliana commented that Nida should have left some windows in the room where they kept the ship.[5]

At that point, Jaye entered the room. He had been mortally wounded by the other Sith and sustained several wounds on his chest which resulted in his death. Jaye's last words to Hilts and Iliana was that he had been trying to find some glowrods for them to use. Shortly later, Jaye's murderer Korsin Bentado entered the room wielding his lightsaber. He was followed by several other Sith including Neera, Edell and several Golden Destiny companions. Several of these Sith were eager to seek revenge against Iliana for wounding them during the Great Crisis. Bentado, who had lost his left hand, suggested throwing Iliana from the top of the tower. Meanwhile, another unidentified Sith suggested chaining her to the spot where the hammer would fall. While Iliana was prepared to fight them to the death, Hilts interrupted them and demanded to know who had murdered his Keshiri assistant Jaye.[5]

Jaye's killer Bentado was unrepentant and dismissed the late Jaye as a mere Keshiri whose presence "profane" this site. Hilts retorted that the Keshiri had helped build the Sith Temple and condemned Bentado and his followers for trying to destroy the Temple and the Omen. Neera responded that "all life was profane." Edell, the more moderate of the Sith party, attempted to reason with Hilts by telling him that everything they knew about the Tribe was a lie and that there was no sense in clinging to ancient sites like the Sith Temple since it contributed to infighting among the Tribe. Hilts argued that the Tribe was not doomed but Edell disagreed and argued that the end had already happened but that the Tribe was ignorant about it. The Sith then moved to confront Iliana, whom they regarded as the more dangerous of their prey. In desperation, Hilts used the Force to yank the metal spikes covering the six stone panels.[5]

It turned out that these six stone panels depicted the map of another continent lying to the far side of Keshtah Minor. This continent was known as Alanciar and was much larger than Keshtah Minor. This amazed all the Sith who quickly laid down their arms including Iliana to marvel and this new continent that would be their hope. Hilts also discovered some writings which had been inscribed onto the wall by Yaru Korsin. It turned out that the Omen's cameras had recorded an image depicting Kesh's landmasses and oceans. Korsin also stated that the existence of Alanciar could one day provide a cause the would unite the Sith on Kesh. This discovered shocked and amazed the assembled Sith including Iliana who asked why Korsin had not bothered to tell anyone. Hilts replied that Korsin was preoccupied with subduing Keshtah Minor and had to contend with his feud with Seelah and Jariad.[5]

Iliana and her husband

A New Mission[edit | edit source]

"Wait. If you're restoring the old ways—isn't the consort of the Grand Lord put to death on his passing? That's right. It's in Korsin's Testament!"
"Oh, is that in there? I'd forgotten."
―Iliana and Varner discussing their marriage[src]

The discovery of Alanciar marked a new chapter in the life of Iliana Hilts. Hilts then read a message from Yaru to his daughter Nida Korsin, which mentioned that the hidden knowledge of "Keshtah Major" would provide a cause that could one day be used to reunite the Tribe. Hilts also proceeded to read a letter from Yaru's mother Takara Korsin to her son Yaru Korsin, where the former prophesied that their descendants would one day rule a "great people" and be free of the Red Sith. Both of these texts were in the Tapani language, a tongue which had been forgotten by the contemporary descendants of the Tribe. When Korsin Bentado asked if there were any guides to this ancient language, Hilts responded that there had been guides until his archives were destroyed during the Great Crisis. Hilts then emphasized that he was the only person in the Tribe who knew the "old tongue."[5]

Caretaker Hilts then successfully convinced the other Sith to end the fighting by arguing that the Tribe should abandon their internal infighting and pool their energies and resources into conquering this new continent. He described this new project as the biggest thing the Tribe's society had ever undertaken and reiterated that they needed everyone. Hilts also explained that Yaru Korsin had concealed Alanciar's existence since he had intended to use it as a "cause" to give his descendants a new sense of purpose. The Caretaker also reiterated that this endeavor would require order and discipline as in the "days of old". The various Sith were moved by Hilts' speech and quickly submitted to him.[5]

Edell Vrai was the first to deactivate his lightsaber and kneel before Hilts. He vowed that the Tribe would "craft" their society again according to the "old ways". He praised Hilts for his knowledge of the "old tongue" and "old ways" and blessed him as someone who would guide their people well. Edell's fellow Golden Destiny members also followed suit and bowed before the Grand Lord. Shortly later, Bentado himself nodded and bowed to his knees. He praised Hilts for redeeming the Tribe's faith in Korsin. Neera also knelt praised him for finding a path that was wide enough for all the Sith to follow and placed all her trust in him. Finally, the various Sith elected Varner Hilts as their new Grand Lord, a position which had been hotly contested within the Tribe for almost a millennium.[5]

In the end, Iliana was the only person left standing in the map room. At first, Iliana was jealous that Varner Hilts had become the leader of the Tribe, which caused her eyes to flash in anger. However, Hilts realized this and was able to defuse the situation by asking Iliana to become his wife, making her his Grand Consort. This would enable Iliana to share his power and to give her protection from Bentado and his companions who still sought retribution against her. Iliana was initially surprised by Hilts' offer but accepted it in order to gain a position of power in the Tribe's hierarchy. Shortly, later the couple were married and Iliana adopted the surname Hilts. To reconcile the rival traditions of Yaru and Seelah Korsin, Iliana wore Seelah's ancient commitment band during her wedding to Grand Lord Hilts. Their wedding was held at the mountainside Sith Temple on the last day of the Festival of Nida's Rise. While Iliana was initially worried that she would be put to death if her husband died, Hilts promised to protect both himself and his wife from any threats to them.[5]

Grand Consort[edit | edit source]

"We're wasting an airship on him [Korsin Bentado]. That man is his own gasbag."
"He's in such a hurry. He should wait for Edell to return. He's taking all his people to drown."
"And that would bother you?"
"Not at all. He handpicked them. Anyone Bentado trusts is worth drowning"
―Varner and Iliana plotting against Korsin Bentado[src]

Due to her martial skills and high-placed political connections, Iliana Hilts became the leader of the Tribe's military forces.[6] She and Varner also produced a daughter named Takara Hilts, who shared her mother's bright red hair and fierce temperament.[4] Grand Lord Hilts' efforts to reach and annex Alanciar lasted twenty-five years due to the vast distances between the two continents. The mathematician Edell Vrai was assigned with the task of developing a means of transportation to Alanciar which could be replicated. The Lost Tribe faced several difficulties. Firstly, the uvaks were not able to fly for such long distances. Secondly, the Tribe was unable to develop a fleet of ocean-going vessels since the hejarbo plants were too fragile for ocean voyages and hardwoods like vosso were too dense to float. By 2975 BBY, Vrai had developed a fleet of hydrogen-powered airships which utilized uvaks, large winged reptiles, for controlling direction.[2]

By the time of the Alanciari annexation, Iliana Hilts was forty-nine years old and had taken over much of the management of politics from her husband. Despite his achievements as a statesman, Lord Hilts had lost interest in the administration of the Lost Tribe. Iliana protected her husband from any threats to his reign and person. In addition, she also attended to the health of her husband which occasionally irritated him. Iliana brought Kesh's best skin experts to attend to the dermatological needs of Varner Hilts. However, Grand Lord Hilts had them banished because they wanted to apply an organic poultice on his skin which vexed him. These unfortunate servants ended up "grooming" icebergs. While her husband was not sure whether she loved or hated him, the couple were contented that their relationship worked. The same could not be said for many other Sith couples on Kesh due to the Sith creed's emphasis on only looking out for themselves.[2]

Since her own survival was linked to that of her husband Varner, Iliana took all precautions to safeguard his life. Thus, she assigned a Keshiri servant named Squab with the task of keeping an eye on Korsin Bentado. Officially, Squab was merely an aide to the Korsinite League's leader but was in fact a secret agent of the Hilts. To keep an otherwise idle Bentado from creating new cults, she convinced Grand Lord Hilts to appoint the former as High Lord and place him in charge of the invasion force to attack Alanciar as soon as Vrai had proved its existence. In 2975 BBY, Edell led a reconnaissance force to explore Alanciar which made contact with the Alanciari. However, the expedition was attacked by the well-armed and disciplined Alanciari military. While most of the expeditionary fleet was wiped out, Edell's thoughtcrier Tellpah had managed to send a telepathic message of surprise, shock and confusion. This message was intercepted by both Iliana and Bentado's thoughtcriers.[2]

However, the two Sith interpreted the message differently. While the Grand Consort feared something bad had befallen Edell's expedition, Bentado was convinced that Edell had finally made contact with the "new land" and that now was the time to strike. As a result, Bentado requested an audience with Grand Lord Hilts to request permission to invade Alanciar. While this news was something of "Kesh-shaking" importance, her husband was too preoccupied with writing his own revised testament which would discuss the Tribe's Tapani heritage and how they escaped Sith subjugation. During the meeting, Bentado cited the recent telepathic mesage as evidence that Edell and airships had discovered Alanciar. While Bentado wanted to invade Alanciar immediately, Hilts and Iliana wanted to wait until Edell returned. Iliana advised caution because she feared something bad had befallen Edell's expedition.[2]

However, Bentado brushed aside Iliana's concerns by claiming that Edell and his followers were probably too confused to know what to do next. While Edell was a tinker, Bentado claimed that he was no warrior and thus had no military experience. Despite the fact that the Lost Tribe had no reliable intelligence on the military capabilities of the Keshiri in Alanciar, Bentado insisted on going ahead with the planned invasion. When Iliana speculated that Edell and his airships may have crashed into the Southern Ocean, her husband replied that he was still alive since he would have sensed his death. In the end, Hilts reluctantly gave approval for Bentado to invade Alanciar. However, in private, Iliana and her husband dismissed Lord Bentado as a fool who was sending his forces to a watery death. They were willing to sacrifice Bentado and his men in order to eliminate a potential rival.[2]

Ultimately, Iliana's suspicions and fears were proven to be correct. Centuries earlier, the Keshiri woman Adari Vaal, a former ally of Yaru Korsin, had fled with three hundred other Keshiri followers to Alanciar. Due to Vaal's influence, the Alanciari had evolved into a militaristic society that was prepared to deter any attack from Keshtah over the past two millennia. As a result, Edell's expedition had been wiped out above Garrow's Neck. However, Edell and some of his followers survived and managed to coerce two Alanciari—the soldier Jogan Halder and his lover Quarra Thayn—into working for them. They also managed to hijack an Alanciari fishing trawler Mischance which they used to return to Keshtah through the dangerous Southern Passage which led into the Sea of Flames. In addition, the Sith also managed to obtain a copy of Adari Vaal's popular history book, the Keshtah Chronicles, which provided the Sith with invaluable intelligence on what the Alanciari knew about them. While Edell's lieutenant Peppin sailed back to Keshtah with Jogan, Edell stayed behind with Quarra who agreed to serve as his guide for an inland reconnaissance mission into Alanciar. As a result of these acquisitions, the Sith gained access to Alanciari technology, invaluable intelligence on Alanciari society and thinking, and most importantly an Alanciari "test subject."[2]

In response to these new developments, Iliana's husband Varner Hilts concocted a "grand deception" operation to dupe Jogan Halder into believing that the Sith were actually benign. To do this, Hilts used his most loyal Keshiri to organize a public carnival in Tahv which was designed to convince Jogan that Keshtah was a utopian paradise where the Keshiri were happy to live under the guidance of their Sith "Protectors". Jogan was also brought to meet the leaders of the "Protectors" who claimed to be an egalitarian ruling circle where no man or woman ranked above the other. However, Hilts did not inform Bentado of these new developments. Based on his reading of the Keshtah Chronicles, he realized that the Keshiri would treat Bentado as an "evil invader" and were able to resist him. He also saw the strong Alanciari military as a means of eliminating a potential threat to his rule. Hilts also duped Jogan into believing that Bentado was an "evil" servant of the Destructors, malevolent entities in Keshiri religion, who had been banished from the Tribe for his warlike ways.[2][7] While Iliana's role in this scheme is unknown, it can be assumed that she supported or at least approved of her husband's work.[2]

Iliana's suspicions of Bentado also proved to be well-founded. In private, High Lord Bentado regarded Hilts and his Grand Consort as obstacles to his own ambitions of becoming Grand Lord. During the invasion of Alanciar, Bentado's Ebon Fleet had encountered fierce resistance from the Alanciari and was wiped out. Despite these setbacks, Bentado and a group of surviving Sith managed to regroup and infiltrate Sus'mintri, the capital of Alanciar. There, they killed the Alanciari War Cabinet, the continent's leadership, and took control of Vaal Hall, its strategically-important signal station, and its centralized "worldwatch" which controlled all semaphore and telepathic communications in Alanciar. In Alanciar's highly militarized and advanced society, Bentado saw the opportunity of creating a "Second Tribe" with himself as its "Grand Lord". Knowing that a second wave of Sith airships was due to arrive in Alanciar, Bentado attempted to command the Alanciari military to shoot down Grand Lord Hilts' airship Good Omen. The Good Omen was traveling to Alanciar with the Tribe's new "ambassador" Jogan Halder. Ultimately, Bentado was thwarted and killed by Edell, Quarra and Squab, Iliana's "secret agent."[2]

In the end, The Tribe was able to annex Alanciar with minimal resistance. Halder managed to convinced his compatriots that the Lost Tribe did not pose a threat to them and were in fact the mythical Protectors. The fallen Bentado and his followers were instead portrayed as servants of the malevolent Destructors who had been banished from the Tribe for their "evil" ways.[2] Bentado's surviving Korsinite League supporters, who had accompanied their leader, were disarmed and enslaved by Edell and Grand Lord Hilts' forces. Squab, and the Keshiri servants who had come aboard Bentado's ships were actually loyal to the Grand Lord throughout the invasion and willingly cooperated with Edell.[8] Under her husband's leadership, Keshtah and Alanciar were unified under the leadership of the Lost Tribe. Meanwhile, High Lord Edell Vrai was promoted as governor of the new territory. Meanwhile, Quarra Thayn was praised for her role in assisting Edell against Bentado but ultimately chose to return to her family rather than join the Sith Tribe, which was now open to Force-sensitive Keshiri as well. This led to the establishment of maritime trade and contact between the two continents for the first time in the history of Kesh. Since Alanciar was rich in timber, the Lost Tribe was able to construct a large fleet of wooden sailing ships which were used to explore and conquer the rest of the planet.[2]

The Death Spinner and the Sith Lord[edit | edit source]

"Here we go again. Varner, I don't know how I'm supposed to keep us in power if you keep letting your enemies live!"
―Iliana Hilts challenging her husband's decision to spare Parlan Spinner's life[src]

Iliana commanding the Tribe's military forces

In 2974 BBY, Iliana Hilts and her family would face a new adversary in the form of Parlan Spinner, an outcast who had become the leader of a gang of outlaws known as Spinner's Web. Spinner was the descendant of Ermon Parrah, one of the original crew aboard the Omen who had led an unsuccessful attempt to steal the crippled vessel and return to the stars. Parrah was defeated and he and his descendants were condemned to permanent enslavement. Parrah and his descendants were forced to spin a cord that would reach the stars. Since such a feat was physically impossible, Parrah's descendants remained impoverished for millennia. Parlan Spinner however rebelled against his upbringing and became an outlaw who perpetrated acts of mischief against the Tribe.[6] His actions eventually attracted the attention of Iliana and her husband Varner who assigned their daughter Takara Hilts, the Prefect of Police in Tahv, with the task of capturing Spinner.[9]

While Iliana and Takara wanted to kill Spinner, Varner preferred to spare the young outlaw since he sensed the young man's potential. Rather than destroying him, Varner believed that Spinner's energy and impatience could be redirected towards exploration. Spinner and his associates disrupted the annual celebrations in Tahv which commemorated the arrival of the Lost Tribe's ancestors on Kesh. Spinner then attempted to assassinate Grand Lord Hilts in order to seize control of the Tribe. However, he was instead captured by Takara Hilts who had him taken to the Circle Eternal. Meanwhile, Spinner's associates were executed by the Tahv Constabulary.[4]

Iliana objected to her daughter's decision to bring Spinner into the chambers of Grand Lord Hilts. She regarded Spinner with disdain and believed that he should have been executed along with his associates. However, her husband Varner disagreed and saw potential in Spinner. Realizing that Spinner was impatient to rule the Tribe, Hilts decided to channel the young man's energies towards serving as a sailor aboard an Alanciari sailing ship. He intended to explore the planet's South Pole Eshkrene as part of his programme of exploring all lands and seas in Kesh. Iliana strongly disagreed with her husband's decision and warned that sparing their enemies would make it harder for her to keep them in power. She also encouraged Takara to kill Spinner if he "got out of line" and remarked that she still did not like the look of Spinner. Despite Iliana's objections, Spinner survived and would later play an important role in Dreypa's rebellion.[4]

Ultimately, Iliana's suspicions of Spinner would be proven correct. Spinner and Takara travelled aboard the Alanciari mariner Southern Star to Eshkrene. There, they discovered the Doomed, the descendants of ancient Jedi and Dark Jedi who had become stranded on Kesh during the Hundred-Year Darkness. Spinner also freed the ancient Sith Lord Remulus Dreypa from his oubliette.[10] Dreypa was determined to return to the galaxy and seek vengeance against the Jedi and the Galactic Republic. Spinner allied himself with the Sith Lord and returned to Keshtah Minor where they instigated a slave revolt in Eorm. Dreypa and Spinner's slave army then marched on Tahv with the aim of overthrowing the Tribal leadership. While Dreypa and Spinner had planned to use Iliana's daughter Takara as a hostage, she escaped with the assistance of the Doomed's leader Kaliska. These two returned to Eshkrene where they brought all of the Doomed with the purpose of defeating Dreypa once and for all.[6]

Iliana led the Tribe's forces against Dreypa's rebel army. The two armies met at the Marisota Floodplain, which had been the site of many battles during the Time of the Rot. Dreypa's rebellion marked the first open conflict during the Hilts Restoration since the Great Crisis. The Tribe's military commanders initially assessed the unrest as a mass slave revolt. Iliana interpreted the revolt as a fulfillment of her warning that there were as many rivals to the Grand Lordship in the gutter as the there were at court. Iliana noted that the slaves had never reached the same level of organization in the past and viewed them as a serious threat to the Tribe's leadership. Dreypa's forces initially held the upper hand against the Tribe's infantry formations and took the opportunity to settle scores. However, Iliana had held back the Tribe's Skyborn Rangers, an air force consisting of uvaks and their mounted riders—in reserve. The Skyborn Rangers inflicted heavy casualties on Dreypa's army and drove them to Sessal Spire, a volcano located on the southwestern coast of Keshtah Minor.[6]

Iliana initially dismissed Dreypa as a fool since Sessal Spire was widely regarded as a dead-end. She was unaware that Dreypa still had one more trick up his sleeve: several hibernating Leviathan monsters which resided underneath the volcano. Certain of victory, Iliana and her troops pursued the rebels to the slopes of Sessal Spire. There, she encountered Parlan Spinner who attempted to make a deal with the Tribe since Dreypa had descended into a state of madness. Iliana rejected Spinner's offer and vowed to throw him into the volcano after settling scores with Dreypa himself. She confronted Lord Dreypa who quickly recognized her as Queen of the Tribe. He gave her the final chance to submit the Lost Tribe under his control through marriage. Dreypa promoted himself as a true Sith who understood power and mocked Varner Hilts as a "doddering old man." Iliana however rejected Dreypa's offer and dismissed Dreypa as a deluded slave who had taught himself some Force tricks and donned a ridiculous outfit. She ordered her troops to take Dreypa prisoner.[6]

A Narrow Brush with Death[edit | edit source]

"Me--with you? Ha-ha-ha! I'll grant I don't always understand my husband but at least he doesn't have delusions of grandeur!"
―Iliana rejecting Remulus Dreypa's offer to become his consort[src]

Iliana being grabbed by the Leviathan

Iliana's actions angered Dreypa who used his talisman to summon the Leviathans from the volcano.[6] The Leviathans were ancient Sithspawn that drained the life energies of sentient beings. These reptilian monsters had been created by Dark Jedi during the Hundred-Year Darkness and had been brought by Dreypa to Kesh during the Great Calamity. These Leviathans were the "great weapons" which had scarred the planet's surface according to the Keshiri legends of the Protectors and Destructors.[10] Dreypa's Leviathans quickly devoured much of Iliana's forces and his former allies. Spinner survived and abandoned his former ally's cause. At that point, Takara arrived with the Doomed who attacked Dreypa and his Leviathans. Takara confronted and fought Spinner, intending to kill him for betraying the Tribe.[3]

Iliana attempted to escape the battlefield but was captured in the tentacles of a Leviathan. Her plight drew the attention of Takara and Spinner who abandoned their fight and rushed to save the Sith woman. Takara attempted to save her mother but was also captured by the beast. However, Spinner succeeded in puncturing the Leviathan's blister traps and used Takara's lightsaber to slay the beast. While Iliana and Takara were still his enemies, Spinner had helped them because he did not want the Leviathans to destroy his homeworld. Despite surviving her ordeal, Iliana had her life energies drained by the beast which caused her to age prematurely by thirty years. She struggle to see and to move her muscles. Spinner and Takara evacuated Iliana from the battlefield and laid her down to rest on the back of her uvak steed. Meanwhile, Dreypa regained the upper hand against the Doomed through his mastery of the Dark Side and killed all members of the Doomed with the exception of Kaliska, who had managed to escape the fighting and rejoin Takara and Spinner.[3]

Iliana was exhausted and weakened by her encounter with the Leviathan. While she was resting on the back of her uvak steed, her daughter Takara and Spinner discussed with Kaliska, the leader of the Doomed, on how they should deal with the threat of Dreypa. While Takara had been unhappy with her mother for not helping her further her ambitions of ruling the Tribe in the past, she loved her enough to want to fly her back to Tahv to be treated by the Tribe's Force sages. Kaliska noted that Takara had much more in common with her mother Iliana than she assumed and urged her to lead the Tribe's forces. Kaliska also revealed that the Doomed's Jedi ancestors had hidden an ancient starship beneath the Circle Eternal in Tahv. Fearing that Dreypa would discover its existence, she convinced Spinner and Takara to destroy it.[3]

Overcoming her Weakness[edit | edit source]

"Don't look at me, Varner. What those things did -- it's horrible -- I'm horrible. I'm old. As old as--as..."
"As me? Nonsense. You still look better than me."
―Varner Hilts comforting his wife following her traumatic encounter with the Leviathans[src]

Mother and Daughter together

In the end, Spinner agreed to fly with Iliana on her uvak back to Tahv. He was tasked with destroying the starship and Kaliska was supposed to accompany him to ensure he complied. However, Dreypa's leviathans caught with them and captured both Kaliska and Takara. Kaliska was devoured by the Leviathan which enabled Dreypa to learn about the Jedi starship. Takara was taken prisoner by Dreypa who intended to use her as his hostage. Meanwhile, Spinner and Iliana succeeded in returning safely to Tahv. By then, news of the events at Sessal Spire had reached the capital of the Lost Tribe. This caused much anxiety and panic among the Tribe and Keshiri who quickly rallied all able-bodied inhabitants for a defense of the city.[3]

Iliana and Spinner arrived at the uvak stables in Tahv and later separated. The Tribe's Force sages and alchemists attempted to heal Iliana but they were unable to reverse the advanced ageing effects of the Leviathans. A despondent Iliana met with Grand Lord Hilts and moaned about the loss of her beauty and youth. However, Varner differed with his wife's pessimistic outlook and assured her that she still looked better than him. Iliana dreaded having to lead the Tribe's troops in her weakened state. However, Varner comforted his wife by explaining that one did not have to actually fight in combat in order to exude power. He argued that a smart Sith was one who could convince the others to do the "fighting" for him or her. He explained that this was part of the deceptive nature of Sith and urged Iliana to act the part and that the rest would follow.[3]

When Varner inquired about the whereabouts of Spinner, Iliana explained that she did not know because the young man had slipped away when the tenders took the uvak. At that point, both Sith sensed that the ground in the courtyard was trembling. It turned out that Spinner had managed to find the Jedi starship and reactivate it. Instead of destroying, Spinner intended to take it for a joyride in the stars above Kesh. His ascent created a hole in the Circle Eternal's courtyard. Lord Hilts quickly realized Spinner's intentions of heading for the stars.[3] Spinner's ascent into space caused some damage to Tahv's infrastructure including the city's waterworks. However, Spinner was able to reach the atmosphere above Kesh within seconds due to the ship's advanced engines.[11]

Fighting for the Tribe[edit | edit source]

"One doesn't have to grasp a weapon to strike others down--The smart Sith convinces others to it for him! Sith deceive. So act the part -- and the rest will follow!"
―Varner Hilts encouraging his wife to persevere[src]

Iliana leading the defense of Tahv

Iliana Hilts led the defense of her city during the Siege of Tahv. Dreypa's leviathans went on a rampage through the city streets and damaged and destroyed many of Tahv's buildings. She exhorted the city's Sith Sabers to defend their city against the invaders. While the Leviathans had taken her youth, Iliana vowed that they would never have her palace. She also reminded them that they were the true Sith of the galaxy and urged them to stand and fight for the Tribe. While the battle initially seemed to be in Dreypa's favor, the tide change when Spinner decided to return and save his people. This change of heart came after the Sith outcast received a holographic message from Lord Dreypa. The Sith Lord threatened to harm his love-interest Takara if he did not hand the starship over to him. Ultimately, Spinner's love for Takara made him decide to abandon his quest to reach the stars and return and save Tahv from Dreypa's Leviathans. Meanwhile, her husband Varner was trying to evacuate the scrolls at the Circle Eternal when a Leviathan breached the building's walls. Before the monster could devour her husband, Spinner's starship arrived at the scene and killed the Leviathan with the ship's laser cannons.[11]

Spinner proceeded to destroy Dreypa's leviathans with the ship's laser cannons which enabled the Lost Tribe to regain the upper hand. Iliana and her men witnessed these events and quickly evacuated the area to avoid getting hit by flying debris either by accident or on purpose. In the end, Spinner rescued Iliana's daughter Takara from Dreypa and his remaining Leviathan. Dreypa was killed when he was lured aboard the Jedi starship and sent on a one-way trip into Sessal Spire. This ended Dreypa's threat to the Lost Tribe but also destroyed the last known starship that could allow the Tribe to reach the wider galaxy. Spinner and Takara survived the fall. Following the end of the siege, the couple subsequently developed a romantic relationship. Spinner's crimes were conveniently forgotten and he became regarded as a "hero" to the Tribe. He also became a Hand of Grand Lord Hilts which made him the latter's personal enforcer.[11]

Following the defeat of Dreypa, Iliana and her husband were pleased that their former enemy Spinner had developed a romantic relationship with their daughter Takara. They oversaw the rebuilding of the city from a balcony in the capitol building Iliana gave Takara credit for performing well during the events of Dreypa's rebellion. She also confided that Takara took after her. Varner concurred with his wife and suggested that Takara lived up to her namesake: Takara Korsin, the mother of Yaru Korsin, the Founder of the Tribe. He also explained that he had kept Takara out of the Tribe's hierarchy to avert a succession struggle. For Varner, a Sith need to strive for something and he was proud that his daughter had been successful in her endeavours. Iliana also expressed her objections to Spinner leading the Tribe on the grounds that he was an outsider. She also criticized her husband's decision to appoint Spinner as his special agent while overlooking their own daughter. Varner disagreed with his wife and pointed out that Takara and Spinner would make a good team as "Hands".[11]

Personality and traits[edit | edit source]

"I don't understand. We bring in the best skin specialists for you—"
"I banished them from the realm. They kept wanting to plant trees in my pores."
―A conversation between Iliana and her husband, Grand Lord Hilts[src]

Iliana had a deep and close relationship with her husband

Iliana Hilts was a full two meters tall. She had bright red hair which was neatly coiffed and had flawless pink skin.[1] She was a strong and able leader who was capable of leading her troops in combat. This enabled her to gain a leadership position in both the Sisters of Seelah and the Lost Tribe's military forces.[1][6] In terms of personality, Iliana was known to have been arrogant, venal, and untrustworthy. She was also aggressive, had a fiery temperament, and was willing to use any means necessary to get what she wanted.[1]

Despite these negative characteristics, Iliana was also capable of showing affection, loyalty and devotion. She remained steadfastly loyal to her husband Varner Hilts and became his personal enforcer. As Grand Consort, Iliana also constantly fussed over her husband's appearance, leading her to hire the best skin experts in Keshtah to attend to his wrinkles and warts.[2] While she did not always see eye to eye with her husband and detested his slowness to anger and envy,[2] she still preferred Hilts over any other Sith because he did not have delusions of grandeur and had an expert knowledge of the Tribe's history.[6] In addition, she had a good relationship with her daughter Takara Hilts, who loved her enough to save her from being devoured by a Leviathan.[6] She was also unforgiving and hated anyone who threatened her loved ones, particularly Parlan Spinner and Remulus Dreypa.[4][6]

Powers and abilities[edit | edit source]

"You could live—by joining them."
"Not likely. Who do you think took Bentado's hand?"
―Hilts and Iliana discussing the latter's combat skills[src]

Iliana Hilts was skilled in lightsaber combat as with many other members of the Lost Tribe of Sith.[1] During one confrontation, she severed Korsin Bentado's left hand.[5] While Iliana had been physically weakened by the accelerating ageing effects of her encounter with Dreypa's Leviathan, she was able to overcome the loss of her youth by convincing her subordinates to fight for her. From her husband Varner Hilts, she learnt how to convince other sentient beings into doing things for her through deception. Iliana thus was able to accomplish things by acting and convincing others to follow her.[3]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Iliana Hilts was created as a key character for John Jackson Miller's Lost Tribe of the Sith novella series. Iliana first debuted in the online novella Pantheon which was released on July 18, 2011. She also appeared in its sequels Secrets and Pandemonium which were released on March 5 and July 24 2012 respectively. However, much of her lines are told from the point of view of another important character, Varner Hilts. She also appeared in Miller's stand-alone comic series Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith—Spiral which ran from August 8 to December 12, 2012. For the comic series, she was drawn by Andrea Mutti, inked by Pierluigi Baldassini, and colored by Michael Atiyeh. For the comic covers, Iliana was illustrated by Paul Renaud.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

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