- "And in that time, we will make our home here in Tahv, with our children—aided by the Neshtovar, who were such good stewards here in our absence."
- ―Yaru Korsin, after the return of the Skyborn to Kesh
The Neshtovar were, in the years before the Great Hyperspace War, the ruling council of the isolated planet Kesh. Renowned as riders of the native avian uvak beast, the Neshtovar held a position of aristocracy on Kesh's continent Keshtah Minor. Along with being the region's political leaders, police force, and foremost religious authority, the Neshtovar also served as a communication system for the region, utilizing their uvak to surmount natural obstacles so that they could bring news to the farthest corners of Keshtah's far-flung landscape. In 5000 BBY, the Neshtovari High Councilor was the venerable Izri Dazh. That year, he led a public inquest into geologist Adari Vaal's teachings on Kesh's formation, which he considered heretical. After Vaal's home was besieged by angry mobs, she fled into the mountains, where she stumbled across a group of crash-landed Sith. The newcomers posed as the Skyborn gods, and Dazh and the Neshtovar fell for their charade, ceding control of their society to them. Unfortunately for the Neshtovar, in 4985 BBY their uvak were taken away by the new Lost Tribe of Sith, leading many Neshtovar to join a Keshiri resistance, led by Vaal, dedicated to overthrowing Sith rule. However, their plans were unsuccessful, and the Sith regime continued on.
- "This land was a part of the living Skyborn. Do you think they do not hear you? When the ground quakes, when the smokers burn—it's their remnant acting in sympathy with their wishes. Their wishes that we honor them, and hate the Otherside!"
- ―High Councilor Izri Dazh, detailing some of the religious gospel of the Neshtovar
The Neshtovar were the ruling council of the isolated, remote planet Kesh's continent Keshtah Minor, in the years before the Great Hyperspace War. The Neshtovar were famed throughout Keshiri society as riders of the native avian uvak beast, which the all-male body used in their service as a sort of police force for the continent. The Neshtovar were seen by the Keshiri populace as the direct mortal representatives of the Skyborn gods, who, according to legend, created Kesh's landmass in a Great Battle against the wicked Otherside—to sin against the Skyborn was to sin against the Neshtovar, who proclaimed themselves to be the "Sons of the Skyborn". Completely devoted to their religion, the Neshtovar could be quite incurious, never actually hammering down who or what the Otherside supposedly were. In the case of crimes such as heresy, the Neshtovar had the authority to subject the alleged offender to a public trial at the Circle Eternal plaza in the capital city of Tahv, where the accused would be forced to defend themselves directly. In olden times, if a Neshtovari predeceased his family, his entire family was slain by the community. However, by 5000 BBY this practice had ended. If a Neshtovari died, his widow became a protected person in Keshiri society. The change was a boon to the social lives of the Neshtovari, and they became highly sought-after as mates.
The Neshtovar were led by a High Councilor—by 5000 BBY, that title was held by Izri Dazh. The High Councilor, among other duties, conducted the trials at the Circle Eternal. Other elders in the Neshtovar would often fashion thrones for themselves. Along with being the peacekeepers and lawgivers of Keshtah, the Neshtovar also served as a sort of communications system for the continent, their uvak allowing them to transport messages across the far-flung reaches of Keshtah. They were especially valuable in this capacity, as they were able to surmount the natural barriers that divided the region. As such, the Neshtovar were recipients of generations of knowledge about Kesh's ecosystem, including the chaotic air currents that surrounded the Sessal Spire volcano. Each village had an elder rider, who received information from circuit riders that brought news from Tahv. Members of the Neshtovar lived in wooden houses that were considered to be luxurious compared to the hejarbo-shoot huts that most Keshiri called home. The Neshtovar primarily used the Keshiri language.
Rulers of Kesh
- "Your words glorify the Otherside, Adari Vaal. It's why you are here. You are here for preaching—"
"—telling these lies about the Great Battle to your acolytes!"
- ―Izri Dazh and Adari Vaal, during her trial by the Neshtovar
According to legend, it was the ancient Neshtovar that in mythic times brought the knowledge of the Great Battle, and the story of Kesh's creation, to the people from the planet's oceanside mountains. The stories became gospel in Keshiri society, with the Neshtovar layering them over earlier stories of the Protectors and the Destructors. Over the ensuing centuries, the Neshtovar led mapping expeditions around the coasts of Keshtah, finding the planet's landmass to be highly asymmetrical—this supported the story of the Great Battle, which held that Kesh's landmass was formed from drops of blood shed from the Skyborn gods. The Neshtovar also undertook expeditions beyond Keshtah's coastlines, finding nothing but seemingly endless sea in all directions.
In 5000 BBY, the Neshtovar began a trial of Adari Vaal, a Tahv geologist accused of heresy. Through examination of volcanic rock, Vaal had uncovered evidence about the creation of Kesh's landmass that contradicted the story of the Great Battle. Vaal was the widow of Zhari Vaal, a promising young Neshtovar rider who suffered an untimely death when he was thrown off his uvak, Nink. Ironically, Vaal's findings were partially as a result of Neshtovari help, as a sympathetic rider had volunteered to bring her samples from the Cetajan Mountains. Vaal's hearings were attended by vast crowds of Keshiri, who watched as the geologist was cross-examined by High Councilor Izri Dazh. However, the fourth day of testimony was disrupted by a massive explosion in the nearby Cetajan Mountains.
Although the reason for the blast was unknown, a number of Neshtovari joined a large throng of Keshiri surrounding Vaal's home, suspecting that Vaal's supposed heresy had invoked the wrath of the Skyborn. Feeling unsafe, Vaal fled into the mountains on the back of Nink, evading Neshtovar pursuit. In the mountains, Vaal stumbled across the source of the explosion—a crashed Sith starship, whose surviving crew had taken up a makeshift camp near the site. The Sith captured Vaal, and their captain, Yaru Korsin, convinced her to bring them to civilization. Vaal promptly flew out of the Cetajan Mountains and attracted Neshtovari patrols in the area, who followed her into the wilderness only to find a group of 240 Sith armed with lightsabers. Once delivered from their predicament by a series of Neshtovari rescue operations taking place over three days, the Sith posed as the Skyborn gods, returned to Kesh. The Neshtovar bought the Sith charade, with High Councilor Dazh personally being convinced by Korsin using his telekinetic powers to levitate the aged Keshiri. Dazh led every Neshtovar in the region in publicly welcoming the "Skyborn" to Kesh in a massive celebration in the Circle Eternal. As a sign of tribute to their gods, the Neshtovar moved out of their fine homes, ceding them to the supposed Skyborn.
- "We're giving up a lot."
"You've already given up a lot. This is the only way back."
- ―An elder member of the Neshtovar and Adari Vaal, during a secret meeting of the Keshiri resistance
However, the arrival of the Skyborn was not the boon that the Neshtovar had expected. Indeed, it marked a change of the Neshtovar's very way of life. Soon after taking control, the new Lost Tribe of Sith took the strongest uvak for themselves, while most of the other domesticated uvak were used as animal labor. Although the Neshtovar were for a time allowed to fly uvak on visits to the mountain Kesh Sith Temple along with other administrative duties, that ended in 4985 BBY. That year, after prominent pureblood Sith Ravilan Wroth caused mass Keshiri deaths in the Ragnos Lakes region, and the subsequent extermination of his people from Kesh by the Lost Tribe's Human members, Grand Lord Yaru Korsin decided that the only word that he wanted spread was the Lost Tribe's. The Neshtovar had their uvak stripped from them, with the former riders either being reduced to police work, staffing local bureaucracies, or keeping stables for uvak they would never get to command. This caused a backlash among many Neshtovar, a number of whom reacted by joining an undercover Keshiri resistance led by Vaal that was dedicated to overthrowing the rule of the Lost Tribe. In 4975 BBY, the resistance was ready to execute their final plan, one which would heavily employ the group's Neshtovar agents.
According to their plot, the Neshtovar stablehands that tended the Lost Tribe's uvak would steal the beasts and take to the skies, using the creatures' bleating cries to attract other, unbroken uvak. In control of a herd of thousands of uvak, the Neshtovar would then lead them into the chaotic air currents surrounding the Sessal Spire volcano, which would bring them all to a watery grave. Their sacrifice would leave the Sith unable to effectively move across Keshtah's vast landscape, making them vulnerable to an armed uprising. However, when the time came for the plan to be carried out, not enough uvak gathered at the Sessal Spire. Tona Vaal, a member of the Neshtovar and son of Adari and Zhari Vaal, had fallen for Korsin's daughter, Nida, and divulged the details of the plot to her—allowing the Sith to protect most of their uvak. Ultimately, that led to the plan being foiled, and the Lost Tribe continued their reign over Kesh.
- "Nothing can be born of Kesh anew!"
- ―Izri Dazh
Izri Dazh was, by 5000 BBY, the High Councilor of the Neshtovar, presiding over the body at the Circle Eternal. By then a rather aged Keshiri, Dazh was responsible for leading the Neshtovari inquest of Adari Vaal's geological work. Dazh was an especially fanatical adherent to the religion of the Skyborn and did his best to paint Vaal as a faithless heretic. When the Sith arrived on Kesh shortly afterward, Dazh wholeheartedly fell for their disguise, personally convinced after being levitated by Yaru Korsin with the power of the Force. Dazh subsequently proclaimed that the Neshtovar should give their homes to the "Skyborn," ceding his own to Korsin and his future wife, Seelah. Dazh died sometime before 4975 BBY, but by then his sons and grandsons had become top members of Adari Vaal's Keshiri resistance.
Said to be the "valiant young rider of the Neshtovar on whom so many hopes rested" at his funeral by Izri Dazh, Zhari Vaal was a prominent member of the Neshtovar at a young age. Although respected by his fellow riders, Vaal was known for mistreating his stalwart uvak, Nink, which eventually led to his death. On one morning ride, Nink flew Vaal far out over the ocean and unceremoniously dropped him into the water. At his wake, Vaal was personally eulogized by High Councilor Dazh. Vaal's widow, Adari, later clashed with the Neshtovar in 5000 BBY, and his son, Tona, eventually became a member of the group.
Behind the scenes
The Neshtovar first appeared in John Jackson Miller's 2009 eBook Lost Tribe of the Sith: Skyborn, the second installment of his nine-part Lost Tribe of the Sith series. They also appeared in the next two sequels, Paragon and Savior, to go along with mentions in Pantheon and Pandemonium.
- Lost Tribe of the Sith: Skyborn (First appearance)
- Lost Tribe of the Sith: Paragon
- Lost Tribe of the Sith: Savior
- Lost Tribe of the Sith: Pantheon (Mentioned only)
- Lost Tribe of the Sith: Pandemonium (Mentioned only)