- "Now what's going on here?"
"An intervention. For the galaxy."
- ―Shad Jelavan and Q'Anilia
In 3964 BBY, the Jedi Masters of the planet Taris' Jedi Tower killed their Padawans at a false Knighting ceremony that became known as the Padawan Massacre. The Masters were all members of the Jedi Covenant, a secret faction within the Jedi Order dedicated to keeping watch for and preventing the return of the Sith, and the five comprised the Covenant's First WatchCircle. During the Padawans' final trial, a blind traverse of Taris' hazardous rogue moon, the Masters had shared traumatic and violent Force visions depicting not only their deaths but the destruction of the Jedi Order and the Galactic Republic. Believing that one of their Padawans would be the one to bring about this doom, the Masters made plans to slay them all in a preemptive strike. After the Padawans completed their test and returned to Taris, the Masters scheduled a banquet and a Knighting ceremony—after the banquet, the group retired to the Masters' chambers, supposedly for the Padawans to discover which of them would be Knighted. There, the inquiries of Padawan Shad Jelavan, who felt that something was amiss, forced the Masters to strike quicker than they anticipated. Four of the five Padawans were slain, but the fifth, Zayne Carrick, was able to escape because he arrived late.
Framed for the murders, the fugitive Carrick eventually learned the truth of the Padawan Massacre and set out to clear his name. Now one of the most wanted men in the Republic, Carrick investigated the murders, discovering more and more about the Jedi Covenant and its secret operations. Along the way, he encountered the five members of the WatchCircle, and events were put in motion that led to the Masters meeting their ultimate fate. Raana Tey was killed on Taris in the midst of a Mandalorian invasion of the planet—an offensive that was prompted by the Padawan Massacre—and the Feeorin Master Feln was slain by his own tribesmen on his homeworld of Odryn after a violent encounter with Carrick. Their deaths led the Khil seer Xamar to confess the Covenant's secret activities to the Jedi High Council and clear Carrick's name. Both Xamar and the Miraluka Q'Anilia died soon afterward, however, during an insurrection against the Council led by the failed Padawan Haazen. After Haazen was defeated, Lucien Draay, the only survivor of the First WatchCircle, dropped out of sight, and Carrick refused an offer to rejoin the Jedi Order in favor of entering into business with his "accomplice," Marn Hierogryph.
- "It's what we've been watching for! The Sith! The Sith are returning! In flames, Lucien! The Order! The Republic! All in flames!"
During the Great Sith War, Jedi Knight Barrison Draay was killed in action, leaving behind his wife and fellow Jedi, Krynda, as a widow along with his young son, Lucien. Devastated by his death and distraught that the greatest seers of the Jedi Order failed to predict the rise of the Sith who had instigated the conflict, Krynda disassociated herself from the Order. However, in 3993 BBY, the Jedi brought to Draay a young Miraluka named Q'Anilia. Sensing the special promise in the child, Draay took her in and began to train her as a seer. Over the next ten years, Draay gathered other similarly promising young Jedi. Having foreseen a group that could foil the return of the Sith, she, by 3983 BBY, formed the Jedi Covenant, a secret faction within the Jedi Order that would keep watch for the dark side. Meanwhile, her own largely ignored son, Lucien, also talented in the Force, learned under his family's retainer, Haazen, a failed Jedi prospect in his younger days. For her First WatchCircle, Draay gathered her four best young seers—Q'Anilia, the Khil Xamar, a rare Feeorin Jedi named Feln, and the Togruta Raana Tey. Lucien was also assigned to the Circle as their Executor, handling arrangements and providing practical help and protection.
By 3969 BBY, the five Jedi Masters were posted to the Jedi Tower, a small satellite academy on the planet Taris. That year, five Padawans were transferred to Taris, and each was assigned to one of the Masters—Draay to Human Zayne Carrick, Q'Anilia to native Tarisian Shad Jelavan, Feln to the Ho'Din Oojoh, Xamar to the rare Nagai Jedi prospect Gharn, and Tey to the Falleen Kamlin. After five years of learning, the Taris class, by 3964 BBY, was close to the end of its training. For the Padawans' final test, they had to traverse the rogue moon, a planetoid in the Taris asteroid belt constantly bombarded by thousands of meteors an hour, while blinded. However, the Covenant had ulterior motives for being on the moon. The WatchCircle had felt a storm coming and believed that on the rogue moon, where the Force flowed more freely, they would be able to see what laid ahead more clearly. While they waited for their Padawans to make it to their encampment on a high promontory, the seers gathered to meditate—and were greeted by a series of vivid visions wherein each seer saw not only their violent deaths but the seeming destruction of the Jedi Order and the Galactic Republic.
Although each seer's vision was unique, there was one common thread: Each saw themselves being killed by a figure, assumed to be a Sith, wearing a red environment suit, such as the ones the Padawans were wearing on the rogue moon. Taking that to mean that one of their Padawans was going to bring about the return of the Sith, Draay suggested that they kill the trainees right then and there. However, Xamar refused to act unless their superiors were counseled first. Reluctantly assenting, Draay forestalled the execution. Draay destroyed a droid, T1-LB, who had observed the whole thing, and soon afterward the first of the successful Padawans arrived. After all five of the learners had completed the test, they all returned to Taris and the Jedi Tower, where the Masters cloistered themselves for days. While the Padawans assumed their Masters were determining which of them would become Jedi Knights, they were actually contacting Coruscant. Krynda refused to allow the Masters to kill the Padawans, wanting the learners to be brought to the Draay Estate so more could be learned about the vision. However, when Haazen relayed her wishes to her son, he ignored them, fearing that Krynda would die if he allowed the prophecy to come to pass. Draay instead told his fellows that he had gotten the go-ahead and began working out a cover story. The Covenant would tell the public that they had rejected Shad Jelavan for his headstrong attitude, and in a rage Jelavan slew his four classmates before the Masters were forced to kill him. When everything was settled, the Masters emerged from solitude, proclaiming that they had decided who would be Knighted, and set up a banquet and Knighting ceremony at the Jedi Tower.
- "Those Jedi were trying to kill us! What did you do?"
"I didn't do anything! I went into the Temple and found all my friends dead!"
- ―Marn Hierogryph and Zayne Carrick
At the banquet, a seemingly innocuous and inadvertent event forced the Covenant to switch gears and changed everything that was to come. Zayne Carrick, considered to be the least of the Jedi class, arrived by crashing through a window and through a Besalisk caterer's table—embroiled in a chase of local Snivvian criminal Marn Hierogryph, Carrick had momentarily forgotten about the banquet. Draay ordered him to pay for the broken table, and while Carrick haggled with the Besalisk caterer, he noticed Hierogryph in the courtyard below. Carrick leapt out the window and apprehended Hierogryph, leaving the captured Snivvian at the Tower's hangar cuffed in the Padawan's speeder. In the process, Carrick had made himself late for the ceremony. Although the Masters had prepared for Carrick's customary tardiness, while they waited for him to arrive, Shad Jelavan noticed something amiss. Lucien Draay had his lightsaber, implying that Carrick would be Knighted.
Although initially overjoyed that his friend would be made a Jedi Knight, Jelavan began to doubt whether Carrick, who finished last in every test and trial, would actually be Knighted. The other three Padawans present followed his lead. Spurred on by their halfhearted lies, Jelavan directly challenged the Masters. Their hand forced, the Covenant struck, cutting down the four Padawans before they could react. A moment later, Carrick arrived to see his friends lying dead on the chamber floor. Stunned, Carrick ignored the Masters' directions to stand down and fled. With the Covenant in pursuit, Carrick made for his speeder, taking off with a confused Hierogryph still cuffed in a sidecar. A wild chase through Taris' Upper City ensued—Carrick and Hierogryph escaped by hiding in an eatery's trash chute, from which they were deposited in the Lower City. There, they discovered that they were already wanted men. Carrick was charged with the murders of his classmates, and Hierogryph was listed as an "accessory."
- "Failed Padawan… slew classmates… fugitive is armed and… Umm…"
"No. Deranged. Well, that certainly sounds like you."
- ―Marn Hierogryph and Zayne Carrick, reading their wanted notices
The deaths of the "Taris Four" became an object of intense media interest, with the event being deemed the "Padawan Massacre" by the hysterical press. The massacre also had a far-reaching economic impact—soon after the massacre, Lhosan Industries announced that it was moving its operations offworld to somewhere safer, leaving many Lower City residents out of work. Needing a "show of justice," the Taris Jedi Masters teamed with Constable Sowrs and all of Taris Security to track down the fugitives. Carrick and Hierogryph were finally cornered at Junk Junction, a desolate junkyard in the Lower City, at the home of Arkanian Offshoots Jarael and Gorman "Camper" Vandrayk. Luckily, the Offshoots' home doubled as a junk hauler, The Last Resort, and the four were able to escape into the Taris asteroid belt. In an attempt to figure out why the massacre occurred, Carrick decided to retrace his steps and went to the rogue moon, where he recovered the wreckage of T1-LB and narrowly avoided Jedi pursuit. Camper rebuilt T1-LB, and from the droid's holographic memory, Carrick learned of the Covenant's dark visions. Soon afterward, The Last Resort was captured by Valius Ying, a pirate who was attempting to claim the sizable bounty on his and Hierogryph's heads. Hierogryph negotiated for his and the Offshoots' freedom, and Carrick decided to go without a fight.
Ying delivered Carrick to the Masters in the same chamber, since cleaned, where the massacre occurred. There, Draay revealed to his former Padawan the events prior to the massacre to which Carrick was not privy and the existence and purpose of the Jedi Covenant. Draay killed an unsuspecting Ying and was preparing to kill Carrick—however, a red environment suit-clad Jarael, returning to save her friend, burst through the window wielding Carrick's lightsaber and carried him away, her appearance initially frightening the Masters, who briefly thought her to be the Sith of their vision. Public order on Taris significantly declined in the next few weeks. As the Middle City descended into riots, the Masters at the Jedi Tower received word that they had been reassigned to separate postings—the Dantooine Jedi Council felt that the public escape of a Jedi neophyte from their inner sanctum had undermined respect for their authority on Taris. The Masters of the Jedi Tower also received an ominous message from Carrick: He would hunt down each of them until one of them confessed and cleared his name. The message was actually Hierogryph's idea, in an attempt to devise a way to keep the Masters from pursuing them across the galaxy.
- "One of their number must turn, Shel. Someone who's seen everything from the beginning. Someone must raise his voice."
- ―Jedi Master Vandar Tokare and Xamar
The massacre had a profound effect on the war with the Mandalorian warrior clans, which was still in its nascent stages. When the Jedi were pulled off Taris, Mandalore the Ultimate took that as an opportunity to claim the sector and launched a major offensive aimed at taking Taris. Taris was besieged in 3963 BBY, with the Mandalorians forcing the Taris Resistance into the Lower City. Carrick and Hierogryph served with the resistance, encountering Raana Tey, who plotted to kill the fugitive former Padawan. However, Tey became the first of the WatchCircle to fall, perishing in a massive explosion that destroyed the Jedi Tower, giving Krynda's name to Carrick before her death. Feln was the next to die, slaughtered by his own people on his homeworld of Odryn after the sacred Feeorin Sanctum of the Exalted was destroyed in an altercation with Carrick and Hierogryph. All the while, Carrick uncovered more and more of the Covenant's activities, including the secret collection of powerful Sith artifacts from across the galaxy—one such relic, the Muur Talisman, in the possession of one of Lucien Draay's covert agents, caused mass death and destruction on the planet Jebble, and hundreds more dangerous artifacts were found in the Sanctum of the Exalted.
However, vindication for Carrick soon came from an unlikely source. Xamar, fearing that he would be the next to die and no longer trusting Lucien Draay, attempted to change his fate and confessed to the Jedi High Council the truth of the Padawan Massacre along with the covert activities of the Jedi Covenant. A large Jedi force descended upon the Draay Estate—however, Haazen used this opportunity to put into motion an operation he had been planning for decades. Haazen, who had secretly been manipulating events all along, launched an insurrection against the Jedi Council, aimed at seizing ultimate power for himself. As the Jedi moved in on the Draay Estate, Haazen used the Republic Navy's own ships to bombard the estate and kill many Jedi, including Xamar. In the hours to come, Q'Anilia committed suicide by poison.
However, Draay and Carrick worked together to foil Haazen's plot. In the aftermath of the destructive episode, the Republic covered up the violence as an unsuccessful Mandalorian terror plot. Carrick and Hierogryph were officially cleared of any involvement in the Padawan Massacre, their bounties paid off by the Jedi Order. No one, save the families of the deceased Padawans, were told the true story of the Padawan Massacre. Offered a chance to return to the Jedi Order, Carrick turned it down, preferring instead to go into business with Hierogryph. Draay, meanwhile, retreated to a private moon, where, unbeknownst to the rest of the galaxy, he led a True Covenant, intended not to avert coming doom but instead to ensure the survival of the Jedi ways should it occur. Carrick went on to form an organization called the Rogue Moon Project, staffed mainly by relatives of the slain Padawans. The Project was meant to help refugees, wrongly accused people, and beings marginalized during the raging Mandalorian Wars. As a gift, the Project members had a specialist fuse together Carrick's classmates' lightsaber crystals to use in Carrick's new lightsaber.
- "The mission—no mission is worth the lives of children!"
- ―Krynda Draay, to her son, Lucien
Following the death of her beloved husband, Barrison Draay, Jedi Master Krynda Draay withdrew from Jedi affairs entirely. Half-Human, half-Miraluka, and possessing Force sight along with normal sight, Draay was a gifted seer. Unwilling to let her talents go to waste, the Jedi Order began sending Draay promising seers for her to train. The first student she accepted after years of refusing potential prospects was the young Miraluka Q'Anilia. Draay concerned herself with training Q'Anilia and other young seers, leaving her own son, Lucien, to learn from Haazen. Obsessed with preventing the return of the Sith, Draay formed the Jedi Covenant, dedicated to keeping watch for the rise of the Sith. Secretly training dozens of Jedi, Draay sent her First WatchCircle out into the world. The WatchCircle comprised four seers and one Executor—the latter role held by Lucien, tasked with providing security, handling arrangements, and the like. Lucien, Carrick's Master, was more amused by his Padawan's antics than anything and eventually took a seat on the Jedi High Council.
The other members of the WatchCircle were the seers, trained personally by Krynda Draay herself. The first of these was Q'Anilia, who became completely devoted to Krynda and had her own close relationship with Lucien. On Taris, Q'Anilia trained the promising Tarisian Shad Jelavan. A Togruta, Raana Tey was plagued by violent headaches and vivid nightmares as a young girl, symptoms that baffled doctors on her native Shili. A passing Jedi recognized that these afflictions might have been runaway Force visions and referred Tey to Krynda Draay. After becoming a Jedi Master, Tey trained the Falleen Padawan Kamlin. A native of the isolated, primitive world of Odryn, the Feeorin Feln became the Elder of his tribe and displayed such prowess in battle that his fellows thought him magic. After conquering all the neighboring tribes, Feln was discovered to be Force-sensitive by a Jedi scout. After becoming both the Feeorin's hallowed Exalted and a Jedi Master, Feln trained the young Ho'Din named Oojoh. The final member of the WatchCircle was Xamar, a Khil from the planet Belnar, who was brought to Krynda Draay as a youth. Characteristic of his species, Xamar had a rather cautious nature, which often led him to clash with Lucien. On Taris, Xamar trained the Nagai Gharn.
After the WatchCircle's prophetic visions on the rogue moon, the Padawan Massacre, and the unlikely escape of Zayne Carrick, events were put in motion that led to each member of the WatchCircle and the Covenant itself meeting their ultimate fates. Tey was the first to fall—having been ordered back to Taris alone by Supreme Chancellor Tol Cressa of the Republic, the Togruta, lacking the support system she needed, descended into insanity during the Mandalorian invasion. After encountering Zayne Carrick working with the Taris resistance, Tey attempted to use Carrick's former friend—and massacre victim Shad Jelavan's sister—Shel Jelavan to kill Carrick. After Jelavan hesitated, Tey tried to do the deed herself, only to have Jelavan stab her in the back with her brother's lightsaber. Still, Carrick tried to help Tey out of the burning and damaged Jedi Tower, and Tey accepted her enemy's help—however, Marn Hierogryph, mistakenly thinking that Tey was trying to attack Carrick, blew up the Jedi Tower and killed the Togruta.
Feln encountered Carrick investigating the Sanctum of the Exalted on Odryn, a structure sacred to the Feeorin in which Feln had allowed the Covenant to store Sith artifacts. After a wild chase and fight, Feln destroyed the Sanctum to prevent other Jedi from finding out what was being gathered there, leading his tribesmen to turn on and kill him. Xamar, fearing he was next, revealed the covert activities of the Covenant and cleared Carrick's name. Xamar's foreseen death came shortly after anyway, as he was killed when Haazen took control of Republic ships and ordered them to fire on the Jedi raiding the Draay Estate. Q'Anilia died shortly afterward—after finding Krynda Draay, immobilized by a stroke suffered shortly after a vision of the massacre, in a life-preserving oubliette, the Miraluka committed suicide by poison in order to be with her again. For her part, Krynda was shortly awoken by Hierogryph, who brought the addled Jedi Master to her son, Lucien, only for her to die when Lucien confirmed that he had indeed carried out the killing of the Padawans. With these deaths, Lucien was the last remaining of the WatchCircle—having survived the events of Haazen's insurrections, he dropped out of sight, retreating to a private moon to lead his True Covenant.
- "That's the problem with the fabric of destiny. The loose ends can kill you."
- ―Zayne Carrick
A native of the planet Phaeda, Zayne Carrick was taken to the Jedi Enclave on Dantooine for training at the age of five. Even then, Carrick was recognized as having only a marginal Force capacity, although he seemed to have a "special relationship" with the Force. Very close with the other members of his Taris Jedi class, especially his best friend, Shad Jelavan, Carrick consistently proved himself to be the least of the five Padawans—his struggles were so great that some of his teachers suspected that he had some sort of Force-learning disability. On Taris, Carrick was the Padawan of Lucien Draay, who largely ignored him and privately admitted to be amused by his Padawan's antics. Carrick spent his time on Taris repeatedly trying and failing to capture local Snivvian criminal Marn Hierogryph, who always managed to outsmart the Human. Carrick's successful capture of Hierogryph fatefully caused him to be late to his Knighting ceremony—after finishing last in his final trial on the rogue moon, Carrick knew he was a long shot to be Knighted. When he finally arrived, he found his classmates dead at their Masters' feet. Knowing that he was next, Carrick fled along with his new "accomplice," Hierogryph, becoming one of the Republic's most wanted fugitives. Carrick escaped Taris with the help of Hierogryph and the Arkanian Offshoots Jarael and Camper, and dedicated himself to clearing his name and exposing the treachery of the Jedi Covenant. For Carrick, vindication finally came when Xamar admitted the truth of the Padawan Massacre, and he was cleared of all charges after he helped to put down Haazen's insurrection. Given the chance to return to the Jedi Order, Carrick declined and went into business with Hierogryph, now his close friend.
The "Taris Four"
- "You're lying. Why are you lying? I've heard you all talk about Zayne. We've all heard you! You don't take him seriously at all! None of you! You treat him like a court jester! Now you're going to Knight him?"
- ―Shad Jelavan, to Lucien Draay
Besides Carrick, there were four other Padawans learning at the Jedi Tower—they went on to be known as the "Taris Four," slain in the massacre. Of the group, native Tarisian Shad Jelavan, Q'Anilia's Padawan, was considered to be the best and brightest. Orphaned in an accident in the Middle City that claimed the lives of his parents, Jelavan used his stipend to support his younger sister, Shel, and brother, Shay. A close friend of Zayne Carrick, he often tried to motivate the struggling Padawan. Raana Tey's Padawan was the Falleen Kamlin, noted for her capture of notorious criminal P'den Robalt. Oojoh, a Ho'Din and Feln's Padawan, was known for having brought down the Leverby smuggling ring. Rounding out the group was Gharn, a rare Nagai Jedi prospect, apprenticed to Xamar. Although all four were considered promising future Jedi, they all perished in the Padawan Massacre, leading to the end of the Jedi's official presence on the world.
Behind the scenes
The Padawan Massacre occurred in Knights of the Old Republic 1, the first issue of the Knights of the Old Republic comic series, written by John Jackson Miller and released in 2006. Over the rest of the Commencement arc, the Padawan Massacre was front and center, as main character Zayne Carrick, blamed for the crime, runs from the law and learns more about the event. Many Knights of the Old Republic issues afterward focus on Carrick trying to clear his name and combat the people responsible for the massacre, culminating when the Jedi Covenant is destroyed and Carrick absolved of his supposed crimes in the arc Vindication. After the release of the first Knights of the Old Republic issue, Wookieepedia dubbed the event the "Padawan Massacre of Taris"—Miller alluded to this name in his notes for Knights of the Old Republic 6 and later canonized the name "Padawan Massacre" in Knights of the Old Republic 11.
- "Drawn By The Force"—Star Wars Insider 91
- "Jawa's Corner: Comics"—Star Wars Insider 97
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Handbook
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- "Jawa's Corner: Comics"—Star Wars Insider 98
- Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide
- "Blaster"—Star Wars Insider 104
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "5 Evil Deeds! (Expanded Universe)"—Star Wars Insider 113