Know your lore: Brianna (The Last Handmaiden)

Brianna, also known as “The Last Handmaiden,” or simply “Handmaiden,” was a half-Echani fighter, and illegitimate daughter to the famous Echani General Yusanis and Jedi Master Arren Kae, who both fought in the Mandalorian Wars. She later served along with her five half-sisters as a handmaiden to Jedi Master Atris in the period following the Jedi Civil War. During her service to Atris at the Jedi Academy on Telos IV, Brianna met the Jedi Exile, and was subsequently tasked with accompanying her on her mission to seek out the Jedi Masters who survived the First Jedi Purge. As the Exile’s companion, Brianna helped battle against numerous adversaries, including the resurgent Sith.

During the journey, Brianna trained the Exile in Echani techniques and eventually received Jedi training from the Exile in return, becoming one of first new members of the Jedi Order after the Purge. In accepting such training, however, she broke her oath to Atris. The Jedi Master labeled her a traitor, resulting in a confrontation between Brianna, her sisters and her former master. According to the final predictions of Darth Traya, Brianna would become instrumental in the reconstruction of the Jedi Order and succeed Atris as Jedi historian.





Biography

Early life
Brianna was born as the result of a forbidden union between General Yusanis and Jedi Master Arren Kae. Yusanis, a master combatant of the Republic Echani homeworld, was married to another woman to whom he had five daughters, while Kae, as a member of the Jedi Order was forbidden to form strong attachments. Despite these restrictions, the couple began a secret relationship, risking their status by continuing to meet. Despite Kae’s attempts to keep the affair and Brianna’s existence a secret, the Jedi Council eventually found out about the situation, and Kae was exiled from the Jedi Order as punishment.

Kae later chose to join her former apprentice, Revan, to fight the Mandalorians, who were bent on conquering the Outer Rim. Yusanis joined them, despite the fact that he was responsible for the care of Brianna and his other five daughters. Yusanis and Kae became known as heroes of the conflict, but Kae eventually fell in battle, and Yusanis returned a broken man, abandoning battle to become a senator. He avoided speaking of Kae, leaving Brianna with no memories of her mother. Later, Yusanis’s old ally Revan declared himself the new Dark Lord of the Sith and turned on the Jedi, starting the Jedi Civil War. He sought to weaken the Republic, and targeted the Republic worlds of Serroco, Corellia and the Echani homeworld for destabilization. Revan accomplished his goals by assassinating a senator from each world, and the death of an Echani senator caught Yusanis’ attention. When Yusanis found evidence of the act, he challenged Revan to a duel, but was ultimately slain by the Dark Lord, leaving Brianna an orphan.

Sometime after Yusanis’s death, Brianna and her five half-sisters entered the service of Jedi Master Atris, one of the few Masters who survived the Jedi Civil War. The Jedi Order had been greatly divided and weakened by the war, and further attacks by a resurgent Sith Order after the war’s conclusion left very few Jedi remaining. Atris hoped to revive the Jedi Order after most of the other Jedi Masters had been killed during one of these attacks on Katarr, and established a secret academy on Telos IV, a planet that had been devastated by Sith forces during the Jedi Civil War. The sisters joined her in the academy and agreed to serve as her handmaidens, aiding Atris in gathering Jedi artifacts from around the galaxy. At one point during their service, Brianna and her half-sisters swore an oath to Atris that they would never study the teachings of the Jedi, nor receive any instruction from a Jedi; although Brianna was the only handmaiden who had any Force sensitivity due to her heritage. While Atris knew of Brianna’s familial lineage, as well as her sensitivity, she never mentioned Brianna’s potential, and the handmaiden remained ignorant of her innate abilities.

The offspring of Echani parents appeared to non-Echani to look identical to their parents, typically the one of the same sex. As such, Brianna resembled her Jedi mother and not Yusanis’ original wife, which distinguished her from sisters as physical evidence of their father’s affair. Her father’s infidelity had brought shame on himself; and, after his death at the hands of Revan, that shame was thrust upon her as the Echani believed that betrayal and shame were passed down through bloodlines. Despite working hard to disprove this stigma that followed her all through her young life, Brianna was branded the “Last of the Handmaidens” by her sisters, meaning she was the least of them, in terms of worth and combat ability. As a result, Brianna felt she was unworthy of bearing any signs of individuality and renounced her name in favor of her title.

The Exile’s arrival
The Jedi Academy was secluded in the isolated polar regions of Telos IV, and consequently, the academy remained unnoticed, even when the Republic began the Telosian Restoration Project in an effort to restore the ecosystem of the devastated planet. The project was headed by the Ithorian Chodo Habat and his herd, and a massive space station was built in orbit as a staging area for the project. When Atris later learned that the planet Peragus II, the main source of the station’s fuel had been destroyed and that the Telos Security Force was holding suspects in the planet’s destruction, who had recently arrived in the system, she ordered Brianna to investigate. Acting covertly, Brianna sneaked onto Citadel Station and stole the suspects’ ship, the Ebon Hawk, as well as their droid, T3-M4, which was aboard as a result of the ship being impounded after arriving at Citadel Station shortly after the destruction of Peragus II. Brianna then brought the ship to the secret academy where Atris hoped to look into the events surrounding the destruction of the planet. Atris was unaware that the new owner of the ship was a former friend from the Jedi Order, the Jedi Exile, another hero of the Mandalorian Wars who was exiled for her defiance of the Jedi Council and her decision to join Revan in the war. The Exile was released from custody when it was discovered that Peragus II had been destroyed as a result of her escape from the Sith Lord Darth Sion, and she began a search for her stolen ship.

Security feed showing Brianna boarding the Ebon Hawk.

The Jedi Exile, along with companions Kreia and Atton Rand, whom she had met on Peragus II, eventually located the starship with some help from a technician of the Restoration Project and entered the academy. Brianna, flanked by two of her sisters, confronted the group and demanded their surrender. The Exile agreed so as to avoid a conflict, and Brianna escorted her to meet with Atris. Atris had been one of the masters who decided on the Exile’s punishment for her involvement in the Mandalorian Wars, and was not pleased to see her again. After a charged discussion over the Exile’s seeming unrepentant attitude towards her actions in defying the Council, she informed Atris of the Sith’s involvement in the destruction of Peragus II, and offered her aid. Atris suggested she seek out the other surviving Jedi Masters and gather them at the ruined Enclave on Dantooine in order to form a plan of action, and sent the Exile away. Brianna was startled to have seen her mistress become so volatile, strengthening her growing belief that the Jedi were not the passionless beings Atris had described them to be.

Before the Exile departed Telos, Brianna was able to speak to her in private. Brianna was wary of the Exile at first, but began to speak more freely when the Exile managed to convince her that, contrary to Atris’s opinion, she had not turned to the dark side during the Mandalorian Wars. Brianna confessed that she was the only one of her sisters who did not doubt the Exile’s battle prowess and was more receptive to the Exile’s opinion. Brianna also mentioned how she was often distracted by the Jedi teachings Atris had rescued and stored at the academy; and, as a result, was eager to learn about life as a Jedi. She asked about various details of a Jedi’s life, including the issue of attachment. Brianna also informed the Exile that she always trained to better herself, and they discussed the Echani view of expression of feelings through combat. As one final question, Brianna asked what it was like to feel the Force, and was satisfied by the answers both the Exile and Kreia provided.

Travels with the Exile
Brianna was ordered by Atris to sneak aboard the Ebon Hawk and aid the Exile in her mission to find the missing Jedi Masters, a journey which spanned the worlds of Dantooine, Nar Shaddaa, Onderon and Korriban. Additionally, Brianna was to monitor the Exile’s activities for Atris in order to confirm that the Exile still served the light side. Brianna revealed herself upon learning the Exile had downloaded some of Atris’ records, indignantly protesting what she viewed as theft before composing herself and explaining her orders. While Rand vocally objected to allowing a spy to travel with them, the Exile welcomed Brianna to the crew. At this point, however, Brianna was still wary of the Jedi Exile, as she had been warned by Atris not to trust her. She secluded herself inside the cargo bay so that she could hone her fighting style, while keeping herself separate from the rest of the crew.

While the Jedi Exile attempted to get to know Brianna, the Echani continued to not trust her, but through acts of kindness and charity during their journey, Brianna finally believed that Atris had been wrong in her judgments. Brianna occasionally clashed with Visas Marr, a former Sith assassin who was initially on a mission to capture the Exile. Although Marr joined the crew after her defeat at the Exile’s hands, Brianna did not trust her due to Marr’s ties to the Sith. After some convincing from the Exile, Brianna learned to accept her presence, although she still kept a watchful eye on the Miraluka.

During their travels, Brianna agreed to teach the Exile Echani fighting techniques. As they trained, the Exile challenged Brianna’s Echani tradition about sparring while wearing only undergarments; Brianna conceded that bulkier clothes would be more practical. She surprised the Exile by then changing into a heavy set of grayed robes, the style associated with a Jedi Master. When asked, she finally revealed that they were the last keepsake of her mother that she had never known. She opened up to the Exile and revealed the story of her past, but she asked that it be kept secret from the rest of the crew, as she had come to trust the Exile over everyone else. Unexpectedly, after their private discussion, the Exile was approached by Kreia who revealed that she had known Arren Kae. Kreia speculated that because Kae had been strong in the Force, that the potential to become a Jedi also lay within her daughter. Kreia discouraged the Exile from training her as a Jedi, however, because it would mean breaking her oath to Atris.

The Exile decided to leave the choice to Brianna, and offered to train her to use the Force. By this point, Brianna greatly trusted the Exile and realized that she had hoped to follow her mother’s path her entire life. Consequently, she accepted the offer. The Exile warned her she would be breaking her oath to Atris, but Brianna was committed, feeling that she would be betraying her heritage if she didn’t accept the training. With Brianna’s acceptance, the Exile passed on her knowledge of the Force to Brianna, and trained her to become a Jedi Guardian. During this time, Kreia sent a message to Atris through the Force telling her of Brianna’s choice to become a Jedi with a single word: “Betrayal.” As a Jedi, Brianna continued to aid the Exile, who eventually succeeded in gathering the Jedi Masters Vrook Lamar, Zez-Kai Ell and Kavar on Dantooine. Brianna returned to the Enclave on Dantooine with the Exile, who set off to meet with the Masters alone. Unfortunately, when the Masters revealed their intentions to strip the Exile of the Force due to the danger she posed by her particular ability to feed off the life energy of others, Kreia was forced to act and killed the Jedi Masters. Kreia revealed to the Exile that she had been manipulating the Exile all along, and that her ultimate goal had been to utilize the Exile’s ability to destroy the Force itself.

Confronting the Sith
Following the incident on Dantooine, Brianna, believing the Exile to be dead, took Kreia directly to Atris, knowing that her mistress would execute any Sith. However, Atris’s belief in the Jedi Council’s decision during the Mandalorian Wars, as well as her belief in the Order itself, had been shaken after she observed the Exile’s conviction. In addition, she had been slowly corrupted by her collection of Sith holocrons, which she had gathered in hopes of using their teachings to fight the Sith. Instead, the influence of the artifacts proved too strong, and they slowly twisted Atris’s thinking, causing her to fall to the dark side.

Brianna’s sisters confront her on Telos.


As a result, Atris’s conversation with Kreia, who announced her true identity as Darth Traya, caused her to finally give in to the dark side. Simultaneously, the other handmaidens confronted Brianna. She learned that Atris had told her sisters that Brianna had fallen to the dark side and joined the Exile against Atris’s wishes. Brianna could not convince her sisters otherwise, and was forced to fight them. In doing so, she proved herself to have surpassed her sisters in ability, as she managed to defeat them all without killing them. Shortly thereafter, Atris arrived and attacked Brianna. Though Brianna was initially able to keep the corrupt Jedi Master at bay, she was eventually overwhelmed. Atris began torturing her handmaiden with Force lightning; but, before she could deliver the final blow, the Exile arrived and defeated Atris in a duel. After the duel, Brianna pledged undying allegiance to the Exile, renouncing her title of Last of the Handmaidens, and embracing her true name.

Before leaving Telos, Traya manipulated the Sith into attacking Citadel Station, forcing the Exile to fight off an assault and help defend the station before she could follow Traya. Brianna aided the Exile and the Telos Security Force in fending off the Sith assault on Citadel Station before joining the Exile in pursuit of Traya. The Exile had learned from Atris that Traya had gone to a secret academy on Malachor V, the site of the final battle of the Mandalorian Wars, and the site where the Exile had previously lost her connection to the Force after killing countless combatants on both sides by activating the Mass Shadow Generator superweapon during the battle. On this occasion, the Sith Lord intended to use Malachor V—a site where the Force still echoed from those killed by the Mass Shadow Generator—to create a wound in the Force, which in turn would allow her to carry out her goal of destroying the Force itself. When the group arrived at Malachor V, however, the massive storms surrounding the planet damaged the Ebon Hawk, causing it to crash. In the crash, the members of the group were separated, and Brianna was unable to help the Exile, who went on to duel and defeat Traya alone.

Legacy
Traya, shortly before her death on Malachor V at the hands of the Exile, looked into the future, and told her that Brianna would give up her ways of battle, play a vital role in rebuilding the Jedi Order, take Atris’s role as historian, and teach future Padawans about the Jedi who gave up the Force, and became better for it.

Personality and traits
As the daughter of Yusanis and Arren Kae, Brianna bore the shame of her parents’ forbidden affair, and as a result strove to prove her worth to her sisters and Atris. Her shame and position as the least worthy among her sisters led her to adopt a style of thinking in which she placed the greater good and her oaths to Atris before herself, forsaking her name and identity. It was not until she finally defeated her sisters in combat and confronted Atris that Brianna fully gained a sense of self-worth, finally embracing her name as a result, and casting aside the shame of her parentage. She believed combat to be one of the purest ways of expressing oneself, and that a person’s fighting style accurately displayed what kind of person they were.

Brianna was steadfastly loyal to her superiors, and was completely devoted to Atris before the Jedi Exile earned her trust. She was initially very slow to trust the Exile due to the warnings Atris had given, but the Exile’s kindness, as well as Brianna’s reading of her through combat caused her to eventually open up. When the Exile saved her life, Brianna completely renounced her ties to Atris. Her trust did not extend to the Exile’s other companions, however, and she remained wary of both Kreia and Marr for the extent of their journey.

In addition, despite being criticized by her sisters for her passion, Brianna was typically very reserved and did not interact much with the crew, choosing to seclude herself in the cargo bay instead. Despite this, her irritation with her fellow crew members occasionally showed, typically with Rand and Marr. She expressed her passion through combat, and developed a yearning to feel the Force, eventually receiving Jedi training from the Exile. This curiosity stemmed from her having examined some of Atris’s Jedi holocrons, and her interest in these artifacts may have led to her taking the position of Jedi historian as Kreia predicted.

Having lived a relatively sheltered life in the secret academy on Telos, Brianna displayed some naïveté towards the workings of the galaxy, a fact commented on by Atton Rand. She also failed to grasp jokes made by the Exile and the bounty hunter Mira, as well as Rand’s sarcasm. Brianna tended to view things in terms of black and white, and argued with the Exile over some of her decisions, feeling that any act of questionable morality was unacceptable, a mindset she likely developed from following Atris’ own strict beliefs.

Powers and abilities
Despite the title of the “Last of the Handmaidens” given to Brianna by her sisters, she was proficient in combat with Echani martial arts, and was able to successfully instruct the Jedi Exile, showing extensive knowledge of the style. Brianna found her training to be helpful in maintaining her focus, and trained often while traveling with the Exile, particularly when annoyed by the Exile’s other companions. In addition, Brianna was skilled in the use of Battle Precognition, which allowed her to perceive her opponents’ intentions an instant before they acted, giving her an edge in combat. She recognized the Exile’s potential with precognition and taught her to use the ability as well. Her combat prowess extended to numerous weapons including Force pikes and blasters. Brianna also utilized a unique staff that possessed qualities similar to a saberstaff, and was given to her by her father. Along with her various weapons, Brianna could also fight effectively unarmed due to her proficiency in Echani.

As the daughter of a Jedi, Arren Kae, Brianna was Force-sensitive and eventually accepted Jedi training from the Exile, becoming a Jedi Guardian. As a Jedi Guardian, Brianna focused on combat and learned the lightsaber techniques and abilities of the Jedi, supplementing her skills with powers such as Force Jump. With Jedi training, her combat proficiency increased to the point where she surpassed even her sisters in skill and managed to defeat all of them together in combat. Brianna was even able to duel evenly against Jedi Master Atris for a while before being overwhelmed by Force Lightning. She also displayed significant endurance, and was able to stand after being battered by Force Lightning and seemed relatively steady despite the ordeal.

This article uses material from the “Brianna” article on the Star Wars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.
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