The Menders of the Rift were a cult built around the Old Soul Voritas's claims that the universe was doomed without more Old Souls, and many of its members were bound to him through rituals that placed a piece of his essence and even his mind inside their bodies.
The cult was a primary villain to the Sith Imperium in the years after it went into hiding from the Eternal Fleet.
History of the Cult
The Bridge Builder's Beginning
The mad Old Soul Voritas was imprisoned by Darth Makhzor shortly after Makhzor created him. Makhzor believed that Voritas's ambitions would end in disaster, but something in the reproduction process had gone awry and Voritas was incapable of listening to reason. Makhzor, feeling his child was mad and dangerous, placed Voritas in a mysterious prison sustained by Makhzor's power. When Makhzor fragmented his essence into dozens of Shards and scattered them across the multiverse, the prison broke and Voritas was freed.
The Founding of the Cult
Voritas worked in the shadows for years and years, gathering beings he deemed worthy and inducting them into a growing religious cult which he called "Menders of the Rift," believing that a universe that wasn't overflowing with Old Souls was a mistake and must have gotten separated from its other half. He claimed that the lack of Old Souls was causing this universe to decay, and that to save it he must build a bridge to a parallel universe which beings like him could cross and serve him in his quest to save everyone. This earned him the title "Bridge Builder".
When Voritas believed his power base strong enough, he led them in missions to find and reclaim ancient artifacts from technologically-superior races. Their main goal was to recover technologies used to teleport or to create gates from one location to another. Finding caches of Rakatan teleporters, Gree hypergates, and even a Kwa Infinity Gate, the cult began studying the tech in order to replicate and hybridize it. Meanwhile, the Force-users of the cult researched similarly-themed Sith Sorceries, looking into techniques and rituals that could move a being from one location to another.
Experiments began to take place, testing various combinations of these technologies and Force techniques. After several disastrous attempts, a design was settled upon. Unfortunately for them, it required enormous amounts of power and therefore was difficult to sustain for any amount of time. Voritas had inherited many of Makhzor's memories, however, and knew of one place where immense power could potentially be gathered.
A group of the cultists were sent to the Voss Vergence, where they attempted to set up machinery inscribed with sigils of Sith Sorcery to absorb some of the Vergence's power. Simultaneously, a group was sent to Hoth to the site of the Guardian's exile. Voritas felt it fitting to test his portal at the place where Makhzor's final ascension to power took place. His cultists never got the chance.
Menders of the Rift (short story summary)
Darth Bahr've'ahz B'Makhzor, Hand of the Lord Emperor and the last surviving servant of Makhzor, had had visions of the Hoth mountainside under attack by unknown strangers. He brought his then-apprentice Demial Enax with him to investigate, and immediately attacked when he sensed that the cultists had been touched by an Old Soul. The two Sith cut through the cultists with surprising ease - until the deceased and dismembered foes began to resurrect themselves through the power of their bond with Voritas. Caught with his guard down by this, Bahr've'ahz made contact with one of the cultists and was forced into a vision by his Sight. In this vision, he witnessed the ritual where the cultist who had grabbed him was being bound to Voritas. Voritas, in this vision, then made eye-contact with Bahr've'ahz as though he knew he was being watched from a different time and place.
Voritas then began torturing Bahr've'ahz through the vision, toying with his mind and setting the stage for a mental invasion at some point in the future. On the Hoth mountainside, Bahr've'ahz was writhing on the ground and guarded by cultists who seemed more interested in ensuring no interruptions than in ending Bahr've'ahz's life. Demial Enax, never one to be denied by an enemy, cut his way through the self-reviving hordes until he reached his master. Preparing to fight with the unconscious older man across his shoulders, Demial was surprised to find that most of the cultists fled with their machinery. Those who hadn't teleported away were turning to dust.
Not long after, Lord Emperor Arestenax, having experienced a similar vision to Bahr've'ahz's but concerning the Voss Vergence, was joined by Bahr've'ahz on a mission to ensure that location's security. Finding more cultists there, but ready for their resistance to death, the Sith had no trouble driving the interlopers away. Managing to briefly interrogate one of the cultists before she disintegrated, they learned only that the cultists called themselves Menders of the Rift and followed a being called "the Bridge Builder".
Returning to Bahr've'ahz'z stronghold on Kaon to consult Makhzor's holocron, they learned of Voritas's origins and his plans. Minutes later, they began to hear about portals being discovered all over their territory and sometimes outside it, signifying that the Menders of the Rift had succeeded in absorbing enough power from the Voss Vergence to suit their needs.
Throaxin III (Guild RP summary)
For months, the Imperium attempted to put out the brushfire conflicts with the cultists, who would only attack in small groups, attempt to establish a portal, and then disappear with the technology (or disintegrate entirely) when confronted by superior force.
However, five months after the cult was discovered, an emergency broadcast was received by the Sith Imperium. The cultists had attacked a mining survey team on the planet Thoraxin III in immense numbers and were establishing multiple portals. Lord Emperor Arestenax ordered a strike team led by Bahr've'ahz and Demial Enax to lead the counterattack against the cultist positions.
On finding the first portal, Bahr've'ahz examined it closely and found that the portal was being focused through a stone at its base, which seemed to be powered by the Vergence's stolen energy. Destroying the stone and deactivating the portal, Bahr've'ahz led his strike team through the heart of the Menders' ranks, deactivating portal after portal.
At one of the last remaining portals, Bahr've'ahz accidentally pushed a cultist into the focusing stone, sending it into the portal. The portal began to crackle and grow, and Bahr've'ahz panicked. Realizing the danger and that the portal could easily consume the planet, Demial Enax threw himself into it and destroyed the stone, closing the portal with him on the other side in apparent void.
The rest of the mission went relatively smoothly, on the surface, and the cultists fled the planet. The strike team was recalled to the Sovereign, where they gathered on the bridge to watch the fleet destroy any remaining cultists. There, it was noticed that Zendrasa, a newly-recognized Prince who had been sent with the team to give him combat experience, had been wounded.
This was the final straw for Bahr've'ahz, who succumbed to grief and confusion. Unsure how he had failed to save Demial and protect the Prince, he lost control of his emotions and his mind and Voritas swept in. Having been toying with the Sith's mind for months, either suppressing helpful visions or exaggerating useless ones, Voritas had been eroding Bahr've'ahz'z self-confidence and control ever since establishing contact on Hoth during the vision.
Voritas took full control of Bahr've'ahz, using him to address and threaten the gathered crowd and even assaulting Prince Zendrasa. Bahr've'ahz managed to drive him out temporarily, but the effort exhausted him and he fell unconscious. This allowed Voritas to try and fight his way back in.
After being moved to the medbay, Solavere and Kiela confirmed that Voritas had not been fully pushed out. Carnim, Bahr've'ahz's former apprentice and the Overseer of Chronicles, led the surrounding Sith in a meditation to extract Voritas, casting him out of Bahr've'ahz's mind for the moment.
Bahr've'ahz returned to consciousness and was summoned before Lord Emperor Arestenax. Unable to explain his failures, he simply apologized to his sovereign in shame. Enraged by the loss of his knight and the assault on his grandson, Arestenax stormed out without a word. Azezial, Arestenax's Shadow Hand, delivered Bahr've'ahz's punishment. The Hand was sentenced to house arrest until further notice, which he accepted without complaint. Bahr've'ahz vowed to use that time to study rituals and knowledge that would allow him to prevent further intrusions by Voritas.
Victoria Lynn and Kiela set off to search for Demial at that same time.
TO BE CONTINUED
Make Up of the Cult
The Bridge Builder
The Old Soul Voritas founded this cult around himself as the "Bridge Builder", claiming to be the savior of the galaxy and even the Force itself.
Many of the leadership of the Menders of the Rift are dishonorably discharged members of various military organizations throughout the galaxy, using their expertise in organization and warfare to help the cult as it grows in power and purpose. They were drawn to the cult by the promise of retribution on the planets or systems of planets that they believe failed them.
Others are Force-users of various backgrounds, from Jedi to Sith and all groups in between or outside. These are drawn to the cult by the immense power and wisdom of Voritas, much of which was inherited from Makhzor. Twisted by his half-sane doctrine, these Force-users provide the bulk of the Menders' leadership.
The majority of the cultists are the dregs of society. Considered worthless or crazy by their people, these people joined the Menders of the Rift because they were made to feel welcome and valued. Lured in by promises of love and purpose, they are slowly twisted by both their bond to Voritas and the almost-logic favored by the crazed Old Soul.