"I thank you for your assistance, Vesanis. With the Makhzor in your body, I will return to the galaxy to destroy those who dared strike at me. Their dying breaths will bring life to the glowing embers of the last Great War, and I will stand triumphant on a mound of their corpses. Watch, helpless in your own skin, as Makhzor uses you to kill and destroy with a power that will shake the very essence of the Force to its core!" -Keine to Vesanis shortly after giving Makhzor control of Vesanis's body, and shortly before vanishing.
Everything that lives must one day die. By such logic, these beings could not technically be called "alive". Commonly called Old Souls by those few who were aware of their existence, they were immortal, Force-based life-forms that existed in order to bring balance to chaos. They believed that Light and Dark relied on each other for continued survival, and so they would often take the side of the underdog in order to bring the eternal conflict from the brink of resolution back to a stalemate.
In the universe from which Makhzor was pulled, Old Souls essentially controlled everything. Some, like Makhzor, inhabited mortal bodies and used them to shape events. Others simply remained disembodied, providing guidance through Force Visions and Force Calls.
Old Soul Variants
There were technically three types of Old Soul. There was the Guardian, sometimes called the First or the Originator, that was the being from which all Old Souls were descended. More on this being in the History section. The two main types will be discussed here.
Makhzor was an example of a Bakar Old Soul. These beings would possess a mortal body at its birth, carefully selecting for potential power and influence. They then suppressed the body's own consciousness, making it a hollow puppet for them to control as they saw fit. While pretending to be the being they possess, they guided the galaxy toward Balance.
Ro'a took a more subtle approach to guidance. They maintained their essence's individuality, never possessing a mortal body. Instead, they linked themselves to a particularly influential mortal and provided him/her/it with guided visions and crafted intuition, edited to push the being towards building the balance.
Old Soul Reproduction
Old Souls gathered Force energy through their chosen means of influence. The Bakar absorbed energy at the highest rate. They would, at the end of their host's life, drain the host's Force-energy and "drink" it in. The Ro'a often gained most of their energy by acting as a conduit for Force-visions. They connected their mind to a mortal's, allowing the mortal greater clarity and power (as well as edited Force-visions). The price for such a vision was a feeling of exhaustion and sometimes a minor to sever illness (depending on the nature and length of the vision) as the Ro'a used the connection to drain some of the being's Force-energy.
When an Old Soul had absorbed enough Force energy, they took a part of their being and detached it, essentially creating a weaker "clone" of themselves. This copy had their "originator's" memories and opinions, with some slight variations due to the traumatic experience of essentially fragmenting oneself. These variations often changed the "personality" of the Old Soul, which kept them all from being exact clones of their originator. Different Old Souls had different levels of strength, depending on how much of their originator was torn off to create them.
If an Old Soul accumulated too much energy without splitting, it began to deteriorate until it simply faded away. There were also instances when an Old Soul attempted to reproduce before it had gathered enough energy. These were called Shgi'a. The originator, during a Shgi'a, went mad and, soon after, vanished from existence. No Old Soul ever discovered where they go.
Old Soul Hierarchy
Old Soul Abilities
All Old Souls shared a small number of abilities, but each type of Old Soul shared a set of special abilities more suited to their work. All Bakar shared the same special powers, and all Ro'a shared a different set of special powers.
Generic Old Soul Abilities
- Telepathy: Most Force-users were able to project simple ideas or feelings long distances with the Force. Old Souls were able to carry out full, complex conversations with mortals inside the mortal's head. This was often be likened to a Force Meld, though far more refined.
- Immortality: No Old Soul could be killed by any creature or by the mere passage of time. Although, if they did not reproduce at the right time (if they tried to split themselves with too little energy, or if it waits too long), then they appeared to pop out of existence; what actually happened to them was unknown.
- Creation: Old Souls could create more Old Souls by absorbing Force Energy and then splitting off a fraction of their own essence, granting that fragment their memories and abilities.
- Possession: The primary ability shared by every single Bakar was the ability to possess mortals. It was typically used on an infant, as the child's undeveloped mind could not fight against the new intelligence controlling it. In extreme circumstances, a Bakar possessed any mortal who has not learned to effectively fight such invasions.
- Magnetism: A Bakar, while possessing a mortal, could choose to project a sphere of influence similar to Force-persuasion. Mortals within this sphere viewed the Bakar with greater respect and, depending on the strength of the Bakar, sometimes awe. Older Bakar eventually began doing this automatically.
- Shield: Many Force-users were able, with a lightsaber, to deflect and even redirect projectiles and melee weapons. A strong Bakar was able to create a Force-shield around itself, making the weapon unnecessary; attacks merely bounced off of it. This was a very powerful ability, but highly draining.
Bakar-Specific Abilities in the Imperium Universe
Makhzor realized on his arrival to the Imperium's universe that he was significantly more powerful than he had previously been. This power allowed him to experiment and perfect several new abilities.
- Division: Makhzor was not forced to reproduce to survive, like he woudl have been in his home universe - and he primarily chose not to. However, his host body was incapable of containing his growing power. So Makhzor placed his essence within multiple bodies, acting in many ways as a hive mind inside his servants' heads.
- Empowerment: Makhzor, through his multiple mortal connections, was able to grant most of them at least a fraction of his power. These beings, Force-sensitive or not, could draw on Makhzor's strength to move faster or hit harder, or even to think more clearly.
- Suspension: Makhzor devised a ritual that could suspend a servant of his between life and death while binding their will to his. This would keep the servant from being distracted by life's pleasures, and prevent them from succumbing to death's embrace. He used this on Rotzkha.
- Link: A Ro'a could choose to guide a specific mortal thoughout his/her entire life. When a mortal with great potential was born, a Ro'a embodied a link between him/her and the Force, increasing his/her Force sensitivity and Force strength until the mortal's death.
- Distortion: A Ro'a, being free from mortal flesh and the rules and restrictions that come with it, often sped up its thought processes by an incredible amount, essentially pausing time in order to make difficult decisions or move quickly from one place to another. A Linked Ro'a sometimes enabled the mortal it was Linked to to share in the Distortion for a short period of time.
- Teleportation: A Ro'a was a being purely of the Force, and (provided it was not sufficiently chained down by Links) had the ability to essentially move from location to location instantaneously.
First Originator (Guardian) Abilities
The Originator, or The Guardian, was a complex being of incredible power. Few specific limitations to its power were made clear. The Guardian was capable of all powers used by Old Souls, Ro'a or Bakar. Listed below are only the abilities specifically exhibited by a Guardian (or Makhzor after the Right of the First).
- Inter-universal Transport: The Guardian was able to travel to other dimensions that were sufficiently close to the Source.
- Force Plague: The Guardian, in both Makhzor's home universe and the universe of the Imperium, grew angry at the rampant Dark Side dominance that occurred during the reign of the Rakatan Infinite Empire. In its rage, it created a disease carried by the Force that specifically targeted the Rakata, making them go mad shortly before killing them.
- Force Disconnect: The Guardian could remove a being's connection to the Force. As their Empire started to die out, the Rakata lost all semblance of unity and tore themselves to pieces. Distressed by the consequences of its actions, the Guardian reached out and disconnected the remaining Rakata from the Force. The plague, which was spread through the Force, could no longer touch them.
- Force Empowerment: The Guardian had the ability to strengthen a person's (or object's) connection to the Force. Makhzor used this ability to experiment with other, lifeless dimensions. He would enter a short-lived universe and balance it in the Force, strengthening Dark and Light Side nexuses (or weakening them with Disconnect) until each balanced the other.
- Enhanced Creation: The Right of the First granted the Guardian the ability to choose the preferences and abilities of any Old Souls it created. It could also essentially cause conception in most mortal species with little effort.
- Source Chain: The Guardian was directly tied to the Source, from which all life energy, or the Force, flowed. This was what granted it its incredible power and knowledge, but it also tied it down. The Guardian could not move beyond a certain distance from the Source; any universes in the multiverse beyond that point were inaccessible to it, though it would observe them from afar.
Old Soul History
The First Originator
All Old Souls came from a single Old Soul, which was created as an experiment by the Celestials. While Old Souls inherited their originator's memory, any memories going as far back as the creation of their kind were blurry and fragmented. As the First Originator, or Guardian, had disappeared many millenia ago from Makhzor's home universe, the Old Souls in it could only speculate. Makhzor, before earning the Right of the First, had this theory confirmed for him by the Imperium's universe's Guardian.
The Celestials knew their time was ending and wanted to be sure that the Force would remain in balance. To do so, they created the Guardian, an ageless and nigh-unstoppable being of great power. For reasons unclear even to the Guardian itself, however, it was left dormant. It had been speculated, amongst the Old Souls of Makhzor's home universe, that the Celestials were wary of the powers of the Guardian, and realized that there were no feasible safeguards should it run rampant, and so left it inactive. In its stead, they sent out the Tho Yor, pyramidal ships that scoured the galaxy for Force-sensitives and hid them in the Tython system (crafted to be a bastion), where the Je'daii Order was founded on the principle of balance between Dark and Light.
The imbalance in the Force caused by the Rakatan Infinite Empire was enough to wake the Guardian from its inactive state. In a fit of anger at the Rakata's cruel domination and petty in-fighting, the Guardian created a Force-based plague that targeted only the Rakata; seeing how truly devastating this malady was to their population and subsequently to the Force, however, the Guardian sapped their connection to the Force in order to grant them immunity to the plague. This sapping was the first occurrence of an Old Soul absorbing energy.
Creating the Old Souls
The Guardian vowed never again to interfere directly in galactic events. It created smaller, weaker versions of itself, giving the new Souls most of its memories and shared with them their purpose: the balancing of the Force. Some of the new Souls chose to shape the galaxy subtly by possessing a child and using him/her to guide mortals, and so became the first Bakar.
The Guardian, and a small set of the new Souls it had created, chose to oversee the first Bakar and provide select mortals with better visions, and they became the first Ro'a.
Old Souls, though they shared a common source and many memories with each other, were still able to form their own opinions based on personal experience and circumstances. This caused, of course, a divide in philosophy: though all Old Souls desire balance, there were two school of thought on how it should be attained.
One school of thought was nihilistic in nature; many Old Souls (though not the majority) believed that the only way to reach true balance was to destroy everything. Known as the Void Apostles, these Souls believe that in the purity of the void, there would be no conflict, or war, or debate. There would be only silence, and no physical or ethereal presences to disturb it. To them, there is no more perfect balance than utter stillness.
The other school of thought was in the majority, and was the better known amongst enlightened mortals. The simply named "Advocates" (given that they advocate for existence in general) hold out hope that the galaxy can be united in eternal conflict and that balance can still be attained through the manipulation of mortals. They believe that though there is nothing more pure than void, it would be absolute. Absolutes are not balanced, they are total.
The Ro'a convened many meetings to discuss this divergence of belief amongst their kind and made a universally unpopular decision: if all Old Souls were to believe the same thing, there would be no balance in the philosophy of Old Souls. They decided to allow both schools of thought in the belief that they would balance each other out.
The Advocates disliked this decision for reasons easy to understand; it allowed what they saw as a destructive influence in the highest of orders, and they thought it was nothing more than a destabilizing influence.
The Void Apostles' dislike for the decision was somewhat more complicated. They had, naturally, hoped for the same thing the Advocates had wanted: one side to win over the other. This would have caused uniformity in the belief system of the Old Souls, which would be pure, no matter which philosophy was allowed. II the minds of the Void Apostles, purity was the only balance worth having. Thus, with the Ro'a deciding that both belief systems would stay, they caused the minds of the Old Souls to be impure.