Know your Lore: Cay Qel-Droma

Cay Qel-Droma was a Jedi Knight during the Great Sith War. Born to a great warrior family on Alderaan, Cay and his brother, fellow Jedi Ulic Qel-Droma, were instructed by Master Arca Jeth at his training compound on Arkania. Cay’s first mission came in 4,000 BBY, when, along with his brother and fellow trainee Tott Doneeta, he was sent to Onderon to put down an uprising of the savage Beast Riders. The Jedi succeeded; however, Cay’s career in combat was just beginning. He fought in the Great Sith War not long after, a galaxy-spanning conflict that started when the Krath attacked Onderon, home to the dark side-using Naddists. During the war, Ulic turned to the dark side, becoming a Sith, and second-in-command under Exar Kun. In 3,996 BBY Cay was forced to duel his brother on Ossus. Ulic killed Cay; however, this act stunned Ulic enough that he abandoned the dark side. Filled with guilt, Ulic lived the rest of his life a broken man.

Cat Qel-Droma was created for the Tales of the Jedi comic series. He first appeared in Ulic Qel-Droma and the Beast Wars of Onderon as one of the main protagonists. Cay also appeared in all of the following story arcs, save for Redemption.

Cay was born on Alderaan to a mother who was a Jedi Master. Along with his brother, Ulic, the two entered Jedi training. Both were very skilled in the use of the Force, and were sent to Arca Jeth’s Jedi training center on Arkania for further instruction.

Along with the Twi’lek Tott Doneeta, the two learned about the Force from the venerated Jedi Master. In 4,000 BBY, Jeth was chosen as the Jedi watchman of the Onderon system. He hoped to resolve the centuries-long Beast Wars that had plagued Onderon. However, he was not going himself. Instead, he was sending his three apprentices on their first real test—a mission with lives hanging in the balance.

Onderon was home to many savage beasts, some of which had been tamed by outlaws known as Beast Riders. These beasts had forced the other citizens of Onderon into one giant walled city, Iziz. Iziz was constantly under attack from the Beast Riders, who had been at war with the monarchy for centuries.

When the three Jedi arrived in the Nebulon Ranger, they were attacked by a group of Beast Riders on their drexl mounts. However, thanks to the expert piloting skills of Doneeta and the Qel-Droma brothers, the ship was able to land in Iziz intact. Once in the city, they introduced themselves to a group of security officers sent to welcome them, only to see Tott Doneeta nearly arrested, as the city had a policy against any alien species. Furious, Ulic and Cay drew their lightsabers, and the guards reluctantly released Doneeta. The three were then led to the throne room of Queen Amanoa.

The Jedi were introduced to the queen and her daughter, Galia. At that moment, a security officer informed the queen that a group of Beast Riders had breached the citadel’s defenses. After learning this, the queen asked Ulic if the Jedi would defend Iziz with all their strength. As soon as Qel-Droma replied that they would, the Beast Riders swept into the palace, breaking the glass windows and landing in the throne room.

The trio fought the Riders alongside the guards, but they were unable to stop them from kidnapping Princess Galia. After they had taken her, the Riders retreated. Queen Amanoa was furious at the Jedi, claiming that they had aided the Beast Riders. Ulic promised that the three of them would rescue her daughter, promising they would not return until they had freed her. Flying above the forests, the Nebulon Ranger was fired on by Beast Riders, and crashed. Though the three Jedi survived, they would have to make it to the Beast Riders’ fortress on foot.

On their way to the Riders’ citadel, they were attcked by Boma beasts. However, with Doneeta’s ability to speak beast-languages, he was able to make the beasts halt, and even give them a ride to the fortress. Once there, they crashed in, interrupting the wedding between Galia and Beast Rider chief Oron Kira. Though Ulic attempted to save Galia, he was stunned when she told him that she did not want to be rescued. Hoping to make peace with the Jedi, Kira offered that the Jedi put down their weapons and join the wedding banquet.

During the banquet, Kira explained that he had a secret route into Iziz, and on one of his undercover trips, he had encountered Galia. The two had fallen in love, but since the queen would never permit her daughter to marry a Beast Rider, Galia had arranged to be “kidnapped”. She told the Jedi that she wished to escape her parents, who were users of the dark side. Kira explained that four hundred years ago, a rogue Jedi named Freedon Nadd had brought knowledge of the dark side to Onderon. A powerful Sith, Nadd had ruled the planet for years before his death. The rulers after him learned his teachings, and Sith artifacts were passed down from generation to generation between the kings and queens, who continued Nadd’s legacy.

Cay Qel-Droma, after losing his arm to a palace guard

Encounter with the dark side
Kira pleaded that the Jedi help them defeat Amanoa and her husband, King Ommin, a fellow darksider. The Jedi, with Ulic as their spokesman, agreed. As Kira gathered all the other Beast Lords and their Riders, the Nebulon Ranger headed back to Iziz, escorted by drexls. The ship landed in the city, and the Jedi headed to the palace with Galia. However, Amanoa did not give them a chance to talk, cursing her daughter for her betrayal. Then, claiming the darkness inside her would destroy the Jedi, she called for Freedon Nadd, unleashing her rage and creating a blanket of darkness. Realizing his allies had failed in their attempt at a peaceful solution, Kira called for the Riders to attack. Attack they did, swarming the city.

In the palace, the Jedi were fighting a group of security guards. Distracted by the perpetual night, Cay was shot in the hand by a guard. Unable to defend himself, he could not prevent a guard from cutting off his left arm. Grabbing his brother, Ulic fled from the throne room, away from the skirmish. Cay was able to survive thanks to a medkit, and he bonded an XT-6 droid arm to his body, giving him a replacement limb.

Though they fought hard, the Beast Riders were unable to best the soldiers. The reason for this was Amanoa’s use of the dark side—using a form of Battle Meditation, she bolstered the morale ofher forces while weakening that of the Riders. However, the tide turned upon the arrival of a strange starship. It was carrying Jedi Master Arca Jeth, who had arrived to aid his apprentices. With his Battle Meditation he was able to negate Amanoa’s abilities and encourage the Riders to fight on. Though Arca was at first upset with the three Jedi, he admitted that perhaps this had been too great a test for them.

Jeth led the Jedi to the Tomb of Freedon Nadd, where Amanoa hid. Upon exposure to the light, she was weakened, and died. Jeth showed the group Nadd’s remains, and explained that now the hold of the dark side over Onderon was broken. In the following days, Galia and Kira was made rulers of Onderon. The Jedi could still feel the darkness as well, and Master Arca believed that some supporters of Nadd still lived.

The Jedi dueling Warb Null

Naddist Uprising
During the funeral procession of Queen Amanoa and Freedon Nadd, in which the remains of the beings would be transferred to a moon of Onderon, the darksiders struck. Using a groundborer, a group of Naddists drilled their way to the surface, interrupting the funeral. A mysterious armor-clad darksider attacked Cay and the Jedi Oss Willum, while more Naddists grabbed the sarcophagi of Amanoa and Nadd. Struck by a blast of dark side enrgy, Arca was unable to help. Once they had seized the sarcophagi, the Naddists fled as soon as they had appeared.

Realizing the situation was desperate, Galia suggested that they see her father, King Ommin, who resided in a secret underground facility. Ulic and Arca decided to go with Galia, while Cay, Tott and Oss stayed above to help secure the palace. However, things took a disastrous turn for the Jedi. Ommin, using the power of Freedon Nadd, unleashed a blast of dark side energy, paralyzing Master Arca. Ulic and Galia were forced to flee, however, Arca was now a captive of Ommin and the Sith spirit Nadd. Above, the three Jedi has lost the palace, and, along with Ulic, Galia and Kira, had to abscond. They decided to head to Oron Kira’s fortress, making it a base of operations.

The Jedi were pinned in the fortress by the Naddists, when suddenly fortunes changed. A group of Jedi, sent along with the Republic Fleet from Coruscant had arrived to aid those trapped on Onderon. Led by Nomi Sunrider, and her Battle Meditation, the Jedi and the Beast Riders forced the Naddists back. Ulic and his companions made their way to Iziz, where they confronted Ommin in his underground lair. Ommin had hung Arca on the wall as a trophy, and though he still lived, he was suffering greatly. During the skirmish, Cay lost his droid arm to a Sith War Droid, though he was able to keep fighting. Ulic, determined to resuce his master from the clutches of Freedon Nadd and his puppet Ommin, fought through the droid ranks, making his way to Ommin. Then he confronted the king, slicing through the king. In his dying moments, Ommin called for Nadd, but the spirit announced that he was abandoning Ommin. He was told the Jedi that one day, one of them would belong to the dark side, and they would realize the truth—they had lost. With that bold proclamation, Nadd’s spirit departed.

Cay Qel-Droma, discussing plans for opposing the Krath with his fellow Jedi.

Conflict in the Empress Teta system
However, Jedi’s job was not done. Shortly after cleansing Onderon of the dark side, Master Arca learned that the Empress Teta system now faced conflict. A political coup was apparently related to Freedon Nadd, and so Arca decided that the Jedi solve this problem. Arca informed the Jedi that two youths, Satal and Aleema Keto had taken control of the system. More to the point, they had somehow learned the ways of the dark side, forming a secret dak side society they called the Krath. Dace Diath, Oss Willum, Qrrrl Toq, and Shoaneb Culu would travel to Ossus and attempt to recruit more Jedi, while the others would stay on Onderon. Arca planned to send Nomi and Ulic to the system soon after teaching Nomi more about Battle Mediation.

Several days later, a Jedi archaeologist named Exar Kun landed on Onderon, seeking to learn more about the Sith from the artifacts Ommin had owned. Cay and Tott Doneeta greeted him, although, on Arca’s orders, Cay told Kun very little. Angered, Kun insisted he be allowed to see the relics, but he was confronted by Arca, who told him he knew he was no archaeologist, insisted he leave. Arca revealed to Cay and Tott that he had sensed Kun had malicious intent, and nothing good would come of letting him view the Sith artifacts.

Meanwhile, in the Empress Teta system, a battle was raging for Koros Major, the last Tetan world still opposing the Keto’s coup. Though a joint Jedi/Republic fleet led by Captain Vanicus, Nomi, and Ulic arrived, the defenders were still unable to defeat the military forces of the Ketos, rulers of the system. Unable to gain an edge, the Republic force retreated. During the battle, Ulic was wounded by a piece of slag from a Chaos fighter, a piece covered in Sith magic from the duo’s malicious abilities.

Forced to flee the battle, the Jedi now had another destination—Deneba, home of a great meeting between Jedi from all across the galaxy. On Deneba, Cay saw his brother again, surprised to see him wounded. Ulic explained what had happened to him as the meeting got underway.

Jedi Master Odan-Urr presided over the meeting, explaining the conclave’s purpose—to dicuss the recent failure of teh task force in the Empress Teta system. Odan-Urr then welcomed Ulic Qel-Droma, newly appointed Watchman of the Teta system, to the stand. Qel-Droma informed the audience of his plan—to destroy the Krath from within by pretending to be a fallen Jedi. As he went into detail about his schema, he was met wiht resistance from the crowd. Many Jedi, notably Master Arca, opposed Ulic joining the Krath.

When Ulic approached him with the idea of infiltrating the Krath, a secret society founded by Sith dabblers Aleema and Satal Keto in the Empress Teta system, Cay sought to discourage his headstrong brother. Ulic wouldn’t listen, and his actions led to his fall to the dark side.

Even after Ulic’s fall, Cay never stopped trying to bring him back to the light. Confronting Ulic in Cinnagar’s Iron Citadel, Cay and Nomi Sunrider attempted to draw him back to the light. He refused to return, holding back his brother and former love with a Sith amulet. Cay was reluctant to leave his brother, but was finally compelled to abandon Ulic for the time being.

The brothers were to meet again. When Ulic led a Krath attack on Coruscant six months later, Cay faced him in the ensuing battle and aided in his capture by the Jedi. Ulic was later brought before the Senate’s Inquisition to answer for his crimes, and Cay was one of the few who spoke in his brother’s defense, despite being repeatedly rejected by him.

The matter was soon rendered academic, as Exar Kun and his Sith cohorts attacked the Inquisition and freed Ulic, but even then Cay remained determined to save his brother from the dark side.

Ulic vs Cay Qel-Droma

Brother Against Brother
In the Battle of Ossus, Cay engaged Ulic in a starfighter duel. When forced to land, they continued the duel with their lightsabers. Cay still pleaded with his brother to renounce the dark side and return to the Jedi, sensing the good that remained in him, but in a fit of rage, Ulic struck him down. His sacrifice was not entirely in vain, however, for when Ulic regained his senses, he was immediately horrified by what he had done, and the shock of his brother’s death broke the dark side’s spell over him. If unsuccessful in this task in life, Cay had saved his brother in death.

Personality and traits
Cay was mechanically minded and always tinkered with machines. Having lost his left arm during the Beast Wars of Onderon he replaced it with a prosthetic limb, made from parts of an abandoned XT-6 service droid. He was a talented pilot as well.

Ulic and Cay were very close, and Cay’s death broke the dark side’s hold on Ulic.

He was perceptive, as evidenced by the fact that he was the only on to sense the “servant” droids true intent on Deneba.

Cay was a good warrior, someone skilled in the art of lightsaber combat. Though not as talented as his brother, he was still a mighty Jedi. Cay was very determined, and especially dedicated to the Jedi cause. Like his brother, he cared greatly for his master, and was greatly hurt when he died.