Oscan Zal was born to Kiffar acolytes of the Church of the Force, an organisation that maintained the teachings of the Jedi throughout the Dark Times of Imperial rule. The community lived in the village of Tuanul on Jakku, a community established deep in the deserts with minimal technology to bring the residents closer to nature, and thus by extension the Force. The Church had a long history, and this community had existed for decades, but they had never witnessed a true Force user: until the near-simultaneous births of Oscan Zal and Ela Jilan. The two grew up together as close friends, the brash, combative Oscan matched perfectly by the contemplative, conciliatory Ela. Though they lacked a teacher, their power was obvious; sadly, as happens all too often, power attracted challenge.
The footsoldiers of Hutt slavers struck the village, looking for easy prey in a part of the galaxy neglected by an over-stretched Republic and shattered Imperial Remnant. The community was devastated, entirely outnumbered and outgunned, and the entire population was taken and separated. Everyone Oscan knew was gone, sold away to separate masters, and he was alone. His gift of psychometry saw him purchased by a Hutt who wheeled him out as entertainment for guests, and in this time he lost all hope.
But hope always remains: another slave, a fellow member of the Church, reminded Oscan of the spirit of the Jedi of old, and eventually he was able to slip away with the help of his powers. Escaping the palace was easy; getting off-planet much harder, until he was able to find himself a place as a cargo guard and finally escape into the galaxy. A year or more as a wandering sell-sword showed him the worst the Galaxy has to offer, but it could not dull his spirit. Finally, he was recruited by Luke Skywalker into the new Jedi Praxeum, to train as a true Jedi at last.
Tuanul was an ancient community. Some sort of village had existed on the same site for over a thousand years, and some said there were even older ruins inside the high mesa atop which the village stood, ancient cities, battlegrounds, temples and so on. Its' inhabitants were uniformly hardy and uniformly spiritual: one had to be both to willingly choose to live in such a desolate place. The latest breed of inhabitants were a particular set, even by the standards of the site's history: adherents of the Church of the Force, a sect dedicated to continuing the legacy and history of the Jedi Order. After the Fall of the Jedi and the creation of the Empire, they had come to Jakku seeking solitude and peace. Theirs was a simple existence, one of meditation, scholarship and gruelling subsistence farming, maintaining the moisture vaporators and hydroponic beds in the hope of lasting another dry season in Jakku's merciless desert.
For all Tuanul's long history though, even as home to the Church of the Force, it had never seen a true Force user. Some had passed through peddling cheap magic tricks; others claimed to be rejects of the Order, or recruiters seeking Force-sensitive youths, but all were turned away. Legends said that thousands of years before the high plateau was home to a fortress of Force users, whose alignment changed with every telling, but no being could possibly hold that time within living memory, especially not one on Jakku, and nobody believed it. So the near-concurrent arrival of two families to the village, both expecting children, both of which turned out to be not just sensitive to, but strong in the Force, was a shock.
Of course, the two children - the Kiffar Oscan Zal and the Human Ela Jilan - grew up as close friends. Neither quite understood their powers, nor their celebrity status within the village, but they were only too happy to enjoy the attention, the gifts, the hopeful requests for favours and blessings based on their power that the religious inhabitants of Tuanul placed upon them. Surely, they said, this was the will of the Force, that two young Force users were brought to them from out of the Empire's clutches. It was only a shame really that the Jedi were not around to train the youths themselves. Instead they grew up with their families, and with each other, as close friends. On the surface, they were far from alike. Oscan was tall, strong, his skin tanned under Jakku's sun; moreover, he was brash, combative, quick-witted, and easy to anger at times, as ready with a joke as with a jibe towards all he met. From an early age he learned that quite often the easiest way to solve a problem involved a large stick. Ela, on the other hand, was thin, almost delicate, her red hair and pale skin a curse on Jakku's hot sands, happier to talk a problem out than fight over it, and always willing to hear another person's point of view. She could quite happily talk for days if needed, useeking new lore, new stories, to learn more about those around her. But both of them shared a deep compassion for others, one that manifested in different ways perhaps, but which united them in outlook. And both bore the gift of the Force, even their limited understanding granting them a keyhole view into the limitless infinity of the cosmos, one that expanded as they aged.
Oscan was eleven when he first heard that the Empire had been given not just a bloody nose, but an outright defeat by the Rebel Alliance over Endor. There was elation in Tuanul, real hope that now the galaxy could begin to change, that the Jedi might return, that balance had at last been brought back to the Force. But nothing really changed: the war went on, coming to Jakku and passing it by without mercy; the Jedi never returned, the Republic too distracted in simply holding itself together in those fragile years; and the darkness of the galaxy remained: Oscan and Ela were quite certain of that.
The two of them stayed together during those years of waiting, growing closer as they endured the endless wait for the galaxy to come to them. Over time that closeness grew in different ways, manifesting in part as a bond in the Force, one that allowed them to speak even when far apart, to sense the feelings of the other, even to see things through each other's eyes. Equally, it grew as an attachment beyond even their youthful friendship, one ultimately consumated one night, six years after Endor, when they slipped away into the desert alone.
They were just returning when a pair of gunships, attended by a flock of skimmers, suddenly passed low overhead, closing on Tuanul fast. They moved quickly then, fearing trouble, but they were still too late. The villagers possessed few weapons and little training in their use; against the hardened mercenaries and hired guns who leapt from the speeding aircraft into their midst to gun them down or force their surrender, they had no chance. Their leader was just going through the pack of sleepy, terrified villagers huddled in the central square when the youths returned. Sheltering behind a nearby sand dune looking down on the village, Oscan could sense the fear of Ela and the villagers, the greed of their attackers, but also his own resolve - he needed no gift to tell that. Seizing a stout wooden stick on the edge of the village, leaving Ela behind, he strode into the centre of the village. He actually managed to bring down two of the assailants before he was wrestled to the ground and bludgeoned into unconsciousness.
It was lucky he was spared - one man was about to execute the unconscious youth - but a Hutt dressed in battle armour ordered him spared. The corpulent, fabulously wealthy being desired a Kiffar able to practice psychometry, as rumours heard could be found within the village, and Oscan was brought up. Where his parents, siblings, friends and neighbours went to auction, or in the case of some of the children were simply taken to the local outpost to be sold off immediately, Oscan was dragged away to live in the court of a limitlessly cruel master.
Por'chasa the Hutt was like many others of his kind: corpulent, corrupt, greedy, licentious and unpleasant in all ways to be around. Unlike others, however, he had some curiosity after the knowledge of the universe. Not in a conventional way - reading and holo-documentaries held little draw for his limited attention span - but expressed as a desire to collect curiosities and oddities from around the galaxy. He possessed halls full of antiquities and relics of ancient civilisations, galleries of historic weapons and machines, archives full of trinkets and toys given as gifts by those seeking favour, and below them all, stacks of cells containing everything from rare beasts to fantastic aliens to one lonely Kiffar with the power to read objects.
In the months after he was taken, Oscan fell into a listless depression. There was no desire to eat, until starvation forced him; no desire to sleep, until exhaustion claimed him; no desire to live, beyond what survival dictated. His attempts to fight led to bloodied and bruised features, while passive resistance had little effect when he realised the enjoyment his guards gained from beating him. He did not know anything - what planet he was on, how much time passed, what the future held - only that he was a prisoner, with no hope of escape. The last strand of belief was snuffed out when, one morning, upon reaching out in the Force - something he had rarely done since he was taken - he realised that the strand connecting him to Ela, the link they shared, had faded to nothing. He was too exhausted, emotionally and physically, even to weep.
Life went on. He performed as ordered, reading the arcane histories of objects brought before him. Sometimes he saw awful sights, other times things that meant nothing to him. Nothing brought hope into his life anymore, only the lessening of despair. He was kept in solitary confinement, no company around save his cruel jailors and capering audience, driving him slowly towards madness.
But after apparent months of this treatment, salvation was offered. It seemed his spirit was broken enough that he could be permitted around other slaves, and he was placed in a cell with an older man, Gaius Karagion. It was thought that an old man and a broken youth could not create any trouble; how wrong the jailors were. Gaius was another follower of the Church of the Force, but where Oscan's spirit had broken, Gaius still believed its teachings as strongly as the day he was taken. A menial servant with access to the kitchens, he restored Oscan's strength with smuggled food, and shared with him the stories he knew of the galaxy before the Empire. Oscan had worked on Coruscant as a worker in the Jedi Temple, responsible for keeping the Archives and halls clean, and he had picked up many small pieces of Jedi lore and teaching that he had pieced into his own fragmented version of the Jedi Code. He recognised Oscan's power immediately, and took it upon himself to restore the youth's shattered spirit to its old self.
He encouraged the youth to begin to exercise his body, mind and spirit as one, rebuilding his strength within their small cell, examining books on Jedi history that they were able to sneak into the cell, or were permitted by guards who cared little for the slaves' entertainment when they were not needed, and meditating on the Force as often as he could. A battered copy of 'The Jedi Path' formed the basis of much of the teaching, along with the largely fantastical 'Secrets of the Force' and the limitlessly dry 'History of the Jedi Order'; all three volumes somehow survivors of the Great Purge.
After two years of captivity, Oscan's chance finally came. He had already agreed with Gaius that the latter should stay behind, old and frail as he was, and that Oscan would return later to free him, having found the way and strength to do so. While being taken from his cell to yet another performance, he took advantage of the guards' belief that he was yet another broken, dispirited prisoner to surprise and overpower them, fleeing the palace at long last. On his way out, he was forced to take shelter in one of the countless galleries of Por'chasa's private museum, where he felt drawn to a certain object: a sword, worn and aged, the leather grip faded but comfortable in his hand. Slinging the weapon, he fled the palace, and made his way into the streets of Nar Shaddaa.
For days he was forced to lay low, unable to move in day or night for fear of the roving patrols - an escaped slave was a threat to all Hutts, and the mobilisation of vast resources was little difficulty for the moon's overlords. Eventually the body of another Kiffar was pulled from one of the moon's vast sewage sumps, the case judged closed, the hunt called off, and he could at last move around and explore a diet beyond the vermin that he sensed nearby.
Nar Shaddaa was totally different from every other experience of his life to that point. Billions of beings moved in close proximity to each other, each broadcasting an exhausting stream of information, and he quickly learned to filter what was and wasn't necessary, if only to stave off insanity. Crime was rife, and more often than not he found himself darting off down an alley to fight some petty thief off an innocent simply attempting to live his life - he soon took to wearing heavy, concealing robes in the Jedi style to avoid his face being recognised. He constantly sought an opportunity to get off-world, but none was forthcoming. He could not get a job, as an escaped slave, and felt uncomfortable turning to crime, beyond raiding the kitchens of Hutt palaces and casinos for the food necessary to keep him alive. This time dragged on, apparently endlessly, until quite by chance he stumbled on the very thing he most needed.
In saving a wandering man from a mugger, he was instead offered his own salvation in turn: the man needed guards to escort a shipment off-world, Oscan could fight, it was an easy match. The journey went off without a hitch, and on reaching Raltiir Oscan was paid handsomely. From there he travelled onwards, helping those in need of aid, following the path of the Force, seeking knowledge of the Jedi - his little library, carried in a satchel over one shoulder, expanding quickly - and looking to complete the tasks lying before him. From Raltiir he travelled to Abregado-Rae, where he broke up a slaving ring in the planetary spaceport; then to Alderaan, where he protected the ships of pilgrims from Neo-Imperialist pirates, whose home base he was able to locate and call a New Republic flotilla on top of; and from there to Coruscant, where he paid a pilgrimage to the site of the ancient Jedi Temple, though for the crowds around he could not even get in sight of it.
But some six months after escaping, in a Coruscant hostel, he awoke in a cold sweat with a burning urge to leave at once, one driven by a single call he did not know but could not mistake: the Force. He set off at once, following the whisper to a transport offering free passage to Weik in exchange for shipboard service, an arrangement he was well used to. On touching down, he set off in search of whatever had called him (the Force was very vague on the matter). For months he criss-crossed the planet, serving different masters and following different paths seemingly as fancy took him: he knew only to trust in the Force. At last, he found himself in the foothills of the Ordan Spine, at a village named Highglade, where under the summer sun he pledged to protect the place from the raiders that plagued it. The trail of the Force had gone dead here, and now he could only wait, as he had always done, for the galaxy to catch up to him. At last, one night, in the grip of battle, it did.
Become a Jedi - For as long as he can remember, Oscan has dreamed of joining the ranks of the Jedi, of serving the Republic, helping those in need and defeating those whose cruelty has made them deserve it; now he has that chance, he cannot waste it
Love - Oscan Zal has loved Ela Jilan for more years than he can remember, but since leaving Tuanul Village she has been no more than a memory. Though he has many goals in his life, in the long run he really only wants one: to see her again