Warning: This article contains major spoilers from Path of Deceit by Justina Ireland and Tessa Gratton.
Phase I of the High Republic left audiences with many questions. Placing Phase II 150 years before Phase I means that many of those questions can’t be answered until Phase III, especially when it comes to the unresolved fates of characters like Burryaga Agaburry and Lula Talisola.
Yet, going into the past does offer more insight into the present and the future of the High Republic, especially when it comes to the monstrous Nameless and the backstory of Marchion Ro’s family and their vendetta against the Jedi.
These are 6 questions about the High Republic answered in Path of Deceit.
1. Who originally discovered the Nameless?
Eye of the Storm #2 by Charles Soule depicts Marchion Ro traveling to a planet where he and the Nihil capture many of the Nameless. He uses these Nameless to destroy Starlight Beacon in The Fallen Star by Claudia Gray, and despite losing these Nameless amidst the station’s destruction, he thinks about how he knowswhere to find more of them. Yet, it is left unclear who discovered the Nameless in the first place.
Path of Deceit reveals that a treasure hunter, smuggler, and prospector named Radicaz “Sunshine” Dobbs is the one who discovered the treacherous home planet of the Nameless. He gives the Mother (the leader of the Path of the Open Hand) what appears to be a purple jewel from that planet., In actuality, this jewel is later revealed to be an egg from which the Leveler itself emerges. Sunshine mentions toward the end of Path of Deceit that he knows where the Path of the Open Hand can acquire more creatures like the Leveler.
2. How does Marchion Ro know about the Nameless?
Sunshine discovered the planet of the Nameless and put the Leveler in the possession of the Mother, but how did Marchion Ro and his ancestors learn about the Leveler and the Nameless?
The answer is that Marchion’s ancestors Marda and Yana Ro were integral members of the Path of the Open Hand. They are among the first individuals to see the Leveler and its formidable power.
Yana is even deemed the Leveler’s Champion as it follows her, although this is only because the Leveler is attracted to the Force artifact in Yana’s possession known as the Rod of Seasons, a secret that Yana hides to protect herself from the Mother. The cover for the upcoming young adult novel Path of Vengeance by Cavan Scott already teases that Marda Ro’s journey will become even more intertwined with the Nameless moving forward.
The experience and knowledge of Marda and Yana were surely passed down for generations in the Ro family. In The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott, Marchion even references his ancestor looking upon the Leveler long ago, likely a reference to Marda herself.
All of this explains how Marchion knows where to find the Leveler in The Rising Storm and how Marchion knows where to find the home planet of the Nameless in preparation for his plan to destroy Starlight Beacon.
3. Why does Marchion Ro hate the Jedi?
Phase I makes it clear that Marchion Ro hates the Jedi and the Republic for their insistence on trying to control and colonize the Outer Rim and the galaxy as a whole. But Phase I also makes it clear that Marchion’s hatred of the Jedi goes far deeper and reaches back generations.
Path of Deceit begins to shed light on this hatred through Marda Ro’s journey. The Path of the Open Hand believes that the Force is not to be used and manipulated, which automatically makes the Jedi and their use of the Force unforgivable in the eyes of the Path.
Marda is a devout believer in the Path of the Open Hand. Her beliefs begin to be challenged through the unexpected romantic relationship she forms with Jedi Padawan Kevmo Zink. Yet, by the end of the story, Marda’s beliefs only become more extremist as she thinks her beloved Kevmo was killed as a consequence for his abuse of the Force. Instead of just believing that the Jedi Order shouldn’t use the Force, Marda now has a personal reason to hate the Jedi Order, viewing them and the teachings they passed onto Kevmo as the reason he died.
Her hatred of the Jedi will likely only deepen further in Path of Vengeance and other future stories and will be passed down through the generations. In Eye of the Storm #2, Marchion also references the Jedi attempting to exterminate his family, giving them yet another reason to despise and seek revenge against the Jedi.
4. What kind of history do the Jedi have with the Nameless?
The Jedi are overwhelmed with fear and most of them perish when faced with the Nameless in Phase I. Yet, according to Marchion, this is not the first time the Jedi have faced these monsters, with Marchion claiming in Eye of the Storm #2 that the Jedi suppressed all knowledge of the Nameless.
Path of Deceit shows that Jedi Master Zallah Macri and her Padawan Kevmo Zink are the first Jedi to encounter the Nameless when the Leveler is unleashed. Since both of them are killed by the effects of the Leveler, they are not able to share any information about these monsters with the Jedi Order. All the Jedi have to go off of for now are the calcified remains of Zallah and Kevmo that Jedi Knight Azlin Rell discovers on the planet Dalna.
It will be interesting to see how many other Jedi face the Nameless in Phase II, why they choose to suppress knowledge about them even within the Jedi Order, and how they overcome the Nameless for now. The Jedi are presumably responsible for trapping the Leveler underneath the ice of the planet Rystan where Marchion Ro will uncover it many years later.
5. How did Elder Tromak know where to find a rod to control the Nameless?
The High Republic Adventures comics by Daniel José Older feature a character named Elder Tromak. Tromak is captured by Marchion Ro because he knows where half of a rod is that can allow Marchion to control the Nameless.
Readers learn that the group Tromak is part of (the Elders of the Path) hid the half of the rod due to its dangerous nature. However, it is left unclear how Tromak and the Elders of the Path came into possession of such a powerful artifact in the first place.
Path of Deceit explains this with the Path of the Open Hand acquiring the Rod of Seasons and pursuing the other rods as well. Meanwhile, a young Tromak is one of the Littles in the Path of the Open Hand who is looked after by Marda Ro. Through growing up in the Path of the Open Hand, Tromak is around these rods and understands the danger surrounding the rods that will seemingly remain in the possession of the Path of the Open Hand.
At a certain point, the Path of the Open Hand will splinter into the Elders of the Path and the Nihil, with the Ro family leading the Nihil, and Tromak and the other Elders leading the Elders of the Path, and the rods being divided between them.
All of this explains how Tromak knows where to find the missing piece of the artifact and how Marchion knows Tromak has this coveted information.
6. What is the origin of the Gaze Electric?
The Gaze Electric is the flagship of Marchion Ro that is featured in Phase I. It is where he keeps Loden Greatstorm and Mari San Tekka as his prisoners. The ship belonged to his father Asgar Ro before him.
Path of Deceit gives the origins of the Gaze Electric, showing that it was built by the Path of the Open Hand to be their home in the stars as they travel together across the galaxy and spread their beliefs. After the Leveler is unleashed, the Path of the Open Hand board the Gaze Electric and leave Dalna. The ship will eventually fall solely under the control of the Ro family.