Star Wars The High Republic: The Path of the Open Hand Explained

"The Force will be free."

Star Wars: The High Republic: Path of Deceit. The Mother from the Path of the Open Hand. Image Credit:
Star Wars: The High Republic: Path of Deceit. The Mother from the Path of the Open Hand. Image Credit: /

Warning: This article contains major spoilers about the Path of the Open Hand and Phase II of The High Republic.

With the upcoming live-action series Star Wars: The Acolyte taking place during the High Republic, it's the perfect time to look back at one of the most important groups from this era – the Path of the Open Hand.

Who is the Mother of the Path of the Open Hand?

First appearing in the novel Path of Deceit by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland, the Path of the Open Hand are the primary villains in Phase II of The High Republic. Led by Elecia Zeveron, whose followers call her the Mother, the Path of the Open Hand is a cult that believes that no one, not even the Jedi, should use the Force. They believe in and revere the Force, but also that every time it is used, it will lead to death, destruction, or calamity elsewhere.

The Path was founded by a former Guardian of the Whills named Sachar Rold, who saw a vision of blue light that convinced him to leave Jedha and establish the Path on the planet Dalna. On Dalna, the Path developed a compound, part of which was a series of caves, that became their community and home.

Many years later, Elecia arrived on Dalna. Her talk of a vision similar to Sachar Rold's, her garden blooming overnight, and her continued visions led to her being seen as a prophet through whom the Force spoke, leading her to become the Mother and the Path's leader. She replaced Werth Plouth, who became the Path's Herald. The Mother took steps to have wealthy benefactors support the Path and expand their influence beyond Dalna, which included building a ship called the Gaze Electric that would allow them to travel the galaxy.

The Path appeared to be a peaceful group, with their mottos being "gifts given freely" and "the Force will be free." However, under the Mother's leadership, they became a dangerous cult whose actions led to suffering and destruction, especially for the Jedi, and the planets Dalna, Eiram, E'ronoh, and Jedha.

The Children of the Path and the Nameless

The Mother selected particular members of the Path to be her Children, sending them around the galaxy to "liberate" Force artifacts and bring them to her, even if it meant killing or hurting others to steal those artifacts. Two of these artifacts that were stolen by the Children, the Rod of Seasons and the Rod of Daybreak, which together form the Rod of Power. This artifact allowed the wielder to control the terrifying creatures known as the Nameless.

These artifacts became particularly relevant when a hyperspace prospector named Radicaz "Sunshine" Dobbs brought the Mother an egg from a mysterious planet. One of the Nameless was hatched from the egg, who the Mother called the Leveler. Using the Rod of Seasons to control the Leveler, the creature killed Jedi Padawan Kevmo Zink and Jedi Master Zallah Macri, turning them into stone-like husks. The Mother did this despite the fact that Kevmo helped save numerous members of the Path from a torrential flood only days earlier.

Kevmo had formed a close bond and even a romantic connection with Marda Ro, one of the Path's members deeply devoted to the Mother. He told Marda about the Convocation of the Force, a council on Jedha where many Force religions and groups are represented, and not just the Jedi. This led Marda to believe she should go there to represent the Path. After the deaths of Kevmo and his Jedi Master, with the Mother making Marda believe they'd died because they'd abused the Force, the Path left Dalna in the Gaze Electric to go to Jedha.

The Mother had tried to eliminate the Children for her own ends, including Marda's cousin Yana Ro and the Herald's daughter Kor Plouth, during a mission in which she had them sabotaged. All of the Children were killed except for Yana, but after holding the Rod of Seasons and the Leveler following Yana because of it, the Mother had no choice but to keep Yana alive. Yana formed an uneasy alliance with the Herald, united by their love for Kor and determination to destroy the Mother.

The Battle of Jedha and war on Eiram and E'ronoh

Meanwhile, the Mother fanned the flames of war between the planets Eiram and E'ronoh by blackmailing their leadership and having her Path agents take steps to prolong the conflict. One of these agents was Axel Greylark, whose mother was Republic Chancellor Kyong Greylark. The Mother exploited Axel's resentment toward the Jedi, which was related to his father's death.

Eiram and E'ronoh overcame these obstacles to find peace, largely thanks to the relationship and marriage of Eiram's heir, Prince Phan-tu Zenn, and E'ronoh's heir, Princess Xiri A'lbaran. When the Mother sabotaged the signing of a peace treaty between Eiram and E'ronoh on Jedha, she engineered the Battle of Jedha and caused Eiram and E'ronoh to reignite their war. With the Jedi and the Republic there to oversee the signing of the treaty, the Battle of Jedha also took a toll on them, especially on the Jedi, who were killed and turned to stone husks when the Leveler was released into Jedha's streets.

Following the Battle of Jedha, the Herald was arrested for inciting the riots that led to the fighting, and the Mother framed him as the lone instigator who did not represent the Path, while the Path returned to Dalna. The Battle of Jedha had largely been engineered so the Path could acquire the Rod of Daybreak, which was taken when the Herald was arrested. Yana completed the mission by successfully acquiring the Rod of Daybreak and freed the Herald.

The journey to Planet X

Between the deaths of Kevmo Zink and Zallah Macri, the ongoing conflict between Eiram and E'ronoh, and the Battle of Jedha, it became clear to the Jedi that the Path of the Open Hand was at the heart of all these events. Various groups of Jedi then traveled to Dalna to investigate the Path.

The Mother prepared for the influx of Jedi on Dalna by having "Sunshine" Dobbs lead a mission to Planet X, the mysterious planet where he found the egg from which the Leveler hatched. The Mother wanted her followers to retrieve more of the eggs to use more of the creatures against the Jedi. Marda joined this mission despite not having permission, wanting to prove herself to the Mother after being blamed for what happened on Jedha.

After a harrowing journey in which most of their allies were lost, Marda and Sunshine returned to Dalna with more of the eggs containing the Nameless. With Planet X amplifying the Force abilities of even the most lightly Force-sensitive individuals, the journey there only further convinced Marda that using the Force was evil and that the Jedi must be stopped. Back on Dalna, she took control of the Path from the Mother and the Herald, declaring the group was now the Path of the Closed Fist. Marda used the completed Rod of Power to hatch the Nameless from their eggs and severed the hand of Yana as she tried to stop her cousin.

The Battle of Dalna and the end of the Mother

The ensuing battle between the Path of the Closed Fist and the Jedi became known as the Night of Sorrow and the Battle of Dalna. Many were killed or grievously harmed during the battle, especially the Jedi, with the Nameless turning many of their ranks into calcified husks or tormenting them with nightmarish hallucinations.

Feeling that all was lost, Yana intended to leave Dalna until she saw one of the Path's children, Boolan, carrying a bag of thermal charges and planting them around the caves that were part of the Path's compound. She got Boolan to admit that the Mother instructed him and a couple of other children in the Path to plant the explosives.

Yana helped Marda see that the Mother had manipulated her and that the Mother was a hypocrite and a deceiver. The Mother was Force-sensitive and had been using the Force all this time to get others to do her bidding. It was revealed that Elecia Zeveron was the sister of Jedi Oliviah Zeveron. Elecia had hated the Jedi all this time because they took her sister into the Jedi Order and didn't take her. This discovery enraged the Herald, and he tried to kill her, only for the Mother to kill him first. However, her reign came to an end when the Jedi captured her.

Marda and Yana worked together. Marda used the Rod of Power to summon all of the Nameless to the caves, and Yana ensured the Nameless would be killed by the thermal charges she finished planting. All the Nameless but the Leveler were killed in the ensuing destruction, with Marda and Yana also surviving.

After the battle, Marda still had the Rod of Seasons (the Rod of Daybreak was lost during the explosions), and she used the artifact to control the surviving Leveler and have it kill the Mother. Marda and Yana went their separate ways, with Marda taking the Leveler and the Gaze Electric.

The Path of the Open Hand was dissolved after these events, but its remnants gradually led to several other groups, most notably the Nihil, led by Marda Ro's descendant Marchion Ro in Phase I and Phase III of The High Republic.

Will the Path of the Open Hand connect to The Acolyte?

(Center): Mother Aniseya (Jodie Turner-Smith) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

At the time this article was written, the Path of the Open Hand is not confirmed to be involved in The Acolyte. Phase II takes place around 250 years before The Acolyte, meaning the cult has long been dissolved, and it'll have been around 100 years since its remnants via the Nihil and the Nameless have presumably been dealt with.

That being said, Jodie Turner-Smith's character, Mother Aniseya, has some similarities to the Path of the Open Hand's Mother. In The Acolyte trailer, Mother Aniseya says, "This isn't about good or bad. This is about power and who is allowed to use it." Talking about who should be allowed to use power is what the Path of the Open Hand was supposedly all about, with their belief that no one should use the power of the Force.

Mother Aniseya's regal wardrobe, how she carries herself, and how reverent followers surround her are also reminiscent of the Path of the Open Hand's Mother. According to her databank entry on, "Mother Aniseya is the leader of a coven of Witches who value their independence and the preservation of their beliefs and powers." It will be interesting to see how the Force factors into these Witches' beliefs or if the Path of the Open Hand has influenced their seemingly cultish coven.

If you are interested in reading more about the Path of the Open Hand before The Acolyte's two-episode premiere on June 4, check out the following books, comics, and audio dramas below.



Path of Deceit

Tessa Gratton & Justina Ireland


Zoraida Córdova

The Battle of Jedha

George Mann

The High Republic (2022) comics

Cavan Scott

The High Republic Adventures (2022) comics

Daniel José Older


Lydia Kang

Quest for Planet X

Tessa Gratton

Path of Vengeance

Cavan Scott

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