If you choose to play a Jedi Knight or a Jedi Consular (or if you have 1.5 million credits to unlock it through the Legacy system), you can play as a Miraluka. I have been fascinated by this species since Jerec of Jedi Knight and Shoaneb Culu in the Tales of the Jedi after that. So this week, let's talk about this captivating species, its culture, its connection to the Force, and what its role is during the time of The Old Republic.
Obviously, the first thing you notice about the Miraluka is that their eyes are completely covered. Just as humans would wear a shirt, nearly all Miraluka wear a cover over their eyes -- or rather I should say, where their eyes should be. Full-blooded Miraluka do not have eyes naturally. However, the Miraluka are a near-human species, so it is possible for a Miraluka to have eyes if one of his parents did.
The blind seer isn't exactly a new concept; neither BioWare nor LucasArts invented the idea. In fact, this mythological trope dates back to at least ancient Greece. Tiresias was blinded by Hera and given the gift of prophecy by Zeus to settle a bet between the two deities. And the Miraluka fall right in line with that idea. Because of the radiation on the planet Alpheridies, the humans who settled there eventually stopped needing their eyes and instead developed the ability to "see" through the Force.
But how does a person see through the Force?
Let's go to the source to answer that. During the Knights of the Old Republic II, your Miraluka companion Visas Marr describes how it works. She told the Exile to first close his eyes to block out distractions. Then the Exile was to just concentrate on Visas' breathing -- specifically, the life that comes from the breathing -- then step back from the image and see what remains. What's left is Force-sight.
If you're going to roleplay a Miraluka or create a backstory for your character in Star Wars: The Old Republic, then perhaps I can put it in more practical terms. I'll take a quote from Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope: "It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together." Couple this depiction with Visas' explanation in the earlier paragraph and a concrete definition can be made for what a Miraluka "sees." Force is "light" to a Miraluka. Unlike the human definition of light, Miralukan "light" is created by living beings -- all living things, if you take Obi-Wan's quote literally.
Now, imagine a world -- or an existence -- where your source of light comes from living things, not electricity running through resistant filaments. In my mind, that flips nearly everything on its head. Unfortunately, there is no canon to explain what day-to-day life is like on the Miraluka homeworld of Alpheridies. So all we really have is speculation in regard to the physical appearance of Alpheridies. However, we do know a bit about the culture, gathered from various comics and the Star Wars Roleplaying game by Wizards of the Coast.
Miraluka are rarely seen off their homeworld, but just previous to KOTOR II, a colony had been established on Katarr. Unfortunately, the Force succubus Darth Nihilus drained the whole colony of life save for Visas Marr. Needless to say, there have been no other settlements since.
Miraluka find safety behind the molecular cloud called The Veil in the Aborn system, away from most trade routes. In fact, most people in the galaxy have not heard of Alpheridies or the Aborn system because of this. A quick anecdote: Alpheridies was so unknown even to players that Star Wars Galaxies' roleplayers were sometimes accused of creating a character that could not exist if they made a Miraluka. Until the latest atlas, the planet did not exist on any map, even though it had been in lore since the early '90s.
Because of past interactions with outside cultures, Miraluka are generally cautious and slow to trust others. Following the blind monk trope, many are also wise and insightful. Believe it or not, as shown by Shoaneb Culu, Miraluka can be excellent fighter pilots; perhaps the Force-sight gives them an edge when targeting other living beings. Although I'm still trying to nail down the source, I'm told that Miraluka religion revolves around the gods Ashla and Bogan: the dark and light side of the Force. There was a Miraluka roleplayer in SWG who used to say, "May Ashla watch over you," instead of the traditional, "May the Force be with you." Other than that, I haven't personally seen a reference to either Ashla or Bogan in conjunction with Miraluka.
As with everything in the Holocron Files, take what you will out of it. I really hope to inspire other players of SWTOR to at least dabble into the culture of the species they are playing. Even if I'm not roleplaying in the game itself, it's fun for me to wrap my head around the culture and backstory of the character I'm playing. Perhaps you can do the same, or if you don't yet have a Miraluka, then perhaps this culture would be something you'd like to dip your toes into. If I might make a recommendation: The Jedi Consular story is a perfect fit for a Miraluka.
Let me know if there is a species you'd like to hear about next month, or tell me your experience playing a Miraluka or any of the other non-human species in the galaxy. Until then, may Ashla watch over you -- or Bogan if you're one of those Sith-y types.
The Hyperspace Beacon by Larry Everett is your weekly guide to the vast galaxy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, currently in production by BioWare. If you have comments or suggestions for the column, send a transmission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Now strap yourself in, kid -- we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!