The Guardians of the Whills
The Guardians of the Whills is an ancient group of sentients devoted to the protection and preservation of Force-related locations, artifacts, and knowledge. Their movement was historically based in the Temple of Kyber on Camden before their forced evacuation during The War for the Republic. Now the Guardians operate out of Kyber City on the planet Koiogra V. The group is led by the current Keeper of the Whills, Gothar Elensar.
The origins of the Guardians of the Whills are shrouded in mystery, as it appears the earliest Guardians zealously preserved all history but their own. From what historians have been able to piece together, the organization formed over a period of centuries from groups of pilgrims that chose to remain at the Temple of Kyber on Camden after their visit. The temple was originally constructed by the Jedi Order over a millennium ago, but it does not appear the Jedi occupied it on a regular basis and it is unclear what relationship these pilgrims had with the Jedi. Over time, the ‘Guardians’ as they came to be called, took it upon themselves to gather knowledge of the Force and adapt their understanding into a way of life similar to that of the Jedi. From there, their role evolved to a more physical one, protecting the Temple itself from looting when the Jedi were not present. After the Republic forces betrayed the Jedi, the Guardians moved into the temple and claimed it as their own to safeguard the treasures inside. From that time they began to discover and interpret the texts they found within in ways that diverged from traditional Jedi teaching. Using the temple records to identify other temples and sacred sites, the Guardians deployed pilgrim teams to survey and protect artifacts and sites of interest. They spread out across the galaxy, spreading their way of life and the wisdom they had gleaned where safe.
During The War for the Republic in Year 21, the Guardians had been alerted that an invasion of their region by Imperial Union forces was immanent. Knowing they could not stage an effective defense of the system, they began evacuating their members, relics, archives, and as many citizens of Camden as was possible. The Black Sun organization soon led a campaign through the Halla Sector and surrounded the Guardians' homeworld. Keeper Gothar managed to negotiate the peaceful surrender of the planet, with the condition that the Temple of Kyber would be spared destruction. On Day 148 of that year, custody of the Temple was turned over to Black Sun, and the Guardians traveled to a deep space rendezvous where they had been safeguarding all the relics and refugees they could from the affected sectors. By the war's end, Camden had been given over to the Confederacy of Independent Systems as part of the Treaty of Kliap with the Galactic Empire announced on Day 214.
After most of the fighting had ended and borders stabilized, the Guardians sent scouting teams across Resistance-sympathetic space to locate possible planets to call home. After much searching and negotiation, The Resistance agreed to turn the Koiogra system to the Guardians, and they were led by the Force to establish their new headquarters on Koiogra V, in a newly-constructed settlement called Kyber City. Near the end of Year 21, the Confederacy of Independent Systems contacted then Keeper of the Whills Gothar Elensar and offered the Guardians custody of the Temple of Kyber and its holy city. Elenar graciously accepted and the Guardians resumed their rituals and administration of the city as they had for generations before the war. While the Guardians are officially based out of Kyber City, it has a large presence in its ancestral home.
The ‘Whills’ from which the Guardians take their name are believed to be god-like beings in perfect communion with the Force. Some believe the Whills to have discovered or even created the Force themselves. It is believed the organization chose this name to reflect their desire for communion with the Force itself, apart from other groups who are devoted to different ‘sides’ of the Force. Unlike other Force-centered religious groups, the Guardians do not equate communion with the Force with the ability to use or manipulate it. They believe that every sentient is able to sense the Force, and through cultivating that awareness all lives can align with the will of the Force. This is explicit in one of their oldest and most common mantras or prayers, “I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me.” While the Guardians do not believe the Force can be divided into a stark light/dark duality, they believe the Force colors all beings in one of five shades: the white shade, the black shade, the green shade, the red shade, and the blue shade. These shades are not antagonistic, however. They are aspects of one whole. Each of The Shades of the Force are seen as equal and necessary paths to deeper knowledge and self-development.
Guardians of the Whills make no secret about their practices and rituals, and they seek to spread them as part of their mission to bring the galaxy into balance. While Guardians are best known by their recitation of prayers and mantras in meditation, they also practice many forms of martial arts and ritual lightsaber combat. Those without lightsabers often use staves and other bladed weapons. Guardian teachings emphasize that training of both body and mind is necessary to be fully attuned to the Force, and these rituals double as preparation to defend their temples, shrines, and artifacts.
The Guardians and Kyber
All Guardians are united by common goals and devotional practices, but each shade has developed their own unique beliefs. In addition to ancient Guardian teachings, the role of the Guardians as archivists and collectors of lore and texts has led them to integrate the beliefs of many different religious groups into their doctrine. This is particularly visible where the Guardians have extended their protection to sites originally inhabited by other religions. To the Guardians, this practice is seen as an enrichment, not a perversion, of the ancient tradition they protect. One common thread through all shades and expressions of the Guardians is reverence for the kyber crystal. Kyber crystals are rare minerals with a unique structure and composition that many believe allow them to channel or focus the Force or similar energies, so much so their most common use has been in light sabers. The Guardians believe that because of their near-organic lattice structure, these crystals allow sentients to heighten their awareness of the Force. The same qualities that make the crystals sacred to many also make them a priceless natural resource, with many different applications in the fields of energy and weaponry. Because many of the sites they inhabit contain large amounts of kyber, defense of the collections of the mineral has become one of the organization's chief missions.