Know Your Lore > StarCraftAug 18, 2017 2:00 pm CT

Know Your Lore: The Sons of Korhal

Last week we talked about the origins of the conflict that would become known to the inhabitants of the Koprulu sector as the Great War. This week, we’ll look more closely at the Sons of Korhal, who began as rebels and ended as an empire. And all they had to do was use the Zerg to do it.

The origin of Korhal

The Old Families of Tarsonis were descendants of the crew of the Nagalfar. They established themselves as the most powerful and wealthy members of the society they created on Tarsonis. When Tarsonis decided to expand, the Old Families made sure they were at the top of any new entities created in the colonization process. Powerful mining concerns, wealthy interstellar commerce captains, all fed wealth into the Old Families. The Confederate state emulated Terran history, dedicated to expanding Tarsonis’ wealth and influence, and compelling Umoja and Moria to join.

This led to a period of expansion and of low-level economic warfare. Confederate mining concerns often stole Morian stakes, assigning them to Old Family control. Planets were colonized based on their ability to feed wealth back. One of these worlds was Korhal IV. Of the thirteen core worlds of the Confederate state, Korhal was perhaps the most important. It was the one that served as the crown jewel of the Confederate scheme.

By the year 2478 Korhal was a seeming Eden — one of the Confederacy’s oldest and most prosperous colonies. A world with a verdant and lush ecosystem, side by side with a vast world-city that sprawled across much of the world’s surface. Korhal’s industry and research was renowned throughout the sector, and its standard of living was enviable. Indeed, the Terran Confederacy used Korhal as a sort of ‘poster child’ for its plans for the sector.

But the people of Korhal were not entirely sold on their relationship with their mother world of Tarsonis. Korhal’s wealth flowed out to the Confederacy, but not nearly as much flowed back. More and more, Korhal asked the question why do we need Tarsonis? Why do we need the Confederacy? Especially the Old Families, why do we need them?

The Mengsk dynasty

The Mengsk family was once one of the Old Families. When Korhal was settled, the Mengsk clan moved there and as a result tied their fortunes to it. Therefore, while they grew powerful and respected, they were also cut off from Tarsonis and the Confederacy’s true halls of power. Thus, they — along with their planet — steadily grew disaffected.

Angus Mensk, the head of the family in 2478, earned the Confederacy’s ire not only by speaking out against it in the Korhal senate, but by making alliances offworld. A friendship with Umojan ambassador Ailin Pasteur in particular alarmed the Old Families. This was because of Mengsk’s anti-Confederate rhetoric, which had already served to make him very popular. Because of this, an assassination attempt was made using Korhal’s senate head Lennox Craven. The head of the senate used neurally resocialized Terran Marines that he disguised as a corporate hit squad.

The attempt to kill Mengsk and Pasteur at Mengsk’s summer home failed. Pasteur agreed to supply Mengsk’s underground revolution secretly while the man preached open dissent against the Confederation in Korhal’s senate. Not all of the Mengsk family saw revolution against the Confederacy as desirable. Angus’ son Arcturus wanted nothing to do with his father’s dreams of independence and revolution. The night his father spoke at the Korhal senate, ripping down the Confederate flag, Arcturus was signing up for the Terran Confederacy’s marine corps.

The Guild Wars break out

While Mengsk was agitating for revolution against the Confederacy, his son Arcturus was serving in the Terran Marines. Arcturus would see action in the conflict with the Kel-Morian Combine later known as the Guild Wars. The conflict was a complicated one that boils down to a simple motive — money. Confederate troops were stealing Kel-Morian claims, the Combine began fighting back, and eventually an all-out war flamed to life. {PB}

Onuru Sigma, a confrontation between Kel-Morian and Confederate forces, was the opening salvo in a 2485. The war raged on until 2489, when a cease fire was negotiated. The cease fire effectively stripped the Kel-Morian Combine with almost all of its mining holdings. It was essentially a Confederate victory in all but name. Arcturus Mengsk served with distinction during this conflict. Others, like Jim Raynor and Tychus Findlay, went AWOL during the fighting.

But the reason for Angus Mensk’s attempted assassination had never gone away. While the Confederate armies battered the Kel-Moria Combine, he built his forces with Umojan assistance. At the end of the Guild Wars he saw his moment, and declared open rebellion against the Confederacy. His son Arcturus was actually on Umoja visiting Ailin Pasteur’s daughter Juliana when the news hit. Angus Mengsk, his wife Katherine, and their daughter Dorothy had been assassinated. Angus’ revolution needed a leader. Arcturus, the military genius who the Confederacy had trained and honed until he’d become a Colonel, now found himself enraged at his former masters.

With Ailin Pasteur’s aid, Arcturus took control of his father’s forces. He expanded them, making alliances with many other disaffected colonial rebel groups. He also arranged for a council of war on Umojan, never realizing the price Korhal would pay.

Death of a world

While Mengsk plotted revolution with Umojan support, Tarsonis took swift action against its former colony. Originally Tarsonis had touted Korhal as an Eden, a masterpiece world that showed Moria and Umoja why they should join. But now it was exporting sedition to other colonies in the Confederacy and threatening Tarsonis’ very existence. The Old Families had enough. During Mengsk’s conference of rebels, some two years after Angus Mengsk’s assassination at the hands of three Ghost agents, Tarsonis launched a thousand Apocalypse nuclear missiles at Korhal. In an instant, Korhal died.

The death of Korhal initially crippled Mengsk and his rebellion. The majority of their forces were on the planet when it died. But the other colonies, the Kel-Morian Combine and Umoja were horrified and outraged. Rather than striking fear into their hearts, the Confederacy only enflamed their resolve. If they could strike Korhal into ash, what wouldn’t they do?

Rebellion became a matter of survival in many eyes, and resources and support flooded into Mengsk’s hands. He rename the rebellion The Sons of Korhal, turning the destruction of his homeworld into a rallying cry. Defectors from the Confederate military supplied them with crucial intelligence as they struck repeatedly and vanished. They were a true guerrilla uprising, rather than one with a known base the Confederacy could simply destroy with missiles.

The death of Korhal changed not just the rebellion, but Mengsk himself. Never a particularly warm or empathetic man, he now became a true demagogue, concerned with victory above all else. Fearing for Juliana and their son Valerian, he ordered them into hiding and dedicated himself wholly to the revolt.

Next week, the Sons of Korhal discover the Zerg, and how to make use of them.

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