Selvin Kelswa III

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Selvin Kelswa III (2984 - 3051) was a Lyran nobleman and the leader of the Tamar Pact.

At Age 41 in 3025


Early Life and Career

Selvin Kelswa III was born on Tamar in the city of Red Hook. His family had governed the Tamar Pact for centuries, dating back at least to 2364. [1] In his youth, he and a group of friends attempted to start a resistance movement on the Kuritan-held world of Harvest. Stranded, with his friends dead, Kelswa got a first hand look at how native peoples suffered under the yoke of the Combine. When he was finally rescued, he realized that if these worlds were ever to be free, they would have to be freed by the Commonwealth. This obsession with liberating former Tamar Pact worlds would come to define his life. Despite this, he never attended a military academy himself. Nevertheless, he managed to lead several successful defenses of Tamar when they were attacked during the reign of Coordinator Hohiro Kurita I. [2] He was a great early supporter of the Federated Commonwealth Alliance, as it gave him his best chance of accomplishing his goals.

Fourth Succession War

At the start of the Fourth Succession War, the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces launched Operation Gotterdammerung, the largest Lyran invasion of the Draconis Combine in centuries. Overall, this attack was an overwhelming success, as several dozen Combine worlds fell to House Steiner, most of them planets that had formerly been part of the Tamar Pact, decades or even centuries before. The 13th Rasalhague Regulars, however, intended to counter-attack rather than wait to be overwhelmed by the Commonwealth's war machine. They struck at Tamar, apparently without orders, knowing that a successful strike could demoralize the entire Commonwealth. They were opposed by the very capable Grave Walkers mercenary unit, with two heavy regiments. [3]

Unfortunately for the Grave Walkers, Duke Kelswa insisted on commanding the defense. When the Duke ordered the Grave Walkers into a death trap, Colonel Dennis Merwin, the Walkers' commanding officer, knocked the Duke unconscious and placed Kelswa and his entourage under arrest. The Walkers proceeded to route the Regulars completely, with only a handful of the Kuritans surviving to surrender. Duke Kelswa, however, placed Colonel Merwin under arrest for treason, scheduling his execution for the following morning. The Lyran high command, however, pressed the Duke on the issue, pointing out his lack of military background and informing him he would be publically court-martialed if he continued with his charges against Merwin. The Duke reluctantly released the Grave Walkers commander. [3]

Ronin Wars

Despite that debacle, the Duke could take solace in the fact that the Fourth war had returned many worlds to the Tamar Pact. However, the worlds in question had existed as part of House Kurita's Rasalhague Military District for so long that they had adopted a Rasalhagian perspective. They desired independence, not a return to a Commonwealth few if any remembered. The Duke, however, was uncompromising. He was therefore devastated when Archon Katrina Steiner chose to recognize the new Free Rasalhague Republic, a Comstar-brokered deal with the Draconis Combine that effectively denied the Commonwealth most of its military gains from during the war. Openly defying the Archon, he employed mercenaries to retain the worlds, as well as the provisional Lyran governors of those worlds, the Valdherres, who were personally to him. When Kuritan commanders resisted the order to allow the Republic to split itself from the Combine, the result was the Ronin Wars.

His efforts had particularly tragic consequences on Kandis, when the Dragonslayers, a mercenary regiment in Kelswa's employ, had a standoff with the Insect Brigade, mercenaries employed by the local Republic government. Due to an accident, this resulted in combat and several days of civilian mob riots, both pro-Lyran and pro-Republic. [4] The Dragonslayers ultimately stood down after the Shin Legion arrived, Capellan expatriates in service to Theodore Kurita. A second unit employed by Kelswa, Meriadoc’s Malcontents, fought to the bitter end due to a bizarre clause in their contract that would forfeit all of their equipment to Duke Kelswa if they surrendered. [5]

The high civilian casualties and level of damage to the city reflected poorly on the Duke's position, as well as on worlds such as Skokie and Harvest. [6] Ultimately, the Republic would survive the actions of both Duke Kelswa and the Ronin DCMS forces. Kelswa and the Tamar pact were effectively punished by the Federated Commonwealth government in the aftermath of the Ronin Wars with increased taxes for several years. [7] For his own part, Kelswa's paranoia and distrust for the new Federated Commonwealth only increased.

Clan Invasion and Death

When the Clan Invasion struck, the situation changed again. As most of the conquered Commonwealth planets were from the Tamar Pact, the Duke persisted in demanding greater military support to fight an enemy that was virtually unstoppable. When it became clear that Tamar itself would become a target, Kelswa demanded five full RCTs to reinforce his world. He had to be restrained when his leaders, Prince Hanse Davion and Archon Melissa Steiner-Davion, denied his request, sensibly pointing out that making such a move would imperil other worlds also facing invasion. Kelswa even refused to cooperate with the 26th Lyran Guards RCT, the AFFC garrison for the planet. Instead, he spent months and his own personal fortune boosting the defenses of the capital city, increasing the size of his own Kelswa Guard and the Tamar War College Training Battalion. [8]

When Wolf Clan Khan Natasha Kerensky and Alpha Galaxy arrived, they spent a few days driving the Lyran Guards from the planet. The Guards offered to evacuate the Duke, but he refused, convinced that he and only he could hold the planet. When the Wolves attacked the capital city, they made a mockery of the Duke's defenses. Attacks by the Duke's troops and academy cadets were ineffective. Instead of a grand final battle, it became a veritable slaughter. At its climax, the Duke took the field himself, briefly rallying his troops. When the 328th Assault Cluster counter-attacked, they destroyed Kelswa's mech, killing the Duke in the process. Tamar would soon fall as well, signalling the end of the old Tamar Pact. [8]


Selvin Kelswa III was the father of Morasha Kelswa, the father-in-law of Ryan Steiner and the grandfather of Robert Kelswa-Steiner, who became an important figure during the FedCom Civil War and the Jihad.


Duke Kelswa piloted an Atlas, most notably during the final battle of Tamar city. [9]


Preceded by
Duke of Tamar/
Leader of the Tamar Pact


Succeeded by
Morasha Kelswa
(title only)


  • The Wolf Clan Sourcebook claims that Morasha Kelswa assumed the title "Duchess of Tamar" after Tamar's fall to Clan Wolf. This is not discussed elsewhere, and Morasha's son, Richard Kelswa-Steiner, does not seem to use the title himself, though he takes political advantage of being the heir the the Kelswa legacy.
  • Among Selvin Kelswa's illustrious ancestors may have been Colonel Simon Kelswa, the Lyran commando officer who led the successful "Prometheus Unbound" attack on the Terran Hegemony Battlemech factory on Hesperus II that allowed the Commonwealth to begin building its own 'mechs in 2455. [10]
  • Kelswa reportedly formed the Tamar Jagers during his reign, though the exact date this took place is in dispute. [11]
  • Selvin Kelswa I, Selvin Kelswa III's ancestor, was the Duke of Tamar during the Reunification War. [12]

Selvin Kelswa III Atlas


  1. House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth) (sourcebook) p. 12
  2. House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth) (sourcebook) p. 155
  3. 3.0 3.1 NAIS The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas Volume 2 pp. 67-68
  4. Historical: Brush Wars pp. 105-106
  5. Historical: Brush Wars pp. 112-113
  6. Historical: Brush Wars p. 114
  7. Historical: Brush Wars p. 90
  8. 8.0 8.1 Wolf Clan Sourcebook pp. 43-45, 64
  9. Wolf Clan Sourcebook p. 45
  10. House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth) (sourcebook) p. 20
  11. Camo Specs p. 34
  12. Handbook: House Steiner, p. 26