Selvin Kelswa (31st c.)
- This article is about the later Selvin Kelswa. For the Duke during the Reunification War, see Selvin Kelswa (26th c.).
|Selvin Kelswa III
|Duke of Tamar
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. 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 firsthand 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. 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 GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG, 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 Thirteenth Rasalhague Regulars, however, intended to counterattack 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.
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 rout 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 publicly court-martialed if he continued with his charges against Merwin. The Duke reluctantly released the Grave Walkers commander.
Despite the debacle over Colonel Merwin, the Duke took solace in the fact that the Fourth Succession 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 on the issue; 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 loyal to him. When Kuritan commanders resisted the order to allow the Republic to split itself from the Combine the result was the Ronin War.
Kelswa's efforts had particularly tragic consequences on Kandis, when the Dragonslayers, a mercenary regiment in his employ, became locked in a standoff with the Insect Brigade, mercenaries employed by the local Republic government. An accident led to actual combat and several days of civilian mob riots, both pro-Lyran and pro-Republic. The Dragonslayers ultimately stood down after the arrival of the Shin Legion, a mercenary unit formed from Capellan expatriates and in service to Theodore Kurita at the time. 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.
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. 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 War with increased taxes for several years. 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 was so incensed at the lack of support he received that he even refused to cooperate with the Twenty-sixth 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.
When Wolf Clan saKhan 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 counterattacked, they destroyed Kelswa's 'Mech, killing the Duke in the process. Tamar would soon fall as well, signaling the end of the old Tamar Pact.
|My hair may be gray, my skin wrinkled by many years, but I will not let my ancestral home fall to these alien barbarians! Soldiers, I implore you to stand and fight today if ever Tamer meant more to you than simply living and livelihood. I offer you the chance to become more than one of the countless billions of humans whose lives go unnoticed by destiny. I give you the chance for immortality, for the passing of this day will see us heroes—whether living or dead depends on the fire in your eyes and the hate in your heart—but heroes nonetheless, who will be remembered through the centuries.
|— Duke Selvin Kelswa addressing the Cadets of the Tamar War College Training Battalion
- 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, Robert Kelswa-Steiner, does not seem to use the title himself, though he takes political advantage of being the heir to the Kelswa legacy. It would become customary in the family eventually, though, as her descendant Jasek Kelswa-Steiner is styled "Duke of Skye, Tamar and Porrima."
- 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.
- Kelswa reportedly formed the Tamar Jagers during his reign, though the exact date this took place is in dispute.
- Kelswa's final battle on Tamar is presented as one of the Era Tracks within Era Report: 3052.
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 155: "Selvin Kelswa III profile"
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 12
- NAIS The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas Volume 2, pp. 67–68
- 20 Year Update, p. 47
- Historical: Brush Wars, pp. 105–106
- Historical: Brush Wars, pp. 112–113
- Historical: Brush Wars, p. 114
- Historical: Brush Wars, p. 90
- Wolf Clan Sourcebook, pp. 43–45, 64
- Era Report: 3052, p. 137: "Touchpoint: Tamar"
- Wolf Clan Sourcebook, p. 45
- Wolf Clan Sourcebook, p. 43: "Tamar"
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 20
- Camo Specs, p. 34