Dowager Queen of Ryll
Ryll spice has legal applications. Not many, but some. Its benefits as a painkiller and component in medicines have seen the empire allow its mining and export from many planets, under tight controls. Merchants of ryll spice know that at some point, their paths will cross that of Madame Dharma, the “Dowager Queen of Spice.” With a dominating share of the ryll mining operations on Ryloth, spice flows through Madame Dharma’s fingers like sand through an hourglass.
With a flair for the dramatic, a wicked sense of humor, and a mind sharp enough to slice duracrete, Dharma finds life in the dangerous world of spice trading much to her liking. Despite her age, Dharma defies all the odds and stays as sharp as ever, keeping those who hope to replace or depose her running in circles and chasing their own tails (or head-tails). Even the Empire steers clear of displeasing the Dowager Queen, since many a Stormtrooper owes his life to Ryll produced in Dharma’s mines.
Recognizing that Ryll is a finite asset and looking to diverisfy her assets, the past few years have seen Dharma investing capital into firms and consortiums in various sectors. Of all the investors in KemTech, Dharma was the only one who backed Ohwar Kemmel until the very end. When he left, so did she, a move that shocked and dismayed the other board members since she took her sizeable investment with her.
Dharma firmly believes that the loyalty of talented people is one of the surest ways to success, and as such seeks out beings who’s talents or artistry she appreciates. One of those is Ohwar, who’s latest venture she’s currently helping to finance. Another is Uzeh’walu, a Twi’lek performer who’s friendship Dharma has come to value as much if not more than his skills. Perhaps her most trusted friend, confidant, and loyal servant, Uzeh’walu has been sent along to safeguard her investment in Ohwar Kemmel, as well as to give her accurate and timely updates on the project.
On a planet where most females of wit or beauty find themselves in cantinas or next to Hutts, the fact that Dharma remained on Ryloth once it became obvious she was more than a pretty face is something of a rarity. By the end of her twenties Dharma’s aptitude for business and talent for frustrating those who sought to keep her down saw her bankrupt not one, but two of her home continent’s most affluent spice barons and bring her inherited spice mine into a fold of dozens dotted across Ryloth. Generally speaking spice traders don’t care for an upstart suddenly appearing with a majority share of the market seemingly overnight. Despite their animosity, none of them could touch Dharma. Bribes failed, spies disappeared or turned traitor, and all the while she continued to absorb smaller spice concerns into her operation.
Eventually, the spice lords of Ryloth were forced to admit Dharma was around to stay, and Dharma, in turn, was content to allow them to continue operating. Monopolies are rarely worth the trouble, in her mind. Better to have most of the power forever than all of it for a year. Dharma’s true talent, however, is inspiring loyalty in those she employs. He charismatic personality and protective instinct for her people means that those she surrounds herself with put Dharma first and trust that she’ll make sure the rest sorts out for them.
With money and power, Dharma next set her sights on longevity. If the Clone Wars proved anything to her it was that disaster can strike at any moment, and only the prepared will survive. Rather than leave all her eggs in the ryll mines, she set out investing in cybernetics, interstellar avionics, even art. During this diversification Dharma both worked her way onto the board of directors of KemTech and discovered Uzeh’walu.
Now in her late fifties and with no intention of slowing down, Dharma has thrown in with Ohwar Kemmel and his bacta project, seeing profit both in the bacta and in the destruction of the Bacta Cartel. Time will tell whether the project succeeds, but smart money bets that even should it fail, the Dowager Queen of Ryll will weather the storm as she always has.