"You know what I am, and yet you still have the pretension to address me as though I were your equal! You worry me, and simultaneously impress me... Fear and admiration, unusual bedfellows, but it does prove that non-platonic love can be found in even the oddest places!"
~ to Elena Trotskaya.
Qh'naaz (pronounced kuh-NARZ) is the phaeroness of the Khazard'Vaari Qh'naazi Dynasty and the sister of elite Nem'zohr Yah'thuzol. As well as familial and national ties, they also share a master plan, of which she is the ringleader: kidnap Elena Trotskaya, use her to locate the OTAN Complex, steal control of the archaelect housed within and use its power to crown themselves the new Machine Kings. Thus they would reunite their species under a single banner as had been the case in the golden age of the Machine King Vaar'madr. This power would also have extended to Jedidiah Rogers – an ork that the lich befriended and considered a close ally – had Trotskaya not killed him in 2152.
'Qh'naaz' translates to 'star-killer' in the Khazard'Vaari language, so her name is frequently anglicised as Starkiller. She lends her name to both her dynasty and the Starkiller tablet, an extraordinarily-powerful psionic exhibitor first created for Rogers, which later fell into the hands of Trotskaya after the failed Sixteen July conspiracy that the lich helped to establish.
"Oh, you know ... tea and biscuits!"Qh'naaz is atypical from the rest of the Khazard'Vaari in that she appears to lack the racially-motivated condescension that the rest of her kind possesses towards younger races. Indeed, as is attested by her relationship with Rogers, she is quite willing to befriend and even fall in love with an alien that wins her affection. Also unlike the other Khazard'Vaari, she is genuinely curious about other species and how their societies function. The Starkiller is also astounded by the willpower possessed by her foe Trotskaya and the Sidh race in the neighbouring dimension – in stark contrast to Yah'thuzol, who holds nothing but bitter disdain for them both and especially the former. She intends to perform a comprehensive study into both the General and the Imperium at some point, and has expressed a particular desire to meet the Empress of Sidhae in person.
~ her response, when questioned (by OTAN) what compelled her to visit the Empress.
On a more personal level, Qh'naaz is calm, difficult to anger and makes it a point to be polite and respectful to even her most hated foes, again in opposition to her brother. She is also noted for being somewhat eccentric, compared on one occasion to New Frenco Empire spymistress Jane Smyth. Even towards Trotskaya, the murderer of the best friend that she has had for millennia, the Starkiller levels nothing but praise to the Red Tigress, truly amazed by her determination and strength – though she seems to treat her not so much with admiration as like a guinea pig in a scientific experiment, revealing her underlying arrogance. In fact, if the otherwise deadly Phaeroness of the were to possess a weakness, it would be her thinly-veiled hubris.
Qh'naaz is a cyberlich, similar to Yah'thuzol, but she is older and considerably more powerful than him despite her smaller stature. Like OTAN and Joseph Hightower (but unlike her brother), she makes extensive use of avatars as well as her main body, and possesses a formidable personal army of Khazard'Vaari warriors at her disposal. When drawn into combat herself, the Starkiller has no set fighting style, but prefers to incinerate her foes with forks of brilliant green flame-lightning, sparking at solar temperature, or telepathically pull them apart literally piece by piece at the subatomic level. She is also known for making enemies' heads explode for her own amusement. If for whatever reason she cannot deploy her quasi-godlike psionic powers, then her warscythe, a powerful quark-sharp psyblade, will lay waste to almost any foe in her path, as will the flesh-stripping, self-replicating nanoswarms at her beck and call.
- Qh'naaz makes a very brief appearance in A Blood Debt. She will return to play a far more prominent role in its sequels, including Flight of the Polunochnaya, as one of the main antagonists.
- Qh'naaz can be considered an Altcanon equivalent to the Main Canon-exclusive Vaasi Idris, to whose character her own bears a striking resemblance. Yah'thuzol, on the other hand, is more akin to Yuga Valeris. Both similarities are unintentional.
- Qh'naaz borrows a handful of personality traits from Imotekh the Stormlord, a Necron Overlord from the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Most notable is her habit of sending a single survivor from her onslaught, usually the commander, back to their homeland as a stark reminder of their failure.