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The Ihan-rii (Khalani for "Great Teachers") are a fanatical sect of protoss who split from their kindred millions of years ago. They worship the xel'naga, and believe they are their one true descendants.
The Ihann-rii are fanatical protoss warriors, who have existed on the fringes of the Koprulu Sector for thousands of years. They have observed the other protoss kindred and zerg for years, and emulate much of their technology. The Ihan-rii believe they are the one true descendants of the xel'naga, and believe that if they fight with valor they too will reach godhood. The Ihan-rii carve runes into their ships and walkers professing their devotion and loyalty to the xel'naga, and warding against heretics.
Ihan-rii utilize an animated stone material in their ships and constructs. This material is light, durable, and chemically inert, making it ideal for deep-space ships. They are supported by many repurposed xel'naga artifacts, including dynamos and relic named nebula wells. They operate off of void energies for many of their constructs. Some of their technology, such as warp prisms, were modeled after nostalgia for their old homeworld.
Early in an Ihan-rii's life, they are bound to a void crystal that resonates with their psionic signature. When an Ihan-rii reaches maturity, that crystal is sharpened into a deadly spearpoint. Dead warriors are entombed in immortal-like sarcophagi, which carry their remains into battle. Many of the Ihan-rii remain in deep space, in stasis aboard their ships, awaiting a distress call to awaken them.
Millennia ago, the Ihan-rii split from their protoss brethren and spread to the far corners of the Koprulu Sector. They sent out observers to watch the going-ons of their brothers. They populated the planet that would later be known as Tyrador IX, which served as their home. However, they later abandoned their world and went into deep stasis on the fringes of the Koprulu Sector.
Many years later, the Ihan-rii were awakened by a distress call from Zeratul. Many warriors needed time to get their bearings from their deep sleep. Try as they may, the Ihan-rii could not find the source of this distress signal, so instead they decided to return to Tyrador IX.
Battle of Tyrador IXEdit
When they arrived at their own homeworld, they found it under the rule of terrans, though the planet was besieged by zerg controlled by the Cerberus Program. The defenders of the planet, the Knights of Tyrador, noticed the fleet with one of their ravens, and sent a Behemoth-class battlecruiser to parlay with the protoss arrivals. The Ihan-rii sent a group of oracles to investigate.
As the city of New Canaan was falling, the Ihan-rii blindsided the zerg attackers with their ships. Initial ground landings were met with attacks from lurkers who slaughtered the first waves. The Cerberus mutalisks, who had initially overwhelmed the Knights of Tyrador, faced a tougher foe in the Ihan-rii's ships.
- The symbol of the Ihan-rii is that of the xel'naga carvings in Ulnar, with the central face replaced with that of a protoss, symbolizing their belief that they are the descendants of the xel'naga.
- Their awakening by a distress beacon from Zeratul is likely a reference to the Zeratul commander in Co-op Missions, which utilizes protoss augmented with xel'naga tech that use a similar skinset to the Ihan-rii.
- While much of the Ihan-rii technology seems to have been obtained from their observation of the other protoss factions, some of their units such as adepts, were described as having been in deep sleep for a long period of time, in spite of adepts having only been created at the close of the Second Great War.