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Hovath was a Bajoran who lived in a village and was an apprentice for nine years to the Sirah, a storyteller who drove away a mythical beast called the Dal'Rok which attacked the village once a year at harvest time. The fact that the Dal'Rok was just an illusion to unite the villagers was known only to the Sirah. A piece of the celestial temple was used to channel the villagers' fears to create the illusion. The first Sirah did this because the village was divided by hate and mistrust.
In 2369, Chief Miles O'Brien beamed down to the village with Doctor Julian Bashir to treat the ill Sirah. When the Sirah died, instead of naming Hovath as his replacement, he named O'Brien as the new Sirah. Hovath was initially angry at this apparent snub and even physically attacked O'Brien before accepting the decision. When O'Brien could not drive the Dal'Rok away however, Hovath stepped in and drove it off, proving that he had the ability to become the new Sirah, as the old Sirah had intended all along. (DS9: "The Storyteller")