The events of this course focus on two of the most famous Dark Jedi of the Old Republic - Revan and Malak. You have probably read about them before, but in today’s course you’ll learn how they fell to the Dark Side and the effect they had. As with all previous courses in this series, you will find opportunities for further reading; these will not be on the examination.
As an out of character note, this course contains spoilers for the video games Knights of the Old Republic as well as Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
After the costly Great Sith War, the Republic struggled for over twenty years to rebuild, and they weren’t the only ones. During a battle on Onderon’s moon Dxun, toward the end of the Great Sith War, Mandalore the Indomitable - who had pledged to serve the Sith - was killed, and a new Mandalore, Mandalore the Ultimate, was elevated in his place. This new Mandalore led the clans during the years after the war in a nomadic lifestyle as they replenished their numbers.
In 3,978 BBY, Mandalore was approached by a member of the Sith species that claimed to be the representative of a powerful Sith Lord who had a vision that featured the Mandalorians destroying the Republic. Little did Mandalore know, his representative truly did work for a powerful Sith Lord - the Sith Emperor, formerly known as Vitiate - and he was exerting his influence on the Mandalorians to fight the Republic via proxy. Mandalore took to the vision and immediately began organizing and preparing his forces, which he dubbed the Neo-Crusaders, for battle.
Their initial attacks were on the periphery of the Republic and were very successful. The Mandalorians were ruthless invaders, rounding up all the defenseless Cathar during the Battle of Cathar and slaughtering them, eradicating more than 90% of the species. Planet after planet fell to the Mandalorians until 3,965 BBY when they were halted by the Republic Navy protecting the important planet of Taris. By 3,963, however, internal strife distracted Jedi forces protecting the surface of the planet and they were recalled to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant - the new seat of Jedi power after the destruction of Ossus. Using this lapse in protection, the Mandalorians redoubled their efforts to break the Republic’s protective cordon and were ultimately successful, bombarding the planet’s surface for weeks.
All the while, other parts of the growing Mandalorian force were engaged throughout the Outer and Mid Rims with world after world folding to their power in what became known as the Onslaught. No matter how bleak the situation looked, the Republic and Jedi Order refused to mobilize their forces. The Jedi response was weak, as the High Council steadfastly refused to allow its members to participate in counterattacks.
It was in this bleak climate that a group of Jedi called the Revanchists were on the planet Cathar searching for evidence of the genocide. The Jedi Council traveled to the planet to confront the group for refusing to turn back. On the shores of the sea where ten years before the Cathar had been slaughtered, the leader of the Revanchists discovered a female Mandalorian’s mask. When he picked it up, the Revanchists and members of the Council present experienced a vision of a Mandalorian begging not to murder the Cathar before she - as well as the Cathar - were gunned down. The leader of the Revanchists donned the mask, declared his name Revan, and told the assembled Jedi he would not remove the mask until the Mandalorians had paid for their crimes. Grudgingly, the Council allowed him to lead his forces against the Mandalorians.
The Jedi now known as Revan and his close friend Alek, who took the name Malak, proved capable strategic and tactical thinkers. Slowly but surely, they were able to turn the tide of war, but not without cost; Revan was dangerously close to the Dark Side in his belief that the war must be won at all costs. Pushing the Mandalorian advance further and further back, liberating countless worlds, the Revanchist leader devised a plan to end the Mandalorians once and for all. Thus, he laid a trap for them above the planet Malachor V.
Revan divided the naval forces under his command in two, giving command of half to Revanchist Meetra Surik while he took the other. Surik’s forces were already in place when the Mandalorian fleet attacked, but Revan’s ships were delayed by a Mandalorian scouting party. When he finally joined, the other half of his fleet was deep in battle. It was at this point Mandalore the Ultimate, sensing imminent defeat, challenged Revan to a duel, which the Jedi agreed to. Though Mandalore was strong, Revan was able to defeat him; before the leader of the Mandalorians died, he told Revan of the Sith Emperor who had manipulated him into attacking the Republic and provided Revan with coordinates for a Sith world far from the Republic.
Shortly after Revan’s duel, Surik ordered the deployment of her secret weapon: the Mass Shadow Generator. Developed by Revan, it caused the formation of a huge gravitational vortex that crushed anything within its grasp. Revan and Surik’s ships were both out of range when activated, but almost all the Mandalorians as well as most of their own Republic forces were not as lucky, with devastating losses of life. Quickly following the disaster at Malachor V, the remaining Mandalorians signaled their surrender, and the Mandalorian Wars were complete.
After the war, Revan and Malak traveled with the remnants of their forces to the coordinates given by Mandalore the Ultimate. The coordinates led to the remote icy planet Rekkiad, where they discovered the tomb of long-dead Sith Lord Dramath the Second. After leaving Mandalore’s Mask in the tomb, they continued on, eventually finding themselves on Dromund Kaas, the seat of the Sith Empire led by Vitiate.
The Emperor broke their minds, preying on the razor-thin edge they had walked between light and dark, and commissioned them to find an ancient superweapon built by the Rakata known as the Star Forge. They traveled to Tatooine, Manaan, Kashyyyk, Dantooine, and Korriban, finding Star Maps that allowed them to triangulate the position of the Star Forge to Rakata Prime, the former homeworld of the species known as the Builders.
After discovering the Star Forge, the newly-minted Sith Lords Darth Revan and Darth Malak broke free from the control of the Emperor and decided to use the infinite resources of the battle station to create their own Sith Empire with Revan at its head and Malak his apprentice. They established a new Academy on the Sith world of Korriban and began training their followers in the ways of the Dark Side.
Their first act as leaders of this alternate Sith Empire was to mirror the attack forty years prior on the vital Republic shipyards of Foerost, and, much like in the Great Sith War, the Republic was woefully unprepared. The Battle of Foerost was a resounding defeat for the Republic, and the Sith fleet expanded greatly. One soldier who joined up was the highly-placed Admiral Saul Karath, who swore obedience to Malak and Revan. To test his new loyalties, Darth Malak ordered him to take a fleet to Telos IV and bombard the planet which, after the Telos government refused to surrender, he did. Though some escaped, millions were killed and the planet was devastated. After raining ruin on the planet, Admiral Karath left and allowed evacuation ships to come to the planet to spread what the Sith were capable of.
Two years after the bombardment of Telos, the Republic was struggling under the blows Revan and Malak’s forces were bringing down on them. The Jedi Council came up with a bold plan to capture both Sith Lords utilizing the mastery of battle meditation a young Knight named Bastila Shan displayed. A small number of Republic ships engaged the Sith flagships, and, their attention diverted, a Jedi strike force led by Shan boarded Revan’s vessel. While the Jedi dueled Revan, Malak saw an opportunity, in true Sith fashion, for advancement and ordered his ship to fire on Revan’s; it was his hope to destroy not only his Jedi enemies but also his Master.
His plan, however, went awry as neither Bastila Shan nor Revan were killed. Shan managed to stabilize the injured Revan and fled with him to Dantooine and its Jedi Enclave. The Jedi Masters on Dantooine were able to restore Revan to health while wiping his memory; in its place, they planted the belief that Revan was a loyal Republic soldier serving under Shan. It was in this state Revan and Shan were discovered by Malak aboard the Republic cruiser Endar Spire. In an effort to finish what he started, Malak fired upon the vessel, causing it to crash into the planet.
Malak by this point either wanted Shan dead or captured and turned to the Dark Side, so his forces surrounded Taris and began searching. Frustrated with his lack of success, Malak ordered Admiral Karath to begin bombarding from orbit, hoping to end Shan. However, Revan, Shan, and a small group of followers were able to escape from the planet.
Arriving on Dantooine, the Jedi Enclave agreed to induct Revan and retrain him as Jedi. After completing his training, they sent him to find the Star Forge by locating each Rakatan Star Map - a mission he and Malak had previously completed. After discovering all the Star Maps save one, the group headed to Korriban, which housed the final map. En route, they were set upon by the Leviathan, Darth Malak’s flagship commanded by Admiral Saul Karath. After breaking free of the torture, they confronted Karath, killing him after a lengthy duel.
Attempting to escape, they were stopped by Darth Malak, who revealed to Revan who he was and, more importantly, had been. In the ensuing fight, Bastila Shan was able to buy Revan and the rest of his party time to escape, trading her capture for the hope that Revan would complete the mission. Spurred on, Revan and his companions traveled to Korriban, found the final Star Map, and traveled to Rakata Prime and the Star Forge.
After crash landing on Rakata Prime, also known as Lehon, Revan made his way to the Temple of the Ancients, a remnant from the time of the Rakata and source of the disruptor field that had caused their ship to crash. With the field successfully disengaged, they were attacked by Bastila Shan, corrupted by Malak. Following the conclusion of the fight, Revan attempted to bring Shan back to the light; she refused and fled to the Star Forge. The former Sith Lord followed and docked at the massive space station alongside Republic soldiers and Jedi who had jumped into the system.
After a series of confrontations, Revan expressed his love for the fallen Jedi and urged her to draw upon the Force bond that had developed. This gambit was successful, and Bastila began using her prowess in battle meditation to aid the Republic and Jedi forces in their attack. The destruction of the Star Forge was imminent, but Revan still had one last fight to win; he sought out his former friend and apprentice, Darth Malak. The two engaged in a duel of epic proportions, but Revan, ever the superior fighter, was ultimately successful in slaying the Sith Lord.
Revan, Shan, and their crew were able to escape before the gravity of the Rakata star drew the Star Forge in, destroying it completely. Demoralized, the Sith forces were easily mopped up by the Republic fleet, and the Jedi Civil War drew to a close.
* Bastila Shan
Though the Sith Empire Darth Revan and Darth Malak created was largely destroyed, it was not eradicated. Instead, a new organization called the Sith Triumvirate gathered the disparate remains and reforged them into a new threat. The Triumvirate was based out of the Trayus Academy, originally discovered by Revan during his exploration of Malachor V. From there, three Dark Lords of the Sith - the Master, Darth Traya, and her two apprentices Darth Nihilus and Darth Sion, ruled a weakened but potent Sith alliance.
The three oversaw various assassinations and subtle influences on the workings of the Republic and Jedi as the galaxy rebuilt following the destruction caused by Revan and Malak, but after a time the apprentices grew impatient with the slow pace Traya kept and cast her out of the Academy. Sion and Nihilus split their Empire into two halves and began their own shadow wars.
Darth Nihilus was interested not in power or glory but in exterminating life to feed his hunger. Like a vampire in ancient fables, Nihilus fed on the Force energy of his victims. To this end, he attacked a Jedi conclave on the planet Katarr, known for its great presence in the Force. Using his power to wound with the Dark Side, he devastated the planet and feasted on the anguish and death created. He then moved on to the desolate planet Telos IV, where a Jedi Master named Atris was rumored to have created a new Jedi Academy. The Jedi Exile, formerly known as Meetra Surik (a companion of Revan and Malak’s during the Mandalorian Wars), confronted Nihilus in orbit above Telos on his ship the Ravager. After a quick battle, the Jedi Exile and her companions were able to slay Nihilus and destroy his ship.
They then moved on to Darth Sion. Sion was much more cautious than his fellow Sith Lord, preferring assassination to Nihilus’ more extreme measures. Besides being cautious, however, he was also much more brutal, favoring torture and traps. Sion’s Sith Assassins spread throughout the galaxy, killing Jedi one by one. The Jedi Exile eventually caught up with Sion on Malachor V, where she struck him down in combat with her lightsaber. Finally, she moved on to her companion Kreia, who was in fact the former Sith Lord Darth Traya. After unsuccessfully redeeming her for the Light, the Exile was forced to defeat Kreia in a long, drawn-out battle. With her death, the Sith Triumvirate was ended and, with it, the threat to the Republic and the few remaining Jedi.
* Darth Traya
With the defeat of the Sith Triumvirate, the Republic was finally able to rest for a brief period of time. This was much needed, as not only the Republic had been shaken by the numerous and galaxy-spanning wars they had come through, but the Jedi Republic was but a fraction of its former size. As with all things, however, this peace was not meant to last. That, however, is a story for the next course. For now, prepare yourself for your examination.
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