|Chronological and political information|
- "My life spans millennia. Legions have risen to test me. […] My ascendance is inevitable. A day, a year, a millennium—it matters not. I hold the patience of stone and the will of stars. Your striving is insignificant. Let your death be the same."
- ―The Sith Emperor, to a lone Jedi sent to kill him
The Sith Emperor was a Dark Lord of the Sith who reconstituted the Sith Empire after the Great Hyperspace War and went on to rule it for more than a millennium, becoming, arguably, the longest reigning Sith Lord in galactic history. According to legend, he was born Tenebrae, the illegitimate son of Lord Dramath of Medriaas and a poor farm woman, and was granted the title of Lord Vitiate by then-reigning Dark Lord of the Sith, Marka Ragnos.
Childhood on Medriaas
According to stories circulating among the Dark Council, Tenebrae was born in the decades before the Great Hyperspace War on Medriaas, a fertile and vibrant agricultural world on the far fringes of the Sith Empire. He was born to a family of simple farmers, and it was said that he was born with eyes as black as the void of space. He never cried, even as a infant, no animal would come near him, and when he spoke, his voice carried a power and weight that a child should not have. When he was six years old, he began manifesting signs of being strong in the Force. However, as his parents were not Force sensitive, his father was suspicious about the boy's true parentage.
He confronted his wife, who admitted to adultery with the Sith Lord who ruled the planet. The farmer became enraged over his wife's unfaithfulness and attacked her. Tenebrae fed on the father's anger and hate to call upon the dark side, and telekinetically broke his neck with a mere thought. He then tortured his mother for months with the Force for having betrayed their family, eventually killing her. Afterwards, he forced the other villagers to bow down to him, torturing and killing those who refused with the Force.
For the next few years, his influence and reputation spread throughout the neighboring villages, and he raised legions of followers, some frightened into obedience, and others fanatically devoted to him. He slaughtered thousands in his rise to power, with many of them tortured for days in public executions to feed his insatiable appetite for suffering, savoring their agonies.
Tenebrae's birth father, Lord Dramath, had heard rumors of his illegitimate son's activities, but they happened in a remote and unimportant area. He had long forgotten about the farm woman who bore him a son, and he thought what was happening in a few small villages didn't concern him. Because of that, he didn't decide to go see Tenebrae until four years had passed. He had gone to decide if Tenebrae would be suitable to serve Dramath, or if he should be killed; however, Tenebrae intended to do neither. When they met, Tenebrae proved the stronger of the two. Even though he was only ten years old, he stripped his father of his power and his sanity before killing him. Lord Dramath's last moments saw him weeping in terror, looking into his son's black eyes.
It took Tenebrae three more years to subjugate the rest of Medriaas. While Dramath's firstborn son fled Medriaas, other Sith Lords tried to seize the unoccupied throne of the world, only to fall before Tenebrae, who became more ruthless and powerful with each victory.
Sith Lord of Nathema
When he was thirteen, he came before Marka Ragnos, the Dark Lord of the Sith and the ruler of the Sith Council and Sith Empire. Lord Ragnos was impressed by the youth's power and ambition, and recognized him as the ruler of Medriaas, bestowing on him the name of Lord Vitiate. Lord Vitiate returned to his home world, which he renamed Nathema, and proceeded to rule and study the Dark Side. He built a palace on the site of his childhood home, where he killed his parents. His rule lasted for a hundred years.
After Ragnos's death, Vitiate did not join in the struggle for succession, nor was he involved in the conflict between Naga Sadow and Ludo Kressh, or the Great Hyperspace War. However, after the Sith Empire was defeated by the Republic and the Jedi, he emerged from his isolation to call a council of all the remaining Sith Lords, inviting them to his palace where they would participate in a ritual to unlock the power of the Dark Side, unleashing power beyond anything they had ever witnessed or imagined. Some refused to go, but many more came. They thought that one Sith Lord couldn't do anything against a hundred. He was considered the ruler of a single unimportant planet, who was a scholar rather than a warrior who fought any noteworthy battles, conquests, or victories beyond Nathema. Furthermore, the Sith Lords were afraid that the Jedi would wipe them all out, and they were desperate for anything they could use against them. Lord Vitiate used those fears, making public speeches with graphic warnings of what the Jedi would do, broadcasting and transmitting them throughout the entire Empire, persuading the Lords to set aside their suspicions of himself and each other to unite in a single cause.
At the same time, he had his scientists and historians secretly search for the location of the world of Dromund Kaas. The group Vitiate assigned to locate Dromund Kaas operated in secrecy, hidden day and night in a lab while they studied ancient star maps and astrogation charts, finally theorizing a hyperspace route to the world. When the Sith Lords arrived on Nathema, Lord Vitiate quickly brought them under control. He crushed their resistance and dominated their minds, turning them into slaves to his will and forcing them to participate in the most complex ritual of Sith magic ever attempted. Calling on the Dark Side, Vitiate consumed them, absorbing all their power and totally obliterating all traces of them. However, the Sith Lords weren't the only victims, the ritual also killed all life on Nathema; all the people, animals, plants; every living being touched by the Force, their life force consumed by Vitiate. Afterwards, Nathema ceased to be a world, but was a lifeless husk sucked dry of even the Force itself, while Vitiate became immortal. He ceased to be merely Lord Vitiate and became the Emperor.
Rebuilding an empire on Dromund Kaas
The Emperor was able to blame the destruction of his homeworld on the Jedi, frightening the remaining Sith, and then offering them a glimpse of hope, promising to take all those who pledge their loyalty to him to a world where the Jedi could never find them. He did not go straight to Dromund Kaas, rather he took them on a long and trying exodus where the Sith were repeatedly forced to turn to him for leadership, thus increasing their dependence on him to the point when they finally reached Dromund Kaas, they basically worshiped their Emperor as a deity.
Finally, the fleet found Dromund Kaas, and the Emperor set up a new home on the planet's surface with his most trusted Sith Lords. There, he began building a new, revitalized Empire, vowing to return and defeat the Republic. However, Jedi Master Gnost-Dural suggested that the Sith spirits in the Korriban mausoleums did not support the Sith Emperor's rule, since they gave the title of Dark Lord to Exar Kun in 3,997 BBY.
The Emperor approached both his Sith counterparts and their non-Sith servants with an offer to build an orderly society, a society which would eventually control the Galaxy. The remnants of the Sith gathered to his banner, and the Emperor created the Dark Council, at which time he left the public arena to pursue other, more mysterious goals.
Testing the forces of the Republic
About two years before the Mandalorian Wars begun, the Emperor sent a Sith pureblood emissary to the leader of the Mandalorians, Mandalore the Ultimate, and told him that he was sent by the descendant of the Sith Lord who drove Dramath the Second into exile. The emissary persuaded Mandalore to help him search for Dramath's tomb, which was on the snowy world of Rekkiad, where the Sith broke into Dramath's crypt and took Dramath's remains for his Lord. In return, the emissary told Mandalore of a vision the Emperor had received of the Mandalorians crushing the Republic in a glorious victory, and Mandalore believed him. What Mandalore didn't realize was that the Sith used the power of the Dark Side to manipulate him into launching a war against the Republic to test its strength. He only came to know that when he laid dying at Jedi Knight Revan's feet following their duel; however, he managed to tell Revan about the Sith's existence before he died.
Having found out about the Sith's involvement in the War, Revan and his friend Malak came to the frozen world of Rekkiad to find out more, there they discovered Dramath's tomb where they found his sarcophagus, and inside it a datacron which had information about Dramath's life and history. The two Jedi then traveled into the Unknown Regions to try to investigate, which led them to first Nathema, and then Dromund Kaas. They disguised themselves as mercenaries, and spent months finding out everything they were able to about the Emperor and his people. They discovered that even back then, the Emperor was planning to invade the Republic. When Revan and Malak found out, they attempted to stop him. They found a member of the Imperial Guard who was seemingly willing to sneak them into the Citadel; however, the Guard were bound to the Emperor's will, the result being that Revan and Malak were led into a setup, with the Emperor waiting for them. The two Jedi underestimated his power, when they tried to battle him, he broke their wills and dominated their minds, turning them into puppets. The Emperor sent them into his dungeon and publicly proclaimed that they were to be executed. Later however, he secretly sent Revan and Malak to Dromund Kaas; from then on they were following the orders of their new master. He ordered them to both recover the ancient Star Forge for use by the Sith, and to act as a vanguard to set the stage for the Sith invasion, with instructions to report back when all resistance was crushed. Revan and Malak complied, initiating the Jedi Civil War.
While Revan and Malak underestimated the Emperor's power, he also underestimated them too. The two Jedis' minds were stronger than he assumed, their minds twisting and changing his instructions until they thought they were acting of their own accord. While the two Jedi were turned to the Dark Side, they found the strength to suppress all memory of the Emperor, partially freeing them from his control. When the Emperor failed to hear from them, he thought they failed and returned to his original plans of slowly building up his strength so that when he invaded, he would be certain of victory.
Throughout the Jedi Civil War, Revan deliberately left key Republic infrastructure intact on many planets to assure stability so that he could take his Empire to war with the hidden faction lead by this mysterious Emperor. Revan's ultimate plan never came into fruition as Malak betrayed him and took the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith for himself. Caring little for his former master's aspirations of stability, Malak sought to destroy anything that got in his way to achieve his goals. Malak was eventually hunted down and killed by his former master, who was redeemed by the Jedi Council, effectively putting an end to the potential vanguard.
Revan and his allies gain time
After Malak's death, the remnants of Revan's Empire was destroyed by Meetra Surik, the "Jedi Exile" who once served as a general in Revan's army. Shortly after her victory, Surik journeyed to the Unknown Regions to search for Revan, who disappeared after the end of the Jedi Civil War due to his efforts to destroy the "True" Sith. Her travels first brought her to Nathema, and then Dromund Kaas where she found Revan a prisoner of Darth Nyriss, a member of the Emperor's Dark Council. She found an apparent ally in Scourge, a Sith Lord who realized the scope of the Emperor's evil nature, and was willing to join forces with the two Jedi in order to assassinate him. But in order to break into Nyriss' stronghold to free Revan, Scourge sought the Emperor's help and revealed him the members of a conspiracy on the Dark Council, including Nyriss. The Emperor agreed to act and promised Scourge that he may reward him for his service, but warned that if his information is false, then he'll suffer a fate worse than death. The Sith Emperor dispatched the Imperial Guard to destroy Nyriss and her fellow conspirators but that was not the end. The Emperor slaughtered the entire Dark Council, including the members who weren't part of the conspiracy, so they can be replaced with less-confrontational Sith and imposed martial law on Dromund Kaas, placing the entire planet in lockdown.
To stop his insane plans, Revan, Meetra and Scourge attempted to slay the Emperor. However, the plan failed when Surik was killed by Scourge, who had foreseen that a Jedi other than Revan or Surik would be most likely to slay the Emperor, while Revan was incapacitated by the Emperor's Force Lightning. Scourge then claimed that the Jedi were working with Nyriss. As Scourge brought his lightsaber to finish Revan off, the Emperor stopped him, seeing this as proof of his loyalty. Afterward, the Emperor imprisoned Revan in a state between life and death, feeding on him while trying to learn vital information regarding both the Jedi Order and the Galactic Republic. Revan, however, was able to resist with the help of Meetra's spirit, even subtly influencing the Dark Lord's thoughts, and exploiting his caution, patience and fear of death to delay his planned attack on the Jedi and Republic as much as possible.
As for Scourge, the Emperor granted him the new position of Emperor's Wrath, being his personal enforcer and executioner and subjected him to the same ritual that granted him immortality. Scourge accepted the position, knowing that it would give him time to plot the Emperor's downfall and to await the prophesied champion who would finish him off.
Return to the known galaxy
Great Galactic War
In the year 3,681 BBY, the Emperor and his Empire withdrew from their seclusion on Dromund Kaas and attacked the Republic in what was considered to be the best orchestrated military strike in galactic history. The Sith Emperor led his people through the war with meticulous cunning, creating widespread fear and panic that turned the Republic against itself and allowing his followers to systematically exterminate their age-old Jedi adversaries.
Around 3,678 BBY, his apprentice, a hybrid Sith called Exal Kressh, betrayed him and fled to Republic space. He maintained his presence inside her mind, tracing her location, and deferred the choice of who to hunt her down to the Dark Council, who settled on Sith apprentice Teneb Kel for the task. Eventually, Kel tracked Kressh back to Korriban and succeeded in killing her.
The Sith Emperor led the Sith Empire during the Great Galactic War and after its conclusion withdrew, deferring control to his Dark Council, in order to pursue his own mysterious goals. By the time of the Great War, he was well over 1,400 years old.
Darth Baras lured the Emperor into choosing a Voss as his new Voice. But while the Voice went to the planet Voss to investigate the nature of a dark side presence, Baras trapped the Voice within the lair of Sel-Makor, knowing that he would be bound to the temple, and unable to commit suicide to free himself. Indeed, Baras posed himself as the new Voice of the Emperor in front of the Dark Council, and only Darth Vowrawn dared to question his words. The Emperor was eventually freed by his newest Wrath who killed the Voss host. The Emperor's essence was then retrieved by his Hands.
The Emperor became aware that one of his Children, Kira Carsen, had escaped the Empire and sought refuge with the Jedi after she and her Master, a powerful Jedi Knight, earned the ire of Darth Angral. The Emperor dispatched another Child, Valis, to retrieve Kira but she and her Master managed to best him. They both later revealed the existence of the Children to the Jedi Council, who eventually managed to root them out with the assistance of the Barsen'thor.
Eventually, when Kira and her master faced Angral aboard the superweapon, the Desolator, the Emperor briefly took control of Kira, ordering Angral to finish off her Master. But Angral was soundly beaten by both the Knight and Kira. But the Emperor managed to assume total control over Kira and used her body to attack her Master. Her Master demanded that the Emperor release Kira and come and fight in person. The Emperor refused, stating that he had foreseen the Knight's future, a future he will not allow. However, the Knight proved to be more powerful than expected, leaving the Emperor no choice but to destroy the Desolator through Kira. Kira, however, was able to overcome his will, severing their link. The Jedi Knight and Kira escaped.
After learning about the Emperor's location, the Jedi Knight invaded his fortress orbiting Dromund Kaas. The plan implemented by Jedi Masters Tol Braga, Warren Sedoru and Leeha Narezz was to take the Emperor to Tython and turn him to the light side. However, they were all defeated and placed under his control. Only the Jedi Knight was freed, with the assistance of the spirit of Orgus Din, and he escaped the Fortress with the help of Lord Scourge, who betrayed his master, and revealed to the Jedi Council that the Emperor had renewed the war with the Republic as a lightning rod to conceal his true plan; the Emperor was plotting to perform an even greater dark side ritual than what he performed on Nathema, which would consume all life in the galaxy. However, the ritual required billions of simultaneous deaths in order to begin.
After thwarting the Emperor's attempts at genocide on Belsavis, Voss and Corellia, the Jedi Knight set in motion a plan to destroy the Emperor: Republic and Jedi forces would attack Dromund Kaas, where the Emperor resided, drawing the attention of the Imperial forces, and giving the Jedi Knight an opportunity to confront the Emperor, and destroy him once and for all. Only the Jedi Knight and T7-O1 could face the Emperor because anyone else would succumb to his dominating influence.
The Emperor was thought to have been destroyed after a seemingly fatal duel with the Jedi Knight. In reality, he had possessed a new avatar to replace the one lost on Voss. It was this, the true Voice that the Jedi Knight killed. The Emperor's consciousness was driven from his host and sent into a deep slumber to gather his strength. This was confirmed by a holomail message sent by his closest servants, known as the Emperor's Hand, to the new Emperor's Wrath, who was advised to speak of this to no one.
Eventually, Vitiate passed away, and thousands of years later, Darth Plagueis–himself obsessed with achieving immortality–mused that Vitiate was the only Sith Lord in existence who had come close to achieving the secret.
Personality and Traits
Vitiate seemed to have been influenced since birth with the corrupting influence of the dark side. He was a very unusual child, who never cried, and radiated strong connections to the Force. He fed on his stepfather's anger when he went into a rage against his wife and killed him while still a small child and then proceeded to torture his mother for weeks. In the same time, he used his powers and his ability to draw on pain and rage to grow and force thousands of people to swear loyalty to him in his quest for power. However, despite his incredible power, Vitiate still had one fear that consumed him completely: he feared death. His entire plans and plots from reforming the Sith Empire to waging an age-old war against the Jedi and the Republic involved his bigger plan to consume all life in the galaxy to destroy every single last threat to his life. He also possessed an intense hatred of the Hero of Tython, and was willing to destroy his mortal body in an attempt to take his foe with him. Despite this he does appear to care for his people. Vitiate gave them hope and a new cause to take revenge against the Jedi and the Republic. He is also very popular to his people who admire him for rebuilding the empire.
Powers and Abilities
The Sith Emperor was a frighteningly powerful and proficient practitioner of the dark side of the Force. Even at a young age, he proved to have immense potential in the use of the Force. When he was just a child of six, he was able to use the Force to kill his father by telekinetically breaking his neck, and torture his mother to death over a prolonged period. Also, when he was only ten years old, he was able to strip the Sith Lord Dramath of his power and mind. The Emperor possessed a great knowledge of Sith Magic. His usage of Sith Sorcery was overwhelmingly destructive, evidenced when he used his power to drain the life and Force from his home planet, granting him immortality. Another one of the Emperor's talents was being able to dominate the minds of other beings. His mind control powers were enough to completely overpower the wills of both Revan and Malak. The Emperor's power in Sith Magic also allowed him access to the Illusion spell, such as when he created duplicates of himself against a lone Jedi sent to kill him. Even if the Emperor's body is destroyed, he can use his essence to possess a new one. Through this he is also capable in possessing one of his children, as they are fueled with the Emperor's essence.
The Emperor was also skilled in the use of telekinesis, able to unleash overpowering waves of Force energy without the use of a hand gesture like most Force-users. The strength of his telekinesis was enough to send Revan flying across his throne room and effortlessly disintegrate T3-M4. The Emperor was also able to create a shield of Force energy around himself, such as when he defended himself from T3-M4's flamethrower. The Emperor was extremely skilled in the use of Force Lightning, utilizing it in the form of a single bolt or a devastating Force Storm. The voltage of his Force Lightning was enough to severely wound a Jedi of Revan's caliber. When enraged, his normally black eyes would flash red, demonstrating his deep immersion in the dark side. The Emperor could also drain knowledge out of his victims, such as when he attempted to learn Republic secrets from Revan while the Jedi was in stasis. The Emperor also had an affinity with the use of telepathy, such as when he formed a mental link with his apprentice Exal Kressh.
Behind the scenes
The Sith Emperor and his Empire was first indirectly mentioned in the video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, as the mysterious threat that Revan had left to confront after the end of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. He next appeared in the Star Wars: The Old Republic series of comics, which served as backstory for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic.
The 2011 novel Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan shed light on the Emperor's backstory, revealing that he had been born Tenebrae on the planet Meridraas. Tenebrae's rise to power as Lord Vitiate was also explained, as well as the origins of Vitiate's Empire itself.
The name "Tenebrae" is Latin for darkness, gloom or obscurity, signifying the fact that Tenebrae was born from a peasant woman and eventually became a powerful Sith Lord. His Sith title of Vitiate, bestowed upon him by Marka Ragnos, is also Latin: in this case, it means "having been corrupted, defiled, or voided". The English word vitiate means to spoil, impair, weaken, or corrupt, referencing the Emperor's ability to corrupt even the most noble of Jedi—including Revan, Tol Braga, and the Hero of Tython.
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords Template:Imo Template:Ret
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan Template:1stID
- Star Wars: The Old Republic, Blood of the Empire Act 1: Shades of the Sith (First appearance)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic, Blood of the Empire Act 2: The Broken World (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic, Blood of the Empire Act 3: Burn the Future (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic, Threat of Peace Act 1: Treaty of Coruscant (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived (Mentioned only)
- Timeline 1: Treaty of Coruscant (Mentioned only)
- Timeline 4: The Empire Changes Strategy (Appears in hologram)
- Timeline 5: The Battle of Bothawui (Appears in hologram)
- Timeline 6: Onslaught of the Sith Empire (Appears in hologram)
- Timeline 7: Peace for the Republic? (Mentioned only)
- Timeline 8: The Jedi Civil War (Appears in hologram)
- Timeline 9: The Mandalorian Wars (Appears in hologram)
- Timeline 10: The Exar Kun War (Mentioned only)
- Timeline 11: Rebirth of the Sith Empire (Appears in hologram)
- Timeline 12: The Great Hyperspace War (Appears in hologram)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Annihilation (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Darth Plagueis (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic official website
- Template:Hyperspace Template:1stm
- The Essential Atlas
- The Art and Making of Star Wars: The Old Republic
- The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural
- Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan
- ↑ In Chapter 15 of Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan, Darth Nyriss tells Scourge that Tenebrae had been thirteen years old when he had met Marka Ragnos, and that Vitiate had then returned to Nathema and stayed there "for a hundred years" until the Great Hyperspace War, which pages 125 and 127 of The Essential Atlas date to 5,000 BBY. Therefore, a birth date of 5,113 BBY can be derived.
- ↑ 'Timeline 11: Rebirth of the Sith Empire
- ↑ Timeline 10: The Exar Kun War
- ↑ "Star Wars: The Old Republic - Video Interview with Daniel Erickson"
- ↑ Timeline 8: The Jedi Civil War (Appears in hologram)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
- ↑ Star Wars: The Old Republic website FAQ
- ↑ Timeline 6: Onslaught of the Sith Empire
- ↑ IGN
- ↑ Star Wars: Darth Plagueis
- ↑ Star Wars: The Old Republic (comics)
- ↑ Definition of vitio
- ↑ Vitiate at Dictionary.com
- ↑ Template:TORcite