The Great Sith Wars
The Great Sith Wars, also known as the Jedi-Sith War, and known to the Sith as the War of the Fittest, The Betrayal and The Curse of Qalydon, was the name given to the thousand years of conflict between the Jedi and the Sith. As an era, the Great Sith Wars were characterized by a spectacular rise of the Sith, the decline of the Galactic Republic, and a growing militancy in the Jedi Order. The balance between the Sith and the Republic fluctuated during the period, and at several periods, especially after the pivotal Battle of Mizra, the Republic was in danger of being overwhelmed completely.
For almost a thousand years after the seventeenth and last Alsakan Conflict, the galaxy had enjoyed an era of relative peace and social and economic stability. The Sith had not been heard of in sixteen hundred years, and what little remnants of that order existed, posed no threat to the now unchallenged, if complacent Jedi.
During this period, a Jedi Master named Phanius resigned his commission, citing ideological objections to current Jedi dogma. Though his peers disagreed with his views, the parting was amicable. Behind such amiability, however, Phanius harbored darker thoughts, ones unknown to his Jedi peers. His true reasons for abandoning his Jedi commitment was linked to his intention to pursue prohibited teachings. Phanius disappeared from public view, and when he re-emerged, it was as Darth Ruin, the first Dark Lord of the Sith in over a thousand years, and preaching a creed of malevolent solipsism. Ruin’s transformation was total, and such was the disconnect between his original persona and his new mantle, that Ruin’s former Jedi peers never realized that their new foe was once their cherished friend, Phanius.
Darth Ruin’s nascent order quickly grew—fifty Jedi Knights deserted to join shortly after, in an event that would be later labeled the Fourth Great Schism. He filled out the rest of his new order’s ranks by first infiltrating and then uniting the surviving Sith clans under his own leadership.
Merciless and supremely-self-centered, Ruin’s capricious and egocentric whims led to the deaths of many of his own followers and, eventually, Ruin’s single-mindedness proved to be his undoing—he was eventually killed by his minions after a defeat. Despite Ruin’s death, the rebirth of the Sith was complete.
In the ensuing decades, the Sith quickly carved out a sprawling dominion, creating a New Sith Empire, and their relentless attacks wore away from the reeling Republic. They quickly recaptured traditional Sith worlds such as Yavin IV and Ziost in initial attacks, solidifying a new empire in the north-east quadrant of the galaxy. Additionally, they secretly sabotaged the Republic’s own defense.
The Jedi were frequently at the forefront of the Republic’s war effort, though not always to their own benefit—a disastrous intervention to contain an outbreak of Ubese aggression at the Battle of Uba IV led to the destruction of a cache of superweapons. The resulting chemical release decimated the Ubese and led to accusations of xenocide that would endure for centuries. Just as in the old wars against the Sith Empire, the Republic assembled a mighty fleet, mainly provided by Kuat Drive Yards.
After Darth Ruin’s demise, the first quarter of the New Sith Wars was dominated by the mysterious Dark Underlord, an emotionless revenant who was supported by the Black Knights, a faction of Sith commanded by a Zeltron General. The Black Knights and the Underlord ravaged space stations along the Zona Miki route until the Republic counterattacked. The Underlord’s final confrontation with the Jedi and the Republic came at Malrev IV, where Jedi Master Murrtaggh forged a Faustian pact with the traditionally hostile Mandalorians to bring the Underlord down. Though successful, the assassination came at the cost of Murtaggh’s own life. The Mandalorians for their part would continue to war after the Sith, particularly during the reign of Mandalore Ung Kusp.
Just over five centuries after Ruin’s betrayal, the Republic had finally managed to build up its armed forces to win victories at Gap Nine, Corphelion and King’s Galquek, halting Sith advances in the Expansion Region and Outer Rim Territories. Despite this, the Sith attracted new allies such as the Devaronians and Hiitians, and scored one of their most decisive victories in history, when they crushed the Republic and Jedi forces in the Battle of Mizra. This bloody conflict was later immortalized by the poet Felloux. Over five hundred thousand soldiers died in a single battle and hundreds of Jedi converted to the Dark Side.
The terrible defeat caused a crisis in the Republic and a solidification of Sith power, leading to among other things, the tyrannical rise of Darth Rivan of Almas. Despite Rivan’s eventual defeat at the Battle of Almas, the Republic plunged into turmoil. Mineral mines ran dry, corporations failed, and the Republic’s borders began to shrink for the first time since the Cold War as colonies were abandoned to the Sith advance and the economic collapse. Law and order suffered as the Jedi found themselves overstretched.
The collapse of the HoloNet and interstellar commerce and the general downward spiral of the Galactic Republic continued unabated. Jedi were forced to assume greater leadership, commanding the Republic military, and even becoming Supreme Chancellors, despite the public opinion against them. In 25,160 OR the last non-Jedi ended their service as Supreme Chancellor. For the next four centuries, only Jedi would serve in the post. An outbreak of Candorian plague killed two-thirds of the inhabitants of some Republic worlds.
After nearly a thousand years of war, both sides were in near-collapse – although the period would later be described as the “Republic Dark Age,” there is little evidence for any coherent Sith threat for much of the period. The Sith, though exponentially increased in number, were divided against one another, as the various warlords and self-proclaimed Dark Lords fought each other for supremacy. The Republic officially branded the war a “series of protracted military engagements” against an illegal organization, but in reality the Sith were rampaging across the galaxy virtually unhindered, oppressing entire star systems. Though some new colonies were founded, including Melida/Daan, and Tatooine was resettled, for most of the galaxy it was a dark time.
The Republic, for its part, was a pale shadow of what it once was. Much of its former territory was in the hands of independent, self-proclaimed Sith warlords, including Odion and Daiman. These warlords squabbled over the dying embers of the Sith Empire, and while they remained divided, the Republic was given some respite. Some Jedi, such as Vannar Treece and his apprentice Kerra Holt would attempt daring raids within Sith-held territory, but for the most part the Republic made no attempt to regain its lost worlds.
Against the Sith threat, other members of the Jedi Order began quests to rout entire systems of Sith influence and purge those whose sought to enslave or exploit the citizens of the Republic. Standing as these systems’ last line of defense, these individual Jedi became celebrated and and quickly came to hold political might. As their constituent worlds came to appreciate their service, these Jedi became barons or kings of entire systems and sectors, taking up the title Jedi Lord.
Establishing castles and manors as their formal residences, these Lords created a formal hereditary system, passing down their titles to their offspring for several generations. The peaceful regions of space stood as islands of light in the darkness created by the Sith, and even Coruscant and the Galactic Senate was presided over by Jedi Supreme Chancellors. During this time, the Jedi High Council competed directly with the Jedi Grand Council which consisted of Lords from across the galaxy.
The Sith saw the crippled Republic as a sign that the Force was with them. However, their plans for a strike against Coruscant were halted after they fell into infighting over who would rule the galaxy after the Republic’s defeat. Owing to such fighting, the threat of the New Sith in the last century of the war was not as great as it might have been, and the Second Sith Civil War would not end until decades later with the emergence of Lord Skere Kaan and the Brotherhood of Darkness.
Wary of the growing power and popularity of the Jedi Lords, the Jedi High Council attempted to groom their own champion against the Sith—Skere Kaan, born a commoner on Coruscant before being discovered by the Jedi Order and trained in the ways of the Force at the Jedi Temple. Sophisticated and knowledgeable of economic policy and fleet command, Kaan became a Jedi Knight and a beacon for hope among members of the Jedi High Council who hoped to finally destroy the reformed Sith Empire which had been plaguing the Galactic Republic for nearly two centuries.
Having perfected the art of battle meditation, Jedi Kaan was considered a valuable asset by the High Council, despite his radical belief that the Republic and the Jedi were responsible for the anarchy which plagued the galaxy. In an effort to moderate Kaan’s extremist views, the High Council awarded him the title of Jedi Master. Seeing the High Council as overbearing, Kaan led a group of loyal Knights away from Coruscant and defected to the Sith.
Out of the ashes of the Sith Empire, Kaan reorganized the Sith into the Brotherhood of Darkness, over 20,000 strong. In an attempt to end the internecine feuds that had torn their Empire apart, Kaan ended the tradition of a sole Dark Lord of the Sith, and recognized each and every claim to the title by the rival warlords. Kaan forged his alliance with the creed of “Rule by the Strong” and “All are equal in the Brotherhood of Darkness.” He made his headquarters on the planet Roon.
This new group launched a series of attacks designed to destroy the Jedi and the Republic. Kaan, along with the two strongest of the former warlords, Qordis and Kopecz, began their campaign with a daring and symbolic assault on the ancient Sith homeworld of Korriban, which at that time was still under nominal Republic control. The successful capture of that world sealed their alliance, and enabled the reopening of the ancient Sith academy under Qordis’ leadership.
As Qordis trained new recruits, Kaan and Kopecz continued their war, seizing worlds like Kashyyyk, and even briefly Corulag, Chandrila and Brentaal IV. Within a decade, they seemed almost poised to conquer Coruscant, pressing the Republic on many fronts with the assistance of allies such as the turncoat Jedi King Lahzar, who battled the Republic in the Tholatin system and a colony of Chiss on Thule, abducted from the Unknown Regions by agents of Kaan.
However, Lord Hoth, a Jedi Master and Republic General, had been scoring victories of his own against the Sith. Driving the Brotherhood from their home in the heavily-defended region of space known as the Cloak of the Sith, Hoth chased them from world to world, from Hoth to Dromund Kaas to Malrev IV. In many of his earlier campaigns, he commanded Republic fleets and armies, but around 25,558 OR, he forged the bulk of the Jedi Order’s fighting strength into an independent military force known as the Army of Light.
The war ended with the armies of Hoth and Kaan facing each other on the world of Ruusan. Lord Hoth’s army of was made of seven Legions of Light, each led by a Jedi Lord. Kaan’s Brotherhood was led by himself, Qordis, Kopecz and less familiar Dark Lords such as Seviss Vaa, LaTor and Githany.
The Army of the Light and the Brotherhood of Darkness clashed seven times on the world, each battle causing terrible casualties as Sith and Jedi died in the thousands. Throughout the course of the battles, additional reinforcements attempted to land on Ruusan, though many Jedi forces were destroyed by an orbiting Sith blockade and many Sith reinforcements were destroyed by the Republic Navy en route to Ruusan.
Though four of the seven battles were won by the Army of Light, their casualties were still enormous and the campaign would later be considered to be the most deadly clash between Jedi and Sith in galactic history. So many Jedi died that Hoth was forced to enlist younger and younger Force-sensitive recruits, and Jedi scouts such as Torr Snapit began to bring pre-adolescents to the battlefield. Though Hoth and his advisors found this distasteful, they reluctantly agreed to accept the child recruits, reasoning that it was better for them to be found by the Jedi than by Kaan’s Sith.
Dissension was rife in both camps – for the Jedi, Hoth feuded with his fellow Lord Valenthyne Farfalla, a rift which only deepened with the death of Pernicar, a Jedi Master who had mediated between the two Lords. Even when Farfalla arrived with over three hundred fresh knights as reinforcements, having both defeated the traitorous King Lahzar and broken the Sith blockade over Ruusan, Hoth still refused to speak to him. The Jedi were further undermined when a new recruit, Darovit turned traitor, murdering General Charny and defecting to the Sith.
Among the Sith, Kaan’s leadership began to be questioned by both Githany and Kopecz, and Kaan’s bungled attempt to remove his rival Darth Bane only served to make him seem foolish, especially after Bane defeated Qordis, Kaan’s strongest supporter. Bane mocked Kaan’s reliance on traditional weapons of war, and goaded the Sith leader into using the dark side of the Force to destroy Hoth and the Jedi. With Bane’s help, Kaan and the other Dark Lords devastated the unprepared Jedi with a Force Storm that ravaged Ruusan’s surface.
Fortune began to favor the Jedi, though, and thanks to the timely intervention of Farfalla’s envoy, and Hoth’s own vision of the dead Pernicar, the two Jedi leaders reconciled, pooling their forces just in time to counteract a renewed Sith surge.
Finally, with both armies nearly destroyed, and the once lush planet totally devastated, the seventh and final Battle of Ruusan took place, ending with Kaan’s decision to use an ancient Sith technique known as the thought bomb, the instructions secretly provided by Darth Bane in a plot to destroy the other Sith Lords and leave Bane to rebuild the Sith under the “Rule of Two.” Lord Hoth, knowing of his opponent’s final gambit, took 99 of his most trusted knights with him and confronted Kaan in an attempt to dissuade the Sith Lord from unleashing the weapon. His friend, Tal attempted to dissuade him, having seen disaster through the Force. Lord Farfalla did likewise, but Hoth told both that Kaan had to be stopped.
The attempt was fruitless, as Kaan’s mind had broken during the conflict and the Sith Lord, insanity clouding his vision, was determined to destroy himself and his followers, hoping to annihilate the Army of the Light at the same time. As Kaan unleashed his weapon, both his own army and Hoth’s were destroyed in an instant. Those Jedi that survived quickly rallied under Lord Farfalla, and the remaining Sith were easily defeated. Darth Bane, in the meantime, went into hiding with his apprentice, Zannah.
After a thousand years, the New Sith Wars had finally come to an end.
With the apparent destruction of the Sith, Farfalla, as highest ranking surviving Jedi, used his authority to remove the Jedi from the position of galactic leadership they had acquired during the past centuries, and hand control back to civilian leadership. Tarsus Valorum became the first non-Jedi to serve as Chancellor in six hundred years and, with Farfalla’s assistance, Valorum passed far-reaching legislation that restructured both the Republic and the Jedi Order, absorbing the many planets held by the Sith into a new politcal body. This new body became known as the Galactic Republic.