Star Wars Lore - The Rise of Valkorion (Legends)
Despite a poor upbringing as the son of two farm workers, Valkorion slowly but surely rose in power. As a Dark Lord of the Sith, he reconstructed the Sith Empire following its destruction in the Great Hyperspace War, ruling it for over a millennium. Even as he changed titles and names over the centuries, there was one thing that Valkorion always assured: the destruction of the Galactic Republic. But did the Emperor ever accomplish his ultimate goal? Well, let’s find out!
The Sith Pureblood Tenebrae was an unusual child. Born in 5113 BBY on Medriaas, a planet at the edge of the Sith Worlds, the infant showed no emotion, possessed a powerful voice, was avoided by animals, and had eyes as black as the void of space. Furthermore, at the age of six, Tenebrae began to manifest potential in the Force, which raised the suspicions of his father, as neither he nor his wife were Force-sensitive. When confronted, Tenebrae’s mother admitted to having an affair with Medriaas’ ruler, Lord Dramath. As his mother faced a savage beating, Tenebrae fed off his stepfather’s anger to fuel his own strength, using his newfound powers to telekinetically break the farmer’s neck. However, the youngster then turned on his mother for betraying their family, killing her after months of torture. Over the next four years, the Sith Pureblood’s influence and reputation grew as he conquered neighbouring villages with his Force powers, raising legions of followers in the process. While some were fascinated by the child, most pledged loyalty to him through fear. As Tenebrae rose to power, he massacred thousands and held regular public executions to feed off their suffering.
Initially, Lord Dramath ignored his son’s alleged activities. However, he later decided to investigate the rumours and determine whether to kill Tenebrae or hire him as a servant. Unfortunately, the Sith Lord underestimated his son’s abilities; after revealing his true parentage, Tenebrae stripped Dramath of his power in the Force and drove the man insane. After killing his father, the youngster embarked on a campaign to conquer the rest of Medriaas. Three years later, Tenebrae fulfilled the objective, and successfully defended the throne against many of Dramath’s subordinate Sith Lords. In 5100 BBY, after travelling to Ziost, the Dark Lord of the Sith and ruler of the Sith Council, Marka Ragnos, granted Tenebrae the right to rule Medriaas as his own and elevated him to the rank of Sith Lord. The newly-named Lord Vitiate then returned to Medriaas, which he renamed Nathema, to rule for one hundred years. During which, the Sith Lord studied the secrets of the dark side. Following Ragnos’ death in 5000 BBY, Vitiate chose to not involve himself in the power struggle between competing Sith Lords Naga Sadow and Ludo Kressh. Also, since he avoided any battles or conflicts throughout his reign, Vitiate simply spectated the Great Hyperspace War from the safety of Nathema. However, following the Sith Empire’s ultimate defeat in the battle above Korriban, the Sith Lord put his plan to seize power into action.
In 4999 BBY, Vitiate began to broadcast speeches describing how the Jedi Order were going to destroy the Sith Empire without his rule. As a result, as fear and panic increased, Vitiate assumed a leadership role. He called all Sith Lords to Nathema to perform in a ritual, which he promised would unleash the full power of the dark side beyond anything they could possibly imagine. However, when the eight thousand Sith who answered his call arrived on the planet, Vitiate dominated their minds and bound their wills to his. The ritual itself took ten days to perform. Upon completion, all life of Nathema perished save for Vitiate, who absorbed the life force of the entire world, gaining both unimaginable power and immortality. At that moment, the Sith Lord rejected the name Vitiate to simply become known as the Emperor.
Following the destruction of Nathema, the Emperor drove his people further into a panic while simultaneously offering them hope. After leading them the long-lost world of Dromund Kaas, he declared the birth of a new Empire that would rise from the ashes of the old. As his people worked to build their new order, the Emperor created the Dark Council - a group of twelve Sith Lords who served as the primary ruling body - to run the Empire’s day-to-day operations. He also selected twelve Force-sensitives to be his very own servants. As the Empire rose to prominence, the Emperor’s promise to destroy the Republic became less important to the people. However, from his studies, the formerly named Vitiate discovered a way to magnify the ritual he had performed on Nathema to lay waste to the entire galaxy. However, several members of the Dark Council discovered the Emperor’s plan. As a result, they initiated a conspiracy to unseat their leader and save the galaxy from total annihilation. Around the same time, the Emperor told Mandalore the Ultimate of a vision he received, one where the Mandalorians crushed the Republic in a glorious victory. Through the power of the dark side, he manipulated the Mandalorian leader, binding the warrior and convincing him to launch a war against the Republic to test its strength.
Two years later, the conflict known as the Mandalorian Wars began. The Mandalorians initially had the upper hand until young Jedi Knights Revan and Malak took command of the Republic Military. After a string of victories, a definitive confrontation took place at the Battle of Malachor V in 3962 BBY. During which, Revan challenged Mandalore the Ultimate to single combat and won. However, as Mandalore lay dying, the Emperor’s spell finally wore off, revealing his manipulation to Revan. In an attempt to locate the mysterious Emperor, Revan and Malak travelled to the barren Nathema, which led them to Dromund Kaas. Eventually, the two Jedi Knights uncovered the Emperor’s throne room. But before they could slay him, the Emperor dominated their minds just as he done many years prior to the Sith Lords on Nathema. Breaking their wills, he forcibly converted both men to the dark side. Unfortunately, the newly-titled Darth Revan and his apprentice Darth Malak were both stronger than he expected. As a result, they broke free of the Emperor’s conditioning and declared their own Sith Empire. Not long after, the Jedi Civil War began.
Malak later betrayed his Master. As he seized control of the Empire, Revan’s mind was wiped clean by the Jedi Council. Reformed, Revan went on to destroy the very Empire he established and defeated his former apprentice. However, in the years that followed, the Jedi was plagued by the memories of Dromund Kaas. Revan’s attempts to retract his steps led him once more to the Emperor. After an epic lightsaber showdown, the Jedi managed to fight his opponent’s control and even influence the Emperor in return, forcing him to postpone the renewal of conflict with the Republic for almost three centuries. However, the Emperor’s will could not be stopped. Over the next two hundred years, while advancing his plans for a new invasion, he discovered the rare technique of essence transfer, which allowed one to prolong their life even further. As a result, the Emperor possessed many bodies with his consciousness as an extension of his will. But that wasn’t enough, he wanted more. Deciding he was tired of the galaxy as it existed, and the limitations that Sith teachings had placed upon him, the Emperor sought to build a new empire on Zakuul. Rumour had it that the ancient and unstoppable “Eternal Fleet”, operated by sentient droids, had wiped out all of Wild Space - that was until a powerful ship known as the Gravestone stopped the entire force above Zakuul. As a result, the Emperor wanted to build a truly Eternal Empire. In order to do so, he used essence transfer to possess a human male body and went by the name “Valkorion”.
Self-declared as the Immortal Emperor of a new Immortal Empire, Valkorion untied the nomadic tribes of Zakuul and accelerated the planet’s technological advancement. Eventually, in 3681 BBY, Valkorion launched an assault on the Republic. In collaboration with the Imperial Military, his meticulously calculated plans resulted in a series of victories in the Outer Rim. As the Great Galactic War raged on, more and more Republic worlds were lost. However, as the war neared the end of its third decade, both the Emperor and the Dark Council found themselves desperate to end the bloodshed. The war officially ended when Darth Angral stormed the Republic capital, forcing them to sign the Treaty of Coruscant. As stipulated, the Republic immediately withdrew its military forces from battlefields all across the galaxy and surrendered areas of space west and north of the Core as well as north of the Corellian Run. Leaving the Dark Council to control the Empire, Valkorion retreated back into seclusion.
Following the Treaty of Coruscant, the galaxy entered a period known as the Cold War, where both the Empire and the Republic rebuilt their strength and engaged in several minor conflicts to tests each other’s resolve. However, in 3642 BBY, the cracks in the peace agreement began to show. Valkorion in particular wanted to accelerate his plans for galactic annihilation. However, following an encounter with the Hero of Tython, the Emperor’s presence was ripped from his body and sent into a deep slumber on Yavin 4. Believing their leader to be dead, Darth Malgus declared his own New Empire. Seeking vengeance upon a return from death at the hands of the Empire, Revan became determined to rid the galaxy of Valkorion for good. On Yavin 4, he and the Order of Revan prepared to restore the Emperor and kill him. Unfortunately, as Republic forces arrived to engage the Revanites, Valkorion fed off the death and chaos. Before long, the Emperor had restored his strength, and once more declared his intention to retake the galaxy. Vanishing from Yavin 4, he looked for another body to possess.
Resurfacing on Ziost, an ancestral world of the Empire, Valkorion continued to grow in strength. Believing himself to have finally passed beyond death’s reach, he once more devoted himself to ruling the Eternal Empire. However, Valkorion was betrayed by an unlikely source: his son, Arcann. Even when the Emperor attempted to possess another body, Arcann froze him in carbonite. Valkorion could only watch as his son claimed the throne of the Eternal Empire and control of the Eternal Fleet. All that he had built over the course of 1300 years, all the effort he had gone to in order to defeat the Republic was slipping away from his very grasp. The irony is: while Valkorion thought he was impervious to death, his life was cut short by life he created…
Now it’s time for this week’s question: would you like to see Valkorion brought into the Star Wars canon? Let me know in the comments below.