Hyperspace Beacon: Empires strike back

Welcome, space traveler to another addition of the Hyperspace Beacon. Gear yourself up, and you may want to take out a notepad. We are delving deep into Star Wars lore this week. This will set the stage for future additions of the Hyperspace Beacon. I hope to not only answer some of your questions but also bring more questions to mind.

Sith Empires have always played a huge role in Star Wars history. In fact, with few exceptions, any time there was a major threat to the galaxy it came in the form of a Sith Empire. Sith Empires can be traced back as far as one hundred thousand years before the destruction of the first Death Star with the first Sith'ari, Adas. Adas was the first to unite the red-skinned Sith race under one banner. But these first Sith were not Force-wielders in the same vein as the Dark Jedi who followed them.

Following the break I will share how the Great Sith Empires came to be, the wars that surround them, how they are tied to the Empire in Star Wars: The Old Republic, and some of my speculation on what will be revealed in the game.

After the Second Great Schism, a division on Force philosophy that led to war, Ajunta Pall and the other Dark Jedi fled the known galaxy and ended up on the planet of Korriban. The tremendous power they wielded allowed them to set themselves up as the rulers over the Sith race. Ziost, a neighboring world, was set up as the capital, and Korriban was left as a sacred, holy world. The exiled Jedi, now called the Dark Lords of the Sith, interwove their bloodline with that of the Sith race using Sith Alchemy, thus increasing the potency of their power.

Jump ahead about two thousand years. Naga Sadow, a man of both human and Sith lineage, rose to power, much to the chagrin of his greatest rival, Ludo Kressh. Lord Sadow convinced a couple of human travelers, who had accidentally landed in the Sith Empire, to lead him and his fleet to the Republic. Sadow, bent on avenging his ancestors, started what came to be known as the Great Hyperspace War. Ultimately, this ended in his defeat and the destruction of the Sith Empire. Kressh died while attempting to betray Sadow, and Sadow was exiled to Yavin IV.

As far as the Republic was concerned, this was the end of the Sith. They were no longer seen as a threat to the galaxy. Other empires rose claiming to be Sith. However, no other empire followed a Sith dynasty for another thousand years until the betrayal of Revan.

Revan came to popularity after the Mandalorian Wars. His heroic stand against the atrocities on Cathar swayed many to his cause despite the unwillingness of the Jedi Council to help. So when he fell to the dark side, many followed him, including his friend and fellow Jedi, Malak. During this Jedi Civil War, many planets fell or followed Revan's Sith Empire, until Revan's personal ship came under attack by a Jedi strike team. In an effort to destroy the Jedi strike team and claim leadership for himself, Malak turned his ship's canons on Revan's flagship. Malak believed his former friend destroyed.

Unknown to Malak, the Jedi had actually escaped with Revan and returned him to the Council. In an attempt to purge the darkness from this once-good Jedi Knight, the Council stripped Revan of his memories and gave him a new identity as a Republic soldier. Although his memories slowly returned, he did not this time succumb to darkness; instead, he went on to defeat Darth Malak within the Rakata ship called the Star Forge.

After driving the rest of the Sith from Korriban and other controlled systems, Revan decided to follow his vision and memories of "true" Sith in unknown regions of space. He was believed to be lost forever.

Darth Sidious is not connected directly to any of the events in SWTOR. His story doesn't happen for another three thousand years after the events in the game. However, I would like to mention him because there are literary connections between his story and SWTOR.

Darth Sidious rose to power unlike any other Sith before him. There was no nation conquering another nation, or any outside force demanding the surrender of the Republic. Darth Sidious, also known as Palpatine, came to prominence as a representative to the Republic from the Naboo system. He convinced the other Senators of the Republic to vote out the chancellor and vote him in. Several years later, war with the Separatists led to his ascension as Emperor, and gave him sole control over the whole Republic.

What was unknown to the general populace was that Sidious had orchestrated the defeat of the former Chancellor and the war with the Separatists, allowing him to gain power at just the right moment. Unlike all the Sith before him, he was able to rise to power while watching the Republic defeat itself.

Each of these stories has a tie to the Empire of SWTOR. First there is a statement made by Daniel Erickson after IGN mistakenly reported the Emperor as Naga Sadow: "He is the Emperor of the Sith. The Sith are a group that the Jedi thought they had killed off in the Great Hyperspace War. He was not Emperor of the Sith during the Hyperspace War, which is why the Republic have no previous knowledge of his existence." This tells us that although the Sith of SWTOR are not Naga Sadow's Sith, they are scions of Sith from Naga Sadow's time. We are pretty darn sure that at least one of the scions is a descendant of Ludo Kressh, that being Exal Kressh. She was the "pure blood" Sith mentioned in the second and third installment of Blood of the Empire webcomic. I believe all the Sith are followers of Ludo Kressh, although I do not have direct evidence of it yet.

Secondly, it was also revealed by Erickson in another forum post that "Revan and Malak went into deep space and met the Sith Emperor. They were turned and sent back to prepare the way for the return of the true Sith." Revan ultimately betrayed the Emperor, and I believe this will play a role in the current story arcs for the game. Maybe Teneb Kel's story will reflect this.

The correlation between Sidious and the SWTOR Emperor is one of deception. Revan's infiltration of the Republic was one of direct attack. Given the evidence in the timeline that Jedi Master Beral Ovair was actually a traitor, I'm led to believe that there are more traitors within the Republic even now. If the storyline progresses, I believe we will uncover such plots during actual gameplay.

There are many possible conclusions that can be derived from the evidence given here. I'm interested in your thoughts as well. What other mysteries do you believe will be uncovered? How do you believe the Sith will ultimately try to win this war? Also, what other connections do you see that may have been missed?

For those of you interested in more history leading up to SWTOR, I would suggest finding copies of Tales of the Jedi comicbook series by Dark Horse, and if you haven't played the 2003 Game of the Year, Knights of the Old Republic, I suggest that you do right now. It is available on Steam for download.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is finally here, and the Force is with Massively! We've prepared a Hutt-sized feast of class introductions, gameplay guides, lore roundups, and hands-on previews to help you navigate the launch period and beyond. And don't forget our weekly SWTOR column, the Hyperspace Beacon!
This article was originally published on Massively.