Jedi Master and historian Gnost-Dural first theorized that the Sith Emperor might be the ancient Sith Lord Naga Sadow or his rival Ludo Kressh. The Revanites, a cult hidden deep in the jungles of Dromund Kaas, believe the Emperor is Revan, the master of both Light and Dark, hidden by a treacherous Dark Council.
However, his real identity and his motive to become ruler of the Sith Empire are much more devious and calculated.
As a child, over 1,000 years before the Great War, the Emperor was nothing but an eerie boy born on the agricultural world of Medriaas. According to Darth Nyriss, a renegade member of the Dark Council over 250 years before the Great War, The Emperor “was born with eyes as black as the void of empty space, and… he never cried, even as an infant. No animal would come near him, and when he began to talk, his voice carried a weight and power that should not come from a child.”
His mother named him Tenebrae, and his indomitable affinity to the Force began to manifest itself when he was six. Tenebrae’s father, suspicious of his son’s miraculous abilities, questioned his mother about their son’s origin and quickly wrested the truth from her. He was conceived when the planetary governor, Sith Lord Dramath, had his way with the boy’s mother.
The farmer, furious at his wife’s disloyalty, attacked her until Tenebrae broke his father’s neck using the Force, feeding off of his father’s anger and killing him instantly. Far from an act of sympathy, the child stopped his father from injuring his mother only so he could explore the extent of his power by torturing her for months afterwards.
As the years passed, Lord Dramath began hearing rumors of a renegade Force-user wreaking havoc on and enthralling a few remote farming villages. Dramath cared little about the lives of the common people, and waited four years to finally confront this sorcerer. The meeting ended with Dramath cowering beneath a ten-year-old boy, his power squeezed out of him and his mind entirely dominated. Tenebrae revealed to Dramath he was the Sith Lord’s son before striking the final blow. Dramath’s true heir, Tenebrae’s half-brother, fled to Rekkiad with a small group of loyal followers rather than fight his half-brother and die.
By the age of thirteen, Tenebrae ruled all of Medriaas.
The Prodigy and the Sith
Once his home planet was under his power, Tenebrae travelled to Korriban to meet with Marka Ragnos, leader of the Sith and the Sith Council. Ragnos, impressed with the boy’s advancement at such a young age, granted him the title of Lord Vitiate, formally acknowledging him as a Dark Lord of the Sith and the governor of Medriaas.
The Emperor has claimed to “hold the patience of stone and the will of stars,” and his waiting began when he returned to his home planet, where he spent decades in an insidious study of the Dark Side of the Force. It was during this time of study that the Emperor discovered the existence and location of the long-lost Sith world, Dromund Kaas.
Vitiate was not one of the combatants in the Great Hyperspace War, the result of the feud for power between Naga Sadow and Ludo Kressh (pictured above). Instead, Vitiate continued his study of the Dark Side on Medriaas preparing for his next rise to power. When the war ended in their defeat, Vitiate called all of the surviving Sith Lords to Medriaas. According to Darth Nyriss, Vitiate claimed the ritual would “unlock the full potential of the Dark Side,” ostensibly against the Republic.
His claim was true after a fashion. The ritual did unleash great power; power taken from each of the 8,000 Sith Lords, the planet’s inhabitants and all living things, and deposited into the body of Lord Vitiate. Medriaas became a brown husk, devoid of anything, even the Force. The planet became permeated with a suffocating feeling of nothingness and lack of existence. The remains of Medriaas became known forevermore as Nathema, and “on that day,” Nyriss said, “the Emperor was truly born”.
Building and Empire
With insurmountable power and his life prolonged almost infinitely by each life taken on Nathema, Vitiate returned to Korriban, declared himself Emperor and escaped with his followers, including his appointed Dark Council consisting of 12 great Sith Lords, each one strong, wise and, most importantly, easy to manipulate.
Fearing retribution from the Republic and its Jedi protectors, the Emperor and his people fled into deep space. They travelled for decades searching for a world outside of the Republic’s domain where the Sith and their slaves could settle and rebuild.
Vitiate used the years spent in space to increase his followers’ dependency on his power and to dominate their collective will. Only when his people were suitably under his control did he orchestrate the “discovery” of a lush forest world already inhabited by Sith ruins and bursting with Dark Side energy: Dromund Kaas, the planet he had discovered during his years of study on Medriaas.
There, the Emperor rallied his followers to begin preparations to strike the Republic one day, seeking revenge for driving them from their ancestral homeland of Korriban. However life-altering the call-to-war was for Imperial citizens, it meant little to the Emperor. To him, the war was nothing more than a step on the path towards power unlike the galaxy had ever seen.
Subterfuge and Setbacks
Once the Sith Empire was a few hundred years away from invading the Republic, Vitiate sent a Sith Pureblood emissary to Mandalore the Ultimate, leader of the galactic warrior tribe of Mandalorians. The emissary convinced Mandalore that he and his followers had the power to challenge and defeat the Galactic Republic, spurring the Mandalorians to launch a full scale offensive against the Republic and spark the Mandalorian Wars.
The Emperor knew that Mandalore and his followers were incapable of defeating the Republic. Starting this war was a tool used to gauge the military strength of the Republic and weaken them simultaneously. But when the Mandalorians were defeated and chased into deep space by Jedi heroes of the campaign, Revan and Malak, Vitiate saw an opportunity to spread his influence even farther.
As the two Jedi chased the retreating Mandalorians into unknown space, they each felt a powerful presence calling to them through the Force. Though no official records exist of what conspired in deep space, Master Gnost-Dural speculates “that the two Jedi must have somehow discovered Dromund Kaas while they were out in deep space and that the Emperor orchestrated events to bring them into his presence where he completed their corruption.”
Now fully his servants, the Emperor sent Revan and Malak back to the Republic to accelerate the Empire’s path to war and search for the Star Forge, a piece of ancient technology more powerful and potentially destructive than the Death Star would be thousands of years later.
From Pawn to Knight: Revan
While gathering the resources to find the Star Forge, Revan and Malak sparked the Jedi Civil War and, as Sith do, became corrupt in their search for power, turned on each other and brought about the destruction of the Star Forge.
Revan was ultimately redeemed and brought back to the light when he was attacked at Malak’s command and suffered intense amnesia for years. According to Grand Master Shatele Shan, Revan was “plagued by nightmares, visions, and foggy memories of some terrible darkness lurking in the depths of space” decades after the Jedi Civil War.
Ignoring these visions was not an option. Deep within himself, he knew he must find this evil and destroy it, so he set out with a small group of companions to do so. His journey brought him to Dromund Kaas and the throne room of Vitiate, the source of his visions. The Emperor was less forgiving than he was at their first meeting.
Vitiate slaughtered all of Revan’s companions and subjected the Sith defector they traveled with, Lord Scourge, to eternal enslavement as the Emperor’s personal executioner. Revan was placed in stasis, used as a source of power and bound telepathically to the Emperor, who forced Revan to witness the Empire’s invasion of the Republic and the onset of the Great War.
Due to this connection, Revan knew the only reason Vitiate drove his people to conquest was to do to the entire galaxy what he had done to Medriaas. He planned to devour the existence of every living thing in the galaxy and seek other galaxies to dominate, not as a Sith, but as a god.
The Circle Closes
Even in stasis, Revan was able to have an effect on galactic events. During his years of imprisonment, Revan wormed his way into the subconscious of the Emperor. His moment to strike came during the Sacking of Coruscant when the Empire had taken the Republic capital and held it at its mercy.
Instead of crushing the Republic in that moment, as the Emperor had intended, Revan silently pushed the Emperor’s will to offer a treaty instead, which became known as the Treaty of Coruscant. The terms were a harsh blow, forcing the Republic to give up multiple star systems to the sovereignty of the Empire, but the circumstances were far better than ultimate defeat.
The treaty was short lived and tensions quickly reverted back to all out war, but the treaty gave enough time for a Jedi, known as the Hero of Tython, to grow powerful enough to lead a strike team into the Dark Temple in the dark heart of Dromund Kaas to cut down the Emperor once and for all.
At least, that was the initial report. Republic SIS (Strategic Information Service) recently intercepted a carefully encrypted communiqué from agents known as the Emperor’s Hand to the Emperor’s Wrath, which reveals that the Hero of Tython “merely defeated the Emperor’s true Voice…. He now slumbers, gathering his strength.”
The truth of this statement has yet to be verified, but if the Emperor is truly alive, the galaxy is in terrible danger.