"This lightsaber was stolen from your Jedi Temple by my ancestors during the fall of the Old Republic. Since then many Jedi have died upon its blade. Prepare yourself to join them!"
―Pre Vizsla to Obi-Wan Kenobi —
The Darksaber was an ancient, black-bladed lightsaber. Unlike most other lightsabers, the Darksaber's blade was nearly flat, thin, and curved to a point more typical of a metallic sword. The black core of the blade appeared to draw in all surrounding light and color, leaving a faint white, electrical aura along its edges, it hummed with a higher-pitched whine than its more common lightsaber counterparts when the blade was active, and made a sound like a whistle when it was swung. Once held by the Jedi Order, during a period of collapse in the Galactic Republic's power, the Darksaber was stolen by members of the Mandalorian warrior clans. Over time, the black lightsaber was passed down through generations of the Vizsla clan, and when Tor Vizsla founded the radical Mandalorian splinter group known as the Death Watch, he chose the Darksaber as the symbol of his authority as the sect's Secret Mandalore.
Ancient and powerful, the Darksaber had been kept in the Jedi Temple on the galactic capital world of Coruscant. When the Galactic Republic suffered a blow to its influence, Mandalorians from the Vizsla clan raided the Temple and stole the Darksaber from within. Over time, the Darksaber was passed down through the clan's generations, and became responsible for the deaths of many Jedi over the years. By 60 BBY, the Darksaber had come into the possession of Tor Vizsla.
As Tor Vizsla assembled to him a group of malcontents who resented Jaster Mereel, the ruling Mand'alor—traditional leader of the Mandalorian clans—for his attempts to rein in their lifestyles of unaccountability, and promised them the downfall of the pacifistic New Mandalorians they so despised, he formed a splinter group known as the Death Watch. Taking his place as their leader, a Secret Mandalore in opposition to both the traditional Mand'alor chosen by the warrior clans and the one appointed by the peaceful New Mandalorians, Vizsla made the Darksaber a symbol of his authority as leader. Vizsla kept ownership of the Darksaber through the Mandalorian Civil War between Death Watch and Jaster Mereel's army of True Mandalorians, as well as the subsequent Great Clan Wars that erupted on the Mandalorians' cultural homeworld of Mandalore. However, Vizsla was killed by Jango Fett not long after the end of the Great Clan Wars, and the Darksaber passed into the possession of Tor Vizsla's clan kinsman, Pre Vizsla.
By the time the Galactic Republic clashed with the droid forces of the separatist Confederacy of Independent Systems in a pan-galactic conflict known as the Clone Wars, Pre Vizsla had taken his place as the leader of the Death Watch, succeeding Tor as the new Secret Mandalore. Publicly the benevolent New Mandalorian governor of Mandalore's moon, Concordia, bequeathed to the stewardship of Clan Vizsla after the end of the Great Clan Wars, Pre Vizsla secretly kept the Darksaber in his possession while plotting against the New Mandalorians' latest leader, Duchess Satine Kryze. Vizsla took to keeping the inactive Darksaber hilt slung on his back, just behind his right shoulder.