- "There's only one way to deal with Arca's killer!"
"Careful, Jedi. Didn't your Master tell you that anger is not the way?!"
- ―Ulic Qel-Droma and Satal Keto, as they duel
Of the two contests of strength that happened there, the First Duel in the Iron Citadel occurred earlier in the year 3997 BBY, between the grief-stricken Jedi Ulic Qel-Droma, and Emperor Satal Keto, co-leader of the Krath and ruler of the Empress Teta system. The duel took place on the eponymous planet of Empress Teta, in the capital city of Cinnagar, on the balcony of the Krath's stronghold: the Iron Citadel. The duel commenced shortly after a weapons display by Ulic Qel-Droma who, as a secret agent of the Jedi, was attempting to infiltrate the dark side-following Krath cult from within.
While Qel-Droma was explaining to Tetan officials new technological upgrades he had made to their planetary defenses, he was interrupted by Satal Keto, who had just received word of a female Jedi captured in the streets of Cinnagar. Accusing Qel-Droma of being a spy, Keto had the woman brought before them; Qel-Droma immediately recognized her as his former lover, Nomi Sunrider, but unwilling to prematurely expose his deception to the Krath, Qel-Droma agreed to have her imprisoned pending execution. However, Qel-Droma had sent a secret message to Sunrider, explaining his need for more time to complete his mission. The message was never received by her; instead, it was intercepted by Satal Keto who, in the face of Qel-Droma's newly exposed treachery, ordered him to be assassinated at once. The attempt failed, but succeeded in enraging Qel-Droma, who set off immediately in search of Lord Keto.
Meanwhile, Sunrider managed to escape her holdings, and had also called her colleagues for an extraction in light of the deteriorating situation. Help came in the form of Qel-Droma's brother Cay, and the Twi'lek Jedi Tott Doneeta. They were preparing to depart without Qel-Droma, just as Lord Keto encountered them from a balcony of the Iron Citadel. To everyone's surprise, Qel-Droma also appeared on the balcony, confronting the Krath warlord and engaging in a duel. It ended with Satal Keto being struck down by Qel-Droma in a fit of rage. With his dying words, Keto expressed his satisfaction in knowing that his death had successfully driven Ulic Qel-Droma to the dark side of the Force.
- "As my cousin fawns over this Jedi fool, he prepares to destroy us. But I will destroy him."
- ―Satal Keto
In 3997 BBY, Lord Satal Keto, Emperor of the Empress Teta system, was engaged in open war with both the Galactic Republic, and the Jedi Order. As leaders of the dark side worshiping Krath, Keto and his cousin Aleema Keto had recently attacked a Jedi Convocation on the planet Deneba. During the battle, Arkanian Jedi Master Arca Jeth was killed, in the presence of his former apprentice Ulic Qel-Droma. Consumed with grief, Qel-Droma vowed to topple the Krath by infiltrating them, learning their secrets, and ultimately destroying them from within.
He arrived shortly thereafter in Empress Teta's capital city of Cinnagar, where he endeared himself to the Krath by foiling an assassination attempt on the life of Aleema. She thus became enamored with Qel-Droma, while Lord Keto instead grew suspicious of the Jedi and his reasons for being on Empress Teta. Against Aleema's wishes, Keto imprisoned Qel-Droma and tortured him in the dungeons of the Krath Iron Citadel, where he also injected the Jedi with a rage-enhancing Sith poison. The poison immediately affected Qel-Droma, who involuntarily released an uncontrollable wave of dark side energy, which destroyed both the torture droids and the restraint apparatus. He was then taken by Aleema to recover.
Some time passed as Qel-Droma rose through the ranks of the Krath. One day, he was assisting the Tetans with upgrading their antiquated planetary weapons and defensive systems. While discussing war tactics with the Krath leaders, they were abruptly interrupted by a report of a Jedi woman captured in the streets of Cinnagar. After accusing Qel-Droma of being a spy and of being in collusion with the intruder, Lord Keto ordered her to be brought before them. Qel-Droma immediately recognized the woman as Nomi Sunrider, his fellow Jedi and former lover. Unwilling to expose his covert operation so soon, Qel-Droma agreed to personally execute Sunrider in the morning, much to both her surprise, and Keto's satisfaction. Later on, Qel-Droma secretly recorded a message inside of a maintenance droid to Sunrider, saying that his mission was not yet complete, and that he required more time to see it through. He sent the droid off, with hopes that it reached Sunrider in the dungeons. Unbeknownst to Qel-Droma, Keto intercepted the droid, and also discovered the hidden message. Outraged by the deception, the Emperor ordered his servant Norgor to assassinate the Jedi at once.
- "Wait—I sense him…my brother! He's here!"
"Yes, Cay—I'm here. And this is the man who murdered Master Arca!"
- ―Cay and Ulic Qel-Droma about Satal Keto
A masked man suddenly crashed through the transparisteel window of Aleema and Qel-Droma's bedroom, firing two blasters in the Jedi's direction. Qel-Droma quickly ignited his lightsaber and deflected the shots, and slew the assassin immediately after. Aleema recognized the dead man as Norgor, one of Lord Keto's lackeys. Also professing her cousin's incompetence, she added that it was Keto who orchestrated the assault on Deneba, which resulted in the death of Qel-Droma's Jedi Master, Arca Jeth. The vengeful Qel-Droma then stormed from the bedroom in search of Satal Keto.
Meanwhile, Lord Keto had been alerted by his men that Nomi Sunrider, the Jedi woman whom they captured and detained in the dungeons of the Iron Citadel, had managed to escape. Furious, he ordered his men to find her as he went out on a balcony, only to see Sunrider in the company of two more Jedi, Tott Doneeta and Ulic Qel-Droma's brother Cay, in flight through the streets of Cinnagar and making short work of his Krath forces. Keto ordered the three Jedi to be eliminated at once, but before the order could be carried out, Qel-Droma appeared on the balcony behind him. Igniting his lightsaber, he revealed that Keto was responsible for the massacre at Deneba. In response, the Tetan Emperor drew his sword, and as the Jedi on the platform below dispatched the remaining Krath guards, a fierce duel between Ulic Qel-Droma and Lord Satal Keto ensued.
From the onset of the duel, Qel-Droma maintained the upper hand, driving his quarry back under the force of his blows. Keto, however, was actually giving quarter as he taunted the Jedi, inciting his hatred of the Krath and validating his accusations of their accountability for the battle at Deneba. As rage welled inside Qel-Droma, he steadily advanced upon Keto while being drawn closer to the dark side; his hatred was being amplified by the Sith poison he had been injected with by Keto several months before. He became more infuriated as the Krath warlord engaged him in psychological battle, verbally undermining Qel-Droma's Jedi morals to force him to strike Lord Keto down in vengeance. His plan came to fruition when he mocked Qel-Droma with the memory of Master Jeth's death, blaming him for the tragedy instead. The Jedi gave in fully to his anger and unwittingly the dark side, and smote Keto where he stood. The Emperor's dying words were one final mockery, telling Qel-Droma that the Sith poison was what finally ensured his transition to the dark side.
- "C'mon, Ulic—let's get out of here! They're sounding the alarm…in a second we'll be fighting a zillion Krath killers!"
"Get away from me! I swear I'll kill you all!"
- ―Cay and Ulic Qel-Droma
As alarms blared throughout the Iron Citadel, the Jedi strike team prepared to escape the planet. They implored Qel-Droma to return with them to Ossus for debriefing. When they approached him, his poison-enhanced rage caused him to scream through the Force, while unleashing a powerful wave of dark side energy that flung his friends across the platform away from him. Devastated that Ulic Qel-Droma had succumbed to the dark side of the Force and had even gone as far as attacking his own loved ones, the Jedi fled, promising to return for him as soon as possible. He rebuked them, and refused their attempts to sway him from seeing his mission through. As his dejected friends departed for Ossus, Ulic Qel-Droma realized that by submitting to his anger, he had indeed given himself over to the dark side of the Force—just as Satal Keto proclaimed.
Behind the scenesEdit
The first Duel in the Iron Citadel was written and conceived by authors Tom Veitch and Kevin J. Anderson for the fifth installment of the Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith comic series, Sith Secrets. Veitch used this event to bring an end to the character of Satal Keto, as well as to further Ulic Qel-Droma's progression down the path of the dark side of the Force, a transition which culminated in the following Dark Lords of the Sith issue, Jedi Assault. The duel was also featured in the Tales of the Jedi audio drama, which was written by John Whitman but based on Veitch and Anderson's script.
- Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith audio drama
- Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith 5: Sith Secrets (First appearance)
- Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith 6: Jedi Assault (Mentioned only)
- The Essential Guide to Characters
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Chronology
- The Dark Side Sourcebook
- Power of the Jedi Sourcebook
- Chronicles of the Old Republic
- The New Essential Chronology
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith 3: Descent to the Dark Side
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith 5: Sith Secrets
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith 6: Jedi Assault
- ↑ The New Essential Chronology
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith (audio)