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Funeral of Marka Ragnos

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Marka'sEulogy1
Funeral of Marka Ragnos
Timeframe

Old Republic era, Golden Age of the Sith[1]

Conflict

Pre–Great Hyperspace War[1]

Date

5000 BBY[2]

Place

Shyrack caves[3] within Korriban's Valley of the Dark Lords[4]

Outcome
Participants

20 Sith Lords (excluding Naga Sadow)[3]

"All hail the memory of Marka Ragnos! His legacy will live for centuries among the Sith people and their rulers!"
―Ludo Kressh[src]

The funeral of Marka Ragnos was a Sith funeral that occurred in 5000 BBY on the planet Korriban, to mark the passing of revered Dark Lord of the Sith Marka Ragnos. Officiated by an influential Sith Lord named Ludo Kressh, Ragnos' funeral took place in Korriban's Valley of the Dark Lords and marked the end of the period known as the Golden Age of the Sith. An opulent tomb had been prepared within the valley's Shyrack caves for the deceased, filled with many treasures acquired by Ragnos' Empire during his time as its Emperor.

The funeral was attended by many from all tiers of Sith society, including twenty of the Empire's most prominent Sith Lords; Ludo Kressh was at the head of the procession and also presided over the Dark Lord's rites of passage. The ceremony began without hitch after Ragnos' tomb was sealed, but when Kressh's sworn enemy, the Sith sorcerer Naga Sadow, arrived late to take a place of reverence amongst his kinsmen, the interruption angered Kressh immensely. A heated exchange between the two over who should become Ragnos' successor as the next Dark Lord quickly escalated into a Sith sword duel, but was just as quickly brought to an end with the sudden appearance of the ghost of Ragnos himself.

Proclaiming an end to the Sith's Golden Age, Ragnos issued an ominous warning to the feuding Lords to choose their next moves wisely, as the fate of Sith Empire would be decided by their actions. The presence of Ragnos' spirit also appeared in a vision to Jedi Knight Odan-Urr of the distant Koros system, who believed the premonition was one of foreboding for the Galactic Republic. Meanwhile, the funeral ended with the unexpected arrival of hyperspace-traveling siblings Gav and Jori Daragon on Korriban, which caused the Sith to view them as either potential harbingers of an invasion by the Republic or an opportunity to expand upon the majesty of an Empire which Ragnos ruled for more than a century.

BackgroundEdit

In the year 5000 BBY, the Golden Age of the fabled Sith Empire came to an end with the death of its ruler, the half-breed Dark Lord Marka Ragnos.[1] As was the custom of the Sith people, Ragnos was to be interred on the planet Korriban in the Shyrack caves within the Valley of the Dark Lords, a burial ground reserved specifically for the Valley's namesake.[2] A special tomb was prepared in which Ragnos' remains would be kept, along with many treasures he had amassed during his time as Dark Lord of the Sith Empire. Ragnos' subjects convened on Korriban to pay their final respects for a Dark Lord whose death had marked the end of more than a century of uncontested rule.[4]

The funeralEdit

ProcessionEdit

"Marka Ragnos, great Dark Lord, wear this victory helmet during your battles in the afterlife."
―Ludo Kressh[src]
RagnosFuneral

Ludo Kressh leads the funeral procession of Marka Ragnos.

Twenty Sith Lords were selected to perform the burial ceremony; among them was Lord Simus[3] who, more than a hundred years prior, had lost the opportunity to become Dark Lord of the Sith in a duel between himself and Marka Ragnos.[5] A lavishly decorated sarcophagus with Ragnos' body inside was carried through the Valley of the Dark Lords by a cadre of hooded and robed Sith, with Lord Ludo Kressh at the head of the procession. Kressh also carried the Dark Lord's Sith victory helmet which, according to Sith custom, was required for Ragnos to wear during his battles in the afterlife. The remainder of the march consisted of Massassi warriors and Sith slaves, each carrying weapons, banners, and a wealth of treasure that would fill the interior of Marka Ragnos' tomb.[4]

Upon reaching the base of the tomb, Lord Kressh placed Ragnos' victory helmet atop the coffin. He then ascended the tomb's stairway, trailed by twenty-three hooded Sith, and at its summit began to deliver Ragnos' eulogy.[4] All twenty of the present Sith Lords formed a perfect, evenly spaced circle around the sarcophagus; Ludo Kressh stood at the head of the formation, while Lord Simus was directly opposite him.[3] Kressh attested to the magnificence of the Sith Empire under Ragnos' stewardship while the sarcophagus was carried with the Dark Lord's horde of riches into the tomb by slaves under the direction of Massassi warriors. The slaves, whose lives were of little consequence to the Sith Lords, were chosen to remain with Ragnos as a final sacrifice to the departed; the tomb was then sealed, leaving them to die of starvation.[4]

Power vacuumEdit

"I fight for the Sith Empire, Naga Sadow…you fight for yourself!"
"I fight for the future…and the future is now!"
―Ludo Kressh and Naga Sadow[src]
TheyBoutToFight-GAOTS2

Naga Sadow and Ludo Kressh prepare to duel during the funeral of Marka Ragnos.

The ceremony was interrupted shortly after it began when Kressh's nemesis, the magician Naga Sadow, arrived late to assume a place amongst his fellow Sith Lords. His presence was met with hostility by Kressh, who rebuked Sadow as a heretic with dynamic ideals that only served to undermine the stability achieved by the Sith Empire under Ragnos' rule. Sadow's expressed belief that the Sith Empire had grown stagnant during its Golden Age served to anger Ludo Kressh. Sadow also claimed that his ancient Jedi heritage afforded him rights to the position of Dark Lord, which irritated Kressh further. When he denounced Kressh as a "backwards thinker" who was incapable of leading the Sith as Ragnos' successor, Kressh prepared to engage his enemy in battle.[4]

At the tomb of Marka Ragnos, the two Sith Lords drew their swords and met each other in combat for the title left vacant by the recently deceased. Many spectators looked on as Sadow and Kressh dueled each other in a contest, where neither man was able to defeat the other, even though both refused to yield until their enemy had fallen. The altercation was eventually brought to an end with the unexpected appearance of the ghost of Marka Ragnos himself. His spirit recounted the glory of the Sith Empire during his reign before cautioning Kressh and Sadow to choose their next actions wisely, as the future of the Sith Empire, positive or negative, would be determined by their decisions. Ragnos' ghost then faded away, leaving both Kressh and Sadow to contemplate the weight of his words.[4]

AftermathEdit

"Across the reaches of the galaxy, through seas of dark stars, rivers of whispering black shadow from the Republic's ancient past. Evil history we had thought forgotten."
Jedi Master Ooroo, speaking of the return of the Sith Empire[src]
Odan'sVision

Odan-Urr's vision of Marka Ragnos' ghost.

The sudden manifestation of Marka Ragnos' spirit at his own funeral was also received as a Force vision by a Jedi Knight named Odan-Urr in the distant Koros star system. Odan-Urr's premonition led him to believe that he was being warned of the reemergence of the Sith Empire into Galactic Republic space. He brought this news to Koros' monarch, Empress Teta,[4] who traveled with him to Coruscant in an attempt to rouse the Galactic Senate into preparing the Republic for the possibility of an attack. However, their claims were dismissed by the assembly as the rantings of a novice Jedi and his warrior Empress, who were left to return to Koros and make their own preparations for war should Odan-Urr's vision come true.[6]

Moments after the end of Marka Ragnos' funeral, two hyperspace-traveling siblings from the Koros system stumbled upon Korriban. Gav Daragon and his sister Jori landed their ship, Starbreaker 12, in the Valley of the Dark Lords near Ragnos' tomb, expecting a hospitable welcome from the natives, but were greeted with hostility as they were immediately taken into custody by the Sith. Different opinions surrounding the nature of their arrival arose among the Sith; Ludo Kressh believed them to be Republic sentries sent by an invasion fleet, while Naga Sadow recognized the potential for the Sith Empire to expand its sphere of influence into the region of space from where the Daragons came.[4] Through a series of manipulations of both the Daragons and his fellow Sith, Naga Sadow's goal of becoming Marka Ragnos' successor instead of Ludo Kressh was ultimately realized.[5][6]

As the new Dark Lord of the Sith, further scheming on Sadow's behalf[7] allowed him to trick Jori Daragon into leading him to her home system of Koros, where under his command, the Sith Empire waged the Great Hyperspace War against the Galactic Republic.[8] However, Marka Ragnos' omen that choosing the wrong battles would lead to the downfall of his people[4] indeed came to pass; compound treacheries enacted against Naga Sadow by both Gav Daragon and the Sith factions loyal to Ludo Kressh resulted in the Dark Lord suffering a staggering defeat at the hands of the Republic and the subsequent destruction of the Sith Empire.[9][10]

Sometime after the end of the Great Hyperspace War, Odan-Urr, in his position as a Jedi Master and scholar, recorded the details of his vision of the funeral of Marka Ragnos within the recesses of the Tedryn Holocron. Nearly five thousand years after that, another Jedi Master and historian named Tionne Solusar discovered that on Korriban, the events of and surrounding the Dark Lord's passing were represented by ancient Sith hieroglyphs. She noted that of all the various Sith over the generations who have demonstrated an ability to appear as a Force ghost, Marka Ragnos was the earliest known to have done so.[1]

Principal participantsEdit

Ludo KresshEdit

"Your progressive ways will ruin the Sith Empire, Naga Sadow!"
―Ludo Kressh, to Naga Sadow[src]
Kressh

Considered a powerful Sith Lord by many of his associates, Ludo Kressh was completely loyal to Marka Ragnos during his life and upheld his reverence for the Dark Lord even after his death.[4] Kressh acted as master of ceremonies for Ragnos' funeral, a position desired by the other Sith Lords in attendance.[3] Kressh hoped that the high regard he displayed for Marka Ragnos would be noticed by the other Sith Lords and that they would choose him to succeed Ragnos as Dark Lord. He believed that the Sith Empire was capable of maintaining the glory Ragnos had achieved while alive and that expansion of its borders was unnecessary. This concept was considered "backwards thinking" by Kressh's sworn enemy, Naga Sadow, who was of the opinion that conquering new worlds was vital to the survival of the Empire. Their differences ultimately resulted in a duel that would arouse Ragnos' spirit from the grave, and Kressh cowered in the Dark Lord's presence as Ragnos urged him to join Sadow in strengthening the Sith Empire instead of fighting him.[4]

Marka RagnosEdit

"The chains of the grave cannot hold a Dark Lord of the Sith…not when all the forces of the dark side demand that I speak."
―Marka Ragnos[src]
Markaragnos

A half-breed man of immense strength both physically and in the Force,[3] Marka Ragnos defeated rival Sith Lord Simus in combat for the designation of Jen'ari, or Dark Lord.[5] Ragnos' reign was thenceforth known as the Sith's Golden Age, and was the pinnacle of his achievements. Under his command, the Sith Empire conquered many star systems, and experienced an age of splendor it had never before enjoyed under previous Dark Lords. Though Ragnos' passing marked the end of the Golden Age of the Sith, in death the grandeur of his dynasty surpassed that which had been known during his time alive. His death also left a power vacuum in its wake, and two of his most distinguished subordinates—Ludo Kressh and Naga Sadow—battled each other at his funeral for the deceased's position of Dark Lord of the Sith. It was only after Ragnos made a brief return from the dead as a Force ghost did Ludo Kressh and Naga Sadow end their quarrel. His caution to choose their battles wisely lest they destroy the Sith Empire was his last contact with the Sith Lords before his spirit departed forever from them.[4]

Naga SadowEdit

"I have come to take my place at the Funeral of Marka Ragnos."
―Naga Sadow[src]
FashionablyLate

Naga Sadow was a sorcerer whose arcane experiments into the nature of the dark side of the Force caused many of his peers to view him with contempt. Although he had many followers within the Sith Empire, one of his most vocal detractors was Ludo Kressh, who denounced Sadow's progressive character and regarded him as a threat to the stability of the Sith Empire and thus unworthy of filling the vacancy left by Marka Ragnos. Sadow, however, believed that his Jedi heritage afforded him a birthright to being named the new Dark Lord. When he arrived late to the funeral of Marka Ragnos, he was not welcomed by Kressh to partake in the ceremonies, but he took his assumed place among his fellow Sith Lords nonetheless. Sadow saw Ragnos' passing as an opportunity for him to capitalize on his aspirations of becoming Dark Lord, so that he might bring the Sith Empire out of what he believed was a period of stagnation. These views were looked upon unfavorably by Ludo Kressh, who engaged Sadow in combat in the deceased Dark Lord's tomb.[4]

Behind the scenesEdit

"Through the whole process, there was only one that came back from Lucas with regards to the designs I had initially sketched and it was the Sarcophagus of Marka Ragnos…"
―Dario Carrasco, Jr.[src]

Marka Ragnos' funeral first appeared in the second issue of Tales of the Jedi's Golden Age of the Sith story arc, titled Funeral for a Dark Lord. Written by Kevin J. Anderson and drawn by Dario Carrasco, Jr., the funeral was also the first appearance of the Old Sith Empire in the Star Wars universe, as well as that of Ludo Kressh. In an interview with Carrasco, he recounts how his original concept of Marka Ragnos' coffin was rejected by Lucasfilm Ltd. for too closely resembling an Egyptian sarcophagus; however, it was approved after he submitted a modified design.[11]

AppearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

See alsoEdit

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