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Valley of the Dark Lords

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"Can you not feel the potency of this place?"
―Freedon Nadd — Gnome-speakernotesListen (file info)[src]

The Valley of the Dark Lords, originally known as the Valley of the Sleeping Kings, was a valley and burial ground of the Sith Lords of Korriban. Originally constructed by the planet's natives as a burial ground for their kings; the Exiles of the Jedi Order who came to be known as the Dark Lord of the Sith added their own tombs to the Valley. Along with several prominent tombs, the Valley was home to the ancient Sith Great Temple and the Sith Academy which would loom over the Valley for several millennia.

HistoryEdit

Valley of the Sleeping KingsEdit

Built long before the arrival of the Exiles of the Jedi Order in 6900 BBY, the Valley of Sleeping Kings was located in a sheer rock valley on the planet Korriban, where the dust contained the remnants of a thousand kings long dead. Smoothing the walls of the Valley and fashioning giant statues of humanoid shape, the Sith of Korriban long buried their rulers in the stone tombs deep within the walls of the Valley. At the conclusion of the Hundred-Year Darkness, a war fought far from Korriban, the Exiles as they were called after being banished from the space controlled by the Galactic Republic, landed on the dusty world. Numbering only eleven, the Exiles were welcomed as gods by the primitive Sith and eventually took up the titles of Dark Lords of the Sith. Founding the first Sith Empire after killing King Hakagram Graush, Ajunta Pall took control of the Empire and was worshiped and feared by his followers.[12]

Following the death of Lord Pall, a mausoleum was erected in the center of the Valley, separate from the line of kings which were housed in the walls of the ancient edifices. Marked with runes and ancient spells, the tomb housed Pall's body against the destructive heat of the outside world, preserving the bones and spirit of the ancient Sith Lord. Eventually, Lord Tulak Hord came to control the Empire, ruling from Korriban and known as the Lord of Hate. The Sith Lord would place his loyal servant Khem Val in stasis within an old tomb within the walls of the Valley before he himself was laid to rest there. Over time, the Valley would see the addition of a tomb for Lord Marka Ragnos, and an ancient tomb containing a Star Map of the Infinite Empire was converted to hold the remains of Naga Sadow; though he never was laid to rest within.[4]

ValleyOfTheDarkLords-SaL

The Valley circa 3993 BBY.

Following Ragnos' reign, the Sith Empire was fractured during a costly war of vengeance against the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order under Naga Sadow, the new Dark Lord. When Sadow abandoned Korriban and a sizable portion of the fleet fled to hide on Dromund Kaas, the Republic Navy attacked the Valley and a Sith holocaust was sanctioned by Supreme Chancellor Pultimo. As the Valley burned, the Sith regrouped beyond the arm of the Republic and prepared to return and seek revenge on their persecutors.[1]

The reign of RevanEdit

Over the ensuing centuries, the Valley was visited by grave robbers and treasure seekers who infiltrated the defenses of the tombs and stole priceless artifacts from the ancient Sith Empire's old stronghold. The Valley would not be inhabited by Sith until the former Jedi Knight Revan entered the Valley with his apprentice Darth Malak with their own Imperial host. Reestablishing the Sith Academy at the Valley's back wall, the Sith began churning out Sith to fight in Revan's war with the Jedi Order and the Galactic Republic. When Revan was captured and redeemed by the Jedi, he was dispatched to Korriban in the guise of a Sith apprentice and infiltrated the academy in order to gain access to the tombs. Retrieving artifacts such as Ajunta Pall's blade and the holocron of Tulak Hord, Revan escaped the Valley undetected.[6]

Ebonvalley

The Ebon Hawk lands in the Valley of the Dark Lords in 3951 BBY.

When the war came to an end with the death of Darth Malak, the academy was abandoned as the remaining Sith fled persecution. During the Dark Wars the Sith Triumvirate did not return to Korriban, though some Sith acolytes still roamed the Academy's halls seeking knowledge. Jedi Knight Meetra Surik traveled to the Valley in search of Master Lonna Vash, most of the tombs' entrances had caved in with the exception of the burial chamber of Ludo Kressh, which remained largely unscathed.[9]

Return of the EmpireEdit

In 3681 BBY, after centuries in hiding, the Sith Empire returned in force to the galaxy and retook Korriban. In a stunning orbital battle, Sith Lord Vindican conquered the world and wiped out the Republic's forces stationed at the orbital facility charged with maintaining the planetary quarantine. As the Sith resettled the Valley, the academy reopened and began producing Sith to fight the Republic and the Jedi in the ongoing Great Galactic War. When the Treaty of Coruscant was signed, a Cold War ensued and life on Korriban thrived as a training ground for the Sith and their soldiers alike.[4]

KorribanGGW

The Academy of Korriban.

As the Cold War went on, the excavation of the Valley progressed significantly under the guidance of Darth Thanaton. To the dismay of the Sith, a great number of k'lor'slugs had infested the Valley and the lower tombs while tuk'ata protected the higher tombs from grave robbers, vestiges of old Sith alchemical experimentation. The Academy and the Sith flourished for many years and throughout the Galactic War until the Empire's final defeat.[4] After the Sith were vanquished, the Jedi pillaged the Valley and confiscated or destroyed all remaining relics they could find, bringing an end to much of the work accomplished by the Sith over the past three millennia.[3]

The Brotherhood of DarknessEdit

As the New Sith Empire and the Republic battled ceaselessly for generations, the Sith remained separated from their origin world. Under the leadership of Sith Lord Skere Kaan and his reorganized Brotherhood of Darkness, the Sith took back Korriban in a stunning victory which left all Jedi and Republic soldiers on the battlefield dead. They found the Valley desolate, having been largely ignored by generations of Sith; dark siders during the New Sith Wars would seldom if ever visit the site as centuries of looting and conflict had largely destroyed anything of value. Under Kaan's leadership and the works of Lords Qordis and Kopecz, Korriban was reinvigorated and the Academy reopened in a new building in 1006 BBY. As the Sith flocked to Korriban and sent hundreds through the academy system, the Valley remained largely abandoned as the Masters believed it to be empty of all relics or secrets that could aid in the war effort.[3]

Nonetheless, a headstrong and powerful student named Bane would defy his masters and make the treacherous journey from the city of Dreshdae in hopes of uncovering ancient secrets. While on Korriban, Bane felt the gentle hum of the dark side that permeated the air and hoped it would intensify within the Valley itself. Instead, Bane found that the air within the Valley had grown still, and that the dark side had retreated from the ancient edifices long ago. Searching the Valley for knowledge for thirteen days, Bane concluded that the wealth of the Valley had long ago disappeared and abandoned it forever.[3]

A sleeping menaceEdit

JKAlevelshot kor2

The Valley of the Dark Lords, c. 14 ABY.

"Of course there are tombs in the Valley of the Dark Lords, but they have been plundered and now draw only tourists."
Darth Plagueis[src]

Since the Ruusan Reformations of the Galactic Senate, Korriban and the Valley remained largely depopulated and seldom visited as the Jedi Order entered a golden age of peace. While the remaining Sith were deep in hiding, Force Adepts interested in the dark side sought out the treasures hidden deep in Korriban's tombs; most visitors were lost in the Valley forever, never to emerge.

But in 23 BBY, a team of Jedi Knights and their Padawans, headed by Obi-Wan Kenobi, entered the Valley of the Dark Lords, after having visited the Sith Academy, while on a mission to track down the galactic criminals Granta Omega and Jenna Zan Arbor.[13] Upon entering the Academy's ancient ruins, Kenobi had felt a distinct Sith presence—the dark shape of a Sith Lord. Though he did not realize it at the time, this later proved to have been Darth Tyranus (the Sith alter-ego of Count Dooku), who was there on Korriban to rendezvous with Omega and Zan Arbor. The two criminals were seeking to strike an alliance of power with the galaxy's re-emergent Sith. As 18-year-old Anakin Skywalker looked out towards the grayness of the Valley of the Dark Lords from the Academy's landing platform, he felt the beating heart of the Sith Lord reaching out, calling to him—its pull was powerful, insistent, irresistible. The Jedi team, aboard a borrowed Commerce Guild airspeeder (their Republic cruisers having just exploded from sabotage), were, within the hour and before dusk, pursuing Omega and Zan Arbor to the Valley of the Dark Lords. There, they would at last confront the long-sought criminals in a final showdown, after having spent years tracking them down unsuccessfully (for both Omega and Zan Arbor had somehow always managed, at the last moment, to escape the Jedi's reach).[14][15][16][17][18][19]

As the Jedi entered the Valley proper, a dark wave hit them, causing them to slow to a stop—it fractured the Force they felt around them, tearing at it. The dark side of the Force was more concentrated than they'd expected it to be. The Sith tombs that inhabited the Valley were designed to amplify dark energy, and the Jedi could feel that physical presence press against their chests, instinctively making them reach for their lightsaber hilts. It was only after battling their way through ten tuk'ata beasts—those fabled Sith sentinels of terror—that they were able to proceed down the mausoleum-lined valley. The dark energies of the dead Sith Lords, having awoken to the Jedi presence, poured from the mausoleums, and the Jedi could taste their anger, cruelty, and pain. Obi-Wan Kenobi reached out with the Force and detected the mausoleum that Omega and Zan Arbor had gone into for their secret meeting with the Sith Lord. Once the Jedi had entered, the Dark Lords' whispers grew louder as they advanced. Rising up from their crumbling tombs, the Sith Lords approached the Jedi, their shroud-rags falling away, their mouths gaping, their hands grasping, their whispers taunting the intruders. But then the specters merely disintegrated onto the Jedi with foul smells and tastes. The dark side of the Force felt as thick as a curtain, however, and slowed the Jedi's movement, as if it was a literal presence.[13]

The Jedi soon encountered dark energy traps, concentrations of dark-side power that appeared as faint shimmers of purple in the air: these, of course, could immobilize a Force-sensitive being for a time, but the Jedi were able to stay clear of them with Kenobi's advance warning. But suddenly, Omega appeared from behind a tomb, arrogant, cruel, sure of himself, laughing in vengeful derision. Zan Arbor was there, too, in the shadows. Kenobi held their gaze, with no desire to speak, though without anger. He simply wouldn't respond to Omega's taunts—but rather held fast to his grim commitment to finish this unsavory but necessary task. It was time to rid the galaxy of this heinous scourge. Having first to battle through a platoon of Korriban zombies, released by the Sith Lord in the wings, to stall them, the Jedi Masters broke through to advance on the criminals. But Omega and Zan Arbor had slipped away into the darkness around the back of the tombs and appeared again from behind—as did the Sith Lord, who stood waiting for them at the tombs' entrance: the three villains were about to escape through the mausoleum's front door. Tragedy struck, however, when Padawan Darra Thel-Tanis was killed by Omega (due to Padawan Tru Veld's faulty lightsaber that Padawan Ferus Olin was using as backup cover to his fellow Jedi). While Zan Arbor eventually fled under the protective cover of the Sith Lord's blue Force-lightning, Omega stood firm, refusing to give up this chance to avenge himself of what he erroneously perceived to be his father Xanatos' death at the hands of the Jedi.[20][13]

Although Omega temporarily blinded him by the flash of a Lumablast Rocket, Kenobi, recovering, stood to face his longtime nemesis in a final showdown. Wildly parrying E-Web heavy repeating blaster fire and wrist rockets, Kenobi drove through the distraction to achieve his somber aim. But because Omega was not aware of his own weapon's potential defects, as Obi-Wan surely was, he was utterly unprepared for the grim consequences of such ignorance: that the weapon, overburdened, could turn against itself by overloading, shutting down, and back-blasting—which it did. The resultant explosion slammed Omega into a tomb wall, breaking his body. But the ever-resilient arch-villain, refusing yet to surrender to death, lurched forward one last time with blaster fire, swearing to Obi-Wan that because the Jedi had killed his father, Kenobi would not win. Resigned to what fate now laid before him (for no matter how much he'd wished to stop Omega, he'd never wished to kill him), Obi-Wan struck the killing blow. Granta Omega's last words—as he curled up like a child and let go of life, though still holding on to his hatred and rage for the Jedi: "Do you think you won? You didn't.... I know...who he is. You will wish...you did"—intimated strongly that the Sith, whose identity Omega professed to know (perhaps even of the Sith's own dark Master), was more perilous than Kenobi could ever possibly imagine. The Jedi mission to Korriban's Valley of the Dark Lords ended with both Jenna Zan Arbor and the hidden Sith Lord escaping.[13]

Undercover Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos infiltrated the Valley of the Dark Lords and discovered the lost Holocron of Heresies before turning it over to the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Tyranus.[21]

Arround 20 BBY, Grand Master Yoda visited the Valley and went to the tomb of Sith Lord Darth Bane centuries after his death.

Following the rise of the Galactic Empire and the defeat of the Republic and the Jedi Order, Darth Sidious seldom paid visits to the ancient crypts, but space was reserved for him and his apprentice, Darth Vader in the Great Temple's ancient tombs. However, when he did visit, Sidious performed rituals in the Temple to build up his power and commune with his long-dead predecessors.[8] A single visitor would escape the notice of Sidious during this time; a former Jedi Master named A'Sharad Hett crashed in the Valley and rediscovered the lost tomb of XoXaan, one of the original Sith Lords. Making contact with XoXaan's spirit, Hett began training in the ways of the Sith and began accruing dark side power.[22]

In 4 ABY, Han Solo had concocted a plan to send a strike team to the surface of the Endor moon in a stolen Imperial shuttle and deactivate the shield generator protecting the Death Star II. Alliance High Command needed more information about the Imperial Garrison on the Forest Moon before they were sent, and only one man had that information: Emperor Palpatine. Palpatine, secretly a Sith Lord, had planned a pilgrimage to the Valley before completing his journey to the Death Star. Renegade Squadron volunteered for a raid on his shuttle to get that intelligence. After they landed, Renegade Squadron attacked the Sith Academy to keep the stormtroopers stationed there from alerting Sidious of the situation. They held the academy as the Emperor entered the atmosphere. Once he had landed, Renegade Squadron moved into a Sith tomb and primed explosive charges at the entrances and started destroying Sith artifacts to goad Sidious into the tomb. When the plan worked, Sidious unleashed Force lightning to quickly dispatch a Mon Calamari before leaping into the fray. Renegade Squadron retreated from the tomb and set off the explosives, trapping the Sith Lord inside while they attacked his shuttle and stole a datapad containing the troop information. After getting the datapad back to an Low Altitude Assault Transport, it was revealed that Emperor Palpatine himself was to be on the Death Star at the time of the attack.[23]

"It has been ten years since I last stood on this lost world. It is a place still potent with power."
Emperor Palpatine visiting the valley in 11 ABY[src]

Following Sidious' first death above Endor, the Dark Lord returned after his spirit inhabited a clone in 11 ABY. Traveling to the Valley to seek guidance and hoping to revitalize his failing clone body, Sidious sought knowledge in the Great Temple. The spirits of the Sith Lords invited Sidious to join them in their eternal unrest, and beckoned for Darth Vader to take up his place on the throne of the dead despite the fact that he was killed some time before. Sidious refused the spirits and planned to reconquer the galaxy.[8]

It wasn't until 14 ABY that the Valley received a massive restoration effort by the Disciples of Ragnos. Discovering unopened tombs, the Disciples took refuge in the Valley's crypts, lighting torches and the fires of the dead. Upon discovering the Tomb of Marka Ragnos's ceremonial entrance, Disciple Tavion Axmis attempted to resurrect the Dark Lord. The Valley was then attacked by a strike force of Jedi Knights of Luke Skywalker's rebuilt Jedi Order and the Disciples were wiped out. Jedi Jaden Korr entered the crypt of Ragnos alone and defeated Axmis who had been possessed by Ragnos' spirit.[24]

Reawakening of the SithEdit

Markaragnosestomb

The lost tomb of Marka Ragnos.

During the Second Galactic Civil War, former Jedi A'Sharad Hett had amassed a sizable Sith force in an old reliquary at the mouth of the Valley. The One Sith as they were known remained hidden to the Jedi, though the iniquitous Dark Jedi Alema Rar sought them out for additional training in 41 ABY.[25]

While searching for the Lost Tribe of Sith and Abeloth in 43 ABY, Jedi Grand Master Luke Skywalker, his son Ben Skywalker, Jedi Jaina Solo, and the captured Sith Vestara Khai went to the Valley of the Dark Lords to hunt their quarry. Despite a faint sense of foreboding, the Jedi did not detect their hidden enemy nearby.[26]

At last, in the period of 127–130 ABY, the Sith made their presence known openly under Darth Krayt's leadership, and the result of his machinations was the Sith–Imperial War. Krayt's own holocron contained entries relating how he caused the fall of the Galactic Alliance and the restoration of the Empire as the dominant galactic power. Striking out from Korriban, the Sith were able to topple galactic regimes and become the dominant power in the galaxy. Maintaining a temple on Coruscant, many Sith remained on Korriban to maintain the temples and tombs there. They once more abandoned the world when the Sith regime was toppled in 138 ABY[27]

LayoutEdit

The Valley of the Dark Lords was a massive rift in an outcropping of stone about three days walking distance to the city of Dreshdae. Wider at the mouth, the Valley's stone walls were sheer and steep before opening into a lower valley with course outcroppings and rocky mountain ledges. Overlooking the lower valley were six towering monoliths in the shape of humanoid men bowing their heads. Lining the upper valley's walls were the tombs of ancient Sith such as Naga Sadow's tomb and the Tomb of Ludo Kressh. At the center of the upper valley was a three story crypt containing the remains of Ajunta Pall. The lower valley, once lined with temples and soaring edifices to falling Sith Lords was largely destroyed during Republic bombings and what tomb's remained were hidden behind sand and debris. The lost tomb of Marka Ragnos was unearthed bit by bit by subsequent Sith regimes, but eventually lost once more after each defeat. At the mouth of the valley stood the reliquary of XoXaan, a sprawling temple complex upon the left most wall of the Valley. At the back wall of the Valley of the Dark Lords was the Sith Academy of Korriban. A pyramidal structure which towered over the tombs, the academy was rebuilt several times while another academy was built in Dreshdae by the Brotherhood of Darkness.

Behind the scenesEdit

A number of different layouts and appearances have been given to the valley in various publications. In this article, the layout of the Valley as seen in Star Wars: The Old Republic is described as it is the latest source to describe it visually. Below is a description of discrepancies between The Old Republic's description of the Valley and other sources.

In its first appearance in the Tales of the Jedi series, the Valley is at its height and appears vast and spacious with uncountable tomb entrances, temples, and structures lining a central boulevard. Several key locales such as the Tomb of Marka Ragnos and the Great Temple make their first appearances though their exact locations in the Valley are left ambiguous. When the Valley is visited for the first time in video game format in Knights of the Old Republic and later Knights of the Old Republic II, the size of the Valley is scaled back and two tombs line the walls on either side. The Academy is located beyond a cave system and is located mostly underground.

In Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, a temple complex is initially described as being at the top of the Valley, but is later placed near to the city of Dreshdae. This indicates that the academy seen in Knights of the Old Republic and Path of Destruction are separate structures. The road from the Academy to the Valley is described as being quite long and the Valley was barren and harsh, hard to travel through for even the Sith Lords. In Jedi Academy, on the other hand, the valley is designed similar to the appearance of the Tales of the Jedi with vast temple complexes and decorative facades. In addition, having weathered several millennia, many of the tombs and decorative sculptures have partially collapsed when seen in Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy with only the Tomb of Marka Ragnos remaining in place.

Eventually, attempts were made by artists to reconcile the differences between the simple look of the Knights of the Old Republic games and the Tales of the Jedi series. In the comic titled Shadows and Light, the entrances and statues surrounding the tombs are depicted as seen in the games while ancient temples and edifices are seen in the distance like those in Jedi Academy and the Tales comics. This was the first time that the Valley was depicted as having several different levels, potentially caused by orbital bombardment destroying massive portions of the Valley's highest levels. The reference book Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force uses a hybrid of the two styles in its depiction of the Valley.

Jude Watson, in her 2004 Scholastic novel, Jedi Quest: The Final Showdown, the last installment of her Jedi Quest series, depicts the approach to the Valley of the Dark Lords as being somewhat claustrophobic: through steep mountains that "crowded together like spiteful beasts," with cliffs pressing in from both sides; boulders would sometimes crash down suddenly without warning, sending wayfarers leaping for safety. Entering the Valley proper, a being might be confronted with an intense concentration of dark side energy, making the red-tinged clouds of the perpetually overcast sky seem to roll past with an unnatural velocity, or the air carried by face-whipping winds to taste rank and spoiled. From the Valley entrance could be seen a narrow corridor lined with razor-sharp rock cliffs whose protruding patterns threw shadows upon ranks of Sith mausoleums. The entrance was guarded by vicious tuk'ata beasts. If one were fortunate enough to make it past these fabled sentinels of terror, he could next proceed down the mausoleum-lined valley: mammoth statues posed outside the tomb chambers, as if guarding them. Ancient statues of horrible creatures were also perched on the cliff summits, to ward off any who dared to walk beneath them, for it was a valley designed to strike fear into every heart.[13]

At this point along the Valley corridor, if the traveler happened to be a Jedi, the dead Sith Lords might awake at the intrusion of such a Force-sensitive presence, with their dark-side energies pouring from the mausoleums and their evil voices whispering low—in tones guttural and insistent. If the Jedi yet pressed forward, the whispers might increase in their intensity, with the Dark Lords casting their hisses of hate upon him. Upon entering a mausoleum, a being could then gaze upon the individual tombs which ran along the wall—each guarded by a pair of stone tuk'ata beasts, with fangs bared and claws raised. Glancing upward, life-sized carved stone figures representing the dead Sith Lords could be seen astride the tombs. Because the tombs themselves were decayed and crumbling, the bodies within were sometimes visible, wrapped in shrouds. Pictographs of Sith deeds—massacres, wars—were scrawled in some kind of red substance upon the walls. If sufficiently disturbed, the Sith Lords' shrouded bodies might rise up, their layers of shredded rags falling away, to approach an intruder, with their mouths gaping, their hands grasping, to taunt him with their wicked whispering words. But then, if the intruder is sufficiently Force-protected, the specters might merely disintegrate on him with foul smells and tastes. If not so protected, his fate might be far worse, to the extent that he might never be heard of again among friends and associates, inclusive of enemies.[13]

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