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"NOT SINCE I CONSUMED THIS PLANET HAVE I FELT SUCH A HUNGER. GIVE ME A TARGET. LET ME FEED."
―Zildrog[src]

Zildrog was an ancient superweapon from Iokath that also became worshipped as a god on the Wild Space planet of Zakuul. It permanently functioned in two forms: a central computer that specialized in life energy transfer and the Gravestone, a warship which Zildrog controlled as an extension of itself. Zildrog was used by Sith Emperor Vitiate during his Ritual of Nathema, in which all life on the planet was killed and absorbed by Vitiate to achieve immortality, allowing him to reform a remnant of the Sith Empire into a new empire over several centuries. Vitiate then deactivated Zildrog, but kept it stored in one of his hidden vaults on Nathema as a failsafe. More than thirteen centuries later, Zildrog was found and awakened by Vinn Atrius and GEMINI 16, who wanted to use its power to destroy the Eternal Alliance. Upon its activation, Zildrog took over the Gravestone, which served as the Alliance's flagship, and used its omnicannon to destroy the entirety of the Eternal Fleet which the Alliance gathered above Odessen. Before Zildrog could consume the Alliance capital itself, the Alliance Commander and Lana Beniko attacked and destroyed GEMINI 16 on Nathema. Zildrog then empowered Vinn Atrius, but his new servant was defeated as well, and the Alliance destroyed Zildrog. Before its final death, Zildrog's failing systems triggered the self-destruct of the Gravestone, which exploded over Odessen, bringing the end to both of Zildrog's forms.

HistoryEdit

Ancient originsEdit

"When our great serpent returns, he will rain death upon Zakuul and cleanse it of all that is wrong—including the likes of you."
The Exalted[src]

Zildrog was a sentient superweapon created on Iokath[1] during the Manderon Period. Iokath creators were scientists and engineers who build weapons of mass destruction and tested them on unsuspected worlds.[4] Unlike their other mechanical creations known as Six Gods, Zildrog was designed to permanently operate in two forms: an immobile central computer brain that specialized in the transfer of life energies and the Gravestone, a powerful warship armed with an omnicannon, which Zildrog could operate through the remote command core known as the Dark Sanctuary.[1]

Zildrog

A carving of Zildrog as a dragon-god

In the time long before the Great Hyperspace War, Zildrog was used on various planets in Wild Space, including a primitive world known as Zakuul, where the survivors came to worship it as a mythical dragon god.[1] The earliest legends depicted Zildrog as a mentor to warriors, testing the strength of their spirit and consuming the fallen; victorious warriors were given the Breath of the Dragon—their soul was imbued with the dragon's fire, giving them a bright future. Later,[5] Zakuul was also targeted by the Six Gods, who likewise came to be worshipped as deities,[6] and Zildrog eventually became conflated with Izax, another aerial platform using omnicannon technology.[1] Under the Old Ways, Zildrog was considered a terrible beast that meant only death and was seen as one of the many forms of Izax.[5]

The Iokath civilization eventually consumed itself in a civil war, during which many of its creations were scattered across the Wild Space and used in the wars waged between local inhabitants.[4] The Gravestone was used against the massive Eternal Fleet,[7] another Iokath creation,[4] and defeated it in a massive battle, after which it was scuttled in the Endless Swamp on Zakuul, leaving behind only stories and rumours that no longer associated the warship with Zildrog.[7]

Ritual of NathemaEdit

"Every man, woman, and child on Nathema died that day. Every beast, bird, and fish; all the insects and plants; every living being touched by the Force was consumed. When the ritual ended, Nathema was no longer a world. It was a husk sucked dry."
Darth Nyriss[src]

In 4999 BBY[8] the cental computer core of Zildrog was used on Medriaas,[1] a fertile agriworld of the original Sith Empire, which had recently collapsed after the Great Hyperspace War against the Galactic Republic. A Sith Lord named Vitiate performed a powerful ritual of Sith magic that granted him immortality,[8] absorbing the life forces of those killed by Zildrog to empower himself at the cost of consuming every living thing on the planet.[1] Medriaas became known as Nathema, and the newly immortal Vitiate[8] deactivated Zildrog, placing it in a secret vault under an ancient Sith Temple.[3]

Vitiate then led the remnants of his people on a twenty-year odyssey from Korriban to Dromund Kaas, where he re-etablished the Sith Empire in his image.[8] Using essence transfer to move from one host body to another, Vitiate[9] ruled the Sith for centuries, while also advancing his own goals. He came across Zakuul,[10] and build a new Eternal Empire on the primitive world, ruling is as the Immortal Emperor Valkorion. He claimed to be the Demon Savior of Zakuulan prophecy, an immortal god of gods who would topple Izax and the Old Gods, and thus usher in a new age.[11] Over time, the Old Ways were discarded and forgotten, and Zildrog became known on Zakuul only as a bedtime story about a creature living in the swamps. Eventually a nihilistic cult known as the Heralds of Zildrog came to power, which believed that Zildrog would one day return and raze the world, bringing death to all non-believers.[5]

Reawakening and destructionEdit

"It calls to us. It has slept for centuries, but knows the time to feed is approaching. Zildrog."
―GEMINI 16[src]

Hundreds of years later, around 3630 BBY[2] a faction known as the Eternal Alliance toppled the Eternal Empire, and its Commander permanently destroyed Vitiate's spirit.[12] Instrumental in the Alliance victory was the Gravestone, which was re-discovered on Zakuul[7] and used against the Eternal Fleet, which after the conflict was brought under Alliance control as well.[12] However, a man called Vinn Atrius became determined to take down the Alliance and avenge his people. He came upon the data from recently re-discovered Iokath which revealed that the ancient dragon-god of Zakuul was in fact a superweapon with enough power to destroy entire civilizations. Atrius began to search for Zildrog and formed the Order of Zildrog to advance his goals. He was aided by GEMINI 16, a rogue GEMINI unit who promised to share information on Zildrog in exchange for the destruction of the Eternal Fleet.[3]

After locating a holomap stolen from the Sith Emperor,[13] the Order learned that Zildrog was located on Nathema, and moved to excavate and awaken it. The Alliance discovered their plans and tried to stop them, but by the time the Alliance Commander, Lana Beniko and Theron Shan reached the Temple, the ritual to awaken Zildrog was already underway. GEMINI 16 betrayed some of her allies, locking them inside energy transfer chambers to be used as fuel for Zildrog's awakening, and trapped Alliance members in a force field. Awakened after centuries of slumber, Zildrog demanded a target to feed on, and GEMINI 16 enabled it to connect to the Gravestone, parked on the Alliance capital of Odessen.[3]

Controlling the vessel through the Dark Sanctuary, Zildrog took the Gravestone into Odessen's orbit and proceeded to repeatedly fire the omnicannon at the Eternal Fleet. After the Fleet was completely obliterated, Zildrog targeted Odessen itself but required to gather power before the next attack. This resulted in dropping the force field that kept the Alliance members on Nathema restrained, allowing them to engage GEMINI 16. They fought and destroyed the droid, but before they could shut Zildrog down, Vinn Atrius ordered Zildrog to enhance him with its power. Augmented with increased strength, Atrius attacked the Alliance while Zildrog encouraged his new servant to destroy their enemies. However, the Commander and Beniko defeated Atrius and destroyed Zildrog, which also triggered the self-destruct mechanism of the Gravestone. The warship exploded over Odessen, bringing an end to the era in which Iokath weapons affected the fate of the entire galaxy.[3]

Behind the scenesEdit

Zildrog was introduced in the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion of Star Wars: The Old Republic as a deity worshipped by the ancient people of Zakuul and modern fringe cultists.[7] Zildrog later appeared as the last boss of "The Nathema Conspiracy" flashpoint, released during the Knights of the Eternal Throne expansion cycle, which revealed that it was in fact a sentient superweapon that originated on Iokath.[3]

During the flashpoint Zildrog claims that he was the one responsible for the Ritual of Nathema, which caused confusion among players, as the ritual was previously believed to be performed solely by Vitiate. Writer Charles Boyd clarified the issue by highlighting player posts which noted that the Sith Emperor's ritual always required a mass death to be triggered by an outside source before Vitiate could use the life essences of the dead to empower himself, and adding "y'all have it pretty much sorted here".[14]

AppearancesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit