By S_W_LeGenD 3 Comments
"Valkorion. Tenebrae. Vitiate. Emperor of the Sith. My low-born son has worn many masks." (Lord Dramath)
DISCLAIMER: Tenebrae's story has concluded in the Knights of the Eternal Throne expansion of the ambitious SWTOR project and a true picture of this character has come to light at last. This blog is intended to highlight this true picture with two major observations.
Tenebrae - slave to HUNGER?
Sources give the impression that Tenebrae borrowed HUNGER from the NATHEMA experiment as an unintended side-effect of his immortality; HUNGER that had to be appeased/satiated non-stop.
Hint # 1:
Revan came close to grasping the true picture of Tenebrae:
"When the Emperor broke my will, he looked into my mind, and I was able to see the reflection of his own evil. Invading the Republic is only the first step of his plan. He has become obsessed with power and immortality. The dark side is like a cancer inside him; it grows faster than he can feed it. He has consumed an entire world, but he still hungers. And with his hunger comes an all-consuming fear. He has lived a thousand years; he knows he could live many thousands more. He is terrified of death."
Hint # 2:
Explicit confirmation here:
REVAN COULD FEEL THE EMPEROR FEEDING ON HIM, drawing on his power to sate his endless hunger.
Taken from Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan
Hint # 3:
Lord Dramath nailed it in a conversation with the Outlander and Lana Beniko:
"He lured many Sith Lords here before consuming them in a dark ritual that wiped out all life on the planet." (Lord Dramath)
"He did something similar on Ziost." (Lana Beniko)
"His hunger for immortality must constantly be fed." (Lord Dramath)
NOTE: This footage captures one of the most interesting aspects of the overarching story in SWTOR and offers a summary of the true nature of Tenebrae.
That is why Tenebrae continued to siphon energy or lifeforce of his subjects (alive and dead) throughout the span of his existence.
Tenebrae - an imposter (FALSE SITH)?
Tenebrae was never a Sith in true sense of the word. He was not keen in seeking formal training in the ways of the Sith and partake in the Great Hyperspace War. To him, the Sith were just a means to an end.
Take a look at this exchange of dialogue between Darth Marr, the Outlander and Tenebrae:
"A new name, a new face... these are not enough to hide from us." (Darth Marr)
"The Sith Emperor... your presence is unmistakable." (the Outlander)
"Oh, I think a mistake has been made... but my whom?" (Valkorion)
"A second Empire? Even you couldn't have built all of this. There must be another explanation." (the Outlander)
"You presume limits to my power. There are none." (Valkorion)
"Your constant silence across our history... this was your distraction? (Darth Marr)
"This was my focus. Everything else... the means to an end." (Valkorion)
"You claim to have come all this way to find me. Here I am. What do want?" (Valkorion)
"You manipulate whole civilizations, arrange decades of war, eradicate all life on Ziost... then flee. You're going to tell me why. (the Outlander)
NOTE: Tenebrae's periods of absence in the Sith Empire are best explained by his investment in Zakuul, forging a new Empire from scratch in absolute secrecy from the prying eyes of both Sith and Jedi.
Founding new Orders of Force-users:
Tenebrae deemed the Sith philosophy archaic for his tastes:
The Immortal Emperor is his latest mask and Zakuul his greatest, most ambitious endeavor: an idealistic playground where he can shed his past and experience a new life unburdened by archaic Sith teachings.
Taken from KOTFE - Codex Entry - Valkorion
- and wanted to chart his own course to unprecedented power and saw that opportunity in Zakuul. Not surprisingly, he founded two new Orders of Force-users known as Knights of Zakuul and Scions of Zakuul; focus of the former on combat-related roles and focus of the latter on unlocking the mysterious of the Force. Light or Dark - both paths were fair game for these Orders to achieve a higher understanding of the Force.
Tenebrae also founded the specialized Order of Nathema Zealots in Nathema:
A secretive group of powerful Force-sensitives, the Nathema Zealots live in total isolation on the blighted world. Founded by Valkorion, the Nathema Zealots are among the only Force-sensitive beings able to withstand the horrors of the void through a regime of daily rituals and intense meditation. However, while their mental conditioning focuses their power, it simultaneously erodes their free will.
This was not accidental, as Valkorion sought to create an army of completely subservient yet incredibly powerful Force users. However, one unexpected side effect was that the Nathema Zealots grew dependent on the void for their existence, and became catatonic if they left Nathema's surface.
Hoping to extract some value from his failed experiment, Valkorion used the Nathema Zealots as wardens for the prisoners he sent to Nathema's Sanitarium. He also recruited the Anomid scientist Jarak to study their mental conditioning so he could use it to control his daughter Vaylin.
Taken from KOTET - Codex Entry - Nathema Zealots
NOTE: Nathema Zealots are not Sith. They are unique in the sense that they adapted to conditions in Nathema, a seemingly impossible task for other Orders.
Important case studies
Tenebrae (himself) remained predominantly DARK but did not hesitate to explore the path of Light and/or other cultures pertaining to the use of the Force; he took keen interest in Voss (species) for example.
SPECULATION: Insight from Voss could be a motivating factor in founding the Order of Scions of Zakuul.
Tenebrae also took keen interest in understanding the powers of Revan. This particular subject had achieved a higher understanding of the Force than any Jedi or Sith in history by incorporating the elements of both Light and Dark paths in his exploits:
Three centuries ago, Revan wielded the dual philosophies of Sith passion and Jedi tranquility to conquer his enemies; he even nearly assassinated the Sith Emperor.
Taken from Star Wars: The Old Republic: Encyclopedia
Revan's power had grown to the extent that he came close to stopping Tenebrae in a fight - nobody else offered as much challenge to Tenebrae as Revan earlier.
SPECULATION: Insight from Revan could be a motivating factor to establish Orders that would be willing to embrace both Light and Dark paths to understand the ways of the Force.
Lord Dramath nailed it again in a conversation with the Outlander and Lana Beniko:
"Valkorion. Tenebrae. Vitiate. Emperor of the Sith. My low-born son has worn many masks."
This also explains why Marka Ragnos chose Exar Kun to serve the Sith cause:
THE FACT THAT THE SPIRITS OF THE ANCIENT SITH LORDS SUPPORTED EXAR KUN SUGGESTS THAT THEY DID NOT, AND PERHAPS DO NOT, SUPPORT THE SITH EMPEROR WE FACE TODAY. (Master Gnost-Dural)
Of-course Master Gnost-Dural! Tenebrae was a FALSE SITH or IMPOSTER, willing to imprison or destroy Sith spirits, should they ever make contact.
Tenebrae perceived Sith Spirits as a threat to his rule and sought to destroy (or) imprison them in the Dark Temple to draw knowledge from them and/or feed on their energy.
Burial place, prison, and reliquary, the Dark Temple was built on the orders of the Emperor to seal away powerful artifacts and the Emperor's enemies, both alive and dead. The temple became a nexus of dark side energy as the Emperor performed rituals within, drawing strength and knowledge from his captives.
Taken from Star Wars: The Old Republic: Encyclopedia
Hundreds of years ago, the Sith Emperor ordered the construction of the Dark Temple as a burial place for his dead and defeated enemies, "to aid them in becoming one with the Force." Little is known of what rituals the Emperor performed there, but the Dark Temple has become a nexus of powerful dark side energy, and a place where ancient weapons and ancient secrets of the Sith lay sealed away in cavernous chambers.
Taken from SWTOR - Codex Entry - Dark Temple
Further evidence comes from the observations that Tenebrae imprisoned the spirit of his biological father Lord Dramath in his holocron in order to torment him for eternity and was willing to destroy the spirits of Naga Sadow and Vodal Kressh, should they ever make contact with him.
Marka Ragnos possibly saw through the deception and avoided contact with Tenebrae.