It only reached its peak for a very short time. Barely a few months, a year. But his actions set in motion events that shaped the galaxy. A little more, and he broke it. His consequences are still visible today, three and a half centuries after his death. An elite warrior, master of the Force arts, a general with confusing and destructive methods, he has reached such a level that his main rival would be nothing less than the Sith Emperor. Even if they have never met. His name was Exar Kun.
Exar Kun was a Jedi, trained by Master Vodo-Siosk Baas on Dantooine. He was one of the most respected members of the Jedi Council. A master in battle even if he never displayed his lightsaber, only a cane of an unknown material capable of withstanding the Order's special weapons. In addition to this young human, the krevaaki also formed a couple of cathars, Crado and Sylvar. During a practice, she gave up her weapon and attacked Kun with her claws, shattering her protective helmet and inflicting three scars on her right cheek. The two had a very strong rivalry accentuated by the fact that Crado, who was in a relationship with her, idolized their elder. He was a very promising student, which inevitably gave rise to certain ambitions in him. Those of a hero, a leader for his generation. And since he was a fighter (but not by TOR's standards), he had to prove himself in combat. According to legends, the ultimate enemy of the Jedi were the Sith, who had vanished after the Hyperspace War a thousand years earlier. But prophecies announced their return, and just one group had declared themselves of their inheritance on Onderon recently.
The knight Exar Kun therefore traveled to Onderon, but arrived after the war. Freedon Nadd, the founder of the royal line was a Fallen Jedi who had the pupil of the last Dark Lord of the Sith Empire, and his ghost continued to manipulate them. Defeated by the Jedi but not definitively banished, his grave had been moved and hidden. Master Arca Jeth refused to tell him where. So he had to deal with the Naddites, the supporters of the local Sith. When he found himself face to face with Freedon Nadd, he did not seek to tempt him with promises of power. He knew it would be easier to entice him by showing him information about the Sith. So he drew him to Korriban, in the Valley of the Dark Lords, the necropolis of the ancient Sith Lords. Nadd was still guiding him, and the local ghosts helped him cause accidents that shattered Kun's body. In an area so covered by the Dark side, he had to give in and agree to use it. His transformation had started, but he was still fighting it. He was then guided to the fourth moon of the planet Yavin, where he was taken prisoner and tortured by the descendants of the Massassi warriors of Naga Sadow. Nadd's goal was simple: he believed the corrupt young Jedi would crack and invade his mind and steal his body. He was at his expense. By fully embracing the Dark side, he achieved what a member of the Jedi Council backed by several knights had failed to do. And the ghost vanished into limbo with no hope of return. Having changed completely, and assuming this fact, Exar Kun became the leader of the Massassi with the intention of claiming the Sith heritage.
Before losing the Battle of Onderon, Freedon Nadd had succeeded in corrupting the heiress of Empress Teta and her cousin Alema Keto. They founded the Krath organization, took power in their sector, and declared war on the Jedi and the Republic. As they developed, they caused the death of Ark Jeth and corrupted his apprentice Ulic Qel-Droma. Exar Kun was not interested in their development, studying the ancient texts of Naga Sadow. He thus became a powerful wizard, a master of the Dark Arts. His massacres built him various buildings that they took to be temples (pyramids visible in Episode IV) and reactivated the old cruiser abandoned here. And when he was able to leave, he went to challenge the other declared heirs of the Sith. There could be only one leader, only one version. As Alema and Ulic took power within the Krath, he faced the other fallen Jedi. Kun wore a massassi amulet, his opponent held his own a legacy of Freedon Nadd. Both were part of the same Sith artifact, and both rivals performed an ancient ritual. The ghosts of the ancient Black Lords then appeared to them, urging them to ally. Exar Kun was thus crowned the new Black Lord of the Sith, and Ulic Qel-Droma his apprentice. And their association was called the Brotherhood of the Sith.
The two Brotherhood leaders had very different opinions on what to do and how to wage the Great Sith War. Ulic focused on military matters, and went to recruit the formidable Mandalorian warriors. Exar Kun wanted to bring the Sith back and knew he needed followers for that. He did not completely trust those of the Krath. He stole a Sith holocron from the Jedi Academy of Ossus, killing the Grand Master of the Order in the process. He convinced several knights to follow him on Yavin IV, converted some of them, and used the holocron and witchcraft to turn others into unwilling puppets. As Ulic launched a great assault on Coruscant, Exar Kun sent assassins to eliminate the greatest Jedi masters. When Mandalore came to ask for his help because his second had been captured, he came to make a show of force far more remarkable than the march of cruisers of the prisoner. At the head of a small group, he intervened in the Senate in the midst of the judgment, petrifying the whole assembly with his powers. He transformed the Supreme Chancellor into a puppet, and left only an empty shell devastated by the Dark side. Only his former master Vodo-Siosk Baas opposed him. Kun revealed the modifications to his lightsaber, the first ever double-bladed blade, and took down his opponent with ease. Then, having delivered his message, he left with his apprentice, Mandalore and their little Massassi escort.
Alema and Crado were chosen to activate a special device in Naga Sadow's cruiser. A suicide mission in reality, to punish the first for his treason and the second for his incompetence. They detonated a star which disrupted its entire sector, including the Ossus system. The Jedi fled their academy, and the Sith took advantage of this to engage in some looting. Ulic Qel-Droma confronted his brother, killed him and realized how deep he had plunged into the Dark Side. Captured, he revealed all the secrets of the Brotherhood. It was the beginning of the end for Exar Kun. Its intended targets were fortified against attack, and an army presented itself at the gates of its stronghold of Yavin IV. Drawing on the amplifiers of the temples built by the Massassis, he sacrificed all his minions to launch an attack of pure energy against his enemies. But the opposing Jedi were too numerous, and managed to contain him. The backlash killed him. One theory is that his ghost is a prisoner of his buildings, but no one has managed to communicate with him like the worshipers of Freedon Nadd have. Would it be out of reach?
Exar Kun's unchallenged reign as Dark Lord of the Sith was very short, but left great marks. No one succeeded in establishing themselves as his successor and at first the Jedi continued to hunt down followers of the Dark side and alchemical creations like the terentateks. But they couldn't find them all. Their former comrades were assassins, and aimed at high ranking officers. The Order took ten years before resuming to function in the usual way, and to begin to rebuild itself. Across the galaxy, under Emperor Vitiate's self-styled Sith regime, interest in the Republic began for the first time in a thousand years. To them, Exar Kun and his family are only Dark Jedi, but how can we not find this coincidence that he decides to move when the former Dark Lords were choosing another official successor other than the Emperor disturbing? A generation later, even if it was because of Imperial shenanigans, it was in revenge for the defeats that concluded the Great Sith War that the War of the Mandalorians was declared. Former members of the Brotherhood have been talked about again, Dark Nebul alias Haazen behind the Jedi Pact or Jorak Uln and Darth Sion who were among the following of Darth Revan. Their presence made observers believe a link between the two Sith groups, which seems very slight today. Today, his influence seems very minimal compared to the intrigues of Darth Revan and the Emperor Vitiate. He can't even claim to be the first to reactivate the Jedi-Sith Wars, as Freedon Nadd's ghost did so before him. But he took the conflict to another level, exhibiting the weaknesses of the Jedi Order and thus proving that it could be put down, destroyed, overwhelmed and ridiculed by the Dark side. If he had not done so, no one would have doubted the outcome of the wars that would have followed, which would have put a stop to many threats before they were triggered. No matter what the Empire says, by being such an Agent of Chaos, Exar Kun has clearly earned his title of Dark Lord of the Sith.
- Legend of the Jedi Book 4: Lords of the Sith
- Legend of the Jedi Book 5: War of the Sith