- "My warriors need another crusade. The Empress Teta system is in chaos, overstretched by their many conquests. The witch Aleema and her Jedi devotee Ulic Qel-Droma will fall under the fist of Mandalore."
- ―Mandalore the Indomitable
The roots of the Mandalorian Wars lay buried deep in the turmoil of the Great Sith War. In 3,996 BBY, the restless Mandalorian Clans made their way to the Krath held world of Empress Teta system as they roamed far from their homeworld scouting the known galaxy for worthy foes. Mandalore the Indomitable, the Lord of the Clans, had heard rumors of the military exploits of the Krath's young commander, a fallen Jedi named Ulic Qel-Droma. On the world of Kuar, Mandalore challenged Ulic to single combat and he was defeated by the Sith Lord. After the duel, he pledged his loyalty to Qel-Droma, thereby allying the Mandalorian Clans with the Sith. Under orders from Ulic Qel-Droma and his Sith Master Exar Kun, they laid waste to countless worlds and earned the enmity of the Republic and its Jedi defenders.
In the waning days of the Great Sith War, as the Brotherhood of the Sith hovered on the very brink of defeat, the Fourth Battle of Onderon took place. The Mandalorians staged a surprise assault against the city dwellers of Iziz, but just as the tide of battle had turned in the their favor, Republic reinforcements suddenly arrived in the system. The Republic commander informed Mandalore that his master Ulic Qel-Droma had been captured and demanded the Mandalorians' immediate surrender, but Mandalore refused to concede the battle. Caught between the incoming Republic fleet and the native Beast Riders, the Mandalorian forces were devastated.
Mandalore ordered a rapid retreat to Onderon's nearby moon, Dxun, believing that he could lose the Republic pursuit in its dense jungles. Unfortunately, while withdrawing, a Republic frigate fired upon his Basilisk droid mount and he crashed into the canopy far from friendly aid. Rising from the wreckage, Lord Mandalore was immediately set upon by a pack of ravenous Drexl and was devoured. Initiating a search of the moon's dangerous forests, the remaining Mandalorian Crusaders scoured the landscape for signs of their leader. In a fateful moment, one crusader stumbled across Mandalore's mask hanging, snagged in a patch of nearby foliage. In accordance with the laws of his people, he claimed the mask and became the new Mandalore, Mandalore the Ultimate, whose legacy would affect the galaxy for years to come.
Rise of the Neo-CrusadersEdit
From his forward base of operations on Dxun, Mandalore recalled the disparate Clans, but few remained to heed his summons. Not to be deterred, he increased the recruiting of other species into the fold, thereby forming a new generation of Mandalorian warriors known as the Neo-Crusaders. In time, the Mandalorian ranks swelled with warriors from countless worlds. Humans soon made up the majority, but races as diverse as Twi'leks, Togorians, Rodians, Kerestians, and Mandallian Giants were well represented. The term 'Mandalorian' began to signify more than just a species; it now referred to a sect of warriors who defined themselves by their devotion to the Mandalorian ideal of earning honor and glory through combat.
- "The Sith came to us with an offer – to fight a worthy enemy in a battle that would be remembered forever."
- ―Canderous Ordo
In the year 3,976 BBY, Mandalore the Ultimate launched a new Mandalorian crusade. Goaded by an unknown Sith faction, he devised an ambitious scheme to overthrow the Galactic Republic. He began by leading his renewed Clans in a brutal campaign of conquest along the Outer Rim Territories, on the edge of Republic Space. Sacking independent planets and colonies such as Althir, the Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders were able to carve out a clan territory greater than that ruled by the Hutts in the span of little more than a decade. During this period of imperialism, Mandalorian forces conquered the planet Cathar. Seeking vengeance for opposing the Mandalorians in past conflicts, Mandalore the Ultimate's chief strategist, Cassus Fett, viciously enslaved and massacred the native Cathar species, pushing them to the brink of extinction.
The Republic Senate initially chose not to intervene. The war weary senators were reluctant to get embroiled in another galaxy spanning conflict so soon after the recent war with the Sith. They still remembered the devastation wrought during the Great Sith War and they did not wish to risk open warfare in the defense of planets located beyond the government's borders. They refused to take part in the ongoing conflict unless the Mandalorians threatened to invade the Republic itself. Meanwhile, Mandalore prepared to do just that. He reordered his conquered provinces to better serve as warehouses and foundries for his growing fleets, stockpiling resources to fuel his war machine. With each military victory, the Mandalorian Clans grew more powerful. They assembled a massive slave labor force and conscripted subject peoples into their ranks. As planet after planet fell before their advancing fleet, refugees began to pour into Republic space – flocking to rich border worlds such as Taris in the hopes of escaping the Mandalorians' wrath.
- "The prologue is over. We're breaking out on the Outer Rim – and more. The real Mandalorian Wars have begun."
- ―Rohlan Dyre
For more than a decade, the Republic Senate allowed the Mandalorians' crusade of conquest to continue unchecked, but as the Neo-Crusaders approached Taris, the Senators chose to make a stand and defend the Republic's extensive commercial investment in the planet. In 3,966 BBY, Taris was granted Republic membership and the annexed world soon became the heart of the Republic's defense of the region. Between the years 3,965 and 3,964 BBY, the first skirmishes between Neo-Crusader and Republic forces took place along the Republic border between Taris and the Mandalorian homeworld. For months, the two galactic powers sparred within the neutral Republic frontier as the Mandalorians systematically probed the strength and resolve of the Republic Military in preparation for a full-scale attack.
Meanwhile, a secretive group of Jedi Masters stationed on Taris received a disturbing vision that foretold the return of the Sith. To their dismay, the vision seemed to predict that one of their own Padawans was to become a Sith Lord who would be responsible for the collapse of the Jedi Order. Having dedicated their lives to the sole mission of safeguarding the Republic from the Sith, they massacred their apprentices within the halls of the Jedi Academy in an attempt to forestall the future that they had foreseen. The masters framed the lone survivor, a Padawan named Zayne Carrick, for the murders that they had committed, but Zayne repeatedly escaped capture and fled the system. Amidst the resulting turmoil, the population of Taris lost faith in their Jedi protectors and the planet descended into anarchy.
In 3,963 BBY, Mandalore the Ultimate received word of the chaos that had consumed Taris. Understanding that the planet was the key to the entire sector, he took advantage of the situation and signaled his long-prepared forces to attack en masse. The invasion of the Republic began with a rapid conquest of Onderon staged from nearby Dxun. Meanwhile, the Mandalorian fleets in the Outer Rim began to pour into Republic space through three invasion corridors in adjacent sectors. The Republic was caught off-guard by the sudden and overwhelming Mandalorian break out, an event that the popular media would refer to as "The Onslaught." The deployed battle groups of the Repulbic Navy did their best to counter the Mandalorian assault as the Galactic Senate prepared to retaliate with the entire Republic fleet.
The primary Mandalorian invasion force, commanded by Mandalore himself, began a major push towards the Republic security cordon around Taris. Splitting his command, Mandalore simultaneously attacked Taris and the nearby planet Vanquo, thereby forcing the Republic defenders, under the command of the Admirals Jimas Veltra and Noma Sommos, to divide their efforts. During the ensuing battle, Veltraa was killed and Sommos was gravely injured. When the dust had settled, Taris found itself under siege and the remnants of the Republic fleet in the region were in full retreat under the command of the newly promoted Admiral Saul Karath of the Courageous.
- "Anyone who put up a fight – or wouldn't fight – was crushed. We razed entire worlds trying to provoke the Republic into fighting us."
- ―Canderous Ordo
The Republic petitioned the Jedi High Council for aid, but the Council urged patience as they assessed the Mandalorian threat. The Jedi were hesitant to be drawn into an another armed conflict, a mere thirty years after the fallen Knights Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma successfully divided the Jedi Order against itself. The war with the Sith had taken a terrible toll on the Order and it had yet to fully recover. Though many of the youngest and brightest Jedi were eager to combat the Mandalorians, their Jedi Masters would not allow it. They were wary of the dark side and they sensed that an unknown hand was at work behind the new war.
The Jedi Council seemed content to watch and wait as the Mandalorians spread the fires of war across the Outer Rim, but a growing Revanchist movement]] within the Jedi Order was not. As the Mandalorian Wars had slowly escalated from a border dispute to a full-scale war, a young and charismatic Jedi Knight known as Revan had quietly recruited Jedi to combat the invaders. His friend Malak was the first to join his cause. Between them, Revan and Malak were able to enlist a number of like-minded volunteers. In time, their followers would come to be known as the Jedi Crusaders. Anticipating the Mandalorian invasion, they scouted the battlefront during the early days of the war, without the knowledge or consent of the Jedi Council.
When many of the Jedi Crusaders were captured during the Fourth Battle of Suurja, the Council lectured the Revanchist leader for bringing Padawans and fellow Knights to a war zone without permission, and for leaving them to fend for themselves on Suurja while investigating events on Dxun and Onderon. Master Vrook Lamar of the High Council ordered the Revanchist commander to recover the captured Jedi and return them safely to Coruscant. Ultimately, it was Zayne Carrick who would accomplish that feat. With the aid of companions, he rescued Alek Squinquargesimus, Cale Berkona, and the rest of the captive Crusaders. He and a renegade Mandalorian named Rohlan Dyre infiltrated the Flashpoint Stellar Research Station and liberated the Jedi from the clutches of Demagol, a Mandalorian scientist who conducted torturous experiments on his subjects in an effort to divine the nature of their Force abilities.
The Mandalorian veteran Canderous Ordo would later reminisce that the Republic initially utilized "shameful" defensive tactics such as placing military installations adjacent to major civilian population centers. He believed that the Republic felt that his people would not use "appropriate force" against their bases in major cities. The Mandalorians quickly disabused them of such notions. On the planet Serroco, the Republic military made the mistake of placing its defensive fortifications within thecities of the native Stereb. Disgusted by what he called a "defense without honor," Mandalore had the cities completely annihilated with nuclear devices. The Mandalorian war machine proved to be ruthless, tenacious, and largely unscrupulous – willing to achieve victory regardless of the cost. In the battles of Serroco, Duro, and Eres III, they shocked the galaxy with the sheer carnage they were willing to inflict upon any worlds that dared to fight back.
On Taris, a squad of Mandalorian led by Pulsipher captured a rare Sith artifact known as the Muur Talisman. But arriving on Jebble, the talisman attached itself to Pulsipher's arm. When he struck of his men, he later turned into a rakghoul, but smarter, more organized and could use weapons. The plague was more quicker and with much of the Mandalorian forces on Jebble for a strike at Alderaan, the plague may go galactic.
In the opening stages of the war, the Republic military proved to be outmatched by the sheer ferocity of the Mandalorians' attacks. Time and again, the Republic navy was soundly beaten, but things were about to change. The revelation of exactly what had occurred during the Battle of Cathar, several years earlier, would mark a turning point in the war. After learning of the genocide of the Cathar, Revan and Malak openly defied the Jedi High Council and led their Jedi followers to war.
The Jedi interveneEdit
- "While the Jedi Council preached patience, there were many among our order who were eager for us to join the battle. Two young knights in particular demanded immediate action: Revan and Malak. They rallied many of the Jedi to their cause and, against the wishes of their masters, joined the Republic fleet battling the Mandalorians."
Revan and Malak proved to be extremely capable commanders in the field of battle and they rose swiftly through the ranks of the Republic military. Soon, they were given direct control over one-third of the entire Republic fleet. Revan used his new-found authority to spearhead the Republic war effort and under his enterprising leadership, the all-but-defeated Republic Navy began to push the Mandalorians back. The Jedi Masters, however, believed that Malak and Revan were only offering easy solutions to the galaxy's problems and they feared that much woe would result from their recklessness.
Once Revan took control of the Republic forces, he proved himself to be an adept commander. In numerous desperate skirmishes, he simply out-thought and outmaneuvered the Mandalorians both on the ground and in space. Revan's keen tactical abilities completely turned the Republic's war effort around, but he did not achieve such success without paying a heavy price.
As the war dragged on, Revan began to take certain moral shortcuts—committing several "unsavory" acts, such as leaving "non-strategic" planets completely undefended in order to accomplish the "greater goal" of speedily winning the war. Revan and Malak adapted to their enemies' merciless tactics by simply co-opting them; fighting fire with fire. In time, they developed a cold and calculating disposition uncharacteristic of Jedi. They grew to despise weakness and indecisiveness in all its forms. Though Revan’s tactics were flawless and Malak’s righteous fury was unmatched, the pair slowly began to mirror the callous Mandalorians they were fighting.
Revan and Malak led the Republic to victory after victory. They pushed the Mandalorians back to Taris, off of Dxun and Onderon, and back into Mandalorian space. Even Cassus Fett's impressive victory at the Battle of Jaga's Cluster could not turn the momentum back in the Mandalorians' favor. Pursuing the roving Mandalorian fleets, Revan and Malak ventured into territories outside the Republic's borders. In an effort to draw their enemies out, their forces assaulted the Mandalorian regime on Althir and in the resulting battle, much of the remaining Mandalorian army was decimated.
- "It was what we had wanted all along, in a way. We wanted to fight the best in a battle that would be remembered for centuries. And we did."
- ―Canderous Ordo
Early in the war, at some point in the year 3,963 BBY, Revan visited the ancient Sith world of Malachor V while scouting for new outposts along the embattled Outer Rim. Word had reached him that Malachor was anathema to the Mandalorians and he wished to know the reason why. Upon landing on the planet's surface, he was nearly destroyed by the resonance of ancient Sith power and he only managed to survive the encounter through sheer force of will. He fed upon the power of the dark side of the Force, and in so doing, avoided being utterly consumed by it, yet he did not escape unscathed. The dark side beckoned and Revan fell under its influence.
In the year 3,960 BBY, Revan forced a final confrontation with the Mandalorians above Malachor V. He deployed a massive fleet to the planet consisting mostly of those whose loyalties to himself remained in doubt. In utter secrecy, he had prepared a superweapon, known as the "Mass Shadow Generator," which had been designed by the Zabrak engineer Bao-Dur. The weapon was the centerpiece of a trap with which he hoped to bring about a conclusive end to the destructive conflict. Commanding the fleet and overseeing the device's use was a capable and jaded Jedi General (later known as the Jedi Exile) who had taken part in the recent bloody campaign on Dxun. Revan lured the Mandalorians to the planet and a massive fleet battle ensued in orbit.
Revan himself was delayed outside the system by a Mandalorian scouting party. He eventually arrived at Malachor and entered the fray, but he was late and the Mandalorian fleets were far from defeated. In that moment, he drew upon the Sith energies haunting the surface below to augment his power. Soon thereafter, Revan pressed Mandalore into a direct confrontation and the fallen Jedi struck the great Mandalorian leader down in single combat. Meanwhile, more and more of the Jedi fighting in orbit found themselves unable to resist the call of the power emanating from the planet below and were thus drawn to the dark side. With renewed vigor, Revan's forces pressed the attack. They soon achieved a stalemate and then slowly began to push the Mandalorian fleet back towards Malachor V.
Finally, as the fighting grew intense, Revan's Jedi general observed that the Mandalorians had taken the bait and that her trap was set to spring. With a nod of her head, she commanded Bao-Dur to activate the secret weapon. Moments later, she watched in horror as a significant portion of both fleets were suddenly drawn from orbit into a vast gravity vortex that was powerful enough to crush the countless ships into the planet's crust and fracture the world to its very core.
After slaying Mandalore the Ultimate and winning the war with a sweeping victory at Malachor V, Revan and Malak were hailed as heroes and saviors of the Republic, yet at that time, Sith teachings were already sweeping through the ranks of their command. Soon after that final battle, they led the remainder of their forces into the Unknown Regions under the pretense of tracking down the remnants of the Mandalorian fleet, but they did not return and they sent no word of their whereabouts. In time, the Republic feared that the Jedi and their followers had been lost in a tragic, unknown disaster in the depths of unexplored space.
- "The war we had with the Republic was supposed to be the most glorious battle of our history but… it was a very costly one. I guess we didn't think of how much we could lose in it."
- ―Canderous Ordo
Few ships from either fleet survived the battle of Malachor V unscathed, but the Mandalorians sustained the worst damage and the highest casualties. The few shell-shocked survivors rapidly transmitted their unconditional surrender. After the battle, Revan had a singular opportunity to put an end to the threat of the Mandalorians once and for all, but he chose not to take advantage of it. He merely disarmed and disbanded the Clans, allowing them to splinter into disheartened groups which scattered across the Outer Rim. There, devoid of leadership and honor, they degenerated. A few Mandalorian survivors returned to the Mandalore system, but many, including Canderous Ordo, humbled their pride and became mercenaries for hire.
- "Many believed the Mandalorians were defeated at Malachor V. But the Mandalorians taught the Jedi much through battle. And so it was that Malak, Revan, and the Jedi that followed them discovered their true natures in the Mandalorian Crusade."
The Jedi general who had brought the war to its cataclysmic conclusion proved incapable of enduring the psychic backlash of the destructive energies that she had unleashed; she survived the ordeal only by unconsciously deafening herself to the Force. After the war, she would be the only Jedi out of all those who had served with Revan to reject the dark side and return to the Jedi Council on Coruscant for judgment. Before the Council, she was charged with following Revan to war in an act of rebellion and the Masters informed her that she was to be exiled from the Jedi Order as a result. Upon hearing her sentence, the Exile defiantly stabbed her lightsaber into the center stone of the Council Judgment Chamber. Her sentence was harsh and not one that the council could truly enforce, but she chose to accept it nonetheless. Turning her back on the Jedi, she departed from known space to wander alone on the fringes of the Republic.
In 3,959 BBY, one year after their disappearance, the lost heroes Revan and Malak suddenly returned to the Galactic Republic at the head of a massive invasion fleet which consisted of commandeered Republic vessels as well as numerous vessels of unknown design. The armada was crewed by a host of experienced veterans and commanded by defectors such as Admiral Saul Karath, General Derred, and Mon Halan—some of the finest officers that the Republic had produced during the Mandalorian Wars. Calling themselves the Sith, they declared war on the Republic. So began the Jedi Civil War…
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