“By killing me here... you have rewarded me more than you can possibly know.” ~ Kreia
In this special edition of Aurbere’s ‘An in-depth’ series I will be discussing in detail the intentions and motives of the mysterious Kreia. In particular I will be explaining her intentions behind the events of Malachor V. Note: What is to follow is my interpretation of events, based on my observations. It is up to you to decide the truth of it.
Throughout the course of The Sith Lords, Kreia’s motives are deliberately kept a mystery from the player. At first they are kept a secret from the Exile who can only guess at the truth, but when they are finally revealed... well, it doesn't become much clearer. At times I even feel that the writers understand this and tease me at every turn:
“Perhaps you were expecting some surprise, for me to reveal a secret that had eluded you, something that would change your perspective of events, shatter you to your core.” (YES! I was! Tell me!)
But Kreia does have a ‘goal’. It is the case of many tiny revelations forming a complete image, a puzzle that you have to put together yourself. Once you do it all slots into place, but to avoid you the nose bleeds I have done it for you.
Throughout KOTOR 2 Kreia talks about ‘echoes’, echoes moving outwards, building up, screaming etc. But what does this all mean? In order to better understand Force echoes consider this: the Force, the galaxy and all life is like an ocean, an action is a pebble and the ripples it creates are Force echoes. Throw a pebble at the right moment and in the right place and the ripples it creates will join with other ripples, and grow larger and larger. As Atris observes:
“One person, at the right place, at the right time, can change the face of the galaxy – or end it.”
However their is something more substantial to it that that. A Force Echo is a Force anomaly produced by loss of life. When a being dies, it releases an echo, and the more that die, the louder the echo. Force Sensitives can hear these echoes which carry with them the pain and horror of that persons death. And an echo loud enough can be unbearable to such a being attuned to the Force. These echoes were part of Darth Traya's ‘grand plan’: to deafen all Force users to the Force itself and so free them of its shackles. Either this or they would die.
“The wounds inside people, the wounds suffered by planets... both cause echoes, heard and felt through the Force. And these echoes build, and all that can hear them shall become deafened... or die.”
In such a way, all those Force users too dependent on the Force would perish – and those strong enough would survive, creating a new galaxy where people can choose their own destiny and control their own fate.
Before the events of KOTOR II Traya searched the galaxy for ‘wounds in the Force’ to fulfil her goal. And so she forged two tools. Darth Sion – her weapon to destroy the Jedi – trained assassins to use an ancient Sith power that drained the Force energy of others and made it their own. And Darth Nihilus, who created a web of Force wounds across the galaxy, sending echoes in all directions. This was the true and original purpose of the First Jedi Purge, not to wipe out the Jedi, a secondary motive, but to deafen all to the Force. And contrary to what Wookieepedia claims, that Mical discovered the truth behind Revan’s conquest during his travels with the Exile, it is obvious he speaks of Traya’s:
“What did you see in the web of worlds that have died? What did you see when you saw it through the Force?”
"I see the death of the galaxy. Of life. At first... I thought it was just conquest, but it’s more terrible than that. It’s an echo, spreading outwards, killing everything."
"...Now you understand the magnitude of what is being done.”
Traya's plan however experienced a hiccup, an understatement to say the least. Her apprentices grew tired of her schemes, and perhaps realised her true intentions. So they betrayed her, drained her of her power, and then cast her aside. From this point onwards, Kreia abandoned the teachings of the Sith and abandoned the title of Darth Traya. For what reason we cannot be sure, perhaps she finally realised the true horror of what she had created, or perhaps by experiencing what it felt like to be severed from the Force she realised the futility of her actions.
“Know that there was once a Darth Traya. And that she cast aside that role, was exiled, and found a new purpose.”
For a third time Kreia was changed, she realised what she had done, that she had brought about the death of the galaxy and instead sought to stop it. And so she sought out the Exile, on whom all her hopes of the future rested on.
“On you all my hopes rest, for the future, for the Force.”
Instead of seeking to destroy the galaxy, she now sought to save it, and in the Exile - a wound in the Force - she saw an opportunity. Both to destroy the Sith, establish a Jedi Order superior to the last and finally to discern the validity of her teachings: whether through distancing oneself, though not detaching, from the Force one could become stronger and free - as opposed to enslaved like Sion and Nihilus, or blinded like the Jedi Council. From this moment on, Kreia used the Exile for her own purposes. She used her to right her wrongs, to destroy the Sith, bring stability to the Republic she had helped to disrupt and to exact revenge on the Jedi.
“From the moment you awoke, I have used you.”
The Exile became Kreia’s new weapon, but she was careful not to lead her down the path of Darth Nihilus and so avoid the creation of another monster. And this is why if you follow the path of the dark-side she claims that “you have failed me, completely and utterly”. First Kreia had the Exile track down the Jedi Masters. This was for two reasons: firstly so the Council would gather on Dantooine and be destroyed, and secondly so the Exile could learn something of herself.
But the central focus of Kreia’s new intent was to act as a mentor and a teacher so that the Exile might become strong and wise, the greatest pupil she had ever trained. Kreia also sought to protect her from the dangers of the Sith among others, and so she manipulated others into serving the Exile to ensure her safety. For the Exile was everything to her, and she was prepared to sacrifice anything, do anything, to preserve her.
“I would have killed the galaxy to preserve you. I would have let the galaxy die. You are more rare than you know, and what you have taught yourself must not be allowed to die. You are not a Jedi. Not truly. And it is for that I love you.”
But eventually only one final test remained. When the Exile had learned all she could from Kreia and from the Masters, and truly understood the nature of herself, when Kreia could be sure that she was right, that through detachment from the Force one could grow stronger, Kreia put the endgame into action. She knew, as she always had, that the Exile’s final test would be to defeat her, as a Master defeats their apprentice. In doing so the Exile would prove her superiority, overcome her past, and sever the Force bond that threatened her future existence.
“This place is your last test. It is the graveyard of the past, where you lost everything. It is the dark place in your mind that still echoes of failure. Now we shall see if you can overcome the weight of Malachor... and silence the echoes that beat from its heart.”
And so Kreia left a trail of breadcrumbs, rather obvious ones, but breadcrumbs nonetheless, that led the Exile to Malachor V. She convinced the Exile that she had fallen to the dark side once more and sought to create an echo that would destroy all life, but this was in fact a ruse; as she had long since abandoned such motives. This is why Kreia demands that you kill her, and refuses any offers of mercy, for she realises the gravity of the act in a way that the Exile does not. And so, when the Exile defeats Kreia and severs her remaining hand – severing the Force bond between them, the Exile’s training is complete, Kreia’s plans have been fulfilled. And so she proclaims:
“It is done, at last it is done.”
But before Kreia succumbs to death, she offers the Exile a final gift: the future. And then with the Exile’s training finished, the future of the galaxy safe in the hands of her and her ‘Lost Jedi’ who will teach generations to come what Kreia taught the Exile, she finally died. In many ways Traya’s life was a tragic one. She caused the deaths of countless, and in realising the error of her ways was prepared to sacrifice everything, even her own life, to put things right.
I hope you enjoyed this in-depth on KOTOR 2, and if you ever replay the game again, that it will enlighten your experience. If you have any questions on the topic, just ask.
And thank you Aurbere, for giving me the go ahead.
P.S. Some excellent dialogue from Kreia, which elaborates and illustrates what I have said here.