Please upgrade your browser for the best possible experience.

Chrome Firefox Internet Explorer
×

Tenebrae, the Emperor, Vitiate, Valkorion: Explained

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Story and Lore
Tenebrae, the Emperor, Vitiate, Valkorion: Explained

Kataret's Avatar


Kataret
08.24.2018 , 12:40 PM | #1
Greetings fellow SWTOR enthusiasts. Over the past few months, I've seen various people raise questions and speculate on answers regarding the character of Valkorion. Admittedly, since the launch of Fallen Empire, his character has been twisted several times over and it isn't exactly straightforward on how all the elements of his lore come together. So today I'm going to try and streamline the story of Valkorion from beginning to end so that there is a common train of thought among the community. Feel free to offer corrections or feedback as you see fit.

I’ll start with my interpretation of the overall story of the Emperor, and then break down the more elaborate aspects. I hope this solves some of the community’s confusion on the character.

Spoiler

FlameYOL's Avatar


FlameYOL
08.24.2018 , 01:08 PM | #2
This is a pretty good comprehensive post. I agree with most of your points about how the story progress. As for Dramath's Holocron I think perhaps we could explain it this way: Given it's unique ability to fully hold a force ghost as opposed to just a Keeper like the other Holocrons, perhaps the Holocron "weakned" Valkorion's force ghost enough that it could be banished to the chaos AKA the dark sider afterlife. It's just a personal headcanon of mine but I do think if it could possibly be used to hold a spirit it could be used to banish, or at least weaken one. Usually with monsters like Tenebrae you always need some kind of plot device like that, a dream-world in your mind wasn't a bad idea albeit I think they could've been more clearer with it. At the end of the day however from what we've seen in the chapter it's clear that due to being our mind and we regaining control of it we were able to withstand the Emperor, and I would wager the rest of his family would play a role in this battle of wills as well.
A man can have anything...If he's willing to sacrifice everything

phalczen's Avatar


phalczen
08.26.2018 , 08:12 AM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by Kataret View Post
As for how Zildrog came to be on Nathema, it’s likely that the planet once belonged to the Iokath Sovereignty at the peak of their empire. When Iokath descended into chaos, Zildrog was likely locked away on Nathema just as the Eternal Fleet and SCORPIO were locked elsewhere in Wild Space.
So, I really appreciated your essay. It covers most of the points of contention and offers plausible explanations. I do take exception with is the quoted paragraph. As I mentioned in the other thread, Zildrog represents an anomaly. We don't know a ton about the Iokath Builders. Codex entries indicate that the construction of the Dyson sphere known as Iokath inaugurated a new era for their species. They collected the raw materials from the other planetary and satellite bodies in the star system to make the sphere. This represented the peak of their empire and the start of the design phases that would eventually include the Fleet, the Gravestone, and the Six Gods. They used it as a base of operations, I guess, but I don't get the sense they ventured out in conquest other than for weapons testing. Koth's retelling of the myth never mentions the Machine Gods as being contemporaneous with the Fleet, but he clearly implies the Gravestone is. The Scions imply that the Six Machine Gods attacked Zakuul, but never mention the role of the Fleet. So were these separate events in Zakuul's history? We know that the Gravestone can do a lot independently to neutralize the Fleet, without Zildrog's control. Furthermore, Zildrog is nothing without the Gravestone. The GOTM operation shows us that Izax is capable of neutralizing the Fleet as well. So, there are all sorts of counters that exist to the Fleet. But we are certainly led to believe that the six gods are THE superweapon that one side in the Iokath Civil War used against the other … the Fleet and SCORPIO were left leaderless and memory-less after the events, but their role in the civil war relative to the six gods is less clear. We are also led to believe that the Civil War happened shortly after the Six Gods superweapon was completed. Finally, the Gravestone is "scuttled" on Zakuul while the Fleet scatters without any memory of their creators. Only ARIES maintains any sort of memory of the Iokath Builders - and, ironically, a sense of custodial duty over what they created. The Six Gods just think of themselves as deities, not as creations from organics, and Zildrog just thinks of himself as a world-devourer … again, not as a machine built by organics. So, there isn't a whole lot of time, from a cosmic sense, that passes between the inauguration of the golden age of Iokath, the design of the superweapons, and the civil war. Hence, everything I read in the game codex seems to imply that Nathema was anything but Iokathi-intended.

As I said in the other thread, there are at least some, if not a lot, of Sith purebloods on Medriaas, with no apparent legends or anything to indicate a cataclysm prior to Tenebrae/Vitiate's actions. Zildrog being on that planet just makes no sense, since the builders were too smart to leave their technology in the hands of "primitive" but Force sensitive indigenous peoples. It wouldn't have been left there on purpose, and it doesn't appear to have been a test, and I don't see how you concluded that the planet was part of their Empire when it was on the exact opposite side of the galaxy. It is possible it wandered there, just like the fleet wandered, and the Gravestone wandered. But Zildrog doesn't seem to have a way of traveling on its own. It is also possible it was the first piece of Iokath tech Tenebrae/Vitiate found and he brought it there. Did Vitiate send the Gravestone to stop the Fleet from destroying Zakuul? I suspect not … he says to the Outlander during KOTFE chapter 5 that the Gravestone "is not entirely what [he] suspected." Although he lies to us most of the time, this is probably the truth. He may have never known precisely what it was that Zildrog called into orbit to kill those people on Nathema prior to his ritual.

Maybe the only "official" weapons test on Zakuul was in fact the Six Gods. The Fleet attacking Zakuul, and being neutralized by the Gravestone, was never part of the test. Perhaps it happened after the droids had all gone rogue after the civil war occurred and their memories lost. Maybe the Gemini droids had a vague memory of Zakuul in their databanks from testing data and attacked it out of primal instinct rather than being part of a specifically directed test by the Iokathi when they were still alive. The Gravestone reacted, as it had been designed to do, as a failsafe for the Fleet, leaving Nathema's vicinity and engaging the Eternal Fleet. They scattered, and it subsequently scuttled itself in the Endless Swamp, waiting to be called upon by Zildrog when the time was right.

However, with the way that both Izax and Zildrog/Gravestone appear to have an inherent design to counter the Fleet makes me think they were all developed concurrently. I mean, if the Fleet was their penultimate design, why would they make it counter-able by older weapons? I.e. they would have created a contemporaneous failsafe, rather than rely on outdated technology and obsolete designs to supply that failsafe. This seems, to me, to make the most design sense: the Fleet for naval superiority, the Six Gods for ground invasions, and the Gravestone/Zildrog as both a failsafe against a rogue Fleet or rogue ground Droid-Gods, and the weapon you use when all else fails to subjugate a planet.

Vitiate-Valkorion would certainly know how to construct the hyperwave relay station if he had studied the design of Zildrog. Still with all his ability to find the Fleet in the vastness of space, he couldn't find the other end of Zildrog in his backyard? I doubt that, which means he probably didn't care if he found the Gravestone. He either assumed he could revive the Gravestone using Zildrog in the future, or that with the Fleet, he decided he didn't need Zildrog at full readiness anymore.

So my best guess is that he found Zildrog first, probably long before he had even heard of Zakuul. He is the one who brought it to and used it on Nathema. Then he located Zakuul, heard the legends, put two-and-two together, and realized that Zildrog was the same technology as the Six Gods and the Fleet. He started looking for the Fleet, found it, and was either satisfied with its capabilities, or decided to defer his search for the Machine Gods while he attended to other matters. For him, it was probably better that the Gravestone stayed hidden, since he didn't need anyone having ready access to a direct Fleet counter, and the Nathema Zealots were pretty much incapable of any independent thought, so Zildrog was safe with them … that is, until his son betrayed him and he had to possess the Outlander.
If you would like to hear more of my thoughts, consider joining our guilds on Satele Shan, "Shock and Jawa" of the Republic and "Full Metal Jawa" of the Empire. Thank you for reading!

Kataret's Avatar


Kataret
08.26.2018 , 08:52 AM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by phalczen View Post
It covers most of the points of contention and offers plausible explanations. I do take exception with is the quoted paragraph. As I mentioned in the other thread, Zildrog represents an anomaly.... Finally, the Gravestone is "scuttled" on Zakuul while the Fleet scatters without any memory of their creators.
All right, I appreciate the long response. Everything you said seems pretty legit and reasonable. Quite frankly, I think Iokath as a whole is the anomaly. Although its inclusion did solve "where" Scorpio, Gemini, the Fleet, and the Gravestone all came from, its history is a bit convoluted in how it's presented to us, and that confusion only increased with the introduction of the machine gods and zildrog.

As far as my thinking that Zildrog/Gravestone was originally on Nathema, that was just my interpretation based on the Nathema Conspiracy Flashpoint. We definitely see that Zildrog's command console is buried deep under the planet's surface, and it was my assumption that the actual starship would have been stored with it. I mean, just looking at the size of the cavern beyond the console, it's huge. More than sizable to fit the Gravestone in it. So my speculation was that Tenebrae, in searching his homeworld for Sith secrets or so, stumbled upon the underground chamber that contained both the Zildrog command console and the Gravestone ship.

So the presence of the Zildrog command console on Nathema definitely seems to indicate that the Iokathi did have a presence on the world. It is, however, possible that they only left the console on the planet, while the starship was elsewhere in Wild Space. And upon finding the console, Tenebrae was able to call the ship to Nathema and then proceed to use it for his world-consuming ritual.

phalczen's Avatar


phalczen
08.27.2018 , 05:49 PM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by Kataret View Post
As far as my thinking that Zildrog/Gravestone was originally on Nathema, that was just my interpretation based on the Nathema Conspiracy Flashpoint. We definitely see that Zildrog's command console is buried deep under the planet's surface, and it was my assumption that the actual starship would have been stored with it. I mean, just looking at the size of the cavern beyond the console, it's huge. More than sizable to fit the Gravestone in it. So my speculation was that Tenebrae, in searching his homeworld for Sith secrets or so, stumbled upon the underground chamber that contained both the Zildrog command console and the Gravestone ship.
Well, there's obviously a lot of unanswered questions, but I don't think if Tenebrae-Vitiate had direct control over the Gravestone, he would have allowed it to rust in the swamp of a planet he had yet to explore. If the SWTOR galactic map is to be believed, Nathema is hundreds of thousands of parsecs away from Odessen or Zakuul, suggesting that Zildrog's comms range is galaxy-wide.
The whole structure is filled with Sith-related stuff. He could have built the temple around the console, but if there is any chance a space-faring Force-sensitive species could have found it, I doubt the Iokathi would have left it there on purpose, so I think he probably built the temple FOR the console, not around it. But, I don't think we'll ever get a full answer, especially now that the only person who was alive for most of those centuries is gone.
It does make me think of another question, though. Vinn Attrus was all too eager to be "enhanced" by Zildrog, whatever that enhancement actually is: infusion of Force power harvested from the beings sacrificed in the Crypts of Lifeforce, cybernetic enhancements rapidly installed, or something else. Did T-V-V decline those enhancements, perhaps because he knew he would have to possess new bodies every so often?
If you would like to hear more of my thoughts, consider joining our guilds on Satele Shan, "Shock and Jawa" of the Republic and "Full Metal Jawa" of the Empire. Thank you for reading!

FlameYOL's Avatar


FlameYOL
08.27.2018 , 08:38 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by phalczen View Post
It does make me think of another question, though. Vinn Attrus was all too eager to be "enhanced" by Zildrog, whatever that enhancement actually is: infusion of Force power harvested from the beings sacrificed in the Crypts of Lifeforce, cybernetic enhancements rapidly installed, or something else. Did T-V-V decline those enhancements, perhaps because he knew he would have to possess new bodies every so often?
It's definitely a good question on how Zildrog enhanced Vinn Atrius. Perhaps it is similar to whatever the Sith Inquisitor's SOR mission works, a boost to his celular work.
A man can have anything...If he's willing to sacrifice everything

Kataret's Avatar


Kataret
09.08.2018 , 02:38 PM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by FlameYOL View Post
It's definitely a good question on how Zildrog enhanced Vinn Atrius. Perhaps it is similar to whatever the Sith Inquisitor's SOR mission works, a boost to his celular work.
The enhancement part was a strange element to include in the story. It's possible that Zildrog actually enhanced Tenebrae in their first encounter, before Tenebrae learned how to absorb life essences on his own.

Or perhaps it was just done as justification for Vinn Atrius being able to hold his own against the Outlander and Lana, even after he was wounded by Theron's blaster shot.

Guess we'll never know for sure.

FlameYOL's Avatar


FlameYOL
09.08.2018 , 03:11 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Kataret View Post
The enhancement part was a strange element to include in the story. It's possible that Zildrog actually enhanced Tenebrae in their first encounter, before Tenebrae learned how to absorb life essences on his own.

Or perhaps it was just done as justification for Vinn Atrius being able to hold his own against the Outlander and Lana, even after he was wounded by Theron's blaster shot.

Guess we'll never know for sure.
I suppose it always possible, but from what I remember it is likely the latter. Zildrog says "Consume our enemies, servant of the dragon".
A man can have anything...If he's willing to sacrifice everything

Sydth's Avatar


Sydth
02.11.2021 , 12:45 AM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by Kataret View Post
Ultimately, Valkorion was fulfilled by the wars of Mandalore and Revan, but Revan’s attack showed the Emperor that his original pureblood body was vulnerable. Sensing some sort of sentimentality, Valkorion transferred part of his consciousness into a human body who would serve as Sith Emperor, while the newly formed Emperor’s Hand would protect his original body. Afterwards, his spirit returned to Zakuul, and though some Sith would note that the Emperor seemed “distracted”, they dared not to oppose him lest they end up like the conspiring lords of the Dark Council. Three centuries later, Valkorion once more hungered for death to maintain his immortality, so he launched the Great Galactic War in sending his Sith Empire to attack the Republic. In his time overseeing the Sith, Valkorion revisited the imprisoned Revan, fascinated by the Jedi’s resolve in the same way he was fascinated by the original Valkorion. The Emperor began to pick apart Revan’s mind (perhaps with the intent to make him a host), though the redeemed Jedi’s resolve was strong. Although Revan’s mind did gradually deteriorate from decades of torment, the mental struggle ultimately had a reverse effect and ended up influencing Valkorion. Through Revan, the Emperor was prompted to sign the Treaty of Coruscant, ending the Great Galactic War and giving the Republic time to recover.

Around this time, the Emperor’s human Voice was attacked by a Jedi strike team aboard his space station. Though Valkorion emerged victorious and ended up corrupting many of the defeated Jedi, one resisted his influence--the Hero of Tython. Aided by Lord Scourge, who betrayed the Emperor, the Hero escaped. At the lost of his supposedly loyal Wrath, the Emperor sent the Hand to select a new champion: the apprentice of the traitorous Darth Baras. With the Apprentice inducted as Wrath, the Hand sent the Sith Lord to undermine Baras’ plots, including a mission that saw had the Wrath destroy the Emperor’s Voice on Voss to free the Emperor’s consciousness. However, with the loss of one of his Voices, Valkorion’s spirit suffered considerably, forcing him to launch plots to restore his immortality. He sent agents to three worlds--Belsavis, Voss, and Corellia--where they would cause enough sacrificial death that the Emperor might launch planet-devouring rituals as he did on Nathema. However, on each world, the Emperor’s agents were halted by the Hero of Tython, who learned the location of the Emperor’s human Voice on Dromund Kaas. Still weakened from the loss of his Voss Voice, the human Voice was defeated by the Jedi Knight and subsequently cut down. With another Voice dead, Valkorion’s spirit retreated to Yavin Four, severely weakened and believed dead by much of the Galaxy.

The Emperor’s Voices: The Emperor’s Voices are definitely one of the more confusing aspects of the Emperor. In the base game, every encounter we have with the Voices implies that there is only one, when that simply isn’t true. The Emperor has both his human Voice from the Jedi Knight story AND his Voss Voice from the Sith Warrior story at the same time, not to mention maintaining a hold on Valkorion throughout all of that. So three Voices at once… how does that work? From what we can tell, it appears that Valkorion controlled all three simultaneously, but could only focus on one at a time. As we hear from Senya, Valkorion became increasingly “distant” and “cold”. The Emperor likely maintained a connection to Valkorion, but was probably focusing on his other Voices as their dealings with the Jedi Knight and Sith Warrior. As for the Voices themselves, they seem to be a double-edged sword. While they ensure Vitiate maintains anchored to the physical realm and prevent him from fully dying, they seem to limit his power as his consciousness is split into three different hosts. On top of that, losing a Voice seems to come at a great cost to the Emperor’s power. Losing the Voss Voice made him weak enough that his human Voice wouldn’t even go one-on-one with the Jedi Knight, and then losing a second Voice so soon weakened him that he couldn’t even transfer his consciousness back to Valkorion on Zakuul, instead forcing him to take refuge on Yavin Four.
And now with finally playing 6.2's "Echoes of Oblivion" I find myself here to figure out why Tenebrae and Vitiate were two different races/species. And i'm perfectly happy with these explanations.
Khajjo'panåkaShahi'palåk Aloo'palak
The Shadowlands

"There is no greater challenge than to change from within. But that is what we all must do to survive"- Former Jedi Grand Master Satele Shan

DarthRamette's Avatar


DarthRamette
02.13.2021 , 07:02 PM | #10
Wow this is well thought out and makes almost perfect sense.