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"You struck at the wrong fortress, Ludo Kressh! This is just a decoy—all my defenses have always been on the dark side of the moon. Your spies have failed you. Everything has failed you, Ludo. You never should have imagined your petty scheme could surpass my grand dreams… as you shall see…"
―Naga Sadow[src]

The Battle of Khar Delba took place in the year 5000 BBY, and served to consolidate the Dark Lord of the Sith Naga Sadow's power before he brought the Sith Empire into the Great Hyperspace War against the Galactic Republic. Following the death of Dark Lord Marka Ragnos, control of the Sith Empire was in contention between prominent Sith Lords Naga Sadow and Ludo Kressh. The arrival in Sith-controlled space of two explorers from the Republic, Gav and Jori Daragon, caused the two factions a great deal of alarm, leading to an inevitable conflict between Kressh and Sadow. Kressh, who believed that the Daragons' arrival signaled an impending invasion by Republic forces, advised caution, while Sadow saw an opportunity to expand the Sith Empire's boundaries.

Sadow managed to play upon the paranoia of the other Sith Lords, to the effect that he was named the new Dark Lord of the Sith in order to deal with this perceived threat. Although most of the Sith Council backed Sadow, Kressh and his followers, Horak-mul and Dor Gal-ram, refused to accept Sadow's legitimacy. When Kressh's fleet attacked Sadow's citadel on Khar Delba, the new Dark Lord was prepared, having amassed a secret fleet that he hid at his true headquarters on Khar Delba's moon, Khar Shian. The opposition fleet was caught off-guard and defeated, while Sadow allowed Jori Daragon to escape back to the Republic—carrying a locator beacon that would allow Sadow to lead a Sith invasion there in what would become the Great Hyperspace War.

History[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

"Gather your forces! With your military might, your fleets of ships, we can make a surprise attack. We can stop this insanity that will bring about the downfall of our entire empire! We must stop Naga Sadow before it is too late!"
―Ludo Kressh[src]

The death of the Dark Lord of the Sith Marka Ragnos in 5000 BBY[1] left something of a power vacuum in the Sith Empire, with the two most prominent Sith Lords, Naga Sadow and Ludo Kressh, vying for control. Following Ragnos's funeral on Korriban, Sadow and Kressh faced off in a duel with Sith swords, only to be interrupted by the specter of Ragnos himself, who warned the two of an uncertain future for the insular Sith Empire, regardless of its auspicious past and present golden age.[5]

Precluding immediate further conflict between the two Sith was the arrival of a strange starship on Korriban—the Starbreaker 12, flown by down-on-their-luck explorers Gav and Jori Daragon. The Daragons, native to the planet Koros Major in the Galactic Republic, had entered random coordinates into their ship's navicomputer as a last-ditch effort to make enough money to earn their keep. This first contact between Humans from the Republic and the Sith was met with suspicion by the Sith leaders. After ordering their guards to take the two youths prisoner, Sadow and Kressh disagreed over how to interpret their arrival. Kressh feared an impending alien invasion, while Sadow wanted to learn more of where the explorers had come from, in the hopes that the Sith Empire could expand outside of the space they had previously explored.[5] Sadow and Kressh, along with the rest of the Sith and their new prisoners, returned to the Sith throneworld of Ziost.[6]

Sadow's deception[edit | edit source]

Naga Sadow's secret fleet lies in wait behind Khar Shian.

This disagreement was the root of a major rift between Sadow and Kressh, who continued to make bids for supreme control of the Sith Empire. Sadow was not beyond political manipulation to achieve his means, however, and managed through staging a false escape by Jori Daragon to convince Kressh and the Sith Council that the Republic had attacked, warranting a retaliatory invasion of the Republic. Gathering support of most of the Council, Sadow was elected to take up the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith in order to meet this new "threat." Kressh, however, refused to acknowledge Sadow's legitimacy, and left with two of his supporters, Horak-mul and Dor Gal-ram. Regardless of Kressh's challenge, the majority of the Sith accepted Sadow as their new master and allowed him to undertake the marking ritual, branding his forehead with the mark of the Dark Lord.[6]

Sadow continued to plot against Kressh, keeping his own goals foremost in his mind. After the staged attack and "escape," the new Dark Lord moved Jori to his citadel on Khar Delba. Gav, whom Sadow had taken under his wing and begun to train in the use of the dark side of the Force, was in an identical stronghold on Khar Delba's moon of Khar Shian, where Sadow also had clandestinely amassed a fleet of warships under his direct command. Realizing that he would need Jori Daragon at least to lead him to the Republic, Sadow sent warriors of the Massassi caste to steal the Starbreaker 12 from Ziost, instructing the warriors to leave behind evidence with his personal symbol on it—proof that Sadow was behind the attacks. Kressh took the bait, and gathered his followers for an assault on Khar Delba.[3]

The battle[edit | edit source]

Kressh's forces attack[edit | edit source]

Ludo Kressh's forces attack the citadel on Khar Delba.

"Quick! Destroy Naga Sadow! The stain of his treachery must be obliterated from the Sith Empire!"
"His defenses can't withstand our attack. We've caught him off guard!"
"We're with you, Ludo Kressh."
―Ludo Kressh, Horak-mul, and Dor Gal-ram[src]

Kressh brought a fleet of Derriphan-class battleships to Khar Delba, supported by Horak-mul and Dor Gal-ram, and immediately commenced an attack upon Sadow's fortress. Orders were issued that no transmissions would be sent to the surface, and that surrender was not an option available to Sadow. The Dark Lord of the Sith, however, was pleased with this outcome, as he had anticipated it and made appropriate plans.[3]

As his rivals' ships bombarded the fortress, Sadow deceived Jori Daragon, instructing his warriors to man the turrets and put up a defense. Kressh and his allies bought into this, as well, fully believing that the fortress's defenses were all Sadow had in store for them. Sadow, knowing that he had found his opportunity, urged Jori to take the Starbreaker 12 and escape back to the Republic. Although she expressed dismay over leaving her brother behind in the Sith Empire, Jori allowed herself to be convinced when Sadow lied that Kressh had come to interrogate her in order to gather information about the Republic. The Starbreaker 12 blasted out of the Khar Delba fortress amid a hail of cannon fire between the turrets and Kressh's attacking battleships. Kressh, recognizing the vessel, instructed his forces to shoot it down. Although Horak-mul managed to bring the Starbreaker 12 into his sights, Jori managed to maneuver away, jumping to the safety of hyperspace.[4]

Sadow's double-cross[edit | edit source]

"But you are my crew! My slaves!"
―Horak-mul and Dor Gal-ram, betrayed by their crewmen[src]

Horak-mul is betrayed.

As soon as Jori Daragon was safely away, Sadow summoned his massive fleet from the shadow of Khar Shian, ordering them to begin their attack. Caught completely off-guard, Kressh was livid. Sadow transmitted to his rival's ship, taunting him for his gullibility as he reached to send yet another transmission, this time to the ships of Horak-mul and Dor Gal-ram. The Massassi warriors on both vessels, having been under Sadow's control from the very start, turned on and murdered their masters, taking control of Horak-mul's and Dor Gal-ram's battleships and in turn firing upon Kressh's remaining fleet. All the while, Sadow's fighters and battleships of his secret fleet hammered away at those of his rival. Kressh saw no chance for victory, and ordered the remnants of his forces to retreat.[4]

Outcome[edit | edit source]

"Yes, fly to your unsuspecting Republic… You were meant to escape alone, Jori Daragon. Now I can set the rest of my plan in motion!"
―Naga Sadow[src]

With the defeat of Ludo Kressh, nothing stood in the way of Naga Sadow's complete control of the Sith Empire. Returning to his real fortress on Khar Shian, Sadow was greeting by throngs of his loyal servants and warriors, reveling in his victory through guile. Gav learned of his sister's escape, but did not know that Sadow had orchestrated it all for his own benefit—the Starbreaker 12 had been fitted with a tracking device, giving the Sith a route into Republic space for Sadow's planned invasion.[4]

Although defeated, Kressh continued to resist Sadow, but his efforts were in vain—when Kressh's flagship arrived above Khar Delba once more, Sadow managed to trick Gav Daragon into destroying the vessel.[7] Although this proved to be deception on Kressh's part—the craft had actually been a decoy, much as Sadow had previously tricked Kressh into attacking a decoy fortress—Kressh would never again gain the upper hand against Sadow, and was eventually killed by Sadow's forces in space combat.[8] After gathering his forces, Sadow was able to follow Jori Daragon back to the Republic, launching an invasion that would become known as the Great Hyperspace War.[1]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

The Battle of Khar Delba, a conflict in which Naga Sadow manages to secure control of the Sith Empire, appeared in the fourth and fifth issues of Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi — The Golden Age of the Sith, a comic book story arc written by Star Wars author Kevin J. Anderson in 1997 as part of the larger Tales of the Jedi comic series. Both issues were drawn by artist Dario Carrasco, Jr.. Anderson had wanted to write a history of the Sith, and was able to obtain some information from George Lucas to create a base for his work.[9] The events of the Great Hyperspace War were laid out in the next story arc of the series, Tales of the Jedi: The Fall of the Sith Empire, also written by Anderson.

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