- "I am the Dark Lord who will restore the Sith to glory. They call me Bane."
- ―Darth Bane
Darth Bane, born Dessel, was the Sith'ari and the Dark Lord of the Sith responsible for creating the Rule of Two. Born in 1026 BBY, he was raised as a poor miner on the Outer Rim planet Apatros. After killing a Galactic Republic ensign in a fight in 1003 BBY, Dessel was in danger of being arrested and imprisoned by the Republic. With the help of his friend Groshik, he escaped off-world to join the Sith Brotherhood of Darkness. Initially serving as a foot soldier in the Gloom Walkers unit, he was recognized as a Force-sensitive, and taken to the Sith Academy on Korriban. Bane, as he had been christened, quickly became one of the best students at the Academy before he lost his faith in the dark side of the Force. Though Bane was able to regain his confidence in the dark side, he lost his trust in the Brotherhood of Darkness, believing it to be a flawed organization whose leader, Skere Kaan, was a coward and a fool. Deserting the order, he went to the planet Lehon and studied the holocron of Darth Revan, and, armed with new knowledge, helped destroy the Brotherhood, allowing him to create his own Sith Order. He then instituted a Rule of Two, which stated that there could be only two Sith to avoid the infighting that had plagued the Sith for millennia. He also took both the title of Darth and an apprentice named Darth Zannah.
In 990 BBY, ten years after the destruction of the Brotherhood, Bane sought to learn how to create a holocron, through which he would pass down his knowledge to future Sith Lords. The Sith journeyed to the Deep Core world of Tython to locate the Sith holocron of the ancient Dark Lord Belia Darzu. However, while Bane was on Tython, the Jedi Order learned of his existence, and sent a group of Jedi to kill him and his apprentice. Once the Jedi arrived, they confronted the two Sith in Darzu's fortress. Though outnumbered, the Sith were able to defeat the Jedi; however, Bane was grievously injured. Zannah took him to Ambria, where she convinced the healer Caleb to help them. Caleb notified the Jedi Council, only to have Zannah use her powers to drive her cousin Darovit insane. Zannah killed Caleb, then hid herself and Bane. When the Jedi arrived, they killed Darovit, believing him to be the Sith Lord. Thus, the Sith were believed destroyed.
A decade later, Bane began to worry that his apprentice was too weak to overthrow him and assume the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith, as was necessary under the Rule of Two. He began to research the secrets to prolonging his life by transferring his essence to another body, and traveled to Prakith, where he claimed the holocron of the ancient Darth Andeddu. After returning from Prakith, Bane was ambushed by a team of assassins hired by Caleb's daughter, Serra, and was captured. Taken to Doan, Bane was imprisoned and tortured, only to covertly gain his freedom soon afterward. Encountering Zannah on Doan, Bane dueled his apprentice, who sought to become the new Dark Lord. The fight ended in a draw, with Bane escaping and heading to Ambria with Darth Cognus, an Iktotchi assassin skilled in use of the dark side whom Bane planned to take as his apprentice if Zannah proved herself weak and unworthy. There, Bane and Zannah engaged in a fateful duel that resulted in the death of the Sith'ari and Zannah claiming the title of Dark Lord. Bane tried to initiate the ritual of essence transfer but failed to control his apprentice's body. Part of Darth Bane's soul lived in Zannah's body after the failed ritual. But the majority of his spirit was thrown into the void, causing him an eternity of suffering. Nearly a millennium later, Bane's Sith Order defeated the Jedi Order and overthrew the Republic. His holocron still imparted wisdom through the years.
- "Hurst always said you were no good. He knew there was something wrong with you…Bane."
The Human male who would become Darth Bane was born as Dessel on the Outer Rim planet Apatros in 1026 BBY to an abusive miner named Hurst. Des, as he was nicknamed, was often bullied by his father and the other miners. Hurst blamed his son for the death of his wife, who had perished during childbirth. Hurst also took to blaming Dessel for his own miserable life on Apatros, and considered his son to be the bane of his existence—so much so that he took to calling him "bane" frequently. In 1010 BBY, at the age of sixteen, Dessel began to work in the cortosis mines of Apatros under the direction of the Outer Rim Oreworks Company. He learned to fend for himself, ignoring the threats and insults hurled at him by his father and the other miners, and grew into a muscular young man as he worked deep in the cortosis mines. One of Dessel's few friends was Groshik, the Neimoidian owner of the local cantina. Unknown to anyone, Dessel was Force-sensitive, and he occasionally felt the call of the Force's dark side.
One day, when Dessel was eighteen, a drunk Hurst berated him until Dessel stood up to his father and challenged him to a fight. Irate, Hurst beat him until his ribs cracked, although Dessel withstood the pain without sound. That night, Dessel, filled with hate, envisioned his father dying by picturing a giant hand squeezing his heart. The next morning, Hurst was dead. Unknown to Dessel, he had used the Force to kill his father. After Hurst's death, his friends tried to continue with their harassment of Dessel, but the young miner now had the confidence to stand up for himself, and proceeded to best many of them in fights until they learned to leave him alone. On the fifth anniversary of Hurst's death, a man named Gerd—who had been friends with Hurst—decided that he would put Dessel in his place after verbally harassing him the same way Hurst once did. In a drunken stupor, Gerd attacked Dessel and attempted to gouge out one of his eyes. With a premonition granted by the dark side of the Force, Dessel severed Gerd's thumb with his teeth.
Returning to town on a Galactic Republic cargo ship, Dessel began playing sabacc in Groshik's cantina against other miners and a group of Republic soldiers who had arrived to pick up cortosis shipments from Outer Rim Oreworks. A skilled gambler, Dessel proceeded to win many games while also tossing frequent barbs at the Republic to the soldiers in the cantina. Successfully driving every other player out of the game, Dessel played his final hand against a young ensign, and both ended up with an Idiot's Array, the rarest hand possible. In a final round where whoever was dealt the highest card would win, both players received nine. In the next sudden death round, Dessel got a nine, beating the ensign's eight, and giving him sabacc and the ten thousand credit sabacc pot. The irate ensign attempted to attack Dessel, but was stopped by Groshik. Groshik also ordered everyone but Dessel out, and explained to the Human that he was worried; Dessel had somehow played the soldiers, twisting them to his advantage and never relenting. Furthermore, the crowd had somehow fed off of Dessel's anger, Groshik believed. Dessel reassured his friend, but the Neimoidian warned him to be careful.
As Dessel left the cantina, he was attacked by the ensign and two other soldiers. Easily dominated by the miner in physical combat, the ensign pulled out a vibroblade. However, Dessel's unconscious use of the Force allowed him to detect the weapon. Reacting without thinking, Dessel stabbed the ensign with his own weapon, killing the soldier. Panicked, the other Republic soldiers fled to alert their superiors. The miner was forced to turn to Groshik, who used his contacts to save Dessel from being caught and imprisoned by Republic forces by arranging to have him smuggled off-planet to join the Sith—the enemies of the Jedi and the Republic, who engaged in a prolonged war with them.
New Sith Wars
- "Now you get to see firsthand how the Brotherhood of Darkness deals with mutinous soldiers!"
Dessel was hidden onboard a Rodian's starship, and taken to join the Brotherhood of Darkness as a foot soldier, helping to win the New Sith Wars. The Human quickly rose to the rank of sergeant in a Sith unit known as the Gloom Walkers. Wielding a GSI-21D and a TC-22, he became a skilled shot. His use of the Force made him an adept soldier and commander, and he was able to guide his unit away from death many times, such as during the Battle of Kashyyyk. For his actions, Dessel earned the trust of the Gloom Walkers over that of the unit's commander, Ulabore, who took credit for his unit's victories, which had been enabled by Dessel. The Gloom Walkers soon became one of the most skilled of the Sith's infantry units, and they were sent on the most critical missions.
However, things changed for Dessel after the Gloom Walkers received an order regarding the Battle of Phaseera. Ulabore knew the order to be a tactical mistake but planned to follow it anyway since he was afraid to face the Sith Lord who had issued the command. Dessel mutinied and punched Ulabore in the face, knocking him out cold, and then proceeded to lead the squad into battle. After being blinded by a flash grenade, Dessel discovered that he could still "see" where all the Republic soldiers were. Thanks to this mysterious sight, he managed to kill each soldier with a sniper rifle in the space of a few seconds. Though he did not know it at the time, he had unconsciously used the Force. After the battle, Dessel discovered that Ulabore had informed the Sith Lord Kopecz of his actions. Expecting to be court-martialed, Dessel was saved from this fate by the Dark Lord, who offered to take him to Korriban where he could enroll at the Sith Academy. Dessel decided to accept Kopecz's offer. Having been offered the chance to create a new identity for himself, he thought back to the cruelty of his father, and decided to take a new name, one which would signify his new life—Bane.
Training on Korriban
- "I think he might be the one we've been searching for. He could be the Sith'ari."
Bane arrived at the Academy and immediately began to study the ways of the Sith under the Sith Lords Qordis and Kas'im. On his own initiative, he also frequently studied the archives in the academy, which contained documents about the dark side and the history of the Sith. However, the Sith Masters discouraged the studying of the archives, claiming they were relics of a time long forgotten. Thanks in part to the Masters' advice, Bane began to abandon the archives he studied at the beginning of his training in favor of increased focus on physical and mental exercise. Despite the late discovery of his Force-sensitivity, Bane began to exceed many of the students who had been trained since birth.
After training for several months and rapidly climbing to the top of the ranks among the students, Bane challenged to a duel a Makurth student named Fohargh who had previously beaten him. After beating Bane in lightsaber combat, Fohargh began to taunt him, causing Bane to fill with rage. He unleashed his anger, killing Fohargh with a wave of dark Force energy against Kas'im's instructions. This victory earned Bane the attention of the Zabrak Sirak, the favorite of Lord Qordis and one of the most prominent students at the academy. Though Bane expected to be punished for killing a fellow student, Qordis instead was impressed by Bane, and began urging the Blademaster Kas'im to pay special attention to Bane.
However, the victory left Bane shaken. The Sith apprentice realized that he had been responsible for the death of his father years before. This revelation caused Bane to doubt the Masters' teachings, and he began to fear the power of the dark side. As a result, he also started to lose his connection to it. Realizing that unless he acted quickly he would fall behind the other students, he challenged Sirak. The Zabrak easily bested Bane, nearly killing him. After his loss, Bane was shunned by the other Sith, including his former mentors. Becoming somewhat of an outcast, he desperately turned to the archives once more. From them, he learned more about the history of the Sith and the power of the dark side. Bane began to question the direction the Brotherhood of Darkness had taken, and he seemed especially interested in finding out why none of the current Sith Lords took the title Darth. He began to believe that the Brotherhood was inherently flawed, and ruled by pretenders. Upon questioning Kas'im later, Bane learned that the leader of the Brotherhood, Lord Skere Kaan had forbidden any Sith from taking the title Darth, as he claimed that the use of this title would only encourage the infighting that had nearly destroyed the Sith thousands of years earlier.
During this time, a Jedi deserter named Githany arrived, and Bane saw his chance to reclaim his place among the other students. Githany in turn saw Bane as a tool she could use against Sirak, her only real rival at the Academy. Requesting that Githany secretly teach him Force techniques she learned from the masters, Bane also began private lightsaber combat instruction with Kas'im. Neither teacher was aware of the other, ensuring that Bane had an edge over both. Bane and Githany soon began to realize that they had feelings for each other, though neither wanted to admit it. As his training progressed, Bane learned far more from the archives at the Academy than he had originally thought possible, and continued supplementing his knowledge of the Force with the teachings of the ancient Sith. Bane mastered many Force powers while perfecting his lightsaber techniques.
When he believed himself to be ready, Bane once again challenged Sirak to a duel. The Human played his opponent, wearing him down before wounding him, sending a humiliated Sirak to the medical wing. Following this victory, Kas'im presented Bane with a curved-hilt lightsaber that had previously belonged to his own master, a Sith Lord named Na'daz, who had saved the Blademaster from slavery on Ryloth. Kas'im also revealed that he had killed his master in a personal test of skill and took his weapon as a reminder of what his master taught him. This revelation left a lasting impression on Bane.
Once again under the gaze of the Academy Masters, Bane was summoned by Qordis, who revealed to the apprentice that he had been aware for some time that Githany was teaching him. Qordis then told Bane that he was to stop studying the archives. Bane, whose doubts about the Brotherhood had only grown, was angered, and defied Qordis by leaving the Academy for the Valley of the Dark Lords in search of answers from the tombs of long-dead Sith Lords. However, Bane found no Sith spirits in the tombs, concluding that they judged the current Sith to be weak and unworthy. Bane believed that the Brotherhood was flawed, and that Kaan placed the greater good of the order over the dark side as a whole, preventing the Sith from defeating the Jedi Order.
Nearly dead from exhaustion and hunger, Bane returned to the Academy two weeks later to learn that the students were to be raised to the level of Dark Lords of the Sith on the orders of Lord Kaan, and were to be sent to the planet Ruusan to participate in battle against the Jedi Army of Light. Bane was greeted by Githany, who informed him of the news, and led him to the archives. Unknown to Bane, she had secretly entered into an allegiance with Sirak, who wished to kill him. In the archives, Bane was attacked by Sirak and his allies Llokay and Yevra. However, Githany then betrayed Sirak by giving Bane his lightsaber and entering the fight on his side. She killed Llokay and Yevra while Bane disarmed his rival. Sirak begged for mercy, claiming that if Bane spared him, the Zabrak would serve him. Ignoring his pleas, Bane decapitated Sirak, releasing all his fears and guilt in the process and fully opening himself to the dark side.
As Githany proclaimed that the two were now Dark Lords bound for Ruusan, Bane explained to her that he planned to go elsewhere. He denounced Kaan's Brotherhood, even when Githany praised Kaan and begged him to wait. Marching to Qordis's chamber, Bane confronted the Sith Lord, asking if he had ordered Sirak to kill him. Qordis was horrified that Bane had killed one of the Academy's most skilled students. However, Bane ignored his anger, denouncing Qordis and the other masters as cowards. Taking the title of Darth, Bane proclaimed that he was leaving the Brotherhood. The Human headed for the rooftop, where Qordis's personal starship, the Valcyn, was docked. Boarding it, Bane set a course for the planet Lehon in the Unknown Regions, hoping to find true understanding of the dark side.
Lehon and the Holocron of Darth Revan
- "The dark side is strong here. Far stronger than it ever was on Korriban. This is where we will find the power to destroy the Jedi—not in Kaan's Brotherhood!"
After landing on Lehon, Bane began his search for the Temple of the Ancients, and along the way managed to tame a wild rancor to be used as his steed. He felt a much stronger connection to the dark side on Lehon than he did on Korriban, which further reinforced his belief that the Brotherhood's decisions were flawed. Once he made his way to the temple, Bane began searching for any dark side relics. Though the temple appeared empty, he sensed a great power hidden there, and so continued to search until he located a holocron that had been created by the Sith Lord Darth Revan millennia ago. Thrilled at having his faith rewarded, Bane activated the holocron, and spent several weeks studying it. From the holocron, Bane learned a tremendous deal about the dark side and Sith—more than he had learned in his entire time at the academy, he felt. The knowledge he gained from this holocron validated his view that the Brotherhood needed to be destroyed for the Sith to conquer the Jedi.
Meanwhile, Kaan, fearful of Bane and his intentions, dispatched Kas'im from Ruusan to kill his former student. Thanks to Githany, who had had a vision of Bane on Lehon, Kaan knew where to send the Blademaster. The Twi'lek Master made his way to the planet, and then confronted Bane in the temple, revealing that he intended to kill him. After a heated lightsaber duel, Bane gained the upper hand, and forced Kas'im into a corner. However, the Blademaster split his double-bladed lightsaber, wielding it as two separate blades. During training Kas'im had always derided fighting with two lightsabers, ensuring Bane had no experience facing such an opponent. Where Bane had been sure of victory only just moments before, his inexperience put him at a severe disadvantage, and he quickly lost his momentum. Bane was sent tumbling down a staircase as Kas'im advanced, ready to deliver the killing blow. Furious at himself and Kas'im, Bane remembered that he knew the layout of the temple, an advantage the Blademaster lacked. He unleashed his anger into a blast of dark Force energy, and though Kas'im managed to throw up a Force shield to protect himself, the blast caused the temple to collapse on the Twi'lek, killing him. Bane then dispatched a messenger drone to Ruusan, informing Kaan of Kas'im's death and handing the Sith Lord instructions to perform the Sith ritual to make a thought bomb, one of the many secrets he had learned from Revan's holocron. The Dark Lord kept this secret from the other Sith.
Near-death on Ambria
- "I am Darth Bane, Dark Lord of the Sith. I will survive. At any cost."
By then, Kaan believed that a military victory on Ruusan was certain. An orbital blockade sustained by the Sith battle armada kept Jedi reinforcements from landing on the planet. Not long after sending Kas'im after Bane, Kaan received a message from the disillusioned Sith, who stated that he wished to return to the Brotherhood. However, Githany believed that the Brotherhood no longer needed Bane and offered to kill him. Believing Bane to be a threat, Kaan agreed and she left to meet with her former love interest.
Bane chose the barren world Ambria to meet Kaan's envoy. Lake Natth, a body of black and poisonous water, had become the focus for the dark side energy on the planet, and Bane made his camp on its shores. While Bane waited for Githany he considered a question he still could not answer; once he had eliminated the Brotherhood, where would he find an apprentice worthy of the knowledge he had to impart? When Githany arrived they shared a passionate kiss, but Bane tasted poison on her lips and realized that Kaan had sent her to Ambria to kill him, although he kept this realization secret, believing that the small amount of poison was not enough to subdue him. Seeing that Githany understood the source of the strength in the dark side, Bane wondered if she could become his apprentice. He realized, though, that she believed too strongly in Kaan and the Brotherhood to accept his knowledge, and he sent her away, confident that her poison would have no effect on him.
After Githany left, Bane realized that she had tricked him and she had used a lesser poison to cover a far more powerful toxin on her lips—synox. Though he attempted to strengthen himself by drinking in the suffering of those who died on a battlefield on Ambria, the dark side was too faint on the planet. Falling into unconsciousness, Bane collapsed. A small boy named Mikki, along with his father and brothers, who were scavenging the battlefield, happened across Bane's lightsaber. Seeing his chance, Bane used the Force to control the lightsaber and kill the boys. In so doing, he absorbed the father's horror and suffering, using it to temporarily give him strength. Still feeding on the man's fear, Bane then killed him, ignoring his pleas for mercy.
Strengthened by their pain, Bane was able to hold off the poison long enough to locate the healer Caleb, who had come to the planet to help the victims of a recent battle. Upon finding the healer, Bane found that he refused to give the Sith Lord assistance. Infuriated, Bane considered forcing the man to help him, but found that his will was strong enough to resist the Sith Lord's mental prodding. However, Bane sensed the presence of another individual: Caleb's daughter, and threatened to torture her unless the healer assisted him. Caleb relented and healed Bane, leaving him fully revitalized. Before departing for Ruusan, Bane considered killing Caleb, but decided against it, realizing that the man could be of use to him at a later date.
Ruusan and the destruction of the Sith
- "The Brotherhood must be purged. The Sith must be destroyed and rebuilt."
Now healed, Bane headed for Ruusan, where he planned to initiate his plot to destroy Kaan's Brotherhood. During a tactical planning session among the Dark Lords, Bane revealed himself, much to the surprise of the Sith. Bane proceeded to mock Kaan and the other Sith, accusing them of acting like cowards and holding back from the true power of the dark side. He then offered an alternative method to defeat the Jedi: a Force Wave. Kaan agreed to Bane's plan, and at nightfall, Bane met the others atop a cliff overlooking the forest where the Jedi were hiding. Bane led the Sith in a ritual designed to concentrate the power of the dark side in one being—Bane—and unleash its power on the Jedi. With Bane as the conduit, the Sith Lords released an inferno upon the forest. As the forest burned, the Jedi were forced to flee to the plains nearby to avoid destruction. However, before Bane could wipe out the Jedi, the ritual was cut short. Fearing the power that had been revealed to him, Kaan had ended the ceremony, using his connection to the other Dark Lords to pull them out as well, announcing that they would board their speeders and defeat the Jedi using more conventional methods. Bane was furious. As Githany tried to justify Kaan's actions by claiming that this way was more fun, Bane realized that she was not fit to be his apprentice—she had been corrupted by Kaan.
Kopecz was the last Sith to leave on his speeder, informing Bane that his loyalty to the dark side before the Brotherhood would not be accepted by the Sith Lords. Bane then traveled back to the Sith compound to continue his plan to destroy the Brotherhood. Arriving back in the deserted camp, Bane was confronted by Qordis, who offered his allegiance, claiming that he saw Bane's real purpose for coming to Ruusan. Bane was intrigued, until Qordis revealed that he could help Bane overthrow Kaan and seize control of the Brotherhood. The Dark Lord then informed the former Academy head that he was mistaken—he had come not to take control of the Brotherhood of Darkness, but to destroy it. He then attacked Qordis with the Force, wounding him. When Qordis begged Bane to let him die in lightsaber combat, claiming it was more honorable, Bane mocked him, and continued to choke him until he died.
After killing Qordis, Bane entered Kaan's tent, and contacted Admiral Adrianna Nyras, who was in control of the Sith fleet stationed in orbit holding back the Jedi reinforcements. Bane ordered Admiral Nyras to engage the Jedi fleet, despite the fact that doing so would allow the Jedi reinforcements to reach the surface in dropships. Nyras obeyed the Sith Lord's orders, and as the two fleets met, several smaller ships with Jedi onboard were able to reach the surface. The Jedi immediately came to the aid of Hoth, forcing the Sith to retreat from what had seemed like certain victory. When Kaan returned to the camp, Bane confronted him, admitting that he had ordered the Sith fleet to break their blockade. Bane suggested that a hopeless Kaan use the thought bomb to destroy the Army of Light while manipulating him to believe that he intended to take over the Brotherhood.
Kaan then played his trump card, using a mind trick to convince Bane that the other Sith did not trust him, and that he was not fit to rule. Kaan planned to lead the Dark Lords to a cave, where they would lure the Jedi and then unleash the thought bomb to annihilate them and claim victory. He also ordered Bane to remain at camp; after the defeat of the Army of Light, Kaan planned to return and have the Sith Lords kill the powerful darksider. Unknown to Kaan, Bane was able to easily resist his mind tricks, and was merely feigning obedience. Kaan believed he had tricked Bane, and was also convinced that he and the other Sith could survive the thought bomb. Kaan and the other members of his order made their way to a series of caves nearby, save for Kopecz and Githany who tried to escape, and planning to allow the Jedi to follow them. A number of Jedi followed the Sith, confronting them deep underground. However, the Jedi were unable to stop Kaan from detonating the thought bomb, which killed all the Force-sensitives in the cave. Several kilometers away, Bane sensed the bomb's detonation. Unaware of Darth Bane's existence, the Jedi believed that all the Sith had died in the cave.
However, though Bane had successfully executed his plan, he still needed an apprentice. Exploring the planet in the aftermath of the Ruusan campaign, he encountered a young Force-sensitive girl named Zannah. Zannah had been taken to the planet by the Jedi several months earlier, but had been separated from them, and had spent all her time on Ruusan merely trying to survive. She had befriended a Bouncer named Laa, who helped protect her. However, two Jedi had mistakenly killed her friend, causing her to lash out in anger and kill them. Upon finding her, Bane sensed her Force potential, as well as the anger inside her. In addition, Zannah did not back down from Bane, and proclaimed herself to be a killer. Impressed, Bane informed the girl that she would become his apprentice.
Rebuilding the Sith
- "There are no other Sith. There never will be, except for us. One Master and one apprentice; one to embody the power, the other to crave it."
- ―Bane, to Zannah
Before departing Ruusan, the Dark Lord took his apprentice to the Sith camp, where a group of mercenaries were looting the site. The mercenaries had fought for the Sith, only to abandon the cause after Kaan led his troops into the cave. Disgusted with those who were loyal only to money, Bane attacked the mercenaries, quickly killing four of them. Though the other two fled, Bane dismissed chasing them down because he saw no need in it; the two were soldiers for hire and thus would be believed by no one. Furthermore, Bane believed that the use of rumors of the Sith's continued existence could prove useful by confusing the Jedi Order and spreading fear and chaos.
In hopes of finding useful artifacts, Bane and Zannah searched the camp, finding a manuscript about the ancient Dark Lord Freedon Nadd that had belonged to Qordis. Qordis had added in notes of his own, indicating that Nadd was buried on the moon Dxun. Also in the document were sequences of numbers; Bane realized that these were account numbers where Qordis had kept his wealth, of which he had a great deal. With the manuscript in his possession, Bane left the camp, taking Zannah with him to the site of the thought bomb's detonation. He also began explaining to her some of the tenets of his new Rule of Two, such as the Sith Code. In the cave, the two encountered Zannah's cousin, Darovit. The two embraced, only for Zannah to quickly pull away upon remembering that she was now a Sith. When she explained this to her cousin, he challenged Bane to fight, despite the fact that he was a mere boy and no match for the Dark Lord. However, before Bane could kill him, Zannah used the dark side to cause his hand to explode. Though Bane recognized that his apprentice had only attacked the boy to save him from Bane, he saw no harm in letting him go, and was aware that Zannah was only a neophyte in the ways of the dark side. Bane decided to travel to Dxun in hopes of discovering even greater power. He instructed Zannah to meet him on the neighboring planet Onderon in two weeks time, and then departed, leaving his apprentice on Ruusan to find her own way, in the process and prove herself.
After leaving Ruusan, Bane headed for Dxun in the Valcyn. However, while in transit, the ghostly spirit of Qordis appeared and chided him for abandoning the Brotherhood. Bane insisted that he was only furthering the Sith cause, but he was enraged by Qordis's claims and began to doubt his sanity. After spending several days stuck in the starfighter's cockpit listening to Qordis curse him, Bane finally released his anger when the Valcyn entered Dxun's atmosphere. Unleashing a blast of dark side energy, he caused Qordis's spirit to vanish, but also damaged the ship, forcing him to make a crash-landing.
Bane, however, managed to survive the crash even though his ship was destroyed upon impacting the moon. Though Qordis continued to mock him, insisting that he would die on Dxun, Bane ignored his pleas, and marched onwards to where he sensed Nadd's tomb to be. Though he was attacked by a predator on the way, the Sith Lord managed to defeat it and continue on to his goal. Bane was guided by the spirit of Kaan, who, unlike Qordis, did not make any attempts to attack him. He was able to make it to the tomb and immediately began searching it. There, Bane located Nadd's holocron. However, as Bane moved to claim it, he was attacked by a number of beetle-like creatures in the chamber where the holocron was. Bane was unable to keep them away, and two of them attached to his skin (square in the chest and the back of his left shoulder). As they could not be removed, this caused the Sith Lord to be in a perpetual state of pain from the creatures gnawing on his skin, only enhanced as they began to slowly multiply and spread across his body.
As he began to study Nadd's holocron, Bane discovered that the creatures were parasites called orbalisks that could not be removed. Though they caused the Dark Lord to be in constant pain, their shells were impenetrable; even lightsabers could not crack them. The orbalisks covering nearly all of Bane's body formed an impervious suit of armor. Furthermore, they gave Bane tremendous healing abilities, and pumped chemicals into his bloodstream, enhancing his connection to the Force while increasing his rage, thus boosting his power in battle. Because they increased his capabilities while causing him to suffer unending pain, Bane viewed the creatures as both a gift and a curse. After spending days studying from the holocron, Bane exited the tomb and headed to Onderon. Taming a flying drexl using the powers of the dark side, he mounted it and rode towards the edge of the atmosphere where Dxun came close to Onderon's atmosphere. Once on Onderon he found Zannah being threatened by a group of Beast Riders. Onboard the drexl, Bane attacked the Riders, slaughtering them and their mounts. Now that his apprentice had proven herself, Bane planned to begin training Zannah.
- "Information is a commodity. It can be traded, sold, and purchased. And in the end, credits are only as useful as the secrets they can buy."
Bane and Zannah acquired a new vessel from a Neimoidian merchant and left Onderon, establishing a camp on Ambria, where they spent the next ten years. Thanks to the credits they had obtained from Qordis's account, the two built up a vast intelligence network, learning secrets that they hoped would one day allow them to destroy the Jedi and gain galactic control. Bane taught Zannah in the ways of the dark side as well as the philosophy of his the Rule of Two. Future Sith Lords were to be taught the virtues of patience, planning, and secrecy, and each was to take on the title of Darth, a tradition that had dated back to the time before the Jedi Civil War, nearly three millennia ago. Around this time, Sith prisoners in custody on Akrit'tar revealed to the Jedi that they believed Bane to be the fabled Sith'ari, although the Jedi incorrectly believed that Bane had been killed during the Ruusan campaign. The Jedi archivist Restelly Quist wrote about Bane in the Jedi training manual The Jedi Path. Along with studying the dark side, Zannah was tasked with occasionally stirring up rebel groups on different worlds over the years, in order to distract the Republic. He was careful to always instruct his apprentice to cause these groups to be defeated, as while he wanted the Republic distracted and weakened, he did not want one of these separatist groups gaining enough power to overthrow the Republic itself.
In 990 BBY, Zannah undertook a mission to Serenno, where she manipulated the Anti-Republic Liberation Front and their plans to kidnap former Supreme Chancellor Tarsus Valorum, leading to them failing in their mission. She returned from Serenno with a Force-sensitive nobleman named Hetton, and his eight Umbaran Shadow Assassins. The assassins attacked the Dark Lord, although Bane was able to defeat them and kill Hetton. He then attacked his apprentice in a mindless rage, nearly killing her. Zannah saved herself only by revealing that it had been a trick to kill Hetton and gain information he possessed—the location of the Deep Core planet Tython, home to an ancient fortress of the Dark Lord Belia Darzu. Hetton claimed there was information there on how to create holocrons, something Bane was very interested in, as he had tried and failed several times, including two initial attempts in 995 BBY, an attempt in 992 BBY after learning the meaning of the ritual glyphs on Sith holocrons, and a final failure while Zannah was on Serenno.
Bane traveled to Tython, sending his apprentice in disguise to the Jedi Temple in the meantime. Bane had begun to wonder if the orbalisks could be holding him back, and he wanted her to research possible ways of removing them. On Tython, Bane located Darzu's fortress, and although he had to battle an army of Darzu's technobeasts, he was able to claim the holocron. From it he learned the secret to creating a successful holocron of his own. However, shortly after this triumph, Zannah landed on Tython along with her cousin Darovit. Darovit had revealed the Sith's existence to the Jedi, and had been taken to the Jedi Temple to speak with the council. In the archives he had encountered Zannah, whom he recognized as his childhood friend despite her disguise. The two had fled after Darovit revealed to her that he had informed the Jedi of their existence.
Battle on Tython
- "Inside the fortress. The Jedi have found us."
After informing her master that the Jedi had followed her, Zannah and Bane prepared for battle in Darzu's ancient fortress. Though they were outnumbered, the Sith were able to gain the upper hand, thanks to the ferocity of Bane's fighting style and the advantages accorded him by his orbalisk armor. Zannah was able to kill Raskta Lsu and Sarro Xaj, while Bane killed Valenthyne Farfalla and fatally wounded Worror Dowmat. However, as he moved in to kill the last Jedi, Johun Othone, with Force lightning, Worror created a Protection bubble to deflect Bane's Force lightning back on him, frying the Sith Lord and killing the orbalisks. In response, the parasites released a deadly poison that threatened to kill Bane. Zannah quickly ended Othone, and took Bane to her ship. Recalling what Bane had once told her, she decided to take him to Caleb on Ambria, bringing Darovit with her.
However, the healer refused to cooperate, and as his daughter now lived on another world, Zannah had no leverage over him. Prodded by Darovit, who insisted that she was a good person, not a Sith, and by Caleb, who promised to heal Bane if she gave up herself and her master to the Jedi, Zannah agreed to surrender, and sent a message to the Jedi Temple, informing the Jedi that the Sith Lord who had killed a number of Jedi on Tython was on Ambria, helpless. Caleb then began to heal Bane. When Bane awoke days later he was free of the orbalisks and cured of their poison. Zannah told him what she had done, and he expressed his disappointment before asking her to kill him, sparing him the life of a prisoner of the Jedi. However, Zannah had had another plan in mind all along. She killed Caleb, and then used her power to drive Darovit mad.
The Jedi soon came ready to arrest the Sith, but Zannah had hidden herself and her master under the hut. All they found was Darovit, who, in his madness, attacked the Jedi. They killed him easily, believing he was the Sith. At long last, the Jedi thought they had finally eliminated the Sith. When Bane awoke, Zannah told him of what had happened, and he admitted that he had underestimated her, and was proud of her. One day, he told her, she would have the power to overthrow him and take an apprentice of her own.
- "Show me the ritual of essence transfer."
- ―Bane, to Andeddu's holocron
By 980 BBY, Bane and Zannah had relocated to Ciutric IV, where they owned a large mansion. The two possessed immense wealth, which they used to continue to build up their network of spies and plan for the time when the Sith could destroy the Jedi. Bane had also created a holocron which held all of his knowledge, and, posing as a simple collector, the Dark Lord had acquired a great number of Sith artifacts. However, Bane was worried about his apprentice. Because she showed no desire to claim the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith, he had begun to believe that she was weak, and planned to wait for him to age before she challenged him, rather than seizing power from the Dark Lord when he was strong, as the Rule of Two demanded. By postponing the inevitable duel between master and apprentice, Zannah, Bane believed, was destroying the purpose of the Rule of Two—to keep the Sith strong. Further worrying him was the fact that he was aging rapidly due to his use of the dark side, and his injuries on Tython a decade ago. As such, Bane had begun to develop contingency plans, based on something he had stumbled upon in a book—according to record, an ancient Sith Lord named Darth Andeddu had lived for centuries, thanks to his use of the dark side of the Force. Though there was very little information available, Bane was determined to learn Andeddu's secret and save the Sith.
One afternoon, Bane—under the guise of a wealthy merchant named "Sepp Omek"—arranged a meeting with Argel Tenn, an authority on Sith artifacts, at a local cantina. The Sith Lord despised the man, who believed himself to be an expert on the Sith, when Bane was confident that Tenn knew nothing of the true power of the dark side. Nonetheless, Tenn was useful, and so the Sith Lord had utilized his assistance multiple times in the past to acquire Sith relics. Bane had asked Tenn to find information on Darth Andeddu, and after a great deal of searching, Tenn had located an ancient manuscript on Andeddu, which he sold to the Dark Lord.
The text revealed that there was a fortress dedicated to Andeddu on the Deep Core world of Prakith. Bane decided to send Zannah to the planet Doan—where a Jedi had been murdered three days ago—to determine who had been able to kill the Jedi, while he planned to surreptitiously travel to Prakith, and learn the secret to immortality. After Zannah departed, Bane boarded his starship, the Triumph, and headed to Prakith, where he located Andeddu's fortress. Upon entering, he was attacked by members of the cult Malevolence, dedicated to the long-dead Andeddu. Bane was able easily slay the assailants, and recover Andeddu's holocron. On the return trip, Bane accessed the holocron, but found that the gatekeeper was unwilling to teach him how to live on after death. Angered, he forced it to tell him—by plunging his consciousness into the holocron, he was able to literally take the knowledge from the device, thus learning the art of essence transfer. Using the dark side, he could transfer his spirit into another's body. Though this ritual was extremely dangerous, Bane was convinced that his will was strong enough to overpower his target.
- "I want him to see what it's like to be helpless and afraid. I want him to know what it's like to be a victim. I want him to understand that what he did to my father—to me—was wrong!"
When Bane returned to Ciutric IV, he found that Zannah was not back. Upon entering his mansion, he was attacked by a Force-sensitive Iktotchi and a group of soldiers. Bane fought back, and was able to kill several of the assailants. However, the Iktotchi was able to stab him with a blade coated in senflax, a powerful neurotoxin designed to knock out even the strongest of opponents. The toxin caused him to faint, enabling the Iktotchi and the soldiers to take him prisoner. Bane was taken to Doan, where their benefactor, Princess Serra, resided. Serra was the daughter of the healer Caleb, and upon learning of her father's death at the hands of a Sith Lord, sought to punish the guilty party. Deep in the Stone Prison, Serra began to torture Bane by administering various poisons. However, much to her shock, Bane insisted he had not killed Caleb. Nonetheless, Serra reiterated that it was still his fault, and continued torturing him, expecting the Dark Lord to beg for mercy and forgiveness. However, Bane was not overcome from the pain—far from it. Instead, he explained that Caleb had died because he was weak, and that Bane himself had been captured because he was not strong enough. Feeding on his own pain and Serra's anger, Bane mocked the Princess, and proclaimed that he would escape. Furious, Serra injected him with senflax, knocking him out, before leaving the prison.
Unknown to Serra, her bodyguard, Lucia, had served with Dessel in the New Sith Wars, and was stunned at the anger and cruelty her mistress was showing. Lucia made the decision to free Bane, believing she still owed him her life for his heroics during the war. She injected him with a chemical that would cancel out the effects of the senflax and allow Bane to break free. When Bane awoke, he found that his strength had returned, and he was able to escape from his cell, leaving several guards dead in the process. As Bane headed upwards, he sensed Zannah's presence. The Sith apprentice had managed to track him to Doan, and had come prepared to kill him and take the title of Dark Lord. She had learned of his interest in Andeddu, and believed that he intended to use the dark side to prevent himself from ever dying, and rule over the Sith for eternity—exactly the opposite, she believed, of what the Rule of Two was created for.
As Bane headed for a hangar, he encountered Lucia. She quickly explained who she was, and begged him to let Serra live. Hesitating for a moment, Bane then exclaimed that the soldier she had known was no more, and prepared to execute Lucia. Before he could unleash the dark side on her, Zannah arrived, and killed Lucia. She proclaimed that Bane was weak, and unwilling to let his knowledge pass on to her. Bane countered that his apprentice was not ready, and was unworthy of the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith. Realizing that Bane's lightsaber had been taken from him, Zannah then attacked. Bane was able to hold her off with the Force, though he was aware that he could not defeat Zannah without a lightsaber, and was merely delaying the end. Suddenly, alarm bells rang out—Serra had activated the prison's self-destruct sequence. As the prison began to collapse, Bane used the Force to bring the ceiling down. Though Zannah was able to avoid being crushed, a wall of rock now stood between the two. Zannah fled to her ship, while Bane ran toward the main hangar, where he found the Iktotchi. As he prepared to attack her, she bowed to him, holding out his lightsaber.
The woman then explained that she sensed his power, and wanted to become his apprentice. Realizing her strength in the Force, and her determination to become a Sith, he accepted. The two boarded her starship and left as the prison collapsed around them. The Iktotchi then explained that she was an assassin who had been able to track Bane to Ciutric IV thanks to visions she received through the Force. Guided by another vision of hers, the two headed to Ambria. There, Bane found Serra, who had been able to escape the destruction of the prison and had fled to her homeworld. Having abandoned her desire for revenge, she tried in vain to convince Bane and the Iktotchi to turn away from the dark side, only for the Iktotchi to kill her. Bane prepared to begin training his new apprentice, now known as Darth Cognus. However, one loose end remained: Zannah. The Dark Lord sent a communication to Zannah's shuttle, instructing her to come to Ambria. She complied, and soon arrived for their final confrontation.
Duel to the death
- "I have surpassed you, Bane. Now I am the Master."
"Then prove it."
- ―Zannah and Bane
Once Zannah landed, Bane ordered Cognus to stay back, while the two Sith Lords drew their lightsabers and engaged in combat. Knowing that the loser would die, both fought furiously, with Bane slowly pushing Zannah back. His former apprentice then unleashed her Sith sorcery, only to have Bane successfully repel her attack on his mind. As Bane charged forward, ready to attack, Zannah played her trump card, creating deadly dark side tendrils. One of these tendrils brushed against Bane, causing him to feel pain unlike anything he had ever known. Managing to stay conscious, he was able to attack Zannah and swiftly disarm her. As the Dark Lord prepared to kill his apprentice, a tendril lunged up, grabbing his arm and vaporizing it. In a flash of pain and fury, Bane released his essence, determined now to destroy Zannah's consciousness and take control of her body.
The two Sith Lords matched wills, each trying to push the other out and into the great void from which there was no return. Bane's body was destroyed, turned to ash by the power of the ritual. After a struggle of wills, it was over. Zannah had triumphed, and though a small portion of her master remained in her, the Dark Lord Bane, creator of the Rule of Two, was dead.
- "Power is its own purpose. To share it is to dilute it. You delude yourself, pretender—your order will yet turn on itself and you."
- ―Bane's holocron addresses Darth Krayt
Following Bane's death, Zannah took Cognus as her apprentice, continuing the Rule of Two.
Nearly a thousand years later, in 181 BBY, the fallen Padawan Kibh Jeen revealed to the Jedi with his dying words the survival of the Sith and the Rule of Two. However, believing Bane's plan had been destroyed along with his death, the Jedi considered this nothing more than gibberish and presumed the Sith to have been wiped out.
In 32 BBY, after the death of Darth Plagueis, Darth Sidious inherited an essay authored by Bane that chronicled the philosophy of the Rule of Two. That same year, the Jedi learned that the Sith were not extinct and were later the cause behind the Clone Wars in 22 BBY. Sometime during 21 BBY, Darth Tyranus shared The Rule of Two with Quinlan Vos in an ill-conceived effort to further corrupt the Jedi.
The lightsaber crystal Bane's Heart, which had been created by Bane and given to Zannah, fell into the possession of the cyborg warrior General Grievous almost a millennium after the Dark Lord's death.
In the year 20 BBY, the Grand Master of the Jedi Order Yoda traveled to Korriban on a journey to learn the gift of manifesting life after death. When he entered one of the temples located in the Valley of the Dark Lords, Yoda discovered a tomb that had been built for Bane. A giant, smoldering specter of Bane then emerged from a sarcophagus and tried to tempt the Jedi Master into becoming his apprentice. However, Yoda declared the specter of Bane to be nothing but an illusion from the past with nothing to offer him, and the fiery ghost disappeared.
In 19 BBY, Bane's dream was realized, and his Rule of Two validated, when the Sith under Darth Sidious and Darth Vader finally achieved control over the galaxy and nearly wiped out the Jedi Order. Darth Bane was the legendary Sith'ari, an individual who had been prophesied to restore the Sith to glory. Because of the Sith Order Bane had forged a millennium earlier, the prophecy ultimately came true.
In 4 ABY, however, the Sith's victory was undone when Darth Vader, who redeemed himself back into the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, killed Sidious during the Battle of Endor to save his son Luke Skywalker before expiring from his injuries, bringing Bane's established Sith lineage to an end. Like Bane, Sidious was able to learn the power of transfer essence and used it to survive his first death to then transfer his spirit into fresh clone bodies he could use to rule a new empire to fight against the New Republic. However, Sidious was finally killed by Skywalker and his friends and his spirit was send within the dying Jedi Knight Empatojayos Brand to Chaos so he would never return ever again, which meant the definitive ending of Bane's Order of the Sith Lords.
Bane's holocron eventually fell into the hands of Darth Krayt. In 137 ABY, it was accessed, along with those of Darth Nihilus and Darth Andeddu, on Korriban by Krayt. The new Dark Lord wished to learn from Bane's experience with the parasitic orbalisks, and how he could survive his own infection by Yuuzhan Vong organisms. Bane chastised Krayt for not following the Rule of Two, telling Krayt his new Rule of One would be the very undoing of the Sith itself.
Personality and traits
- "Equality is a lie… A myth to appease the masses. Simply look around and you will see the lie for what it is! There are those with power, those with the strength and will to lead. And there are those meant to follow—those incapable of anything but servitude and a meager, worthless existence.
"Equality is a perversion of the natural order!… It binds the strong to the weak. They become anchors that drag the exceptional down to mediocrity. Individuals destined and deserving of greatness have it denied them. They suffer for the sake of keeping them even with their inferiors.
"Equality is a chain, like obedience. Like fear or uncertainty or self doubt."
Bane was extremely dedicated to the Sith cause, and was determined to bring about the end of the Jedi, though he knew he might not live to see it. He was a firm believer in the rule of the strong, viewing the weak as chains holding back the strong. According to the natural order of things, Bane believed, the weak should serve the strong, rather than being treated as equals. Whereas the Jedi and the Republic believed that it was the duty of the strong to help the weak, Bane believed that the strong were intended to rule the weak masses. Equality, Bane believed, was a lie perpetuated by the Jedi. One of the reasons he hated the Brotherhood was that it supported equality amongst the Sith. Bane's Rule of Two was designed with the intention of strengthening the Sith Order over time, with each apprentice challenging their master for the title of Dark Lord. If the apprentice failed, the master would ideally find another apprentice. In this way, each successive Dark Lord would be stronger than their predecessor. Darth Bane imparted his beliefs, particularly his theory of rule of the strong, to Zannah. After he dueled Hetton and received no assistance from his apprentice, Bane confronted her, asking why she had not helped him. She replied that she knew that Bane would be able to kill the man and his assassins, and if he was unable to do so, then he was weak and unworthy of his title of Dark Lord. Bane was pleased with this explanation, stating that she was correct—only the strongest could survive.
Another problem Bane saw in the structure of the Brotherhood was its inclusion of numerous Sith. He was convinced that the Sith's greatest strength—their ambition— was also their greatest weakness, and would be checked by the Rule of Two. With a multitude of Sith, he felt that it was practically inevitable that they would constantly be fighting amongst themselves, leaving them unable to focus on their true foe, the Jedi. Additionally, he believed that the power of the dark side was finite, and that the existence of many Sith spread the power of the dark side thin. By creating a system that allowed for the existence of only two Sith Lords at any one time, Bane believed that he could keep the Sith strong and safe from the Jedi. Many centuries after his death, his holocron's gatekeeper mocked Darth Krayt for abandoning the Rule of Two for his Rule of One, telling the "pretender" that his Order would destroy itself as so many similarly structured Sith Orders had.
Bane's philosophy caused him to view Skere Kaan and the other Sith of his time as fools, and he believed that as long as the Brotherhood of Darkness existed, the Sith would be unable to triumph over the Jedi. He even went so far as to label the leader of the Brotherhood, Kaan, a coward unworthy of the title Dark Lord of the Sith. He eventually defied Kaan by refusing the order to report to Ruusan, instead stealing Qordis's starship and heading to Lehon, where he hoped to learn from Darth Revan, who he considered to be a true master of the dark side. To symbolize that his new Sith Order was different from the Brotherhood, Bane revived the title of Darth, which Kaan had discouraged by claiming that it was antiquated and encouraged unnecessary competition among the Sith.
Later in his life, the Dark Lord sought the secrets to achieving immortality. He did this not because he feared death, but simply because he believed that Zannah was too weak to claim his title. Bane suspected that his apprentice was waiting until he was old and weak to challenge him, at which point she could easily defeat him. However, were she to do this, she would not prove her superiority, as was necessitated by the Rule of Two. To ensure the Sith's survival, Bane undertook his search for the fabled Darth Andeddu. Ultimately, Zannah proved herself a worthy successor when she killed Bane.
Bane learned hatred and anger at an early age, as he grew up with a father who hated him. Bane, in turn, despised Hurst, who frequently insulted and beat him. After Bane challenged him, only to have Hurst nearly kill him in response, an irate Bane later killed his father through unconscious use of the Force. He took to the dark side with ease, at first, although the Human lost his faith after realizing that he was responsible for his father's death. Afraid of the dark side, he pulled away, only to regain his confidence with the assistance of the ancient Sith in the form of texts. From there, Bane grew strong, quickly surpassing even Lord Kaan. With the dark side as his ally, he founded a new Sith Order, one based on secrecy and rule of the strong. Bane possessed an extremely strong will. On multiple occasions when severely wounded, he refused to surrender, using the power of the dark side to fuel himself and keep fighting.
Bane bore a vitriolic hatred for beings like Argel Tenn, who considered themselves masters of the dark side but in fact were unable to use the Force. The Dark Lord desired to reveal his true identity and power to Tenn, whom he felt knew nothing of the dark side's true power, but knew that to do so would be foolish. A practical man, Bane found no value in wealth or other material possessions, believing that the worth of an object was directly correlated to its usefulness. He even believed that Sith like Qordis were foolish to care so much for such things. Upon his acquisition of Qordis's vast wealth, he used it only to further the Sith cause. He also did not believe in the concept of honorable death, viewing honor as a fool's prize. Though he was absolutely ruthless and never hesitated to kill when he believed it necessary, Bane was very disdainful of those who killed without purpose, viewing those who enjoyed killing as barbarous, perverse fools. In accordance with this philosophy, Bane allowed Caleb to live after their initial meeting in 1000 BBY—in fact, Caleb would heal him from near-death years later. Still, Bane was willing to kill without a second thought, and did so on many occasions.
Despite his bond with the dark side of the Force, Bane did have feelings for Githany when the two were pupils on Korriban. She returned these feelings, and Bane sought to make her his apprentice after becoming convinced that the Brotherhood was irrevocably flawed. However, when she proved herself to be unworthy in his eyes by proclaiming Kaan's virtues, he abandoned these thoughts, and left her to perish with the rest of the Brotherhood. Nonetheless, Bane found himself pleased to see her when they met on Ambria a short time later, with her as Kaan's emissary.
Powers and abilities
- "In the end I think you'll find this lightsaber will suit your personal style quite well."
- ―Kas'im, upon handing Na'daz's old lightsaber to Bane
Darth Bane was trained in lightsaber combat by the Blademaster Kas'im. He became a deadly lightsaber duelist, and wielded a red-bladed, curved-hilt lightsaber presented by the Twi'lek Dark Lord in recognition of his skill. Bane developed a slightly altered style with his unique weapon, the subtleties of which were recognized by only the most experienced weapon handlers.
After Bane acquired his lightsaber-impervious orbalisk armor, he favored a furious, all-offensive style of Djem So, and capitalized on his tremendous physical strength to overwhelm opponents. His battle prowess was realized when he held his own against three battle meditation-invigorated Jedi in combat on Tython; a group which included Raskta Lsu, who was considered to be the greatest contemporary duelist in the Order. It should be noted, however, that the Jedi Weapon Master managed to score numerous would-be lethal hits on Bane during this duel, and as such his impenetrable armor was of paramount importance to his victory. Additionally, his victory came only after the Jedi's battle meditation ceased, and Raskta Lsu was killed by a sneak attack from Zannah. During this duel, Zannah noted that Bane's lightsaber technique was somewhat unrefined. However, this lack of refinement was intentional, as Bane believed that eschewing technical sophistication for fury-driven, strength-oriented swordplay increased his effectiveness as a duelist. During combat, Darth Bane was likened by his enemies to a force of nature.
When he was no longer afforded the protection of orbalisk armor, Bane adapted a more complex and unpredictable style that incorporated feints and defensive maneuvers. He was also skilled in Soresu, and taught his apprentice Darth Zannah Form III to complement her petite physical frame. In his later years, Darth Bane's speed was such that he was able to deflect torrents of rain with his lightsaber. Bane was even proficient in Juyo, which he may have used in his final duel with Zannah, and was an excellent brawler and unarmed combatant, thanks to his time in the mines of Apatros. At one time, he had displayed superb mounted lightsaber combat while controlling a drexl and fighting three Beast Riders; he managed to deflect blaster bolts from every single one of his opponents in the sky.
- "I know many rituals. Many secrets. And I have the strength to use them."
Darth Bane was very talented in the Force. As a miner on Apatros, he was able to use the Force on occasion, though he had no understanding of it and his use was largely instinctive. However, after he received formal training at the Korriban Academy, Bane became one of the most skilled students there. He was highly dedicated to his training and spent hours reading ancient Sith texts, knowledge that was forsaken by the school's other attendees. In addition, he received private lessons in the ways of the dark side, and excelled. He desired to become a great and powerful Sith Lord, and spent a tremendous amount of time practicing, in hopes of perfecting his skills.
Bane was a very fast learner, and quickly passed many students at the Korriban Academy in just a few months. He possessed great telekinetic power, and could easily shatter his opponent's Force shield, as he did with Fohargh. The Dark Lord's Force telekinetic prowess was such that he caused the Temple of the Ancients on Lehon to collapse with a Force Wave, which resulted in the death of Kas'im. After just a single practice session with Githany, Bane exhibited a capacity with Force lightning that surpassed even Sirak.
By 990 BBY, Bane was able to cast electric voltage so strong that most opponents died instantly upon contact, the energy output leaving their bodies burned and charred. He was able to plunge deep into his hate and draw fully on the power of the dark side to unleash powerful Force waves, the strength of which devastated almost anything in their path. In collective focus with the other Sith Masters of the Brotherhood, Bane led the unleashing of a storm of Force energy that consumed Ruusan's landscape with a flurry of flames and death. When he tapped into the dark side power that suffused Andeddu's Keep on Prakith, Darth Bane projected a death field that instantaneously desiccated and killed the attacking Malevolence cultists who had been unable to avoid it. This technique was extremely taxing however, and would have rapidly exhausted Bane if hadn't replenished it with energies from those caught in it.
Bane owned and had access to a vast collection of Sith scrolls, tomes, and texts. With the help of individuals like Argel Tenn, he was able to obtain ancient Sith manuscripts and artifacts. Bane personally discovered the hidden lore of at least four legendary Sith Lords from their holocrons, those of Darth Revan, Freedon Nadd, Belia Darzu, and Darth Andeddu. From each he gleaned knowledge vital to the furtherance of his Sith agenda, from the thought bomb with which he destroyed Kaan's Brotherhood, to the instructions for the creation of a holocron of his own. The Sith sorcery he learned from Nadd's holocron was admittedly beyond the scope of Bane's abilities, although the stolen ritual of essence transfer from Andeddu's device was well within. Bane's own construction, created some point before 980 BBY, was a small, pyramid-shaped device that contained all of his knowledge, which he planned to pass down to future Dark Lords in his Sith Order. The gatekeeper for Bane's holocron was his own orbalisk-clad likeness. His initial attempts to create a holocron ended in failure, which Bane came to believe was due to his orbalisk armor; it provided him with great power in battle, but he believed that it robbed him of the ability to use his powers for more subtle tasks. He eventually discovered that he was simply skipping a critical step in the holocron's creation out of ignorance, and later rectified his mistake.
Bane displayed a great tolerance for physical pain, such as that brought on by the orbalisk armor he was forced to wear. The Dark Lord was able to use the infestation to his benefit by taking the pain and fueling his dark side rage with it. Besides being impenetrable to lightsabers, the orbalisks also provided Bane with chemical enhancements to his senses, stamina, strength, and speed. Furthermore, it provided him with an enhanced healing factor; a knife wound that Bane once inflicted upon himself, for instance, healed virtually as he made it, and even a debilitating lightsaber strike to his arm from Johun Othone healed within seconds. Most importantly, Bane could tap into the parasites' ability to draw on the dark side to greatly increase his own power while they remained attached to him. One drawback to being infested with the orbalisks was that, because they drew on Bane's power to feed themselves, he was only capable of performing delicate tasks with the Force for a somewhat limited period of time. This was due to the fact that, in order to precisely modulate his powers for subtle tasks, he had to cut the orbalisks completely off from the dark side. This in turn caused the parasites to pump increasingly greater amounts of mood-altering chemicals into Bane's body in an attempt to get him to draw more strongly on the dark side, and thus feed them. Bane was capable of resisting the effects of the chemicals, including ever-mounting levels of pain, for a significant period of time. However, he was not immune to them, and at one point considered ridding himself of the parasites due to this problem. Ultimately, he discovered that the orbalisks did not cause nearly as great an issue with his abilities as he had feared, and resolved to keep them. Bane was highly resistant to poison, and escaped death by its means on several occasions. Serra noted while torturing him that the drugs had surprisingly little impact on him.
The Dark Lord was capable of drawing on the fear and anguish of other beings to increase his own power. He also possessed remarkable willpower and determination. He was able to force Andeddu's holocron to reveal to him knowledge that the holocron's gatekeeper was actively attempting to keep from him, and was skilled enough to attempt the deadly ritual of essence transfer.
By channeling the pain and anguish of others to fuel the dark side, Bane could sustain or invigorate himself. However, Bane was still susceptible to the flaw of Dark Side based healing requiring the use of inner darkness to maintain, as shown by how while he was able to sustain himself after being poisoned by the Brotherhood of Darkness long enough to be cured by Caleb, he needed to further kill to tap into the pain of a farmer child and the anguish of the father to accomplish it. Furthermore, Bane had the theoretical ability to draw upon the Light Side of the Force to heal himself, but refrained from ever doing so—believing that invoking the Light would be against everything the Sith stood for, as well as ultimately deny him the chance to grow though suffering.
In addition, Bane was able to easily resist Skere Kaan's mind tricks, while the other Dark Lords in the Brotherhood were unable to do so. Bane was a master of deception, and used his skills to fool others even before he received formal training. The Dark Lord was able to read his opponents and conceal his own feelings, talents which he used to become a talented sabacc player. He was also able to sense poisons in himself and could often cure himself by purging the toxins from his body. Furthermore, his immense power in the dark side of the Force made it such that he almost never needed to sleep except when pushed to extreme exhaustion. Instead, he relied on an hour or two of daily meditation to keep his body energized and his mind invigorated.
During his time in the Gloom Walkers unit, Dessel used a TC-22 blaster rifle. He became skilled in the use of the weapon, and chose to stick with the first blaster he learned to use instead of switching to a different weapon. As a sergeant, Dessel was allowed to wield a secondary weapon, and so carried an advanced GSI-21D pistol, able to disintegrate armor. He also kept a vibroblade in his boot. Upon entry into the Sith Academy, Bane was trained in lightsaber combat with durasteel training sabers that were covered in the poisonous barbs of the pelko bug.
For a time, Bane flew the starship Valcyn, a T-class long-range personal cruiser that had originally belonged to Qordis. After he returned from the tombs on Korriban in an effort to find knowledge, Bane declared his abandonment of the Brotherhood, and aware that Qordis would not try to stop him, left the planet in the Headmaster's ship. Bane traveled to Lehon, Ambria, and Ruusan in the highly advanced ship before he crashed on Dxun. By 980 BBY, the Dark Lord had come to own a Theta-class T-1 vessel named the Triumph. The Cygnus Spaceworks vessel could be flown by one pilot, which Bane used to his advantage in 980 BBY when he made a trip to the Deep Core planet Prakith without informing his apprentice. His return trip to his mansion on Ciutric IV proved to be Bane's final journey in his shuttle, as he was ambushed on the planet and taken to Doan.
Behind the scenes
The character of Darth Bane, and his Rule of Two, were created by George Lucas as part of his backstory of the Sith he developed for the prequel trilogy. Bane was first mentioned in The Phantom Menace novel as the creator of the Rule of Two. In 2000, The Essential Chronology collated these events with the Battle of Ruusan mentioned in Dark Forces: Jedi Knight, creating a backstory further developed in Jedi vs Sith by Darko Macan and Bane of the Sith by Kevin J. Anderson. The New Essential Guide to Characters and The New Essential Chronology provided more details, and the latter attempted to correct inconsistencies between Jedi vs Sith and Bane of the Sith.
In 2006, Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, written by Drew Karpyshyn was released. Several of the details in it contradicted previous information about Bane. Another novel about Darth Bane, Darth Bane: Rule of Two, was released in 2007 and fixed some of the conflicting elements. Part of the novel covers Bane of the Sith, while it also invents new history for Bane and his apprentice. A third novel, Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil, was released in 2009. Each of these novels expanded on Bane's backstory, with Dynasty of Evil killing off the Dark Lord.
Many fans were initially confused as to whether Bane or Zannah won the final duel between the two at the end of Dynasty of Evil. Author Drew Karpshyn confirmed a few days later that Zannah had won the duel, although a small remnant of Bane remained in her.
For the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series, Bane was to originally appear, alongside Darth Revan, in the third season episode "Ghosts of Mortis" as an influence to the Force-wielding Son, an embodiment of the dark side of the Force. Although George Lucas commissioned the scene, he later cut it before the scene could be fully animated. Series Director Dave Filoni voiced similar concerns to the inclusion of the two Sith Lords; though the scene would have been appreciated by Expanded Universe fans, he stated that cutting the scene had been the right thing to do. The fact that Revan later converted to the light side could also have raised continuity issues if he did appear as a Sith spirit. Darth Bane himself later appeared in the sixth season episode "Sacrifice" as a spirit that Yoda had to face and defeat. He was given a previously unseen design and voiced in the episode by Mark Hamill, the actor who played Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy.
Lucasfilm official Leland Chee stated in his blog that Bane's name is based on the word "Bane," which means, among other things, "a person or thing that ruins or spoils." Jan Duursema's depiction of Bane in Star Wars: Legacy was based on the partially completed costume of a fan, Thomas J. Spanos.
Various contradictions, both major and minor, exist between sources involving Bane. In both the short story Bane of the Sith and Bane's biography in The New Essential Guide to Characters, it is implied that Bane trained exclusively beneath Qordis, while in the novel he trained under Qordis and many other Sith Masters. Also, in Bane of the Sith and Path of Destruction, Bane's lightsaber hilt is clearly described as being "hooked". However, in almost every illustration, even those from after the publishing of Path of Destruction, Darth Bane is depicted with a standard-hilt lightsaber. The illustrations also frequently depict Bane wielding a purple lightsaber, though this was later corrected on the cover art of Darth Bane: Rule of Two. A picture of the curved hilt was finally included in The Essential Reader's Companion.
In Bane of the Sith, Bane escapes from Ruusan when his warning to Kaan to not use the thought bomb goes unheeded. The dark side spirits call him a coward for running, and Bane defends himself by saying that the Sith must survive. Until he gets to Onderon, he intends to resurrect the Brotherhood. In Path of Destruction, Bane comes to detest the Brotherhood after studying Revan's holocron and the ancient records when he realizes that the Sith can never be united or equal. He plots to destroy the Brotherhood by giving Kaan the formula for using the thought bomb and feigning to join them under the guise of wanting to take over leadership. He also discourages Kaan from using the thought bomb, unlike in Path of Destruction.
This article tends to support the details described by Path of Destruction, as it is the newer source and is followed by two sequels. Chronologically speaking, Darth Rivan predates Darth Bane, and Darth Bane is supposed to be the author of the Rule of Two. However, one of the traps in Darth Rivan's fortress, as shown in A Mon Alone, is based on the Sith adherence to the Rule of Two.
Despite a model for Bane that was created for The Clone Wars season three episode "Ghosts of Mortis" that was consistent with his previous appearances, including his orbalisk armor, the season six episode "Sacrifice" features an apparition of Darth Bane that is much different from any of his previous appearances, wearing a suit of armor much different than any of those he had previously been seen wearing.
Notes and references
- Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
- Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- The New Essential Guide to Characters gives Bane's height as 1.9 meters, even though in Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, he claims to be significantly taller—"Two meters even". Darth Bane: Rule of Two also describes him as being "two meters tall."
- Darth Bane: Rule of Two
- There is a contradiction here between canonical sources. See the Behind the scenes section for more details.
- Bane of the Sith"—Star Wars Gamer 3 "
- The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force
- Legacy (2006) 5
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 60 (20 BBY 67–70, Sifo-Dyas' Legacy) dates "Voices" to 20 BBY. Since "Sacrifice" takes place shortly after "Voices," it can be concluded that "Sacrifice" also takes place in 20 BBY.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Sacrifice"
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- Star Wars: Dark Empire
- Star Wars: Empire's End
- Threats of the Galaxy
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Bane definition, retrieved from Dictionary.com on September 21, 2010
- A Mon Alone