Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil is the final novel in the Darth Bane Trilogy from author Drew Karpyshyn. It was published by Del Rey and released on December 8, 2009. A preview of the book was published in Imperial Commando: 501st. The paperback version was released on September 28, 2010.
Twenty years have passed since Darth Bane, reigning Dark Lord of the Sith, demolished the ancient order devoted to the dark side and reinvented it as a circle of two: one Master to wield the power and pass on the wisdom, and one apprentice to learn, challenge, and ultimately usurp the Dark Lord in a duel to the death. But Bane's acolyte, Zannah, has yet to engage her Master in mortal combat and prove herself a worthy successor. Determined that the Sith dream of galactic domination will not die with him, Bane vows to learn the secret of a forgotten Dark Lord that will assure the Sith's immortality–and his own.
A perfect opportunity arises when a Jedi emissary is assassinated on the troubled mining planet Doan, giving Bane an excuse to dispatch his apprentice on a fact-finding mission–while he himself sets out in secret to capture the ancient holocron of Darth Andeddu and its precious knowledge. But Zannah is no fool. She knows that her ruthless Master has begun to doubt her, and she senses that he is hiding something crucial to her future. If she is going to claim the power she craves, she must take action now.
While Bane storms the remote stronghold of a fanatical Sith cult, Zannah prepares for her Master's downfall by choosing an apprentice of her own: a rogue Jedi cunning and cold-blooded enough to embrace the Sith way and to stand beside her when she at last wrests from Bane the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith.
But Zannah is not the only one with the desire and power to destroy Darth Bane. Princess Serra of the Doan royal family is haunted by memories of the monstrous Sith soldier who murdered her father and tortured her when she was a child. Bent on retribution, she hires a merciless assassin to find her tormentor—and bring him back alive to taste her wrath.
Only a Sith who has taken down her own Master can become Dark Lord of the Sith. So when Bane suddenly vanishes, Zannah must find him—possibly even rescue him—before she can kill him. And so she pursues her quarry from the grim depths of a ravaged world on the brink of catastrophe to the barren reaches of a desert outpost, where the future of the dark side's most powerful disciples will be decided, once and for all, by the final, fatal stroke of a lightsaber.
Twenty years have passed since Darth Bane, reigning Dark Lord of the Sith, demolished the ancient order devoted to the dark side and reinvented it as a circle of two: one Master to wield the power and pass on the wisdom, and one apprentice to learn, challenge, and ultimately usurp the Dark Lord in a duel to the death. But Bane's acolyte, Zannah, has yet to prove herself a worthy successor. Determined that the Sith dream of galactic domination will not die with him, Bane vows to learn the secret of a forgotten Dark Lord that will assure the Sith's immortality–and his own.
Zannah knows that her ruthless master has begun to doubt her, and so she prepares for his downfall, plotting at last to wrest from Bane the title of Dark Lord of the Sith. Zannah pursues her Master from the grim depths of a ravaged world to the barren reaches of a desert outpost, where the future of the dark side will be decided by the final, fatal stroke of a lightsaber.
Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil picks up ten years after the end of Darth Bane: Rule of Two. Since Darth Bane's recovery at the end of Rule of Two, he and Darth Zannah have been living on the Outer Rim world of Ciutric IV under the assumed identities of Sepp and Allia Omek, a pair of wealthy merchant siblings. Bane's constant use of the dark side has begun to take a noticeable toll on his body, along with the damage inflicted by his decade-long experience with the orbalisks and the natural aging process. He realizes that he is slowly but surely growing weaker each day, a realization crystallized by a recurring tremor in his left hand. Zannah, however, has made no move to challenge him for the role of Dark Lord of the Sith, a fact that Bane finds extremely troubling, unsure of whether she is afraid of him, unsure of winning, loyal to him or simply wanting him to be more vulnerable physically before she attacks. He refuses to initiate their confrontation himself, believing that to do so would weaken the Sith again: if Zannah won, the Sith would be in the hands of a Lord who did not fully follow Bane's teachings; and if Bane won, his body would fail him before he could find and train another apprentice. He decides that he must rejuvenate or replace his body, and theorizes that the secret to doing so is in the long-lost teachings of a Sith Lord named Darth Andeddu.
On the mining world of Doan, Jedi Knight Medd Tandar meets with a rebellious group of miners to both bring their grievances to the ruling family and to confiscate some possible Sith artifacts they have unearthed. Tandar tells the miners that the king is unlikely to listen to them, as an ill-planned attempt at capturing the crown prince several months prior led to the man's accidental death. As he argues with the miners, a disturbance in the Force manifests itself, and an Iktotchi assassin storms into the meeting area, killing the rebels. Tandar attempts to fight back, but finds his ability to touch the Force tainted by the dark side, making him almost physically ill. Gathering his concentration, he manages to disarm the assassin, but, anticipating his move, she set her blaster on overload, and Tandar is killed in the explosion.
Princess Serra of Doan, widow of Crown Prince Gerran, is awakened from her sleep by a nightmare of the healer Caleb confronting the poisoned Bane on Ambria, and of her own near-death at Bane's hands: Serra is Caleb's daughter, who married into the Doan royal family. Her personal bodyguard and close friend - Lucia, who once served with Des in the Gloom Walkers, brings word that the king wishes to speak to her and they head to the royal chamber. The king raises the possibility that the assassin who killed the rebel miners followed the Jedi there, and that since he had asked the Galactic Senate to send a Jedi mediator, they might assume that he hired the assassin to do so, not intending the Jedi's death. He says that the assassin was not acting on his orders, which Serra believes, and in turn he believes Serra's view that any of the nobility might have hired the assassin, not realizing that a Jedi would also become involved. She offers to go to Coruscant and present this view to the Jedi, and the king gives her leave to go. Once they are alone again, Lucia confesses to Serra that she hired the assassin, and though she is thanked by Serra, Lucia finds herself disturbed at the scope of Serra's anger and hatred toward the miners for her husband's death.
Back on Ciutric IV, Bane meets a man named Argel Tenn, who knows Bane only as a "collector" of Sith artifacts, and finds them for him and other clients. After haggling, Bane receives a single scroll that points to Darth Andeddu living on the Deep Core world of Prakith, and of the temple being built there to glorify him. Knowing that Zannah would be suspicious if she knew Bane was leaving, he sends her to Doan, ostensibly to gather the Sith artifacts that led to the Jedi's death. Zannah does so, though she doubts Bane's reason for sending her, and comes to think that perhaps Bane has mistaken her caution in challenging him before she has found a suitable apprentice for hesitation to think that she can defeat him. She decides that the time has come, and that upon returning from Doan, she will challenge Bane for the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith.
Serra and Lucia, meanwhile, make their way to Coruscant and are granted an audience with Ithorian Jedi Master Obba, a member of the Jedi Council of First Knowledge. Serra uses her knowledge of the Jedi's tenets and behavior to subtly manipulate Obba into accepting her side of the events surrounding Tandar's death, and Obba then surprises Serra by revealing that a former pupil of his, a Dark Jedi named Set Harth, may have been involved in the circumstances of the Sith artifacts. Obba also shows Serra the memorial plinth that was erected after the deaths of Masters Valenthyne Farfalla, Raskta Lsu, Worror Dowmat, Knights Johun Othone and Sarro Xaj, and the healer Caleb. Serra realizes that Bane had returned to Ambria as her father had foreseen he would; however, she also realizes from Obba's description of the man killed there that it was not Bane, and after leaving the Temple, she tells Lucia to take a message to the assassin who killed the rebels.
As Obba suspected, Dark Jedi Set Harth is on Doan, knowing that the real reason Tandar would have journeyed there is because Obba sent him to claim the Sith artifacts. He bribes Quano, a Rodian bartender to find out who has them, but is forced to kill the Rodian's bodyguards when they spring a double-cross attempt on him. He then follows the Rodian to a new meeting of the rebel miners, who are being led by a voiciferous individual named Draado; Harth quickly realizes that Draado is being influenced by the Dark Side energies in the artifacts, and he dashes in, using his blasters and lightsaber to make quick work of most of the miners, and Force Choking Draado to death before taking the artifacts. Zannah, in the meantime, has made her own way to Doan, and following Harth's trail leads her to Quano, the Rodian bartender. Faking sympathy for him, Zannah gets him to lead her to his contact at the spaceport, who tells her Harth's ship came from Nal Hutta. When Zannah finds out that the contact also knows that she came from Ciutric IV, she kills him and Quano, then dumps their bodies onto a ship in Doan's sun as she leaves orbit.
In the Deep Core, Bane arrives at Prakith, having had to make hundreds of small hyperspace jumps that lengthened his trip significantly to avoid the dangers of that area of space. He lands at a spaceport and passes himself off as a visitor from another city on the planet, and quickly learns the location of Andeddu's temple. Traveling there, Bane sets his ship, the Triumph, down on the landing pad at the top of the temple, attracting the attention of almost two dozen of Andeddu's cultists, who he easily dispatches with the Force and his lightsaber. Heading into the temple, Bane effortlessly kills the few who dare to oppose him, soon finding Andeddu's holocron and leaving Prakith. At the same time, Lucia journeys to a Muun space station called Paradise to enlist the services of the Iktotchi assassin, who is known only as the Huntress. She dislikes acting as she is, but realizes that something in Serra's past hurt her deeply. Meeting the Huntress, Lucia gives her the coordinates to Caleb's camp on Ambria, offering triple the assassin's normal rate for the meeting. The Huntress agrees, and Lucia returns to Doan.
Zannah has made her way to Nal Hutta in search of Harth, and soon finds his home, lavishly decorated in a style that obviously means he enjoys the good life. He also, however, has a stash of Sith artifacts hidden away, and Zannah decides that despite his flaws, it might be advantageous to see if he would be a fitting apprentice. Harth returns home and engages Zannah in a suggestive conversation, then attacks without warning, causing her to think that he may be a worthy student. They battle, and Zannah soon realizes that Harth is tiring, then she unleashes one of her spells on him, casting his mind down into a pit of hopelessness and despair, knowing that if he possesses the will to fight out of the trance, he will have shown that he is strong enough to be her apprentice. The Huntress, in the interim, makes her way to Ambria and finds Serra there. Serra flatly says that she wants the assassin to track down and capture Bane, and the Huntress uses her Force abilities to sense the memories of the camp, getting images of Caleb, Bane, and Zannah. Serra offers the Huntress ten times her normal fee and a force of mercenaries, and the Huntress accepts. Serra then gives the Huntress a drug called senflax, which will incapacitate Bane, and the Huntress begins to make her plans.
Heading back to Ciutric IV from Prakith, Bane learns of the ritual of essence transfer, which will allow a powerful enough Sith to transfer their essence to a new body, though their own body will be destroyed in the process. Additionally, if their would-be host is strong willed enough, the transfer will fail and the Sith attempting the transfer will suffer an eternity of torment as a disembodied consciousness. Bane grows angry at the arrogance of Andeddu's holographic gatekeeper, and forces his own mind into the holocron, taking the ritual into his mind by force. On Nal Hutta, Harth awakens to find Zannah sitting in his bedroom, and she tells him she needs an apprentice. Harth is reluctant to follow Zannah, knowing that he chafed under the Master/Apprentice system of the Jedi Order, but finally decides to commit to her out of a lust for the power she exhibits. Zannah, for her part, realizes that Harth is flawed, but reasons that she can teach him to believe in the ways of the Sith and make him into a worthy apprentice, deciding that if he fails to become one, she is young enough that she can find another apprentice and start again.
On Ciutric IV, at the Omek home, the Huntress prepares to spring Serra's trap on Bane. While shutting down the automated security systems, she finds Bane's library of Sith artifacts and takes his personal holocron. When Bane returns, still exhausted from his mental battle with Andeddu's gatekeeper and preoccupied with thinking about finding a victim for the essence transfer, he only realizes he's walking into a trap an instant before two sonic detonators go off on either side of him, staggering him. He uses the Force to shield himself, but the Huntress' power interferes with his and he is hit by a stun rifle. Bane quickly recovers and kills three of his attackers with Force lightning, but is incapacitated by flash grenades and webbing guns which connect his supine body to the floor. Bane finally manages to overpower the Huntress' ability and taps into the Force, shredding his restraints and avoiding the diving stabs of the Huntress, only getting cut on the arm. Bane kills several more of his attackers, then he flips up to the balcony to face the Huntress; he knocks her off and she lands safely, even managing to avoid a bolt of Force lightning. Bane follows her down, but as he lands the senflax takes effect and he is immobilized. The Huntress takes Bane's lightsaber and duffel bag, then directs the clean-up effort that takes Bane and the bodies of the dead mercenaries back to Doan.
Zannah touches down on Ciutric IV a short time later only to find the evidence of Bane's confrontation, and she deduces that he's been captured. Harth finds evidence that someone from the Royal House of Doan was there, and Zannah dispatches Harth to find out any information he can about where they might have taken Bane. Zannah meets with Argel Tenn, but Tenn refuses to tell her what he's been buying for her "brother" and she is forced to torture him for the information, killing him afterward. Returning to the Omek house, Harth tells her he knows everything about Doan, and when Zannah makes the offhand comment that she should have had him research Darth Andeddu, Harth surprises her by revealing that he studied Andeddu as a Jedi, and that the Jedi believed Andeddu had found a way to make himself immortal. Zannah is enraged by this, seeing it as Bane's betraying his own teachings and possibly preventing her own ascendancy, and she realizes that whoever took Bane has Andeddu's holocron, leading her and Harth to travel back to Doan.
Serra has had Bane taken to the Stone Prison, a complex built several kilometers under the foundations of the Doan castle. She goes to see Bane and is confronted by Lucia, who is worried about the effect this is having on her friend. The Huntress says she wants to see Bane as well, and when Lucia voices the same wish, all three women head into Bane's cell. Serra administers a powerful stimulant to Bane and as he raises his head, Lucia gasps in shock as she recognizes her former commander. Serra begins torturing Bane with various drugs, demanding to know why Bane killed Caleb, but Bane answers that he did not, that he considered Caleb to be a valuable tool that he might have had need of again someday. He derides Serra for her attempts at hurting him, twisting her actions into an affirmation of the teachings of the dark side, and Serra is horrified by his words Serra and the Huntress leave, and Lucia uses the stimulant drug to give Bane a chance to escape, more out of concern for what torturing Bane will do to Serra than of wanting Bane to go free. She leaves the cell and orders the guards to sound the alarm if anything goes wrong, then heads off to find Serra.
Zannah and Harth arrive at the Stone Prison and land undetected; Zannah goes off in search of Bane while ordering Harth to guard their ship. A bored Harth begins to run through his options, weighing his desire for greater power against abandoning his new apprenticeship and living with the fear of Zannah or Bane finding him one day. He searches with the Force and easily locates Zannah and Bane, then also finds Andeddu's holocron. The temptation of eternal life proves too much, and he leaves to search for it. In his cell, the stimulant finally overpowers the senflax, and Bane manages to free himself from his bonds. He breaks out of his cell and kills the guards outside, but guards on the next level trigger the alarm before Bane can reach them. He uses the Force to dispatch those soldiers, then senses Zannah searching for him. He begins trying to track down Serra and escape, while at the same time avoiding Zannah, as he still has some of the senflax in his system and doesn't have his lightsaber. A distraught Serra turns to find the Huntress shadowing her, and the Iktotchi tells her that Lucia has freed Bane. Serra refuses to believe her, but then the alarm sounds and she heads for the prison control center, intending to activate detonation charges that will collapse the entire prison on itself.
While searching for Serra, Lucia hears the alarms go off, and she runs into the Huntress, who tells her that she informed Serra of Lucia's betrayal. She tells Lucia which way Serra went, and Lucia realizes that Serra is going to collapse the prison. The Huntress, who still has Bane's lightsaber and holocron, decides that she wants the power the Sith can give her and heads to the landing pads to wait. Zannah is tracking Bane through the prison, though she soon realizes that Bane is leaving traces of his power at certain points to confuse her. She focuses on Bane and begins tailing him again, eager to battle him. Harth finds the office where Serra earlier hid Andeddu's holocron in a safe and takes it, then heads to the main landing pads to leave. After entering the code incorrectly several times in her agitation, Serra manages to get inside the control room and enters the self-destruct code for the prison, hesitating to press the "confirm" button. At the landing pad, Harth admires the Huntress' ship before she confronts him. He attacks her but soon falls victim to her ability, finding it difficult to battle her without full access to the Force. Bane, tracking Serra down, is stopped by Lucia, who asks Bane to let Serra live in exchange for her freeing him. Bane refuses, and Lucia stands in his way. But Bane is no longer "Des", and he prepares to kill Lucia, before a wave of Force energy hits both he and Lucia. Bane manages to shield himself, but Lucia is killed. Zannah confronts Bane, telling him in a voice filled with contempt that he has betrayed the Rule of Two. Bane argues that he only sought Andeddu's holocron because Zannah had not challenged him and that if Zannah wants the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith, she must take it from him while he is in his prime, not once he has been weakened by old age. Zannah advances on him and realizes that he hasn't found his lightsaber, then she attacks.
In the control room, Serra cancels the self-destruct, then goes in search of Lucia, soon finding her friend's broken form. She finally realizes that revenge was never what her father would have wanted, then she hears a high-pitched hum and sees Bane and Zannah fighting. Dragging Lucia's body to the control room and putting it in the escape shuttle, she activates the detonation charges and leaves in the shuttle. At the landing pads, the Huntress finds herself unable to corner Harth, who realizes that he can't beat her with her interfering with his connection to the Force. Harth switches tactics and disables two of the four shuttles on the pads before stopping and offering to let the Huntress leave if she will do the same for him. She reluctantly agrees and Harth steals a shuttle and flies off, with the Huntress noting that he is the first person to escape her, but believing it to be a minor inconvenience compared to the power the Sith can show her. Fighting Bane, Zannah finds herself uncomfortable with being the aggressor and, even without his lightsaber, Bane is able to use his other Force powers to keep himself from being cornered or trapped by her, and he finally manages to distract her long enough to trigger one of the detonation charges with Force lightning, separating them with tons of rubble. Realizing she's missed her opportunity, Zannah retreats to her ship and leaves. Bane races to the landing pad and finds the Huntress there; she kneels before him, presents Bane with his lightsaber and holocron, and asks to be his apprentice, sweetening her offer with knowledge of Serra's location. Bane accepts and they leave.
Serra lands on Ambria and buries Lucia's body, then recounts the events that led her here, beginning with the desire for revenge that Gerran's death evoked in her, and she realizes that the lust for vengeance has cost her everything she had left. She finally decides that no matter what else happens, she will face it with the strength of will her father showed, and that she will never again allow the dark side to influence her decisions. In conversation with the Huntress, Bane learns of how she tracked him with her visions, and that she is having visions of Bane and Zannah battling, though they shift between Bane and Zannah winning their battle. He realizes that she could be a valuable addition to the Sith, as while he can predict the future, she could be trained to actually see it. They land on Ambria at Caleb's old camp, and as Bane walks up to the tent, Serra emerges and confronts Bane, asking if he saw Lucia's grave. When Bane discounts Lucia's saving his life, Serra says her death was pointless, and Bane retorts that Caleb's death was pointless, and that he would not have killed the man. He tells Serra that if she has Caleb's power, he could use her, but Serra says she will never help Bane. She attempts to warn the Huntress that following Bane will lead to her destruction, but the Huntress disregards the warning, saying that Bane will lead her to her destiny. Serra again disagrees, saying that the dark side and Bane are evil and again reiterating that she will never serve Bane. The Huntress asks for and receives Bane's permission to kill Serra, doing so quickly when Serra doesn't resist.
In orbit around Doan, Zannah is thinking on the events of the previous day, wondering if what Bane said about waiting for her to challenge him really reflects a weakness in her, before deciding that it was only a psychological ploy on Bane's part to get her to doubt herself. Going over their battle again, she realizes that Bane had tricked her into fighting his way, instead of her way, and she resolves to not make the same mistake if they meet again. On Ambria, Bane initiates the Huntress as a Sith apprentice, and she takes the name Cognus, impressing Bane that she realizes her mind is her most important weapon. He questions her further about the battle she sees between him and Zannah, and realizes that it has to happen or the Sith will be forever weakened. He heads to Cognus' shuttle and sends Zannah a coded message telling her to come and face him at Caleb's camp. Zannah receives the message and heads to Ambria, determined to end their confrontation.
Landing on Ambria, Zannah sees Cognus in the background, but Cognus declares that her loyalty is to the Sith and that she will not interfere in their battle. Zannah declares that she has surpassed Bane; he tells her to prove it, and their battle restarts. Zannah realizes in moments that even with his orbalisk armor, Bane never sparred with her at his full speed, as it is all she can do to keep him at bay. Bane, likewise, realizes that her defense is better than he knew, and settles back in anticipation of a long, grueling battle. Zannah has decided to use some of her Sorcery on Bane, but while she backs up and prepares a spell, she trips over Lucia's freshly dug grave and Bane instantly advances on her, kicking her in the side and breaking a rib. Zannah puts some distance between them, then hits Bane with a spell that causes him to see horrific creatures staring at him with his father's eyes. Seeing Zannah gives him the strength to banish the phantoms, but Zannah then calls on the dark side itself, causing tentacles of pure dark side energy to rise out of Ambria's contaminated ground and attack Bane. Bane attempts to destroy them, but his lightsaber passes through them like smoke, and one touches his shoulder and disintegrates a chunk of flesh, causing such pain that Bane almost goes into shock. Bane realizes that he can't affect the tentacles and must kill Zannah, and he dodges them in an attempt to do so. He leaps to the attack and Zannah blocks him, but with part of her powers tied up in controlling the tentacles, Bane is able to disarm her. But as he brings his lightsaber down to kill her, one of the tentacles wraps around his forearm, severing the limb and dropping Bane to his knees in silent agony. Marshaling all his remaining power, he grabs Zannah's wrist with his left hand and begins the ritual of essence transfer, his body obliterated in an instant as his mind invades Zannah's body, looking out through her eyes and hearing through her ears. Zannah fights back, both seeking to destroy the other, seeming evenly matched, before it ends.
Cognus has watched the entire fight from the camp, and having felt Bane's essence leave his body, she knows it could only have gone into Zannah or been cast out. She watches Zannah rise unsteadily to her feet, unsure if it's because Bane is now in control of the body or if it is merely exhaustion from the battle. Cognus hesitantly approaches and asks who it is, with Zannah replying dismissively that Bane is gone and that she is now Darth Zannah, Dark Lord of the Sith. She accepts Cognus as her apprentice and directs her to take Bane's lightsaber until she can construct one of her own, and as Zannah explains that one day Cognus must face her just as she faced Bane, Cognus notices that Zannah is flexing her left hand repeatedly. In the Doan shuttle, Set Harth begins to examine Darth Andeddu's holocron, eager to one day learn the ritual of essence transfer.
The final battle between Bane and Zannah led a number of fans to post theories regarding its outcome, including the theory that Bane not only had successfully cast Zannah out of her body, but that he had done so for each Sith Lord over the thousand years before the events of the original trilogy, up to and including Darth Sidious. Less than two weeks after the book's release, Karpyshyn personally clarified the situation with a post on his website saying that Zannah had won the battle. Karpyshyn said that he "wanted to introduce just a hint of subtlety about how much of Bane survived," and that he left open the possibility of revisiting the situation at some point, saying that what was supposed to be left ambiguous was whether or not Bane was "still 'alive' in some way," or if "just a small part of his identity imprinted on her."
- ISBN 9780345511560; December 8, 2009; Del Rey; US hardcover, Science Fiction Book Club edition (1284033)
- ISBN 9780593497043; April 5, 2022; Del Rey; US paperback; The Essential Legends Collection edition
|Organizations and titles||Sentient species||Vehicles and vessels||Weapons and technology||Miscellanea|
Organizations and titles
Vehicles and vessels
Weapons and technology
Notes and references