During the Galactic Civil War, a conflict broke out in 14 ABY between the Disciples of Ragnos, a Sith cult backed by a Imperial Remnant faction and Invisible Market traders, and the New Jedi Order supported by the New Republic. The cult led by Dark Jedi Tavion Axmis tried to resurrect the ancient Sith Lord Marka Ragnos, believing that he would give them unlimited power and bring the galaxy under their control. Eventually, their plans were thwarted, mostly due to the actions of Jedi Knight Jaden Korr, and they were defeated in a battle on Korriban.
- "Thanks to you, the weakling Jedi who scorned me shall soon be erased from history, replaced by a new race of warriors; strong warriors, warriors who know that the Force is not a shield to protect the useless… but is, in reality, a weapon… to empower the worthy!"
- ―Desann to Kyle Katarn
The crisis was born of the Empire Reborn, an Imperial Remnant splinter movement led by Lord Hethrir, a former Procurator of Justice who dedicated his life to make his vision of the Galactic Empire a reality and rule it with cadres of fanatically loyal followers. To achieve his long-dreamt goal, he tasked Desann, a fallen Jedi and second-in-command of the Empire Reborn project, with creating a Dark Army. Recruiting Force-sensitive members from the Empire Youth and other minions of Lord Hethrir, the Chistori Dark Jedi established the Reborn - an organization of warriors artificially imbued or enhanced with the Force. However, Kyle Katarn managed to kill Desann at the Battle of Yavin IV and the newly-created army of the Empire Reborn were decimated by the combined forces of the New Republic and New Jedi Order in 12 ABY. Lord Hethrir met his end two years later, consumed by a trans-dimensional being called Waru. The death of the key members of the Empire Reborn dealt a devastating loss to the movement. Those Reborn who survived rallied under Tavion Axmis, Desann's apprentice, whose life Katarn had spared on Bespin. Tavion, with the support of the Imperial Remnant established a Sith cult called the Disciples of Ragnos, and henceforth the Reborn serving Tavion were now known as the New Reborn. Before that Tavion had took sadistic Twi'lek Alora as her apprentice and found an ancient Sith artifact on Commenor, known as the Scepter of Ragnos, which could siphon Force energies from locations that possessed some residue of Force power, known as Force nexuses. The scepter was instrumental in empowering many individuals wth Force energy, the so-called Sith Cultists, which made the majority of the Disciples of Ragnos. The final goal of the cult was to resurrect one of the most respectable Dark Lords of the Sith all the time, Marka Ragnos, thus issuing a new era of Sith rule.
- "We'll have to investigate any locations from my records. That includes all of you students."
- ―Luke Skywalker
Tavion, having the powerful cult with strict rules and clear hierarchy under her command, established trade contacts with influential mercenaries, smugglers, bounty hunters and bosses of the Invisible Market, including Lannik Racto, a dangerous crime lord from Coruscant. The cult leader hoped that her connections in the underworld would further destabilize the New Republic government who was allied to the New Jedi Order founded by Luke Skywalker. After accumulating enough manpower and wealth she started dispatching her cultists to various regions of the galaxy ordering them to find places that possessed some residue of Force power, especially the planets being tainted by the dark side of the Force. Alora and Kothos twins, extremely skilled in using the Force powers members of the cult, were trusted by their leader with responsibility over these missions.
Finally, Tavion and her disciples made a daring move, carrying out a surprising infiltration of Yavin 4, during which they drained Force power from one of the Massassi Temples and stole valuable data from Luke Skywalker's Jedi Praxeum. This attack brought the cult's existence to light and due to bravery of Jaden Korr, the new student famous for construction of his lightsaber even before attending the Jedi Academy, the Jedi Order was informed about the growing threat to the galaxy. Luke Skywalker quickly formed many Jedi task forces consisting of experienced masters/knights, including Kyle Katarn and Corran Horn, and promising padawans. He sent them on many missions in order to prevent the Disciples of Ragnos from executing their schemes. The headmaster of the Academy also contacted the New Republic authorities, asking their officials and agents to help the Jedi to track down and halt the cultists. Jaden Korr and his newly-met friend Rosh Penin were assigned to Kyle Katarn and instructed to take part in this broad-based intelligence operation.
The hunt for the Cult
Skywalker knew that the Disciples of Ragnos would attempt to possess Force powers present on the worlds catalogued in his personal records. However, it was also crucial for the Jedi Order to find out who was backing the Disciples of Ragnos. As a result, long range reconnaissance was undertaken all over the whole known galaxy. The most important ones were carried out by Jaden Korr and his master, Kyle Katarn in the following places:
- Mos Eisley - while investigating smuggling activity Katarn and Korr discovered connections between the smugglers/mercenaries and the cult. Chewbacca, being there on diplomatic business, helped the Jedi defeat the criminals.
- Tatooine - Katarn went to talk to a moisture farmer who overheard a conversation about the Disciples of Ragnos in a local bar. In the meantime, Korr extracted the R5 unit which had been sold to Jawas attacked by Tusken Raiders. The droid was priceless, because it had recorded the entire conversation.
- Corellia - having received worrisome reports from Coronet Kyle and Jaden decided to check them out personally. They encountered mercenaries cooperating with some Sith Cultists, who attempted to sabotage a maglev train. Both Jedi fully thwarted their evil plans.
- Hoth - Korr was chosen to make certain that the area on the desolate world, where Luke Skywalker talked to the ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi many years ago, was not siphoned of Force energies. The worst fears were proved when Jaden discovered that Imperials and Sith cultists had went on ahead of the Jedi Order. Nevertheless at Echo Base Korr decimated the enemy forces and survived the duel with Axmis's apprentice, Alora, forcing her to flee. After completing this mission Korr was promoted to the rank of Apprentice and Skywalker found out that Dagobah listed in Echo Base database would be the next target for the cult.
- Ruusan - being very well acquainted with the Valley of the Jedi Kyle went to look at this place, which was known as a very powerful and sacred Force nexus. Therefore its protection from the Cult of Ragnos was top priority for the Luke Skywalker's Jedi Order.
- Zonju V - Padawan Korr was supposed to meet a spaceport worker, who had gained important information on the Disciples of Ragnos, however the contact was assassinated before he could reveal anything. Jaden, being attacked without a break by swoop mercenaries hired by the cult, had to resort to escape.
- Kril'dor - New Republic Intelligence Service (NRI) agents provided information about Imperial Remnant supplying the Disciples of Ragnos with funds obtained from the sale of tibanna mined from the giant gas planet. The joint operation between commanding officer General Wedge Antilles and Jaden Korr allowed the New Republic to defeat Imperial forces and secure the tibanna gas platform.
- Coruscant - eliminating funding sources of the cult was as important as preventing Force siphoning by their members, so New Republic contacted the Jedi Order to capture Lannik Racto, a Coruscanti crime boss and one of the main financial backers of the Imperial Remnant/Cult of Ragnos, who supplied them with illegal assassin droids through the Invisible Market. Chosen for this mission Korr localized Racto's headquarters, found an alternative way inside it, defeated all security guards and arrested the host. After being apprehended Racto revealed to New Republic authorities the site of his Nar Shaddaa droid factory and within days a team of NRI agents shut it down.
- Dosuun - upon investigating transmissions about the cult activity Jaden Korr fell into the trap set by Rax Joris, a corrupt Imperial Army officer, who founded a prison compound on the remote world and occasionally played sick "hide and run" games with prisoners. The apprentice of Kyle Katarn was forced to participate in one of these 'special entertainment shows', but managed to survive to the end. In the hangar, where his Z-95 Headhunter was stationed, Korr killed Joris, reclaiming his stolen lightsaber.
There were also missions with other participants. Corran Horn made a journey to Wayland to investigate cult or Imperial Remnant presence on the planet. Streen and Tionne Solusar, a scholar of Jedi history, were also involved in the hunt for the cult with the second one providing invaluable knowledge about places strong in the Force. Before Korr's visit to Byss, another student of Kyle Katarn, Rosh Penin was sent to look around the remains of the planet, but was kidnapped by the cult and turned to the dark side of the Force, becoming the second apprentice of Tavion Axmis.
In-between the missions related to the Sith cult activity, the New Jedi Order had to perform their daily duties, especially by participation in resolving various conflicts and problems erupting in the galaxy. On Bakura, Korr on request of local authorities investigated a power station which was not answering any calls. It turned out that the station had been sabotaged by Imperial Remnant forces and selected it to be used to cause a great disaster in a nearby city. The Jedi Initiate managed to prevent this tragedy on his own even before his master showed up. During the mission to Blenjeel, Korr was tasked to rescue crewmembers of crashed merchant vessel, unfortunately all of them had been killed by local dangerous wild beasts, sand burrowers with the last survivor eaten in front of Korr. Due to Jaden's reports, the New Republic classified Blenjeel as a dangerous world in its database. The talented Jedi, assisted by his master, who was looking for Penin at this time, also rescued Mining Guild elders on Nar Kreeta, preventing their death at the hands of a rancor at a gambling arena owned by a local Hutt crime lord.
- Hoth: Under the Ice
- The New Essential Chronology
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- Threats of the Galaxy
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
Notes and references