- "I'm offering you a chance to deal with me simply, with one stroke of your vaunted lightsaber. Meet me on my own world…on the plains of Harkul, where you and I will battle to the death."
- ―Mandalore the Indomitable, to Ulic Qel-Droma
In 3996 BBY, a duel took place on the planet Kuar between the Sith Lord Ulic Qel-Droma and Mandalore the Indomitable, leader of the Mandalorian Crusaders. In the months following the alliance between fellow Dark Lords of the Sith Exar Kun and Qel-Droma, the Mandalorian clans attempted to begin a new crusade under their warlord's banner, believing that they would be able to gain control over the Empress Teta system while the attention of Qel-Droma and his Krath cult was focused elsewhere.
Engaging in several small raids to test the strength of the Krath, Mandalore eventually caught the attention of Qel-Droma by destroying an important carbonite smelting station in the Empress Teta system. Wanting to crush the threat that the Mandalorians presented as soon as possible, Qel-Droma agreed to a challenge of single combat on the planet Kuar extended by Mandalore. The duel, as explained by Mandalore, would be fought between Qel-Droma and himself, and the victor would receive full command over their foes' forces, as well as the seven worlds of Empress Teta. Qel-Droma managed to best Mandalore during the course of the fight, but refused to kill his defeated enemy. Having experienced the fighting ability of Mandalore firsthand, Qel-Droma believed that Mandalore was of more use to him alive. Seeing that his reputation had been preserved, Mandalore pledged his life, honor, and troops to Qel-Droma's cause.
- "He wants the seven worlds of Teta. He wants to conquer. I believe he feels a burning need even he doesn't understand."
- ―Aleema Keto, speaking to Ulic Qel-Droma of Mandalore the Indomitable
Following the Second Battle of Empress Teta, in which Ulic Qel-Droma and Exar Kun were anointed Lords of the Sith, the two warlords made a plan through which they would expand their forces in an effort to eventually topple the Galactic Republic and destroy the Jedi Order. Part of the plan was for Qel-Droma to use the armies of his Krath cult to begin asserting his control in the systems neighboring Empress Teta. With the Krath military attempting to fulfill their commander's orders, the seven worlds of Empress Teta appeared to be overstretched by their campaigns. This, however, did not cause Qel-Droma or his co-commander, Aleema Keto, any concern, for they believed that no enemy other than perhaps a joint Republic–Jedi force could threaten them. Nonetheless, their overconfidence in their own power allowed for another enemy to attack them—the Mandalorians.
The Mandalorians were a warrior society whose beliefs were firmly ingrained with their sense of honor. Attempting to gain both territory and honor by attacking the Tetan worlds, the Mandalorian leader, Mandalore the Indomitable, led his soldiers on several raids within the boundaries of Krath space. Eventually, following the destruction of an important carbonite smelting station under Krath control, these raids managed to attract the attention of Ulic Qel-Droma. Believing that he did not have time to deal with mercenaries such as the Mandalorians, Qel-Droma contacted Mandalore and demanded that he and his armies surrender immediately. Mandalore, however, refused Qel-Droma's demands, choosing instead to challenge Qel-Droma to a one-on-one fight that would decide the fate of the seven worlds of Empress Teta. Qel-Droma agreed to Mandalore's demand for a fight, but also offered up his own terms should he win the fight—if he could defeat Mandalore, then the Mandalorian clans would pledge their allegiance to him, and thus fight under his war standards. Not wanting his honor to be tarnished, Mandalore agreed to Qel-Droma's terms.
- "Your defeat is at hand, Jedi!"
- ―Mandalore the Indomitable
As part of Mandalore's terms, both he and Qel-Droma, along with their respective armies, were to meet on the Deep Core world of Kuar, on the Plains of Harkul, which the Mandalorians had raided and established camps upon years earlier. Believing that he could stunt Qel-Droma's use of the Force, Mandalore waited until just before the fight to advise the Sith Lord that the duel would not take place on the ground; instead, it would take place far above the plains of Harkul on a network of linked chains. Likewise, Mandalore advised those listening that to even the odds against a Jedi, he would be allowed to use his customized Basilisk war droid, while Qel-Droma would not be allowed any type of mount.
The duel began with Mandalore attacking Qel-Droma from above, using the advantage afforded to him by his Basilisk mount. Qel-Droma, however, was able to use his lightsaber and Force abilities to destroy Mandalore's mount, thus forcing the Mandalorian chieftain to fight hand-to-hand. Realizing that Qel-Droma still held an advantage over him by being allowed the use of his lightsaber, Mandalore challenged Qel-Droma to put away his lightsaber and fight with a Mythosaur axe, the traditional bladed weapon of the Mandalorian forefathers. Believing that he could defeat Mandalore regardless of the weapon he used, Qel-Droma accepted the Mandalorian weapon. The fight continued until, ultimately, Qel-Droma was able to knock Mandalore off of the chain linking, thus defeating the Mandalorian leader.
- "I am not interested in your death, Mandalore. I have a better fate in mind for you. A much better fate."
- ―Ulic Qel-Droma, to Mandalore
Realizing that he was defeated, Mandalore asked Qel-Droma to kill him, thus putting a proper end to the fight. Qel-Droma, however, had a different plan for the defeated chieftain; realizing that he would need a trustworthy and combat-capable lieutenant to lead his newly acquired Mandalorian soldiers, Qel-Droma advised Mandalore that he would act as his personal warlord. Thus, with the Mandalorian armies under his command, Qel-Droma began preparations to further his and Kun's plans for galactic domination.
While Mandalore had accepted his defeat at the hands of the Krath warlord Qel-Droma, several of his supporters had not. One such individual was a young Zeltron Mandalorian named Antos Wyrick, who was devastated that his leader, from whom he had learned martial combat directly, had been defeated. Following Mandalore's loss, Wyrick sneaked into Qel-Droma's cabin with intentions of determining what gave the Jedi a tactical advantage over the leader of the vaunted Mandalorian clans. All Wyrick found was a worn Jedi robe, which he confiscated for later study with hopes of discovering a genetic secret to Qel-Droma's superiority over Mandalore. Unbeknownst to Wyrick at the time, the stolen garment had not been worn by Qel-Droma; it had belonged to the Sith Lord's deceased Jedi Master, the Arkanian Jedi Arca Jeth.
Behind the scenes
The duel on Kuar first appeared in the issue The Sith War 1: Edge of the Whirlwind of the Tales of the Jedi series of comics. The duel was conceived and written by author Kevin J. Anderson and was drawn by artist Dario Carrasco, Jr. Anderson used the comic Edge of the Whirlwind, along with the duel on Kuar, to re-introduce the Mandalorian clans to the Star Wars universe. The duel later appeared in Knights of the Old Republic 48 during a flashback concerning the origins of a Mandalorian character from the Knights of the Old Republic comics, the scientist doctor Demagol.
- Tales of the Jedi – The Sith War 1 (First appearance)
- (Mentioned only)
- Knights of the Old Republic 48 (In flashback(s))
- Young Jedi Knights: Delusions of Grandeur (Mentioned only)
- "Straight from the Horse's Mouth: A Guide to the Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi Universe, Part 2"—Star Wars Insider 27
- The Essential Guide to Characters
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Chronology
- The Dark Side Sourcebook
- Power of the Jedi Sourcebook
- Chronicles of the Old Republic
- The New Essential Chronology
- Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide
- The Essential Atlas
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia