- "Exal Kressh. You are a traitor to your blood and your Empire."
"You'd kill me for that? The Dark Council's hound against a girl just out of stasis. Good luck trying."
- ―Teneb Kel and Exal Kressh
During the Great Galactic War, a duel between Teneb Kel and Exal Kressh occurred on Lenico Colony Blue, a hospital space station orbiting the dead world of Lenico IV. Kel, a disgraced Sith apprentice, was tasked by the Dark Council of the Sith Empire to hunt down and eliminate Kressh, a traitor to the Empire and the Sith Emperor's former apprentice. Over a month earlier, Kressh had abandoned the Empire and began leaking confidential Imperial intelligence to the Sith's adversaries in the war, the Galactic Republic, with the intent to disrupt the Emperor's life-twisting Sith rituals. Kressh traveled to Lenico after managing to flee from the Empire's agents, hoping that entering a medically-induced stasis would prevent her former Master from detecting her Force presence.
Intending to bring an end to her treason, Kel tracked Kressh to Lenico Colony Blue, where he found her emerging from her state of suspended animation. The two quickly entered into combat, and although Kel fought ferociously, Kressh's superior lightsaber skills and command of the dark side of the Force overwhelmed the young apprentice. The melee resulted in extensive damage to the station's medical facilities and superstructure, crippling the satellite and forcing its denizens to evacuate. Although Kel attempted to defend himself for a time, he was severely wounded and his bid to capture the Emperor's rogue apprentice ultimately failed. Kressh allowed her adversary to flee from the engagement before continuing to ruin Lenico Colony Blue and send it hurtling toward the surface of Lenico IV. In doing so, she covered her own flight from the facility and trapped Kel and her other pursuers on the surface of the dead world, granting herself time to continue her treason and further subvert the Emperor's goals.
- "Exal Kressh was the Emperor's apprentice. Fifty-two days ago, she abandoned her duties in the Kathol Rift and fled toward Republic space. She is a traitor. You will find her and slay her."
- ―Darth Marr, to Teneb Kel
During the Great Galactic War between the Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic, the Pureblood Sith female Exal Kressh served in the exalted position of apprentice to the Sith Emperor. Throughout the early years of the conflict, the Emperor trained his pupil to master the dark side of the Force and sent her on missions across the galaxy to collect knowledge of Sith magic and dark side rituals. Unbeknownst to Kressh, her Master was simultaneously working to drain her of her own free will and fill her mind with his thoughts and commands, intending to turn her into the first of his "Children." The Children of the Emperor were to be a group of beings brainwashed by Sith magic into becoming literal extensions of the Emperor's will—at any moment he could activate them and fill them with his essence, seeing through their eyes and controlling their actions. Kressh was largely unaware of the Emperor's intentions until approximately 3678 BBY, when her Master sent her on a mission to the dead world of Lenico IV. There, she discovered a tribe of Ortolans who practiced similar shamanistic rituals to indefinitely perpetuate the life of a leader.
It was there that Kressh realized what the Emperor had been doing to her throughout her apprenticeship. Horrified, she massacred the Ortolan tribe and fled from the Empire shortly thereafter, hoping to rid herself of the Emperor and stop his creation of more Children. To the latter end, she began leaking Imperial Military secrets to the Galactic Republic, all the while being tormented by the continuing presence of the Emperor in her mind. As word of a rogue Sith apprentice spread, both the Jedi Order and the Empire's Dark Council began efforts to hunt her down, albeit for different reasons. Knowing that the Emperor was able to track her through her own thoughts and experiences, Kressh returned to Lenico IV, reasoning that her history with the location would confuse the Emperor's perceptions of her whereabouts. To further the deception, the rogue Sith put herself into suspended animation aboard the medical station Lenico Colony Blue, one of six artificial satellites orbiting the planet.
Kressh's previous experiences with Lenico IV and her stasis-induced dreams did confound the Emperor and prevented him from remotely entering her mind, but her former Master was ultimately able to sense that she was indeed in the Lenico system. Under the command of their sovereign, the Dark Council charged another disgraced apprentice with the duty to find and destroy Kressh—Teneb Kel, a Human male and aspiring Sith assassin. Together with his Abyssin slave Maggot, Kel searched the various space stations orbiting Lenico IV until finally arriving on Colony Blue to confront its administrator, Baron-Surgeon Ybann the Hutt. Although the Hutt was of little help in the hunt, Kel continued to search the station until happening upon the stasis chambers.
- "Are you really all they sent? A hungry, frightened acolyte? You think if you murder me, you'll become the Emperor's next apprentice?"
- ―Exal Kressh, to Teneb Kel
Upon entering Lenico Colony Blue's stasis chambers, Kel inadvertently activated security measures meant to protect the sleeping patients. As such, a medical droid began revivification of Kressh, who quickly awoke and armed herself, choosing to hide among the facility's myriad containment tubes and hallways while taunting her pursuer. After a time she revealed herself and swiftly blasted Kel with Force lightning, flinging him backward into tubes of crystalline permaglass. The young Sith hunter quickly recovered and used the Force to telekinetically hurl the shards of shattered permaglass at his assailant, although the counterattack failed to meet its mark due to Kressh's superior command of the Force. Continuing to taunt him, Kressh again flung arcs of lightning at Kel as he fled from the chamber. While Kel quoted the Code of the Sith to gather his resolve, the rogue apprentice followed him with a cadre of medical droids that were emitting an aerosol of toxic, coma-inducing gas.
To escape the contaminated air, Kel cut a hole in the chamber's floor and fled into the lower levels to hide among the station's power generators. With a blast of Force lightning, the apprentice detonated one of the generators, only to find Kressh hiding behind it, prepared to strike. Again Kel tried to defend himself with lightning, but the rogue Sith caught it with her lightsaber blade and turned it back against its caster. Kel was thrown to the floor in the flaming rubble of the generator, thoroughly defeated. Kressh approached to kill her pursuer but instead offered him a choice: either she would reveal the Emperor's plans and then kill him, or allow him to flee and preserve his life. Kel chose the latter and quickly fled the scene while Kressh stayed behind to continue sabotaging Lenico Colony Blue.
- "Just you and me, alone again. Like in the old days, when you crawled through my veins and filled my mind…"
- ―Exal Kressh, communicating telepathically with the Emperor
Kel escaped the melee by falling through a hole blasted in the station's bulkhead and landing on a hovertrain below. Kressh, meanwhile, used the Force to disable the station's vital verbobrain clusters, causing an cascade of system failures across Lenico Colony Blue. The integrity of the station's power core dropped drastically as the station's orbit began to deteriorate, causing panic throughout the structure. The satellite's denizens quickly began to flee as Kel tried to reconnect with Maggot and escape aboard his Fury-class interceptor. Although he reached its mooring at docking pylon four, the hangar bay's containment field was failing rapidly, venting the atmosphere into space and tearing the surrounding structure apart with it. Using the Force, the heavily wounded Kel was able to use the colony's rubble to guide himself back to his vessel, where he found Maggot waiting for his return. Like many of the medstation's other escapees—including Kressh's Jedi pursuers—the Sith apprentice and his slave were forced to seek refuge and ship repairs on the dead surface of Lenico IV.
The station ultimately fell entirely out of orbit and plummeted to the surface of Lenico IV, burning up in the atmosphere as it descended. Kressh escaped largely unscathed from Lenico Colony Blue aboard her X-70B Phantom-class starship, but once again heard the voice of the Emperor in her mind, driving her deeper into insanity. Despite the mental intrusion, she had succeeded in losing her hunters and once again resumed her plan to prevent the creation of the Children of the Sith Emperor. To that end, she pushed forward to the Sith holy world of Korriban in the Horuset system, where she ignited a major battle between Republic and Imperial forces before once again being confronted by Teneb Kel.
Behind the scenes
The duel on Lenico Colony Blue first appeared in the online webcomic, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Blood of the Empire, released in 2010 on The Old Republic's website and written by Alexander Freed. The action of the battle was primarily concentrated in the comic's second entry, Act 2: The Broken World, which was re-released later that year in printed format as The Old Republic 5: Blood of the Empire, Part 2. Blood of the Empire was the second of three Old Republic comic story arcs created as a tie-in to the online video game, Star Wars: The Old Republic.
- The Old Republic, Blood of the Empire Act 2: The Broken World (First appearance)
Notes and references
- The Old Republic, Blood of the Empire Act 1: Shades of the Sith
- The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural indicates that the Minos Cluster Campaign lasted for the entirety of the twenty-eight-year Great Galactic War, meaning that the campaign occurred in concurrence with the duel on Lenico Colony Blue.
- The Old Republic, Blood of the Empire Act 3: Burn the Future
- The Old Republic, Blood of the Empire Act 2: The Broken World
- The Old Republic, Blood of the Empire Act 1: Shades of the Sith places the events of Blood of the Empire twenty-five years before the Treaty of Coruscant, which is signed in 3653 BBY according to Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia. This indicates that Blood of the Empire occurs in 3678 BBY.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex: "The First Son (Consular)"
- The Old Republic 5: Blood of the Empire, Part 2