- "This is the seed of the Baran Do. The seed that must take root if the Order itself dies."
- ―Koro Ziil, on the Hidden Ones
The Hidden Ones were a subsect of the Baran Do Sages, a faction of Force-sensitive Kel Dor living on their homeworld of Dorin. In 19 BBY, after the end of the Clone Wars and the rise of the Galactic Empire, the Jedi Order was hunted and purged. One Baran Do Master, Tokra Hazz, feared that his Order would suffer the same fate. In order to ensure that the Baran Do were not driven to extinction if such an attack occurred, Hazz formed the Hidden Ones with the purpose of preserving the knowledge of the Baran Do Order; therefore, if the Order was ever eradicated, it could be reinstated. Hazz became the sect's first leader, known as "hu'aac-du'ul-staranjan"—or simply the Hidden One—and was given absolute rule over the sect.
The sect's culture revolved around an individual Baran Do Sage holding a dying ceremony before traveling to the system of caverns that was home to the sect. There, the Baran Do became Hidden Ones and chose new names, as they considered their former selves to be dead. The Hidden Ones adopted that practice as, once they entered the caverns, they were never again allowed to leave; otherwise, they would risk exposing the existence of the sect to the galaxy. Such exposure would negate the sect's goal because if the Hidden Ones' existence was known and the Baran Do were attacked, then the Hidden Ones would simply be destroyed as well. However, because the Force thrived on liveliness and vivacity, the Hidden Ones—who were forced to accept death and thus lost their will to live—essentially turned their backs on the Force, causing their powers to wane. The weakening of their powers was also caused by the fact that their sole existence was to retain knowledge; they rarely practiced their skills and never attempted to learn any new ones.
The sect survived undetected by the outside galaxy until 43.5 ABY, when the Jedi Luke and Ben Skywalker embarked on a quest to trace Jedi Knight–turned–Sith Lord Darth Caedus' steps during his five-year journey after the Yuuzhan Vong War, in hopes of learning why he had fallen to the dark side. The Skywalkers infiltrated the Hidden Ones and learned of the many lies that the Hidden Ones' current leader, formerly named Koro Ziil, told his followers—including that the sect was self-sufficient for food and that there was no way to leave the sect's caverns. Hoping to free the sect's members, the Skywalkers began sowing unrest among the Hidden Ones, turning them against their corrupt leader and restoring their will to live. An enraged Ziil confronted the elder Skywalker, but he was defeated, and Ben revealed to the Hidden Ones the many lies that Ziil had kept. The Hidden Ones then revolted against their ruler and returned to the surface.
- "Tokra Hazz was not so much distraught at the loss of individual life as at the loss of knowledge. Remember, at the time it was believed that all Jedi everywhere had died—that the Jedi Order had completely winked out. Fearing that the new Emperor would extend the same genocidal impulse to other Force-sensitive orders, Tokra Hazz sent many of the Baran Do Masters into hiding and thought about what to do next."
"And what to do was to dig a big hole in the ground."
"Yes. As a repository of knowledge."
- ―Chara and Ben Skywalker, on the creation of the Hidden Ones
In 19 BBY, the Clone Wars came to an abrupt end with the execution of Order 66 and the transition of the Galactic Republic into the first Galactic Empire. Emperor Palpatine's sudden genocide of the Jedi Order caused several leaders of the Baran Do Sages—a Force-based organization located on the planet Dorin—to become concerned that their Order may suffer the same fate. In order to prevent that, one of the Baran Do Masters, Tokra Hazz, decided to create a secret sect of the Baran Do dedicated to preserving the Order's knowledge so that, should the Baran Do ever be destroyed, the Order could be restored.
Hazz traveled deep beneath the surface of Dorin, where he found and expanded a series of caverns, naming them the Caverns of the Hidden One. He established these caverns as the headquarters of the sect, which he named the Hidden Ones, and became their first leader, taking on the title of the Hidden One. Hazz came to the conclusion that if the sect was to remain secret, the Sages who joined could never be allowed to leave the caverns. Therefore, Hazz decided that the sect's members would have to consider themselves dead to the outside galaxy, so that they had no desire to leave the sect. As such, a dying ceremony was established, in which a Sage pretended to die before secretly traveling to the caverns, where they then changed their name and joined the Hidden Ones. Hazz also decided to establish a telepathic technique for communication with the Baran Do on the surface, as a way for reinstating the Baran Do Order if it was ever destroyed.
Discovery and unrest
- "We are here in search of answers."
"Ah. A worthy goal at the end of one's life."
"You intend to kill us? For what?"
"No, certainly not. You have come here. This is the place after life. The world below, the world after. You are already dead."
- ―Luke Skywalker and Koro Ziil
The Hidden Ones grew to include approximately fifty members over the next several decades, with several prominent Baran Do Masters joining their ranks, among them the former Master of the Baran Do Order Koro Ziil, who became the Hidden Ones' leader by 43.5 ABY. Other respected Baran Do who had joined the Hidden Ones by that time included the proficient combatant Ithia and an elderly Baran Do named Burra. In 43.5 ABY, Jedi Grand Master Luke Skywalker was exiled from Coruscant and the Jedi Order for dereliction of duty. He and his son, Jedi Knight Ben Skywalker, embarked on a quest to retrace the steps that Jedi Knight–turned–Sith Lord Jacen Solo took during his five-year sojourn after the Yuuzhan Vong War, in hopes of discovering more about Solo's fall to the dark side of the Force and transformation into Darth Caedus. Their travels took them to the Baran Do Order on Dorin, where they hoped to find Koro Ziil, who had taught Solo during his travels. The Skywalkers were informed that Ziil had died, but they remained on Dorin anyway and trained with the Baran Do for several days.
During their stay, senior combat instructor Charsae Saal announced that he would be holding his dying ceremony. The Skywalkers attended his ceremony, but Luke wasn't fooled by Saal's apparent death. After searching the area behind the Baran Do temple, the Jedi discovered a secret underground chamber, in which they found Saal alive and well and were allowed to follow him down to the Caverns of the Hidden One. Upon their arrival, the Skywalkers discovered that Ziil had also joined the Hidden Ones and had become the sect's leader.
The Skywalkers met with Ziil, who revealed to the Jedi that they would never be allowed to leave the caverns. Saal, meanwhile, took on the name Chara and refused to be addressed by his old name, claiming that just like the Skywalkers, Charsae Saal was dead. Saal gave the Jedi a tour of the Caverns, teaching them the sect's history and confirming that the Caverns had been created so that there was no way for its inhabitants to leave; the only entrance to the Caverns was the 200-kilometer tunnel through which they had come. As one would have to crawl the entire way, it would be impossible for any Kel Dor or Human to carry enough provisions to survive the journey back to the surface.
The Skywalkers began digging out their own chamber that would serve as their private quarters in the Caverns. They spoke again with Ziil, who told the newcomers of his time with Jacen Solo. However, when Ben inquired as to whether or not Ziil would kill the Jedi that would inevitably come searching for the Skywalkers, the discussion turned into a heated argument that ended only when the Hidden One walked away. From the meeting, the Skywalkers deduced that Ziil was paranoid. Still, they lived among the Hidden Ones for several more days, continuing to dig out their chamber and exploring the Caverns. While living among the sect, the Skywalkers found the Hidden Ones to have no sense of purpose; rather, the sect's members were rather bored and lacking in the energy and liveliness that befitted living beings. During that time, Ben discovered that there was a secret trigger in each major chamber of the Caverns that—if driven upward—would activate a signal to detonate the explosive that would collapse the tunnel that led to the Caverns.
During their stay, the Skywalkers attended one of the Hidden Ones' combat training sessions. There, they met a servant named Wyss, who told them of the Hidden Ones' philosophy of only preserving one's old skills, as opposed to acquiring any new ones. During the session, Ben fought with Chara, lasting considerably longer against the Kel Dor than he had when he had taken lessons from him with the Baran Do on the surface. In a series of three matches, Chara also defeated Ithia, a Hidden One who had previously been more talented than Chara in combat before she had joined the sect.
The Skywalkers then announced that they would be holding their naming ceremonies. However, once the Hidden Ones had gathered in the Caverns' throne chamber, the Jedi revealed that they had no intention of changing their names; rather, they hoped to rename the Hidden Ones. To Ziil's great displeasure, Luke attempted to show the Hidden Ones that they were wasting away their lives in the caverns by telling them that since the Force thrived on life, energy, and vitality, and the sect's members had turned their back on these things, they had effectively rejected the Force itself.
As evidence that the Hidden Ones were weakening, Luke pointed out that Ithia, who had consistently beaten Chara during their time in the Baran Do Order, had just lost three straight matches to him. The elderly Hidden One Burra replied that they had debated the philosophy that Skywalker proposed, but that the Hidden One had decided not to accept it. Ziil attempted to terminate the meeting, but Skywalker continued to say that the Jedi had only survived the Purge because their members and their knowledge were dispersed throughout the galaxy; by concentrating all of their members in one place, the Hidden Ones would be far easier to destroy.
- "Do you see what you've done? Until your arrival, they were satisfied. Obedience to our goal, our destiny, was our first concern. Now you've made them, made them—"
- ―Koro Ziil and Luke Skywalker
To further prove his point that the sect's members were weakening, Luke Skywalker proposed a duel between his son and Chara, who was far more experienced and talented than the younger Skywalker. Luke promised that if his son lost, he would abandon his debate. Ziil reluctantly accepted the proposal, and the two combatants were armed with hardwood staffs. Chara quickly gained the upper hand; however, as the duel progressed, the former combat instructor began to lose the will to fight, and Ben eventually defeated him. The Hidden Ones began to feel dissent, although Ziil still refused to accept the Skywalkers' philosophy. Chara admitted that he believed the Skywalkers were right, but Ziil announced that he had commed the Baran Do on the surface, telling them that the Skywalkers had died in an accidental cave-in. As such, he revealed he had discontinued the order of oxygen-nitrogen canisters that were sent down so that the Humans could breathe in the planet's helium-rich atmosphere. Without those canisters, the Jedi would run out of air and die within a few days.
Ithia, Burra, and many other Hidden Ones began to protest against their leader's decision, and Ziil, deeply angered by the unrest, attacked the elder Skywalker. The two dueled in a battle of Force powers, with Skywalker emerging the victor. Ziil, however, still attempted to control the situation, stating that he would appoint a board of advisers, allow the servants to be taught the ways of the Force, send for more oxygen-nitrogen canisters for the Skywalkers—although he refused to let the Jedi or any of the rest of the sect leave—and concluded that in a year or two, they could review the situation. Frustrated with Ziil's denial, Ben then activated the explosives that collapsed the tunnel that Ziil claimed was the only entrance to the Caverns.
Surprised by Ben's action, Ziil said that the Jedi had only doomed themselves, but the young Skywalker then began to expose all of the lies that Ziil had told the members of the sect. The first was that they were self-sufficient for food; in reality, they had storerooms full of food shipped to them from the surface. The second was that the blast doors that led to the chamber itself had been made on Dorin; in actuality, the metal pieces would have had to have come from another planet, and they would not have been able to fit down the entrance tunnel. Ben then added that the tunnel that he had just collapsed wasn't the only entrance and that the telepathic technique for communicating with the Baran Do on the surface didn't exist—if it did, Ziil wouldn't have needed a comlink to communicate with the Sages.
Ziil still refused to expose the Caverns' secrets, but Burra, to Ziil's great dismay, finally revealed his knowledge of the location of the secret exit: a turbolift chamber above the garment storeroom. The Skywalkers and the Hidden Ones found the exit, and the sect's members performed some maintenance on the turbolift generator to make it operational again. The Jedi and Kel Dors then returned to the surface, with the Hidden Ones rejoining the Baran Do Order.
- "Here, we do not vote."
"Because your lord of the dead decides everything."
- ―Burra and Luke Skywalker
The Hidden Ones were led by the Kel Dor known as "hu'aac-du'ul-staranjan"—which, translated from the Kel Dor into Basic, meant "the one who dwells in darkness"—also simply known as the Hidden One. The Hidden One was essentially an autocrat, as the being was given absolute rule over the Hidden Ones. The sect's members were allowed to debate and confer with their leader, but ultimately, the Hidden One made every decision for the sect. Still, some of the elder members of the sect and beings who were particularly close to their leader were given access to more knowledge than other members of the Hidden Ones—such as the existence of the secret turbolift exit. The Hidden Ones also made use of servants, such as the Force-sensitive Wyss, although they refused to teach their servants any Force techniques.
- "As in life, so in death."
- ―Wyss, quoting the Hidden Ones' way of life
The Hidden Ones were created with the sole purpose of preserving the knowledge of the Baran Do Order. As such, the sect's members were forced to resign themselves to the fact that they would never again be allowed to leave the caverns, because, if they did, the sect would risk being discovered by the outside galaxy. That induced the creation of the dying ceremony, which allowed sect members to resign themselves to their deaths by making the outside galaxy believe they were actually dead. These traditions permitted the Hidden Ones to think of themselves as having already died, and upon their arrival in the Caverns of the Hidden One, they took on a new name, refusing to go by their original name—the name of a dead being.
The Hidden Ones' outlook on preserving knowledge was strictly traditional—they did not believe in frequently practicing their Force techniques or acquiring new powers; rather, they simply existed to remember the skills that they already knew. The Hidden Ones believed that goal to be just and noble and they took pride in the task, but—due to their acceptance of death and consequential lack of liveliness—they went about their duties with great gravity. The Skywalkers found the sect's members to be exceptionally somber. The lack of energy and audacity had a profoundly adverse effect on the Hidden Ones' skills in their ability to utilize the Force. By accepting death, the Hidden Ones lost their will to live and to keep fighting, essentially turning their backs on the vitality and life that was the Force itself. Therefore, their ability to control the Force weakened, and their powers and skills deteriorated over time as a result.
Some of the sect's members realized these shortcomings, and at some point, the Hidden Ones debated on their philosophy. However, no vote ever took place, because the Hidden One, who made all of the sect's decisions, chose not to change their outlook. The autocracy was widely accepted, however; the sect's members tended to be heavily traditionalist and rarely questioned their leader's decisions. Even when the Skywalkers began showing evidence that the Hidden Ones were corrupt, many members of the sect steadfastly disagreed with the Jedi or simply decided to ignore their evidence entirely.
- "In the old days, you would have had at least two of those matches."
- ―Chara—formerly known as Charsae Saal—to Ithia, after he defeated her in three straight matches
As former Baran Do, the Hidden Ones were prominent in various Force techniques. At least some of the Hidden Ones had also undergone combat training with the Baran Do and were adept at dueling with staffs. However, as their only purpose was to preserve knowledge, they rarely utilized their combat skills. Because they considered themselves dead to the outside galaxy, members of the sect lost their conviction and their will to win, causing their Force powers and fighting skills to deteriorate.
Chara, who was formerly the Baran Do senior combat instructor, lost in a duel to Ben Skywalker despite being superior to the Jedi in fighting prowess, having served as Skywalker's instructor at the Baran Do temple just days earlier. However, the Hidden One formerly known as Koro Ziil was able to utilize an exceptionally powerful form of white Force lightning and was also proficient in telekinesis techniques. He had the ability to conjure a vigorous Force Whirlwind, even while applying his Force lightning. However, despite these powers, Ziil proved to be no match in combat for the Jedi Grand Master, Luke Skywalker.
- "So the old Master, Tokra Hazz, eventually decided on making this underground shelter."
"He used tunneling equipment to dig the tunnel by which we entered. It's very long, some two hundred kilometers, circling and winding. It eventually reached natural caverns that he decided to use as the center point for his complex. The first tunnel took years to dig, and the caverns took more years to modify."
- ―Ben Skywalker and Chara
The Hidden Ones, being a secret sect of the Baran Do, existed solely on the planet Dorin. They were headquartered in a series of caverns known as the Caverns of the Hidden One, deep underground beneath the Baran Do temple. The caverns were discovered by Tokra Hazz shortly after the formation of the Galactic Empire, and over the course of several years, he expanded them to include many chambers; among them, private quarters for the caverns' residents and a large throne chamber which contained several pillars and a blast door entrance.
There were two entrances to the caverns—the only commonly known one was a small tunnel that ran for 200 kilometers. The tunnel was created so that any escaping being would have to crawl the entire journey back to the surface, thus no Kel Dor or Human would be able to carry enough provisions to survive the journey. The other entrance, the existence of which was known only by the Hidden One and at least one of the senior members of the sect, was a hidden turbolift chamber above the garment storeroom.
- "Tokra Hazz's intent was to recruit only those Baran Do and servants who were fully dedicated to the cause."
- ―Charsa Saal, on Tokra Hazz
Tokra Hazz was a prominent and respected member of the Baran Do Order. He was very concerned with the safety and continued existence of the knowledge and philosophies of the Baran Do, causing him to be more interested in safe-keeping the Order's knowledge than in individuals' well-being. After the rise of the Empire, he feared that the Baran Do would suffer the same fate as the Jedi and thus formed the Hidden Ones, so the wisdom and knowledge of his Order could be preserved. He discovered and expanded the caverns that became the sect's headquarters and took on the title "hu'aac-du'ul-staranjan," meaning "the one who dwells in darkness"—also known as the Hidden One—becoming the first leader of the Hidden Ones.
- "Koro Ziil is dead. You will have to speak to the Hidden One."
- ―Charsae Saal, to Luke Skywalker, on Koro Ziil
Koro Ziil was the Master of the Baran Do Order around the time of the Second Galactic Civil War. As a member of the Baran Do, he served as Charsae Saal's Master and also taught Jacen Solo several Force techniques during the Jedi's five-year sojourn after the Yuuzhan Vong War. Eventually, Ziil joined and became the leader of the Hidden Ones, taking on the title of the Hidden One by the time of the Skywalkers' arrival in 43.5 ABY. Ziil proved to be a tentative and rather conservative leader, fearing for the sect just as Tokra Hazz once had. Believing that if he let the Skywalkers leave, the sect would be discovered and their goal would be lost, Ziil attempted to force the Jedi to join the Hidden Ones, lying to them that there was no exit from the Caverns.
Ziil believed the Hidden Ones' goal to be quite virtuous, and when the Jedi resisted his rule and sowed unrest amongst the ranks of the sect, Ziil was prepared to allow the Skywalkers to die rather than admit to his lie and permit the Jedi to leave. As the Skywalkers continued to cause the Hidden Ones to question Ziil's rule, he became increasingly angry and finally confronted Luke Skywalker in a duel of Force powers, which the Hidden One lost. The secret exit from the caverns was then revealed by another of the sect's elder members, Burra, and the Hidden Ones were dissolved.
- "I apologize for the intrusion. Master Charsae Saal, you look very good for one who is recently deceased."
- ―Luke Skywalker, discovering that Saal had not actually died
Charsae Saal was a well-liked and respected member of the Baran Do Order. Apprenticed to Koro Ziil, Saal was introduced to the Hidden Ones early on in his training. He became the senior combat instructor at the Baran Do temple on Dorin, eventually holding his dying ceremony in 43.5 ABY. The Skywalkers were present during his ceremony, however, and were not fooled by his apparent death. They found Saal in an underground chamber soon after and, upon request, were allowed to travel with him to the Caverns of the Hidden One. Among the Hidden Ones, Saal took on the name Chara and served as the Skywalkers' guide, explaining to them the core beliefs, functions, and history of the sect. Chara proved to be loyal to Ziil, and stood behind his former Master even when the Jedi began to question the wisdom of the sect's purpose. However, after his defeat at the hands of Ben Skywalker—whom he had trained in the Baran Do temple just days previously—Saal came to realize that the Jedi were telling the truth.
- "Our lives here only have meaning if the worst occurs—if the Baran Do are wiped out above and must be restored. If that never happens, our lives here are wasted."
Ithia was well-known as one of the most skilled combatants of the Baran Do Order. However, during her time with the Hidden Ones, her powers deteriorated. Shortly after Saal joined the sect, she dueled with him, and although she had been able to defeat him in the majority of the matches they had fought during their time with the Baran Do, he managed to beat her in three matches straight. That caused Ithia to realize that the Skywalkers' theory that the Hidden Ones' powers were fading because of their loss of a will to live was correct. When few other Hidden Ones stood up to Ziil, Ithia was one of the first to confront him about these issues, and she debated in open support of the Jedi.
- "The tunnel out is just above the garment storeroom."
"Burra, not you."
"The ceiling there is synthstone, artfully detailed to match the natural stone around it. A few blows with chisels will reveal a sliding hatch. Above it is a turbolift chamber. Its generator will need maintenance before it can be activated."
- ―Burra and Koro Ziil
Burra was one of the eldest members of the sect. He was deeply trusted by Ziil and was one of the few Hidden Ones—perhaps the only member of the sect besides Ziil himself—to know the location of the secret turbolift entrance. Burra was rather set in tradition, and although he had at one point questioned the Hidden Ones' wisdom, by the time of the Skywalkers visit he had accepted Ziil's answers and turned a blind eye to the problems with the sect's philosophy. Still, Burra protested when Ziil was prepared to kill the Skywalkers in order to preserve the sect's secrecy, and eventually came to see that the Skywalkers were right about the sect's mistakes. Nevertheless, the elderly Kel Dor was very loyal to Ziil and remained hesitant to betray him, even after the Skywalkers revealed the many lies he had concealed. Eventually, however, Burra gave in and revealed the existence and location of the secret entrance to the caverns, allowing the Jedi and Hidden Ones to return to the surface once more.
Behind the scenes
- "Visiting the underworld is a recurrent theme in Greek myth—Orpheus, Theseus, and Odysseus all did it. I wanted to have Luke do something similar. And the ghosts of Greek myth are not scary things—they're sad, even pathetic. So the hidden Kel Dor order became a sort of analog of the underworld of Greek myth."
- ―Aaron Allston
The Hidden Ones received their first and only appearance to date in Aaron Allston's Fate of the Jedi: Outcast, the first novel in the 9-part Fate of the Jedi series, released March 24, 2009. In April of 2009, the sect received mention in the "Blaster" department of Star Wars Insider 109. When creating the Hidden Ones, Allston made them analogous to the ghosts of the underworld in Greek mythology; he wanted Luke to have an experience akin to the visits to the underworld undertaken by peoples in Greek myths such as Theseus, Orpheus, and Odysseus.
- Fate of the Jedi: Outcast (First appearance, simultaneous with Fate of the Jedi: Outcast audiobook)
- Fate of the Jedi: Outcast audiobook