- "Prayers won't help now, Sarrassians. Odion's Novitiates have arrived!"
- ―Odionate Sith trooper
The Invasion of Sarrassia was a battle during the Republic Dark Age in 1032 BBY involving the Odionate's secret project known as Project Pandemonium. The Sith Lord Odion believed that the ancient Sith artifact the Helm of Ieldis was hidden on Sarrassia. Lord Ieldis was a Sith Lord who lived before the Great Hyperspace War and created the Helm as a means of turning sentients into mindless fighting machines. Following the conquest of Aquilaris Minor in 1042 BBY, Lord Odion had commissioned a task force to locate the Helm of Ieldis, but the trail dried up at Sarrassia, which was then located in the Bactranate's territory.
With the collapse of the Bactranate in 1032 BBY, Odion decided to continue the project to recover the Helm. However, he was opposed by the local religious sects on the planet including the Grumani Hierophants who assembled an army, also equipped with some lightsabers, and resisted the Odionate's troops. During the fighting, Kerra Holt, disguised as the Novitiate initiate "Mercy", met up with her former friend Aunt Zoojoo, a member of the Hierophants, at the underground temple beneath Mount Diligence.
She revealed more details about her parent's last whereabouts and how they hid the Helm from Odion on Skarpos, a desert world in the Menagerie ruled by Lord Malakite. Following a confrontation with Yulan's Sith forces, Zoojoo destroyed the underground temple. In an attempt to ascertain the fate of her parents by going back to Skarpos, Mercy revealed to Yulan that the Helm was located on Skarpos.
- "We're rearmed and ready, my lord. My fleet awaits your team. Those Sarrassians won't know what hit them!"
- ―Beld Yulan
The planet Sarrassia was home to two major religions: the Grumani Hierophants and the Spumani Crusaders. Since the Cold War, these two religions had warred for nearly two and a half millennia. During the Republic Dark Age, the archaeologist Mercia Holt and her husband Aron traveled to Sarrassia to locate the Helm of Ieldis, an ancient Sith relic developed by Sith Lord Ieldis prior to the Great Hyperspace War. The couple had been forcibly dragooned by Sith Lord Odion's Project Pandemonium and were tasked with finding the Helm for Odion's own goals. While the pair were able to locate the Helm in a temple under Mount Diligence with the help of the Grumani Hierophants, they made an agreement to hide the Helm from Odion on Skarpos, a bleak desert world ruled by Lord Malakite. In return, the Hierophants agreed to defend Mount Diligence at all costs, declaring it a holy ground.
Around 1039 BBY, Sarrassia was conquered by the Sith Lord Ayanos Bactra who ruled his own princedom known as the Bactranate. Bactra succeeded in keeping the Grumani Hierophants in check and barring Spumani Crusaders from pursuing their typically sanguinary quests. However, this stability only served to ensure the Bactranate's exploitation of the planet's deposits of Sarrassian iron.This ensured a brief period of peace until the collapse of the Bactranate in 1032 BBY during the Second Charge Matrica—an internecine struggle between rival Sith Lords in the Grumani sector.
By the end of the Battle of Darkknell, Odion and his brother Sith Lord Daiman had divided the former Bactranate between themselves. Odion's increasing fanatical nihilism led him to reopen Project Pandemonium. He assigned the task of finding the Helm of Ieldis to a group of Novitiates that had been handpicked by the Claimer Wayman. This group of Novitiates included the Jedi Knight Kerra Holt, who was disguised as a young woman named "Mercy" who had embraced Odion's nihilistic philosophy. Following the First Battle of Skarpos, Odion assembled and briefed this task force at his capital in Jubalene. He also assembled a war fleet under the command of General Beld Yulan, a former mercenary who had also embraced Odion's death cult.
- "Mount Diligence! Watch it though -- those Grumani Hierophants think this is holy ground. Let's bury them there!"
Having rearmed and replenished his fleet at Vanahame, General Beld Yulan led an invasion of Sarrassia. An Odionate military fleet entered the Sarrassia system and landed an invasion force, which quickly wiped out resistance from the Sarrassian sects and occupied the planet's major centers. During mopping-up operations, Mercy's team arrived in a fleet of gunships which were then used to transport Grumani prisoners. The captives were sorted out by their species's skills details while children were forcibly separated from their parents. Meanwhile, Mercy's team was part of an assault party, led by Ulan and the Twi'lek Doyan, dispatched to Mount Diligence to wipe out a group of Grumani Hierophants who were still resisting the Sith invasion.
The Grumani had set up a trench and some of them wielded lightsabers. During a melee, Kerra attempted to restrain fellow Sith acolyte Doyan from killing a Hierophant. However, this was witnessed by Yulan who ordered his cannons to open fire on all the combatants, killing and wounding several of his own troops in friendly fire. Again, Yulan reprimanded Mercy's alleged soft-heartedness and unwillingness to die in combat. Mercy countered that Yulan's cannons nearly vaporized his own troops and countered that Odion would be greatly displeased if his mission to find the Helm of Ieldis was hampered by the death of its members. Yulan grumbled that Odion would merely find more Novitiates and then went to inspect the situation on the ground. He quickly discovered that several Sith troopers had been killed or wounded by his friendly fire.
Under Mount Diligence
- "...Wait. Bless my stars -- you're the little Holt!"
- ―Kerra Holt's reunion with Aunt Zoojoo
One of Yulan's officers then reported that his Sith troopers had cleared the cave entrance and killed the defending priests who were making a last stand. Yulan speculated there was something inside and ordered Mercy and her comrades to explore the caves, commenting that he wanted to be back in Vanahame while he was still young enough to remember its location. While in the cave, Kerra was separated from her fellow Novitiates and discovered a secret entrance that was accessed by the symbol on her mother's pendant. She discovered a temple separated by an underwater river and was subsequently ambushed by the alien Hierophant Aunt Zoojoo who initially mistook her for a Sith acolyte. However, Aunt Zoojoo quickly recognized Kerra as a light-sider despite her Sith rags. Later at the underground temple, Zoojoo revealed the last known whereabouts of her parents and confirmed that the Helm of Ieldis were actually located on Skarpos.
Their meeting was interrupted by the arrival of Yulan and several Sith who had entered the chamber by using explosives to create a hole. A panicked Zoojoo detonated an explosion which buried the temple under an avalanche rubble, crushing herself to death, but denying the Sith access to valuable information in the process. Yulan and his companions managed to escape the debris caused by the cave caving in from the explosion. Mercy subsequently surfaced and Yulan inquired about her reasons for talking with that woman. Mercy claimed that she was merely seeking intelligence and revealed that the Helm was located on Skarpos and ordered Yulan to take them there since he was responsible for their transportation.
- "I'm sorry, Aunt Zojoo -- I've waited long enough. I have to find them now -- now!"
- ―Kerra Holt reflecting on her mission to find her parents
Following Mercy's revelation about the location of the Helm, Yulan began making travel arrangements for the hyperspace travel to Skarpos, which was currently being besieged by Odion's forces. Kerra could only lament the loss of a family friend in the form of Zoojoo but vowed to continue her quest to find her parents. The Odionate task force returned to Skarpos where they were stationed at the Odionate garrison in the Morbollon Mesa. However, Lord Malakite did not tolerate any violation of his sovereignty over the Menagerie and began plans to retake Skarpos.
Within days of the initial invasion, Malakite launched a counter-offensive to root our Odion's forces on Skarpos. He dispatched a large invasion fleet carrying thousands of Mutate reinforcements and a large phalanx of Stenaxes, a race of winged reptilian humanoids. Due to his aversion of technology, Malakite preferred to use overwhelming force to swarm foes with superior technology. Malakite himself led a planetary assault force of Mutates riding Stenaxes. Odion's forces were stationed at the foot of the mountain and deployed artillery against Malakite's hordes. The battle was further complicated by the arrival of Sith Lord Daiman, Odion's estranged younger brother, with yet another battle fleet.
- Knight Errant: Escape 2 (First appearance)