- "Once it went by another name, but that name has long been forgotten… just like the planet itself. The Emperor erased Nathema from the history books and the astrogation charts to hide all evidence of his crimes."
- ―Darth Nyriss
Nathema, originally known as Medriaas, was a fertile agriworld located in the Nathema system of the Outer Rim Territories' Chorlian sector. During the reign of the Sith Empire in 5103 BBY, the planet's ruler, Sith Lord Dramath, was deposed in by his own illegitimate son Tenebrae, who received the title of Lord Vitiate and rulership of Medriaas from the reigning Dark Lord of the Sith, Marka Ragnos. Renaming the planet Nathema, Vitiate kept his world isolated from the power plays of his fellow Sith over the next century, and his isolation spared Nathema from the Great Hyperspace War in 5000 BBY. The following year, Vitiate summoned the eight thousand remaining Sith Lords to Nathema in order to save the crumbling Sith Empire and dominated their minds, proceeding to combine their strength and a superweapon known as Zildrog in a complex ritual of Sith magic that granted him immortality while stripping the Force from the entire planet.
With only one exception, Ritual of Nathema instantly killed every living thing on the planet, which became a barren wasteland devoid even of droids and technology as Vitiate hid his past and the hyperspace routes leading to Nathema. Though he kept the planet a secret from his reconstituted Sith Empire, Vitiate still used it for his own purposes, sending powerful Force users who opposed him to be experimented upon by his servants in the Sanitarium, which was guarded by the Nathema Zealots, Force-sensitives that survived the planet's Void in the Force through daily rituals and intense meditation. The ritual's sole survivors of the cataclysm, a species of semi-sentient insects known as voreclaws, were saved from extinction by Vitiate for use as guards of the vaults of dark side artifacts he kept beneath the planet's surface.
After Vitiate established a second Eternal Empire in the Wild Space under the name Valkorion, he sent his daughter Vaylin to undergo mental conditioning in the Sanitarium; under supervision of the Anomid scienist Jarak, she underwent brutal experiments that made her respond to a specific phrase, before being allowed to return home to Zakuul. After the physical body of Valkorion was killed in 3636 BBY, Vaylin assumed his title of Eternal Empress and ordered Jarak to return to Nathema and undo her conditioning. After going through numerous test subjects, Jarak made a breakthrough, and Vaylin returned to Nathema and submitted herself to the procedure. The ritual caused her power to lash out of control, but Vaylin summoned enough strength to break her mental chains and departed Nathema. Lana Beniko and the Commander of the Alliance that opposed the Eternal Empire attempted to stop her, but arrived too late and were forced to take shelter in the Emperor's Vault, where they obtained Dramath's holocron, while Vaylin used her newfound power to remotely destroy the Sanitarium from her flagship.
The Commander used the holocron to destroy the spirit of Vitiate, whose final death caused the Force to return to Nathema, which became overgrown with plant life and inhabited by surviving Zealots and escaped experiments. A group known as the Order of Zildrog found the ancient superweapon on Nathema and planned to reactivate Zildrog and use it against the Alliance. Thanks to the information provided by Theron Shan, Beniko and the Commander returned to Nathema to stop the Order. They were able to destroy Zildrog and defeat the Order's leaders Vinn Atrius and GEMINI 16, though at the cost of losing both the Eternal Fleet and the Gravestone.
- 1 Description
- 2 History
- 2.1 Fertile agriworld
- 2.2 The Void
- 2.3 Nathema Reborn
- 3 Inhabitants
- 4 Behind the scenes
- 5 Appearances
- 6 Sources
- 7 Notes and references
- "A thousand years ago I ruled this planet, when it was a vibrant world named Medriaas."
A lush and fertile planet located in the Nathema system, a star system on the edges of the Sith Empire in what would later be known as the Outer Rim Territories's Chorlian sector, Medriaas served as a productive agriworld for the Empire in the centuries before 5113 BBY. Medriaas orbited a bright orange sun and possessed a Type I atmosphere that was breathable for both Humans and Sith. The terrestrial planet's agricultural fields were dotted with dozens of farming villages, though by the time of the Great Hyperspace War in 5000 BBY Medriaas had at least one city. Medriaas possessed oceans which separated at least two continents on the planet's surface, and the northern continent was considered to be remote in relation to the Sith Lord Dramath's seat of power.
After the Ritual of Nathema, the planet became completely devoid of all life; every living thing regardless of size was consumed by the Sith Lord Vitiate's ritual, and the planet's surface was left a barren wasteland. Even droids and other technology were destroyed by the ritual, and the very fabric of the environment seemed to be leeched of color—leaving everything sickly shades of brown or gray. The atmosphere was warped as well, as Nathema's sun appeared a pale brown instead of its actual orange color, and sound waves were twisted to become flat and dull. The surface was dotted with the inanimate remains of Nathema's inhabitants, as the ritual had not consumed its victims' clothing or belongings, and the lack of natural scavengers left everything in exactly the same condition it was on the day of the ritual. Force-sensitive individuals felt the ritual's effect most of all, as the complete absence of the Force left those who visited the world nearly physically ill. The Jedi Meetra Surik and Sith Lord Lana Beniko were forced to fight the Void in the Force to retain their sense of self and prevent their spirits from being obliterated. In the centuries after the ritual, time gradually wiped away all traces of intelligent life on the planet, to the point where the sole structure that showed signs of life was the Sanitarium, a prison for Vitiate's enemies.
After the death of Vitiate's spirit, the planet again experienced a rapid transformation, and the previously lifeless world was miraculously revitalized. The Void had dissipated, and Force-users no longer felt the unsettling "wrongness" upon setting foot on the planet, while the air had become fresher, and the weather more dynamic. Most importantly, vibrant plant life from seeds left in the soil had not only taken root but flourished, dramatically altering the planet's once-desolate landscape.
Vitiate's rise to power
- "Many died just to feed his insatiable appetite for suffering, tortured for days in public executions so he could savor their agonizing ends."
- ―Darth Nyriss
Medriaas had already been discovered and settled by the Sith Empire in the centuries before 5000 BBY, and by the year 5113 BBY, the planet was ruled by the Sith Lord Dramath. Dramath had an affair with a farm woman on the northern continent, and when he left the region promptly forgot about the woman and the son she bore him, who was but one of the many offsprings he had sired. In 5107 BBY, the child—who had been named Tenebrae—began to exhibit signs of Force-sensitivity, which meant he was a member of the planet's ruling elite. Tenebrae's adoptive father confronted his wife over the fact that neither of them were Force-sensitive, but Tenebrae used his father's own anger to kill the man when he attacked the six-year-old's mother and tortured his mother for months before killing her in response to her infidelity. He then proceeded to take control of his village, torturing and killing with the Force those who refused to submit to his authority. Tenebrae proceeded to conquer the northern continent over the next four years, amassing legions of followers and eliminating thousands during his rise in order to feed his appetite for pain and suffering.
Dramath believed the rumors of these events to be beneath him, and it was not until 5103 BBY that the Sith Lord decided to visit Tenebrae and determine whether to kill him or make him into a servant. But to Dramath's surprise, the ten-year-old stripped his father of the Force and drove him insane before killing his body and imprisoning his Force spirit in a holocron, so that he could continue to torment and torture him. Over the next three years, Tenebrae continued his conquest of Medriaas and eliminated every Sith challenger who tried to oppose him. In 5100 BBY, he claimed the throne of Medriaas, while his half-brother Dramath the Second fled in fear of his sibling's power. Now the undisputed ruler of the world, Tenebrae presented himself before Dark Lord of the Sith Marka Ragnos, the ruler of the Empire, on the capital of Ziost, and an impressed Ragnos granted him official rule of Medriaas and the title of Lord Vitiate. The teenage Sith Lord returned to his world and renamed it Nathema, building himself a palace on the site of his childhood home and spending the next century studying the depths of the dark side of the Force.
Marka Ragnos' death in 5000 BBY sparked a struggle for succession between the Sith Lords Naga Sadow and his rival Ludo Kressh. Vitiate refrained from involving himself or Nathema in the political infighting, and Nathema continued under his isolationist policy even when Sadow's exploits as the Dark Lord of the Sith brought the Empire into contact with the Galactic Republic and their Jedi protectors, beginning the Great Hyperspace War. As the Empire crumbled under a Republic assault, Vitiate remained engrossed in his studies, thereby sparing Nathema from the devastation of war. But in the aftermath of Sadow's defeat at Korriban, Vitiate emerged from his seclusion and began to manipulate the Empire's fear. Broadcasting speeches from his palace that described how the Republic would pursue them and massacre the people of the Empire, he drove Nathema and the rest of the Empire into a terrified and desperate frenzy before he offered them hope.
The Ritual of Nathema
- "When the ritual was ended, Nathema was no longer a world. It was a husk sucked dry."
- ―Darth Nyriss
At the same time, Vitiate had a team of historians and researchers search for a long-lost Sith colony world of Dromund Kaas, to where he planned to retreat in order to avoid the Jedi. When the lead researcher finally presented him with their successful findings, Vitiate immediately sent out a call to all of the remaining Sith Lords within the Empire. Nathema's ruler came to Korriban and promised to lead them in a great ritual of Sith magic that would bring about the Empire's salvation, and more than eight thousand Sith Lords answered his call, traveling to Nathema alongside Vitiate. Three days later, Vitiate publicly announced the commencement of the ritual, and the Sith who had come to Nathema gathered in his palace. But to their surprise, the scholarly Sith turned on them and dominated their minds, binding all of them to his will and feeding on their strength as he began the ritual. At that point, Nathema's entire government came to a halt, as the Jedi Meetra Surik was unable to find any electronic records after Vitiate's announcement. To achieve his goal, Vitiate used the central computer of Zildrog, an ancient self-aware superweapon from the artificial world of Iokath that specialized in the transfer of life energies, to empower himself at the cost of consuming the life force of every living thing on the planet. The ritual itself took a week, by the end of which the entire planet was stripped of the Force. Vitiate absorbed the life force of every living organism on the planet, leaving behind piles of dust as Nathema's inhabitants, wildlife, and flora simply disintegrated. Cities, villages, vehicles, and other inanimate objects remained behind, though the ritual destroyed almost all of the planet's technology as power was ripped from the circuitry. The only species on Nathema that survived the cataclysm were the voreclaw, semi-sentient insectoid bipeds who lived underground. The voreclaw hive mind was obliterated by the ritual, leaving their colonies nothing more than groups of mindless individuals, who eventually emerged onto the surface driven by the hunger. In the utter absence of any other food, the creatures turned to cannibalism, attacking and eating each other.
The ritual transformed Vitiate, making him immortal and granting him immense power in the Force, and he shed his title to become known only as the Emperor. Vitiate blamed the destruction of Nathema on the Jedi, driving the people of the Empire further into a panic while also offering them hope and revenge on the Republic. Gathering the remnants of the shattered Empire, especially those of the younger generation, Vitiate boarded a small fleet with them and departed for Dromund Kaas on an exodus. He ensured that the journey took them twenty years to reach the planet—which none but the Emperor knew was their destination—so that the people would come to rely on him as their savior. Vitiate erased all mention of Nathema from history beyond the name of the Ritual of Nathema, which Imperial scholars celebrated as one of the greatest achievements of the old Empire. He also ensured that any data on the hyperspace routes back to Nathema were destroyed, ensuring that no one would ever discover the truth of Nathema and how he gained his power.
- "I've heard stories of Nathema. Legend holds that the Force itself has been corrupted there."
- ―Lana Beniko
Vitiate reconstituted the Sith Empire on Dromund Kaas and ruled it for centuries, using essence transfer to move from one host body to another. He kept the existence of Nathema secret from his Empire, but continued to use the ruined world for his purposes. Nathema was a perfect prison for the Force-sensitives, who were unable to draw upon the Force to escape, and Vitiate had established the Sanitarium, a laboratory in which his enemies who were strong in the Force could be experimented upon. The only structure on the planet with signs of life, the Sanitarium was fashioned out of gray rock, with the bulk of the structure located underground, where Vitiate kept a vault of dark relics and artifacts. In that vault he stored the holocron that contained the trapped essence of his father Dramath, whom Vitiate continued to torment over the centuries. He also captured the few remaining voreclaw survivors and stored them in carbonite inside the vault to be awakened and used as guardians whenever needed.
Seeking to create an army of incredibly powerful but utterly subservient Force users, Vitiate brought groups of Force-sensitives to Nathema, forcing them to brave the Force void. His efforts were only partially successful, and resulted in him founding the Nathema Zealots, who withstood the horror of the void through a daily regime of rituals and meditation that focused their power, while also diminishing their free will. The disadvantage of this process was that the Zealots became dependent on the void for their survival, becoming catatonic if they left the planet's surface. To extract some value from his failed experiment, Vitiate repurposed the Zealots as guards for the Sanitarium, the halls of which were also patrolled by mutated creatures from other worlds, genetically engineered to instill fear, terror, and obedience into the prisoners. The Sanitarium's day-to-day order was maintained by the specially trained Abyssin Keepers who served as its caretakers. Vitiate also deactivated Zildrog after the ritual, and placed the ancient superweapon in another vault on the planet, located under an ancient Sith Temple in the Verdant Valley. A holomap with Zildrog's coordinates became one of Vitiate's most closely guarded secrets, but was eventually stolen by Chiss agents for use as collateral in case the deal between the Sith Empire and the Chiss Ascendancy was violated.
- "You feel the chill of the Void. The Force is energy; it gives heat to our emotions and our minds. But here it has been stripped away."
- ―Darth Nyriss
Members of the Sith Empire's ruling Dark Council eventually rediscovered Nathema's existence and the way to it, and the Dark Councilors Darth Nyriss and Darth Xedrix had both visited Nathema at some point before 3954 BBY. Upon learning that the Emperor wished to start a new war with the Republic in order to perform his ritual again on the galactic scale, Nyriss, Xedrix, and several other Councilors formed a conspiracy to unseat the Emperor. In the year 3960 BBY, the Jedi Knights Revan and Malak ended the Mandalorian Wars, and Revan learned from the dying Mandalore the Ultimate the location of Rekkiad. They visited the ice world and discovered Dramath the Second's tomb, as well as a datacron with the coordinates of Nathema. The two Jedi traveled to the desolate world and witnessed what the Emperor had done to it, learning of Nathema's history and the location of Dromund Kaas from what was left of the government's archives. They then journeyed to Dromund Kaas to confront the Emperor, but they were instead turned to the dark side and made into Sith Lords. The two were sent back to conquer the Republic in the Emperor's name, but Revan eventually returned to the light and defeated Malak, though his amnesia prevented him from pursuing the Sith Empire out in the Unknown Regions.
In 3954 BBY, Revan decided to follow his broken memories to uncover the threat which he could not remember and took his ship, the Ebon Hawk, to the Nathema system. Around the same time, Darth Nyriss inducted the Sith Lord Scourge into the conspiracy and took him to Nathema to show him what the Emperor was capable of. Scourge was horrified by the planet, and as the two were leaving, they sensed Revan's arrival in the Force and attacked the Ebon Hawk with an ion cannon. Losing control of his ship, Revan was unable to stop the Hawk from crashing to the surface of Nathema, where he was captured by Scourge and Nyriss and taken to Dromund Kaas. The Sith missed Revan's utility droid T3-M4, who spent the next three years rebuilding the damaged ship with the materials he scavenged on the planet. T3 intended to return to Revan's wife Bastila Shan as per his instructions, but he and the Ebon Hawk were caught up in the conflict known as the Dark Wars, and the droid became the companion of Revan's former ally Meetra Surik. Finally, in 3950 BBY, T3 was able to explain Revan's disappearance to Surik and Shan, and the former decided to follow Revan.
Arriving on Nathema, Surik and T3 were able to activate what was left of the government's records and learned what had happened to the planet. They then followed Revan to Dromund Kaas, where Surik rescued Revan with the help of Scourge, whom Revan had convinced to help defeat the Emperor. The three attempted to kill Vitiate, but Scourge's Force visions led him to kill Surik and betray Revan instead, as he realized that they would fail in their mission and he needed to stay alive and aid the future Jedi who could kill the Emperor. Made immortal and appointed as the Emperor's Wrath, Vitiate's personal executioner, Scourge served the Emperor for three centuries before he betrayed his master to join forces with the Hero of Tython—the Jedi Knight from his vision. Explaining to the Jedi the history of the Emperor and Nathema, Scourge helped the Hero and their crew prevent the Emperor from performing his ritual again on a galactic scale.
The Emperor's daughter
- "Nathema is a blighted, forgotten world where the Force has been corrupted. I sent Vaylin there to condition her mind... and teach her obedience."
Several centuries into his reign, Vitiate grew tired of the limitations that Sith teachings and his empire placed upon him. Resolving to free himself of such restraints, he came upon a backwater Wild Space planet called Zakuul and saw enough potential in it to found a second Eternal Empire on that world. He took on a male Human warrior named Valkorion as a new host and dominated his mind, using his new identity to forge a technologically advanced society. The Eternal Empire covered a significant portion of the Wild Space but remained unknown to the rest of the galaxy, including the Sith Empire, which Vitiate continued to oversee, splitting his time and energy between Valkorion's body and the numerous Voices.
Around the time of the Treaty of Coruscant in 3653 BBY Vaylin, the daughter of Vitiate's Valkorion persona, had begun to show both immense strength in the Force and an inability to control it. Fearing she would challenge him some day, Valkorion sought to place limits on her power and took Vaylin to Nathema. Vaylin gave one last look to her mother Senya Tirall before her father took her inside the Sanitarium, where she was placed in custody of an Anomid scientist Jarak, who had developed an effective brainwashing method and accepted Valkorion's offer that promised him unlimited test subjects. Tasked to place Vaylin under strict mental conditioning, Jarak was allowed to use any and all methods that did not result in her death, and Vaylin underwent brutal experiments, being tested both physically and mentally in constant fear, pain and isolation.
Sensing her daughter's suffering through the Force, Senya Tirall decided to get her daughter away from Nathema. She infiltrated the Sanitarium, where she found Vaylin unconscious and carried her to the landing platform. Their path was blocked by six Nathema Zealots, and after Vaylin opened her eyes, the mother ordered her to stay back, while she took care of the Zealots. But when her mother asked Vaylin to come with her, Valkorion himself emerged from the Sanitarium and several Knights of Zakuul restrained Tirall and took her away, while Vaylin was taken back into Sanitarium. Vaylin spent years on Nathema, during which the only visits she had were from her brother Thexan, who brought her gifts from the worlds conqueror by the Eternal Empire. Eventually, Jarak exhausted conventional methods and subjected Vaylin to the torture machines of his own design. Vaylin's mind was broken and when the pain became too much to bear, she started laughing. With Vaylin's power restrained, Valkorion allowed his daughter to return to Zakuul, while she remained unaware that during her stay on Nathema she was conditioned to become powerless against whoever spoke the code phrase "Kneel before the Dragon of Zakuul" in her presence. Vaylin was the only prisoner to ever leave the Sanitarium alive, and her other brother Arcann traveled to Nathema for the first and only time to take his sister home.
The renewed experiments
- "I have returned to Nathema, years after I once helped Valkorion tame his child. Now, Vaylin wants me to undo her conditioning. Failure is not an option."
Years came by and Valkorion's physical body was killed in 3636 BBY. Vitiate attached his spirit to the one called the Commander, but he was unable to fully dominate his new body and manifested as a Force spirit visible only to his host instead. His Eternal Throne on Zakuul was assumed first by Arcann, and then by Vaylin, who faced an opposition from an Alliance led by Vitiate's new host, with the Emperor's encouragement. Around 3630 BBY, a confrontation with her father's spirit made Vaylin aware of her conditioning, and using her new authority as the Eternal Empress she ordered Jarak to find a way to undo her conditioning. Jarak returned to Sanitarium, where Vaylin provided him with ample test subjects. Eventually Jarak made a breakthrough and contacted the Empress, who soon arrived to Nathema system aboard her flagship. Meanwhile, the Outlander experienced a glimpse of Vitiate's memory in which Vaylin mentioned Nathema. Vitiate's spirit expressed concern that the vision meant that his daughter had returned to Nathema, having found a way to break her conditioning. The Outlander brought the matter to the attention of Arcann, who had recently joined the Alliance and identified Nathema as a planet in the Chorlian sector. Operative Theron Shan connected this information to Jarak's holocall to Vaylin from that sector which the Alliance had recently intercepted, lending further proof to the theory that the Empress was returning to Nathema to rid of her mental bonds. Arcann, who was recently redeemed after undergoing a healing ritual on Voss, was reluctant to return to Nathema in fear that the tainted world would cause him to fall back to his old ways, and the Outlander went to stop Vaylin with only their closest advisors Theron Shan and Lana Beniko at their side.
Shan piloted a shuttle to Nathema system, where Sith Lord Beniko began feeling the effects of the void before even setting foot on the planet. Even Vitiate's spirit found his power diminished in this place, able to manifest only sporadically, though he promised to use his ablities to shield the Outlander and their companions from the worst effects of the void. The shuttle's sensors identified the Sanitarium as the only structure showing signs of life, and Shan dropped off Beniko and the Outlander not far from it and departed to a safe distance afterwards. Meanwhile, Zakuulan shuttle carrying Vaylin landed at the Sanitarium's entrance, where the Empress was greeted by a Keeper, who informed her that Jarak was waiting for her inside his laboratory. The Empress ordered the a host of her Horizon Guard to wait outside and ventured in, reaching the habitat in which Jarak kept his twisted experiments. A trio of mutated Acklays encircled her and threatened to attack, and Vaylin discovered that her access to the Force was blocked by the void and had to use her lightsaber to cut the beasts down instead. Jarak arrived to witness the carnage and after noting that the beasts attacked the Empress because they responded to her fear and hatred, informed Vaylin that everything for the procedure was prepared. At the same time, Beniko and the Outlander made their way across the desolated wasteland to the entrance of Sanitarium, where they dispatched the Horizon Guards and followed Vaylin inside. Thanks to Valkorion, both still had access to the Force, though Beniko felt the worst of it, feeling as the void tried to attack her mind and devour her spirit. Investigating the Sanitarium, the two proceeded to cut down skytroopers, Zealots and Keepers that stood in their way, while learning about Jarak's role in Vaylin's conditioning there from recordings in his personal holojournals.
Vaylin breaks her chains
- "I know Tenebrae's weakness. This holocron is not just my prison. It can destroy him once and for all. There will come a moment when Tenebrae is vulnerable. That is when you must strike."
In the main laboratory, Jarak had prepared a large circular arena surrounded by massive energy orb nodes and explained to Vaylin that the process to break her conditioning would be even more extreme than the one before. When the Empress inquired whether any of his test subjects survived it, Jarak assured Vaylin that her unparalleled strength in the Force would give her a chance that nobody else had, and Vaylin agreed to the procedure. The pillar orbs pierced her body with energy beams, dealing Vaylin enormous pain, and causing her power to lash out of control. As Vaylin struggled, the Force blasts emitted from her body annihilated several Keepers and Zealots, and Jarak fled the room to save his life. He ran into Beniko and the Outlander and quickly explained that he knew the location of the only safe place, asking them to escort him through the beasts that went mad from Vaylin's power. To assure their mutual survival, Jarak led his captors to the Emperor's vault in the Sanitarium's lower levels, and they barely managed to get inside in time to avoid the energy blasts that ravaged everything outside and fried the vault's power circuits. All this time, Vaylin was left alone at the mercy of Jarak's inventions and continued to suffer unbearable pain. Finally, determined not to die in the place she hated so much, the Empress gathered all of her remaining strength and overpowered Jarak's machines, causing them to explode one by one and freeing her from their grasp. As soon as the pain stopped, Vaylin could feel her bonds has been broken and departed the surface of Nathema.
Inside the vault, the spirit of Vitiate, who was already afraid of his daughter's power, warned the Outlander that Vaylin had broken free, before fading completely. The vault kept the Force corruption at bay, but the presence of powerful dark side artifacts also posed a danger on its own. Jarak informed his captors about the backup power generator, warning them to beware the vault's ancient guardians. The Outlander and Beniko restored the power and discovered the holocron with the essence of Dramath, who initially believed that his son had returned to torment him once again. However, after discovering that Tenebrae was not present in any form, Dramath told the two the history of what happened to Medriaas and revealed that the holocron held the power to destroy Vitiate once and for all. Dramath convinced them to release his trapped spirit and finally achieved oblivion after centuries of imprisonment, after which the Outlander told Beniko to take holocron with her, to avoid revealing it to Vitiate. While they were busy, Jarak was ambushed and killed by a vault guardian, and Beniko and the Outlander had to fight off three large voreclaws, before finally getting the vault door open and learning from Shan that Vaylin had long left the planet's surface. From her flagship in Nathema's orbit, the Empress used her new power to overload the facility's generators through the Force, which triggered the collapse of the Sanitarium. The Outlander and Beniko rushed to the landing platform outside, where Shan picked them up in the shuttle and took off, leaving Nathema behind.
- "This planet is filled with life. I hardly recognize it."
"It's amazing what the Force can accomplish in such a short time."
- ―The Outlander and Lana Beniko
Using Dramath's holocron, the Outlander was able to permanently obliterate Vitiate's spirit, while the Alliance had conquered the Empire of Zakuul and took control of its Eternal Fleet. Vitiate's final death had a profound effect on Nathema, as the previously lifeless world was miraculously revitalized within a short time. The void had dissipated, and the plant life sprung from the seeds left in the soil millennia ago, growing into forests that rapidly transformed Nathema's once-desolate landscape. Jarak's experiments that escaped from the ruins of Sanitarium, which included twisted versions of Acklays, Nexus and Sleens, gave the planet some semblance of animal life. Surviving Zealots began to settle in the abandoned wilds, living a bleak existence in fragmented tribes. Though the connection of the planet's rebirth to Valkorion's demise was undeniable, experts were unable to determine any precise environmental mechanism that could have brought about such an abrupt change.
In the wake of Eternal Empire's fall Vinn Atrius, a former member of Vaylin's Horizon Guard, came to resent the Outlander and their Alliance, who brought an end to Zakuul's centuries of prosperity. Atrius began searching for the means to avenge his people and came upon the mention of Zildrog in the data the Eternal Empire had recently obtained on Iokath. Upon learning that Zildrog, who was known as dragon god in old Zakuulan legends, was a real superweapon with enough power to destroy entire civilizations, Atrius began searching for it. He formed a secretive Order of Zildrog and was approached by GEMINI 16, a rogue GEMINI unit who promised to share information on Zildrog in exchange for the destruction of the Eternal Fleet. Alliance member Theron Shan heard rumours about the Order and decided to infiltrate it and bring it down from the inside, though he kept his allies in the dark about his intentions. After being accepted into the Order, Shan infiltrated the Chiss House Inrokini on Copero and obtained location of Zildrog from the holomap stolen from Vitiate decades ago. He then destroyed the holomap, though the Alliance managed to recover the fragments and began the work of reassembling it.
- "The Order is nearly finished their final preparations. Once they activate Zildrog... it's the end of the Alliance."
- ―Theron Shan
Using the map's information, the Order learned that Zildrog was located on Nathema and moved its base of operations there. Shan left a coded message for the Alliance that informed them about the Order and led to a set of coordinates on Nathema. Restored holomap from Copero confirmed the validity of his information, and the Outlander and Beniko headed to Nathema to stop the Order, while Alliance specialist Hylo Visz mobilized the Eternal Fleet in orbit of the Alliance capital of Odessen. On Nathema, the Order used their modern equipment to excavate Zildrog in the ruins of the ancient temple in the Verdant Valley and set up camps and regular patrols around it. Atrius, Shan and GEMINI 16 approached Zildrog, and Atrius ordered to prepare for awakening it. Meanwhile, Beniko and the Outlander landed on Nathema and made their way to the coordinates they received, wondering at the planet's miraculous ecological revitalization and fighting Zealots and escaped beasts along the way. Shan slipped away from the Order and rejoined his allies at the rendezvous spot, where he revealed his true intentions and explained the danger that Zildrog presented to the Alliance. The three of them rushed to stop the Order, but GEMINI 16 noticed their presence and began the ritual to awaken Zildrog ahead of schedule, while another member of the Order send an ancient guardian droid to stall the Alliance. The GEMINI deceived and betrayed some of their allies, locking them inside energy transfer chambers to be used as fuel for Zildrog's awakening. After fighting through the Order's defenses, the Alliance reached Zildrog's location, where Shan immediately shot Atrius. However, GEMINI 16 then trapped the three of them in a force field and revealed that they were too late and that Zildrog had already awakened. The ancient computer demanded a target to feed on, and GEMINI 16 gave it information that allowed Zildrog to access the Gravestone, an ancient Iokath warship that was the key to the Alliance victory over Zakuul.
Accessing the Gravestone, which was his original secondary form, Zildrog remotely took over the vessel into Odessen's orbit and proceeded to repeatedly fire its omnicannon at the Eternal Fleet, completely annihilating it. Zildrog then targeted Odessen itself and began to recharge before the next attack, but back on Nathema this resulted in the shutdown of the force field, forcing GEMINI 16 to engage the Alliance directly. Shan, Beniko and the Outlander battled and destroyed the GEMINI droid, and Shan attempted to shut Zildrog down, but was stabbed in the back with a lightsaber pike by Atrius. Desperate to have his vengeance, Atrius asked Zildrog to enhance him with its power, and the ancient machine god granted it to him, asking his new servant to destroy his enemies in return. Atrius attacked Beniko and the Outlander, but the two of them defeated him and destroyed Zildrog. As the ancient machine died, it triggered the self-destruct mechanism of the Gravestone, leaving the Alliance without its most formidable weapon. The Outlander decided Atrius' fate while Lana tended to Shan's wounds, determining that he needed to be immediately brought to Odessen for treatment. They then departed Nathema on a shuttle sent for them by Hylo Visz.
- "Every man, woman, and child on Nathema died that day. Every beast, bird, and fish; all the insects and plants; every living being touched by the Force was consumed. […] Lord Vitiate sacrificed millions, stealing their life force to make himself immortal."
- ―Darth Nyriss
Before the Ritual of Nathema, the planet was home to millions of Sith, many of whom were farmers. Nathema's inhabitants lived in villages and cities across the planet and were ruled by an autocratic government headed by a single Sith Lord with many subordinates. The world was also home to a wide variety of creatures, including birds, fish, insects, and land animals, and its agricultural fields supplied a large amount of foodstuffs for the Empire. However, the ritual killed almost every living thing on the entire planet, leaving Nathema barren and lifeless. Other than Vitiate, only the voreclaw survived, though their hive mind was obliterated by the ritual, leaving their underground colonies mindless. When the voreclaws, driven by hunger, finally emerged onto the surface, radiation from Nathema's sun ravaged the insects, burning their exposed flesh and their chitinous shells. In the absence of food, the species was about to go extinct, when Vitiate captured the few remaining survivors and stored them in carbonite beneath the Sanitarium, using them as guards.
In the centuries following the ritual, the only permanent inhabitants of the planet were those who lived in the Sanitarium: the Nathema Zealots, who survived contact with the Force void through daily rituals and meditation that left them completely subservient to Vitiate, specially-trained Abyssin Keepers who maintained day-to-day order in the Sanitarium, and the prisoners themselves, powerful Force users who angered or opposed Vitiate, and were sent to Nathema as punishment. Vitiate's own daughter Vaylin was imprisoned in the Sanitarium for a time, where she was subjected to a mental conditioning and became the only inmate to ever leave the facility alive. After Nathema experienced rebirth, surviving Zealots began to settle in camps, sustaining themselves on the plant life that rapidly grew all over the planet after Vitiate's death. The rival, warring groups raided and killed one another over different theories as to what had occurred and beliefs on how to better serve their master, whose deaths they felt through the Force but were unilaterally unwilling to accept. The new landscape of Nathema also became home to dangerous predators and escaped the Sanitarium's destruction, among them corrupted versions of sleens, acklays and nexus, as well as the voreclaws, the only descendants of Nathema's original inhabitants.
Behind the scenes
Nathema was first introduced in 2011, being featured in Drew Karpyshyn's novel The Old Republic: Revan, which revealed much of the backstory of Sith Emperor Vitiate and his Empire. The novel set up much of the plot for Act III of the Jedi Knight storyline in the video game Star Wars: The Old Republic, which was released by BioWare and LucasArts about a month after the tie-in novel. In the game, Nathema is mentioned by Lord Scourge in the beginning of Act III while he is describing the history of the Emperor, though he does not mention the planet by name. The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural, an in-universe reference guide released with the Collector's Edition of the game, mentions Nathema in the chapter where Gnost-Dural investigates the history of the Emperor, as do The Essential Reader's Companion and the Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia, both released in 2012. The regular updates of the Online Companion to The Essential Atlas placed Nathema and the Nathema system in the Chorlian sector of the Outer Rim, in grid square S-4.
The original 2011 release of the game only included a single mention of Nathema by name in "The Ritual of Nathema" codex entry, obtained from a datacron on the Imperial version of Balmorra. On October 7, 2016, a cinematic trailer "Betrayed" was released in advance of Knights of the Eternal Throne game expansion and depicted Vaylin's imprisonment in the Sanitarium, though at that point no connection to Nathema was made. The expansion itself, released later the same year, featured Nathema as one of the two new planets added to the game and the setting of Chapter VII: Into the Void, which also established it as the place where Vaylin was imprisoned as a child in the trailer.
Nathema was revisited in 2018 Update 5.9: The Nathema Conspiracy, being featured as the main setting of the flashpoint and storyline of the same name. The update depicted Nathema returning to life after Vitiate's death and served as the conclusion for the Knights of the Fallen Empire/Eternal Throne storyline. It also introduced a retcon to Nathema's backstory by revealing Zildrog's involvement in the Ritual of Nathema. This caused confusion among the players, as the ritual was previously believed to be performed solely by Vitiate. Writer Charles Boyd clarified the issue by highlighting player posts which noted that the Sith Emperor's ritual always required a mass death to be triggered by an outside source before Vitiate could use the life essences of the dead to empower himself, and adding "y'all have it pretty much sorted here".
- The Old Republic: Revan (First appearance)
- (First pictured)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Cartel Market (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Eternal Throne
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Onslaught (Mentioned only)
- The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural
- The Essential Reader's Companion
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Force and Destiny Core Rulebook
- (Picture only)