- "Serve the Emperor above all others."
- ―A Mage promoting Maarek Stele
The Prophets of the Dark Side, also called the Secret Order of the Emperor, was an ancient dark side cult that arose on the planet Dromund Kaas in the Dromund system of the Outer Rim, a world that once served as the capital of the reconstituted Sith Empire. They were founded by a renegade Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Millennial, and hence can be considered a splinter-faction of the Order of the Sith Lords.
The Prophets were trained in the use of the dark side of the Force and used its power to delve into the possible future outcomes of any event. During the time of the Galactic Empire, they were led by Kadann, the Supreme Prophet. The prophets were all black-bearded individuals who wore gleaming black robes, and who obtained a great deal of power within the remnants of the Empire after the death of Palpatine. Among their many predictions, the Prophets supposedly foresaw the precise time and place for the destruction of both Death Stars by the Rebel Alliance. In order to retain their power, the Prophets used any means necessary to ensure the predicted outcome.
When the group became part of the Secret Order of the Empire, the term became interchangeable with the title Emperor's Mage, used for a true Prophet of the Dark Side after they were recruited by Palpatine to serve him. The true Prophets should not be confused with their imitators, the false Prophets, who collectively comprised the Church of the Dark Side.
Early history and rediscovery by Palpatine
- "I have met these reclusive cretins and listened to their singsong prophecies. They do possess the gift of futuresight, which proved useful to my forces at the Battle of Dromund Kaas. But the Prophets themselves admit they have hunted down heretics and imitations."
- ―Asajj Ventress records her encounter with the Prophets
Darth Millennial, a Sith apostate who rejected Darth Bane's Rule of Two, established the Dark Force faith on Dromund Kaas. The Prophets of the Dark Side resided in the highest tower of the Dark Force Temple, an ancient Sith temple in a quagmire on Dromund Kaas that had been a battleground during the Light and Darkness War. The tower was a nexus for the dark side. In 100 BBY, a group of the Prophets settled the nearby moon of Kalakar Six, where they would later resurrect Darth Maul briefly in 0 BBY.
Many years later, Palpatine discovered the planet and converted the Prophets to his cause, keeping the location of Dromund Kaas a secret. The Dromund system was one of 36 systems deleted from the Jedi Archives, as Yoda discovered after the revelation that Kamino had been deleted. Yoda may have visited the Dromund system, but if so the records of his visit were lost as a result of the Great Jedi Purge. During the Clone Wars, Separatist forces led by the Dark Acolyte Asajj Ventress fought the 327th Star Corps during the Battle of Dromund Kaas. To her forces' advantage, Ventress used information provided by the Prophets of the Dark Side. Prior to the Jedi Purge, Palpatine appointed the Dark Jedi Kadann as Supreme Prophet of the Dark Side. On Imperial Center, Kadann became one of the Emperor's most trusted advisors. Kadann's apprentice, Jedgar, became Kadann's right-hand man as High Prophet of the dark side.
When Supreme Prophet Kadann predicted balance would be restored to the Force at Endor, Palpatine laughed at him and became enraged. Most of the true Prophets fled to Supreme Prophet Kadann's hidden temple stronghold on Bosthirda, abandoning Imperial Center and Dromund Kaas.
Late Galactic Civil War and the Church of the Dark Side
A few Mages pursued different paths after the Battle of Endor: Cronal, by now the Emperor's Hand "Blackhole," became a servant of the resurrected Emperor, established the Church of the Dark Side on Imperial Center, and mutated Gorc and Pic into the "Brothers of the Sith" (these "Brothers" became Dark Jedi apprentices of Jerec); when the population of Tatooine rebelled after the destruction of the second Death Star, Sariss fled Tatooine and became one of the Dark Jedi apprenticed to Jerec, on whose behalf she became engaged to a mineral baron on Panatha whose son, Yun, she taught in the ways of the Church of the Dark Side, seduced, and had murder his own father so Sariss could give the baron's holdings and Yun himself to Jerec; Maarek Stele joined the 181st Imperial Fighter Wing and later served in the Imperial Remnant in the Outer Rim under Grand Admiral Gilad Pellaeon; Merili served as Church of the Dark Side advisor to Grand Admiral Peccati Syn and died with him when his flagship was destroyed by Admiral Gial Ackbar at Kashyyyk.
During the year after the Battle of Endor, Cronal's institution of the Church of the Dark Side was officially sanctioned by acting-Emperor Sate Pestage and secretly patronized by Emperor Palpatine after his rebirth. The Church was instituted by Imperial Intelligence, of which Cronal (a former true Prophet turned Emperor's Hand) was a high-ranking agent.
Unlike the Secret Order, the Church was a high-visibility propaganda tool. The Church included not only former true Prophets (Cronal, Sariss, Merilli) but also a group of false Prophets of the Dark Side, in truth simply Imperial Intelligence agents that helped the Central Committee of Grand Moffs control one of the larger Imperial Remnants. The false Prophets included impersonators of Kadann, Jedgar, and Gornash. They operated from Scardia Station in the Null Zone and traveled in a ship named Scardia Voyager.
These beings were con artists rather than true Force-sensitives, and used manipulation to make their prophecies come true. The pseudo-Jedgar hand wrote Secrets of the Dark Side, in which he recorded the supposed prophecies of the pseudo-Kadann.
The false Prophets foretold that the next Emperor would wear the indestructible Glove of Darth Vader. After the Glove was found in the wreckage of the second Death Star that had come into space near Dac through a space anomaly, the Glove was worn by the three-eyed mutant Trioculus, an Imperial slavemaster on Kessel whom the Central Committee of Grand Moffs claimed to be the son of Palpatine and made Emperor.
The pseudo-Kadann failed to take over Imperial Center from Ysanne Isard, who had taken power from Sate Pestage: amongst those who failed to answer the pseudo-Kadann's summons to Imperial Center were Grand Admiral Makati, who believed the pseudo-Kadann to be the true Kadann, against whom Makati held a grudge. The pseudo-Kadann fled back to Scardia Station. Grand Admiral Makati cajoled Azrakel, whom also believed the pseudo-Kadann to be the true Kadann, into revealing much data on Scardia Station and the Lost City of the Jedi on Yavin 4. Makati trapped the pseudo-Kadann on Scardia Station, which he destroyed with his fleet.
Jerec and the Valley of the Jedi
The true Jedgar had foreseen the con artistry of the false Prophets, but the true Kadann forbade him from acting against them, himself having foreseen the downfall of the false Prophets. The true Prophets viewed Palpatine as their enemy for having rejected Kadann's prophecies, and they despised Cronal as a traitor for becoming an Emperor's Hand and not coming with them to Bosthirda. Ignoring the actions of the Central Committee of Moffs, the true Prophets contacted Jerec, now a Great InQuestor of Judgment for the Pentastar Alignment. Jerec agreed to search for the lost Valley of the Jedi on behalf of the Prophets, while at the same time pretending to search for the Valley on behalf of the Alignment. Shortly thereafter, Emperor's Hand "Blackhole" (formerly an Emperor's Mage himself, and the father of Sariss) contacted Jerec and informed him of the existence of the clone Emperor on Byss and asked him to search for the lost Valley on the Emperor's behalf. Jerec agreed, not revealing to "Blackhole" that he was already searching for the Valley on behalf of the Alignment and the true Prophets.
In truth, Jerec was loyal only to himself, and hoped to use the Valley's power to subdue all three of his sponsors and rule as Emperor himself. Drawing resources from his three sponsors, Jerec eventually found the Valley on Ruusan. However, Jerec was killed by Kyle Katarn, who kept the location of the Valley secret, frustrating the efforts of the true Prophets, whom remained hidden and bided their time, waiting for a portent that would signify the time of their return.
Six years after the Battle of Endor, after studying ancient dark side inscriptions, Kyle Katarn learned of Dromund Kaas and traveled there, but was corrupted to the dark side. Mara Jade followed Kyle and found him in the Dark Force Temple, where she redeemed him. Kyle, Mara, and Luke Skywalker then pieced together Dromund Kaas' history. The Jedi and New Republic Intelligence worked to ensure the planet's location remained a secret.
The Prophets were destroyed when the Dark Lady Lumiya and her apprentice Carnor Jax enlisted the aid of the dark warrior Azrakel who arrived at the headquarters of the prophets with vengeful fury, slaying a number of them, including Kadann himself before he fell. Lumiya and Jax arrived moments later and slew most prophets.
Role within the Empire
Palpatine sent many of his Dark Side followers to Dromund Kaas to be trained by the Prophets, including the Dark Warrior Azrakel, Grand Admiral Nial Declann, and Inquisitor Jerec. It was while studying on Dromund Kaas that Jerec first heard the legend of the Valley of the Jedi from the Prophet Cronal and first met Cronal's daughter, Sariss. Supreme Prophet Kadann trained Azrakel as a secret weapon to use against Palpatine and Darth Vader should the Sith ever turn on Kadann, but Azrakel came to hate Kadann and deserted him prior to the Battle of Endor. The Prophets sent agents to many planets: for example, Sariss worked on Tatooine under the alias "Prophetess". One of the agents of the Prophets, Maarek Stele, was made an Emperor's Hand, and (apparently uniquely for a Hand), remained a servant of the Order, eventually being promoted to the (perhaps unique) rank of Emperor's Reach.
Palpatine often consulted the Prophets to ensure the correctness of his own foresight. Only the most trusted Imperial advisors, including the Grand Admirals, knew the Emperor's Mages existed. When Grand Admiral Afsheen Makati's first officer mocked the black robes of the Prophets, Kadann retaliated by employing Force lightning on Makati. The Prophets often sent entourages (which often included Sariss) to confer with Jerec on the Super Star Destroyer Vengeance.
Secret Order of the Emperor
The Secret Order of the Emperor was a clandestine, elite group of spies composed of the Emperor's Mages and their agents.
Mages traveled abroad in disguise, seeking out Force-sensitive beings, such as Maarek Stele. They would often stand aside in a briefing room or corridor monitoring their Force-sensitive subjects, waiting for the curious subjects to ask the unusual person of their intentions, then the Mage would reveal himself as an envoy from the Emperor and present the gifted individual with the choice of serving the Emperor through secret missions. These missions (such as assassinating a special enemy or inspecting enemy craft before destroying them for special intelligence) furthered the Emperor's dark side goals that were hidden behind all the Empire accomplished.
Once an agent proved himself, he was initiated into the Secret Order as a First Initiate and given special additional duties during combat missions. As he progressed through the Order, he would join the Second Circle, Third Circle, Fourth Circle and Inner Circle, following by earning the title Emperor's Hand (not to be confused with the Imperial agents known as the Emperor's Hand), the Emperor's Eyes, the Emperor's Voice and the Emperor's Reach.
The most successful agents, such as Stele, were taken from the Order by Palpatine to become Emperor's Hands. The head of the Order was Supreme Prophet Kadann. Shortly before the Battle of Endor, the true Prophets had a parting of ways with Palpatine, and retreated to Bosthirda. The former Prophet Cronal, now under the alter ego of the Emperor's Hand "Blackhole", created a more public institution in mockery of the Order: the Church of the Dark Side. The Order as such ceased to exist, for the true Prophets no longer associated themselves with the Empire, only with the Dark Side of the Force.
The chosen personnel acquired a tattoo-like sign on their left arm, emblazoned on their skin with the dark side of the Force; the higher the rank an agent attained within the Order, the larger and more elaborate the sign.