- "Three armies! This is crazy!
Not for this army! You should have been with Odion at Gazzari -- now, that was a close shave!"
- ―"Mercy" (Kerra) and Yulan
The Second Battle of Skarpos was a battle during the New Sith Wars which occurred on the planet Skarpos in 1032 BBY. Earlier, the Sith Lord Odion had seized Skarpos from the rival Sith Lord Malakite, ruler of the Sith realm known as the Menagerie. Since the collapse of the Chagras Hegemony following the death of its titular ruler Chagras, the Grumani sector had descended into internecine conflict as rival Sith Lords fought each other for dominance. Following the Invasion of Sarrassia, the Jedi Knight Kerra Holt, who was disguised as the Novitiate acolyte "Mercy", discovered that the Helm of Ieldis was located on Skarpos. The Helm was a Sith artifact created by the Sith Lord Ieldis prior to the Great Hyperspace War and was capable of turning sentients into mindless killers through the dark side of the Force.
Mercy and her team of Novitiates were transported by General Beld Yulan back to Skarpos to the Sith garrison at the Morbollon Mesa. Malakite's forces launched a counterattack on Skarpos, seeking to reclaim the planet. His forces included a large army of winged Night-Soarers which were used to ferry his infantry. The fighting was interrupted by a third force in the form of Sith Lord Daiman, who also wanted to claim the Helm for himself. In the middle of the battle, Odion himself arrived on a shuttle to seize the Helm before his rivals could obtain it. He exposed Kerra and used her anguish to force his enemy forces to kill each other, throwing Malakite and Daiman's forces into disarray.
- "The Helm of Ieldis. Lord Ieldis lived before the Great Hyperspace War. He studied what made people fight -- what drove them to throw their lives away. No one knew more about setting people against each other."
- ―Odion talking about the Helm of Ieldis
During the Republic Dark Age, much of the outlying regions were dominated by various Sith rulers including the Grumani sector. Following the collapse of the Chagras Hegemony in 1040 BBY, the sector descended into anarchy as rival Sith Lords competed for power. Following the Battle of Darkknell in 1032 BBY, the Sith Lord Odion launched an invasion of Skarpos, a bleak desert planet in the Menagerie, a region of space ruled by rival Sith Lord Malakite. Despite heavy losses, his forces captured the planet.
Odion also restarted Project Pandemonium with the aim of retrieving the Helm of Ieldis, an ancient Sith artifact built prior to the Great Hyperspace War. The Sith Lord Ieldis had studied what made people fight and had created the helm with the intent of driving sentient beings into a homicidal frenzy. The project had gone dry in 1039 BBY with the disappearance of the research team on Sarrassia, which had fallen under the Sith Lord Ayanos Bactra. This team consisted of the Aquilarian couple Aron and Mercia Holt, the parents of the Jedi Knight Kerra Holt. Kerra was determined to find her parents and infiltrated the Odionate disguised as a young Sith Novitiate named "Mercy"'.
The collapse of the Bactranate allowed Odion to resume Project Pandemonium and his forces under General Beld Yulan invaded and occupied Sarrassia. Mercia was part of a task force of Novitiates led by Doyan who quickly secured Mount Diligence, a holy site which was defended by Grumani Hierophants. After mopping up the remaining resistance, the team uncovered a series of underground tunnels which led to an underground temple. There, Kerra met her old family friend Aunt Zoojoo and learnt that the Helm had been moved by her parents to Skarpos.
Hoping to ascertain the fate of her parents and to stop Odion, "Mercy" feigned devotion to Odion and revealed this information to Yulan. Following a customary transit stop at Vanahame, Doyan and his team of Novitiates returned to Skarpos. They established an armed camp at the base of the Morbollon Mesa, a large mountain which was riddled with a series of tunnels. Based on Zoojoo's information, "Mercy" correctly deduced that the Helm of Ieldis was hidden within the Morbollan Mesa. As a precaution, Yulan installed a series of anti-air artillery defenses around the mesa.
- "There! Odion's insects are skittering around at the base of the mountain! Crush them!"
- ―Lord Malakite leading his forces
Unwilling to concede the loss of one of his planets, Lord Malakite made preparations to launch a counterattack. His fleet ferried an army of reinforcements to Skarpos which included a large phalanx of Night-Soarers, winged bipedal sentient beings from Tyluun. These Night-Soarers were used to ferry his army of Mutate infantry down to Morbollon Mesa. Due to his hatred of technology, Malakite often used overwhelming numbers to swarm opponents with superior technology. Malakite had little regard for the lives of his own troops and was willing to accept losses as a core component of his winning strategy.
In response, Yulan deployed his anti-air artillery which inflicted significant losses on Malakite's landing force. Meanwhile, Doyan and "Mercy" made preparations to explore the mesa. Using a pair of binoculars, "Mercy" had discovered a small outlet on the outer wall which was situated several hundreds of meters above the Odionate camp. In the midst of the siege, a fleet of warships led by the rival Sith Lord Daiman arrived at the Morbollan Mesa. Daiman was the estranged younger brother of Odion and also desired the Helm of Ieldis for himself. Earlier, he had helped the Jedi Knight Kerra infiltrate the Odionate since both shared a common enemy in the form of Odion.
Using his electrobinoculars, Yulan spotted Daiman leading his forces from the top of an orbital battle platform. Yulan also spotted the Kubaz Novitiate Glenk, who had gone missing on Sarrassia. Glenk was actually an agent of Daiman who had infiltrated Odion's Novitiates for the sole purpose of keeping a watch on Kerra. From Glenk, Daiman learnt about Odion's Project Pandemonium and sought to gain an advantage over his Sith rivals by wielding the Helm for himself. He ordered his troops to wipe out Odion's garrison and to do the same with Malakite's forces if they interfered as well.
The Depths of Darkness
- "Thanks for leading me to the helm, Mercy -- or should I say, little Jedi. As your reward, you'll be the first to see it in action!"
- ―Lord Odion
Yulan ordered Mercy and her fellow Novitiates to find the Helm while his artillery and infantry forces held back Malakite's Mutate forces and Daiman's ground troops. Mercy, Doyan and three other Novitiates headed for the cave opening in the Morbollon Mesa on a skiff. En route, they fought off attacks by several Night-Soarers. They soon reached the opening in the wall and Mercy leapt into the cave where she found Grumani stonework on its walls. All the Novitiates were able to sense the dark side energy emanating from the Helm's presence. Before her comrades could join her, "Mercy" used her red Sith lightsaber to damage one of the skiff's engines, causing it to descend. Doyan and the other Novitiates managed to cling on and expressed anger at "Mercy's" betrayal, promising to find her no matter how long it took.
Meanwhile, Kerra activated her green Jedi lightsaber and entered the cave. She entered a hallway where she found her mother Mercia's satchel. Hoping they were still alive, Kerra entered a chamber only to find a mound of rocks and earth. She was quickly struck from behind with Force lightning by Odion, who himself had arrived on a personal shuttle. He quickly exposed "Mercy" as Kerra before revealing to her that he had already taken the Helm for himself. Odion disarmed Kerra and took her captive, binding her in restraints. He was subsequently joined by his Novitiates and General Yulan and they ascended to the top of the Mesa, taking a captive Kerra with them. At the top of the mesa, Yulan's soldiers explored the underground network of caves and tunnels while Odion's sages confirmed that the relic was indeed the fabled Helm of Ieldis.
Odion also revealed that he had sensed Kerra's presence ever since she entered the Odion. However, he intentionally let her in because he wanted her to lead him to the Helm of Ieldis. He also revealed further details about the events on Aquilaris Minor ten years ago: that he had captured her parents Aron and Mercia Holt precisely because of their research on the Helm of Ieldis. Odion also revealed that the Claimer Wayman had been monitoring Kerra's whereabouts, reporting the information back to him. Despite his gains, Odion expressed frustration that he did not know how to operate the Helm. Meanwhile, Yulan and his troops emerged from the cave. They reported that they found some camping supplies and two human skeletons, which had been crushed during an explosion. Yulan also discovered a heirloom which was revealed to belong to Aron and Mercia, confirming the deaths of Kerra's parents. With that discovery, Kerra descended into a state of grief and anguish which triggered the Helm of Ieldis. Odion then used the Helm to convert Kerra's grief and sorrow into dark side energy that would drive his enemies into a maddened homicidal frenzy.
In The Valley of the Shadow of Death
- "It's the girl's anguish. It's powering the helm! I can feel it. Her agony -- her hopelessness. I can mold it. Shape it. And give it to others."
- ―Lord Odion
At that moment, a pair of Malakite's Mutate warriors riding dragon steeds stumbled upon Odion and his entourage, intending to slay him themselves and take back his hide as a trophy to their Master. Instead of fighting them, Odion used the Helm to compel the two enemy warriors and their steeds to turn on themselves and kill each other. Addressing a captive audience in the form of Kerra, Odion commented that the Helm of Ieldis had forcibly brainwashed them into accepting his own nihilistic rationale that the only way to end their own pain was through bloodshed and death. Odion then ordered Yulan to start evacuating his best companions aboard their shuttle since he was going to deploy the Helm against the three massed armies beneath the mesa.
The Helm of Ieldis had an immediate effect on the three massed armies, driving all the combatants into a homicidal frenzy. By forcing his opponents to kill each other and therefore embrace death and nothingness, Odion hoped to become the sole owner of the Universe. Within minutes, the combatants descended into a murderous rampage, killing their own comrades indiscriminately. Daiman himself narrowly survived an assassination attempt from Glenk. In the ensuing scuffle, Daiman fought off Glenk and struck him with Force lightning, causing him to topple to his death beneath the Morbollon Mesa. With their armies in total disarray, Odion's competitors Daiman and Malakite were forced to flee the battle while they could still resist the power of the Helm. Under the influence of the Helm, the three armies annihilated each other.
- "What... What... Am I doing? This has the enemy's touch to it. Odion! He must have the helm!... I've got to get clear while I can still resist!"
In summary, the Second Battle of Skarpos proved to be a pyrrhic victory for the Sith Lord Odion. While he succeeded in testing the Helm of Ieldis on the armies of his rivals Daiman and Malakite with devastating results, the Helm also annihilated his entire army with the exception of General Yulan and his troops who were exploring the Mesa, the Novitiates, and a captive Kerra Holt. When Yulan expressed concerns about sacrificing his entire force on Skarpos, Odion merely rebuffed the General's concerns by telling him that their deaths were inevitable, and that the Helm merely hastened the process. Odion then set his cruiser on course for Vanahame, intending to harness the anguish and misery of the captive orphans within the cloister there.