Ulic Qel-Droma was, during different parts of his life, a Jedi Knight of the Old Republic, a warlord in the Empress Teta star system, and a Dark Lord of the Sith. A Human male native of the planet Alderaan, Ulic and his brother Cay were born to Jedi Master Lien-Tsai Qel-Droma, but trained alongside the Twi'lek Tott Doneeta under Master Arca Jeth on Arkania. In 4000 BBY, Ulic was sent with Cay and Doneeta to resolve the centuries-long Beast Wars of the planet Onderon. Although they initially sided with the monarchy of the capital city Iziz, Qel-Droma and his fellow Jedi eventually allied with the Beast Riders of Onderon after they learned that the Royal Family worshiped the dark side of the Force under the leadership of Queen Amanoa. A great battle subsequently broke out between the Queen's forces and those of the Beast Riders, and ended when Ulic's Master Jeth arrived to assist in the defeat of Amanoa, which brought temporary peace to Onderon.
Amanoa's husband, King Ommin, emerged from hiding in 3998 BBY to disrupt Onderon's peace by waging war in the name of the ancient Dark Lord of the Sith Freedon Nadd. Qel-Droma and the Jedi once again fought to defend Onderon, but when Master Jeth was captured by Ommin and Freedon Nadd's spirit, Qel-Droma requested aid from the Galactic Senate. Qel-Droma's help arrived in the form of the Republic Navy and a team of five additional Jedi Knights, led by novice Jedi Nomi Sunrider—with whom Qel-Droma would later fall in love. Bolstered by the strength of the Navy and Sunrider's innate talent with Jedi battle meditation, Qel-Droma and his comrades rescued Jeth, defeated King Ommin and his army, and banished Freedon Nadd's ghost from the planet forever. When the Jedi learned of a political uprising in the Empress Teta system by the newly formed Krath cult, Qel-Droma acted as a liaison for the Order and joined the Republic for an assault in Tetan space. However, Qel-Droma was overcome by the Krath's Force powers and suffered near-fatal wounds as the Republic was forced into retreat by the Sith usurpers.
The Jedi had become increasingly concerned with the threat posed to the galaxy by the Krath, and gathered en masse on the planet Deneba to discuss a course of action. It was there that Qel-Droma outlined a controversial plan to infiltrate the dark side cult and destroy them from within, a proposal that was rejected by nearly all those present. The Krath soon ambushed the convocation with a bombardment of war droids. Qel-Droma fought alongside his fellow Jedi, but was devastated when Jeth was unexpectedly killed. He then swore to avenge his Master through infiltration of the Krath, against the pleas of his peers. Qel-Droma traveled to Empress Teta and joined them, initially pretending to be a fallen Jedi. Soon, however, he was injected with a rage-inducing poison by Krath warlord Satal Keto and began over time to fall to the dark side himself. The Jedi soon came to retrieve him and witnessed the death of Satal Keto at Qel-Droma's hands, before the enraged Dark Jedi lashed out at his friends and refused their rescue attempt. Later, when the Jedi tried and failed to extract Qel-Droma—now the Krath leader, having taken Keto's cousin Aleema Keto as his lover—another of Freedon Nadd's students, Exar Kun, arrived to eliminate the Krath. Qel-Droma engaged him in a duel, but the contest was interrupted by the spirit of a long-deceased Sith, who proclaimed Qel-Droma and Kun to be Sith Lords. Together, they resolved to wage war on the galaxy.
The new Sith Lord Qel-Droma began to consolidate his own power, first with his subjugation of the Mandalorian warrior clans and his hijacking of Republic military resources. Qel-Droma eventually led an attack on the galactic capital of Coruscant, where he was betrayed and abandoned by Aleema Keto and then captured by Jedi Knights under the leadership of Master Vodo-Siosk Baas. Scheduled to stand trial as a war criminal before the Senatorial Inquisition, Qel-Droma was ultimately rescued by Kun and Mandalore the Indomitable, with whom Qel-Droma resumed his campaign of terror against the Republic. After eliminating the treacherous Aleema Keto, Qel-Droma next joined Kun in an assault on the Jedi fortress-world of Ossus, where he slew his brother Cay in the presence of his former comrades. The act of fratricide infuriated the Jedi, and Nomi Sunrider exercised her power to sever Qel-Droma's connection to the Force. Utterly defeated and mortified by his own actions, Qel-Droma renounced his allegiance to the Sith. He then led the Jedi to Kun's stronghold on Yavin 4, where the combined forces of the Jedi and the Republic Navy defeated the fugitive Dark Lord in a final battle. After the war, a broken Qel-Droma exiled himself to Rhen Var, and hoped to live out his days in solitude. However, he was found by an aspiring Jedi—Nomi Sunrider's daughter Vima, whom he agreed to train as a Jedi. After he found success and a measure of inner peace through his tutelage of Sunrider, Qel-Droma was soon killed, shot by a spacer named Hoggon who wanted to become a famous hero.
Early life and Jedi training
- "Well done! But keep your thoughts with the Force, Ulic!"
- ―Arca Jeth, during Ulic Qel-Droma's lightsaber training
Ulic Qel-Droma was a Human male born on the Core World of Alderaan, slightly more than four thousand years before the Battle of Yavin, to the famed Jedi Master Lien-Tsai Qel-Droma. Qel-Droma had a younger brother named Cay with whom he shared a deep bond, and both were Force-sensitives with great potential. They additionally had a cousin named Duron, who was also Force-sensitive and would eventually become a Jedi Knight. Although their mother taught the Qel-Droma brothers well in many subjects, she did not instruct them in the ways of the Force, as she believed that she could not keep the necessary distance between student and Master with her children. As she did not want to begin their training too early, Lien-Tsai Qel-Droma waited until she believed Ulic and Cay had reached the proper age to send them to learn under the skilled Arkanian Jedi Master Arca Jeth. In the meantime, Qel-Droma became well known by the Alderaanian nobility, who largely disapproved of whatever he did and looked upon him with disdain. Qel-Droma felt the need to prove his worth, and threw himself entirely into his studies and extracurricular activities. Qel-Droma eventually drew the respect of his superiors as he turned his attention from challenge to challenge. However, Qel-Droma neglected his study of the Force in favor of his other pursuits, and only focused on it when all his other options were exhausted. Qel-Droma immediately discovered his natural talent with the Force when he did so, and he gained a new confidence in himself.
Qel-Droma poured himself into his study of the Force and the Jedi way, so much so that his mother worried that he had missed the message of what the Jedi Order stood for and would have trouble if he continued that way. However, Qel-Droma dismissed her fears by quoting from the Jedi Code. Soon afterward, his mother sent both Ulic and Cay to the planet Arkania to learn under Arca Jeth at his praxeum. The Qel-Droma brothers met a fellow apprentice, Twi'lek Tott Doneeta, with whom they quickly became friends. Partly through the practice of his lightsaber skills on combat-trainer droids—which he considered to be old, slow, and unchallenging—Qel-Droma quickly mastered the techniques taught to him by Master Jeth. Over the course of his training, however, Qel-Droma drew concern from Jeth due to his relentless efforts and often-reckless attempts to prove himself. Qel-Droma was instructed not to act before thinking, and the apprentice vowed to rein in his natural urgings and make sure he was always in control. During his tutelage under Jeth, Qel-Droma also constructed his own lightsaber.
Trouble on Onderon
- "The Onderonians have asked for help in ending their centuries-long state of war. They will want you to fight… but remember, Ulic, the Jedi bring peace… use your weapons as a last resort."
"We will do as you ask, Master. We only request that you keep us in your thoughts."
"In the power of the Force, I will be with you, Ulic. But this is to be a test of your Knighthood… you and your companions must make your own way through the difficulties you encounter. May the Force be with you."
- ―Arca Jeth and Ulic Qel-Droma, before the latter's mission to Onderon
In 4000 BBY, after a particularly eventful lightsaber training session which ended in a stun bolt to the midsection, Qel-Droma and his two fellow apprentices gathered before Master Jeth. With the use of a Force illusion, the Arkanian proceeded to tell them the story of the planet Onderon, recently discovered by galactic explorers, which was embroiled in a war between the government of the city of Iziz and banished criminals known as the Beast Riders. At the conclusion of his tale, Jeth informed his three apprentices that he had accepted the post of Jedi Watchman in the Onderon system. Stunned, Qel-Droma was worried that Jeth was leaving them, only to learn that the three Padawans would travel there in the Jedi Master's stead. After years of training, the brothers and Doneeta were finally assigned their first mission. Ulic Qel-Droma was made chargeman and advised that their objective was a peaceful end to the Beast Wars, with raised arms as a last resort.
The Jedi departed Arkania in Cay's ship, the Nebulon Ranger, with Ulic Qel-Droma at the pilot's controls. Upon arrival in the Onderonian atmosphere, the Ranger was suddenly swarmed by thirty to forty drexl-mounted Beast Riders. Although under heavy fire, Qel-Droma successfully flew through the horde without firing a shot, and landed safely at the Iziz Royal Palace. The Jedi met the Onderonian Minister of State, Novar, whose men seized Doneeta in accordance with Iziz's prohibition of non-Human visitors to the Royal Citadel. After the Qel-Droma brothers ignited their lightsabers, however, Novar unhanded Doneeta and led them to meet Queen Amanoa and the young Princess Galia. Amanoa, a Force-sensitive herself, was hesitant to work with such young Jedi, as she had expected the venerable Arca Jeth to come to Onderon—Qel-Droma quickly dismissed her concerns, promising that the whole of the Jedi Order would be at her service if she embraced the Galactic Republic.
The Royal Palace was soon attacked by a Beast Rider strike force, the same group that had attacked the Nebulon Ranger earlier. The Jedi quickly moved to defend the palace as Amanoa and Galia fled deeper into the building. Qel-Droma defeated several Beast Riders during the battle, and also slew several of their mighty drexl war mounts. Despite the Jedi's best efforts, two Beast Warrior Commandos slipped past them and made their way toward the Queen and Princess's hiding place. Cay and Doneeta broke off to chase the commandos, while Qel-Droma fended off the remaining attackers, who suddenly retreated without warning. Qel-Droma went to the royal quarters to check on his brother and Doneeta, only to find that the Beast Rider commandos had kidnapped Princess Galia. Against his partners' advice, Qel-Droma promised to find the Queen's daughter, and the three left Iziz in the Nebulon Ranger. During their search above the Onderonian wilderness, the Jedi caught sight of a fortress carved into a mountain, with several Beast Riders around it. However, almost immediately afterward, the Nebulon Ranger was hit by a Beast Rider seeker-torpedo and crashed deep within the forest.
- "Together we can bring peace to this chaotic world."
- ―Ulic Qel-Droma, to Oron Kira
Although the Nebulon Ranger was heavily damaged, the three Jedi emerged relatively unscathed, as the ship's deflector shields cushioned them from most of the impact. While Qel-Droma and his brother surveyed the damage, Doneeta scouted further ahead in the forest. The Twi'lek came across a group of boma beasts, which he tamed with the Force. The now-friendly bomas revealed that the Princess had been taken to a nearby stronghold, where she was to marry Oron Kira, son of Beast-Lord Modon Kira. Qel-Droma and his companions rode the bomas into the citadel and interrupted the ceremony. Qel-Droma was able to grab hold of Galia, but she surprisingly protested, as she actually wanted to marry Oron Kira. Qel-Droma unhanded the Princess, and soon afterward accepted an invitation from Modon Kira to speak during the wedding banquet. There, Oron Kira and Galia revealed to Qel-Droma that the Onderon Royal Family were dark side users, Sith cultists who worshiped the dead Dark Lord of the Sith Freedon Nadd, who had subjugated the planet centuries before. Qel-Droma was shocked, as he had previously thought Onderon too primitive a world to have been touched by the dark side. Modon Kira then came forward with a proposition—he had gathered all the armies of the Beast Riders together for one final assault and wanted Qel-Droma and the Jedi to battle the dark side with them. Qel-Droma responded with a different idea—he, the other Jedi, and the newlywed Kira and Galia would go to Iziz first and try to bring a peaceful end to the Beast Wars. If they failed, then there would be war.
Modon Kira accepted his proposal, and the group left less than a day later after Cay repaired the Nebulon Ranger. Accompanied by a Beast Rider escort, the Nebulon Ranger was initially fired upon by the Iziz defense guns. Although a last-second plea by Cay got them admission to the Royal Palace, Queen Amanoa quickly rebuffed Qel-Droma's offers of peace and called the power of the dark side down upon the would-be peacebringers. Qel-Droma immediately felt its effects, as his thoughts became clouded and confused and he was filled with fear. Under heavy fire from the Palace security forces—who were also adept in the dark side—Qel-Droma followed Galia to a secure hiding place in her father's old workshop. There, Qel-Droma told Oron Kira to signal his father to send in the Beast Rider troops and begin the battle outright. Qel-Droma soon realized that he had left his brother Cay behind in the throne room and went to retrieve him, and found his brother alive but with a severed arm. After treating Cay's wounds, Ulic brought him to their hiding place, where he watched as Cay removed the arm of a nearby droid to use as a replacement for the one cut off during the battle.
Once Cay was done, the Qel-Droma brothers made their way out of the Palace to the city ramparts, where Doneeta, Galia, and Oron Kira were watching the battle. There, Qel-Droma received an update on the conflict's progress from Doneeta, who informed him that the city had fallen to the Beast Riders after a sudden change in the battle's momentum. Suddenly, Qel-Droma spotted Master Jeth's ship, the SunGem, in the planet's atmosphere. Jeth landed on the ramparts and voiced his disappointment, especially that Qel-Droma had failed the test he had been given. Jeth revealed that he had won the battle for the Beast Riders with the exotic Force power known as battle meditation and told Qel-Droma that he should have sensed the work of the dark side the minute that he had arrived on Onderon. After their conversation, Jeth led the group down into the tomb of Freedon Nadd, below the planet's surface, where Queen Amanoa had sequestered herself. There, Qel-Droma watched as Amanoa's dark power fled her, and she died. Soon afterward, Qel-Droma attended the ceremony where Oron Kira and Galia consecrated their marriage under the laws of the Republic, merged the warring tribes of Onderon into one people, became the new King and Queen of Onderon, and finally ended the Beast Wars.
The Naddist rebellion
Attack of the cultists
- "If the dark side could take Master Arca, then it's too strong for us. We're going to need more Jedi Knights—and the forces of the Republic!'"
- ―Ulic Qel-Droma, after the first battle of the Freedon Nadd Uprising
Although the Beast Wars were over, peace still did not come easily to Onderon—within two years, the planet was once again at war. Naddist cult members from the same organization that claimed the world's monarchy were in open rebellion against the new monarchy. In response, Qel-Droma and his fellow Jedi Watchmen were tasked with defending Onderon. By then, Qel-Droma had moved past his training period, and had assumed the title of Jedi Knight. Master Jeth ordered that the stone sarcophagi containing the remains of Freedon Nadd and Amanoa be removed from Onderon, with the hopes that it would reduce the dark side pall still hanging over Iziz. This took on the form of a grand funeral procession through the Iziz city streets, led by Galia and Oron Kira. Qel-Droma, his brother, and Jeth marched directly behind them, and met with the monarchs, Tott Doneeta, and newly arrived Vultan Jedi Oss Wilum after the ceremony was concluded. To the Jedi group's surprise, as the sarcophagi were being loaded onto their transport, a colossal groundborer machine suddenly emerged through the planet's surface, containing hundreds of dissident members of the Royal Armed Forces now on the Naddist side. Led by the cyborg Dark Jedi Warb Null, the Naddist force attacked. While most of the Jedi immediately battled back, Qel-Droma initially stayed behind to tend to Jeth, who had been struck and injured by a dark side assault. Qel-Droma soon joined the fight himself and clashed lightsabers with Null, but the Naddists successfully gained control of the sarcophagi, their real target. Once they had achieved their goal, the darksiders immediately fled the battlefield, while Qel-Droma was nearly dragged down with them as the groundborer retreated underground.
After the skirmish, Qel-Droma returned to tend to the fallen Jeth, who was sure that something terrible was at work. It was then that the newly crowned Queen Galia spoke up and informed Qel-Droma and Jeth that her father, King Ommin, a dark side master himself, was still alive in a secret subterranean facility and could help them explain the dark side pall over the city. Qel-Droma, Jeth, and Galia immediately set out to meet with Ommin, who had been confined to the facility after he was stricken with a supposed wasting disease that had softened his bones and required a metal apparatus to keep him alive. Their journey led them through pitch-black tunnels, which forced Qel-Droma to use the Force to see where his eyes could not. Qel-Droma's group arrived at the subterranean fortress and met with the infirm Ommin, who spoke cryptic words about the continuing presence of Freedon Nadd in Iziz. Suddenly, the Force ghost of Nadd took shape and revealed himself to the Jedi. Jeth realized that Ommin had practiced Sith magic that he had learned from Nadd's spirit for years, the cause of the dark side that still continued to plague the city.
Ommin then rose, still attached to his armature, and smothered Jeth in dark side energy before Qel-Droma had a chance to help the Arkanian. At the same time, Warb Null and a squad of Naddist warriors entered the room, as Qel-Droma ignited his lightsaber and prepared to defend the Queen. As Qel-Droma battled both Null and the Naddist soldiers, he witnessed the incapacitated Jeth being carried off by Ommin. Although Null's dark power sapped some of Qel-Droma's strength, the Jedi Knight was still able to kill him and defeat the cultists. Qel-Droma suffered from a form of vertigo after his trying battle, but he still was able to escape the fortress with the Queen. However, when Qel-Droma and Galia emerged from the underground facility, they found that the Iziz Royal Palace had fallen to the Naddists, and encountered Oron Kira, Cay, and Oss Wilum among the rubble. Needing to regroup, they retreated to the Kira Fortress beyond the city's walls, while Qel-Droma resolved to call other Jedi to aid them in the coming fight to retake Iziz.
Battle with the dark side
- "Ulic—what's the matter with you guys—? Why weren't you fightin?"
"The dark side… it's eating at our life force… Sith magic is at work—but for some reason I'm feeling a whole lot stronger now that my fellow Jedi are here!"
- ―Dace Diath and Ulic Qel-Droma, during the climactic battle of the Freedon Nadd Uprising
Free from the Iziz war zone, Qel-Droma placed a call for help which was received by Galactic Republic Minister of Defense Netus. Military aid was granted to Onderon, in the form of a massive force of Republic rocket-jumpers that descended from the atmosphere and led the battle to take back Iziz. The rocket-jumpers arrived at a fortuitous time for Qel-Droma and his allies, as they were under siege in the Kira Fortress. As the dark side ate away at his life force, Qel-Droma and the other Jedi were unable to fight—however, the Republic forces were able to track Qel-Droma's radio beacon to the forest stronghold. Led by Knight Nomi Sunrider, the relief forces cut a swath through the Naddist ranks and blew the Kira Fortress gates open. Suddenly invigorated by Sunrider's use of battle meditation, Qel-Droma and the other trapped Jedi emerged raring to fight, and the combined forces went on to win the battle. As he surveyed the battlefield after the clash, Qel-Droma came across a prone Sunrider, who had been felled by a mental Force attack. Sunrider awoke from her stupor when Qel-Droma arrived, and she described to him a vision of an emaciated man on a metal armature that she saw during the attack, which Qel-Droma recognized as King Ommin. In the meantime, preparations began for a final assault to retake Iziz and end the Freedon Nadd Uprising. Qel-Droma personally gave words of encouragement to the still-dazed Sunrider, and told her that all the Jedi had to combine to strike back at the dark side and save the kidnapped Master Jeth.
Once they were ready, Qel-Droma and seven other Jedi—Cay, Wilum, Doneeta, Sunrider, Dace Diath, Nazzar Prince Qrrrl Toq, and Miraluka Shoaneb Culu, the latter three also part of the Republic strike team—joined the battle for Iziz. Although they had to take on hundreds of dark side adepts and war droids, the Jedi force slowly but surely pushed toward Ommin's lair, as they relied on their Force sense of Jeth's anguish to guide them. In the midst of the conflict, Qel-Droma witnessed his brother Cay's mechanical arm get chopped off and tried to help him, although his brother assured him he was fine and continued to press on. After their defeat of their Naddist attackers, Qel-Droma and the Jedi pushed deeper into Ommin's fortress and eventually reached the decrepit former King himself. When Qel-Droma questioned Ommin on the whereabouts of Jeth, the darksider responded with an attack on the Jedi force with the dark side. Qel-Droma was able to fight through the darkness with the help of the light side of the Force, and he found the strength to cut through Ommin's armature with his lightsaber. Without his exoskeleton to support his softened bones, Ommin collapsed in convulsions. Still, even as he writhed on the floor, Ommin refused to give any information on Jeth's location. Suddenly, the spirit of Freedon Nadd appeared at Ommin's side and ended the old darksider's life. Freed by Ommin's death, Jeth emerged and claimed victory for the Jedi; indeed, the Naddists had been defeated in Iziz. However, Nadd, as he disappeared from sight, replied that the Jedi had actually lost, a statement which confused Qel-Droma. With the Freedon Nadd Uprising ended, Qel-Droma and Jeth's other apprentices began a campaign to fully clear Onderon of dark side influence. Qel-Droma and the other Jedi on Onderon attended the long-awaited entombment of the recovered bodies of Amanoa and Freedon Nadd on the moon Dxun, and the dark side pall over the planet was finally lifted.
Rise of the Krath
- "You. You will be one of the great ones—"
- ―The spirit of Freedon Nadd foretells Ulic Qel-Droma's destiny
After the Freedon Nadd Uprising, Qel-Droma and his Jedi friends stayed on Onderon, finally at peace. During this rather carefree time, Qel-Droma and the other Jedi learned how to fly the Onderonian warbeasts, and he and Nomi Sunrider began to take a liking to one another. However, their happiness did not last, as Arca Jeth soon sent them on another mission. There had been a coup in the Empress Teta system, located in the Deep Core, where nobles Satal and Aleema Keto seized control of the system through use of Sith magic taught to them by the late King Ommin. Assigned to deal with this problem—Qel-Droma had been named Watchman of the Empress Teta system—Qel-Droma and his fellow Jedi were given their objectives. Specifically, Qel-Droma was paired up with Sunrider to fly to the Empress Teta system and directly lead the joint Jedi–Republic forces as they tried to save the Tetan worlds that were still resisting the coup. Qel-Droma was told to wait until Sunrider had completed a lesson in battle meditation with Jeth, so he stayed with his brother and Tott Doneeta as they watched some of the other Jedi depart for the planet Ossus. As they suspected that Freedon Nadd was at the heart of this uprising, the two Qel-Droma brothers decided to check out the Sith artifacts recovered from Ommin's possessions.
After they made their way into the Jedi outpost nearby, the Qel-Droma brothers commenced their examination of the artifacts, assisted by a droid called T-12. As Ulic looked around the storeroom, T-12 handed him an unusual Sith amulet. As Qel-Droma put his hands on the object, the spirit of Freedon Nadd suddenly appeared. Nadd warned Qel-Droma that the Sith would rise again and told him not to interfere with the work of the dark side. When Qel-Droma challenged Nadd on his assertions, the former Dark Lord told the Jedi that he would be one of the "great ones." Qel-Droma was confused by Nadd's prediction, and when he questioned the spirit on what he meant, Nadd did not clarify. With that, the dead Dark Lord disappeared and left Qel-Droma to ponder his words. After the incident, Qel-Droma and Sunrider traveled to the Empress Teta system to fight the Ketos and their dark side organization, the Krath. By one month later, they were aboard the Republic command ship Reliance I, where they worked with Republic Captain Orley Vanicus. Their goal was to protect the rebels on Koros Major, the last planet that still battled against the Krath's rule. However, Qel-Droma and the Reliance arrived in the Koros Major war zone too late to save the rebels from destruction.
Finding a Krath presence still at Koros Major, Qel-Droma instructed Vanicus to transmit a cease-fire order to the Ketos. However, they received no response; instead, a massive herd of space grazers, an extinct species that once preyed on space traffic, appeared above the Republic fleet. Although Qel-Droma feared that the creatures would destroy the fleet, Sunrider discerned through the Force that the grazers were mere dark side illusions. Undaunted, Qel-Droma commanded the Republic forces to move in and attack the Krath command station. As a counter, a large group of Chaos starfighters emerged from the command station and began a run on the fleet. Although Sunrider believed that these were illusory, some of the starfighters were actually real and carried out suicide runs into the Republic vessels. One of the Chaos fighters breached the Reliance's canopy, and Qel-Droma was hit and injured by a piece of debris. Although the shrapnel missed any of Qel-Droma's vital organs, he was incapacitated as a worried Sunrider tended to his wounds. Vanicus ordered a full retreat from Koros Major; the Krath had won the day.
The death of a mentor
- "I will do this for Master Arca… for all Jedi Knights… and for the good of the Republic! Ulic Qel-Droma will conquer the dark side of the Force!"
- ―Ulic Qel-Droma, after the Battle of Deneba
After the defeat at Koros Major, the Jedi Order realized the threat caused by the existence of the Krath, and called a Jedi Convocation at the Mid Rim planet Deneba. With the Krath's recent declaration of war against the Jedi Knights, the entire Order flocked to Mount Meru, a natural landmark on Deneba where the Jedi conclave was to be held. Despite being heavily bandaged due to the injuries sustained in the battle at Koros Major, Qel-Droma made the trip as well. While his wounds made it difficult to walk, Qel-Droma repeatedly refused offers of help and climbed up the mountain himself. As he walked with Sunrider, Qel-Droma soon met his brother Cay and Master Jeth during the trek up the mountain, and the group finished the trip together. During the convocation, venerable spokesman Odan-Urr called Qel-Droma and Sunrider up to the stage to speak about their first-hand experiences with the Krath. Although many of the Jedi in the audience wanted to respond to the Krath threat with overwhelming military force, Qel-Droma decided to present a different plan. The Jedi Knight postulated that thousands would die in an all-out war with the Krath, and while order could be restored in the Empress Teta system, the Krath would likely survive and the dark side would continue to spread throughout the galaxy. Qel-Droma proposed that one of the Jedi should join the Krath, learn their secrets, and then destroy the conspiracy before it could extend its reach any further. His idea was met with horror and disapproval from the gathered Jedi— specifically Dace Diath, Shoaneb Culu, and Jeth, who told Qel-Droma that the path of the dark side would inevitably lead to disaster.
Jeth promptly began to address the Jedi assembly on the evils of the dark side but stopped in mid-speech, as he heard a scream through the Force. Jeth instructed Qel-Droma to listen to the sound, which puzzled the Knight, who compared it to the sound of a man being eaten alive. While the convocation stopped to hear it as well, disaster struck. A Krath fleet arrived in the system and launched a barrage of life-pods which contained war droids, who attacked the gathered Jedi. At the same time, servant droids among the assembly unveiled hidden weapons and began their own assault on the Jedi. Qel-Droma quickly sprang to action, as he drew his lightsaber and battled the droid army. Although Qel-Droma was briefly threatened by a knife-wielding droid which slipped behind him and placed him in a chokehold, Jeth advised him on a way to escape, and the droid was destroyed. In the midst of the battle, Qel-Droma thanked Jeth for his help, as he believed that the Jedi Master saved his life. But as Qel-Droma expressed his gratitude, a previously-unseen war droid shot Jeth in the back. Qel-Droma—who blamed his own inattentiveness for Jeth's wound—cradled the mortally-injured Jedi Master in his arms as he died and passed on to the Netherworld of the Force. The Jedi successfully repelled the droid assault, but Qel-Droma could take no joy in the victory, as he grieved over the death of Jeth. Sunrider arrived at his side to comfort him—Qel-Droma confided that he blamed himself for Jeth's death and vowed to her that he would infiltrate the Krath, destroy it from within, and conquer the dark side. Qel-Droma also decided to take Jeth's Jedi robe, which the Jedi Master had left behind when his mortal body disappeared. Qel-Droma kept the garment as a memento of his teacher for at least one year.
- "I'm leaving at dawn, Cay. Don't try to follow me."
"Stang, Ulic… I… I'll never see you again. I just know it."
"Hey! Don't be stupid, kid! Everything will work out fine! We'll be joking about this together in a few months!"
- ―Ulic Qel-Droma and his brother Cay bid each other good-bye
With his mind made up, Qel-Droma soon began preparations for his mission to infiltrate the Krath. As he wanted to know everything he could about the people he would soon be forced to deal with, Qel-Droma, with Nomi Sunrider at his side, traveled to the Great Jedi Library on Ossus. There, he met with Neti Jedi Master Ood Bnar, who provided him with a complete history on the Empress Teta system. Qel-Droma expressed his belief that he would be a coward if he passed up an opportunity to battle the dark side, which piqued Bnar's interest. Bnar subsequently brought Qel-Droma to Odan-Urr, who was the Library's Keeper of Antiquities. Odan-Urr produced a rare Sith holocron, and used it to show Qel-Droma the story of a Jedi Knight who similarly tried to conquer the dark side from within, only to be seduced to the dark path and strike down his own master. Stunned by the images he saw, Qel-Droma lashed out at Bnar and Odan-Urr, and proclaimed that they would rather do nothing than try to defeat the dark side. As they realized that he would not be swayed, Bnar and Odan-Urr departed. Qel-Droma went to speak with his brother Cay on the Library's parapets, in what was to be their last meeting before Ulic's departure. Although Cay offered to go with him to Empress Teta, Ulic turned him down and said that he needed to fight the battle alone. Cay was still uncomfortable with the mission, due to his belief that he would never see Ulic again—however, Ulic waved off his concerns, and the two brothers embraced.
After a night of study, Qel-Droma prepared to depart for Empress Teta on the Kestrel Nova, a freighter recently captured in a battle with pirates near Taanab. By then, his plan was fully formed—he would disguise himself as a smuggler to enter the capital city of Cinnagar, then wait for a chance to get close to the Krath. Qel-Droma made the trip to the freighter with Sunrider, who wanted to help Qel-Droma in any way she could. Qel-Droma refused to let her follow him and reiterated what he said to his brother. With that, Qel-Droma and Sunrider parted ways with a goodbye kiss. Qel-Droma was able to make it to Empress Teta, but his arrival in Cinnagar did not go unnoticed, as both Satal and Aleema Keto were able to sense his presence in the city. The next day, Qel-Droma went to the city's central plaza, where the Ketos were holding a public execution for carbonite traders who were resisting Krath rule. As Qel-Droma watched the display, one trader, Farng, caught a knife thrown to him from the crowd and leaped at Aleema. Covered by a full-on revolt from allies in the audience, Farng made it to Aleema's platform. Qel-Droma knew that chance to win favor with the Krath had come and that his plan would be all for naught if the Krath leaders were killed, so he ignited his lightsaber, jumped into the fray, and killed Farng as he attempted to assassinate the dark side magician. Qel-Droma impressed Aleema with his skill and claimed to be a Jedi who had fallen from the way of the light—little did the Jedi Knight know, the cunning Aleema had planned the whole thing. As Satal Keto continued with the executions, Qel-Droma and Aleema withdrew to the Krath's Iron Citadel. Despite his actions, Qel-Droma was quickly drugged and incapacitated by his host.
Path of no return
- "—but I need to know more. I need more time. Tell them not to come looking for me. When I have learned everything I need to know about the dark side… I will return to Ossus. Please understand I must break the power of Keto and Aleema… they are responsible for the death of Master Arca."
- ―Ulic Qel-Droma, in a recorded message to Nomi Sunrider
The unconscious Qel-Droma was brought to the catacombs below the Iron Citadel, where he was restrained and left at the mercy of a torture droid. Although Qel-Droma repeatedly pled loyalty to the Krath, the torture droid continued to test Qel-Droma's commitment with electric shocks. Satal and Aleema Keto eventually paid him a visit, and Qel-Droma used the opportunity to assert his claim that he was a fallen Jedi who had come to Cinnagar to learn the ways of the dark side. Unconvinced, Satal Keto injected him with a Sith poison, which Keto claimed would kill Qel-Droma unless he could neutralize its effects with the Force. Qel-Droma, pulled out of his delirium by the poison, unleashed a massive outburst of Force energy that freed him from his bonds but rendered him unconscious. Qel-Droma soon recovered and set about to prove his sincerity to the Krath—one route he took was to update the obsolete weapons that the Krath had put to use in Cinnagar. During a presentation he gave to the Ketos and other assembled Krath personnel about their outdated defense turrets, Qel-Droma was informed that another Jedi, a female, had landed in Cinnagar and had been taken prisoner. Satal Keto, still skeptical of Qel-Droma's intentions, ordered the captured Knight to be brought in—to Qel-Droma's astonishment, it was Nomi Sunrider, who had come to Empress Teta in an attempt to rescue him. Keto revealed that Sunrider was to be executed the next day, and asked Qel-Droma to carry it out. Conflicted between protecting Sunrider and keeping up his facade, Qel-Droma announced that he would indeed perform the killing, while he privately hoped that Sunrider would find a way to escape.
Although Qel-Droma knew that he could not contact Sunrider through the Force without discovery by Satal Keto, Qel-Droma used a servant droid to carry a message to the imprisoned Jedi which explained his actions and expressed his need to break the Krath's power. During the act, Qel-Droma was visited by Aleema, who expressed her faith in him. As he realized Aleema's desire for him, Qel-Droma seized the opportunity to use that desire for his own gain, and the two embarked on an affair. Meanwhile, Satal Keto intercepted the servant droid and saw Qel-Droma's holographic message for Sunrider. Angered that Qel-Droma had double-crossed the Krath, Keto sent an assassin, Norgor, to kill the Jedi Knight. Norgor struck just hours before the appointed time for Sunrider's execution, while Qel-Droma was getting dressed after making love with Aleema Keto and preparing to visit the detention area to verify that Sunrider had escaped. As Norgor crashed through a nearby window, pistols blazing, Qel-Droma activated his lightsaber and swiftly struck the assassin down. Meanwhile, Sunrider was able to break free of her captors and make it to the gates of the Iron Citadel, as Cay Qel-Droma and Tott Doneeta rushed to her aid in the Nebulon Ranger. Krath forces were notified of Sunrider's escape and attacked the Jedi as Satal Keto watched from a balcony. Qel-Droma realized what was going on, and made his way to Keto's balcony and called out to his brother, while he proclaimed that Keto was the one who had killed Arca Jeth.
A wave of anger rushed over Qel-Droma, as he drew his lightsaber and engaged the Krath ruler in a duel. While he drowned in hatred, Qel-Droma dealt a mortal blow to Keto. The dying darksider taunted Qel-Droma, and said that his anger had activated the Sith poison injected in him. As Qel-Droma stood over Keto's lifeless body, he lashed out at the other Jedi with a wave of dark side energy that threw them to the ground. Still seething with anger, the once-heroic Jedi Knight swore that he would kill them if they didn't leave him alone, which prompted his brother, Sunrider, and Doneeta to flee in the Nebulon Ranger. As he watched his former brothers-in-arms leave Empress Teta, Qel-Droma realized what Freedon Nadd had told him on Onderon—that he was on a path of no return.
- "Let it be so, Qel-Droma… the ancient Sith have spoken. Together we will bring down the galaxy!"
"Yes. Let it be so."
- ―Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma
After the slaying of Satal Keto, Qel-Droma returned to within the Iron Citadel with his new flame, Aleema Keto. While Qel-Droma recuperated from various injuries, Aleema gave him a powerful Sith amulet which had originally belonged to Satal. As he and Keto discussed the Sith artifact and their relationship, they suddenly heard the sounds of a battle in the skies above. A Jedi strike force from Ossus that consisted of four starfighters and a larger transport appeared in the Tetan atmosphere and attacked the Iron Citadel, an act that prompted an aerial clash as the fortress's security team fought back with defensive laser fire. Startled, Qel-Droma looked on as Dace Diath, whom he had fought alongside during the Naddist revolt, destroyed Krath turrets just outside his window. In the midst of the chaos, the transport dropped several Onderonian warbeasts that broke into Qel-Droma's room—on their backs rode Nomi Sunrider, Cay, and another fellow Onderon veteran, Qrrrl Toq. As Toq and Cay went off to deal with the guards, Sunrider tried to convince Qel-Droma to leave Empress Teta with her, as she fended off Keto's dark illusions all the while. However, Qel-Droma refused to go with her and the other Jedi. Although Cay stepped in and pleaded with Ulic to reconsider, Ulic coldly shoved him away. Ulic asserted that he was not under the influence of the dark side, and would continue his mission in the name of Arca Jeth. His mind made up, Qel-Droma told his brother and Sunrider to leave him alone once and for all.
Undaunted, Cay and Sunrider continued their pleas. Ulic became filled with rage, and used the power of the Sith amulet to lash out at the Jedi. The scene became a mad scramble, as Toq tried to grab hold of the talisman while Cay attempted to restrain Ulic. Cay and Toq used the Force to hold Ulic back, but as they moved to strap him to the back of a warbeast, Sunrider ordered them to stop. Sunrider told the Jedi to leave Ulic in the Iron Citadel, as they had been told by the Jedi Masters that he would come with them on his own accord or not at all. Qel-Droma freed himself, and returned to Keto as the Jedi begrudgingly left him behind. As he watched Sunrider depart on her warbeast, Qel-Droma assured her that he would indeed finish his work on Empress Teta.
Qel-Droma did not have any time to rest, however, as another Jedi appeared in the room. His name was Exar Kun—Qel-Droma recognized him as a so-called Sith pretender mentioned to Keto by the spirit of Freedon Nadd. Although Keto attacked him with Sith magic, Kun easily defeated her. Qel-Droma drew his lightsaber and dueled Kun, but an unexpected development interrupted their showdown. Kun possessed a Sith amulet similar to the one Qel-Droma had, and as they battled, the two artifacts began to glow, and their auras enveloped the two combatants. The glows combined to form the image of a Dark Lord dead centuries ago, Marka Ragnos. The ghostly image of Ragnos told the duelers to stop, while Qel-Droma and Kun looked on in shock. Ragnos proclaimed that their dark initiation was to be completed, and dubbed Kun the new Dark Lord of the Sith. Qel-Droma was also deemed a Sith, as Kun's new apprentice. With a touch of the dead Dark Lord's hand, a distinctive Sith mark was placed on Qel-Droma's forehead. Ragnos told the new Sith that they would take their revenge on the Republic before disappearing. Now transformed, Qel-Droma and Kun clasped hands and resolved to bring down the galaxy.
The Sith War
Duel with the Mandalore
- "A glorious combat, Ulic Qel-Droma. I cede. My warriors are yours. Kill me."
"I am not interested in your death, Mandalore. I have a much better fate for you. A much better fate."
- ―Mandalore the Indomitable and Ulic Qel-Droma, after their duel
Over the next six months, the newly minted Sith Lord Qel-Droma and Kun prepared to bring about a new Golden Age of the Sith. During what would be dubbed the Great Sith War, Kun created the Dark Reaper, a large, saucer-shaped superweapon that fired massive bolts of Force lightning and was nearly impossible to defeat. To power the gigantic vehicle, the Sith created the Force Harvester, which would drain the Force from every living organism that came into close proximity with the Harvester, and built it into the center of the Dark Reaper. Key to Kun's plans for the destruction of the Republic one planet at a time, the Dark Reaper killed thousands during the war—in one battle on Raxus Prime, Qel-Droma used it to kill hundreds of Republic soldiers. During his service with the Sith, Qel-Droma learned how to counter the effects of the Force Harvester for a short time, which allowed him to approach the superweapon without harm. He also learned how to defeat the Dark Reaper through the destruction of its many weapon emplacements and then with the deactivation of the Force Harvester. As the conflict continued, Qel-Droma and Kun realized that they did not have a large enough army to win a head-to-head war with the Republic. The task fell upon Qel-Droma to gather such an army, while Kun set about to lure more dark side disciples.
A suitable army fell right into Qel-Droma's lap in 3996 BBY. The Mandalorian warrior clans, led by their chief Mandalore the Indomitable, arrived in the Empress Teta system—as he believed that the system was in chaos, the Mandalore intended to conquer the area. Qel-Droma's defense forces were taken completely by surprise, as the Mandalorians' Basilisk war droids destroyed an important Tetan carbonite smelter. As he commanded his forces from a Krath yacht, Qel-Droma, in a bold move, contacted the Mandalore and ordered the warlord to surrender. Although the Mandalore refused to capitulate, he countered with an offer to Qel-Droma—a duel to the death on the Plains of Harkul of the planet Kuar, and if Qel-Droma won, the Mandalorians would serve him. Qel-Droma accepted, and even allowed the Mandalore to name the terms of the fight once they reached Harkul. As such, Mandalore the Indomitable wrote the rules to greatly favor himself, as he did not permit Qel-Droma a mount or to stand on solid ground, while he was able to use his personal Basilisk war droid.
In front of a large audience that consisted mostly of warriors from both the Krath and Mandalorian armies, the duel began. Although Qel-Droma was severely disadvantaged, he was able to evade the Mandalore's laser fire, and destroyed the warlord's Basilisk with a stroke of his lightsaber. After that exchange, Qel-Droma and the Mandalore found themselves standing across from each other on a large chain. Mandalore the Indomitable told Qel-Droma to put away his lightsaber, and fight him with the traditional bladed weapon of Mandalorians past. Qel-Droma boldly claimed that he could defeat the Mandalore with any weapon, and briefly let his guard down as he turned off his lightsaber. Mandalore the Indomitable took the opportunity to swing his weapon at the Sith Lord—although Qel-Droma was able to dodge the attack, he lost his balance and fell from his tenuous foothold. Qel-Droma landed on a Mandalorian spectator's Basilisk, however, knocked the onlooker off his mount, and took his blade. Qel-Droma commandeered the Basilisk droid and flew toward the Mandalore at full speed; with one slash of his weapon, he drove the Mandalore off his perch and to a hard landing on the ground below. The injured Mandalore conceded the victory to Qel-Droma and asked him to give him an honorable death on the battlefield. However, Qel-Droma refused to take his life, and instead made the warlord his lieutenant as he seized control of the Mandalorian forces.
Striking at the heart
- "I don't come in the name of the Jedi… I come in the name of the future, a new golden age for the galaxy… a future based on the Sith, not the creaking old Republic."
- ―Ulic Qel-Droma, during the Battle of Coruscant
Now with a sizable Mandalorian army, Qel-Droma raided several Republic shipyards and supply bases. Eventually, he turned his attention to the Republic shipyards at Foerost, where the Republic supplied their navies with advanced warships. Qel-Droma gathered a force of attack ships to strike at Foerost, and used Aleema Keto's Sith illusions to conceal his approach. His combined Krath and Mandalorian forces utterly destroyed the Republic military presence at Foerost, as they worked together for an easy victory. After victory became assured, Qel-Droma personally visited the shipyards' command center. In front of a terrified band of shipyard employees, Qel-Droma demanded the operations codes for all the newly completed warships, and even killed one employee when he refused to cooperate. After he intimidated the workmen into giving him the codes, Qel-Droma was in charge of three hundred of the galaxy's newest warships. Qel-Droma promptly received a message from Exar Kun, who told his apprentice to continue to gather more ships. Instead, Qel-Droma announced his intention to strike at the Republic capital, Coruscant—as the Republic would expect more raids on shipyards and military outposts, Qel-Droma reasoned, an attack on the government's heart would be the correct move. Although Kun did not agree with Qel-Droma's plan, he knew that his apprentice would not be swayed, and he begrudgingly allowed Qel-Droma to attack Coruscant.
Before departing from Foerost, Qel-Droma took the time to leave a diversion to cover his assault on Coruscant. He planted a security recording that showed him discussing space station Kemplex IX as his next target; Orley Vanicus, dispatched to investigate the attack on Foerost, happened upon Qel-Droma's message and fell for the trap. Vanicus ordered the main Republic fleet to guard Kemplex IX, while Coruscant was left without vital defenses. Qel-Droma took this opportunity to attack Coruscant, backed by a large strike force of Mandalorians and Krath troops. Republic Minister of Defense Netus rallied a group of remaining Republic soldiers to defend the world, led by a group of Jedi including Cay Qel-Droma and Nomi Sunrider. Ulic's battle plan was primarily to occupy the Republic war room and crush their central military command. Qel-Droma initially stayed out of the brunt of the fighting, as he instead watched the advance teams wreak havoc on Coruscant alongside Aleema Keto and the Mandalore. At the Mandalore's behest, Qel-Droma sent a phalanx of Mandalorian troops to seize the Republic's new weapons manufactured near the war room. Meanwhile, backed by a team of Krath soldiers and Keto's Sith illusions, Qel-Droma joined the battle himself and pushed toward his enemy's command center. Qel-Droma and his allies utterly destroyed the Republic troops defending the war room and entered the structure itself.
Upon entrance into the war room, Qel-Droma found a surviving Republic official. Qel-Droma used the Force to control the man's mind and ordered him to tell each Republic admiral to deploy their squadrons to a single point in the Vento system, where they would all collide and destroy each other. Suddenly, however, Qel-Droma's forces retreated and left him and his personal guardsmen alone in the command center; unbeknownst to the Sith Lord, Aleema Keto had betrayed him and ordered the Mandalorians and Tetans to pull back, an act that abandoned him to approaching Jedi. Before Qel-Droma could achieve his goal of destroying the Republic Navy, a team of several Jedi, led by Cay and Nomi Sunrider, broke into the war room. Qel-Droma drew his lightsaber and readied himself for a fight, but the Krevaaki Jedi Master Vodo-Siosk Baas, Kun's former teacher, immobilized him with a Jedi power. The Republic's Supreme Chancellor Sidrona, who was present, declared Qel-Droma under the jurisdiction of the Galactic Republic, and proclaimed that the Sith Lord would face trial and a death sentence.
- "I don't plead with fools. You are puppets of tradition pretending to be important. The coming golden age has no place for you. Your Republic is an empty, self-indulgent delusion… signifying nothing. The lost glory of the Sith will turn all of your supposed accomplishments to dust!"
- ―Ulic Qel-Droma addresses the Senate
Qel-Droma's trial was to be held in front of the entire Galactic Senate—accordingly, Qel-Droma was kept in a small, dark cell within the Senate Rotunda itself. As the trial began, he was led out of his prison by several guards and faced an audience consisting of hundreds of Senators and Jedi, including his brother and Nomi Sunrider. The legal proceeding was presided by the Supreme Chancellor himself, who charged Qel-Droma with dozens of crimes including destructions of shipyards, raids on supply bases, and enslavement of mercenaries, but most seriously, breaking his oath of allegiance to the Republic. Still, Qel-Droma refused to repent for his actions and denounced the Chancellor as an ineffectual puppet. As the audience looked on in stunned silence, Qel-Droma proclaimed that the end of the Republic and the new Sith Golden Age were at hand. Mortified by his brother's actions, Cay stormed the Senate floor and pleaded for the Supreme Chancellor to remember Ulic's good deeds as a Jedi, and reasoned that Ulic was greatly disturbed and led astray by Master Jeth's death. As the Senate floor began to erupt in chaos, Ulic broke free of his restraints. At that point, Exar Kun, accompanied by the Mandalore and a massive force of Sith Massassi warriors, burst into the Senate Rotunda. As Kun attacked and killed the Supreme Chancellor, the freed Qel-Droma dared his brother and Sunrider to attack him—however, they could not bring themselves to do so.
As the Sith and the Jedi faced off, their attention was drawn to Vodo-Siosk Baas, who quietly entered the Senate Hall and confronted his former pupil, Kun. Qel-Droma and the entire Senate, who had been placed under a Sith spell, looked on as Kun offered Baas a place in his Sith Order. When Baas refused, Kun drew his lightsaber and initiated a duel. In the end, Baas was slain, and Qel-Droma left the Senate with his Sith Master. The two went to Kun's stronghold on Yavin 4, where Qel-Droma met with Mandalore the Indomitable to discuss the recent events. There, the Mandalore revealed that Aleema Keto had betrayed him. Infuriated, Qel-Droma resolved to deal with her, but did not let on his intentions during an encounter with her soon after. With the upper hand in the Great Sith War, the Sith planned their next strike, and Qel-Droma saw a way to put his plot to eliminate Keto into action. Qel-Droma informed Keto that she would lead the next attack—later, it was resolved that she would do so alongside the Cathar Dark Jedi Crado, who had recently returned from a failed attempt to kill Master Thon, Nomi Sunrider's former teacher. Qel-Droma decided that they would strike at Kemplex IX, an important way-station where they could lure much of the Republic fleet to its doom. Qel-Droma and Kun, aware and approving of his apprentice's plot, gave Keto and Crado command of the Corsair, an ancient warship with massive Sith power.
Although the Corsair was exceptionally powerful, Qel-Droma and Kun had no qualms giving control of it to the traitorous Keto, as its Sith power would backfire on her if all went according to plan. After she lured a squadron of Jedi starships to Kemplex IX with an attack on the station, Keto utilized the Corsair's magnifying power to tear out the core of one of the stars in the nearby Cron Cluster, and, wielding the radioactive core as a projectile weapon, wiped out the Jedi. However, as planned, the loss of the star's core caused a chain reaction that resulted in the entire Cron Cluster going nova. The Cron Supernova destroyed Keto and the Corsair, which finally rid Qel-Droma of his nuisance. In addition, the shockwave, which was heading directly toward the Great Jedi Library on Ossus, would surely cause the Jedi to evacuate the world. The Sith Lords knew that this would happen, and Qel-Droma and Kun promptly prepared to head for Ossus to steal the Jedi treasures located in the Library.
- "I know where to find him. I can take you there… to Yavin Four!"
- ―Ulic Qel-Droma, stripped of the Force
As a desperate evacuation commenced on Ossus, Qel-Droma and Kun descended upon the planet. Although the Mandalore and most of the Mandalorian warriors were in battle on Onderon, Qel-Droma carried a sizable group of Mandalorians along with him, while a Massassi force traveled with Kun. As soon as they entered Ossus's atmosphere, Qel-Droma launched the Mandalorians to create a diversion while the two Sith flew closer to the Library. However, Cay Qel-Droma, who was planetside assisting in the evacuation, sensed Ulic's presence through the Force and went up to meet him in the Nebulon Ranger. Although Cay, who joyously thought that Ulic had returned to the light, contacted his brother, Ulic—who was flying his own starship—told Cay to leave him alone. Cay still refused to go away and pursued Ulic through the Ossus skies, and targeted laser strikes on Ulic's engines as they both dodged airborne Mandalorian warmounts. However, Ulic was able to maneuver his ship behind the Nebulon Ranger, and shot his brother down. The Nebulon Ranger crashed, but Cay survived; meanwhile, Ulic landed safely nearby. As his wounded brother staggered out of the wreckage of Nebulon Ranger, Ulic, bleeding from an old Sith wound, ignited his lightsaber. Cay responded in turn, albeit reluctantly, and the two brothers dueled. Their battle brought them through the Ossus streets, and Ulic severed Cay's mechanical arm with a stroke of his lightsaber. Helpless, Cay tried to reason with his opponent, but Ulic would have none of it. Overcome by rage, Ulic raised his lightsaber and struck his brother down.
As Cay's life faded away, Ulic was overcome by remorse and sorrow. Ulic held his brother's corpse and wept—Nomi Sunrider and Tott Doneeta arrived on the scene almost immediately. Sunrider was shocked and horrified, and although Ulic begged for mercy, she stripped him of his connection through the Force by imprisoning him in a wall of light. Although Sunrider immediately regretted her action, Ulic Qel-Droma was left to deal with the fact that he was no longer a Jedi. Master Thon and Oss Wilum joined the party soon afterward, and though they understood Qel-Droma's guilt and grief, they prevailed upon him to help them stop Kun, who had absconded with a number of Jedi treasures. As he knew that Kun had returned to Yavin 4, Qel-Droma composed himself and offered to bring them to the moon. Qel-Droma and Doneeta carried Cay's body aboard Qel-Droma's ship, and alongside Sunrider and her daughter Vima, they traveled to Yavin 4 alongside a massive Jedi fleet. The Jedi force, thousands of ships strong, soon arrived at Yavin 4. Qel-Droma was the first to make contact with his former Sith Master, and declared that the Jedi were united against the dark side. As the gathered Jedi created a wall of light to engulf the moon, the jungle below suddenly erupted into a fiery inferno. The size of the conflagration was such that nothing living below could survive. Confident that Kun was defeated, the broken Qel-Droma left Yavin 4 with the other Jedi.
After his return to the side of the Jedi, Qel-Droma realized the danger that the Dark Reaper posed to the galaxy and taught the Jedi the secret of how to bring down the superweapon. Qel-Droma led a group of Jedi to the planet Thule, where they were able to successfully disable the Reaper. Following the battle, the Jedi detached the Force Harvester from the Reaper and hid the Harvester on the backwater world of Raxus Prime. The Jedi also buried the Reaper under the Thule city of Kessiak. Over the next two years, Qel-Droma wandered across the galaxy on an unfruitful quest to discover a way for him to become a Jedi again. In 3994 BBY, after a pilgrimage to his brother's gravesite in his newly renamed ship, Cay's Dream, Qel-Droma returned to the scorched moon of Yavin 4 determined to find out just what had happened on that fateful day. Qel-Droma journeyed across the destroyed forest, and eventually came to the Great Temple where Exar Kun had made his headquarters. However, still blind and deaf to the Force, Qel-Droma could feel nothing there, and left.
- "I am alone. This place is so quiet, empty… but still I have no peace. The Force has abandoned me… I can feel nothing."
- ―Ulic Qel-Droma
For the next eight years, Qel-Droma continued to wander the galaxy as he tried to hide from his past. Although guilty of war crimes during his period as a Sith Lord, Qel-Droma was never prosecuted for them and was left to his own devices. At some point over this time, Qel-Droma scratched out the Sith mark on his forehead. In 3986 BBY, Qel-Droma decided to isolate himself permanently from the galaxy and hired a spacer named Hoggon to take him to a place where he could live as a hermit for the rest of his days. With no knowledge of Qel-Droma's identity or connection to the moon, Hoggon first brought the former Jedi to Yavin 4, which had finally regained its green jungles. Hoggon landed the ship and showed Qel-Droma the great temples of Exar Kun, and informed his customer of the final battle of the Great Sith War over Yavin 4 and Ulic Qel-Droma's betrayal of the Dark Lord. As Qel-Droma walked through the Sith ruins, he saw a vision of that battle, including one of his dead brother Cay. Abruptly, he turned and told the diminutive Hoggon that Yavin 4 would not do as a hideaway. Instead, Hoggon took Qel-Droma to the icy world of Rhen Var. Still emerging from a recent ice age, Rhen Var was essentially uninhabited, although some artificial structures were still intact. Qel-Droma and Hoggon traveled to a large citadel, almost covered in snow, that still stood in the harsh Rhen Var landscape. Qel-Droma approved of the structure as suitable and sent the spacer on his way.
Although Qel-Droma, who had taken up residence on Rhen Var, was finally alone, he still could not find peace. He spent time practicing with his still-operational lightsaber, though he lamented the fact that he was still cut off from the Force and that his blade was now no more than a tool. As he took a walk in the snowy landscape beyond his new home, the ground underneath Qel-Droma's feet gave way, and he fell into a deep chasm. Qel-Droma was trapped there for some time. During his time in that pit, he reflected on his past, and deeply regretted his betrayal of his lover Nomi Sunrider and the death of his brother Cay. While he wallowed in grief, Qel-Droma wondered why he could not just die there on the spot, and be rid of his grief—at that point, the Force spirit of his Jedi Master, the long-dead Arca Jeth, appeared to Qel-Droma. Jeth told his former charge that he should not give up on life and that, although Qel-Droma may lack power in the Force, he still had his inner strength. Inspired and grateful, Qel-Droma summoned the power to dig his way out of the hole, and promised his Master that he would indeed live on; for what purpose, he did not know.
A newfound apprentice
- "Nomi doesn't know you're here, does she?"
"My mother doesn't notice whether I'm there or not. She doesn't know how badly I want to be a Jedi."
"Do you realize the cost of being a Jedi? I have watched my Master slain, murdered my own brother, betrayed your mother… all of this, only to become blinded to the Force. I no longer enjoy my memories, Vima. I have wandered too far, seen too much… I have the blood of enough children on my hands… why would you want anything I can teach you?"
"Because you're… Ulic."
- ―Ulic Qel-Droma and Vima Sunrider
On one of his first few days on Rhen Var, Qel-Droma was in the corridors of his fortress when, through a broken window, he saw a red-haired girl whom he briefly thought was Nomi Sunrider. Qel-Droma believed that he was going crazy; however, the girl called out to him and revealed herself to be Nomi Sunrider's daughter, Vima. The young Sunrider asked Qel-Droma to train her as a Jedi, but Qel-Droma refused, on account that he no longer had a connection to the Force. Although Sunrider fought him every step of the way, Qel-Droma did not budge, and he eventually threw her out of his hideaway and commanded her to return home. However, Sunrider, stuck in the middle of a blizzard, could not contact anyone for help. Qel-Droma took pity on his would-be apprentice and ventured out into the storm. Qel-Droma eventually found her, and relied on her Force sense to find them a shelter in the Rhen Var wilderness. The two talked while huddled around a light, and although Qel-Droma warned Sunrider of the cost of being a Jedi—drawing on his own experiences to do so—Sunrider still wanted to learn from him, even though he had no connection to the Force. Qel-Droma reluctantly agreed to teach her in the ways of the Force, to complete the training that Sunrider's mother had neglected.
Although Qel-Droma no longer had any Jedi powers, he taught Vima Sunrider everything he knew. Sunrider displayed tremendous dedication and progressed very quickly. Her dedication surprised Qel-Droma, who remarked that he had never seen such commitment in a student. After some time with Sunrider, Qel-Droma decided that it was time for her to build her first lightsaber—she did so successfully through the use of Adegan crystals that had belonged to her father, a Jedi Knight named Andur Sunrider. They promptly sparred for the first time, and although he could not feel the Force, Qel-Droma discovered that he still possessed his lightsaber skills. Afterward, as Sunrider continued to practice with her lightsaber, Qel-Droma abruptly told her that he could not teach her anymore, as he was no longer a Jedi. Qel-Droma compared his situation to a blinded painter, to which Sunrider replied that he should become a sculptor, to feel his way where he could no longer see. Exasperated by his pupil's logic, Qel-Droma agreed to try sculpturing, literally. The two found an ice-covered mountain and erected a large scaffolding from which to ply their craft. Qel-Droma and Sunrider both began their own works—while Sunrider used the Force to guide her, Qel-Droma used his own skill. Qel-Droma carved a sculpture of Master Arca Jeth into the mountain, while Sunrider created one of her father. They successfully made perfect likenesses of their respective subjects, and Qel-Droma felt that he had finally suitably honored his Jedi Master.
- "Of all the people to free me from my anger… it was you."
- ―Sylvar, to Ulic Qel-Droma
During one lightsaber training session with his young apprentice, Qel-Droma took the opportunity to teach Sunrider a lesson on the burdens of being a Jedi, including the life-and-death choices that were inherent with the title of Jedi Knight. Afterward, Qel-Droma and Sunrider returned to the fortress—as they walked through the door, however, Sunrider sensed that her mother Nomi was on her way to the citadel. Nomi promptly entered, and demanded that Vima return home with her. When Qel-Droma turned around, he and his former love were face-to-face for the first time in years. Although Vima resisted and defended Qel-Droma as a teacher, Qel-Droma recognized that it was Nomi's decision and left it up to her to determine what to do with her daughter. Albeit reluctantly, Nomi yielded to Vima's pleas and decided to give her a chance to show what she had learned from Qel-Droma. Vima took her mother to the sculptures of Arca Jeth and Andur Sunrider that Qel-Droma and her had made together, while Qel-Droma remained behind in his citadel. While alone, Qel-Droma silently thanked Jeth for convincing him that he should live, and although the past still weighed heavily upon him, Qel-Droma thought that he could perhaps find peace. However, at that point, Qel-Droma was called out to by Sylvar, a Cathar Jedi and the former mate of Crado, who desperately wanted revenge for her lover's death and had tracked Qel-Droma to Rhen Var. Although Qel-Droma asked Sylvar to let go of her anger as he had done his guilt, Sylvar still attacked him and engaged him in a lightsaber duel.
As the two battled, Qel-Droma refused to be the aggressor, and instead settled for blocking Sylvar's furious blows as he continued to ask her to move on from Crado's death. They dueled their way up to a narrow catwalk, and although Qel-Droma pleaded for Sylvar to bury her past, the Cathar responded that Qel-Droma had not been punished enough for what he did during the Sith War. Sylvar eventually backed Qel-Droma to the edge of a steep ledge, and as Qel-Droma faced death, he deactivated his lightsaber and refused to fight anymore. Although Sylvar, whom Qel-Droma had called a pawn to her own emotions, had a chance to finish Qel-Droma off, she too put away her weapon—Qel-Droma had freed her from her anger. Suddenly, however, a blaster bolt ripped through Qel-Droma's back. The shot was fired by the spacer Hoggon, whom Sylvar had enlisted to take her to Rhen Var, and who saw his chance to make history by killing who he saw as one of the greatest war criminals of all time. Although Hoggon was quickly sent on his way by Sylvar, Qel-Droma was fatally wounded. In his last moments, Qel-Droma asked Nomi Sunrider to forgive him—Sunrider told the dying Qel-Droma to rest easy, as she had already done so. He also gave Vima a necklace that he wore, and thanked her for helping him find peace as he called her a Jedi for the first time. With that, Ulic Qel-Droma passed away, in Nomi Sunrider's arms. Redeemed, Qel-Droma's body disappeared as was the way of Jedi Masters, and he moved to the Netherworld of the Force.
- "The knowledge you seek is very powerful, Anakin Skywalker, use it carefully, or it will lead you to the dark side."
"I am not afraid."
"You should be. I once thought I was impervious to the allure of the dark side. I was mistaken. Do not take the same path as I."
- ―Ulic Qel-Droma's spirit and Anakin Skywalker
Following Qel-Droma's death, a large mausoleum was built in his honor on Rhen Var, and his coffin was placed within the monument. A number of ghostly Spectral Guardians were stationed in the mausoleum's antechamber, tasked with defending Qel-Droma's remains. Qel-Droma's Force ghost took up residency in his tomb. Due to his major part in galactic history, Ulic Qel-Droma was remembered long after his death. In 3980 BBY, his former pupil Vima Sunrider recorded the story of his redemption onto the Great Holocron, the centerpiece of the Jedi Archives—Sunrider went on to become a full-fledged Jedi Master. Indeed, the Archives contained a wealth of information on Qel-Droma for centuries. Qel-Droma's story was taught to Jedi apprentices such as Zayne Carrick and Revan in the time after Qel-Droma's death. During the Republic's war with the Mandalorians several decades after Qel-Droma's time, Republic propaganda used Qel-Droma's defeat of Mandalore the Indomitable in single combat to try to demoralize Mandalorian warriors. Several centuries after Qel-Droma's death, when the Jedi Order and the Republic faced a new threat in the form of a resurgent Sith Empire, Jedi Master Gnost-Dural researched Qel-Droma, Kun, and the Great Sith War as part of a timeline of galactic history.
Over time, the knowledge of the locations of the Dark Reaper and the Force Harvester became forgotten, even among the Jedi. Millennia later in 22 BBY, during the Clone Wars between the Republic and Confederacy of Independent Systems, the Sith Lord and leader of the Separatist movement Count Dooku discovered the existence of the Dark Reaper. With the hopes of using the ancient Sith superweapon to destroy the Republic, Dooku had the Separatists capture Rhen Var and Qel-Droma's tomb from the Republic. Upon learning the Force Harvester's location on Raxus Prime from Qel-Droma's spirit, Dooku had the Harvester dug up, and began to charge it using a number of unsuspecting Republic targets. The Jedi, having learned of Dooku's use of the Force Harvester after it was featured in a battle on Alaris Prime, dispatched Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Padawan Anakin Skywalker, along with a large contingent of the Republic's clone army, to recapture Rhen Var and uncover where the Dark Reaper was hidden so that the Jedi could destroy it. Skywalker managed to fight past the Separatist forces stationed there, as well as Qel-Droma's Spectral Guardians, and eventually entered Qel-Droma's tomb. There, Skywalker met with Qel-Droma's spirit, asking the long-dead Jedi about where the Dark Reaper was located and how to destroy it. Qel-Droma told the Padawan of the Reaper's burial on Thule, about how to resist the effects of the Force Harvester, and about how to destroy the Reaper. However, Qel-Droma warned Skywalker that resisting the Force Harvester required much power and might draw Skywalker closer to the dark side. With Qel-Droma's knowledge, the Republic launched an assault on Thule as Dooku began to unearth the superweapon. As he piloted a TX-130 fighter tank, Skywalker single-handedly attacked the Reaper just as it became fully operational. Hearing Qel-Droma's voice as he fought, Skywalker managed to bypass the Reaper's defenses and destroy the Sith superweapon once and for all, finally finishing what Qel-Droma started thousands of years ago.Despite this victory, however, Anakin did indeed fall to the dark-side 3 years later just as Qel-Droma had warned, becoming the Sith Lord Darth Vader and once again brought about the near-destruction of the Jedi.
Millennia after his death on Rhen Var, Qel-Droma's story passed into legend, and his story became immortalized in a series of epic poems collectively known as the Qel-Droma Epics. The center of study of the Qel-Droma Epics was the Great Library of Cinnagar, which housed a museum dedicated to the stories, and many of the people of Empress Teta took the fanciful Epics as the literal history of the world. By the era of the Galactic Empire, the location of the Iron Citadel from which the Krath once ruled was lost, and some scholars of the Epics believed that Qel-Droma's lightsaber crystal could be found within the ancient structure. The Qel-Droma Epics also preserved many descriptions of the by then-lost Ossus before its destruction, and the spot where Qel-Droma slew his brother and was stripped of the Force became a powerful dark side Force vergence. In the year 10 ABY, New Republic member Leia Organa Solo came into possession of the Tedryn Holocron, an ancient device that had existed since Qel-Droma's time and had taught Exar Kun himself. Solo was worried about Luke Skywalker, her brother and a Jedi Knight who had tried to defeat the dark side from within like Qel-Droma had. The holocron's gatekeeper, a representation of long-dead Jedi Master Bodo Baas, told Solo the story of how Qel-Droma had tried the same by infiltrating the Krath, and how he fell to the dark side. The story stunned Solo, although she did not have enough time to hear the tale of Qel-Droma's redemption. One of Qel-Droma's descendants, a man by the name of Qaga Lok, took the name Sedriss QL and became a high-ranking Military Executor in the Galactic Empire, before his death at the hands of Ood Bnar—who had survived the shockwave of the Cron Supernova and lived for four thousand more years—in 10 ABY.
Thirty years later, Jedi historian Tionne Solusar wrote a compendium about the Force, which contained several mentions of Qel-Droma. Specifically, it contained several anecdotes and essays about Qel-Droma, including Vima Sunrider's account of his redemption and works by the likes of Arca Jeth, Vodo-Siosk Baas, and Jedi Master Tolaris Shim. Qel-Droma was also mentioned in Galactic Alliance archivist emeritus Voren Na'al's chronicle of galactic history.
Personality and traits
- "Your brother lets courage cloud his mind!"
- ―Tott Doneeta, to Cay Qel-Droma
In his younger days, Ulic Qel-Droma, a man of light skin, brown hair, and brown eyes, was pure of heart and purpose and completely uncorrupted. Although he came across to some as arrogant, those who were close to him could attest that he simply possessed unbounded confidence—even to the point of overconfidence. Qel-Droma was also very headstrong—he refused to back down from his position that infiltrating the Krath was the only way to deal with them—impulsive, and impressionable. According to his Jedi Master, Arca Jeth, he also let courage often cloud his mind. Qel-Droma lacked the ability to ignore the disdainful words of the Alderaanian nobles, which drove him to give his all in his academic and extracurricular pursuits. Easily frustrated when things did not go his way, Qel-Droma always threw himself completely into his efforts, and believed that he could do a better job than any of his peers. However, he was very fickle with his projects, as he quickly became bored with them and shifted his attention to something else. Qel-Droma contained a great amount of personal pride, and refused to study the Force in his early years because he didn't want to be seen as having to ride his mother's coat-tails to succeed. When he discovered his talent in the Force, he was delighted and gained an increased self-confidence. During his Jedi training, Qel-Droma displayed a tendency to act before thinking, and he piqued concerns from his mother, a Jedi Master in her own right, that he had missed the underlying purpose of the Jedi Order. Qel-Droma's upbringing outside the Jedi Temple led to his naiveté regarding the dark side, which would end up being his undoing.
Qel-Droma held a great deal of respect for his Master, Arca Jeth, and believed him to always be right. Due to this, Qel-Droma greatly desired to prove to his Master that he was a worthy and courageous Jedi Knight, and he was headstrong enough that he would not be dissuaded from pursuing this goal. Qel-Droma made it a point to follow Jeth's orders exactly, and when he failed to do so, he was very disappointed in himself. Devoted to his Master, Qel-Droma was willing to die to protect him. Despite his boundless confidence in himself, Qel-Droma valued his duty as a Jedi above his own life, to the point that he took on dozens of Beast Riders by himself so Tott Doneeta and his brother Cay could save Queen Amanoa and Princess Galia on Onderon. Qel-Droma had a deep bond with Cay and felt a duty to protect him, and even risked his life to retrieve him from the Iziz throne room during the Beast Wars. Qel-Droma had a very high view of the Jedi Order, and during his youth he did not think it possible for one to fall to the dark side. As he became more experienced, he began to realize the threat that the dark side posed—although he knew that the dark side was omnipresent in the galaxy, he did not lack the ability to push those facts out of his mind and be at leisure. Qel-Droma did not outgrow his naive underestimation of the power of the dark side, believing that he could resist its dark lure.
Always bold, Qel-Droma was not easily frightened, and he even had the courage to challenge the dark spirit of Freedon Nadd when the ghost revealed itself to him on Onderon. He was not without fear, however, as shown by his terrified reaction to the space grazers conjured by Aleema Keto during the first battle between the Republic and the Krath. During the Conclave on Deneba, Qel-Droma showed himself as a believer in his own self-reliance, as he repeatedly refused help while climbing up a mountain to the Jedi convocation despite heavy injuries suffered in battle at Empress Teta. Despite his pride and boldness, this Jedi Knight could not help but blame himself for Arca Jeth's death on Deneba, as he believed that if he had been more aware of his surroundings he could have protected his aged teacher. This resulted in a major hit to his self-confidence, as he began to think that he was not a true Jedi; it also resulted in a grim determination to succeed in his quest to infiltrate the Krath, in order to honor his Master. Always pragmatic, Qel-Droma developed contempt for Jedi who disagreed with his plan, and at one point called them "rank cowards" for not battling the dark side as he wanted to. He even became defiant toward venerable and respected Jedi Masters Odan-Urr and Ood Bnar, and saw them as complacent and not willing to destroy the dark side. Qel-Droma could be very inquisitive and enjoyed asking his friend Doneeta about Twi'lek culture.
- "Ulic is lost to us… I can feel it…"
- ―Nomi Sunrider, to Cay Qel-Droma, after their first failed rescue attempt on Empress Teta
After his encounter with the Krath, Qel-Droma changed completely; he became a powerful dark side warrior who led bloodthirsty and militaristic campaigns and spread death and disorder at a genocidal level. At first, he still considered himself a member of the Jedi Order, but he cast his abhorrence of the dark side aside to pursue his mission inside the Krath. Always committed to his goal, Qel-Droma was willing to do anything to keep his facade intact, even volunteering to execute his love, Nomi Sunrider. Although Qel-Droma still tried to adhere to the Jedi way while undercover, he was led astray by Aleema Keto and the Sith poison injected by Satal Keto. As Aleema undermined his determination with her seduction, the Sith poison multiplied and accentuated his rage, which drew him closer to the dark side. Qel-Droma became fiercely independent and directed his growing rage toward those who tried to help him. Eventually, that anger drove him to lash out at his brother and fellow Jedi, and although he was sorry for his violent actions toward them, he realized that he was on a path of no return to the dark side. Though he denounced them as weak and complacent when confronted by his former friends, Qel-Droma yet held them in regard as good Jedi, but he still took Aleema Keto and the Krath over Nomi Sunrider and the Jedi when presented with the choice.
After his fall to the dark side, Qel-Droma's characteristic confidence and boldness remained, but with a significantly harder edge. He became devoted to his newfound dark side powers, although he never renounced his title as Jedi Knight, even after his full entrance into the Sith. This new Ulic Qel-Droma had no problems ordering the deaths of innocent people or attacking and destroying unsuspecting Republic targets. On Kuar, Qel-Droma gained the Mandalorian warrior clans as an army, but showed respect to their leader whom he had defeated in combat, and eventually made him his most trusted lieutenant. Although he was in turn a subordinate of Exar Kun, Qel-Droma held little regard for Kun's plan of action for the war on the Republic, and willfully disobeyed it by directly attacking Coruscant. What he did hold in high regard were the Sith goals during the Great Sith War, as he believed that a Sith victory would lead to a new golden age in the galaxy and saw the Republic as ineffectual and outdated. Qel-Droma's feelings toward his former Jedi friends also changed. Though he still tried to avoid violence with them, he was much more hostile and would fight them if need be—he became capable of directing massive amounts of rage at them, so much so that he killed his brother Cay on Ossus. He developed a sort of disdain for them, seeing them as cowards who were trying to interfere with his work. The Jedi-turned-Sith grew ever more defiant, and even went so far as to denounce the Republic during his trial in the Galactic Senate and insult the Supreme Chancellor himself to his face. Qel-Droma showed himself to be quite cunning during the Sith War, as he helped to engineer the plot to both create the Cron Supernova and eliminate Crado and Aleema Keto.
A changed man
- "Cold… cold… my heart is like the ice around me. Why won't it just stop beating?"
- ―Ulic Qel-Droma, in the ice chasm
However, all of those traits were wiped away the moment that Qel-Droma struck his brother Cay down. Qel-Droma became a figure wracked by grief, for the death of his brother, the loss of his Jedi powers, the destruction of his relationships with his friends, and for his role in the Sith War—he no longer enjoyed his memories. For years, Qel-Droma struggled to come to terms with his past and the loss of his connection to the Force, and he became filled with a restlessness and lack of peace that drove him to wander the galaxy for a decade. Qel-Droma felt the need to run from his past, which drove him to isolate himself on Rhen Var and hope that the galaxy would forget his actions. Qel-Droma's mental state deteriorated on Rhen Var, as he still could not find peace; it grew worse in the ice chasm, where he was left to reflect on the worst parts of his past. At that darkest point, Qel-Droma wished that he would die, although he was convinced otherwise by the spirit of Arca Jeth. Even after all that had happened, the former Jedi still possessed considerable will and inner strength, which allowed him to escape the chasm even though he still questioned his purpose in life afterward. Ten years after his Master's death, Qel-Droma still revered Jeth and sought to find a suitable way to honor him, achieving this by carving his likeness into the side of an ice mountain with his lightsaber.
Although Qel-Droma was once noted for his confidence and faith in himself, he lost these with his Force powers—which led him to be somewhat hostile initially to Vima Sunrider, as he believed that she was crazy for thinking that he could teach her anything about the Force. Qel-Droma deeply desired to become a Jedi again, and while he and the young Sunrider got off on the wrong foot, Qel-Droma still showed a considerable amount of compassion for her by rescuing her from a dangerous snowstorm on her first day on Rhen Var. Qel-Droma saw much of Nomi Sunrider in his future apprentice, especially in her stubbornness. Qel-Droma was extremely impressed with Sunrider's progress as a Jedi student and thought she was better than he deserved. Qel-Droma believed that he could not teach her due to his lack of a Force connection, comparing his situation to a blinded painter, only to be convinced otherwise by his charge. Qel-Droma eventually took a shine to Vima Sunrider, and even forgave her for joking about his dark side past. Through his tutelage of the young Sunrider, the former Jedi was able to find a purpose in life, which helped him to finally put his past behind him, overcome his guilt and gain a semblance of peace. These changes to his psyche allowed him to bring the same serenity to Sylvar, who was also struggling to move on from her mate Crado's death. Although he was killed shortly after his duel with Sylvar, Qel-Droma was forgiven for his past actions by Nomi Sunrider, which allowed him to die at peace.
- "Ulic and Nomi Sunrider seem to be enjoying one another, Master Arca."
- ―Cay Qel-Droma
Ulic Qel-Droma first met Nomi Sunrider while observing the field of battle after the second major clash of the Freedon Nadd Uprising. Sunrider had been felled by a Force attack directed at her by King Ommin, and the sight of a beautiful young Jedi injured in battle affected Qel-Droma, who immediately went to help her recover. Although Sunrider was still groggy, Qel-Droma was able to rally her to fight alongside him during the siege of Iziz. Along with five other Knights, Qel-Droma and Sunrider battled their way together to Ommin's subterranean fortress. There, they battled and defeated Ommin side-by-side, and later attended the funeral of the Naddist leaders on Dxun. Over the next two years, Qel-Droma and Sunrider took a liking to one another, as they spent their time learning to fly Onderonian warbeasts together. In 3,997 BBY, the two Jedi were sent to battle the Krath in the Empress Teta system, and along with Captain Orley Vanicus, took command of the Republic warship Reliance. It was on the Reliance that they fought the Krath for the first time near Empress Teta, where Qel-Droma was grievously injured by a piece of shrapnel in the Republic's eye-opening defeat. The incident drove Sunrider to tears, and she ended up helping the Jedi Knight recover from his wound. After being nursed back to health, Qel-Droma attended the Conclave on Deneba with his friend Sunrider, and the pair addressed the assembled Jedi Knights on their experiences at Empress Teta.
Qel-Droma's revered Master, Arca Jeth, was killed in the battle following the Jedi convocation, and Sunrider was the first one to comfort Qel-Droma on the loss of his mentor. Although Sunrider did not necessarily approve of Qel-Droma's plan, she helped him prepare for his journey of infiltrating the Krath. By this time, a romantic attraction had developed between the two—as Sunrider escorted Qel-Droma to the ship that would take him to Empress Teta, the pair shared a passionate kiss. It wouldn't be long before they met again, when a worried Sunrider traveled to Cinnagar to establish contact with him. She was captured by the Krath, and while conflicted, Qel-Droma was forced to volunteer to execute her in order to stay undercover. He never intended to carry out the deed, as he believed that Sunrider would find a way to escape, which she promptly did. Qel-Droma struck down Satal Keto during the Krath leader's confrontation with Sunrider, Cay Qel-Droma, and Tott Doneeta, but with his Sith poison amplifying his rage, he lost control and attacked the three Jedi with the Force when they tried to convince him to leave the planet with them. Although Sunrider did not want to leave him behind, she and the other Jedi fled the planet in the Nebulon Ranger, and the two young lovers were separated again.
Sunrider refused to give up on Qel-Droma, but when she led a Jedi assault team on Cinnagar to retrieve him, Qel-Droma declined to go with her, as he preferred to stay on Empress Teta to finish his work. When pressed on the issue, a furious Qel-Droma lashed out at Sunrider and the other Jedi with a Sith amulet, and though Cay and several others were able to forcibly restrain Qel-Droma, Sunrider ordered them to leave him be. Qel-Droma was allowed to stay in Cinnagar with the Krath, but the violent exchange drove a wall between him and Sunrider. Qel-Droma and Sunrider next encountered one another under extremely different pretenses—Qel-Droma, now a fully-fledged Sith Lord, led an assault on Coruscant, but was left behind by Aleema Keto. Sunrider and several other Jedi stormed the Republic war room and took Qel-Droma prisoner. Qel-Droma was put on trial for his crimes against the Republic in the Galactic Senate, a proceeding which Sunrider went on to attend. Shocked by the things that Qel-Droma said during the trial, Sunrider stormed the Senate floor when Exar Kun arrived to break his apprentice out. Qel-Droma responded by threatening his former love with violence, and escaped with Kun. Although Qel-Droma had effectively destroyed any relationship with Sunrider, thoughts of Sunrider still troubled the Sith Lord, and he still had feelings for her.
Meanwhile, Qel-Droma fell deeper and deeper into the clutches of the dark side, and eventually went to Ossus with Kun to raid the Great Jedi Library's treasures ahead of the Cron Supernova shockwave. Sunrider was initially overjoyed, as she thought that Qel-Droma had returned to the Jedi side, but that all changed when she witnessed Qel-Droma strike his brother Cay down. Although Qel-Droma was overcome with guilt for his actions, Sunrider used a wall of light to strip her former love of his connection to the Force. Qel-Droma recovered enough to lead Sunrider and the Jedi to Kun's hideout on Yavin 4, but the two lost contact after the war as Qel-Droma wandered the galaxy. Sunrider went on to become a highly prominent Jedi Master, but neglected her daughter Vima's Jedi training, which led Vima to seek out Qel-Droma to train her in the Force. After Qel-Droma taught Vima for a time and bonded with his young apprentice, Nomi came to Qel-Droma's hideout on Rhen Var to retrieve her daughter. Qel-Droma and Nomi stood face-to-face for the first time in years and discussed Vima's future—although Vima was vehement in her desire to stay with Qel-Droma, the former Jedi Knight left the decision to Nomi. Qel-Droma's worth as a teacher was proven to Nomi when Vima showed her the ice sculptures that they had made together; while they went off together to look at the works, Qel-Droma engaged in his fateful duel with Sylvar. Qel-Droma was shot and killed by Hoggon as the two Sunriders arrived on the scene, and as he died, he was forgiven for his past actions by his former love. Qel-Droma died in Nomi Sunrider's arms, and shocked her when his body disappeared as he passed to the Netherworld of the Force.
- "I'm enjoying our contest, but I'm winning too easily, Ulic. Perhaps I want you to be stronger. Perhaps I'd like to be conquered."
- ―Aleema Keto, to Ulic Qel-Droma
Qel-Droma's first encounter with Aleema Keto came on Empress Teta in 3,997 BBY, during his mission to infiltrate the Krath. Posing as a fallen Jedi, Qel-Droma rescued the dark side sorceress from an assassination attempt, an action which caught Keto's eye. However, the cunning magician promptly drugged Qel-Droma and imprisoned him below the Iron Citadel, where the Jedi Knight was injected with Satal Keto's Sith poison and incapacitated. After that ordeal was over, Qel-Droma and Keto entered into a romantic relationship—Qel-Droma sensed the desire that Keto felt for him, and sought to use it, and her, as a means to conquer the dark side. On the other hand, Keto had seen through Qel-Droma's ruse all along and meant to use the Jedi Knight for her own purposes, and she worked to undermine Qel-Droma's determination and adherence to the Jedi way through their mutual attraction. Their relationship grew more serious, and Keto, who saw it as a "contest," one day gave Qel-Droma a powerful Sith amulet, and expressed her desire to be conquered. A Jedi team soon arrived to retrieve Qel-Droma, but he decided to stay in Cinnagar with Keto over leaving with his former friends. After Qel-Droma joined forces with Exar Kun as Kun's Sith apprentice, the now-former Jedi Knight allowed his new lover Keto to serve alongside him in the coming war with the Republic.
As the war began, Qel-Droma made Keto his top advisor and used Keto's powers of illusion to great effect during his raid on the Foerost shipyards. In an unexpected twist, Keto betrayed Qel-Droma during his assault on Coruscant, as she ordered his support forces to fall back and leave him to the Jedi. Qel-Droma escaped Republic custody, however, and when he returned into the arms of the Sith, he was informed by Mandalore the Indomitable that it was indeed Aleema Keto who had allowed him to be captured. It was then that Qel-Droma realized that Keto had manipulated him ever since they first met, and he resolved to eliminate her. He and Kun planned for Keto's death, which they soon brought about during the attack on Kemplex IX—it was only in her final moments that Keto realized her treachery had been discovered. Although Qel-Droma was rid of the person who had betrayed him, thoughts of Keto still weighed heavily upon him during the subsequent raid on Ossus.
Powers and abilities
- "I'm like an artist who's been blinded. I can no longer see to paint."
- ―Ulic Qel-Droma, reflecting on his powerless state
Although his training was neglected during his youth, Ulic Qel-Droma possessed a considerable natural talent in the Force. A voracious learner, the prodigal Qel-Droma easily and quickly mastered the basic techniques taught to him on Arkania by Master Arca Jeth. However, owing to his inexperience with the dark side, he lacked the ability to quickly sense its presence during years under Jeth's tutelage, and never learned to distinguish dark illusions from real life. Though he was a novice in terms of dealing with the dark side, he was adept in drawing upon the light in order to overcome dark attacks. He also possessed the ability to see through the Force, allowing him to handle himself in situations where his eyes were of no use to him. In battle, Qel-Droma was a formidable lightsaber wielder, specializing in the Djem So form. Through training with blocked vision, Qel-Droma became very skilled at anticipating his opponent's moves with the Force, although this sometimes failed when he allowed his courage to cloud his mind. He was very agile, which aided him in lightsaber combat, and highly accurate with his attacks; he also possessed lightning-fast reflexes. Qel-Droma proved his lightsaber skill during his defense of the Iziz Royal Palace, where he single-handedly battled dozens of Beast Riders at the same time, and even slew one of their war mounts. He was also a talented duelist in single combat, as shown by his defeat of Dark Jedi Warb Null even while oppressed by the pall of the dark side, as well as when he held his own against the powerful Exar Kun--at which point both men were masters of lightsaber combat. As a Sith he defeated Mandalore in a duel rigged for the mando, thus gaining the loyalty of the clans. Later he killed his brother in a duel, though he instantly regreted slaying his kin.
Qel-Droma fought well with a group, as he battled valiantly with a Jedi assault team during the Freedon Nadd Uprising and with a Sith one during his ill-fated attack on Coruscant in 3996 BBY. He was also a ferocious hand-to-hand fighter, able to best the mighty Mandalore even while highly disadvantaged. However, he was not infallible in combat, as he was very nearly defeated by a Krath war droid during the Battle of Deneba, only to be saved by Jeth. Adept in using mind tricks, Qel-Droma improved greatly during his later Jedi training in such Force powers according to his friend and fellow Arca Jeth apprentice, Tott Doneeta. He additionally possessed some knowledge of first aid and healing, as shown when he treated his brother Cay's wounds after he lost his arm in the Iziz Royal Palace. An able pilot, Qel-Droma was able to fly a ship through large groups of enemies without taking damage, and he was adept in one-on-one dogfights. He also possessed some skill in riding animals, as he once traveled through the Onderonian forests on a boma beast, and later learned how to fly on the war mounts favored by the Beast Rider clans. A capable negotiator, he was able to get the stubborn Kiras to agree to his plan to make peace with the Onderonian monarchy—however, he was not good enough to convince Queen Amanoa to reciprocate. Qel-Droma was multilingual, able to speak Galactic Basic, Twi'leki, Arkanian, and Sith.
During the first battle with the Krath near Empress Teta, Qel-Droma tried his hand at commanding a fleet, only to be met with defeat. He would be more successful during the Sith War, and led his forces to many successful raids on Republic targets. A confident public speaker, Qel-Droma was able to formulate complex plans of action, including those of his infiltration of the Krath and for the attack on Coruscant during the Sith War. He could be quite cunning, as evidenced by his distraction of the Republic fleet before his assault on Coruscant and by his betrayal of Aleema Keto. When he joined the Krath, Qel-Droma was injected with a Sith poison, which amplified his rage and granted him immense dark side power in the form of a Force scream that destoyed a small pillar of stone and the torture droid that tormented him, and later used this power to drive off Nomi, Cay, and Tott. He became capable of unleashing bursts of dark energy, which could blow his opponents off their feet. Qel-Droma could use Force stealth to hide his true thoughts or loyalties. On Empress Teta, Qel-Droma was given a Sith amulet by his new flame, Aleema Keto—he learned how to use the Sith treasure to attack enemies with blue-hued dark energy, and used it against his former Jedi friends in the Iron Citadel. By the time of the Sith War, Qel-Droma had begun to use the dark side with great skill, including such powers as Control Mind and Force choke. By drawing upon the dark side, he became even more quick and agile, able to dodge dozens of blaster bolts at the same time. Even with all this dark power, during his raid on the capital of the Republic Ulric's saber was torn from his hand with the Force and he was captured in a small wall of light, showing that his Force shield was not perfect.
After the death of his brother on Ossus, Qel-Droma was completely stripped of his connection to the Force when Nomi Sunrider punished him by destorying his connection to the Force by employing sever Force. Although he valiantly searched for a way to repair the loss of his Jedi powers, there was none to be found. However, his skill with a lightsaber remained, even without the Force to guide him—although he could not feel the Force, he could still feel the blade. Still a talented duelist, he was able to hold his own with Sylvar, an active Jedi, even without use of the Force. He also retained a great amount of strength, both inner and physical. It was during these days, with Vima Sunrider under his tutelage, that he proved to be an able, albeit reluctant, teacher. With Sunrider's help, Qel-Droma himself learned how to use his natural talent to accomplish feats like creating sculptures, without relying on the Force like he once had. Although he could no longer manipluate the Force in life, upon his death, his body disappeared like those of the Jedi Masters. He also gained the ability, after his death, to return to the mortal world as a Force ghost.
Qel-Droma wielded two lightsabers over the course of his life. The first was a single-bladed lightsaber with a green blade and a unique emitter made up of four spikes (similar to his brother Cay's). The second light saber was also a single-bladed lightsaber, however with a yellow blade, which stayed fully operational years after he lost his Jedi powers. In battle, he often wore a mesh suit, which he later cast aside after the end of the Great Sith War.
Behind the scenes
- "There's somewhat of a connection to Luke. As a matter of fact, Ulic is sort of an anagram of Luke. This guy ends up going totally over to the dark side. So the idea is, we take the young, idealistic hero, don't make him look like Skywalker, make him a different person, but the definite type—the impulsive, young warrior who's very sure of himself."
- ―Tom Veitch, to interviewer Ilene Rosenberg
The character of Ulic Qel-Droma first appeared in Ulic Qel-Droma and the Beast Wars of Onderon, the first story arc of the Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi comic book series, written by Tom Veitch and released in 1993. Although Beast Wars was Qel-Droma's first actual appearance, he was first mentioned in Veitch's endnotes for the Star Wars: Dark Empire series released earlier. Qel-Droma was the protagonist of much of the Tales of the Jedi comics. He was heavily featured in the subsequent arcs The Freedon Nadd Uprising, Dark Lords of the Sith, The Sith War, and Redemption, where his story was concluded and the character killed. Qel-Droma was also portrayed in the audio dramas of the earlier Tales of the Jedi arcs, and of Dark Lords of the Sith. During his appearances in the comics, he was illustrated by several different artists: Chris Gossett, Tony Akins, Art Wetherell, and Dario Carrasco, Jr.
In the Tales of the Jedi audio drama, Qel-Droma was voiced by David Scott Gordon, while he was portrayed by John Cygan in the Dark Lords of the Sith adaptation. Qel-Droma later appeared as a Force ghost in The Clone Wars video game in 2002, where he was voiced by Charles Dennis.
In various interviews, the authors who helped make Tales of the Jedi have revealed information about the origins and development of Ulic Qel-Droma. Tom Veitch has indicated that the Tales of the Jedi characters, including Qel-Droma, were created by him and his collaborators, before being approved by Lucasfilm. Veitch originally wrote a different conclusion to Qel-Droma's story than what ended up appearing in Tales of the Jedi: Redemption, preferring his ending to what appeared in the comics. Veitch, who wrote the Dark Empire endnotes in which the character was first mentioned, told interviewer Ilene Rosenberg in 1994 that the writers of Tales of the Jedi made Qel-Droma as a sort of mirror image of Star Wars movie hero Luke Skywalker. Chris Gossett, the penciller for several Tales of the Jedi arcs, revealed in a correspondence with the Star Wars fan site Wookieepedia that he was the one who originally designed Qel-Droma, along with many other characters and objects from the comic arcs—in fact, Qel-Droma was the first character that Gossett ever designed professionally. Kevin J. Anderson, a writer who worked alongside Veitch during the creation of Tales of the Jedi, divulged that Qel-Droma's ultimate fate was already decided before the Redemption arc was written and that his death was their decision.
There have been several continuity issues regarding the events of Ulic Qel-Droma's life. Many of these—mostly small changes in dialogue or in the sequence of events in the Beast Wars—come from differences between the story of the Tales of the Jedi comics and those of their various audio adaptations. In all cases where these two sources conflict, the comics are treated with superior canonicity in this article. More continuity differences arise from the comics and the earlier Dark Empire endnotes. For example, the endnotes state that Qel-Droma reached the rank of Jedi Master, although during the comic retelling of his life, he never became a Master. Once again, the comics are treated with superior canonicity in these particular situations. In The Clone Wars video game, a representation of Ulic Qel-Droma appears to Anakin Skywalker; there are several sources that differ on whether the form that appeared to Skywalker was Qel-Droma's Force ghost, or a simple hologram. While the Dark Reaper entry in The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia treats the apparition as a hologram, the Encyclopedia's Force Harvester entry and The New Essential Chronology say that it was indeed Qel-Droma's spirit. For the purposes of this article, the latter option is treated as correct.
Another major continuity issue is centered around the color of Ulic Qel-Droma's lightsaber. In various illustrations, Qel-Droma's lightsaber appears with no fewer than four different hues. Yellow and blue are the most common, alternately appearing in different Tales of the Jedi arcs and comics. However, the lightsaber has also been shown with a red blade and with a green blade on Tales of the Jedi covers. Additionally, the color of the weapon differs in several reference books, such as The New Essential Chronology and The New Essential Guide to Characters. For the purposes of this article, the color of Qel-Droma's blade was yellow.