Vaklu was an Onderonian general and commander-in-chief of Onderon's armed forces during the Mandalorian Wars, the Jedi Civil War, and the Dark Wars. During the Mandalorian Wars, Vaklu lead the resistance movement against the Mandalorian occupiers. He was loved by many, and decorated as a war hero. He gained much support from within the ranks of the military and from the populace of Onderon to seize control of the throne of Onderon from his cousin, Queen Talia. This coup d'état soon erupted into a full scale civil war. Leading the Onderon separatists, Vaklu assaulted the palace in an attempt to crush Talia once and for all. His gambit failed, and he was executed as a traitor to Onderon.
Early life and Mandalorian Wars
- "General Vaklu was an underground resistance leader against the Mandalorian occupation. He's a real hero!"
- ―An Onderonian soldier
The exact details of Vaklu's life before he entered the Onderonian military are scarce. It's a safe assumption that he was born on Onderon, and entered the military at a young age. Due to his courage and shrewd tactical mind, Vaklu soon worked his way through the ranks, and eventually rose to the rank of General.
At the start of the Mandalorian Wars, Vaklu was unable to help the Onderonian military, with its outdated tactics and equipment, prevent the Mandalorian legions, with their cutting-edge weaponry and years of fighting experience, from conquering Onderon. During the Mandalorian occupation, Vaklu was able to rally his people and lead the underground resistance movement, and greatly helped in driving the Mandalorians from Onderon, although the Mandalorians would later claim that Vaklu's triumph was due only to the Jedi and the Republic, and that their forces never gave ground to any Onderonian soldier.
After the victory against the Mandalorians, Vaklu was celebrated as a war hero and was made, due in no small part to his leadership during the resistance, the commander-in-chief of the planet's entire military. Vaklu was unable to show his skill during the Jedi Civil War, however, as Darth Revan seemed to purposefully avoid Onderon. Oddly enough, due to its diverse ecology, Onderon was necessary to seeding life on war-torn worlds, and had Revan invaded Onderon, the Onderonians might not have had their vital role in the post-war period.
Seizing control from Talia
- "Vaklu lies, and tries to take the heart of the people away from the good Queen."
- ―A Devaronian
After the war, Onderon began to export their ecology to the Telosian Restoration Project, a template for the restoration of all other war-ravaged planets, making Onderon a vital world. Noticing how much Onderon had given to the Republic in both the Mandalorian Wars and the post-Jedi Civil War, and how little Onderon had received in return, Vaklu became dissatisfied with the now-weakened Republic, and openly announced his desires for Onderon to secede from the Republic. In addition to being a skilled military leader, Vaklu was also a charismatic politician. This, along with his heroism during the Mandalorian Wars, allowed Vaklu's ideas to spread across Onderon and the galaxy to off-world Onderonian diplomats and businessmen. Hundreds of thousands rallied around Vaklu. However, Vaklu's cousin, Queen Talia, was a constant supporter in the Republic, and spoke against secession. Many of Vaklu's following dwindled, due to their loyalty to the queen.
Vaklu was then driven by his love of Onderon (and his own ambitions) to take the throne from Talia, to better serve the people and give Onderon the destiny he thought it deserved. Vaklu, determined as ever to see the secession of Onderon, constantly battled Talia over the support of the Council of Lords, officers within the military, and the Onderonian people. As political animosity escalated, riots became more common. Several attempts were made on Talia's life. Although Vaklu may not have been directly responsible for these attempts, it is certain that Vaklu's more radical supporters were responsible, believing themselves to be acting on Vaklu's behalf.
The Queen stepped up security around the palace, and neighboring quarters, placing loyal officers on the Sky Ramp and the Merchant Quarter. Vaklu spread propaganda to breed distrust in the Republic. Vaklu also used his powers as commander-in-chief to pass several edicts in an attempt to sever connections to the Republic. He used the Onderonian navy to blockade the planet, thus forcing Republic trading ships to be searched in order to "search for Republic treachery". However, this just made the Republic more irritated with Onderon, and also decreased the economic benefits of Onderon being a member of the Republic. Vaklu also spread rumors of Republic spies, and used the military to seize supposed "spies", who were really, in most cases, journalists who openly criticized Vaklu, or offworlders with close ties with the Republic. Talia, having very little military influence, was powerless to stop Vaklu. With the threat of assassination looming outside the palace, Talia was unable to speak publicly to her people. Simultaneously, Vaklu began a push in the Council of Lords to take diplomatic powers away from the Queen and give it to the Council, a veiled attempt to secede from the Republic. However, Talia still had considerable influence within the Council of Lords, and many viewed it unlikely that Vaklu's movement would receive a super majority vote.
During this time, an Iziz councilman loyal to the Queen believed that Vaklu was planning to kill Talia. During a council meeting, the man threw himself at Vaklu in an attempt to kill him. Vaklu survived the ill-planned encounter, and his soldiers killed the man during his arrest.
Vaklu—having cut off the Queen's diplomatic and economic ties to the Republic, taking control of the media to spread his propaganda and lies, and, having garnered a large following within the Council of Lords, had decreased her political powers on Onderon—was ready to focus on preparations for a coup. Vaklu was approached by a remnant of the Sith Empire lead by Darth Nihilus. Nihilus offered the use of his soldiers and fire power to overthrow the Queen, all in return for Vaklu allowing Nihilus to investigate the tomb of Freedon Nadd on Dxun, the largest moon of Onderon. Vaklu agreed, although he was suspicious of his new allies and secretly plotted their downfall.
The Jedi arrives
With all other facets of his plan complete, Vaklu began to initiate the final piece of his well constructed plan. Vaklu only had a part of the military to use for his overthrow of the Queen, since, although most of the military supported Vaklu's ideals, most were very loyal to the Queen. Even with a portion of the military and Sith allies, Vaklu still needed to draw support away from the palace, to make it vulnerable to assault, thus making his victory more likely. Vaklu used his more radical supporters like Anda and Ponlar to create riots and draw military strength and officers away from the Sky Ramp, the most direct route to the palace. However, Vaklu was faced with an unexpected problem. Vaklu's Sith allies warned him of a powerful exiled Jedi, that posed a great threat to his plans, one Vaklu had heard only rumors of: Meetra Surik, on business to Onderon, that at this point was unknown, even to the Sith.
The Sith recommended that Vaklu take out Surik's ship, the Ebon Hawk, upon its arrival at Onderon. Vaklu charged his right hand man and most loyal supporter, Colonel Tobin, with the task of dispatching the Hawk. Colonel Tobin failed however, and the Ebon Hawk was able to elude both destruction and capture. Tobin returned to Vaklu with the bad news, and dispatched a group of scouts to search for the Hawk's crew on Dxun. While disappointed with Tobin, Vaklu was able to make Tobin's failure work to his advantage. The attack on the Hawk had triggered a massive battle within the blockade. Onderonians feared that war was on their very doorstep. Vaklu used this fear to his advantage, saying that a capital-class Republic vessel had attacked Onderonian starships in attempt to break the blockade, even though the Hawk was only a small freighter. His control of the media assured that no other accurate reports of the battle were aired.
Playing on the concept of a Republic conspiracy, Vaklu stepped up his plans, seizing "spies" in larger quantities, and prohibiting anyone from leaving Onderon without a visa. Soon after, he ceased the distribution of visas, and stranded many who sought to leave Onderon before a civil war erupted. As the situation escalated, Vaklu was informed by Tobin that Surik was actually in Iziz, despite being vigorously hunted by Tobin's men. Vaklu suspected Surik was searching for a Jedi named Kavar, rumored to be an adviser of the Queen, possibly for revenge. Vaklu once again decided to play the situation to his advantage. Vaklu ordered Tobin to observe the Jedi and wait to ambush Kavar, and to detain the Exile during the ambush so that Tobin could propose an alliance in order to deal with the Sith, once the Queen was overthrown. Surik did not appear to be on a revenge trip however, and made it quite obvious that she supported the Queen, and even helped loyalist troops stop a separatist riot. Surik did meet with Kavar however, and Tobin was sent to deal with Surik and the Jedi Master.
Tobin had been lured away by Kavar during the ambush however, and was so unavailable to help his men kill Surik, thus allowing her to escape. Separatist-friendly soldiers and citizens were sent to prevent Surik from escaping, but all failed in doing so.
Civil War and Vaklu's downfall
- "You would destroy everything just for your ambition Vaklu! The Republic, Iziz, everything!"
"That is a gross simplification, Talia. Change is a painful process. A price must be paid, but Onderon will have a new destiny. One larger than you could imagine."
- ―Talia and Vaklu
With Surik gone, and Kavar back in the palace, Vaklu wasted no time in preventing Talia from undoing his schemes. He immediately initiated the final stage of his plan, and attacked the palace. While Vaklu attacked the main entrance of the palace, Sith-led forces attacked the Sky ramp, thus cutting the Queen off from reinforcements. They also worked on deactivating the palace's exterior turret defenses in order to gain air superiority. However, Surik soon returned, in dramatic style, by combat dropping into Iziz, by way of an old Mandalorian Basilisk war droid, instilling the fear of a Mandalorian invasion into Vaklu's troops. Surik was no great Mandalorian invasion, but she was enough to disrupt the Sith assault on the Sky Ramp, and led a contingent of Loyalist troops to clear the Sky Ramp and reach the palace.
By that time, Vaklu had already caught up with the Queen, and they engaged in a heated duel with vibroswords, while Tobin attempted to rejoin Vaklu by breaking through a nearly impervious force-field with a drexl larva. Tobin was able to seal Surik out of the outer chamber long enough for the drexyl to break the barrier. The Sith beast masters lost control of the drexyl, however, and Tobin was seemingly killed. Having defeated most of Vaklu's troops in the outer parts of the palace, Surik rallied the remaining Loyalist troops and attacked Vaklu's forces within the throne room. Vaklu, meanwhile, was unable to contend with Talia's youthful vigor, and was thrust into a stalemate. Tired and desperate, Vaklu ordered his men to gun Talia down. Surik was able to come to Talia's aid just in time, and Vaklu was captured. Vaklu, defeated and at Talia's mercy, declared that Talia's reign would not be easy, as her attachment to the Republic would destroy Onderon. He then taunted her by saying he would be free within a week by his supporters. But to Vaklu's horror, Talia intended to execute Vaklu on the spot. It was then that Surik pointed out that if Vaklu was executed, it would make him a martyr to his supporters; the captive General was nonetheless sentenced to death and executed by firing squad.
Despite Vaklu's beliefs, the Republic recovered and Talia brought peace and prosperity to Onderon.
Personality and traits
- "Vaklu has a shrewd mind, and is far more fit for command."
- ―Canderous Ordo
Vaklu was an incredibly shrewd man, supremely skilled in both political and military affairs; his ability as a tactician and strategist enabled Vaklu to ascend to the highest ranks as an army officer. Vaklu set high standards for those under his command and had a low tolerance for incompetence or failure. However, his favorite officer and right-hand man, Colonel Tobin, was often forgiven for his failures. Vaklu's ambition and controversial beliefs made him enemies, who he had no problem getting rid of. Journalists that criticized Vaklu tended to disappear, and any military officer that questioned him was relieved of command.
A consummate politician, Vaklu was very good at twisting the truth for his own personal gain, as evidenced by the attack on the Ebon Hawk, where he was able to turn a potential embarrassment into a political victory. Using Republic spies as scapegoats, Vaklu created fear and paranoia within Iziz, giving him an excuse to increase his power at the expense of the Queen. Brilliant, charismatic, and a decorated war veteran, Vaklu won admiration and support from many Onderonians, from common citizens on the streets of Iziz to members of the House of Lords. He was also popular within the Onderonian military, though not universally so- some servicemen disliked Vaklu for his clear insubordination towards Queen Talia and his efforts to subvert her authority.
Whatever his politics, Vaklu was also extremely loyal to Onderon. His nationalism pushed him to look past the benefits of Onderon being part of the Republic. All he saw was much of his homeworld's wealth being used to rebuild the Republic, and not how Onderon would suffer without Republic trade and protection.
Vaklu was a very imposing figure. He was quite tall and had a large mane of slick black hair. He always wore his military uniform, signifying his status and power. This uniform was composed of a blue tunic, supplemented by a blue pats, and tall black boots. Vaklu, as part of the royal family, took after his beast rider ancestors, giving him his gruff look, black hair and gray eyes.
Behind the scenes
Dark side alternate ending
- "I'm having men loyal to us take care of them now."
"Hmm...I think I have an idea. Hold that order Tobin, have her watched instead. The Jedi may prove to be a solution to another one of our persistent problems."
- ―Tobin and Vaklu, concerning Meetra Surik.
Meetra Surik, to Vaklu's delight, showed an excellent amount of support for him during her visit on Onderon, helping Anda dispose of loyalist officers in the Merchant Quarter, and aiding Ponlar in a riot, killing several loyalist soldiers. Vaklu was able to cover up Surik's part in this, and she was not apprehended. Surik met with Kavar in the local cantina, and Vaklu sent Colonel Tobin to capture Kavar. Kavar escaped the ambush, but Surik agreed to destroy the Sith's forces on Dxun, and then help take the palace. To maintain appearances, Tobin ordered his troops to attack Surik, in order to keep the Sith from becoming suspicious.
With Surik as an ally, Vaklu set to work on the final stage of his plan. He alerted troops loyal to him, and triggered a civil war. Vaklu attacked the main entrance of the palace, drawing off many of Talia's forces. With the Merchant Quarter weakened, thanks to Anda and Surik, Vaklu's forces were able to swiftly take the Sky Ramp. Soon, Surik arrived in a Mandalorian Basilisk war droid. Putting his suspicions of the depth of Surik's assets aside, Vaklu, along with Tobin, met with Surik. Surik informed Vaklu that she had sent a group of her companions to deal with the Sith on Dxun. She also agreed to finish taking the Sky Ramp in return for payment and Onderon's entire force-sensitive population. At first uneasy about this last clause, Vaklu agreed when Surik pointed out that the alternative was giving the planet's Force-sensitives to the Jedi. With that, Vaklu returned to his main offensive, and left Surik to deal with her appointed task.
When Vaklu breached the palace, he was separated from Tobin, and left to deal with the Queen by himself. Tobin, meanwhile, was left with breaking a massive force field to allow reinforcements to reach Vaklu. However, the Sith soon realized Vaklu's betrayal on Dxun, and the Sith turned on Tobin, locking him out of the throne room's antechamber; the Sith then worked on getting to Vaklu, by using a drexl larva to break through the barrier. However, Surik was able to deal with Sith and Loyalist forces within the palace's outer halls, and broke into the antechamber. The Sith lost control of the drexyl just as it had finished off the force field, and Tobin's men rushed to the throne room. Tobin, however, was seemingly killed by the drexyl larva.
Vaklu, meanwhile, had caught up with Talia, and engaged in a heated duel. Vaklu, although a skilled duelist, was unable to cope with Talia's youthful vigor, and was drawn into a stalemate. Vaklu, tired and desperate, ordered his men to attack Talia. By this time, Surik had killed the drexyl, and rallied Vaklu's forces, leading to the defeat of the Queen's forces. Surik, finally, dealt with Kavar, dueling and defeating him quickly. Surik then came to Vaklu's aid. Vaklu, realizing he had won, asked Surik if she would like to kill Talia herself. Surik preferred to watch, however, and Vaklu's men opened fire, ending Talia's reign.
In Surik's debt, Vaklu told Surik that if the Republic attempted to capture her for her actions during the civil war, Onderon would forever be a safe refuge. With that, Surik left to settle unresolved business. Vaklu later found that Tobin was missing from the field of casualties, but was unable to ascertain his fate.
Later, Telos IV was attacked by Darth Nihilus and his fleet. In order to deal a fatal blow to his former allies, gain favor with the Republic (most likely to ease the transition between Talia's reign and his own), and to help Surik, who was also on Telos, Vaklu sent a large contingent of his troops to help turn the tide of battle, while he set to work ending the civil war. His troops did indeed turn the tide, and Vaklu's troops won the day.
According to a prediction made by Darth Traya, Vaklu's reign would be short lived, but Onderon would leave the Republic permanently.
If you take the path of the light, you will fight for the Queen and, at the end, the Queen (or you) will order Vaklu's execution. You can, however, request that the Queen arrest him instead.. Originally, the option of siding with Vaklu was also available to light-side players, with Surik telling Kavar that she believes Onderon would be better off standing on its own. The player would still have had to fight Kavar in this situation, however.
In gameplay mechanics, Vaklu was not considered dark-sided, despite his usurpation and alliance with the Sith. The use of Force sight shows that his alignment is neutral (Talia and Kavar are the only ones who register as light-sided).
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (First appearance)
- Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: Prima Official Game Guide
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Atlas
- Galaxy at War