- "This is Haazen, calling all Covenant acolytes—both Knights and Shadows. Command word—Vindication!"
Vindication was a codeword that initiated an insurrection by the covert Jedi Covenant organization against the Jedi Order, orchestrated by the ersatz leader of the Covenant, failed Jedi apprentice-turned-Sith acolyte Haazen.
For years, Sith acolyte Haazen manipulated his pupil Lucien Draay in order to realize his true goal, to unite the light side and dark side of the Force by creating an army of Jedi Covenanters, led by Draay whom he would manipulate into taking up the mantle of a Sith. Putting to use the many Covenanters, Haazen gave the command to 'save' the Jedi Order, supposedly infiltrated by the Sith, by severing the council's connections to the galaxy and defending the Draay Estate on Coruscant. However, while the Covenanters believed that they were destroying the Jedi Order in order to save it, Haazen was initiating his plan. Shortly after beginning the operation Haazen revealed his devotion to the dark side to Zayne Carrick and he had hoped to put to use Carrick's special relationship with the Force.
As Lucien's mother and Covenant leader Krynda died in her son's arms during Haazen's revelation, the steward provided Lucien with a Sith lightsaber, and allowed him to exact revenge on the one whom he felt was responsible for the tragedies befallen him—Zayne Carrick. Forced to defend himself against the grief-stricken Jedi Master, Carrick ignited his own weapon, and fought for his life.
Fire raged in the Draay Estate as Lucien Draay relentlessly pursued his former student, all while Carrick professed his innocence for that which he was being blamed. Draay was severely wounded when the statue of his father crushed him. Carrick appeared to slay him, and professed his allegiance to the Sith acolyte. However, the former Padawan unexpectedly attacked the Sith defector, slicing off his arm which bore the Gauntlet of Kressh the Younger, thus eliminating the influence of the artifact that afforded Haazen protection from unwanted harm. Carrick then fled the scene with Marn Hierogryph and Draay, revealing himself to be alive, told his former master that he had fallen into a trap—one of Draay's and Carrick's design. Haazen could only watch in horror as Draay retrieved the Kressh Gauntlet, which also housed the means by which Haazen controlled the orbiting Republic fleet, and activated the orbital bombardment planned by his steward. Haazen met his demise in the turbolaser fire that rained from above, and while Draay was seriously wounded, he survived the assault which destroyed both his steward and his ancestral family home in their entirety.
Following the death and destruction of the Great Sith War, a legendary Jedi Consular, Krynda Draay created a secret organization known as the Jedi Covenant which would consist of Jedi dedicated to one purpose: preventing the return of the Sith. One of the Covenanters and foremost aide to Krynda was her late husband, Barrison's best friend, Haazen. Haazen, unlike Barrison, had survived the previous war despite losing three of his limbs after secretly betraying him to Exar Kun and his Sith Empire. His duties included training Barrison and Krynda's son, Lucien and coordinating Covenant efforts behind the scenes. However, Haazen eventually developed his own agenda. He rejected both the way of the Jedi and the Sith, and wished to be even greater than both sects. To accomplish this, he planned to unite the two traditional enemies into an army that served only him. He used his high position within the Jedi Covenant to recruit the Jedi half of his army, while he planned to turn the younger Draay to the dark side to train the Sith half.
In 3964 BBY the Covenant was nearly exposed when the organization's foremost group of seers predicted the rise of the Sith among their own Padawans. In response they murdered their learners. By a stroke of luck one of the Padawans, Zayne Carrick, escaped and remained a fugitive for months, all the while gathering evidence that would prove his innocence to the Republic and the Jedi. In the year 3963 BBY, two of the First WatchCircle seers, Raana Tey and Feln met their ends while chasing Carrick, although he was not directly responsible for their deaths. During a mission to Feln's home planet Odryn, Carrick came across information linking the Covenant to a cache of Sith artifacts that had been hidden from the Jedi High Council. Carrick returned to Coruscant to present his proof to the Council, but was captured by First WatchCircle seer Xamar. However, Xamar had been having doubts over the true intent of the Padawan massacre, so instead of taking him to the Covenant's headquarters in the Draay Estate, he brought him before members of the Jedi High Council in order to bargain for favorable terms.
Xamar testified to High Councilors Vrook Lamar and Vandar Tokare about the true workings of the Jedi Covenant. Xamar agreed to help engineer the Covenant's downfall, as long as immunity would be granted to Covenant leader Krynda Draay, whom he believed played a minor role in its operation. The Jedi formulated a plan which involved Xamar and Carrick infiltrating the Draay Estate. The Khil Master escorted Carrick and his associate, Marn Hierogryph, into the estate to meet with Krynda, while Carrick bore a fabricated version of the Muur Talisman Sith amulet and contact lenses to make it appear as if he had gone to the dark side of the Force. Xamar would then demand audience with Krynda at which time he would be examined by the leader. From there, Carrick and Hierogryph would create a distraction while Xamar took Krynda outside the Estate's gate; en route, he would disable the estate's security measures and a large number of Jedi, led by Vrook Lamar, would storm the building and apprehend the Covenant's leaders. If anything went wrong, Carrick's lightsaber was hidden in the false amulet. However the plan went awry when Haazen forbid the two from approaching Krynda, claiming she was busy. He suspected Carrick's deception and snatched the false talisman from his neck. Xamar was able to use this distraction to let the Jedi assault team in. As soon as the Jedi launched their assault, Haazen initiated Operation Vindication and used the attack on the Draay Estate to launch his own retaliatory strike.
- "Pull all Jedi back from the objective, now! These explosions…the Republic fleet is firing on us!"
- ―Vrook Lamar
Haazen pressed a button on his mechanical hand which linked to the Vanjervalis Chain that kept the ships of Admiral Saul Karath's fleet slaved together. Because Haazen had directed the Draay Trust to buy Vanjervalis Systems he was able to build a direct line to himself, allowing him to hack the chain. This action allowed him to take control of Karath's fleet and bombard the assault team; killing Jedi and Covenanter alike, including Xamar, whose death by friendly fire completed his part in the Rogue Moon Prophecy. Simultaneously Haazen issued orders to other Covenanters to infiltrate the High Council Tower and smuggle out Sith artifacts. Haazen then revealed his blood red lightsaber and Sith amulets to Draay and Carrick, finally showing his allegiance to the dark side.
As Haazen advanced outside to view the destruction, Draay explained Haazen's background to Carrick and remarked on the darksider's similarity to his ex-Padawan, particularly their failed training. At the same time, Vrook Lamar, faced with the Republic fleet's unyielding fire, ordered the assault team's retreat. Draay then lit his lightsaber and attempted to strike his former master down. However, Haazen revealed that his mechanical hand was none other than an ancient Sith artifact, the Gauntlet of Kressh the Younger. The artifact gave the Sith acolyte the ability to prevent others from touching him unless he wished them to. Haazen unleashed the gauntlet's dark power upon Draay, knocking him away and electrocuting him when he attempted to kill the Sith with his lightsaber. Draay immediately blamed Carrick for not striking down the Sith acolyte when he had the chance. As the two bickered, a squad of Padawans tried to stop Haazen as well only to be killed by his Force lightning and lightsaber. Haazen told the two that they were part of the Prophecy of the Five with Draay being "for the darkness" and Carrick "for the light". Haazen then gave Draay his red lightsaber and tempted him to join his side and become the master of his Sith army. When Carrick attempted to find Krynda, Lucien blocked his ex-Padawan from reaching his mother, and goaded Carrick into unleashing a powerful Force push.
Death of a visionary
At the same time, Hierogryph, under Carrick's orders, had followed the remaining Covenanter Q'Anilia to Krynda's chambers The Snivvian found the Covenanter, who had murdered the room's guards, mourning over her former master, who lay in a stasis pod where she had been placed by Haazen following a stroke as she envisioned the Padawan Massacre of Taris, preventing her from stopping the killings. Q'Anilia, believing her former master to be dead, was overcome by grief and poisoned herself. As she lay dying, she exclaimed that Carrick's vision about the downfall of the First WatchCircle had come true, but Hierogryph revealed that it was a trick thought up by him to keep the Masters looking over their shoulders. Hierogryph recognized that the stasis pod that Krynda lay in was identical to the oubliette that Celeste Morne had placed herself in. He realized that Krynda was still alive and brought the dying woman down to Lucien who immediately sent him crashing into a wall. Krynda demanded to know whether Lucien had killed the Padawans, which he admitted to, claiming that her teachings had influenced him to act preemptively against any Sith threat. With her last words, Krynda explained to her son that her past teachings were wrong and that he had to "face the future with humility". Upon her subsequent passing, Lucien grew enraged when Hierogryph let it slip that she was alive until he had moved her. Fearing a sudden attack Carrick told Hierogryph to run while he held his former master off once again. The climactic confrontation between the two had finally arrived.
- Carrick: "We didn't want this, Lucien. We came here to save Krynda! She wanted to save you—from yourself!."
- Draay: "I…I can't change my future."
- Carrick: "You can't change your past! Look at what Haazen wants for you!"
- ―Zayne Carrick and Lucien Draay, as they duel[src]
Despite his struggles with the Force as a Padawan and the fact that he was dueling a member of the Jedi High Council, Carrick was able to match Draay strike for strike. As they dueled, Carrick pleaded with Draay to stop fighting and help stop Haazen. Draay, in his grief, said that it was too late for him to escape the dark side, and continued to fight. Carrick angrily retorted that Draay was, and would forever, remain a tool that others could manipulate for their own ends; a statement that left his former Master taken aback. In the meantime, Hierogryph ran out onto the estate's balcony, calling for help. A sudden Force push knocked him off the balcony and into the courtyard where Haazen stood, viewing the destruction. Lucien Draay then burst outside and jumped down towards the fallen con artist. Carrick intercepted him in mid-air and knocked his former Master away. The two dueled before the statue of Draay's father, until the Jedi Master's momentum caused his lightsaber to hit his father's statue, which was already unstable due to damage by the orbital bombardment. Draay quickly forgot Carrick as he rushed towards the statue to keep it from falling. However, it toppled onto Draay pinning him beneath it. Carrick, to Hierogryph's horror, used the opportunity to stab the helpless Jedi Master where he lay.
Haazen, impressed with this dark act, offered Padawan the chance to become his apprentice. Carrick reluctantly agreed, only on the condition Haazen would stop bombarding Coruscant. The Dark Jedi agreed to this, claiming he only needed the fleet to attack one more target; the Jedi Temple. As he knelt before Haazen, Carrick said that he was having a vision of the future. As Haazen drew closer to hear this new prophecy, Carrick grabbed his mechanical arm and said Haazen was not in it. In a quick strike, he sliced the mechanical arm off with his lightsaber, denying Haazen the protection of the Gauntlet as well as control of the fleet. An enraged Haazen blasted Carrick with Force lightning but before harm could be done, the former Jedi and Hierogryph were suddenly thrown far away from the burning estate. As Haazen stood flabbergasted by the sudden turn in events, Draay stood up, revealing that he had saved the two. Declaring to Haazen that the whole duel had been a ruse to get him off his guard, Draay used the control mechanism built into Haazen's severed arm to redirect the Republic fleet's fire at the Estate. The resulting explosion killed Haazen, and Draay was thought dead as well.
Unbeknownst to Republic officials and the Jedi High Council, Draay did survive the bombardment thanks to his control of the Gauntlet which shielded him from the worst of the blasts. Despite the Gauntlet, he was badly injured, burning his hands and arms and losing his eyesight. Because of the pain he felt, he would later reflect that he felt himself drawing close to the dark side, specifically close to becoming a Lord of Pain. However he began to think about his father's long journey to become a Jedi, and how he had achieved the impossible by doing so despite his age and high rank in society. Draay drew on this knowledge of his father to resist the lure of the dark side and break away from what Haazen had felt to be his destiny. After leaving the ruins of his family estate, the former Jedi Master was able to journey to a hidden redoubt he had secretly purchased with Draay trust funds. There he met with a handful of Jedi to constitute a new Covenant that would not use an aggressive approach to fight the dark side, but rather surviving the upcoming dark times. Draay finally admitted to himself that at last he could see his future.
The Republic officially covered up the events of Vindication and blamed the attack on Mandalorian terrorists, with agreement from the Jedi to conceal the true events. However, Carrick was officially exonerated for the deaths of his fellow Padawans and the bounties on him were stripped. Due to his part in stopping Haazen, the Jedi Council offered the former Padawan the opportunity to come back to the Order as a Jedi Knight. Carrick declined, remembering how the Jedi didn't stick by him when he needed them, and deciding that he owed Hierogryph for the assistance he gave him and became his partner.
Behind the scenes
Vindication was conceived and written by John Jackson Miller and illustrated by Brian Ching and Michael Atiyeh for the thirty second through thirty fifth issues of Knights of the Old Republic comic series. Miller used this event to kill off the character of Haazen and bring an end to the Jedi Covenant. It was also used to wrap up the story of Lucien Draay and send Zayne Carrick towards new adventures.
Although the cover of Knights of the Old Republic 35 depicts Marn Hierogryph fighting Lucien Draay, the two don't actually engage each other in battle during the course of the issue.
The scene in which Lucien Draay and Zayne Carrick clash sabers before Marn Hierogryph almost mirrors the scene in Return of the Jedi where Darth Vader blocks Luke Skywalker's attack upon the Emperor. However this scene is almost in direct contrast as a lightsider is protecting an obviously innocent from a darksider while the intended victim pleads for the combatants to put away their lightsabers. In Return of the Jedi, a darksider is defending a villain from a lightsider, and the intended victim clearly wants the duel to take place.
Zayne Carrick lost his yellow bladed lightsaber for good in the battle. However the Council would later give him a new lightsaber after Haazen's failed insurrection, this one with a blue blade.
To fool the reader (and Haazen) into thinking Lucien Draay had been crushed by the statue, the artists moved around the clouds of dust to conceal the amount of space underneath the rubble.
- Knights of the Old Republic 5 (First appearance) (Vision to Xamar and Q'Anilia)
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: Vindication
- Knights of the Old Republic 49 (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (Codex entry) (Indirect mention only)
- The Clone Wars: Defenders of the Lost Temple (On carving)
Notes and references
- Knights of the Old Republic 30
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: Vindication
- Knights of the Old Republic 38
- Knights of the Old Republic 32
- Knights of the Old Republic 34
- Knights of the Old Republic 35
- Knights of the Old Republic 33
- Knights of the Old Republic 1, page 20
- Knights of the Old Republic 24
- Knights of the Old Republic 31
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi