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Exar Kun, an ancient Dark Lord of the Sith

Exar Kun, Dark Lord of the Sith is a fictional character in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. His first appearance was in Kevin J. Anderson's Jedi Academy trilogy.

Errant JediEdit

Exar Kun had tremendous power in the Force (the ground "trembled with his footsteps," as a character in Knights of the Old Republic remarks), but was extremely arrogant, an unbecoming and dangerous quality in a Jedi but perfect for the future Dark Lord of the Sith. The temptation of power overwhelmed Kun when he briefly viewed a rare and forbidden Sith holocron, which belonged to his Master, Vodo-Siosk Baas. Master Baas was greatly displeased upon learning of his pupil's meddling; the knowledge of the dark side was dangerous in the hands of such an unpredictable mind. Indeed, it was becoming apparent to Baas that Kun's pride and ambition were beginning to consume him; Kun was convinced that he could master the dark side while remaining uncorrupted and go on to teach the Jedi Order his new discoveries. Baas tried to save his pupil, warning him to heed only Baas' lessons and to avoid the snares of the dark side, but his pupil disregarded his instructions. After defeating his master in combat, Kun followed his curiosity and traveled to the war-torn planet of Onderon. There, he learned of a tomb that housed the mortal remains of an ancient Sith Lord, Freedon Nadd; the Jedi had sealed it in Mandalorian iron and sequestered it in a remote section of the demon-moon Dxun. These barriers were insufficient to deter the young Jedi, however, and he made his way to the dark glade. There, the spirit of the long-deceased Sith Lord appeared to Kun, and, using the young Jedi's curiosity and ambition to his advantage, the ancient Sith instructed Kun to continue his quest to the infamous Sith tomb-world of Korriban. Kun agreed wholeheartedly, quickening his plunge to the dark side.

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Exar Kun duels with Master Vodo-Siosk Baas

On Korriban, Kun delved deep into the mausoleums that encrusted its surface. The spirit of Freedon Nadd, and those of the other Sith Lords, decided to test the wayward Jedi. Unable to use the Force to aid himself, Kun soon found himself trapped under a large pile of rocks after a deliberately engineered cave-in. The ghostly Sith offered Exar Kun the only means of escape: the complete embrace of the dark side. His pride and ambition overwhelming him, Kun refused to accept death, calling upon his rage and hatred to fuel the dark side within, temporarily escaping his fate. He emerged from the hallowed tombs of Korriban a corrupted shadow of his former self and well on his way down the path to mastery of the dark side of the Force.

Dark Lord of the SithEdit

Before fully embracing the dark side, Exar Kun was directed to the jungle moon of Yavin IV, one of the few remaining Sith outposts; even after Freedon Nadd ransacked the treasures deposited there by Naga Sadow, there was much to attract Kun. There he encountered the primitive remnants of the experiment of the Sith Lord Naga Sadow, the fearsome Massassi race. Denied the powers of the light, but at the same time refusing to entirely accept the dark side, Kun was easily captured by these natives. As Kun, on the verge of death, was being crushed by a giant creature of alchemical origins, Freedon Nadd proceeded to interrupt another of his student's predicaments. In what would be Kun's final moments before being totally corrupted by the dark side, Nadd instructed his pupil that his only escape was to once again tap into the darkness within him. Taking the Sith amulet being displayed at his Massassi sacrifice in hand, Kun embraced its dark nature with absolute conviction. Transformed into an agent of darkness, he broke free from his captors, slaughtering them without hesitation. While Nadd was pleased by Kun's newfound strength, the Dark Jedi became fed up with the ancient Sith's tests and meddling. He then destroyed Freedon Nadd, who cursed him as he died and warned his other proteges of Kun's actions.

Enveloped in the dark side, Kun elevated himself to the stature of a god. He enslaved the Massassi and forced them to construct an intricate complex of massive temples that were used in arcane Sith ceremonies and rites as focuses for the dark side. Fascinated with Sith teachings of alchemy and magic, and now outfitted with the necessary equipment, Kun was able to create terrifying creatures twisted by the dark side's influence, the Terentatek, while conquering the fourth moon of Yavin.

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Kun opens a Sith holocron on Ossus

Kun's ambitions would not let him be satisfied with the rule of a single jungle moon, however absolute and despotic that rule might be. He refurbished the millennium-old Sith Battleship that Naga Sadow had buried on Yavin, and began searching for other dark side users (who might pose a threat to his status as Dark Lord of the Sith). He found them in the Krath cult of the Empress Teta System, led by Aleema Keto and the fallen Jedi Ulic Qel-Droma, who Kun perceived as the only one who was strong enough to challenge him. In a fierce duel between the two fallen Jedi on the Tetan world Cinnagar, both amulets that each combatant was wearing suddenly sprang to life. Through the flow of Sith energies unleashed by the combatants, the amulets displayed a vision of a once glorious Sith Empire that had existed a thousand years in the past. A group of ancient Sith spirits, the most powerful one of Marka Ragnos, declared both Kun and Qel-Droma the leaders of the new Sith Empire (much as he had during a similar conflict between Naga Sadow and Ludo Kressh). Exar, the more powerful of the two, was appointed the Dark Lord of the Sith, with Ulic as his apprentice. With this resolution of the leadership dispute, The Great Sith War had begun.

The War was planned with two prongs, to strike against the two foes: Kun traveled to the Jedi fastness of Ossus, where with the aid of a Sith holocron, he corrupted the most promising young Jedi Knights and Padawans. These were dispatched to slay their masters, many of those Jedi Masters, incalculably weakening the Jedi Order and sowing fear throughout the galaxy. Ulic Qel-Droma was to attack the Republic directly; however, he was initially stalled by a sudden and unexpected attack by the Mandalorians upon the Empress Teta system. Upon defeating their leader, Mandalore, in an unusual duel, Qel-Droma was able to secure the loyalty of the technologically-advanced Mandalorian warriors.

Qel-Droma, with his combined Mandalorian/Tetan fleets, would attack outlying Republic installations in an attempt to draw the Republic Navy away from the galactic core. Having accomplished this with his successful attack on Foerost, and the planting of disinformation regarding his next target, he felt confident enough to assault Coruscant itself and release unbridled devastation across the galaxy. Around this time, Kun also used his newfound knowledge and power to devise the first known double-bladed lightsaber.

The assault on Coruscant went brilliantly at first; the planetary defenses were minimal and what fleets the Republic had at its disposal were too far away to be of any help; the Old Republic had not known true war for centuries. The Mandalorians and Tetans, with their foes distracted by massive illusions cast by Aleema, and led by Qel-Droma, swept through their enemy like a scythe. But when Ulic was confronted by a group of Jedi (among whom was Nomi Sunrider), and was bested, Aleema betrayed Qel-Droma out of fear and jealousy, ordering a retreat despite the objections of Mandalore, who had become fiercely loyal to Qel-Droma.

After learning of Qel-Droma's capture and pending treason trial on Coruscant, Kun intervened and immobilised the entire council that presided over Qel-Droma's case with Sith Magic, only his old master Baas was able to resist his spell. He offered Baas a place at his side. He refused and they fought. Kun proved too powerful and struck his old master down on the floor of the Old Republic Senate chamber. This murder opened the eyes of all around him who had not already seen his descent into the dark side.

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Exar Kun in his last throes

Under him, the Sith were able to push the Jedi back as they were forced to abandon many of their strongholds. In his studies, Kun had discovered the secrets of the crystals aboard Sadow's flagship. Where Sadow had caused a binary star system to nova to cover his escape, Kun had the vision to use this extraordinary ability as an offensive weapon against Ossus, which was a few light-days from a cluster of red giant stars then known as the Cron Cluster. Kun would sweep down during the inevitable hasty evacuation and cherry-pick the best of the Jedi artifacts and tomes. The Sith Battleship was dispatched with Aleema aboard (with the connivance of Qel-Droma, who had been informed by Mandalore of Aleema's treachery). Aleema was not told that detonating five red giants ensured that they would supernova, and ensure her death in addition to that of the Jedi fleet defending Ossus which was to pursue her. The scheme worked almost exactly as planned.

During the stripping of Ossus, Ulic encountered his brother Cay Qel-Droma, who attacked him. Ulic defended himself all too well, killing his own brother. This murder broke the hold of the dark side and the Sith toxins, redeeming him. In horror, Nomi Sunrider stripped him of the Force. The fallen Jedi whom Kun took under his teachings recanted his foray into the dark side after being cut off from the Force. A broken man, Qel-Droma then led the Republic to Kun's temples on Yavin IV. On the jungle moon, Kun sensed he would not survive the Republic's coming attack. Thus, he drew upon the riskiest sections of Sith alchemy and drained the life-force of the entire Massassi race, binding his spirit to the temples they had built for him. He remained largely dormant and was even forgotten as the centuries passed.

RewakeningEdit

Nearly four thousand years later, some of these temples were used by the Rebel Alliance as a base of operations, as depicted in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. These temples went on to become the site of Luke Skywalker's Jedi Praxeum, a school where he began the re-creation of the Jedi Order. Exar Kun's presence was felt again only after Luke established his Praxeum. As a spirit, Kun appeared to the young Jedi Gantoris. The inexperienced apprentice was unable to avoid being corrupted and was eventually killed by the spectral Kun. After destroying his first Jedi in thousands of years, Kun's insatiable appetite for spreading his dark wrath escalated. He was able to successfully corrupt and partly possess the extraordinarily talented and young Kyp Durron.

In addition, he somehow sundered Luke Skywalker's spirit from his own body, resulting in great confusion and dismay amongst Luke's then-few Jedi apprentices. As depicted in the novels Dark Apprentice and Champions of the Force, Kun's spirit was eventually rousted from hiding and destroyed by the combined efforts of the Jedi apprentices, Luke's spirit, and the long-dead spirit of Kun's slain master, Vodo-Siosk Baas. Soon thanks to the determination of Luke's new Jedi, he was able to return to his body.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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