Know your lore: Exar Kun

Exar Kun was a Human male Dark Lord of the Sith under the tutelage of Freedon Nadd. Kun displayed an unusual curiosity into forbidden teachings during his time as a Jedi Padawan, so much so that upon completion of his training, he abandoned his Master and set out in pursuit of the knowledge and power of the ancient Sith. His quest led him initially to the planet Onderon and then its jungle moon, Dxun, where he invaded the tomb of a long-deceased Dark Lord of the Sith named Freedon Nadd—and, in doing so, awakened his spirit. Seduced by Nadd with the promise of power through acceptance of the dark side of the Force, Kun allowed himself to become Nadd’s apprentice. As Kun rapidly progressed in the sorcerous ways of the Sith, Nadd directed him to Yavin 4, where Kun acquired even greater Sith powers. He then destroyed Nadd’s spirit, and set out on his own quest for galactic domination.

Kun was aware of several of Nadd’s other prospects, and saw them as hindrances to his ascension to the mantle of Dark Lord. Thus, he journeyed to the Empress Teta system to eliminate the Krath Sith cult, the other darksiders under Nadd’s instruction. After a brief confrontation with Krath warlord Ulic Qel-Droma, Kun and his opponent were visited by the ghost of the ancient Dark Lord Marka Ragnos—who completed their initiation into the ways of the dark side and christened Kun the new Dark Lord, with Qel-Droma as his first apprentice. Kun then partnered with Qel-Droma’s Krath to form the infamous Brotherhood of the Sith, and together, they waged total war upon both the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order which protected it.

After traveling to Ossus and killing Odan-Urr, the Jedi Keeper of Antiquities, Exar Kun stole an ancient Sith holocron in the Draethos Master’s possession and used it to corrupt many Jedi Knights to his cause, forming the foundations of a Sith-inspired galactic empire. He then ordered his converts to strike down their Masters in an attempt to destabilize the Jedi Order’s leadership; Kun himself would confront his own former Master, Vodo-Siosk Baas, on Coruscant during the trial of Ulic Qel-Droma, where he slew both the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic and Master Baas. Kun then set Qel-Droma free, and the two Lords of the Sith resumed their campaign of galactic terror. After instigating the destruction of the Cron star cluster, Exar Kun led his forces in a raid on the Jedi’s stronghold world of Ossus, where he pillaged as much of the ancient lore of the Jedi as possible. He then retreated to his temple on the moon of Yavin 4, but was unaware that Ulic Qel-Droma had betrayed him to the Jedi, and had also led them to Yavin to stage a final offensive against him. Using an ancient Sith technique that even he did not understand, Kun separated his spirit from his body in an attempt to elude capture.

However, he was defeated when Nomi Sunrider led thousands of Jedi in the creation of a Wall of Light; the power of which destroyed the landscape of Yavin 4, and trapped the Dark Lord’s spirit within the walls of his temple forever.

Thousands of years later, Exar Kun’s spirit returned to wreak havoc on the students of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker’s praxeum on Yavin 4. After haunting several of the trainees, Kun’s spirit subtly corrupted one of them, Gantoris, to the dark side of the Force, but killed Gantoris when he tried to reject the Dark Lord’s influence. He also took Master Skywalker’s soul from his body, but was ultimately defeated by the combined power of Luke’s students.

Exar Kun was a rash and talented youth; qualities that resulted in considerable arrogance, a dangerous trait for a Jedi. During his training, he frequently dueled with and defeated his fellow Padawans, Sylvar and Crado, with barely controlled rage. The temptations of power overwhelmed Kun when he briefly viewed his Master’s holocron.

Master Vodo-Siosk 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 supreme pride and ambition was beginning to consume him; Kun was convinced that he could learn to master the dark side, learning its powers and techniques while remaining uncorrupted, and return to teach the Jedi Order his new discoveries.

Baas tried to save his pupil, warning him to heed his lessons and to turn away from the allure of the dark side, but his pupil disregarded his instructions. Abandoning his master, Kun declared himself a Jedi Knight. Kun then followed his curiosity and traveled to the war-torn planet of Onderon. There, he learned of a tomb captured by the Jedi at the end of the Naddist Uprising that housed the remains of an ancient Sith Lord, Freedon Nadd. The Jedi had sealed it shut with Mandalorian iron and secreted it in a remote section of the moon Dxun. However these barriers were insufficient to stop the young Jedi. Kun made his way to the dark glade.

here, the spirit of the long-deceased Sith Lord appeared to Kun and, using the young Jedi’s curiosity and ambition to his advantage, Nadd instructed Kun to continue his quest to the infamous Sith tomb-world of Korriban. Kun agreed, plunging himself further into the depths of the dark side.

On Korriban, Kun traveled deep into the mausoleums of the Sith. The spirit of Freedon Nadd, and other deceased Sith Lords, decided to test the young and curious Jedi. Unable to use the Force to aid himself, Kun was soon trapped under a large pile of rocks after a deliberately engineered cave-in. The ghostly Sith offered Exar Kun his only means of escape: to completely embrace the power 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.

Dark Lord of the Sith
Before fully embracing the dark side, Exar Kun was directed to the jungle moon of Yavin 4, 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 Sadow, the fearsome Massassi race. Denying 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 in hand the Sith amulet being displayed at the Massassi sacrifice, 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 new-found strength, the Dark Jedi became fed up with the ancient Sith’s tests and meddling. At that instant, Freedon Nadd’s presence in the galaxy was vanquished by the amulet his protégé now held.

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 while conquering the fourth moon of Yavin Prime.

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 4, 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 and Satal Keto, which had enlisted the Mandalorians, and a band of Jedi they had seduced to the dark side and converted into Sith. With them, he began a war against the Jedi Order and the Old Republic.

One of the Krath’s fallen Jedi was Ulic Qel-Droma, who Kun perceived as the only Force-sensitive tainted by the Sith that was strong enough to challenge him. In a fierce duel between the two fallen Jedi on the Tetan world Empress Teta, 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, led by Marka Ragnos, declared both Kun and Qel-Droma the leaders of the new Sith Empire. Exar, the more powerful of the two, was appointed the Dark Lord of the Sith, with Ulic as his Sith apprentice, and both were anointed with unknown Sith symbols on their foreheads. With this resolution of the leadership dispute, the Great Sith War had brutally begun.

Enemy of the Republic
Kun’s initial strike was two-pronged: he traveled to the Jedi stronghold of Ossus, killing Odan-Urr, and with the aid of the Dark Holocron, corrupted the most promising young Jedi Knights and Padawans. They were then dispatched to slay their masters, gravely weakening the Jedi Order and sowing fear throughout the galaxy. At this time, Kun also used his new-found knowledge and power to devise the first known double-bladed lightsaber. Ulic Qel-Droma, with his combined Mandalorian/Tetan fleets, would assault Coruscant itself, against the orders of his master. The attack was unsuccessful as Kun had predicted, and Ulic was captured and put on trial before the Galactic Senate.

After learning of Qel-Droma’s capture and pending trial on Coruscant, Kun went to the Senate Building where he encountered his former master, Vodo-Siosk Baas. Using his new lightsaber, Kun engaged the Krevaaki Jedi in a duel. Master Vodo held his own for much of the contest, but Kun gained the upper hand when he unveiled his new double-ended lightsaber. Kun then slew his former Master with minimal effort. Ulic and Exar then proceeded to slaughter all the members of the Senate, including the Supreme Chancellor.

Around this time, Exar Kun discovered the secrets of the crystals aboard Sadow’s Yavin 4 flagship. Where Sadow had caused a binary star system to go 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 giants. Kun would sweep down during the inevitable hasty evacuation and cherry-pick the best of the Jedi artifacts and tomes. His plan was even more subtle than this however—the Sith battleship was dispatched with Aleema aboard (with the connivance of Ulic, 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 pursuing her.

During the stripping of Ossus, Ulic encountered his brother Cay Qel-Droma, who attacked him. Ulic defended himself all too well, slaying his 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 Exar 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 4.

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 with his alchemical apparatus and drained the life-force of almost the entire Massassi race, transcending his own mortal body which was destroyed in the process along with the rest of the surface of Yavin 4. However, Nomi Sunrider realized somehow what Kun was attempting and caused the Jedi to erect a ‘Wall of Light’ with the Force around the moon, keeping Exar Kun’s spirit from fleeing the planet and instead chaining him there for all eternity. He remained largely dormant inside a massive, black obsidian tomb, and was even forgotten as the centuries passed and he grew bitter. Not even his former apprentice Ulic Qel-Droma could sense Kun’s spirit within the ancient ruin when he visited some time later, and so it would remain for millennia.

Nearly four thousand years later, some of these temples were used by the Rebel Alliance as a base of operations. As knowledge of the existence of temples on Yavin 4 became known, in 1 ABY, Professor Walter Emanus led a University of Corellia archaeological expedition. However, during their excavations, they uncovered the catacombs beneath the Dark Lord’s temple and reawakened his spirit. He possessed them and made them into the Cult of Exar Kun, which was devoted to his worship. Under his influence, some of the cultists traveled to the Corellia University research outpost on Talus to recruit more students and researchers to their ranks. The cult based itself around the catacombs, but was destroyed, when Professor Cornelius Wagglehorn, a former colleague of Emanus, hired a group of spacers to drive them out. Exar Kun himself battled the spacers, but due to his spirit form, was easily defeated and silenced once more.

These temples went on to become the site of Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Praxeum in 11 ABY, 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 apprentice Gantoris. The inexperienced apprentice was unable to avoid being corrupted and, when he started to resist, Kun killed him, burned from inside. 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 young and extraordinarily talented Kyp Durron.
In addition, he somehow sundered Luke Skywalker’s spirit from his body, resulting in great confusion and dismay amongst Luke’s Jedi apprentices. Kun’s spirit was eventually roused from hiding and banished into Chaos by the combined efforts of the Jedi apprentices, Luke’s spirit, and the long-dead spirit of Kun’s Master, Vodo-Siosk Baas. After Kun’s shade was vanquished, Corran Horn destroyed Kun’s temple with proton torpedoes, thus removing his dark taint from Yavin 4 forever.

Kun was the first to build a double-bladed lightsaber in Republic territory, and the first to wield it against a Jedi in millennia. In addition to the ability for him to adjust the length of the blade, Kun was able to alter its intensity as he saw fit. He crafted his double-bladed blue saber later in his life by modifying his old two-handed lightsaber. Thus unlike later designs, Kun’s double-bladed lightsaber roughly equaled to the hilt length of a standard lightsaber. Kun’s ingenuity served as a source of inspiration for later Sith, and in a few rare cases, Jedi and Dark Jedi, to create their own. Other notable wielders of the double-bladed lightsaber included Bastila Shan, Zez-Kai Ell, Darth Bandon, Jorak Uln, Uthar Wynn, Sirak, Kas’im, Darth Zannah, Darth Phobos, Darth Maul, Asajj Ventress, Jastus Farr, Azrakel, N-K Necrosis, Shado Vao, and Darth Azard. This weapon was also very popular with the Sith during the era of the Jedi Civil War.

His double-bladed saber would end up being retrieved from Yavin by the Jedi Shadow Celeste Morne and placed in the Sanctum of the Jedi Covenant. From there it was stolen by the Moomo Brothers during Zayne Carrick‘s mission to investigate the Sanctum. The dark weapon was in turn stolen by the scientist Demagol during his masquerade as Rohlan Dyre. Demagol used special chemicals to free the saber from it’s protective casing, but a tag he left behind alerted Marn Hierogryph to the deception months later. Demagol passed the lightsaber on to Jarael, who wielded it on her return to her home planet Osadia and confrontation with Crucible Magister Impressor Chantique, daughter of Demagol.

His mastery of Sith alchemy resulted in the creation of battle hydras, terentateks, Night Beast, the Golden Globe, his light battle suit, and the mass genocide and extinction of the Massassi race.

Personality and traits
Exar Kun was a very arrogant man and sure of himself to a fault. He believed himself incorruptible and insusceptible to the temptations of the dark side. Kun held a disdain for non-Human Jedi, feeling they were beneath him and inferior to Human Jedi. This was ironic considering his Jedi Master was a Krevaaki, a distinctly non-humanoid being.

Powers and abilities
Though considered to be the best student ever trained by Master Vodo-Siosk Baas, Exar Kun believed himself to be the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy—be it in lightsaber skill, Force ability, or otherwise. Kun was a master of Form VI: Niman and was also skilled in Jar’Kai. Kun was skilled in the use of the double-bladed lightsaber or saberstaff managing to defeat and kill master Baas with it.

Early as an apprentice, Kun was able to repeatedly defeat fellow students Crado and Sylvar in practice duels, before being bested by Master Baas during the same training exercise. However, when Kun raised the stakes of combat against Baas by dueling him again, this time with two lightsabers, he quickly defeated his Master, and reveled in his victory. Exar Kun’s unsatiable hunger for the power of the dark side eventually brought him into contact with another who had chosen the dark path—Ulic Qel-Droma, who was widely recognized by the Jedi Order as the greatest among them. As Kun—who believed himself to be the greatest swordsman alive—dueled Qel-Droma, he was surprised to learn that another had as much skill as he with a lightsaber. After Kun had earned the mantle of Dark Lord, he dueled the Neti Jedi Master Ood Bnar to a stalemate, before Kun’s Massassi warriors intervened on his behalf.

After being consumed by the dark side, learning the powers of the Sith, and benefitting from the power of Freedon Nadd’s amulet, Kun’s power in the Force became extraordinary. He had a strong Force Sense, the ability of Force Flight, and was capable of emitting Force Blasts from his hands that could crumble stone walls and kill Sithspawn with a single hit. Jedi Oss Wilum described him as “immensely strong with the Force.” His studies of ancient Sith scrolls, and the designs of Naga Sadow on Yavin 4, also gave Kun a more than working mastery of Sith Alchemy. Kun revealed his new powers to the Jedi Order, but found himself ostracized for his abilities. Aside from Basic he could speak Catharese, Kreva, Ryl, Tetan, Arkanian and Sith languages.

As a disembodied spirit, Exar Kun appeared to Force-sensitives as a “three-dimensional silhouette,” normally black as the void, but sometimes containing stars, if he wished. When Luke Skywalker occupied the same “spirit world,” Exar Kun appeared to him as he did in life, claiming that if he could drive enough of Luke’s Jedi students to the dark side, he could draw upon their combined dark emotions and recreate his body.

Kun could travel at will anywhere on Yavin 4, and was capable of enhancing others’ Force powers (as when he helped Kyp Durron recover the Sun Crusher). He retained mental command over his Sith alchemy creations, which had survived from 4,000 years ago. His spirit form did not limit him from attacking others directly, as he burned Gantoris to death from the inside out and summoned two-headed bird like creatures composed of pure dark side energy, to tear Luke’s body apart. Kun was also able to attack Corran Horn – in the guise of Keiran Halcyon. Horn believed that Kun could not affect the physical world and to prove him wrong, Kun used the Force to melt the detonators attached to the explosives Horn had brought and proceeded to assault Corran directly with the force, both physically and mentally, until Mara Jade appeared and intervened by taunting the Sith Lord and saving Horn from falling to the Dark Side. Fortunately, Luke was able to communicate with his young nephew, Jacen Solo, and force bonded with him to defend his body.