Perfect strength, perfect power, perfect destiny.
The Dark Guardians of Lettow, also referred to just as the Lettow, was a group of dark side warriors founded by the self-proclaimed Prince of Darkness Carden Mannux, who at one point had been known as the Sith Lord Darth Lettow. The Lettow practiced the dark side of the Force, and was created based upon the teachings, writings and philosophies of more-well-known dark side users such as Xendor Taral and Marka Ragnos. The creation of the Lettow was also a culmination of failed experiments such as the Sith Battle Lords Project. Said to have been fiercely devoted to their causes, the Lettow worshiped the dark side and, in time, their main goal was to aid the Order of the Sith Lords and the Galactic Empire in destroying the Jedi Order, as well as the Bendu Order during the Galactic Civil War.
After the first leaders Damien Starkiller and Darius passed away, the Lettow spent centuries worshiping the dark side in the hopes of gaining power to dominate the Force. However, when they were rediscovered during the Millennium of Hiding by the Sith Lord Darth Vectivus, the Lettow became foot soldiers for the Order of the Sith Lords when Vectivus took on Deak Starkiller, later Darth Ujur, as his apprentice. This relationship remained in place for nearly five hundred years until the death of Darth Plagueis, as the knowledge of their location was lost when Plagueis was killed by his apprentice Darth Sidious.
After having been located and integrated into the Order of the Sith Lords and the Galactic Empire by Sidious and his apprentice Darth Vader, the Lettow were the main Imperial force behind many battles, such as the two Battles on Alderaan, the Sieges of Naboo and the Battle of Coruscant’s Moon. However, during the battle on the moon of Coruscant, where the main Lettow headquarters was located, the Lettow were destroyed during a Bendu raid, leaving only Kane Starkiller, Mara Jade and a handful of others alive, though the majority of the survivors were eventually killed during the final battles of the war.
The destruction of the Dark Guardians of Lettow thereby destroyed thousands of years of work by numerous dark side users. However, the philosophies and practices that they utilized were later used by the Prophets of Lettow, a so-called fanatical group that attempted to bring about the resurrection of Carden Mannux. During this time and for some time after, the Dark Guardians of Lettow were remembered for what historians noted as their brutal discipline and lust for power in the upper ranks, along with the supposedly unholy methods individuals sometimes used to advance in rank.
The first mentioning of the Dark Guardians of Lettow came from the Prophecies of The Skywalker. In one of his visions, The Skywalker saw a group of dark side Force users spinning a web of what he referred to as “dark enchantments”. They were to be led by a “blue-skinned warrior with blood-red eyes that would strike fear into the hearts of many”, and The Skywalker saw them as being rivals to the Order of the Jedi Bendu of the Ophuchi. His beliefs about the future of these people were documented in the Journal of the Whills and kept at the Whill Monastery on Ashlan Four. Many Jedi Bendu scholars throughout history attempted to analyze them, but like with the other prophecies there were very few conclusions they could come to due to what they felt was the cryptic and vague nature of the prophecy.
The faction itself was based on a number of attempts at creating so-called “perfect” dark side warriors over thousands of years. Shortly after the formation of the Galactic Republic, there was a Jedi Bendu Knight, later recorded just as a Jedi Knight due to the Third Jedi Bendu Schism, named Xendor Taral who left the Jedi Bendu and formed the Legions of Lettow. It was his goal that through a specific type of dark side training, his legions would be able to overwhelm the Jedi Bendu and take control of the galaxy. However, these goals were not met, as Xendor and most of his followers were killed when they attacked Coruscant in the hopes of destroying the Jedi Bendu.
Thousands of years later, the Dark Lord of the Sith Marka Ragnos began putting together plans in his fortress for a group called the Sith Battle Lords. The basic idea of his Battle Lords stemmed from what he perceived to be a mistake that the Sith had made for years, and that was the idea that the student would rise up and destroy his or her master and thus become the new master. Ragnos realized, however, that if too many Sith were to crave power in the same place at the same time then they would destroy themselves for whatever power they could gain. He believed that this would destroy the Sith, so in an attempt to correct it he believed he could eliminate insubordination within soldiers and followers of the dark side, thereby making it difficult for someone who was in charge of soldiers to mistreat them.
Ragnos, however, passed away before he was able to officially test his theories. However, before dying he wrote out the process for creating a Sith Battle Lord, though because he was unable to test it even he did not know what would happen during the ritual. What he surmised was that when it ended, the one who was to become a Battle Lord would be laid down upon an altar and cut open. While bleeding, more than likely profusely, his fellow Sith and Battle Lords would pass by him and track through his blood as a symbol of strength.
Less than a decade later, the knowledge of the Sith Battle Lords found its way into the hands of a Lord of the Sith called Darth Apocalus. Apocalus reigned for a short time in the years following the Great Hyperspace War, and the knowledge had been imparted onto him through the journals of his predecessor. However, many within the Sith Empire found Apocalus to be dishonorable and unworthy of holding the mantle of Dark Lord. Knowing that his reign was coming to an end, Apocalus gave the knowledge to his apprentice, Darth Cularin, who documented the information. Apocalus was then cast away into a frozen chamber in an ancient Sith citadel beneath the lava rivers of Mustafar. After Cularian became the Dark Lord, he put the information inside the Tomb of Marka Ragnos on Korriban.
The information was not rediscovered until the Great Territorial War when the Sith Lord Darth Invidius began plotting against Darth Viea. He searched the tombs of Korriban for ways to find power, which was where he discovered the documented information. Along with the document was the location of Apocalus on Mustafar, which Invidius used to awaken Apocalus from his frozen sleep. The two of them began experiments hoping to officially create the Battle Lords, though the first experiment, Darth Infernus, was killed by Darth Ravinos only days after he became a Battle Lord. Apocalus tried to perfect the experiments, but he put them on hold during the Final Battle for Coruscant where he launched a coup d’état against Empress Viea. Apocalus was killed during the battle, and after the Third Sith Empire essentially fell Invidius was imprisoned in the Citadel of Sorrow, though before he was captured by disgruntled Sith Lords he hid the information about the Battle Lords in the Temple of the Ancients on Lehon.
Seventy-five years after the Great Territorial War ended, the Sith had nearly destroyed themselves due to their actions in the Great Rim Lines War and the United Pirate Crusades. There came a point where there were only two Sith left, Darth Zios and Darth Viscerus. Zios captured a Chiss Dark Jedi named Carden Mannux on Dxun and kept him prisoner there for weeks, though Carden eventually managed to break out of his restraints and kill Darth Zios while he slept. Feeling that he had proven his superiority, Carden set out to find new information about various different means of gaining power. After breaking into classified Sith material about Lehon, Carden also found information regarding the experiments of Xendor, Ragnos and Apocalus.
After years of trying to uncover more information, Carden felt that the best way to learn more was to find the Dark Lord of the Sith and join with him, despite the fact that Carden believed that the Sith had lost a clear focus and their true intentions. Darth Dire, the Dark Lord of the Sith, allowed Carden to join the Third Sith Empire, though he was placed in command of the Obsidian Guard which was referred to as an elite group of dark side users whose sole purpose was to protect the Dark Lord of the Sith. Carden used the Obsidian Guard as a means to try to put together a command structure like the one that Ragnos had attempted to utilize, though he eventually came upon a perceived flaw. Though he felt Ragnos had been correct in saying that insubordination needed to be eliminated, Ragnos and Apocalus had both allowed their followers to know a great deal about the Force, so he began to train the Obsidian Guard so they would know only a limited amount of information to keep them from craving power.
The Obsidian Guard fought at their base on Yavin IV when it was attacked by the Jedi Order, the Shadourian Order and the Bendu Order. Carden fought with Bendu High Priest Ussej Padric Bac III during the battle, and although he was defeated he was not killed. The Obsidian Guard won the battle, causing the three Orders to flee. Not long after, the Sith and the Obsidian Guard attacked the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, and Dire was killed during the battle by Darth Ruinus. Only weeks later, Ruinus was killed by Darth Mortis, who took on Carden as his apprentice. During his rule, Mortis began to have visions about what he referred to as a demonic being who claimed to be a deity who vowed revenge on someone called the Morning Star. For months, Mortis tried to discover what this meant, so he documented everything he knew in his personal journals.
Mortis shared the information he had uncovered about the supposed deity with Carden, so Carden killed Mortis to gain further knowledge. He became the Dark Lord of the Sith and took on the name Darth Lettow, honoring the Legions of Lettow that Xendor Taral had created. With newfound power, Carden saw the deity in a vision, and after using it to unlock the secrets that Mortis had not revealed to him he was able to summon the deity. After performing a ritual that he had seen in a second vision, a portal opened and deity emerged from it, though Carden found that it was only Darth Invidius. Invidius stated that he exploited the desire for divine power to cause a Sith to free him from the Citadel of Sorrow, and he also said that the person he desired revenge upon was Ussej Padric Bac III, as his grandfather Ussej Padric Bac had caused his imprisonment at the end of the Great Territorial War. Because Carden also wanted revenge on Bac for his shame, they formed a loose alliance and Invidius agreed to share the knowledge he had about Sith Battle Lords, as he had no further interest in it.
Using Invidius’s knowledge, Carden furthered his goals for the future of the project. He realized that he no longer needed the Third Sith Empire for his work, so he relinquished his power as Dark Lord to Invidius. After leaving Korriban, Carden created a plan that would allow him to create the first of his dark disciples, one he felt would be more powerful than the rest. He decided to use DNA from Bac and Isabella Dashin, daughter of Supreme Chancellor Cos Jonathan Dashin, to create a binary clone. He traveled to Coruscant and captured Isabella, and after acquiring DNA from Bac he used it to artificially impregnate Isabella on Lehon, where he also found the documents left by Invidius in the Temple of the Ancients. The cloning process lasted only nine weeks, at which point Isabella gave birth to the child in a ritual performed by Carden. He then put Isabella onto a shuttle and sent her back into Republic space.
For weeks, Carden watched over the child and continued his experiments. He brought in his former aides to help watch over the child, and he continued his experiments for three years as the child, whom he named Damien Starkiller, grew into a young boy. During this time, Carden was contacted multiple times by the Shaman of the Whills, which surprised him because he believed the Shaman had served the light side of the Force. The Shaman gave him specific instructions as to how to continue the experiments, and Carden followed them. As he traveled the galaxy for supplies, he was able to gain dozens of followers as well, and he came to call them the Dark Guardians of Lettow as he felt they were the guardians of his legacy and the legacy of the others before him. These disciples also were referred to simply as “Lettow”.
At the end of the three years, Bac arrived on Lehon with Isabella and Kalel Esunkit, and the three of them engaged Carden in a duel. Bac left to see his “child”, and while fighting Isabella and Kalel Carden was able to strike Isabella down. Bac emerged a few minutes later after being injured by Carden’s guards, so Carden assaulted both him and Kalel. Kalel eventually left with Isabella’s body, and shortly thereafter Bac was able to destroy part of the complex which killed both him and Carden. One of Carden’s more trusted disciples took his place as the leader of the dozens of disciples, though he never officially claimed the title of leader as they all felt that was best left for Damien.
For fifteen years, the Lettow watched over Damien in order to prepare him to become their leader. He was put through many different sets of training until he was nearly twenty years old, at which point he officially became what they came to call the Dark Commander of the Lettow. Not long after, a former friend of Bac’s named Josiah Rendar arrived on Lehon along with Bendu Knights Ussej Padric Bac V and Darius, as well as Kalel Esunkit and his daughter Kathryn. Rendar’s goal was to “save Damien from the dark side” because he was a clone of Ussej Padric Bac III, though in the end Darius joined the Lettow and killed Josiah before the other three fled Lehon. Damien and Darius spent many years traveling through the galaxy to pick up Force sensitive orphans, runaways and so-called undesirables. Hundreds eventually traveled with them to Lehon, and after many years Darius became the Dark Commander of the Lettow. After Darius, however, Damien’s son became Dark Commander and that began a tradition of frequently having a Starkiller lead the Lettow.
The Lettow continued to sustain their numbers for thousands of years. During the Millennium of Hiding which began at the end of the New Sith Wars, many Lettow became restless that they were not taking action against the Jedi Order or joining with the Sith. The Dark Commanders frequently ignored this, saying that it was not the right time and that the Sith would eventually find them. The Sith eventually did find them five hundred years into the Millennium of Hiding. Having emerged from an insurrection that nearly destroyed the Order of the Sith Lords and the Rule of Two that it maintained, the Dark Lord Darth Vectivus found the Lettow on Lehon and, with help from Dark Commander Deak Starkiller, integrated the Lettow into the Order of the Sith Lords. He also took on Starkiller as his apprentice, dubbing him Darth Ujur.
Using the influence and command that Vectivus held over the dark side, he and Ujur were able to bring more followers into the Dark Guardians of Lettow. After many years, Ujur overthrew Vectivus and became the Dark Lord of the Sith. A short battle of succession was held between two of the more powerful members of the Lettow, including Ujur’s wife Kendra Starkiller. Starkiller was the winner of the duel, and she became Ujur’s apprentice. This began a tradition of holding a battle of succession to determine who the next Dark Apprentice of the Sith would be. Dark Lords who followed believed that it was the easiest way to find a new apprentice, as it took them too long to search for a new one.
In the centuries that followed, the Lettow served as covert foot soldiers for the Order of the Sith Lords. They carried out various missions that the Dark Lord and his or her apprentice deemed important, though very little had to do with the Jedi Order. These created some disgruntled members of the Lettow, as their mandate for years had been to aid in the destruction of the Jedi Order, but most were able to recognize the necessity of remaining hidden while the two Sith Lords and their successors continued to plot the overthrowing of the Republic and the end of the Jedi Order.
During this time, many new traditions were adopted by the Lettow. Historians noted that one of the more historically significant ones was the implementation of two branches within the Lettow hierarchy, one to serve the Dark Lord and one to serve his or her apprentice. This allowed for two Lettow Dark Commanders, and it was these two individuals who would battle in a duel for succession in an attempt to become the Dark Lord’s apprentice. Because one Dark Commander was likely to have been killed in each duel, two new Dark Commanders would be selected from the ranks of the Lettow.
Four hundred years after the unification of the Lettow and the Sith, a former Jedi Grandmaster named Damien Nightblade merged from a self-imposed exile with what many noted was a twisted mind and an empty soul. Having already learned how to avoid deaths millennia earlier, he wanted additional power so he murdered the apprentice of Darth Dante, then-Dark Lord of the Sith, and took the place of the apprentice, which did not sit well with Dark Commander Windy Starkiller as he believed he was entitled to the position. Therefore, he and his wife left the Lettow, and the Lettow did not hear from them again which put an end to the Starkiller line in the Lettow for the time being.
Dante dubbed Damien Darth Plagueis, and shortly thereafter Plagueis killed Dante and became Dark Lord of the Sith. However, he felt that he had no use for the Lettow as he believed he and his future apprentice could bring about the destruction of the Jedi based on his own knowledge of them. Once they were removed from the hierarchy, they returned to Lehon, though they continued acting as they had while under the Sith in the hopes that another Dark Lord would one day return to re-establish contact. Many years later, Plagueis was killed by his apprentice Darth Sidious before they were able to discuss the location of the Lettow, so for a time it seemed that knowledge of them was lost.
Serving the Empire
After many years, the Dark Lord Darth Sidious, who was truly Supreme Chancellor Malus Palpatine of Utapau, rediscovered the Lettow on Lehon. When the Clone Wars ended and Sidious had overthrown the Republic and replaced it with the Galactic Empire, he and his apprentice Darth Vader re-integrated the Lettow into Sith ranks, but also decided to use them as elite dark side warriors for the Galactic Empire. This was done as they believed there would be pressure from rebel factins to overthrow Emperor Palpatine. This also gave the Lettow the ability to lead the Imperial Army if the need ever arose. Shortly thereafter, the Lettow also constructed a fortress on one of the moons of Coruscant, though many still remained in the Temple of the Ancients on Lehon.
The first test for the Lettow as part of the Imperial Army came during the Conquest of Taris. After the Empire placed inter-planetary movement restrictions on the planet, the Imperial intelligence agencies began receiving reports that the government was planning some sort of rebellion, so the Emperor ordered Vader to send his branch of the Lettow to put down any rebellions that would occur. The rebellion did end up occurring, which allowed the Lettow, with help from the Imperial Army that they led, to fight against them. Vader and the Emperor were pleased with the outcome, which saw Taris fully under Imperial control.
During one of the skirmishes, Vader found a young man named Kane Starkiller, and when he recognized the Force within him he brought Starkiller to his ship. After weeks of manipulation and torture, Starkiller became part of the Lettow, at first acting as a so-called “bell boy” for Darth Vader. After he finished his training as a Lettow Recruit, he went on numerous missions and eventually rose to the rank of Dark Commander of Vader’s branch of the Lettow. Around that same time, Mara Jade also became Dark Commander of Palpatine’s branch of the Lettow.
Ten years later, the Lettow were part of the First Battle of Alderaan. The battle came about after Vader discovered that his daughter had been living on Alderaan as Princess Leia Organa, and the Lettow aided Vader in fabricating evidence that Alderaan had weapons of mass destruction on the planet to use as justification for invasion. Starkiller and Vader led the Lettow into the battle, which resulted in the capture of Alderaanian Viceroy Bail Prestor Organa. One week later, Organa’s capture led to the subsequent capture of Leia Organa.
After Leia’s capture, the Lettow fought against the Alliance to Restore the Republic and the Bendu Order, which had just emerged from the Unknown Regions, on Endor. The Rebels and the Bendu were attempting to steal information about a project codenamed Operation: Aquarius, which dealt with the construction of numerous Death Star battle stations, and to destroy the facility that the plans were in. Starkiller fought Bendu High Priest Ussej Padric Bac LXIV during the battle, which formed a rivalry between them. While the Rebels were successful in destroying the base, they only gained part of the information about the project, though the Imperial Army deemed that it was not enough to be considered a risk.
Months later, Starkiller and Jade led many soldiers in both Palpatine and Vader’s branches of the Lettow in the Sieges of Utapau, as Utapau had been attempting to secede from the Empire. During the early battles, Starkiller left to help in the Second Battle of Alderaan, where the first of the numerous Death Star battle stations attempted but failed to destroy Alderaan. A Bendu pilot flew into the super laser of the battle station and destroyed a great deal of the entire station, though it was able to retreat along with the rest of the Imperial forces there. Although Starkiller returned to Utapau, it was only briefly as he uncovered information that suggested Vader had murdered his parents many years earlier. He therefore felt that he had been manipulated into the Lettow, so after escaping execution from his own followers he escaped to Alderaan.
Once on Alderaan, he convinced Ussej Padric Bac LXIV and other higher-level Rebel officers that he wanted to help destroy the Lettow. Once they were convinced, Starkiller and Bac led an invasion of the Lettow fortress on the moon of Coruscant, where the Bendu Order and the Rebel army was able to overwhelm them with their numbers. Starkiller and Bac were able to save Leia from the Lettow as well, and at the end of the invasion all but a few dozen Lettow, including Mara Jade, had been killed. Starkiller fought Vader and then Jade on Vjun, and he was barely able to escape with his life.
Over the next few years, the surviving Lettow that were loyal to the Empire served in military advisor roles, as there were not enough of them to fight without risking their total destruction. However, they did make an exception, as they participated in the Battle of Bespin against the Bendu Order three years after the invasion of their fortress. One year later, the Dark Guardians of Lettow made their last stand during the Battle for Coruscant. The few dozen remaining Lettow warriors, other than Jade, made their way to the surface and aided in the defense of the planet while Jade stayed in the space battle to engage in a dogfight with Starkiller, who was commanding the Millennium Falcon.
When the Falcon made its way into the heart of the final imperial super weapon, Jade followed him and continued firing at him. Starkiller was able to lock their two ships together, and slammed both of them into the main generator of the super weapon. The result was a cascading explosion that destroyed the main super weapon, thereby dropping the shields and defensive systems on the other Death Stars in the galaxy so the Bendu and the Rebels could destroy it. On the surface, along with both Vader and Palpatine which destroyed the Sith forever, nearly all of the Lettow were killed. Only seven escaped, and they fled the known galaxy for safety.
Once Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker joined with Ussej Padric Bac LXIV and the Bendu Order to create the Second Jedi Bendu Order, they both recognized the impact left by the Lettow on the future of the Order. Because there were a handful of Lettow warriors left somewhere in the galaxy, Skywalker and Bac believed that they could still pose a threat to them. Therefore, they made training against dark side warriors an important aspect in Jedi Bendu training to ensure that all members of their Order would be able to properly defend themselves in the event they were attacked by one of the former Lettow. Although the Second Jedi Bendu Order was not threatened by the Lettow, they were able to put such skills to use against Dark Jedi that had served the Galactic Empire, and against the borderline-dark side members of the Rizen Order during the Reunification War.
After the Battle for Coruscant, the escaped Lettow made their home on various planets throughout the galaxy, though they frequently moved off-world to avoid possible detection by the Jedi Bendu. During this time, they began to formulate future plans for resurrecting Carden Mannux, as they felt that he was the only one who could help them rebuild their people. At the end of the Reunification War, these Lettow detected a Jedi Bendu vessel being led by Bac heading deep into the Unknown Regions, where the Lettow were then hiding. They covertly followed the ship, and they were sucked into a wormhole with the Jedi Bendu that eventually brought them to an unknown world in a distant galaxy.
The Lettow and Jedi Bendu both set up new lives on the planet, which later came to be called Earth, after they arrived in the year that later came to be called 3 BC. Despite knowing about the existence of the Jedi Bendu, they were able to mask their presence in the Force from the Jedi Bendu. This was done using the large dark side presence on the planet caused by frequent wars, murders and other dark side acts. The Lettow lived through many ages on Earth, including the reign of the Roman Empire, the time of European dominance and the Industrial era.
During this time, the Lettow continued working, albeit slowly to avoid detection and due to the lack of sufficient technology and materials on the planet, on the resurrection of Carden Mannux. Their numbers eventually grew into the hundreds, and they came to call themselves the Prophets of Lettow, a name that they believed reflected their devotion to the old Dark Guardians of Lettow and Carden Mannux himself. During the early 21st Century, they were led by Jonathan Daniels, who was able to turn Patrick Keylan Bac, the last descendant of the Bac family, away from the Third Jedi Bendu Order and to the dark side in the hopes of using him as a vessel for the resurrected Mannux. However, Patrick was eventually brought back to the light side by the Jedi Bendu, and together they destroyed the Prophets of Lettow.
There was a small amount of government and politics within the Lettow, and there were two ways that someone would be able to think when the word “leader” was used in the context of the Lettow. The first was that the Dark Guardians ruled themselves, as the two Dark Commanders of the Lettow coordinated their own sections of the organization and conferred when conferences were needed, though that rarely happened. The second was that, after the end of the Millennium of Hiding, the Dark Guardians were said to have been pawns of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader. In that sense, the two Sith Lords had the final say over anything that happened within their sections of the faction. The former of the two was what Carden Mannux had always intended. However, during the Galactic Civil War, Palpatine and Vader ensured that they had final say over everything, as they did not want a revolution on their hands.
The Dark Guardians of Lettow were designed to be split in two, one half to serve the Dark Lord of the Sith and the other half to serve the Dark Apprentice. This was to allow for better security for each Sith Lord. Three ranks were created to monitor the Dark Guardians, and those ranks were Low Guardsman, High Guardsman and Dark Commander. Recruit was not considered an official rank, but rather a stepping stone to being allowed admittance into the faction. There were only two Dark Commanders at a time, one to lead the Dark Lord’s Lettow and the other to lead the Dark Apprentice’s. The three ranks were as follows:
Low Guardsman - Low Guardsman were trained in the kinetic abilities that the Force could bestow, but not in the supposed finer uses of the trait. They could create violent movement, but they did not have the skills for control over larger objects. Their meditative techniques were battle-oriented to better focus their reflexes and overcome weariness. They were taught whatever their instructors felt was necessary for battle, including the reading of surface thoughts and how to determine their opponent’s location through the Force. Apart from that, Low Guardsman received sword training, as they were not given lightsabers until becoming a High Guardsman. They were also taught assassination techniques, spy craft and several fields of what the Lettow determined to be practical knowledge. They were mostly used as guards and Advanced Shock Troopers if necessary. They were considered expendable, as they were not well versed in sword combat and seemed to pose no match for even the most unskilled of opponents who were able to use the Force.
High Guardsman - Once a Low Guardsman was able to prove their usefulness to a superior, they were advanced to the rank of High Guardsman and were allowed to study the Force more than they ever had been allowed to before. At that point, they were supposed to have been skilled enough to rival skilled opponents and were taught how to influence minds and have a strong attunement to their environment. Their kinetic abilities were refined to a point where they could even cause pain. With the proper conditioning, they would undertake missions that would lead them away from their superiors in order to see who stood above the rest. They would also be used as spies and assassins. Because they were considered valuable, they would often be given command assignments, especially during the Galactic Civil War.
Dark Commander - Only two Dark Commanders existed at one time, as it was only bestowed upon who the Sith believed to be the strongest member of each section of the Dark Guardians of Lettow. The Dark Lord and Dark Apprentice personally selected their Dark Commanders, and did so by determining which member of their section would be worthy to be their heir. The Dark Commander could issues orders without the approval of his or her master, though those orders could be overturned, and was allowed as much freedom as necessary. If one of the two Sith Lords were to perish, the two Dark Commanders would engage in a battle of succession to determine who would become the next Dark Apprentice.
One of Carden Mannux’s intentions in the creation of the Lettow was to devise a way to train Force adepts to use the Force while hiding what he believed was its true meaning from them. Mannux meant to create warriors who he believed could be used as tools. To him this meant that they would be able to instinctively use the Force to produce supposed amazing results, though they would have no knowledge of its so-called true structure and mechanisms. To do this, he used the natural block to the Force created by untrained minds to his advantage. He felt that if someone did not believe they could accomplish a task using the Force then they would not, despite whatever power they had, and that this would decrease ambition which he felt was the main disadvantage to the dark side of the Force.
The Lettow were trained to use the Force in a physical sense, such as moving objects and influencing minds. However, Mannux believed that raining them in the ways of the supposed primitive and ruthless Sith Lords from the First Sith Empire would lead them to becoming fully corrupted by the dark side, thereby breaking down their mental barriers. To eliminate this, he devised a more neutral training to allow for the so-called ruthlessness of the Sith and the control of the Jedi. However, Lettow were never taught to act like members of the Jedi Order. Their goal would be to help destroy the Jedi, despite the patience that they would learn during their training. Even with this patience, once a Lettow member became part of the High Guard they would be exposed to training principles used by the ancient Sith, though not before that as some feared they would learn ambition too early.
During training, the Lettow were taught that if they were to anger their enemies and tempt them with their so-called darker emotions, they would have no chance in turning one who followed the light side to the dark side. As such, they would have eliminated their chances of befriending a member of the light side while pretending that they did not serve the dark side, and the light side followers would immediately categorize that Lettow was an enemy. Mannux believed that the only way to slowly yet effectively turn their enemy would be to show them politeness and respect by feigning good intentions. He believed that this would cause the enemy to drop their guard and allow the Lettow to understand how their thought process. The Lettow would then be able to manipulate their minds and seduce them to the dark side of the Force.
The trial of a Lettow Recruit would be to turn someone to the dark side, whether it was a Force user or turning a non-Force user to the dark side’s cause. The Recruit would be told to remain polite, because if the enemy were to provoke them then they would be tempted to drop their guise, though if they could maintain control then that would likely not happen. If the recruit was to show what Mannux stated was “the ignorance of a child, then they would be treated like such”. However, “if they were to show the courage and mindfulness of a warrior then they would be treated as a courageous warrior”. Those who failed the trial were given one final chance to succeed. If they failed a second time, they would either be exiled or executed, depending on the preference of their instructor. Those who passed were given the rank of Low Guardsman.
If the Sith Lords felt that the situation warranted it, the entire Sith and Imperial fleet would be placed at the disposal of the Lettow. However, the Dark Lord of the Sith would have to personally approve the request and it was only during what he or she felt was the most important of Lettow operations. However, as the leaders of the unofficially named “Lettow Military”, the Dark Commanders only asked when they knew that it would be approved. This was done to save themselves from what they felt was the humiliation that could have followed, as well as to save themselves from putting themselves into a position where they would have angered the Dark Lord. The Dark Commander that needed to use the fleet served as the commander of the fleet. For example, during the First Battle of Alderaan, Kane Starkiller had full control over the Sith fleet. However, because Darth Vader was also on board the flagship, any orders given by Starkiller could have been overridden if necessary. If Mara Jade had been with the fleet, she and Starkiller would have shared equal power and responsibility.
The Dark Guardians themselves served as ground forces for the Sith Military, though they were not thought of as regular Stormtroopers. According to the Sith and Lettow hierarchy members, the Lettow were far superior to Imperial Stormtroopers, and many within the Empire knew that, which was why the Lettow gained a feared reputation throughout the galaxy. There came a point during their service in the Galactic Civil War that stories about the Lettow became the equivalent of ghost stories, and children frequently chose Lettow stories over ghost stories to scare other children or their siblings.
When serving in an Imperial military operation, the Lettow served in the upper levels of the Imperial army, particularly in command of squadrons or fleets. However, they were rarely put into any normal battle against the Alliance to Restore the Republic, as the Dark Commanders and the Emperor knew how valuable they were. Therefore, it was decided that rather than risking their lives in every battle against rebel soldiers, the Lettow would serve only during what were deemed the most dangerous and important missions as elite Imperial soldiers. During said battles, there was no official command structure other than the regular hierarchy. It was believed by some that the lack of a military command structure was what caused the downfall of the Lettow on Coruscant. Because Kane Starkiller had changed sides and Mara Jade was not present, the Lettow were leaderless and were unable to function effectively enough to prevent the Bendu from overrunning them.
Behind the scenes
The Dark Guardians of Lettow were created by Brandon Rhea for the Alternative Star Wars Saga based on the limited information about the Lettow given by George Lucas in the original drafts of the Star Wars Saga, and based on concepts by fellow Star Wars fan Gregg Tasoulas. In the original drafts of the saga, the Lettow were the original villains, though they went on to become known as the Sith. Despite this, the name was retained in the Legions of Lettow in Star Wars canon, a group that also appears in the Alternative Saga.
When Rhea was originally working with Gregg Tasoulas to create one “Alternate Star Wars Trilogy”, Tasoulas initially created two factions. The first was the Bendu, who were ghost-like figures, and the second was the Dark Guards of the Lettow. The Dark Guards of the Lettow were a group of Force sensitive individuals that practiced the dark side. They were created by Darth Lettow during the Millennium of Hiding after the Hol Insurrection, and they played a part in the Galactic Civil War where they were led by Kane Starkiller under the command of Darth Vader. Although some of the information was cut, Rhea retained many of the elements from Tasoulas’s original storyline.
The Lettow became a faction on TheStarWarsRP.Com in late 2005 and early 2006, where they were placed under the command of Carden Mannux. Rhea later retconned this appearance to be the Obsidian Guard and went ahead with a storyline that saw the official creation of the Lettow. Up until that point, Rhea had also referred to the faction as the “Dark Guards of the Lettow”, though he later changed “Guards” to “Guardians”. He also removed the word “the”, feeling that it was better to symbolize that the Dark Guardians guarded “Lettow” was if it were the spirit of Carden Mannux and the legacy of Xendor Taral, Marka Ragnos, Carden Mannux and others.
- Star Wars: Episode I - The Chosen One (Indirect mention only)