Darth Ruin, originally Phanius, was the founder of the Sith Empire. Originally a well-respected member of the Jedi Order, Ruin took up the mantle of the first Dark Lord of the Sith after he unearthed ancient dark side relics. Corrupted by them, Ruin rallied followers of the dark side to him and waged a war that nearly destroyed the galaxy. During a great battle, Ruin was greatly injured and put into a stasis pod—called an oubliette by the Sith—and left there for almost a thousand years. In time Ruin's followers pulled him out of the oubliette and he took command of the Sith once again. His forces waged war upon the Jedi one last time, but were unable to defeat them. In the last great battle, Ruin was slain by a Jedi Master, and the only survivor of the Sith Order, Darth Bane, took a secret apprentice and went into hiding, creating the Rule of Two. Over one thousand later, Ruin was given new life by the members of the Reborn Sith Order.
Born on an unknown world on the edge of the Unknown Regions, Phanius was from childhood a strong-willed, stubborn being. His planet was torn by civil war. When Phanius was twelve years old, his father—the leader of the despotic government of the planet—tried to force his son to fight for him. Phanius killed his father in retaliation.
Shortly thereafter, envoys from the Jedi Order arrived to intervene. They found Phanius with his father's body. The boy told them that he had found his father there, already dead. Unknowingly, he used the Force to conceal his deception. The Jedi sensed great power in Phanius, and offered to take him in for training. Phanius accepted.
Phanius was taken to Coruscant, where he was trained as a Jedi. Phanius quickly rose through the ranks, making a name for himself as one of the most powerful Jedi of his age. He was one of the greatest duelists; he could take on any apprentice his age and even some experienced Padawans. His true talent, however, lay in his powers of persuasion. However, he was also one of the Order's most headstrong and stubborn students.
When Phanius was fourteen, he was taken as a Padawan by a Jedi Master. While out on a mission, Phanius' Master was killed, leaving him alone. Because of his stubbornness, no other Master would take him. Despite this, Phanius proved himself without a Master, and eventually even passed the Jedi trials—something practically unheard of for someone with no Master.
Fall from Grace
Over the years, Phanius grew in rank and stature. He eventually became one of the Order's most revered Masters after his intuition allowed for the discovery of ancient Force user relics in the Unknown Regions.
Phanius' tenure as Master was to be short-lived, however; as he studied the relics, he began to delve into the dark side. His studies were discovered by the Jedi Council, and he was ordered to recant from his studies or face exile. Phanius, unwilling to face such disgrace, left the Jedi Order of his own volition, taking with him fifty followers, and all of the relics.
Creation of the Sith
Along with his fifty followers, Phanius fled to the planet Moraband, the homeworld of an ancient dark side species known as the Sith. There, he and his followers unearthed many more dark side relics. Eventually, Phanius declared him and his followers to be Sith, and named himself the Dark Lord of the Sith, taking the name Darth Ruin.
The newly-christened Ruin decided that power was not enough—he wanted control of the galaxy. Together with his fifty followers, he waged war on the Jedi, at first secretly, killing them in ones and twos while they were on missions or capturing them and converting them, and then eventually openly. Ruin continued recruiting followers, both Force-sensitive and non-Force-sensitive, along his path of conquest. The war pushed along the galaxy's trade routes until they reached the Core Worlds.
With a route to Coruscant, Ruin massed his followers for a final battle. The Jedi, too massed their forces, on Coruscant. Ruin led the Sith into battle against the Jedi on the galactic capitol. The battle was considered to be the most terrible in the history of the galaxy; Ruin's fleet engaged the Republic's in space, while his Sith forces attacked the Jedi Temple.
Ruin and the remnant of his original fifty Sith led the attack on the Temple. When they landed, the Order's best Knights and Masters rushed out to combat them. Ruin fought through them, cutting them down with his lightsaber and Force lightning. Eventually, Ruin reached the Temple itself. It was then that the Jedi Council came out and battled. Ruin cut a swath through them, but could not contend with them all. He was greatly injured, and the Sith were forced to retreat from Coruscant.
Returning to Moraband, the Sith looked for any means to heal Ruin. However, one of his apprentices, desiring power, took matters into his own hands. He used an ancient Sith relic found on Moraband, a stasis chamber called an oubliette, to keep Ruin alive—but it also kept him imprisoned, and tortured him. His apprentice took over the Sith, and they went into hiding until they could rebuild their strength. The apprentice kept Ruin's oubliette in a deep chamber, where nobody would find him.
Return and Death
However, a thousand years later, Ruin was freed when Sith explorers found the oubliette. The Sith, on the verge of extinction, released Ruin and brought him to their home base on Yavin IV. Ruin took command of the remaining Sith and led them on a renewed campaign against the Jedi. The Sith cut a swath through Republic space, Ruin's vengeance spurring them on.
Ruin had a vision of the Jedi inhabiting the temples Yavin IV, and realized that the Sith would not yet be victorious. He withdrew them to a cave deep in the jungles. There, they waited for the Jedi. Ruin took precautions to ensure eventual Sith victory; he tied his life force to an amulet, which he hid in the cave. When the Jedi landed, led by Valenthyne Farfalla, they attacked Ruin's caves. Farfalla and his forces confronted Ruin in the deepest chamber of the cave.
Farfalla and Ruin dueled, and Ruin pushed Farfalla back and tried to destroy him and his forces with a blast of Force lightning. Before he could unleash the energy, Farfalla stabbed him deep in the chest. Ruin's body dissolved into a red mist, and his life force transferred into the amulet. Farfalla and the Jedi, believing the Sith to be destroyed, departed Yavin IV. However, one Sith had survived—Darth Bane. Bane took an apprentice and formed a new Sith philosophy, the Rule of Two.
This was not to be the end of Ruin, however. In the year 35 ABY, a woman named Brisha had discovered Ruin's amulet, and planned to revive him by powering it. She attempted to turn Jacen Solo to the dark side to achieve this. However, her plans failed when Solo realized what she was doing and killed her. Her apprentice, Ahli Keros, managed to escape with the amulet, which had been powered by the deaths of Brisha and many of her followers.
Keros then proceeded to sneak off the planet and travel to Moriband with the Red Sabers, a squad of mercenaries. Among the members of the squad was Owen Skywalker, son of Luke and Mara Jade Skywalker. When the Sabers arrived at the tomb erected in Ruin's honor, Keros activated the amulet, and Ruin was restored to life once again, physically younger than when he died. Owen Skywalker, realizing what was going on, attempted to fire upon Ruin, but Keros defeated the mercenary easily. At that point, Luke and Mara and their other son, Ben, burst into the tomb. Ruin introduced himself to the Jedi and hurled Skywalker into the sarcophagus. Then, he, Keros, and the Red Sabers snuck out the back exit of the tomb.
Attack on the Jedi Praxeum
Ruin was determined to take Yavin IV back from the Jedi. He had Keros gather her Sith forces at a space station, and the Red Sabers brought in several other mercenary groups. Ruin found that his spirit had been damaged by remaining in the amulet for so long, and he needed to find a way to keep himself alive. To do this, Keros provided him with the holocron of Darth Plagueis.
Once all the forces were gathered, Ruin led them on an attack on Yavin IV. One of his Sith, Paxis, landed first with his forces. A single Jedi awaited them, and killed Paxis and several other Sith. Keros took the remaining Sith in an alternate route, while Ruin engaged Rhysode and eventually killed him.
He then moved on toward the temple. There, several Jedi Masters, led by Kyle Katarn, fought against him and his followers. Ruin injured Katarn and his apprentice, Jaden Korr, and pushed inside the temple. At that point, Luke Skywalker arrived and battled Ruin. The two were evenly matched, and Skywalker held Ruin off until many Jedi could retreat, before retreating himself.
With the battle over, Ruin realized that Skywalker was the greatest threat to his power. He sent a transmission to Skywalker, in which he demanded his surrender within forty-eight hours, or he would begin executing Jedi. To prove his threat, he stabbed Skywalker's son, Ben, in the back, and cut the transmission. However, he still had use for Ben Skywalker, so he used Darth Plagueis' technique to restore Skywalker to life. He then proceeded to do the same to Keros, who had been killed by Owen Skywalker during the battle.
Tempting Jacen Solo
Among the Jedi prisoners captured was Jacen Solo. Sensing Jacen's potential for power, Ruin decided to turn him to the dark side; he had realized during his studies of Darth Plagueis' holocron that he could not extend his own life, only restore that of others. To extend his own life, Ruin needed another to use Plagueis' technique on him. He came up with a plan to turn Jacen to the dark side and convince him to use the restoration technique on him.
He took Ben and one of the other prisoners, Damien Farrell, to Jacen's cell, and killed Damien before Jacen's eyes. Jacen was horrified, but Ruin then proceeded to bring Farrell back to life and have him and Ben dragged from the cell. Ruin told Jacen that he would learn how to use that power, as well.
Shortly thereafter, Luke Skywalker arrived, and Ruin took him to a cell surrounded by ysalamiri, where he could not use his Force powers to escape. He then brought Farrell once more before Jacen and killed him again&mfdash;only this time, he refused to revive Farrell himself, forcing Jacen to do it himself. He did this many times over the course of many weeks, forcing Jacen to use the dark side technique time and time again.
Before Ruin could fully turn Jacen to the dark side, however, he sensed that a team of Jedi and Republic agents was approaching to free the prisoners. He took Jacen to the fleet he had secretly been constructing over Geonosis, and there kept the young Jedi in a cell. When he sensed the Jedi would arrive soon, he brought Jacen to the bridge and gave him an ultimatum: Jacen could fire the flagship's super-weapon at Geonosis, desolating the already-desert planet, or Ruin himself would fire the weapon on lush Ithor. Jacen, despairing, chose to fire the weapon himself.
The Jedi fleet arrived, consisting of several warships, and multiple starfighter squadrons. Ruin commanded his ships to engage them. While the space battle was going on, several Jedi boarded the Behemoth, Ruin's flagship. Skywalker, along with his wife, sons, and several other Jedi came to the bridge to engage Ruin. Ruin's Jedi Hunters and right-hand man Jerec tried to engage the Jedi, but were all killed. Skywalker charged Ruin, and the two engaged in combat.
Ruin became like a furious cloud of smoke, using the fullest extent of the dark side power available to him, while Skywalker shone with the light side like a sun. The two fought, not as Jedi and Sith, but as the avatars of Dark and Light. In the end, Skywalker's light pierced Ruin's darkness and destroyed it completely, and Ruin ceased to be. His flagship was subsequently destroyed by Kyle Katarn and Wraith Squadron.
Ruin's plan, though it had failed, did have severe repercussions on the galaxy, especially on the Jedi. Jacen Solo was mentally fractured by weeks of spiritual torture, and by the fact that he had chosen to wipe out all life on Geonosis. He chose to leave the Jedi and become a hermit.
In the Senate, all Force-sensitives became feared, mostly because of Ruin's actions and those of his followers. Chancellor Leia Organa Solo was forced out of her office before her term ended, and she and her husband went into a voluntary exile. Senator Fyor Rodan rose to power as Chancellor in her stead. Rodan, a secret member of the order called the Purists, declared the Jedi an illegal cabal and required the internment of all Force-sensitive beings.