They have called this "the Nightmare War". These Dark Jedi have brought fear and terror, uncertainty and unrest to my Empire, and devastated my people. It is time to teach them what fear really is.
The Nightmare War was a popular term in the Golden Empire to describe the campaigns of the Reawakened and the subsequent battles fought between those Dark Jedi and the Empire's Armada. The course of the entire war transpired in 149 ABY, but left billions dead and numerous worlds devastated before the Empire ultimately prevailed.
Having triumphed over the Ssi-ruuvi Imperium and utterly destroyed the Vagaari Empire during the Tribulation, the Golden Empire experienced six years of peace. During that time, the Empire focused largely on asserting actual control over areas it only nominally ruled, such as the far reaches of what had been the Chiss Ascendancy and former Vagaari territory. The Empire's Armada was spread thin while patrolling outlying sectors, and was still in the process of rebuilding the Royal Navy to replace the losses of the last wars.
In 148 ABY, the Reawakened had emerged from the stasis of their sleeper ship when they arrived on the planet Kizav. Kizav's two sentient species, the insectoid Skavik and the predatory Veracht, had not achieved modern levels of technology, and were easy prey for the Dark Jedi, who convinced the Skavik queen to ally with them and recruited the Veracht with promises of Skavik and other sentient prey.
Later historians would sometimes treat the total extermination of Awpierh's population as the first engagement of the war, despite the fact that Awpierh was not part of the Golden Empire. The Dark Jedi wiped out the native species and imported Skavik by the hundreds of millions, setting them to the construction of starships and blaster weapons. With a year of the conquest of Awpierh, the Dark Jedi and their slaves had built enough of a fleet to begin invading other systems.
Leaders and forces
Ador Hentral had been only one of four Jedi Masters among the twelve Jedi who departed the Order, but his ability to focus his insanity into psychopathy rather than descending into mindless slaughter allowed him to wrest control of the group from his fellows. Hentral was able to turn his telepathic domination of the Skavik into a form of Battle Meditation. Desha Marad was able to achieve similar levels of focus to Hentral, but Hentral was able to fixate him on alchemical projects early in the war. Sacco Vyrak was the greatest warrior of the group, but following his death, Hentral maneuvered his former apprentice Voara Culee into the position of field commander.
The Skavik queen had allied her people to the Dark Jedi, and thus the billions of Skavik would serve them faithfully, using weight of numbers to make up for what they lacked in military training. The Veracht, fewer but substantially more dangerous in combat, served as stealthy assassins, but could also fight on the battlefield with enough skill to kill or wound Centurions.
Partway into the war, Desha Marad also forged the Vyrak Legions, which were responsible for the deaths of several Centurions and hundreds of civilians.
At the head of the Glorious Armada was Prime Legate Sorrik, who had successfully commanded the Empire's defense against the Ssi-ruuk during the Tribulation. He was aided by subordinate commanders Tariun Sakaros, Breek Zagrev, and Tarse Medrego. Both Rin Sakaros and Jira Zaffrod were capable of Battle Meditation, though only Jira was actively deployed during the war.
The Armada, while recovering from the Tribulation, was vastly larger and better armed than any space force the Reawakened could assemble. However, much of the fleet was deployed in the newly acquired regions of the Empire on border security, leaving a reduced force free for use against the Dark Jedi.
In addition to the Armada, the Empire had over seven hundred Centurions of the Order of Keltrayu. Many were with the diplomats and border guards in the new territories, but the best warriors were recalled for the campaign.
Course of the war
The Reawakened attacked the periphery of the Romasi and Xoquon sectors with ruthless abandon. The Dark Jedi had no desire for conquest, seeking only to utterly destroy everything in their path. They invaded eleven worlds, including Klee`shlyoo`hshee and Oourb'Rest, and massacred billions. However, they were drunk on the surge of the dark side, and when the majority of a population had been exterminated, they often moved on, leaving shreds of the population intact with only token Skavik guards.
The murderous force sacked a twelfth planet, Dolomir, destroying the Dolomir Merchant Officers Academy and killing billions of citizens. However, unlike the first victim worlds, Dolomir was able to get a message to Rin Sakaros detailing the slaughter.
A reconnaissance mission to Dolomir yielded little information before Sacco Vyrak forced the recon party to retreat. When news of the massacres leaked, the Empire began to panic. Shortly after Dolomir fell, the Dark Jedi sent a force of Veracht to assassinate Jira Zaffrod and her family, but they were thwarted by Zahyr and Jira herself.
The Defense of Daispin
Rin used her precognitive powers to predict the Dark Jedi would strike next at Daispin. She sent Aria Nikina, Centurion and Queen of Daispin, along with Rajj-Yo to defend the planet. The two Centurions were aided by a dozen Royal Army cohorts, including the 11th Massassi Cohort under Colonel Eihwaz, and the Star Destroyer Tempest in orbit.
The Defense of Daispin saw thousands of Daispin's citizens die, but the invasion was repulsed and the Empire began to take heart. Sacco Vyrak died in a duel with Aria herself, but though Aria took his head, the Skavik collected his body and took it back to Kizav. Meanwhile, Sorrik formally raised the Romasi Sector Fleet and Xoquon Sector Fleet to guard those two sectors.
Many of the Dark Jedi were infuriated by Vyrak's death, and indeed it started the gradual process of chipping away at the fragile telepathic bond among them. But Desha Marad saw opportunity in Vyrak's demise, and used cells from the Anzat's corpse along with Kizav's nutrient-rich swamps to grow clones. The "Vyrak Legions" were not Vyrak, but they had Anzat strength and reflexes and Vyrak's strength in the Force, as well as combat skills programmed into their minds by Hentral, Marad, and Karshi Saan.
The Vyrak Legions debuted at the Defense of Rykar, where they killed three Centurions and wounded several more. Subsequent generations of clones were used at the Battle of Feldirjo and as Kasavo Shei's guards on Mandos, but it was their participation in the Battle of Harth Gool that moved the war forward. Several Anzat clones had infiltrated a Heshoo city, massacring innocents and making their way toward a public transportation hub. Rather than allow them to spread over Harth Gool and risk the entire population, Tariun Sakaros destroyed the city from orbit, killing both the Anzati and surviving Heshoo civilians.
Incensed beyond all bearing, Rin Sakaros journeyed to the long-buried Vengeance on Kavez Massass, taking her Chiss Centurion Vos'elk'eetash with her. There the two used Sith alchemy to mutate vornskrs, tuk'ata, and the genes of a terentatek into Anzat hounds, Sithspawn deliberately engineered to hunt and kill Anzati. They also turned several Massassi volunteers into Shadow Massassi who could compete with the Veracht, who had recently assassinated two Consuls.
Though the effort took a terrible toll on Selkee and strained relations between Rin and Jadian Star, the Sithspawn were everything the witch queen had hoped they would be. A group of Shadow Massassi butchered several Veracht sent to assassinate the Prince Regnant of Keliso, and in the subsequent Battle of Keliso, the Anzat hounds pursued the Vyrak clones relentlessly across the battlefield, killing them brutally with few casualties.
Disease and destruction
The surviving Dark Jedi (now reduced to seven, following the deaths of Shei, Saan, Merita Ot'kyn, and Wuluro) tried to come up with a plan, but their ability to think clearly weakened increasingly as more of them died. Multiple times the Dark Jedi appeared in systems only to retreat immediately, or deployed invasion forces numbering only dozens which were quickly dispatched by the Empire. Finally, however, Hentral and Marad managed to come up with a plan.
The Dark Jedi attacked Quadia and Voara Culee seized a Ministry of Health center, killing all the scientists and obtaining a sample of the Sickness. The Romasi Sector Fleet retaliated and wiped out the Skavik invaders, but most of the Dark Jedi escaped back to Kizav. Desha Marad copied and weaponized the disease sample, and another sham attack saw Te`net Organi infected. When he returned to the Sith Star for treatment, he accidentally infected Rayne Turgachia as well.
But Tarzg Sav'lir and Jade Star prevented Rin from going to their aid and being infected herself, as the Dark Jedi had schemed. After Elrabin Ralvik employed his psychometry on the severed head of Karshi Saan, Rin read the stolen memories and had Royal Intelligence use the information to find Kizav. The Prime Fleet journeyed there, and Rin used her Force powers to tear apart Kizav's primary. While Hentral and his fleet escaped, Kizav and the majority of its population were killed, along with Desha Marad.
Ending where it started
Knowing some of the Dark Jedi had survived her slaughter, Rin instructed her brother Tariun to go on the Royal HoloNet, mock the Dark Jedi for their impotence, and declare the war over. Hentral was already losing his frail grip on reason with the sudden loss of his base world (and with it most Skavik and Veracht), and the taunts goaded him into action. The Dark Jedi fleet massed and streaked toward Rin's group at Dolomir.
The Battle of Dolomir would be the final engagement of the war. Hentral's fleet attacked the Prime Fleet, arrayed in defensive formation over Dolomir, only to be caught in a pincer when Legate Salin Tesshir brought in the Romasi Sector Fleet to trap them. Voara Culee led a boarding party onto the Sith Star itself, where the Dark Jedi, Skavik, Veracht, and Anzati fought deck-by-deck against the Massassi, Royal Marines, Centurions, and Royal Navy.
In a mirror of that engagement, Breek Zagrev led a boarding party against the enemy flagship, and while she and her team hacked their way through Hentral's layers of defense, the Zeyot assassin Zahyr snuck in and killed Hentral. With Rin using Battle Meditation and Hentral's mental domination suddenly and instantaneously gone, the Dark Jedi fleet began to experience massive casualties. The three Dark Jedi aboard the Sith Star were killed, and the surviving Skavik managed to contact the Empire and surrender.
Between the depredations of the Dark Jedi in their initial conquests, Rin's destruction of Kizav, and the war itself, over ten billion sentient beings died. The twelve worlds ravaged by the invaders petitioned for and received major aid packages from the Royal government, requiring increased taxes on the Empire and the hurried exploitation of several newly acquired resource worlds. On Dolomir, new Consul Rensi Shal-Shatir began a program of trying to get expatriate Doloy to return to "their" homeworld.
Rin Sakaros ordered the Vyrak Legions and the Veracht wiped out to a being. However, the Skavik who survived the Battle of Dolomir surrendered to her. Numerous species and planets demanded that the insectoids face the same fate as the Veracht, but Rin accepted their explanation that they had been working under the domination of their queen and Hentral. Deprived of a queen, they pledged themselves to Rin instead. She kept them classified as prisoners of war and ordered them to assist in the cleanup efforts on the ruined worlds, but sent Royal Army cohorts to keep the peace between the Skavik and the natives. Despite her pardon, several species started anti-Skavik organizations and did everything legally permissible (and sometimes other things) to make the Skavik unwelcome in the Empire.
The Chiss Selkee suffered greatly over the torturous actions she had performed on Kavez Massass in order to harness the power of Sith alchemy. Her self-contempt prevented her from helping Tillandra Moraes heal Te`net Organi and Rayne Turgachia of the Sickness, which only exacerbated her guilt. As a result, Rin appointed Selkee to her Royal Guard, hoping to work with the girl to control and make use of her emotions.