The Imperial Warlords: Despoilers of an Empire, Part 2

Abel G. Peña & Daniel Wallace | December 17, 2013

Did the Rebels truly defeat Palpatine’s Empire at the Battle of Endor? The deep roots of the Star Wars mythos continue exploring that subject with tremendous zeal. In the literature of the galaxy far, far away, the conflict between the Alliance to Restore the Republic and the crumbling Empire has played out in a multitude of wars for years beyond Return of the Jedi. Though the Galactic Civil War finally came to an end with the signing of a peace treaty almost two decades after the desolation of the second Death Star, this no-holds-barred primer profiles the most memorable and powerful Imperial renegades of those intervening years, the so-called “Warlords,” who fought valiantly, viciously, and fanatically for the scraps of the once-glorious First Galactic Empire and whose selfishness ultimately brought about its self-destruction. (In case you missed it, check out part one of “The Imperial Warlords: Despoilers of an Empire.”)

 Superior General Sander Delvardus in Love (~0-8 Years After Endor)

Sander Delvardus

Superior General Delvardus would have traded his entire empire for the love of one woman.

Although married at an early age to an heiress of the influential Tarkin family of Eriadu, Sander Delvardus gained a reputation as the kind of Imperial officer with a lady in every port. By the time he became captain of the Star Destroyer Brilliant, he had fallen hard for a refugee aid worker, Seledra-Zin, on Clak’dor VII. Just to be near her, Delvardus successfully lobbied to become the naval overseer of the Rimma Trade Route under Grand Moff Ardus Kaine so his fleet could stage from Clak’dor.

By all accounts his relationship with his mistress was stormy and, during one argument, he allegedly struck her with a dynamic-hammer, knocking her into a coma. Now an admiral, Delvardus arranged for the installation of a suspended-animation casket in his quarters aboard the Brilliant, guilt-stricken and desperate to restore his love to health.

After the Battle of Endor — with his concern over his mistress’ condition now a full-blown obsession — Delvardus split from Kaine and followed the examples of Harrsk and the Teradocs, laying claim to many worlds on or near the Rimma and Hydian Way in what he proclaimed the Eriadu Authority. His acquisition of a huge ground force of AT-ATs and other walkers from Vondarc caused him to invent the impressive title “Superior General” for himself, a move that irritated the army officers serving under his command, especially the no-nonsense General Maximilian Veers. Delvardus spent years seizing planets where new medical technologies might be found, driven by determination and remorse, at the same time fending off his foremost rival Moff Utoxx Prentioch. But when nothing seemed to revitalize his beloved, he started conquering toward Coruscant and thereupon lost the support of Eriadu’s prominent ruling families. Then, after suffering a string of defeats at the hands of New Republic commanders, including the loss of his hulking battlecruiser Thalassa, he was pushed away completely from the Rimma and to the Deep Core, where he maintained a capital on the world Kampe as the other surviving warlords drew him into a war of attrition.

The Tarkin dynasty and four other families making up the “Quintad” wielded enormous influence over the planet Eriadu and Delvardus

The Tarkin dynasty and four other families making up the “Quintad” wielded enormous influence over the planet Eriadu and Delvardus.

 All seemed lost for the penitent warlord. Yet it was in the Deep Core that the Omnipotent Battle Leader—Emperor Palpatine, who had himself seemingly come back from death—promised Delvardus the means of bringing Seledra-Zin out of her coma in exchange for the superior general’s allegiance.

Desperate, Delvardus agreed. But to his dismay, after the Imperial re-conquest of Coruscant, his fellow warlords fell upon one another once more. Delvardus became convinced that only a devastating tool could impart to him the strength he needed to bring all his rivals to heel. Using nearly every credit in his empire, he finished construction on the Super Star Destroyer Night Hammer — rumored to describe the very circumstances that plunged his beloved into unconsciousness — and installed a sterile med chamber for his dormant mistress in the vessel’s prow.

Tragically, Delvardus was never able to see his plan through to fruition. Recognizing a possibility to end the fighting, he agreed to peace talks with twelve other warlords, and died along with them at the hands of Admiral Natasi Daala. Daala then took the Night Hammer for her own (renaming it the Knight Hammer), as well as commandeering the services of Delvardus’ second-in-command, Colonel Ivan Cronus. Delvardus’ Super Star Destroyer later disintegrated inside the gas giant Yavin during Daala’s attack on Luke Skywalker’s new Jedi academy, taking Delvardus’ sleeping love to her permanent grave.

The Madness of Supreme Warlord Blitzer Harrsk (~0-8 Years After Endor)

Blitzer Harrsk

Prior to the Battle of Endor, Blitzer Harrsk was one of the Imperial Navy’s brightest stars and most respected military minds. Never did anyone expect that doing a friend a favor would turn him into a madman.

Commanding the Star Destroyer Whirlwind, he held sway over the Arrowhead, that portion of the galactic “Slice” region falling within the Core Worlds. However, at the urging of his friend Admiral Firmus Piett of the Super Star Destroyer Executor, Harrsk attached his Arrowhead Command to Darth Vader’s feared Death Squadron to strengthen the Emperor’s trap at Endor. Nonetheless, the Rebels gained the upper hand in the fray and an exploding console sent a durasteel chunk stabbing through his left eye and the left frontal lobe of his brain. With Harrsk temporarily incapacitated, his second-in-command Bolla Thoath agreed to follow Captain Pellaeon’s orders that the Imperial fleet flee Endor and regroup at Annaj.

Within the hour, Harrsk had regained consciousness in a bacta tank, though he was forever a changed man. Blind in the pierced eye with his face half melted, he was suddenly cruel to his subordinates and megalomaniacal in the extreme. He argued and raved against Pellaeon and others until, fed up, he departed with a fleet loyal to him for the hidden Imperial systems in the nearly-unnavigable Deep Galactic Core—a move that was considered just shy of insane. But such was Harrsk’s fame for brilliance that many followed him, including Captain Bolla Thoath. Indeed, Harrsk found a safe path through the hazardously dense region of space and commandeered an instant empire, which he dubbed Zero Command, becoming the first of the post-Endor Imperial warlords. Other self-proclaimed warlords soon followed suit, but Harrsk — who had replaced his slagged eye with a synthetic droid optical sensor — kept an edge thanks to his reputation, which lead to the acquisition of fleet elements from Imperials hoping to cast their lot with the ultimate victor. That included the forces formerly under the command of the late Grand Admiral Batch, assassinated by his own mutinous crew.

Captain Thoath, however, noticed just how erratic his commander’s decision-making process was becoming. He attacked his rivals without rhyme or reason, and at times it was only Thoath’s last-minute intervention that saved them from a crushing defeat. Furthermore, Harrsk’s reliance on the Deep Core seemed to the captain to ultimately prove his undoing. It was from here that a resurrected Darth Sidious surreptitiously planned a titanic offensive against the New Republic, and when the Omnipotent Battle Leader revealed himself, the newly-anointed Supreme Warlord Harrsk immediately committed to him — apparently not completely remembering or realizing the Emperor was supposed to be dead, much to Thoath’s dismay. When Palpatine absorbed Harrsk’s fringe kingdom, much of his military perished in the battles that followed. Then, after the detonation of the reborn Emperor’s throneworld Byss, Harrsk restored what power he could, but the Deep Core soon erupted in full-scale “warlord wars.”

Daala

Admiral Natasi Daala hatched a deadly plot against Harrsk and the other warlords of the Deep Core.

Supreme Warlord Harrsk later forced Admiral Daala to lead his fleet against High Admiral Treuten Teradoc, but she betrayed him and arranged for all thirteen Deep Core warlords to meet for a peace conference on the asteroid Tsoss Beacon. When none of the participants could put aside their bickering, Daala used poison gas to exterminate them all, including Harrsk.

Ironically, however, many of the vital centers in Harrsk’s brain necessary for the gas to take effect had already been destroyed during his accident at the Battle of Endor. Leaving the other warlords’ carcasses to fester, a disoriented Harrsk escaped the would-be tomb, determined to revenge himself on Daala. The warlord wasn’t exactly ungrateful, either, seeing as how Daala had eliminated his chief competition—and believing him already dead, she would never see him coming.

But vengeance was not to be. When Harrsk boarded his TIE shuttle, piloted by Thoath, he told his surprised subordinate of his narrow escape of Daala’s treachery. Unsure if Harrsk had finally gone utterly stark raving mad or was simply unkillable, Thoath, who had often contemplated the mutiny of Grand Admiral Batch’s crew, suddenly took courage from Daala’s action and took matters into his own hands to end the madness of Supreme Warlord Harrsk once and for all. He abruptly sent the shuttle into a tailspin, grappling with the warlord as Harrsk fought to wrest control of the transport now spiraling inexorably toward the asteroid below, his yellow optical eye flashing incandescent with rage. But as the two men thrashed, a very distant part of Harrsk’s devastated brain vaguely realized that Captain Thoath in fact couldn’t be here — for he recalled watching Thoath die in the same explosion that had claimed his own sanity at the Battle of Endor…

And in that moment, as the terrible truth dawned on him, the once-genius admiral—who had been one of the most admired minds in the Imperial military … who had become the madman Harrsk/Thoath — slammed the TIE shuttle into the asteroid, suicidally annihilating them both.

The Brothers Teradoc and the Crimson Command (~0-9 Years After Endor)

Treuten Teradoc

Tactically brilliant, the brothers Teradoc were bitter rivals almost from the moment they were born. One considered himself a fearless combatant, the other a holochess master moving pieces around the dejarik board. In reality, their fraternal animosity turned them both into pawns of others’ machinations.

Treuten and Kosh Teradoc, born a year apart into a hardscrabble family on Er’Kit, joined the Imperial Navy to live out their boyhood dreams of playing at Piethet Brighteyes and the raiders of the Ryloth Ark—the only time they’d ever really gotten along. Although poor physical specimens, the Teradocs excelled at naval theory and worked fanatically to outperform one another in the Corulag Academy. This one-upmanship paid off when they achieved the rank of captain almost simultaneously, part of a Victory-class Star Destroyer rapid-response taskforce under High Admiral Zsinj, assigned to quell threats in the Quelii Oversector. Part of the reason for their fast promotion was that the 100 VSDs of the “Crimson Command” were old and small, and hull-plated with distinctive red havod alloy instead of traditional, battleship-gray doonium. These puny “pink” antiques did not match the masculine ideal of most young Imperial officers; in their sibling rivalry, however, Treuten and Kosh didn’t care—until, that is, Treuten was promoted to high admiral over his younger brother and took command of the fleet. The situation became intolerable for Kosh as the older Teradoc took every opportunity to rub it in his face—thus goading Kosh into clutching an admiralty of his own aboard a bigger, more modern Imperial II-class Star Destroyer, Lancet, and scorning his big brother’s outdated girly boats.

As neither of the Teradocs was present at the Endor debacle, both took a cue from the rash of Imperials going renegade and acted immediately—mostly in fear of his near relation getting the better of him. Perhaps the most reckless was Kosh, who, with little to lose, followed the example of the wily Admiral Harrsk and hastily struck out for the perilous promise of the Deep Core. Treuten, on the other hand, offered several frightened Imperial planets guaranteed protection by the Crimson Command in exchange for their loyalty. With their planetary militias added to his own might, Treuten put Grand Moff Ambris Selit under house arrest and attracted still more worlds until he had amassed a good-sized Mid-Rim kingdom in the Greater Maldrood Sector—which he knew Kosh would envy with every atom of his being.

But Kosh did well himself. Fighting for his very survival amongst the ludicrously clustered stars, plasma-writhing leviathans like colossal deities of war, he became more introspective, disciplined and dedicated to the art of warfare than ever. Alternately allying with and against Harrsk, Kosh set up a miniature empire around the Deep Core, constantly fighting off and absorbing opposing Imperial contenders. His wild success filled Kosh with immense arrogance, laying claim to the rank of high admiral, and instead of aspiring to comparison with a mere pirate, as in the days of his youth, the golden-haired conqueror now likened himself to the the near-invincible warlords Mandalore the First or Zakrinand Minus of the Republic’s early Unification Wars: ruling by brute strength and providence.

By comparison, Treuten stayed far from combat, sending other ships of the Crimson Command to die in his place in hit-and-run tactics, stealing the spectacular treasure stockpile of Space Station Scardia and growing fat from too much time spent in his ship’s galley. Yet, he viewed his holdings as evidence that he was a charming, daring rogue and took to brandishing an obsolete cutlass in imitation of the legendary raider Piethet Brighteyes while striding the bridge of his flagship 13X. Four years after Endor, however, he received a reality check when he barged into a fight between the New Republic and the Empire over the scraps of Warlord Zsinj’s territory, and made himself such an irritant that both governments vowed to squash him. Suddenly, Treuten had to beg for help from the vast new military force his little brother had accumulated.

Greater Maldrood

The Greater Maldrood Sector, one part of the Federated Teradoc Union, bordered on Warlord Zsinj’s territory and Hutt space.

After smugly coming to Treuten’s rescue, Kosh consolidated their Deep Core and Mid-Rim territories under the Federated Teradoc Union, a sizable kingdom which they kept expanding by conquering each toward the other. At one point, their alliance almost fell apart as the coquettish moff-turned-pirate Leonia Tavira played the covetous brothers against one another. Yet, they managed to curb their jealousies long enough to pledge allegiance to the shadowy Omnipotent Battle Leader on the throneworld of Byss. All-out war with the New Republic broke out soon after.

Treuten fared badly during this conflict—orchestrated by the reincarnated Emperor Palpatine — and though he held on to most of his Crimson Command, a disgusted Kosh ordered his ineffectual brother and his battered fleet to the Deep Core while he himself attempted to preserve their Mid-Rim holdings. However, now with Vice-Admiral Pellaeon in charge of his ships — and wishing to prove himself to his runt sibling — Treuten prepared a new campaign to unseat the Teradocs’ chief Deep Core adversary, the increasingly insane Supreme Warlord Harrsk. What he didn’t count on, though, was Pellaeon’s impatience for petty feuds, and the vice-admiral’s treasonous alliance instead with Admiral Daala…who asphyxiated the principal Deep Core warlords on poison gas, including Treuten, at the conclusion of a failed round of peace talks and claimed their assets.

Treuten’s death dealt a profound blow to Kosh, who now saw all their years of bitter squabbling for what it was. He held onto a reduced Greater Maldrood for another year until succumbing to sentimentality and the temptation of retirement. New Republic Intelligence’s agents, the Wraiths, tricked Kosh into accepting a seemingly priceless artifact, to add to Treuten’s treasure hoard, originating from the brothers’ childhood infatuation: the fabled plunder of the Palace of Piethet Brighteyes. Sadly, in truth this bejeweled antiquity was a specially dressed bomb. And so finally the last brother Teradoc joined his departed sibling in fraternal tranquility.

Supreme Commander Ennix Devian and the Hardliners (~0-9 years after Endor)

EnnixDevian

Reviled as a thug who wielded his hyper-conservative values like a deadly club, Ennix Devian himself claimed to be but a loyal soldier simply intent on returning the Empire to its days of misogynistic, anti-alien glory under Palpatine. Yet, while veiling himself in humility, his insatiable hunger for absolute dominion bred his downfall.

In his youth, the blond and blue-eyed killer was believed to have grown up in the alien slums of Abregado-Rae before joining the Commission for the Protection of the Republic—a patriotic organization sponsored by Palpatine while still Supreme Chancellor—where he acquired a reputation for harassing his less dedicated peers. When the group evolved to become the Commission for the Preservation of the New Order, or COMPNOR, under the Galactic Empire, it was just a short jump for Devian to its militarized arm, the Imperial Security Bureau. There Devian’s flair for brutally ferreting out of any deficiency of jingoism disgusted party founder Ardus Kaine, beginning a lifelong feud. However, his rabid behavior also garnered party leader Crueya Vandron’s approval … and ultimately Palpatine’s personal notice.

Devian appertained to a rare elite that admitted Admiral Screed, Advisor Doriana and Moff Trachta: Imperials who, while not Force-sensitive, were extremely close to the Emperor. Assigned to Vader for “refinement,” Devian was thrown into the deep end, compelled to spar with darksiders such as Antinnis Tremayne. It was during these duels that Vader robbed Devian’s sight from his right eye, cybernetically replacing it as was the Sith Lord’s cathartic predilection. Still, Devian held his own, coming to favor a Falleen bladed-trident in combat. Yet the cruelest trial to which Vader put him was dropping the would-be assassin unarmed on Honoghr, siccing a hunting party of Noghri Death Commandos after him—a test typically reserved only for Vader’s most promising apprentices, such as the firebrand Tao or codename: Starkiller.

Amazingly, Devian survived, slaying most of the alien killing machines, and Vader grudgingly acknowledged to Darth Sidious that the man was ready. Palpatine dubbed Devian his Kaarenth Impaler— after the unyieldingly faithful protectors of the extinct Paecian Empire — deploying the butcher after stormtrooper deserters, military defectors to the Rebel Alliance, Lusankya prisoners and escapees beyond rehabilitation or anyone the Emperor perceived as betraying their oath to him. With the assistance of his old COMPNOR compatriot Bernard Vota, he also setup a secret storehouse on the lifeless planetoid RZ7-6113-23. Rerouting and stashing weapons and ships there over the years, scheduled for decommission or destruction, Devian repaired and maintained them, telling himself his actions were a failsafe against some catastrophe — for his master’s sake, of course.

When Palpatine and Vader died at Endor, Devian retreated to the RZ7-6113-23 base on the galactic outskirts, ringed by disloyal Imperials like Drommel, Krennel and Zsinj. But the one that most got under his skin was Grand Moff Ardus Kaine. The pompous fop had always questioned Devian’s sincere allegiance to Palpatine, while the blond enforcer likewise doubted the Sartinaynian’s honest commitment to the High Human Culture principles of COMPNOR. Bordered by all these self-serving traitors, Devian initiated a clandestine crusade, the Kaarenth Dissension: hardliners dedicated to “the sacred Restoration of the True Empire of Palpatine.”

Devian’s initial forays into warlordism were audacious if discrete. One of his coups of apparatus procurement were two incomplete types of habitation sphere known as worldcrafts being built in Coruscant’s orbit. One of these hyperspace-capable artificial planetoids, in fact, had been intended as a gift for Devian from Palpatine himself, in recognition of his merciless service. (The other, to Devian’s delight, had been intended for Kaine.) The cost of completing them, however, would’ve proven exorbitant. So Devian rerouted them to opposite ends of the galaxy: one to the Moddell sector and the other to the Spawn Nebula.

“The resemblance of unfinished worldcrafts to Death Star battlestations is uncanny.”

Given the unfinished worldcrafts’ similarity in appearance to Death Stars, he mocked one of these up to bamboozle Rebel forces with a sophisticated feint at their temporary Alliance of Free Planets capital on Endor. Though the pseudo-battle station was destroyed (with the help of a Star Tours spaceliner, no less), the diversion allowed Dissension forces to stealthily hijack countless warships from neighboring Alliance shipyards. Meanwhile, the second habitation sphere remained hidden, repurposed into a repair facility and shipyard hub. With the fall of Grand Moff Nivers, Zsinj and others to the New Republic, Devian collected these warlords’ castoffs to cultivate another Dissension fleet secluded in the Spawn Nebula.

For all his furtive planning, however, Devian never anticipated the resurrection of the master whose legacy he was supposedly upholding. When he heard the rumors of the mysterious Omnipotent Battle Leader and saw the Imperial factions reunited, he couldn’t believe the Emperor was reborn — and, indeed, he chose not to. Instead, Devian took advantage of the chaos, as the warlords reverted to their old hostilities almost immediately. This included aligning himself with his old fanatical comrades, COMPNOR and the Imperial Security Bureau, many of which had already joined his cause when Kaine’s Pentastar Alignment made the decision to merge their division with their despicable competitors, Imperial Intelligence. Among these recruits was the silver-tongued Commander Meres Ulcane, whom Devian charged with fanning the enmity of the Outer Rim’s nonhumans against the New Republic.

Kiara Schmong was one of these dim-witted Sullustan turncoats, helping the Dissension seize heavy ion cannon technology—based on the Separatist superweapon Malevolence—from the laboratories of the Federated Teradoc Union and providing Devian with New Republic E-wings that would help lure Grand Moff Kaine to his satisfactory demise. Arming many of his ships with this firepower, Devian turned the ion technology against Imperial and New Republic targets alike. But the Kaarenth Dissension suffered a setback when an infiltration team armed with unstable illerium havocked the worldcraft in the Spawn Nebula along with much of the fleet, liquidating Ulcane.

But the attack actually gave Devian an idea. If he could obtain enough illerium of his own, or some other volatile substance such as zinethium or Nergon-14, he could decimate the galactic capital and its leadership, bringing down the New Republic. Leaving nothing to chance, he also enlisted the aid of a wayward darksider named Durrei, hoping he might locate an arcane artifact that possibly precipitated the supernova of the Kashi system’s sun many millennia prior — though when Durrei’s usefulness ran its course, Devian betrayed him and his lover, the cyborg Arden Lyn, to his old sparring partner High Inquisitor Tremayne.

Finally, the mysterious freelancer Nom Anor not only appropriated the explosive zinethium Devian required for his galactic capital attack but offered to pick up where Ulcane had left off, rousing the elements of the Outer Rim against the New Republic, and positioned the Imperial Ruling Council to cannibalize itself.

After the other warlords had fought themselves to pieces in civil war, their remains became united under Admiral Gilad Pellaeon and prepared to engage in a peace treaty with the New Republic. Sensing weakness, Devian — who had laid claim to Vader’s old title of Supreme Commander of the Imperial Forces — unleashed his full might, throwing the Dissension’s entire fleet at these Imperial capitulators while tricking the last of Palpatine’s Royal Guards, Kir Kanos, into delivering a payload of zinethium to the Presidential Palace’s doorstep on Coruscant. Unfortunately, the bomb plot was foiled by Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, and Pellaeon outmaneuvered the Dissension fleet, thanks to a warning by Kanos. Devian, believing his training under Vader made him a match for the former Royal Guard, engaged Kanos in combat, nearly defeating him. In a moment of arrogance, however, as Devian confessed that his loyalty to Palpatine after all these years had merely served his own ambitions, Kanos drove his blade through the hypocrite’s heart, ending the Kaarenth Dissension and Devian’s dream of supremacy over a restored Empire.

Deviandies

The end of Devian.

To be continued….

Abel G. Peña is the author of dozens of Star Wars fiction and nonfiction articles for Star Wars Insider, Star Wars Gamer, Star Wars Fact Files and StarWars.com, a co-author of Vader: The Ultimate Guide and Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide, and a translator of rare and forgotten Star Wars comics. Abel’s work has also appeared in the anthology Italy From a Backpack, Dungeon/Polyhedron and the Wizards of the Coast official website. Abel can be found at abelgpena.com, Facebook and Twitter.

 Daniel Wallace is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Characters, as well as many more books that explore the underpinnings of the Star Wars universe including The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force and Book of Sith: Secrets of the Dark Side. He has written for other universes, too, including Indiana Jones, Smallville, Supernatural, DC Comics and Marvel Comics.

Sources

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Wanted by Cracken

Who’s Who: Imperial Grand Admirals

X-Wing: Isard’s Revenge

X-Wing: Mercy Kill

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X-Wing: Solo Command

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