The Foundry's specifications match those of three other space stations known by history. Each of these legendary stations could manufacture technology on a massive scale. One xenoformed planets; another built fleets of ships...
—Darth Malgus in a transmission to Lord Kallig
Azarac, occasionally referred to by the more archaic Acrolis, was the sole planet in the Seven Deaths system of the East Spinward sector, a remote and sparsely populated region of the Outer Rim Territories Tingel Arm. A terrestrial world steeped in the Force, Azarac was settled by a number of Force-sensitive species over the course of its history, including the Rakata and Red Sith.
Azarac was terraformed from a barren rock to a verdant paradise by the joint application of the Rakatan xenoforming station and terraforming space station, during the twilight of the Infinite Empire. For its remote location and general inaccessibility, the planet was chosen as the site for a myriad labyrinthine subterranean facilities that together housed a wealth of Rakatan secrets and experimental technology.
Several centuries after the failed Rakatan Invasion of Korriban and death of the Red Sith king Adas, the planet was colonized by a group of Red Sith refugees fleeing the strife and turmoil on their homeworld. These Sith were discovered and enslaved by the Rakatans over the next two millennia. With the fall of the Infinite Empire, the Sith turned on their masters and drove them from the planet, but not before suffering an orbital bombardment from the retreating Rakatan fleet that devastated the planet's surface.
Evolving into a distinct subspecies called the Tsis, the Red Sith residents of Azarac established themselves as the regional hegemons of their sector, building an empire in the deserted outer reaches of the Tingel Arm. Armed with ancient Rakatan technology and empowered by the Force, the Tsis resisted the outside influences of a number of successive governments, including the True Sith Empire and Galactic Republic, seeking to acquire Tsis territories as a foothold in the Unknown Regions.
The planet Azarac was originally the fourth planet in a system of seven worlds located in the Outer Rim Territories East Spinward sector, itself nestled at the furthest reaches of the Tingel Arm. The system was unique among star systems in that it sat above the galactic plane, distant from the clusters that once birthed its star. From the planet's surface, the plane of the galaxy could be seen stretching out beneath the world. Though it initially shared space with six other worlds, by 25,200 BBY, Azarac was the sole planet in the system, with the former worlds reduced to a vast system-wide asteroid field by Rakatan experiments in terraformation. Only its asteroid moon, Lune, survived the Infinite Empire's stay in the region. The destruction of these six worlds and the devastation of Azarac during the Rakatan-Sith war gave the system its name, the Seven Deaths.
Prior to its discovery and terraformation, Azarac was a barren, inhospitable world with a thin atmosphere and no native lifeforms. However, what drew the attention of the Infinite Empire was the world's inexplicably high connection to the Force, a fact which made transit to the system via Rakatan Force-powered hyperdrive technology possible.
The Rakatans saw the world as a suitable test subject for the recently completed Rakatan xenoforming station and terraforming space station, a pair of platforms of the same caliber as the Star Forge and Foundry. Transformed from a barren, dusty rock to a verdant paradise, Azarac hosted a vibrant, lush ecosystem and oxygen-rich atmosphere suitable for habitation. Creatures, sentient and non-sentient alike, were imported from across the galaxy for study by Rakatan terraformation researchers.
An armed Sith revolt against Rakatan rule around 25,200 BBY resulted in the destruction of the world's ecosystem. A sustained orbital bombardment, a common Rakatan military tactic used to quell opposition, by the retreating Imperial forces devastated the planet's surface, converting the once-lush environment to dusty, barren plains devoid of life. Though protected forests, glens, and valleys survived in isolated corners of the world, much of the planet was rendered inhospitable by the attack. It remained locked in this state for much of its history, though by the time of the Great Hyperspace War, several of the continents had recovered significantly thanks to conservation efforts and the planet's high Force connection.
Terraformation and early conflicts Edit
This remote world was first discovered by the Rakata around 28,000 BBY, during the twilight years of their Infinite Empire. Though it was little more than a barren rock lost in a lifeless system, the planet possessed an above-average connection to the Force that made it the perfect target for the Force-powered hyperdrive technology of the ancient Rakata. In an attempt to settle the world, the Infinite Empire terraformed Azarac with the aid of the Rakatan xenoforming station and Rakatan terraforming space station, a pair of orbital platforms referred to as two of the ancient wonders of the Infinite Empire. With the successful terraformation of Azarac, the stations were temporarily parked in orbit above Azarac's sun for use on the other planets in the system.
Transformed from a barren world to a verdant paradise, Azarac was subsequently settled by small numbers of Rakatan colonists and research personnel dispatched to study Azarac and explore the results of terraformation. In the ensuing centuries, the system played host to Rakatan experiments in terraformation and xenoformation. Such experiments were believed to have been responsible for the destruction of the other six worlds in the system, either through failed attempts to transform these worlds or tests into the use of the space stations as military assets.
Around 27,500 BBY, several groups of Red Sith fleeing the war and conflict on their native Korriban arrived on Azarac with the intention of settling the planet. Having lost their late king Adas to the Infinite Empire's failed invasion of their homeworld, the Sith quickly went on the offensive against the Rakatans, showing no mercy and giving no quarter. However, despite their greater numbers, the Sith were unable to provide an adequate military response to the Rakatans' more advanced technological capabilities. Without an inspiring leader like Adas to lead them, the Sith were defeated and enslaved by the Rakatans. For the next several millennia, they were forced to assist in the construction of Rakatan building projects or were shipped offworld to serve as Force-sensitive fuel for Rakatan starships.
Expulsion of the Infinite Empire Edit
The decline of the Infinite Empire over the next two millennia and the arrival of the Rakata-targeting Force-based plague on Azarac put the Rakatan colonists on the back foot. Bereft of their Force-sensitivity and support from the fracturing Empire, the Rakatans were unable to answer to Sith slave revolts. United under the banner of a slave-turned-warrior named Asmenys, the Sith revolts became more organized than previous rebellions, coordinating multi-prong attacks on isolated Rakatan outposts and taking no prisoners.
The Azarac Predor, Bala'zar, decided to cut his losses and risk a return to Lehon, making preparations for a withdrawal from Azarac. As the Rakatans required many Force-sensitive Sith slaves and prisoners to fuel their starships for the duration of the voyage, Bala'zar recalled the planet's disparate garrisons to the Temple of Azarac and consolidated his hold on the region surrounding the Rakatan capital. Systematically putting down the local rebellions, the Rakatans extracted what able-bodied slaves they could, executing those Sith who were too sickly or aged to serve as suitable fuel sources.
Within weeks, Asmenys and his followers converged on the capital, intent on enacting revenge. Coordinating an extensive nighttime invasion of the Rakatan capital, the Sith carved their way through the city's automated defenses and encircled the Temple itself. Personally fighting his way through the startled defenders, Asmenys engaged the Predor Bala'zar in single combat and slew him and his chief officers upon the steps of the Temple, though not before suffering a mortal wound from the Predor's Forcesaber. Their morale shattered, the remaining Rakatans scattered in fear and were systematically hunted down by the Sith over the next few days. The remaining Rakatans in orbit elected to withdraw from the system and attempt the perilous journey to Lehon with the slaves they had. Determined to prevent the Sith from claiming a victory, the retreating fleet coordinated an extensive orbital bombardment intended to reduce the planet to the barren rock it once had been.
Though they were successful in driving the last vestiges of the Infinite Empire from their system, the Sith had paid dearly for their victory. Azarac's ecosystem had sustained heavy damage during the bombardment, converting much of the planet's formerly lush terrain into charred lifeless plains that extended across continents. With few sustainable regions unaffected by the attack, many Sith tribes died out, leaving only the hardiest of survivors to repopulate the world.
Dark ages and evolution Edit
With the official fall of the Infinite Empire in 25,200 BBY, Azarac was forgotten by the greater galaxy. For the next twenty millennia, the Sith remnant on Azarac scratched out a living in the few remaining fertile areas left on their world, isolated from outside contact. Unable to engage in their traditional tribe-based ranging practices, the Sith stuck together in local oases and developed a more unified social structure and language that extended across the planet. As they had not been a spacefaring species for millennia, the Sith of Azarac, thereafter referred to by the archaic self-referential Proto-Sith word Tsis, were left undiscovered for countless ages.
During this time, their species experienced a significant evolutionary paradigm shift as survivor colonies were forced to adapt to the conditions of their world. Though the species' characteristic red skin tone served to camouflage the Sith from predators in the red wastes of Korriban, it stuck out in the blackened plains, dark forests, and gray mountains of Azarac. Mutant survivors with darker, more subdued skin tones survived longer than their bright red skinned cousins and were more likely to disseminate their genetic distinctiveness to the greater tribe. As a result, the Tsis lost their red complexion in favor of a dull maroon coloration. As traversal over treacherous mountainous terrain and extensive forests became the norm, the traditional three-clawed hands of the Sith were replaced by four to five more dexterous digits capable of climbing and gripping such terrain with ease.
Among their earliest experiments, the Rakatans had imported non-sentient creatures from across the Empire in an attempt to breed Force-sensitive hunters capable of going toe-to-toe with Force-using species on the Rakatans' behalf. In the intervening millennia, the test subjects who had survived the planet's ecological shift had mutated into dangerous Force-enhanced predators evolved to devour the Tsis. Those Tsis survivors bereft of Force-sensitivity did not last long against the wildlife of Azarac, leading to an evolutionary predisposition towards Force-sensitivity among the surviving clans.
Early expansion Edit
Over time, as their evolutionary development cemented their hegemony as the apex predator of their world, the Tsis turned their eyes outwards towards the stars. Their society unified into a single cultural entity, the Tsis focused their attention on the remnants of Rakata technology remaining on their planet and its moon, Lune. Though the Rakatan ships that had brought their ancestors to Azarac had long since turned to dust, many of the Infinite Empire's temples, research structures, and military bases on Azarac and Lune had survived intact over the millennia. Many of these were still stocked with supplies, weapons, and transport crafts abandoned during the Rakatans' hasty retreat from the system. Scavenging what they could, the Tsis cobbled together a small fleet of restored Rakatan ships to scout their system and the surrounding sector.
The East Spinward sector was sparsely populated, with barely a hundred inhabitable worlds in total in as many systems. Sentient species were few in number and primitive, offering little resistance to Tsis expansion. With no regional hegemon in the sector, the Tsis expanded outward with ease onto what worlds they could over the intervening millennia. Native species were enslaved and shipped offworld to work on Tsis projects, leaving space for small groups of intrepid Tsis colonists to settle.
The Tsis Worlds, as they came to be called, embraced a modified feudal system of government that placed heavy influence upon the importance of merit. Each world was generally ruled by a powerful Force user titled a grafas ("count" or "duke" in Proto-Sith), who possessed a seat on the High Council and who governed his realm with absolute authority. However, as merit was important to the Tsis, the title of grafas frequently changed hands as more qualified and powerful individuals arose to replace the presiding grafas. The collective realm was itself ruled by a daritha (a word meaning "emperor" borrowed directly from ancient Rakatan), who too was subject to the same expectations regarding merit as his vassals. Ruling from the Rakatan Temple of Azarac, the daritha exercised absolute control over the Tsis people, but could be replaced by any powerful grafas on the High Council at any time, provided the contender possessed a significant powerbase.
In the aftermath of the Sith Empire's defeat in the Great Hyperspace War, a Sith Lord by the name of Vitiate withdrew with his followers from Sith space to Dromund Kaas, there establishing the True Sith Empire. Over a millennium, the Sith Empire gathered its strength and engaged the Galactic Republic from afar, employing proxies to test the Republic's strength and probe for weaknesses.
In an attempt to strengthen his empire for the inevitable war with the Republic, Vitiate sought to acquire all four of the ancient wonders of the Infinite Empire. The Star Forge he found over Ada in the Lehon system, courtesy of Darth Revan. The Foundry, located in an asteroid in the remote Nanth'ri system, was also discovered by Revan during the Jedi Civil War but not revealed to the Emperor until several centuries later. The Rakatan terraforming space station and Rakatan xenoforming station, however, came to Vitiate's ears as naught but nameless rumors and whispers, and his agents searched desperately for any trace of their existence.
In the search for these missing stations, Vitiate's scouts discovered ancient Rakatan records mentioning the successful terraformation of Azarac. Scouting missions into the heart of the Valdiastsis revealed the Red Sith ancestry of the Tsis and the presence of Rakatan libraries and archives on Azarac that were believed to hold information regarding the terraformation process, though no trace of the stations were found in Tsis space. Since the potential danger of revealing the True Sith Empire prematurely was too great, Vitiate chose not to initiate contact with the Tsis until the start of the war with the Republic.
Instead, he turned to the use of proxies to achieve his ends. Masquerading as underworld artifact smugglers, Vitiate's agents organized a series of expeditions to Azarac aimed at recovering all data regarding Azarac's terraformation from the Rakatan structures on the surface. However, they had underestimated the ferocity of the Tsis and extent of the power they wielded. Though technologically primitive by comparison and armed with obsolete Rakatan weaponry, the Tsis were heavily Force-sensitive and highly motivated to defend their world. Believing the surface of Azarac was sacred, the Tsis accounted the presence of santuras (pejorative term for "non-Tsis outsiders") on their world as blasphemy and gave no quarter in their efforts to remove them. Each of Vitiate's expeditions were unsuccessful in forcing entry to the archives.
Great Galactic War Edit
The reveal of the True Sith Empire to the galaxy led to the start of the decades-long Great Galactic War with the Galactic Republic. Though Vitiate briefly considered an armed invasion of the Tsis Worlds in pursuit of the information he sought, the ferocity the Tsis had displayed in defense of their homeworld, in conjunction with the poor quality and remote location of the resource-poor Tsis Worlds, convinced him to focus his efforts through less costly diplomatic channels. In an effort to win over the Tsis to the Empire and gather information pertaining to the lost Rakatan space stations, Sith Pureblood members of the Imperial Diplomatic Service were dispatched to Azarac bearing gifts of technology superseding anything previously encountered within the Valdiastsis. The Daritha Noretivas and many high ranking grafas of the Council were invited to tour the nascent Empire as guests of honor and see all the Emperor had wrought.
Though impressed with the Empire's level of technological sophistication and the refined Force abilities displayed by the Sith Lords, the Tsis took issue with much of the Empire's pageantry and nomenclature. The use of the word "Sith," meaning "perfect" in Proto-Sith and used to denote the Sith'ari or "perfect being," bordered on sacrilege in the eyes of the Tsis. The Sith'ari concept was a divine archetype of perfection unattainable by most Tsis, and the application of the word to the mostly-Human Force-users in the Empire was akin to blasphemy.
As such, the Tsis referred to the Sith as krevasbrolis, a Proto-Sith compound word loosely translated as "impostor" or "pretender." Though 97.8% of the Sith Empire's population had some degree of Red Sith blood, with many still possessing the red skin and bone spurs of their ancestors, the Tsis considered them to be mongrels polluted with human blood from experiments in Sith alchemy. The Tsis believed the Tsis alone were the rightful descendants of the Red Sith of Adas's empire, pure and untainted by outsider corruption, and referred to the True Sith Empire as stotazt valdias ant tashas, loosely "the kingdom built on lies."
However, despite their distaste for Sith culture, the Tsis were not unwilling to sign a non-aggression agreement and trade alliance with the Empire, believing they could gain much from a profitable relationship with the superpower. As the Tsis restricted santuras from setting foot on sacred Azarac, the moon of Lune was instead settled by a wide variety of traders, diplomats, and tourists from across the galaxy. As it became a crossroads settlement lying between the Chiss Ascendency, True Sith Empire, and the worlds of the Tingel Arm, Lune was soon blanketed in a vast continent-wide city and became a minor center of Outer Rim commerce.
Cold War Edit
After decades of warfare, the Great Galactic War ground to a halt with the Sacking of Coruscant and the subsequent Treaty. Granted a brief respite from conflict, the great powers of the galaxy settled into a state of cold war and turned inward to nurse their wounds. Though the Sith Emperor's central focus at the time was prying the location of the Foundry from the captive Revan's mind, he maintained a passive interest in uncovering the secrets of the Rakatan terraforming and xenoforming stations, an interest that required Rakatan information belonging to the Tsis.
Noretivas, the longtime daritha of the Tsis, was wary of the Emperor's requests for information on the lost Rakatan space stations, believing that the information represented the only leverage his people had over the Empire in preventing a hostile invasion of the Tsis Worlds. As such, he hesitated in providing the Imperial diplomats with anything more than cursory information relating to Azarac's terraformation and related history. Making the educated guess that the repeated outsider expeditions to Azarac's Rakatan structures mentioned in Tsis records were in some way related to Vitiate's interest in the space stations, Noretivas tasked his most loyal subjects with removing the relevant sources of information from Azarac, hiding incomplete extracts in remote vaults across the Valdiastsis.
Though not publicly supportive of the Republic, Noretivas began to view that government as the lesser of two evils, a distant regime with less of an imperialist bent than the alternative. Eager to obtain an ally within striking distance of Imperial space and a bulwark separating the Empire from its Chiss Ascendency ally, the Supreme Chancellor Saresh dispatched Republic SIS agents to help prevent Rakatan secrets from falling into the hands of the Empire. Fighting a proxy war, the SIS and Vitiate's Imperial Intelligence operatives clashed throughout Tsis space in a bitter competition to place their chosen proxies in seats of power. Despite support from the Tsis citizenry, who continued to look upon the Sith as upstarts and heretics, Noretivas and his party were wary of angering the superpower on their eastern border, and made no public attempts to associate themselves with the Republic.
Galactic War and isolation Edit
The violation of the Treaty of Coruscant led to the re-ignition of hostilities between the Empire and Republic. Relieved that the Emperor's attentions were once again diverted elsewhere, Noretivas and the Tsis continued their under-the-table attempts to court the Republic. However, the unexpected death of the Emperor at the hands of the Jedi Knight known as the Hero of Tython emboldened the Tsis to take action in support of their sovereignty. With the Sith temporarily blindsided by the loss of their leader, Noretivas took the opportunity to sign a non-aggression agreement and trade alliance with the Republic, pledging not to intervene in Republic operations in the vicinity of the Tsis Worlds.
Over the course of the war, the Tsis retreated within their own empire, hesitant to engage in the affairs of the greater galaxy. Though they continued to support trade with the outside galaxy, they contented themselves with solidifying their rule over their sector and its associated worlds. Replacing their reliance on local feudal levies raised from the planetary citizenry in times of war, the Tsis established an elite standing army of professional soldiers, applying the military organization and structure they had glimpsed within the Sith Empire to the particulars of their own unique culture. Equipped with ancient Tsis warmasks and armed with Forcesabers and lanvaroks, the Tsis military became a force with which to contend despite its small size. These so-called "Kovoti reforms," named after the daritha who instituted them, solidified Tsis supremacy over their worlds.
The Tsis were judged too remote and inconsequential to merit an invasion by the Eternal Empire. A series of half-hearted Zakuulan incursions into Tsis space were handily repulsed by the reformed Tsis military, and no further attempts were made to subdue the Valdiastsis. With the eventual fall of the True Sith Empire, the Tsis Worlds saw an influx of Sith Pureblood Force users and former Imperial military personnel fleeing from the conflict in the Sith Worlds. As such, the growth of non-Tsis populations within the Valdiastsis resulted in occasional Human grafas and darithas, and the decline and erosion of Tsisocentrism in the region led to the inclusion of certain non-Tsis settlements on Azarac proper.
For the next few millennia, the Tsis made little effort to be a part of galactic politics. Though individual Tsis and occasional Tsis mercenary parties traveled the galaxy during the Golden Age of the Old Republic, the vast majority were content to remain safely in their corner of the galaxy, undisturbed by the troubles of the time.
As a mix of Rakatan and Sith influences, the prevailing culture of Azarac and the Tsis Worlds was warlike in nature, with a particular emphasis placed upon merit and the importance of strength. However, the culture of their Tsis successors was markedly different and distinct in its own way.
Early culture Edit
The early culture of Azarac was profoundly shaped by the presence of two major dark side Force using species who came to inhabit it in its infancy, namely the Rakatans of the Infinite Empire and the Red Sith of Korriban.
A brutal race unconcerned with honor and not above laying waste to entire worlds for personal gain, the Rakatans were the first major culture to establish a presence on Azarac. As the species who discovered it, the Rakatans terraformed the planet for their habitation, importing slaves of many different species and levels of sentience to Azarac for experimental purposes. Their culture, which prized ambition, strength, and merit in its members, left its mark on the planet's future society and influenced the cultural evolution of the Red Sith slave population, who were forced to embrace its tenants in pursuit of their continued survival.
Azarac culture was further shaped by the arrival and subsequent enslavement of the Red Sith, former residents of Korriban fleeing the endless conflict on their homeworld. Though, like the Rakatans, the Red Sith were profoundly dark sided with a near-symbiotic relationship with that facet of the Force, they were nowhere near as cruel and brutal as their masters, and still prized qualities like loyalty and sympathy above cunning and ambition. However, millennia of enslavement to the Rakatans influenced the evolution of their culture. As slaves were forced to embrace deception and cunning to circumvent particularly brutal masters, their society became more furtive in nature. The need to prove their strength to their overlords to ensure their continued survival led to the importance of merit and strength in their subculture.
Modern culture Edit
Despite the dark side leaning of the species and cultures of Azarac that preceded them, the Tsis were not a dark side people. As Azarac was a world in possession of a balanced connection to the Force, and since the Tsis had escaped the gradual removal of positive qualities suffered by their Korrbani cousins through the Exiles's application of Sith alchemy, the Tsis were a relatively neutral people, neither particularly dark sided nor particularly light.
Despite placing due importance on strength, merit, power, cunning, and ambition as a result of their predecessors' cultural values, the Tsis also embraced certain light sided qualities. Tsis cultural expectations dictated that Tsis engage with one another in an honorable fashion, respecting those who embraced fair play and ostracizing those who used others for simple personal gain or self-aggrandizement. While the pursuit of the ancient Sith concept of perfection-through-strength, the Sith'ari, was still encouraged, it was tempered by an increased emphasis on honorable conduct in one's dealings. A popular Tsis saying encapsulated this aspect of their society: "power without consideration of morality is a weakness."
The Tsis embraced a feudal system of government that required loyalty of its subjects and accountability of its rulers. Though subjects were expected to show devotion and respect for their leaders, they were also encouraged to rise up and replace them if they believed them too weak and incapable of representing the interests of the people. Consistent with the Sith'ari concept, the Tsis believed only the strongest had the right to rule and thus encouraged ambition and rivalry, but differed from the Sith in terms of the nature of the resultant responsibility. Unlike the Sith, the Tsis expected their rulers to view their power and position as a burden and sacred responsibility, not as a means of exerting one's will upon one's constituents. Rulers were expected to represent the living will of the people and act in such a way as to advance their interests as a collective whole.
In terms of foreign affairs, the Tsis were notoriously isolationist and xenophobic for much of their history. The Tsis believed Azarac to be a sacred site due to its high connection to the Force and its place as the species' homeworld, and as such believed that the presence of unworthy outsiders ("santuras") constituted sacrilege of the highest order. As such, most non-Tsis visiting the Seven Deaths system were restricted to the moon of Lune. However, the Tsis occasionally made exceptions for certain non-Tsis outsiders they deemed worthy. Generally important galactic figures with a strong Force affinity who had proven themselves in some way to the Tsis, these outsiders were permitted to seek sponsorship from a resident of Azarac to journey to the planet's surface. Illicit landings on the planet constituted a crime punishable by death.
Behind the scenes Edit
So they're Romans...in space...but with James Bond?
—A college friend of the author's on Acrolis, 2011
Originally named "Acrolis" and based in part on the planets Naboo and Mandalore and real-life cultures like Ancient Greece, Azarac developed from an idea the author had concerning an empire-building species in a single-planet system that refused outsiders access to its world for religious/superstitious reasons. Though the names, cultures, and history changed in the author's mind over a period of seven years as the author encountered different aspects of Expanded Universe lore, the basic plot points remained the same throughout, minus some redaction on the part of the author to remove nonsensical content.
The name of the system in which Azarac existed, the Seven Deaths, was intended as a tribute to Las Cinco Muertes, the island chain that served as the setting for the Jurassic Park novels and films.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex Entry: "The Foundry" (Indirect mention)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Flashpoint: "Maelstrom Prison" (Indirect mention)