The Star Wars audiobook Tempest Runner, by Cavan Scott, hints at the Sith’s activities in the High Republic Era – what were their plans?
Star Wars has finally hinted at how the Sith remained a secret during the High Republic Era – while continuing to hoard power and undermine the Jedi. With the Skywalker saga over at last, the future of Star Wars lies in the past; specifically in the High Republic Era, some 200 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The High Republic transmedia initiative has taken fans back to a time when the Jedi and the Republic were at their height – but it appears to be chronicling the events that led to their downfall.
Under Chancellor Lina Soh, the Republic pressed on into the Outer Rim, bound together by the Chancellor’s creed; “We are all the Republic.” The Jedi served as champions and protectors of this Republic, establishing temples and outposts across the Outer Rim, basing themselves at a beautiful space station called Starlight Beacon. But when the light of the Republic and the Jedi shone into the darkness and mystery of the Outer Rim, they found it filled with terrifying threats. The Jedi unwittingly awoke an ancient ally of the Sith, the Drengir, a race of carnivorous plant creatures who attempted to swarm across the galaxy. Meanwhile, the Nihil – a band of raiders akin to Vikings or pirates – fought against everything the Republic stood for, using innovative hyperspace technology and even monsters that could consume the Force itself.
Cavan Scott’s new Star Wars audio-book Tempest Runner tells the story of one of the Nihil’s leaders, Lourna Dee, who the Jedi believe to be the mysterious “Eye” guiding the Nihil. The story is a deep-dive into what it means to be one of the Nihil, even revealing some aspects of the origin of the Nihil’s true leader, Marchion Ro. But the most intriguing moment comes in a throwaway comment about how the Nihil are organized, because it hints at a far darker story. Apparently the Nihil are traditionally led by three Tempest Runners, who work together under the so-called “Rule of Three.” The term seems a deliberate corruption of the Sith “Rule of Two,” suggesting there is indeed a link between the Nihil and the Sith.
This does not mean the Nihil are a Sith cult, for they show no interest in pursuing the ways of the Force; while they do have a number of Force-sensitives in their midst, including one with a “Pathfinder” power Anakin Skywalker would have envied, they show no interest in pursuing the dark side. But their philosophy is one the Sith would consider delightful, based on self-indulgence, the exaltation of power, and vicious bloodlust. The Rule of Three suggests the Sith may well have had a hand in forming the Nihil in the first place, before unleashing them on the Outer Rim, a trap for when the Republic inevitably pressed on into that sector of space.
This fits perfectly with established Star Wars lore, which had always presented the Sith as strategic masterminds who had orchestrated events over the course of millennia to ensure the Republic would ultimately be destabilized and the Jedi would fall. There have been previous hints the Sith undermined the economies of worlds like Troithe, helping to ensure power and wealth in the galaxy became concentrated in the Core Worlds such as Coruscant, ensuring the Republic would become increasingly unequal. This subtle detail hints at another aspect to the Sith’s long game, and the Nihil may well have been only one of their traps; it’s quite possible the real reason the Sith left the Drengir dormant rather than destroying them altogether was precisely so they could be awoken by unwary Jedi. Everything that is happening in the High Republic Era could be as the Sith ordained – leading to the decline of the Republic, and ultimately to the Star Wars prequel trilogy, when a dwindling power was overtaken by galactic events and conquered by the Sith.
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