The War of the Throne was a series of internal political struggles within the Galactic Empire from the second half of 11 ABY until mid-13 ABY. These various struggles, while separate events unto their own, were interconnected and played off one another, each struggle ultimately leading to the next. The conflicts were concerned over the leadership of the Galactic Empire, primarily over who would sit on the Emperor's throne, hence the moniker "War of the Throne." The so-called "war" began several months after the conclusion of the Imperial Civil War and came to an end with the secret rule of Aleister Vadim.
The End of Bacharan ValakEdit
Bacharan Valak had taken the reigns of the Empire in 6 ABY. His leadership and mastery of the Force led the Empire to rebound from its devastating internal conflict and losses incurred by the New Republic, culminating with the Great Campaign, Death Star III, and recapture of Coruscant.
His reign, however, began to meet some skepticism in 11 ABY. The destruction of the Death Star III and the subsequent Imperial Civil War led some in Imperial High Command to plot behind Valak's back; one such conspirator was Admiral Kendal Osbourne. Osbourne had received intelligence that Valak had been laundering Imperial funds to FoxTech Industries; unbeknown to Osbourne, FTI was a COMPNOR front. But the Admiral used this as a pretext to rally support for ousting Valak. Delivering a holomessage to the Empire, Osbourne appointed himself Grand Admiral and declared Valak a traitor and his intentions to oust Valak.
Surprisingly, there was little to no reaction from COMPNOR or the Stormtrooper Corps, neither of whom attempted to kill Osbourne for his treason. But fate played into Osbourne's hands; occurring soon after, a Jedi strike team led by Luke Skywalker was able to subdue Valak and bring him back to the Republic to stand trial for war crimes. Although Valak would later escape from Republic hands, the damage had been done to his regime: in the power vacuum that ensued, Osbourne sat himself on the Imperial throne. Hounded by the Jedi and his Empire having turned its back, Valak disappeared into the abyss.
Historians have theorized that there was more than meets the eye in this chapter of Imperial history; Osbourne's declaration of war against Valak would have been met with a quick death, but no branch of the Empire acted against Osbourne. Even his self-proclaimed promotion to Grand Admiral should have forced Imperial High Command's hand, but it did not. Furthermore, Valak's disappearance continues to baffle historians and citizens alike; where did such a powerful and influential Sith run off to, and why?
Regardless, Osbourne's ascension to the throne was short-lived. While he did rule the Empire for several months as Grand Admiral, he finally coroneted himself on Guritsan.
The Rise of Lorn RhysEdit
"Emperor" Osbourne's reign was perhaps the shortest in Imperial history. He was ousted from power within just weeks of his coronation. For some months since Valak's disappearance, Lorn Rhys, former Director of Imperial Intelligence and leader of the Vigilant Movement, had been plotting his own return to the Empire and ascension to the throne. Having been in a coma since his Movement's battle against Valak in 7 ABY, Rhys restored old connections and made new one, most importantly with Vassily Korolov, Tribune of the Imperial Royal Guard. Rhys managed secret negotiations with the Corporate Sector Authority to aid in their coup against Osbourne.
Early 12 ABY, they struck, just weeks after Osbourne's rise to power. Rhys and his forces, aided by Corporate Sector ESPOs, converged upon Guritsan and did battle with those pledging loyalty to Osbourne. Many Imperial leaders, including Danik Kreldin, saw themselves in difficult positions; Kreldin himself had opposed Osbourne for his actions against Valak, but saw Rhys as an even greater threat. Regardless, they were caught flat-footed; Korolov's Stormtroopers and pull with COMPNOR ensured that Kreldin's loyalty, and that of many more commanders, was to Rhys during the Battle of Guritsan.
HIMS Dark Eminence, the flagship of the Imperial Navy, was boarded by Rhys and ESPO squads and captured. Curiously, Rhys decided to destroy the ship... along with Guritsan itself. The ship was abandoned and its course set for impact with Guritsan's surface. Meanwhile, at the Imperial Palace on Guritsan, commandos apprehended Osbourne and made a quick evacuation. Minutes later, Dark Eminence collided with Imperial City, devastating the entire planet and killing millions. As for Osbourne, he was brought before Rhys and subsequently encased within carbonite.
Rhys wasted little time. With Guritsan a wasteland, his fleet converged upon the old Imperial throne world, Dreven, and laid waste to "Osbourne loyalists." Turbolasers rained fire on Dreven, targeting disloyal nobles and others who might pose a threat to Rhys. Within a week, Rhys' power over the Empire was secure.
The Neo-Imperial MovementEdit
Disgusted over what had befallen the Empire, disgruntled Imperials abandoned their post and formed the Neo-Imperial Movement under the leadership of Danik Kreldin and Fianar Reanus. The Movement's stated goal was the restoration of Imperial ideals, the New Order, and the removal from power of Lorn Rhys and his cohorts. Secretly, however, they sought out Bacharan Valak and planned to return him to the throne. The group met with some success after they discovered Valak. Aboard Truth and Reconciliation, their flagship, the Neo-Imperials conferred with Valak and made plans to return him to the throne.
But the Neo-Empire was mired in internal division; the ambitious Greiko Lornan, a businessman who had signed on to the Neo-Empire for personal gain, made a power grab against Kreldin and Reanus. Stealing their starship, Truth and Reconciliation, Lornan initiated his own plans for the Neo-Empire; abandoning the group's previous goals of eliminating Rhys and restoring Valak's rightful place, Lornan molded the Neo-Empire into a terrorist organization, initiating such crimes as the Kashyyyk Massacre.
This ultimately led to the downfall of the group; earning the ire of the Republic and Rhys, the Neo-Empire was hunted down and nearly wiped out. Kreldin and Reanus were able to return in their own counter-coup against Lornan, but were foiled by Lornan, who negotiated a secret deal with the Empire's Salin Fawzy and Scaven Marx, leading to the Trap on Etti IV. Kreldin was captured and the Movement dispersed.
Lurking behind the scenes was the mysterious Darth Pain. Records of Darth Pain are all but lost; what is known is that Pain was female and had gone by the name of Pantara. Her motives, objectives, and Master are unknown. Several months into Rhys' victory, and during his crisis with the Neo-Imperial Movement, Pain emerged to make her stake at power. She executed Rhys on Dreven and forced Korolov into submission; she then forced the cooperation of the Imperial Ruling Council and declared herself Empress.
Pain's rule was short lived. Sith sorcery led to Rhys' revival in the form of Darth Malus; how Rhys came into contact with the Force, or how he managed to cheat death, are unknown. As Malus, he made contact with old allies, Vassily Korolov and a fringe spacer named Mailyn Raines. The trio of force users devised a plan to unseat the Sith Empress. On a rather unremarkable night in the throne room of the Dreven palace, they struck. A century of Royal Guard lead the attack, taking the ancient Sith's coterie of attendants and guardians out of the fight. This allowed Malus, Korolov, and Raines to attack and kill Darth Pain. Returning to the throne, Malus turned his attention back on the Neo-Imperial Movement, presiding over its downfall on Etti IV.
But the end of the Neo-Empire did not mean the end of opposition to Malus; his policies and focus on internal conflict had left the Empire open to outside threat. The major gains overseen by Valak in 8 ABY began to overturn; Coruscant was liberated by the Republic in early 13 ABY. This caused a major upset within the military, which one Darth Malign was able to play on for his rise to power.
Aleister Vadim is a mystery wrapped in a paradox; he hails from the distant, war-torn cluster now known only as Vadimus by the upper echelon of the Empire. His power in the Force overshadowed even Luke Skywalker and rivaled Palpatine. But his rise to power was gradual and calculated. Sometime in 13 ABY he kidnapped Tyler Damion, a Force-sensitive pilot in the Republic, and corrupted him to the Dark Side. Granting him the title Darth Malign, Vadim sent Malign into the Empire to create the conditions for him to secure power without having to reveal himself prematurely.
Malign entered the Empire and quickly went to work converting the military to his side. He declared himself Warlord of the Empire, established a Military Government on Guritsan ( Malign then tasked Scaven Marx, promoted to Grand Moff, with the reconstruction of Guritsan, where the Imperial capital would be returned until Coruscant was recaptured.), and, ordered Drayson Honos to utilize the First Fleet and blockaded Dreven. Some weeks following the blockade Darth Malign made his bid for power. Taking command of the Imperial fleet, he struck out against Malus' supporters. The fleet maintained system security and made sure no one could escape the planet while Darth Malign and a Sith known as Sinestra infiltrated the Imperial Palace. The entire court, retainers, servants, and soldiers present in the palace were murdered by the Sith duo and Malus himself was captured by Malign. Like his predecessor, Osbourne, was encased in carbonite, where he was then shipped as a wall ornament to Malign's Master, Vadim.
Malign's openly established military rule was led by himself as Warlord and with the aid of a Moff's council based of the Imperial Capital world of Guritsan. However, in secrecy Malign was engineering Vadim's rise to the throne. To achieve this goal he first had to turn around the Empire's misfortunes and military losses. To this end Korolov and Malign worked together from two distinctive angles in the Empire. Malign ruled the Imperial Military Government and made sure the war would progress. Korolov took command of a revitilized and freshened CompForce and the intelligence side of the war effort. The pair of Sith created a balance to aided in the successful stabilization of the Empire. Darth Malign invited Danik Kreldin to returned to the military, having escaped from his ordeal on Etti IV, with the aid of Scaven Marx, and with Fleet Admiral Drayson Honos, Warlord Malign, and Grand Moff Scaven Marx put into motion the Imperial Blitzkrieg, beginning with the Dacan Pandemic in late 13 ABY.
With Malign in power as the public figurehead, Vadim was able to exert his influence and make himself known to the upper echelon of the Empire. His mastery of the Dark Side led to the manipulation of Imperial High Command to his will; with Vadim secure in power and the Empire initiating its plan to recover lost ground, the War of the Throne ended.
The War of the Throne had devastating results for the Galactic Empire. Having achieved major victories from 8 ABY to 11 ABY, the Empire seemed poised to entirely crush the Republic. But like the Post-Endor Imperial power struggle, internal division and conflict, led by greedy and ambitious Imperial commanders, would lead to the Empire's downfall.
The War of the Throne lasted only about two years but during that time the Empire underwent several drastic leadership changes, coups and counter-coups; with emphasis placed away from the war with the Republic, their enemies were able to counter-attack and regain lost ground taken by Valak's war machine. The loss of Coruscant resulted in a significant blow to the Empire.
Although Vadim controlled the Empire in late 13 ABY when Malign ousted Malus, he did not openly reveal himself to the galaxy as Emperor until early 15 ABY, some months after the Sixth Battle of Coruscant.