|Josh Walker (Darth Taral)|
|Place of Birth|
|Date of Birth||
|Chronological and Political Information|
Draco Walker b.~20 NE
|Skills and Abilities|
Galactic Standard Basic
The Imperial Anthem
- "From this day on, we move forward as one: the proud Imperial citizens of the Galactic Empire. We will always prevail over evil, over those who seek to cause fear. So smile and breathe easy. The Empire has come!"
- ―Emperor Walker
Darth Taral, a.k.a. Josh Walker, is the former Emperor of the planet Korribanos and current Emperor of the Galactic Empire. A fully trained Sith Lord, he has also pioneered the Peaceful Jedi/Sith Relations movement with his close personal friend, Jedi Grand Master Ky'rinn Con'rathan. After being consumed by a terrible power known as the Darkness, Walker was "cured" by his allies, but carried a heavy burden. Two years after his recovery, he was gravely injured at the Third Jedi Convocation. In his unconsciousness, he received a Force vision. In this vision, he was told by the founder of Korribanos, Sith Lord Adas, that he, Walker, must revive the Sith on Korribanos. Taking the name Darth Taral, he vowed to bring his homeworld's Sith culture back to life by training the first generation of Korribanosian Sith.
The Early Years
Josh Walker was born into a middle-class family in the capital city of Korriban on the world Korribanos. His childhood home sat in the shadow of the Imperial Palace, home to the Emperor of the Royal Imperial House of Korribanos.
Walker joined the Korribanosian Security Forces at the age of 18 and entered Korribanosian politics at the age of 22, his maturity and charisma boosting him quickly through the ranks.
By the time he was 27 years-old, the Emperor had appointed him his personal aide. The two had a very close relationship, like a father and his son. Walker had lost his father at an early age and so welcomed the relationship.
Sometime in his mid-twenties, it is known that Walker married, although the details of the marriage are sketchy at best. The identity of the woman is unknown, though some sources say her name was Olivia. What is known is that the woman died rather suddenly after just a few years of marriage. After her death, those closest to Walker reported a drastic change in the young politician's attitude and demeanor. There were rumors that his wife had had an affair with another man and that Walker had killed them both,using his many contacts to cover the incident up. Though no evidence of such a crime was ever found and no charges were ever brought against him, many thought his political career was over. They were wrong.
During his many years of service with the Emperor, he had learned everything about the inner workings of the government. He had developed relationships with every major political player. Most, it would seem, thought very highly of the young man. He was intelligent, polite, and could carry a debate with the best of them. After the death of the Grand Vizier, the Emperor immediately appointed Walker as his replacement. After years of faithful service, he had finally been given official power.
Walker served as the Korribanosian Grand Vizier for three years. Now thrust even further into the public spotlight, everything that those in the government saw and liked about him was now exposed to the scrutiny of the entire planet. And they liked him too. Walker's public approval ratings were through the roof. The public saw him as trustworthy, knowledgeable, and likable.
When Walker was 34, the Emperor suddenly fell ill and died. Having no heirs and having spent seven years grooming a replacement, there was little argument when Walker was appointed the youngest Emperor Korribanos had ever had.
The Rise of an Emperor
Joining the Confederacy
For centuries, Korribanos had interstellar flight capabilities but had largely kept to themselves. Ruled in the majority by conservative Emperors, Korribanos had remained relatively isolated for most of its history. But the more progressive Walker had different ideas. Upon taking the throne, Walker established the first off-world colony, which he named Ziostos. The initial population was just under ten thousand volunteers, but that number quickly rose. Korribanosians were now officially a two-planet race.
Within the first year of his reign, Emperor Walker was approached by a representative from the Confederacy of Independent Systems, a galaxy-spanning alliance of worlds seeking mutual defense and prosperity. Seeing this as the perfect opportunity to integrate Korribanos into the galactic community, Walker immediately joined. He struck up and instant friendship with the CIS Chancellor Alfred Si. Before long, the two became very close friends, Chancellor Si often turning to Walker for advice and counsel. Having served in the Korribanosian military, Walker offered his services to the fledgling CIS. Chancellor Si appointed him Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, a rank that saw him admitted into the Security Council just a heartbeat away from the Chancellorship itself.
After only months of serving as the CIS Supreme Commander, Walker was faced with his first major crisis, the Xtal Plague of Terra, Schafghanistan. The CIS came through the crisis, if not stronger than wiser. For his actions during the plague, Walker was highly commended and the Chancellor would keep a close eye on his career from that point on.
After several more months of service, Walker was given the shock of his life. Chancellor Si promoted him to CIS President, second-in-command of the entire alliance. Honored, Walker vowed to serve the people of the CIS with as much passion and pride as he had as their Supreme Commander. Then, just 3 years after making the decision to join the Confederacy of Independent Systems, Chancellor Si retired and Walker was appointed Chancellor.
Supreme Chancellor Walker
One of Walker's first acts in office was to rename the office of "Chancellor" to "Supreme Chancellor". He appointed an up-and-coming politician in the CIS, David Jenkins, to be his Vice Chancellor. Upon taking office, Supreme Chancellor Walker began to drastically reform the CIS, which he saw as failing to reach its potential. He saw the Confederacy as weak and unorganized. Together with Vice Chancellor Jenkins, he set out to bring order and stability to the loose alliance of worlds.
He immediately increased the Confederacy's authority over its member worlds. He began funding research and development projects and established the Department of Defense Procurement, seeking to build up and strengthen the CIS military. In his vision, the Confederacy would rise as one of the major powers in the community. To that end, he cultivated the relationship between the CIS and the Jedi Order, arguably the most influential organization in the galaxy. He likewise grew very close to the Jedi Grand Master, whom he considered not just his closest ally but his closest friend. Under Walker's new leadership, the CIS exploded into a powerful and well-respected entity. It would seem the Supreme Chancellor's vision would come true.
Reorganization and the Founding of an EmpireDuring his service as Supreme Chancellor, Walker, along with his carefully chosen cabinet, had taken an unorganized hodge-podge organization and turned it into a respected and powerful alliance. They were well on their way to becoming a legitimate government, routinely dealing in situations normally restricted to governmental bodies. When a terrorist plot was discovered brewing within the CIS itself, Walker knew it was time for a change. For the next year, he and his Vice Chancellor worked day and night to write a new constitution and lay the groundwork for what would be their greatest achievement to date. When the time was right, Walker began informing his cabinet of the impending reform. Gaining their support had been a major victory for the Supreme Chancellor. Without the cooperation of his officers, his new government would certainly flounder and fail.
Once the foundations were set, Walker sent the most nerve-wracking message he'd ever sent in his career: informing the Jedi Grand Master of his intended reform. Much to his relief, the Grand Master was largely supportive of his proposed New Order. And so, with the blessing of the Jedi Order, the Galactic Empire was founded.
The Galactic Emperor
In the last days of the Confederacy, Walker was faced with a myriad problems. He had underestimated the difficulties in transitioning from an alliance to a fully fledged government. And atop all of that, he had come across a terrorist plot to topple the government before it even had the chance to begin. However, like every other hardship he'd faced in his life, he survived, with the help of the highly competent people had had surrounded himself with.
Though a devout follower of the Sith philosophy his entire life, it wasn't until late in life that his Force-sensitivity made itself known. Shortly before the tragic accidental explosion of a transport ship on Korribanos which claimed the lives of dozens of private citizens and leveled a significant portion of a major spaceport, Walker had received a vivid dream of the entire incident. Dismissing it as just a dream, it wasn't until it actually came to pass that he realized it for what it was. He immediately contacted the Jedi Grand Master, seeking his counsel. For years, the two kept the knowledge of the Emperor's Force-sensitivity a secret, fearing the political backlash of a potential Sith Lord commanding yet another Galactic Empire. It wouldn't be until the Killik War that Walker's secret would be made public.
An Emperor Alone
During the devastation of the Killik War with the Empire, the Killiks established a Dark Nest, Joining with Dark Siders from across the galaxy. Entirely by accident, the Killiks learned of the Emperor's Force-sensitivity. Determined to use any advantage they had, they infiltrated the Korribanos System in a small, one-man fighter piloted by one of these Joiners. He stayed just long enough to familiarize himself with the Emperor's personal Force signature before returing to the Nest and sharing what he'd learned with the rest of the Joiners. They now had a way to track Walker anywhere in the galaxy.
During a journey to meet with the High Council aboard the Death Star, Walker's shuttle was ambushed and its escort destroyed. Within minutes, his shuttle was boarded and its crew, including a contingent of Imperial Marines and Walker's personal Royal Guard, were all killed. Walker was taken hostage by a Human Joiner and brought aboard a Killik cruiser bound for the Fortress World to meet with the Queen herself. During his capture, Walker released an experimental nano-weapon in the form of a small cloud of smoke. Though he convinced them that it was merely a diversionary tactic in the event he were captured, it was in fact a cloud of nanites programmed to rewire the Killik brain and cut them off from the Collective. Unbeknownst to them, two Killiks and the Joiner were exposed to the nanites, which immediately went to work altering their brain chemistry.Over the course of the next several days, Emperor Walker was subjected to vicious mental torture at the hands of the Joiner, who used the Force to penetrate his mind and force him to relive the worst moments of his life. When there were no longer enough memories to draw upon, the Joiner began fabricating his own. He showed the Emperor terrible visions of the Imperial Palace crumbling to the ground, of his beloved Korribanos in flames, and of the citizens of the Empire enslaved by the Killiks. Despite the torture, Walker refused to give them what they wanted, maintaining his trademark dry humor through the worst of it.
It was many days into his confinement, though he had no way of telling how many, when the Joiner suddenly appeared at his door and bade him to follow. He led the Emperor to an empty room and admitted that since bringing Walker aboard, he had been feeling odd, as though his head were clearing. And suddenly, he claimed, it was gone: the Collective, the Hive sense, everything. He was an individual again, and his name was Ganor Vey.
Pleased that the nanite weapon had worked, he explained what had happened to Ganor, and together they devised a way to escape the ship together. Unfortunately, the Killiks aboard the vessel were able to detect Ganor's sudden absence from the Collective. The former Joiner was found out and placed in confinement along with the Emperor.
The two were taken to the Hive World, site of the main colony and home to the primary Queen, from whose mind the Collective was organized. She sought to gain the information Walker held through fear of death, threatening him with allowing their Colicoid allies to devour him slowly should he refuse. Instead, the Emperor had a third plan. He convinced Ganor to use the Force to attack the Queen, hoping to use a mind trick that would momentarily confuse the entire Collective. Not yet in full control of his powers, Ganor accidentally ripped the Queen's head off. Though having essentially the same desired effect on the Collective, it immediately set the Hive into a frenzy.
The two Humans tore through the Hive, looking desperately for the way out. While catching their breath in a deserted hallway, they found themselves trapped by a single Killik warrior at either end. Resigning themselves to the fact that their lives were about to come to an end, they were surprised when one of the Killiks "spoke" to them through telepathy. Introducing themselves as the two Killik guards who had captured Walker, they demanded to know what had happened to them. Walker explained as he had to Ganor and promised them that if they could help them escape, not only could he provide individuality to the rest of the Killiks, but the Empire would secure them a new home to settle. The Killiks agreed to the terms and led them to a central chamber buried deep beneath the Hive where the Queen's emergency spacecraft was hidden.
As they made their escape, the foursome were attacked by a group of Colicoids. Completely unarmed, they once again resigned themselves to the fact that they were about to die. However, Walker urged Ganor to attempt to repel them with the Force. Though new to the practice himself, he nevertheless understood the concept and was confident that he could talk someone through it who had more experience physically utilizing the Force. With tremendous effort, Ganor managed a devastating Lightning attack which decimated the Colicoid warriors, allowing them all to escape in the starship, up through the Hive crumbling down around them, and finally out into space.
Upon returning to Imperial space, they immediately handed over the coordinates of the Hive World to the Imperial Armed Forces. A mission was organized which would bring the bulk of the Imperial starfleet to bear all at once on the Hive. The mission, dubbed Operation Hammer Down, was led personally by Walker aboard the Imperial flagship the Light Bringer and spelled the end of the Killik War and the triumph of the Galactic Empire.
For four years after the devastation of the Killik War, the Empire flourished, enjoying the peace and prosperity that the Emperor had promised to provide. Times were so good, in fact, that the Empire was caught completely unawares by the emergence of a group calling themselves The Organization. Originally believed to be a rogue terrorist group, the hijacking of an Executor-class Star Dreadnaught opened their eyes to the new threat; they were no mere terrorist organization. They were far too coordinated, numerous, and frighteningly well-connected.By the time Walker learned of the hijacking, the Organization was making itself known throughout the Empire. To make matters worse, the Emperor could sense someone very powerful actively blurring the Force, keeping him from finding the answers he sought. Stunningly, it was revealed that Colonel Gregory Miline, a member of Grand Admiral Shane Phillips' inner circle of officers, was secretly a top agent of the Organization. With that realization came the dread that if the Organization could penetrate Imperial ranks to that level and with that efficiency, the Organization could be anyone. The Emperor immediately ordered Korribanosian security tightened, admitting only those whom he knew he could trust into space above the Imperial capital.
Despite the tightened security, or indeed because of it, an assassin, the traitorous Colonel Miline calling himself "The Commander", managed to sneak into the Imperial Palace under the guise of an Imperial Marine, sent as part of a special team to guard the Emperor himself. As Walker moved down the line of soldiers, introducing himself, he knew the moment he stopped before the man that something was very wrong with the Force surrounding him. The element of surprise now lost, he sprung his attack on the Emperor.
Colonel Miline, an undocumented Force-user, reached into his stormtrooper armor and produced a lightsaber. Taking a swing at the Emperor, Walker reacted on instinct, Force-shoving the assailant away and flipping out of the energy blade's range. Now able to get his bearings, he accessed his own lightsaber, kept up his sleeve. He ignited it and both men leapt for one another, their red blades clashing.
The battle was intense; Colonel Miline was clearly very talented, more so than the Emperor. It was only Walker's fury at the Organization for undermining everything he'd worked so hard to build, at the assassin attacking him in the heart of his own home, that allowed him to momentarily gain the upper hand. With a well-placed Force-shove, Walker sent The Commander hurtlingthrough his office window, nearly four kilometers off the ground. Believing he had killed the enemy leader and the one who had been dampening the Force, he thought he had bought the Empire time to root out the rest of the Organization with relative ease. He was wrong.
- "I understand the power of the Darkness; I command it."
- ―Dark Emperor Walker to the Commander
Within hours of the failed assassination attempt, the Organization tapped into official channels and sent out a galaxy-wide report that the Emperor had been killed and that the Imperial military had assumed complete control of the Empire. Walker immediately held a press conference to dispel the false statement but the damage was done. The Empire was in a panic.
Furious at this group which had brought the Empire to its knees seemingly out of nowhere, Walker mercilessly followed every lead. He authorized the brutal interrogations of every enemy agent they had discovered, using Force-trained interrogators to rip the information out of the terrorists heads. What was left were simply discarded shells of the men and women they had once been. Not being a brutal man, he took no pleasure in the acts but he simply couldn't afford the time it would take to cultivate the intelligence through standard methods.
Walker had been attempting to confer with the Force for days, seeking answers and guidance, but found himself blocked. Someone was interfering with his ability to see the future. But the sensation was unusual. After the death of the Commander, the Force had cleared and the Emperor took the opportunity to meditate. As he was navigating the Force, he suddenly felt himself blocked again. But this time, he had "tasted" the essence of the one responsible, and it frightened him. He was reminded of something he'd come across in a Sith holocron during his studies years before. Upon researching it, he discovered the cause of the interference and the potential identity of the being responsible.
He discovered a Dark Side power known as the Darkness, which was not so much a power as a state of being pioneered nearly nine thousand years before by a Sith called Lord Stryfe. It allowed the user to partially become one with the Force and access near limitless power. Certain that whoever was commanding the Organization's forces had access to this Darkness, he called a meeting of all high ranking Force-sensitives if Imperial office and explained the situation to them. After sharing what he knew, he dropped a bomb-shell: In order to fight the Organization leader, Walker would undergo the same process.
Arguments against the Emperor's plan were interrupted when the hijacked Imperial Star Destroyer Tim Tam arrived in orbit over Korribanos, Walker had the vessel recaptured and its hijackers detained minus their commander, a man called Roderick who used the Darkness to teleport back to his master. En route to the Tim Tam Supreme Commander Nathan Fater sensed a disturbance aboard his own vessel, the Imperial Star Destroyer Savior. Fater boarded the ship and confronted a powerful Force-user, an agent of the one pulling the Organization's strings. After a harrowing battle through the corridors, Fater, a fully trained Jedi, managed to defeat the agent, rending him unconscious.
The Supreme Commander accompanied the Dark Jedi back to the planet and met with the supervised the Emperor's interrogation of the prisoner. Before entering the holding cell, Fater informed the Emperor that he had been given special rings capable of protecting the wearer from the power of the Darkness. Though skeptical, Walker took his ring and proceeded with the interrogation. The Emperor surprised the enemy agent by using the Dark Side to first choke him and then stimulate the pain center in his brain, causing him extreme agony over every nerve of his body. Impressed, the agent futilely tried to recruit Walker, promising him power beyond his wildest dreams. Walker surprised the agent again when he revealed that he knew of the Darkness, confirming what he before could only speculate was behind the mysterious Force disturbance. Walker used that moment of surprise to plant the suggestion of cooperation in the agent's mind. Walker asked him his name. Kraven.
When asked about his attempt on the life of Nathan Fater, Kraven spat at the Emperor, saying that being a Jedi was enough reason to kill him and claiming that Walker was nothing more than a puppet of the Jedi Order. For that, Walker used the Force to smash Kraven into the ceiling. Walker demanded to know who Kraven worked for. But the Dark Jedi refused. Walker could tell he was frightened of whoever his master was. Using that to his advantage, Walker told Kraven of the rings, promising to protect him from his master.Kraven accepted the terms. With the promise of the ring, he told the Emperor that the Organization was led by a man they called Lord Jarsick but whose true name was Stryfe, the very same Stryfe who, nine millenia before had been the first to successfully transition into the Darkness. At that moment Walker's worst fears were realized. After telling the Emperor everything he wanted to know, Kraven demanded his compensation. Walker reached into his robes, appearing to be fishing for the ring, but instead produced his lightsaber, mercilessly decapitating Kraven.
After the interrogation, he had the protective rings distributed to the nine other members of the Imperial High Council. Having had his worst fears confirmed, he was more certain than ever that the only way to defeat Stryfe was to level the playing field and embrace the Darkness. He felt that his balanced training, both in the Jedi and Sith arts, would allow him to remain stable after the corruption of the Darkness took over him.
From his meditation chambers deep within the Imperial Palace, Walker could sense a growing dark presence flooding his city. He couldn't explain what it was; it was like a flood of Darkness washing through the streets of Korriban. There were reports of strange creatures laying siege to the city. The time had come for him to embrace the Darkness and end the attack on his Empire. In the bowels of the Palace, away from prying eyes, Walker underwent the change. First his eyes went black, then the characteristic black smoke came pouring out of his body. With a final surge of power, he dropped to his knees and vanished in a black cloud.
His first minutes in the Darkness were chaotic. He found himself teleporting all around the galaxy, from the steps of the Jedi Temple to the United Nations building on Earth to an inn on a world in the Unknown Regions. Finally gaining some measure of control, he reappeared atop the Imperial Palace on Korribanos. The Darkness had polluted him body and mind. He now found himself battling the Darkness, which manifested as a second personality vying for control. He now had the power to stop the creatures running amok through the streets of Korriban...but he found himself conflicted. A part of him, the Darkness, wanted the destruction, wanted the chaos. He argued with the Darkness, trying to make it see reason, finally convincing it to destroy the creatures. Seething, the Dark Emperor leapt from the top of the Palace, plummeting to the ground. Dramatically, he vanished in a puff of smoke just before hitting the ground, reappearing behind the individual who had called upon the army of Dark creatures in the first place: none other than the Commander.
Clash of the Dark Lords
- "I'll not let some old fossil of a Sith and his lapdog tear down what I have worked so hard to build. The Empire is MINE!"
- ―Emperor Walker shortly before killing the Commander
The Commander and Walker engaged in a terrific battle in the streets of downtown Korribanos, each of them displaying awesome power. Though new to his abilities, Walker showed extraordinary control, at one point encasing the Commander in what seemed to be a sphere of pure Darkness. The Commander escaped to another section of the city, Walker hot on his heels. Their furious battle continued, damaging and destroying entire buildings.
In a move meant to destroy the Organization agent once and for all, the Dark Emperor used his tremendous power to tear a vent in the planet's crust, spewing molten lava out over several city blocks, setting the entire neighborhood ablaze. The Commander, however, managed to escape. Frustrated, Walker disappeared, leaving hundreds dead in his wake.
Reappearing back at the Imperial Palace, the personality representing the Darkness started to lose control, the old Walker gaining more ground. He argued with the Darkness about the destruction he'd caused, about how he had embraced that new state of being in order to save the Empire, not destroy it. Whether because it saw reason or because it wanted Walker to stop complaining, it cannot be said, but the Dark Emperor used his powers to seal the vent and save countless Korribanosian lives. Now having gained the upper hand over the Darkness, Emperor Walker called one last meeting of his closest advisers. In that meeting, he told them of the danger he posed and ordered them to destroy him should they feel he was beyond redemption. They hesitantly agreed and with that, he was off in pursuit of the Commander.Walker tracked the Commander to a waterworld on the edge of Known Space where they proceeded to pick up the battle where they left off. While the Commander chose to keep himself hovering above the waves, Walker used his power to freeze the ocean solid, giving him a platform to stand upon. As before, he threw powerful attacks at the Commander. Only this time, his intent was not to destroy his enemy but to distract him. As the two battled, Walker was simultaneously grasping the planet's single small moon, pulling it ever closer.
Igniting their blades, the pair met in terrifying combat, slashing away at one another with such speed that it wouldn't have even registered clearly to the human eye. Sensing an opening in the Commander's defense, Walker launched the same attack which had ensnared the Commander before on Korribanos. Holding him encased in a bubble of Darkness, Walker needed only keep him stationary for moments. As the Commander fought against his trap, he threw everything he had at Walker's hold: a fatal mistake. The Commander had pushed himself dangerously close to the point of no return and the True Force was starting to reclaim him. Unwilling to trust that the Commander had indeed doomed himself, the Emperor increased his concentration, bringing the moon past the point where it could be stopped. It was now caught in the planet's gravity and falling into the atmosphere. With a wave of his hand, Walker cleared away the cloud cover as the moon filled the sky from horizon to horizon, allowing the Commander to see that he had lost. Walker waited until the last second before the moon struck to teleport off the planet. With a massive explosion, the planet--and the Commander--were obliterated.
With his servant destroyed, Lord Stryfe took the situation into his own hands, teleporting to a barren world to wait for Walker, where he would take care of the Emperor himself.
It didn't take long for Walker to pick up Stryfe's scent and confront the waiting Dark Lord. He built his energies and launched everything he had at the Dark Lord the second he materialized on the planet. As fast and powerful as the attack was, Stryfe was quicker, vanishing before Walker's attack could reach him and leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for the Dark Emperor to follow. As Walker materialized inside of a massive 100-meter wide crater gouged out by his assault, he sensed Lord Stryfe's presence elsewhere in the galaxy and realized he was being played with.
Unwilling to play into the Dark Lord's game, Walker produced decoys of himself, which he sent after Stryfe through the Darkness. Stryfe first emerged on Earth at the UN. Walker sent his first decoy in right behind him and laughed to himself as Stryfe threw an attack at the decoy before running away again, this time to the Jedi Temple, where Walker sent his second decoy. While Stryfe sensed the decoy's approach, he didn't sense the real Emperor's presence until it was almost too late. As he materialized behind the Dark Lord, Walker sent a devastating kinetic attack at Stryfe's back. Though caught off-guard, Stryfe still managed to deflect the attack, suddenly disappearing and reappearing behind Walker, preparing to run him through with his lightsaber. The Emperor was quick to react, however, dematerializing just enough to allow Stryfe to pass straight through him. AS soon as he found himself once again behind the Dark Lord, he ignited his blade and racked it across Stryfe's back. Reacting instantly, Stryfe leapt straight up and out of the Temple, smashing through several levels of the building before launching into the sky. Walker let out a roar of anger, sending out waves of Darkness that further damaged the building, before flying up and out after the fleeing Dark Lord.Stryfe landed on the Earth's moon moments later, followed immediately by Walker, who made his entrance in a grandiose fashion, forming a massive multi-kilometer high vortex of lunar regolith at the center of which he appeared, lightsaber lit and in hand. The two exchanged telepathic threats before Walker, using the mental barrage as a distraction, grabbed a massive lunar boulder and smashed it down onto Stryfe with enough force to blast a new crater into the pockmarked surface.
When the dust cleared, Stryfe stood at the center of the crater, grinning up at the Emperor, the barely visible Force bubble shimmering around him. After a flurry of lightsaber combat and an exchange of terrifying power, Stryfe disappeared once again, goading Walker to follow. The Emperor obliged.
Walker vanished in a cloud of black smoke, taking with him a massive boulder. He followed Stryfe the Kel Dor, launching the boulder ahead of him with devastating power. The thirty-meter-wide rock materialized and hit the planet with the power of an asteroid impact. When Walker appeared, he found himself hovering over a crater several hundred meters wide in the middle of the remains of a large city, now almost utterly destroyed by the impact. And once again, in the center was Stryfe, completely unharmed. Before he could react, Walker found himself in a powerful Force Grip being dragged down to the Dark Lord, where he was then smashed into the ground. Breaking out of the Dark Lord's grip, he managed to land a kick to the side of Stryfe's head. As the Dark Lord stumbled backward, reeling from the powerful blow, Walker began to enshroud him in the same thick black smoke he had trapped the Commander in.He allowed the smoke to latch onto Stryfe's Darkness and anchor it firmly around the Dark Lord. He poured as much energy into the bubble as he could, increasing the temperature inside the sphere, all the while Lord Stryfe taunted him from within. He pushed out with all his might, straining Walker's prison to its limit. The Emperor allowed the bubble to absorb Stryfe's energy and funnel it back into itself, strengthening the shroud. But he knew it wouldn't hold forever. Stryfe was just too powerful. Suddenly, from inside the bubble, Stryfe exploded. Unable to contain it, Walker was thrown backwards. When he found his footing, he was shocked to see that the Dark Lord had doubled in size, the power of the Darkness pouring off of him in waves.
Sensing that he wouldn't stand a chance against Stryfe in his current condition, Walker tried a different angle. Dissolving into smoke, he entered the Dark Lord's body and battled him from the inside out, forcing Stryfe to expend great amounts of energy opposing him. After intense internal struggle, Walker was thrown free of Stryfe's body, materializing once more in human form with a nasty burn on his chin. This was it, the moment Walker had been waiting for, the event which he'd been pushing Stryfe towards from the beginning: Stryfe was about to exceed his limit and expend more power than he could afford.
Walker launched attack after attack at the Dark Lord, until finally, it happened. The sky turned red and the Emperor knew, could sense, what was going on. Stryfe had used his remaining power to overload Kel Dor's parent star. It was about to explode, obliterating the entire solar system, and Stryfe meant to take the Emperor with him. He tried to teleport but found himself unable. Stryfe was holding him in place. Then, the star exploded, killing Stryfe and, as far as the galaxy knew, Emperor Walker, too.
Though believed to have been killed in the destruction at Kel Dor, Walker managed to instinctively teleport away just in time, though not without a price. He awoke on an unknown moon orbiting a gas giant with no recollection of the preceding events nor of anything about who he was. The Darkness-manifested personality remained, however, and told him that he was called 'Lord Karnage' and that he was heir to an Empire that was being denied him.
He was discovered by Lord Stryfe's protege, Lady Pleasant, and quickly used to breathe new life into the crippled Organization. She took Karnage on as her apprentice, teaching him to use his new powers and turning him bit by bit against the Empire and the Jedi.
One of his first missions as an agent of the Organization was to infiltrate a top secret Imperial research laboratory dedicated to highly advanced nanite technology. Lady Pleasant believed that weaponized nanites could be the key to overwhelming the Empire's defenses and ultimately lead to its downfall. Unfortunately, the technology was still unstable and while it destroyed the Imperial convoy it was tested against, it also turned on the Organization fighters who launched the weapon, destroying them as well. Lord Karnage was only just able to dematerialize out of his doomed fighter in time to save himself.
Sometime between the theft of the nanites and their disastrous test, Karnage traveled to the Korribanosian colony world Ziostos and, using the Force to dominate the mind of Governor Davros Korban, he secured it as a hideout and part-time base of operations for the Organization.As tensions between the Empire and Korribanos, due to the conflicting personalities of Emperors Aedar and Jenkins, came to a head, both men were caught off-guard by a devastating attack on the Korribanosian shipyard by Imperial Adjutant-Marshal-turned-traitor Harry Love of Barsus. Lord Karnage felt the confusion, and the lucky coincidence that the Jedi Grand Master Ky'rinn was also in the Adas System. The Fates seemed to be smiling in his favor to have all of his enemies gathered in one place, ripe for the picking. He immediately contacted his master with his intentions to kill them all. He was infuriated by her answer.
She told him the time was not yet right. She ordered him to Korribanos, but to frighten, not to kill. It was time for the Empire to know that the Organization was back and as powerful as ever. So he made his way to Korribanos on a freighter, being still too weak to teleport such a vast distance. The ship was forced to exit hyperspace at the edge of the system due to a system-wide lockdown following the attack on the shipyard. The freighter approached as close as it could, close enough to allow Karnage to teleport to the planet's surface.
Once there, he entered the Imperial Palace and, so as not to draw suspicion, used the Force to affect the appearance of an Imperial Knight. Whilst trolling the halls of the detention center, where he intended to release several high security prisoners as step one in disrupting the Empire's focus, he overheard two guards discussing a ceremony which the Jedi Grand Master would attend. Seeing that as a perfect opportunity, he made that step two.
As he approached the high security section, he was met by Korribanosian security, who informed him that the prisoner they were guarding, the Imperial Trade Federation Minister, was off-limits to everyone except Emperor Aedar. Unconcerned with his security clearance, Lord Karnage simply killed the guards and tor the door out of the wall, releasing the prisoner. The Minister demanded that they release yet another prisoner, this one the Deputy Viceroy himself. Karnage, not particularly picky about who he let out, went along. After releasing the Deputy Viceroy and battling through the expected security resistance, he got the two prisoners safely to the turbolift which would lead them to freedom. Once they were gone, he made his way to the location of the ceremony, Korriban University, and waited for the honored guests to arrive.
Perching himself on the roof of the entrance to the main building, he watched as a large gathering of press assembled in front of a large statue of Korribanos' founding Sith Lord, Adas. In attendance were several members of the university staff, Emperor Aedar, and Jedi Grand Master Ky'rinn Con'rathan, with a small cadre of Jedi Knights on-hand for security. He observed the start of the ceremony, the pleasant speeches and obligatory politicking. He found himself curious about the ceremony's purpose and so allowed it to continue a while, finally coming to the main event: the Jedi were presenting the university, and symbolically the whole world, with a large carved piece of stone said to be from the original Sith world Korriban. His curiosity quenched, Karnage decided to make his presence known.
He teleported to the ground and immediately began to cause as much trouble as he could while still obeying his orders not to kill. Using the Force, he destroyed the enormous statue of Lord Adas and brought it crashing down on the ceremony participants, knowing full well that, with all the Jedi present, it was very unlikely to actually kill anyone. The Grand Master launched a counter assault, creating powerful winds that tore at Lord Karnage, hurling potentially deadly debris. He rose off the ground and shrouded himself in a protective bubble, then, creating an even larger bubble, this one nearly a kilometer across, he began sapping all of the heat from inside and shunting it up into the atmosphere. Within moments, the temperature had dropped dramatically. If the Grand Master didn't act quickly, within five minutes, every living thing trapped inside the bubble would freeze to death.
But the Grand Master, more powerful than the average Jedi, struck out with his exotic Spirit weapon. Though the spirits could not inflict any serious harm upon him, they could be an unwelcome distraction. Diverting a fraction of his concentration, he formed two doppelgangers and sent then rocketing off in opposite directions, the Jedi spirits trailing after them.
Karnage soon sensed the first lives being snuffed out by the cold and he drew strength from the death. But his perverse satisfaction was short lived, because within moments, he sensed an iminent attack from the Jedi a fraction of a second before it hit. He managed to discorporealize, but not before one of the Jedi's blades traced a line across his back.
Remaining incorporeal, he tracked the Jedi's presence, impressed with his abilities. Karnage expanded his presence and flattened it into a disk a hundred meters across, the Jedi located squarely in the center. Then he recorporealized, along with six doppelgängers, each with identical presences in the Force to his own. Taunting the Jedi, each copy lit their blades and prepared to attack.
Unexpectedly, the Jedi fled, seemingly disappearing. In fact, he was calling upon the spirits of Korribanos and of the stone artifact he'd presented the Emperor. Unable to split his focus further, he opted to cease his cold attack and face the Jedi head-on. It was around this time that he sensed a great power approaching. Unknown to him, Emperor Jenkins' enforcer Iyla was on her way to aid the Jedi in battle with a new and unexpected weapon.
Appearing as a luminescent shape-shifting being, Iyla soared through the air towards Karnage. Though he found the new combatant interesting, he nevertheless knew it had to be destroyed. Using the Force, he excavated a fifteen-meter-wide chunk of earth and rock and hurled it through the air at Iyla, who changed form first into a worm, splitting the chunk of dirt into seven smaller bits, then into the form of an Earth octopus, grabbing each missile and throwing them back at Karnage.
Impressed but unconcerned, Karnage watched as the largest piece hurtled toward him, discorporealizing at the last second to allow the speeder-sized chunk to pass harmlessly through him, followed shortly by the remaining six pieces. In response, Karnage let the Darkness pour through his fingertips, saturating the entire area, bogging down the oncoming Iyla.
It was then that the Jedi struck. Karnage caught the blades on his own, deflecting them before backhanding the alien across the face. Karnage sensed something brewing in the Force, a link between Iyla, the Jedi...and ten Imperial Knights, who had taken up positions around the area. The Jedi had regrouped, spring back into action for another attack, but Karnage again raised up doppelgangers to deflect him, this time ten in number. And these, unlike the others, were no mere illusions. They were solid, capable of inflicting real damage to their opponents.
The Grand Master tore into the Force Projections, managing to destroy five of them with the help of his spirits before realizing a terrible truth: the Projections were tied directly to the life forces of the Imperial Knights. Whatever damage was inflicted upon the doppelgangers was instantly manifested on the Knights themselves.
Having allowed the enemy to weaken itself, Karnage teleported directly in front of the Jedi and attack furiously, the Grand Master matching him blow for blow. As they fought, Iyla initiated her own attack. Karnaged sensed the mind link instantly spring up between Iyla, the Jedi, and the remaining Knights. Then, he was nearly brought to his knees by the revelation that he had suddenly and inexplicably been cut off from the Darkness.
Distraught, it took him a heartbeat to realize that he still held control over the Force, which, while considerably weaker than the Darkness, was still a powerful weapon. He tapped into the mind link, following it back to its source: Iyla. And from there, he traced it back to the minds of the Imperial Knights. Using his considerable Force power, he attempted to dominate their minds, ultimately succeeding and taking control of a single Knight, whom he instructed to attack his fellow Knights. The Knight complied, ultimately being killed but not before mortally wounding another. With the loss of two minds from the link, the power holding him back from the Darkness was weakened and Karnage was able to break through their bubble and restore his power.
Furious, he soared forward, grabbing the Jedi Grand Master by the throat, and rocketed straight up several hundred meters. He promised the Grand Master the deaths of all Jedi before releasing him to plummet to the ground.
The very next day, Karnage led a daring assault on Earth, commanding a sizable Organization fleet over one hundred Star Destroyers strong. Though the force was doomed from the start, he hoped that it could keep Earth's eyes pointing spaceward while he took on the Jedi Temple himself below on the planet's surface. Intent upon destroying every Jedi who held knowledge of the new anti-Darkness techniques, he determined it would be the Masters who would be the likely targets.
He announced himself to the Temple, augmenting his voice through the Darkness so that it rang out through ever hall and chamber of the grand structure. The Dark Lord ordered the Jedi Masters to face him lest he begin the wholesale slaughter of every Jedi in the Temple. But the Temple itself had a few surprises in store. Built almost to wield the Force itself, it combined and enhanced the powers of the Masters present, who were able, for a short time, to keep him at bay.Karnage abandoned the Temple, however, when he sensed the Grand Master arrive in his Worldship high in orbit. He determined that Ky'rinn would be his most powerful foe and decided to kill him while the Jedi was still recovering from their battle the day before.
With a tremendous effort, Karnage burst through the Jedi's defenses and transported himself inside the mammoth living vessel, where he faced an odd array of obstacles before finally reaching the Grand Master's chamber. But even weakened, the Grand Master had tricks up his sleeves. Drawing upon the Worldship itself, Ky'rinn lashed out at Karnage with terrific brute force, battering at him again and again. But Karnage proved the more powerful. As he moved in for the kill, Karnage tore away his cracked and scorched mask, wanting the Jedi to look upon the face of his enemy before he died. But to the Dark Lord's dismay, the Jedi looked upon that face without fear or even anger, but deep deep sadness, for it was the face of his good friend, Emperor Josh Walker. Ky'rinn then, in a last desperate move to defeat the newly unmasked Walker, initiated the Worldship's unique self-destruct, intent upon taking out the Dark Lord even at the cost of his own life.
Severely weakened and badly injured, Karnage was just able to muster enough strength to punch through the Worldship's hull with the Force. Once he escaped the anti-Darkness enchantments of the Worldship, he teleported back onto the bridge of the Harbinger, where his identity was at last revealed to a broad population. In order to renew the energies he expended in his battle with the Grand Master, Karnage sapped the life out of more than one hundred members of the Harbinger's crew. He then told Tessa Halvern that he was through with being betrayed and that he would very soon put an end to all betrayal in the galaxy. The mad Sith Lord then teleported away, leaving a stunned bridge crew behind.
For an unknown period of time, Karnage merely existed in a state of consciousness, the in-between place where Darkness users go when they become incorporeal. He allowed the Darkness to guide him toward where its pull was the strongest. He then arrived on a barren world in the deep galactic core that was positively steeped with the power of the Darkness. Unknown to him, it was the place where Lord Stryfe's crystal had lain for millennia, soaking up his malice and imbibing the entire planet with his power.
Karnage made his way into a stone temple built to house Stryfe's crystal and focus its power. There he began the process of melding with the Darkness stored there, a process that would take several days to complete. It was during this time that the voice, which had manifested itself as a second personality shortly after he had embraced the Darkness, revealed itself for what it truly was: the Destructor, a timeless being of terrible power which had consumed the Old Galaxy millennia before. The Destructor had latched onto Walker the moment he crossed over into the Darkness, manipulating him into doing its bidding, all leading up to the time when he would seek out the Dark planet and bring its plans to fruition. The Destructor intended to use the planet to focus the Darkness through the Force, shattering it completely in the Milky Way galaxy, destroying all life connected to it. Then it intended to replace the Force with itself, now wholly comprised of the Darkness. As new life developed, the Destructor would feed off it. Eventually it would have an entire galaxy of life fueling it. And when that happened, it would spread to other galaxies and repeat the process, growing stronger and stronger each time. Its eventual goal was to harness the power of all life in the universe. But as it laid out its plans in Karnage's head, the man who was once Walker awoke and began to resist.
Post-DarknessAfter his recovery, Walker spent two years rediscovering himself with his good friend, Ky'rinn Con'rathan. Taking an indefinite sabbatical from the Galactic Empire, he was able to learn more about his powers and how to cope with the things he had done while under the Darkness' influence.
During the Third Jedi Convocation, Daniel Turner, alias Darth Atrumcavus, attacked the Jedi Grand Master. In the attack, Walker was speared through the chest with a lightsaber, instantly rendering him unconscious and near death. He was treated to a Force vision, guided by the founding father of Korribanos, Sith Lord Adas. Adas showed him visions of the Sith landing on the planet for the first time and building the settlement that would one day become Korriban City. He then showed Walker the meeting wherein it was decided that they should renounce their Sith practices for fear that the Jedi might track them to their new home. Lord Adas admitted to Walker that he had made a mistake in forcing his people to abandon their ways. He then gave Walker his Sith name, Darth Taral, and instructed him to fix that mistake and officially establish a Sith Order on Korribanos, to reclaim their founders' culture and identity as Sith Lords.
Sith Grand MasterIn 14 NE, Walker, now going exclusively by the name Darth Taral, opened his newly constructed Sith Academy in Korriban City. As the founder and leader of this new Sith Order, Lord Taral assumed the rank of Sith Grand Master and invited a number of Sith Masters from Orders around the galaxy to come to Korribanos to help instruct the first generation of Korribanosian Sith.
Just two days into the academy's existence, Taral was attacked in his own office by a man wearing archaic and strangely lightsaber-resistant battle armor. The two dueled furiously for several minutes before Lord Taral finally ended it by backhanding the man across the face, knocking him to the ground. The man then identified himself as Darth Talbur, explaining that his attack was actually a sort of job interview. Taral respected the man's forward attitude, not to mention his prowess in battle, and agreed to give him a job as an instructor.
Just one day later, Taral was attacked yet again in his office, this time by a man calling himself Caius who demanded to be taken on as a Dark Knight. Taral easily defeated this second attacker and, as he had with Talbur, agreed to accept him. Though, he said, the young man's abilities were much less impressive that he himself seemed to think. Taral decreed that Caius would be granted the rank of Apprentice and given to Lord Talbur for training.
Sometime, possibly in late 14 NE, Taral was approached inside the Sith Academy by two very unexpected guests. They were none other than two of Korribanos' Sith founders, Darth Azeroth and Darth Aeris, who had, they explained, been in carbonite hibernation for over forty-one centuries beneath the polar ice.
Return to the Throne
At some point after 14 NE, Lord Taral was asked to return to the Imperial throne to serve as Galactic Emperor. Despite his obligations to his new Sith Order, Taral agreed to take up the crown again, believing he could do both simultaneously. He was intent upon bringing a new era of prosperity to the Empire under his second term as Emperor.
Sometime after reassuming the Imperial throne, Taral married Korribanos co-founder Darth Aeris. The pair had a son, Draco, sometime around 20 NE, who was the first in what would be a nearly 1000-year-long dynasty of Sith Emperors.
Walker has shown himself to be a deeply passionate man about a great many things. Though known to be very blunt at times, sometimes to the point of sounding rude, he clearly does what he does for the sake of the people of the Galactic Empire and for his homeworld Korribanos. He has very little concern for power; his ambition is order and the safety and prosperity of those whom he governs. If he felt that the people would be better off under alternate leadership, it is very likely he would step down.
As passionate as he is about the people he leads, he is equally passionate about his close associates. A fierce friend, Walker takes friendship very seriously. Friends of the Emperor can rest assured that he will do just about anything for them even at great personal risk.
Emperor Walker also seems to have a very strong sense of honor and morality. Even though the Killik race invaded the Empire with the intent of wiping out all Human life, Walker absolutely refused to use the genocide weapon he had at his disposal, recognizing that the Killiks were as much a slave to their Joiners emotions and the Collective as the Joiners were to the Killiks themselves. He fought adamantly for a solution that would not result in the end of the Killik species, a fight he eventually won when Imperial scientists managed to create a nano weapon capable of restructuring the Killik brain and removing the Collective altogether, freeing the species from their hive dependency.
Despite being a life-long and devout follower of the Sith teachings, not to mention a fully trained Sith Lord later in life, Walker is a powerful proponent of peaceful Jedi/Sith relations. He believes that the feuds of the past have no bearing on the present and that the two modern Orders have no basis for continued hostilities and prejudices. His feelings on the matter are so strong, in fact, that he, in addition to being very close personal friends with the Jedi Grand Master, recently created a new Imperial High Council seat for the Jedi. He likewise has a special Sith seat on the Jedi High Council, where he seems to be universally accepted and well-received.Though seemingly hard-edged, Walker has been known to show a playful side. The Emperor appears to have a fairly dark sense of humor, often cracking ironic jokes in times of great personal danger.
He has always shown himself to be very well-spoken and polite to staff and other insubordinates. He rarely flaunts his power over the people he commands and tries to make his orders sound more like requests, though he has been known to pull rank in times of great stress or extreme insubordination. However, the majority of the time, he tries to treat people as equals whenever he can.
From early in his career, Walker has been known as a fantastic orator. His speeches have been quoted and rebroadcast hundreds of times and he has the rare ability to captivate his audience to the point of near complete submission. His on-the-spot speechifying is well known in the Empire and many have fallen victim to his sharp tongue, particularly those unfortunate enough to question his orders or insult something close to his heart. At the same time, he is also known for his motivational and uplifting speeches in times when morale in the Empire is particularly low. Perhaps his greatest and most well-known speech to date is his coronation address to the newly-founded Galactic Empire.
Relationship with the JediFrom the moment he rose to power in the Confederacy of Independent Systems, Emperor Walker saw the importance of a strong alliance with the Jedi Order. Being a still mostly undeveloped organization, the CIS was in much need of powerful and influential allies in order to gain membership and recognition in the galactic community. The Jedi Order, being one of if not the most influential group in the galaxy, was an obvious necessity. Early on in his tenure as Supreme Chancellor, Walker struck up a friendship with the Jedi Grand Master. Over the years, the two became very close professional and personal friends.
Although he follows the Sith philosophy, Walker's interpretation of said philosophy leaves open the possibility for collaboration and even friendship with the Jedi Order. To the Emperor, the feuds of the ancient Sith and Jedi Orders are not the feuds of modern generations. Quite simply, he believes the current Orders have no justifiable reason to be enemies. Walker attributes much of his success as a politician and even his Sith training to the support of the Jedi, without whom, he has been heard saying, the Empire would have failed almost immediately. To this day, the Jedi Order is the Empire's closest and most supportive ally.
Powers and abilities
Having trained in the Korribanosian military, Walker is a talented martial artist, exceptionally skilled in both armed and unarmed combat. Though he tries to stay fit, his reflexes have somewhat dulled since becoming Emperor.
Even after ascending to the throne, Walker insisted he remember his warrior roots. He therefore had made for himself a set of combat armor identical to that of his Royal Guardsmen, with whom he occasionally still trains and spars, time permitting. Because of this, he is well-respected amongst the Imperial military, who know that at heart, he is one of them.
The Emperor appears to be at least proficient with the lightsaber, having participated in at least one duel in which the lightsaber was the dominant weapon of choice and at least matching his opponent's skill.
Emperor Walker has shown himself on a number of occasions to be a competent tactician, taking command of the Imperial flagship Light Bringer during Operation Hammer Down. Though some have commented that his tactics are brash and unsophisticated, not to mention dangerous at times, Walker is a cold and calculating character and thinks his every action through to conclusion before acting. Everything he does, he does with a purpose driving it, as most people realize once his tactics succeed.
After discovering his Force-sensitivity, Emperor Walker secretly met with the Jedi Grand Master over the course of several years to train and hone his abilities. In addition to receiving Jedi training, he also consulted ancient Sith holocrons from Korribanos' early history, studying the teachings of Lord Adas and other Sith Lords.A significantly powerful being in the Force, Walker tends to prefer using the Force over his lightsaber, though he retains at least a modest amount of skill with the traditional weapon. To date, Walker has been in no less than five duels with other Force users and has only used his lightsaber a fraction of the time, instead calling upon the Force to battle his opponents.
As a practicing Sith Lord, he is well-versed in the Dark Side and has shown himself more than capable of producing traditional Dark Side powers such as Force Lightning and Choke. However, curiously enough, while clearly capable of utilizing the Dark Side, and indeed even admitting on more than one occasion to communing with the Dark Side specifically, he doesn't show any of the characteristics of one who has "fallen" in the traditional sense, with the exception of his eyes, which change to the typical Sith red-on-yellow coloring when sufficiently angered. Indeed, he maintains a very cordial relationship with many Jedi Knights and Master, none of whom have ever expressed concern for him using the Dark Side. Coupled with his informal Jedi training, this has led some to the conclusion that he is not a Sith Lord at all but rather a Gray Jedi of some new fashion.
After making the transition into the Darkness, the Emperor received access to near limitless power. In this state, he has the ability to teleport anywhere in the galaxy in seconds, touch the minds of billions of beings at a time, and do things with the Force that would be impossible for even the most powerful traditional Force user. However, this power comes not without a price; the more power he exerts at any given time, the weaker his resistance to the True Force becomes and the higher the risk of being absorbed into this well of raw power. For this reason he must limit the use of his power for fear that he may slip into oblivion.
Though Lord Walker was eventually cured of the affliction, the details are sketchy. He is known to have retained certain characteristics of the Darkness even after being rescued from its grip. In times of great passion, generally anger, his eyes turn black and smoke begins to pour off of him. He has also retained limited teleportation abilities. Though unable to cover large distances, he has shown the ability to dematerialize to avoid physical harm, rematerializing in the same place moments later. It is unknown what his range is or if it is a power he will be able to further develop over time. He has also been seen using a form of that power to call his lightsaber, literally teleporting the device from his utility belt to his hand in a puff of black smoke.
As of 14 NE, Walker, now called Darth Taral, was shown to exhibit continued access to certain Darkness powers of varying degrees. In his duel with Darth Talbur, he used the remnant Darkness power of teleportation to suddenly appear behind the other Sith Lord and subdue him with a physical strike. It is still unknown just exactly how many remnant powers he possesses.