The Twisted History Of Darth Traya, The Lord Of Betrayal — CultureSlate (2024)

Star Wars

Written By Idalis Wood

The Twisted History Of Darth Traya, The Lord Of Betrayal — CultureSlate (1)

When people talk about George Lucas's Star Wars, the main focus is on the central trio, Luke, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. As the saga continued in its prequels and most recent trilogy, it explored the ripple effects brought on by the leading trio. Upon first glance of gamers in 2004, the highly acclaimed and loved Knights of the Old Republic seemed to be an excuse to enter into an already known world and nothing new needed to be explored. Little did we realize, the story was far from over. A derailment from the original story, KOTOR presented gamers with what its developers had hoped for since its initial creation: something more than a game, but a philosophical deconstruction of Lucas's magnum opus. As KOTOR was famous for its titular characters, the first game introduced us to Darth Revan, a former Jedi Knight turned Sith Lord then Jedi Knight once again. Perhaps the series' tour de force was the creation of Kreia, otherwise known as Darth Traya.

In the series, your Jedi character of various ranks travels to different planets, coming across different characters and situations. Through your character, gamers come to realize the rippling effects of their choices whether they be the "right" or "wrong" ones. Whatever choice is made affects your sensitivity to the light and dark sides of the Force. Darth Traya, once Kreia (with poosibly a third identity), is a truly unique person; seeing the faults of both the Jedi and the Sith Orders, their rise and falls, and the choices that lead them there provide a perspective on both sides not yet seen in more canon characters. Living 4,000 years before the events of A New Hope, Kreia (Darth Traya) cemented herself in the lore of Star Wars through her actions and the general lessons she attempted to teach.



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Life As a Jedi:

Where Kreia came from is not known for sure. The better part of her life was as a Jedi. What is known, is Kreia was a Jedi Master, head librarian, and head historian. Cataloging Jedi and Sith artifacts, Kreia possibly had the most access and trust in the knowledge associated with what was brought to her. As a Jedi Master, Kreia was famous for the lessons she posed to her students, which were comprised of unorthodox and thought-provoking dilemmas. Known as Kreia's Conundrums, she makes it known to her students that they simply cannot tune her out. They are required to listen and put in the effort. Kreia's most notable Padawan was Revan. As someone who took Kreia's lessons seriously, Revan would later come back to Kreia for guidance, since he found traditional Jedi teachings lacking.

At this time, the Mandalorian Wars were in full swing. With the Mandalorians leaving trails of destruction on nearly every planet they came across, Revan sought the advice of someone whom he respected, as other Jedi Masters were against getting involved in the Mandalorian Wars. Kreia set herself against the Jedi Order by acknowledging how the Jedi Code hindered Padawan and Jedi alike. According to Kreia, the Code was full of absolutes. In reality, it contained half-truths. This form of honesty led Revan to act independently from the Jedi and fight in the Mandalorian Wars. He was able to recruit a band of other Jedi to fight alongside him; a majority being Kreia's other students. Sadly, this led to Kreia's descent to the dark side.

The Birth of Darth Traya:

Because her students and Revan went to war, the Jedi were under the impression that Kreia influenced them to go to war. They were her Padawans. They were at fault for leaving the principles the Jedi teach, and because Kreia was their teacher, the fault fell on Kreia's shoulders. This wasn't true. Revan and the others believed in truth and justice, but he was aware that only believing in truth and justice was a farce. According to Kreia, "To believe in an ideal is to be willing to betray it. It is something no Jedi or Sith has ever learned." Further setting Kreia apart was her belief in Sith ideals during her time as a Jedi Master; preaching independence, advocating mild forms of manipulation, and believing in the equivalent form of evolution. Through these teachings, the Jedi believed Kreia was incapable of properly teaching the Jedi Code. Their case for this was especially strong as (through circ*mstance), Kreia's students abandoned them to fight in a forbidden war, associating their beliefs with Sith values. Already having a disdain for Kreia's unorthodox methods, the Council thought it best to exile her. After her exile, it's unknown where Kreia spent most of her time. What is known is she went to Malachor V, finding a Sith temple where she came upon the eventual Darth Sion and Darth Nihilus. Soon, Kreia was renamed Darth Traya. And Darth Traya took Darth Sion and Darth Nihilus as her apprentices.

The Twisted History Of Darth Traya, The Lord Of Betrayal — CultureSlate (3)

As Darth Traya, Lord of Betrayal, she was possibly more powerful as a Sith than as a Jedi. With Darth Sion and Nihilus, they formed the Sith Triumvirate. With her past teachings, Darth Traya was able to give Nihilus some control of his ability to drain the life force from those around him. With her instruction, Nihilus could direct it toward a certain person as opposed to anyone and anything dying due to being around him out of bad luck. In addition, Sion was able to utilize his anger as a weapon and fuel his body, despite its damage under Darth Traya's guidance. Their shared hatred of the Jedi was the glue bonding them; their powers "held the galaxy by its throat." Their abilities, disdain for those who wronged them, and the fact that they had goals separate from one another resulted in a fragile unity. As Darth Traya noted, "To be united by hatred is a fragile alliance at best." Little did she know how those words would come to haunt her.

The Betrayal and the Scars Left Behind:

Unlike Darth Nihilus and Darth Sion, Darth Traya (once Kreia) understood that the Force uses us against our will as a slave to further its own gain. Traya wished and longed for the Force to die, but she used the Force as an assassin would use a knife or poison. She spent her life as a Jedi and understood that the Force uses us against our will as a slave to further its own gain. In her past life, Darth Traya stated how a Jedi's identity was based on their connection to the Force. She even went so far as to ask "what are [the Jedi] without the Force? Take the greatest Jedi Knight, strip away the Force, and what remains?" When it came to pass that Darth Traya's connection to the Force would be taken from her by her apprentices, they did not see what would be left of her. Darth Sion and Nihilus left her bloodied, having beaten her within an inch of her life as she mediated alone. Yet being exiled a second time didn't leave Darth Traya bitter.

Having experienced betrayals from both the Jedi and the Sith, Traya (Kreia once again) was disillusioned and began refining her ways of thinking again. She met Meetra Surik, a Jedi exile. Upon meeting Surik, Kreia was fascinated by her; a true embodiment of her beliefs of not limiting herself to what the Jedi preached and acted independently. Her adventures with Surik led to the discovery that certain tragedies could leave wounds in the Force, or "echoes", which sometimes made it difficult to hear and be used. Kreia learned that her experience at Malachor V, where she cut herself off from the Force, created an "echo" large enough that Kreia was able to connect the tragedy to the wound created in the Force. Surik's disconnection allowed her the opportunity to liberate the galaxy from the Force's control over the fates of all living things. Surik's desires fell in line with Kreia's mindset of depending too much on the Force; those choosing death or the Jedi turning to the dark side rather than living without the Force were not "strong enough to deserve life".

The Twisted History Of Darth Traya, The Lord Of Betrayal — CultureSlate (4)

Her desire to prevent the spiritual death of the individual in the future was the motivation that cultivated her hatred for the Force. She advocated individuality for herself and Surik. Ever since her start as a Jedi, Kreia (and Darth Traya) believed in showing Jedi and Sith the dangers of basing one's identity on their connection (or lack thereof) to the Force. While her "only purpose" was "to show you what your own eyes cannot yet see", Kreia's purpose was born of wanting those she found promise in to not repeat the choices she made. This choice led to much death and destruction at her hands.

In Knights of the Old Republic: Sith Lords, Kreia and Surik travel to planets that served as battlefields during the Mandalorian Wars. During this time, they reconvened at some point at the remains of the Jedi Temple on Dantooine. It is here where Surik realizes the reason for her exile, a choice that Surik was never given an explanation for. Though the foundation of their reasoning was ignorance and arrogance, Kreia achieved enlightenment. Seeing proof that life could exist without the Force renewed Kreia's confidence in her personal beliefs and fueled a desire to learn more about Surik. Surik, arguably the most human Jedi, severed her ties with the Force to shield herself from the pain of feeling the deaths of the Jedi she had Force-bonded with, a choice that ultimately saved her life. However, Surik wasn't completely cut off from the Force. She did the human equivalent of temporarily suppressing her emotions out of fear, earning Kreia's respect and empathy. Keira wanted to train Surik how to be human, not a Jedi. She succeeded.

Traya Reborn and Her End:

Traya was reborn after the Jedi Masters attempt to strip Surik of her Force connection due to their fears of Surik's influence of possibly turning other Jedi into "wounds". Disillusioned by the Jedi Masters for turning away the truth represented in Surik and their inability to aid in real struggles as they seclude themselves away, Darth Traya aimed to show the Jedi Masters "the tragedies of.... all wars.... all tragedies that scream across the face of the galaxy" This was to be seen "through the eyes of the Exile [Surik]." The attempt was in vain. The Jedi Masters, too dependent on the Force, did not let go. Traya, in an attempt to show the Masters how Surik cut herself off from her power, wanted them to truly see the Force and the trauma it can create. Because they could not (or would not) see, they became "absent from the Force". Nothing is left; just bodies.

In the end, all paths lead to a final confrontation on Malachor V. Darth Traya (Kreia) represents a final test; defeat her and she dies. After the defeat, Meetra's connection to Kreia is broken, Malachor V is falling apart. Before her death, Kreia offers the chance to ask any question and will provide an unfiltered, honest answer. She also offers to relay what she envisions for the future (i.e. the first six Star Wars movies) and offers advice on where Revan might be located. With all goals accomplished, Kreia's life has reached its natural stopping point. She was "nothing but a mirror" showing Meetra, and ourselves, a chance to see things from another perspective; that maybe the Jedi are not purely "good guys" and not everything is as it seems. To rethink infantile delusions, we have already started the first step of being a truer version of ourselves as Kreia intended.



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Idalis Wood

The Twisted History Of Darth Traya, The Lord Of Betrayal — CultureSlate (2024)
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