Before I begin I must state that if you have not read up to Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse and don’t want to read any spoilers to please stop here as there is no way I can cover this topic without going into deep spoiler territory.
You have been warned!
Now when I first started the Fate of the Jedi series I was very intrigued in the second book when a new group of Sith called the Lost Tribe was introduced. Now I had read all of the Legacy comics at the time so I knew what would eventually happen but they piqued my interest as a way to really test the Jedi. Then I kept reading and in their first interaction saw around a dozen of them fight a severely weakened Luke Skywalker and Ben Skywalker only to be severely outclassed and easily defeated. I thought, “OK sure this is the son and grandson of the chosen one, obviously a bunch of rank and file Sith and 1 competent Lord would be outclassed” But then it kept happening, Luke and Ben kept getting into fights with the Tribe and kept coming out on top, not only that, but when other Jedi would get involved, again it would be easy victories for the Jedi. In fact, throughout the entire series you could probably count the number of casualties the Jedi took (specifically fighting the Lost Tribe) on one hand, meanwhile the Tribe lost hundreds of Sith over the course of the series.
So how could an entire planet of Sith be so easily defeated by a force of Jedi that numbered just over 100? Well the easy answer is the narrative answer in that they weren’t meant to be the primary antagonist, Abeloth was, and were meant to be more of a secondary threat or annoyance to the Jedi than something that could actually bring down the order. However, the more I think about the more I realize that this makes sense not just from the narrative sense but in universe as well.
So, let’s analyze the 2 sides. The Lost Tribe is a faction of Sith that probably numbers in the low thousands. Their existence goes back to the ancient Sith, specifically with Naga Sadow or around 5000 BBY. The tribe came from the Sith ship named the Omen which crash landed on the planet of Kesh where the Sith were marooned for over 5000 years. It was at this point that they were found by the Sith meditation sphere, Ship, who informed them of the wider galaxy and what was going on at that time, and they finally ended their isolation to take back the Galaxy from the Jedi. While mainly human due to a eugenics conflict from the early days of their isolation, they still resembled in the practices and beliefs of Sith of 5000 BBY, but had made some moderate reforms due to their current situation.
The Jedi or more specifically Luke’s order was founded around 11 ABY when Luke officially founded a Jedi Praxeum on Yavin 4. As much of the history of the order had been lost due to the Great Jedi purge, what little information that was known of the ways of the old orders were kept, what wasn’t known they came up with as they went along, but unlike older embodiments of the order Luke was much more open to new information and reforms, both from the experiences of his own knights and with what new information of the order was uncovered.
All of this you probably knew already but what does it all mean? Well let’s take the Lost tribe first. The main thing that defines them is the 5000 years of isolation, though it isn’t the isolation itself but the timing of it. Now you think that 5000 years of isolation with no outside threats to speak of would lead to a golden age of reforms, theory, and with 5000 years to train the best combatants since all they have to do is sit around and train all day. Well if you believe that just look at what happened the Jedi during their 1000 years of piece and how ready they were for the reemergence of their sworn enemy. Apples to oranges sure as Sith and Jedi have different ways of doing things, but the result was none the less the same. So why was that?
Well I said that the length of time isn’t as important as the timing of the gap. The Sith of 5000 BBY were not the Sith of 0 ABY and beyond. In 5000 BBY Exar Kun and Ulic Qel Droma had not yet fallen to the Sith, Vitiate hadn’t created his empire, Bane hadn’t instituted the Rule of 2 etc. All of these events ushered in great reforms and advancements into Sith doctrine, each building on the foundations of the last to make each new generation of Sith stronger. In fact, a bulk of this work was done during the time of the Rule of 2 where each individual Sith literally grew to be stronger than the last. And all of these reforms and information was archived and studied in the forms of Sith holocrons for any Sith that proved themselves worthy to the Spirits that inhabited the holocrons to learn from. The Lost Tribe had no knowledge of these reforms, and as such were not on par with the Sith of the current era, and from what has been written so far, have made next to no effort to get up to speed. Sure, they had their own reforms and didn’t exactly represent the Sith of 5000 years ago, but due to their isolation these reforms paled in comparison to the reforms of the Sith order as a hole.
In fact, even the Lightsaber forms weren’t completely known to the Lost Tribe. Sure 1 and 2 were known to them since they existed during the time of the 100 year darkness which was pre Korriban but forms 3 and 4 didn’t get invented until after they had been banished to Sith space. In that time where the Sith had reemerged from the Galaxy in the Great Hyperspace War to when the Omen crash landed on Kesh, they couldn’t possibly have had nearly enough knowledge about the form to study it. Let alone forms 5-7 which were all invented after they crash landed on Kesh. So, at best they have a complete understanding of 2 of the 7 forms and were aware of 2 more but had little actual knowledge of them, absolutely no knowledge of the final 3.
Now the Jedi of this time also had a lot of missed information and reforms in their doctrine, But the difference was that they had an entire Galaxy to test and hammer out their own reformation. As such they more or less made their own, sticking to what they knew worked and avoiding what didn’t and applied it to the Galaxy at large that they existed in at the time. Also 20 years is not nearly as much time as 5000, and many of Luke’s order had lived during the time of the Republic and know what the Jedi of that time were. In fact, one of Luke’s earliest students was a historian who spent most of her time studying the Jedi of old. Needless to say, the Jedi had a much better understanding of the progression of their ideology than the Sith of the Lost Tribe did.
What really makes this such an unfair fight though is the difference in experience each side had. The lost tribe simply put had next to no experience of conflict, battle and warfare in the last 5000 years outside of their own infighting. Sure, before contact with the Jedi they had 2 years of experience as pirates this was against mainly merchant ships with little to no defensive capabilities or crews who were that good in a fight. Hardly enough to gain the experience needed to Fight the Jedi.
Luke’s order on the other hand had 4 generations of Jedi with each generation having more experience than the last. These generations I refer to as the First Class, Myrkr, Shelter, and 4th generations. The 4th Generation don’t really factor into this scenario as they were the ones who were too young to take part in the fight during both the Second Galactic Civil War and the Abeloth crisis and thus weren’t used against the Lost Tribe. The Shelter Generation, being the ones that grew up during, but weren’t old enough to fight in the Vong War, going into the Abeloth Crisis had extensive experience in the Galactic Civil War and, during the Abeloth Crisis were a handful for the Jedi of the older Generations when they went crazy. While only numbering a few dozen these Jedi already are more than the match for the average Sith of the Lost Tribe in experience and these are the Jedi that are lowest on the pecking order of the Jedi who would go into battle. The Myrkr Generation grew up but did not fight in the wars with the Empire but did serve in the Vong War, Killik crisis and Second Galactic Civil war. Having served and survived in the Vong War alone would be enough to justify just how competent these Jedi are and with the other conflicts at different points in the Order’s history these when compared to Jedi of different eras, might be the most experienced in the order, but in this era, these are only the mid-tier Jedi. The First Class, who are the ones who hold the Rank of Master in the order, are the ones who were adults at the time of the war with the Empire and joined Luke’s order as it was starting up as adults. These Jedi have experience in the Galactic Civil war and all the wars and crisis of the later generations but what they have on the others is the experiences of before they were Jedi, more than one of them being converts from the Empire, or former inquisitors, historians, law enforcement etc. Many of them even shaped the Jedi doctrine.
Pretty much anyone in the Jedi Order who served in the Vong War would be the superior to the best that the Lost Tribe could throw at them, and even those without that experience would still be better than the average Sith the Tribe could throw at them. But what really gives the Jedi the edge of experience in this battle is their knowledge of the Dark Side. Now while Luke is no fan of the Dark Side of the force and does not want any of his students to fall to it, of all the Grand Masters that the Order has ever seen he is the most understanding of them when it comes to the Dark Side, and most patient with his students. While again not encouraged, he has had numerous students who have fallen to it and unlike other Grand Masters who would expel them from the order at best or at worst outright kill them, he was always willing to give them every chance to return to the light. While a few like Brakiss and Jacen ultimately could not see the light, he was able to bring many of his students back, and his order really encouraged this. In fact, most of those who make up the First Class and Myrkr generations have at one point fallen to the Dark Side only to later be redeemed and each of them has a significantly greater understanding of the Force and the Dark Side because of it. Even those who haven’t fallen to it have some experience in dealing with the Dark Side and its temptations due to Jacen’s fall which at the time of this war was only a couple of years ago.
Finally, and although this doesn’t play as big of a role as the experience factor it is worth mentioning that the Jedi have the edge in the technology race. The Lost Tribe has a fleet of stolen merchant vessels outfitted with weapons and small to medium sized combat ships that were meant to protect those same merchant vessels and of course a rebuilt Omen. They also had a number of fighters, again basically at the standard of what they could pirate of their victims. All of this they basically had 2 years’ worth of experience using and while probably competent with weren’t experts. Additionally, they wielded lightsabers and the glass based weapons of the native Keshiri like the Parang.
The Jedi didn’t have any capital ships of any sort, but they did have by far the most advanced version of the greatest general purpose snubfighter of their era. Invisible to sensors and hard to make out with the naked eye, and enough firepower to take out a Star Destroyer. Not to mention the Stealth X was pretty much optimized for use by force users, and the Jedi pretty much have enough of them for each knight to fly one, and each knight is trained in space combat in one, the Jedi fleet is a force to be reckoned with. In ground combat, they primarily use lightsabers but can use the occasional blaster or thermal detonator.
Since force users of 5000 BBY still had lightsabers that still needed belt mounted power packs and the Sith of the Lost Tribe had more standard lightsabers, and that Sith have just about always made sabers out of synthetic crystals, they clearly were able to advance lightsaber technology at the same rate as the rest of the Galaxy. But that is really the only thing both sides are equal in as the Jedi in space combat have by far the better technology and training at their disposal. Plus, the fact that the Lost Tribe’s flagship is a 5000 year old Sith Dreadnought, and if you don’t think that the age matters, only 2500 years ago in our own universe the most cutting age ships at the time were Triremes, and naval combat consisted of using your ship to ram the enemy ship to sink it. And that is only 2500 years ago, the lost Tribe has been isolated for twice that long.
Basically, the Jedi that comprised the order at this time, more so than at any other time period in the order’s history, was THE best equipped to battle Dark Side users. That combined with their advantage in combative prowess, better technology at their disposal knowledge and experience, and the Sith’s lack of knowledge of what made other Sith of the time powerful, resulted in the slaughter fest that was the War between Luke’s Jedi Order and the Lost Tribe of Sith.
Now obviously at the time the novels left off the Lost Tribe still had not been vanquished, but while the Jedi rightly see them as a threat that must be destroyed, the fact that the Sith of 100 years later, resemble and make no mention of them, and the Jedi of the same time see to bear no traces of having had a war with Sith in recent history prior to the attack from the One Sith, it is pretty clear to me at least that the Lost Tribe was mopped up fairly early in that 100 year gap where the novels left off.
Anyway, those are just my thoughts, let me know if you agree or disagree with anything I said and as always until next time.
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