A prominent general and servant of the Old Republic, Leia Lydendara fought as a young soldier in the Clone Wars, and won several battles in her prime against Mandalorian opponents, most prominently during the Battle of Mandalore itself, fighting in hostile conditions on the harsh jungle world. Lydendara was also the proponent of a new form of battle, the Mass Assault Doctrine, whereupon only minimal forces were left to defend planets behind the main lines, and incredible firepower was brought to bear, from orbit and during ground assault, upon single planetary targets. It was this strategy which won the day when the Republic's forces were suffering terrible losses in the Siege of Corulag. She was, along with Grand Admiral Veich, one of the two most prominent military leaders of the Old Republic. She was also the chief engineer of the Republic's war efforts during the Mandalorian Wars.

Though she generally distrusted and felt a strong distaste for politicians, Lydendara became a confidante and ally of Senator Palpatine during his rise to power, and supported his move to establish the Galactic Empire. Unlike many other politicians, she felt Palpatine embodied the unity and security she genuinely believed was an essential component of civil society, where many other politicians seemed more intent on arguing only for their own interests, whether personal or planetary. After her retirement, Palpatine sought to resurrect her for political ends, much as Veich had done decades earlier, but Lydendara was insulted by this offer and had a falling out with the Emperor, who she already suspected was a mere figurehead, a powerless puppet of the Moffs and Grand Admirals of the Imperial war machine.

As the New Order began to oppress and restrict the people of the galaxy, Lydendara became horrified at what she had participated in and retired from public view to a remote world on the Outer Rim. While she essentially distanced herself from Palpatine and the Empire in general, her likeness remains a frequent image on Imperial propaganda thanks largely to her legend and enduring popularity amongst Imperial citizens.

Part Six: The Dark Times

With the Jedi defeated and scattered, Emperor Palpatine wasted no time shoring up his position, amalgamating several offices within the head of state – the supreme leader's seat of power on Coruscant funnelled incredible legal power into the person of the Emperor.

Yet the military machine, which had grown to unfathomable size during the Clone Wars, would not stand idly by and become the mere tool Palpatine hoped it would be. Several Grand Admirals and influential Generals in the Imperial military saw to it that the Emperor became pushed ever further away from the public arena, and under near endless pressure and threats, Palpatine had no choice but to bow to these forces, and physically retreated from public life.

With the head of state now become little more than a puppet, the true power of the Galactic Empire was wielded by a complex network of military commanders and planetary governors. The Senate had been reduced to a largely irrelevant chamber for debate; in theory still a mechanism for dissent but in practice a mouthpiece for Imperial propaganda, broadcast across the entire HoloNet.

The Galactic Empire saw immediately that, as the Republic before them, they would need the services of new guardians to ensure the security of the New Order. And so, the Sith soon became the enforcers and enactors of Imperial will, just as the Jedi had overseen the rigid justice of the Republic before it.

When Palpatine died less than a decade after the end of the Clone Wars, a sudden and furious clamour began, to install the next Emperor, and many feared it would lead to a new Clone War, or worse.

Several notable Grand Moffs, prominent governors, and military officials all moved to claim their right to succeed Palpatine as Emperor. A brutal escalation of fleet battles, political manoeuvres and even assassinations followed, before individual military officers recognised that no matter their power and influence, the combined forces of their rivals and enemies would never allow imperial power to be held by someone who might actually be capable of wielding it. After several tense weeks of negotiation, the Senate declared Tyrasta, Governor of Malastaire, the next head of state. Yet even Tyrasta was dead within a month, a victim of having attempted to return true power to the Imperial Throne in the face of those who stood most to lose: the colossal Imperial Navy and its constituent appendages, not least the corporate interests who supported it.

The next Emperor was, perhaps fittingly, a timid figure, a lowly governor of an insignificant colony not far from Alderaan, an easily manipulated man who appeased the Imperial warlords and their Sith enforcers. Unlike his predecessor, Emperor Fisk ruled modestly and quietly for several decades, appearing only to announce major reforms, public events and holidays, and to reassure the public of the ongoing primacy and benevolence of the New Order.

Peace had returned, at last, to the galaxy.

Part Five: Revenge of the Sith

Unable to resist the seemingly mythical powers of the Jedi Knights, and the armies of loyal soldiers they commanded, in desperation the ambitious leader of the Galactic Senate, the ageing Senator Palpatine, convinced the Republic President to turn to the only force capable of resisting the Jedi: their long-exiled heretic brothers, the Sith Order.

Once merely the political faction of the Jedi, granted unique freedoms from their strict code, the Knights of the Sith grew into a shadowy organisation separate from the main body, acting often under their own direction and energies, engaged in operations for which the Jedi themselves had no stomach.

Yet even the Jedi were not entirely immune from scandal, and when a string of failed Sith suppressions and assassinations became publicly known, the Sith Order, as they had since become, were stricken from the Core Worlds - the Republic itself - on pain of death, banished to insignificance in the furthest reaches of space.

For centuries the Sith lurked on the fringes of the Outer Rim, from their shrine-worlds of Korriban and Ossus. Ever they plotted their return to the Core World of Had Abaddon, where they had once, many hundreds of years ago, been as influential as the Jedi.

Yet the vanishment of the Sith had even at that time caused a great scission within the Jedi Order itself. While few on the Council legitimately mourned their exile, many of the Jedi whose task saw them overseeing planets with powerful Senators, wealthy corporations, or ties to underhanded criminal syndicates, recognised the true value of the Sith and regretted the loss. For all their maligned darkness and stealth, the Sith could unleash their capabilities against hostile forces who did not adhere to the same code as the Jedi or, worse, whose own ethics specifically undermined the strengths of Jedi strategy. After all, the Sith had been created as an aberration to the Code precisely that they might counter the presence of particularly brutal or underhanded opponents, so that the rest of the Jedi Order would not have to compromise their ideals.

As the ranks of the Jedi had shrunk throughout the war, so had the Sith expanded over time. In times past never as numerous as the Jedi, the Sith were now of a similar strength to their depleted kin, a legitimate force to be reckoned with, even after the recent experiments with clone technology. Formally recognised by the Republic once more, the Sith returned.

And burned upon their every thought was one solitary, raging mission: vengeance.

From the resurgent fortress-world of Had Abaddon, homeworld of their ancestors and recently bestowed upon them by grateful Republic leaders, the Sith fought back against the Jedi at the head of the Republic armies. Where once a solitary Jedi could turn the tide, now they stood not only against superior numbers but also enemies of their own calibre.

Yet even as the galaxy slipped further into the chaos of war, politicians continued to bicker and jockey for position with little regard to the welfare of those they were sworn to represent. Senator Palpatine grasped an opportunity to usurp the Presidency and solidify his own personal power. As architect of the expulsion of the Jedi, his was a populist platform that had become irresistible amidst the throes of the Clone Wars. To great applause, he sowed the seeds of a Republic’s end.

Losing little time, the President turned his attention to removing the last legal vestiges of the Jedi and their once-vast influence over galactic law and order. The Senate, in its haste to be done with the terrible Clone Wars, recreated the Jedi as criminals and heretics, terrorists against the great Republic. Magicians and witches, they became quickly despised, figureheads of ridicule, scapegoats for every social ill that swept the Republic. Further increases to the strength of Republic navies, the swelling of armies, and increases to surveillance and security followed. Bloated with pride, the Republic saw the end to all its ills in the shape of the Jedi Order, welcomed the much-maligned Sith as saviours, and for the briefest time truly believed the hubris of the expulsion would bring peace once more. For a time, it seemed a brilliant tactical manoeuvre; the corpus of cost sacrificed upon the grand altar of expediency.

Within the space of a few years, the entire doctrinal foundation of the Republic, based as it was upon the rule of law and justice and the enforcement of that law by its elite champions, the Jedi, was irrevocably altered.

The Galactic Empire was born.

From the ashes of the Second Clone War arose a great shadow, and its name was Darth Vader. Among the mightiest of the Sith Lords, Vader held a special place in the history of both ancient Orders, for he had once been apprenticed to the Jedi – then exiled – and latterly become a Dark Lord of the Sith. Reviled by many on both sides as a traitor, an unreliable actor whose half-mechanical body was the perfect symbol of his inhumanity and inconstancy, Vader might have himself become a pariah but for the nature of his unique talents and the means by which he deployed them.

A military commander without peer, Vader oversaw the turning of the tide. Most Imperial scholars would later identify the Battle of Hoth as the final defeat which broke the will of the Jedi Order, yet in truth it was a succession of brilliant victories which allowed Vader, among other Sith Lords, to bring the Jedi to their knees.

In full retreat, the Jedi gathered at Tython for one final stand, where they desperately attempted to manufacture a literal means of retaliation. To no avail, an enormous Imperial Star Fleet arrived at the planet, and left it in ruins.

For the galaxy at large, that moment heralded the end of the Clone Wars. With the extinction of the Jedi, the New Order was established and peace returned to the Core Worlds of the Old Republic, now the Galactic Empire.

Celebrations began across the wealthy inner worlds of the new Empire, and its new ruler and Emperor, Palpatine, became a hero – the man who, as bureaucratic propaganda would have it, single-handedly ended the war. The people of the Old Republic turned a blind eye to his abuses of privilege and law during the crisis, and embraced the new safety and order of the Empire.

Part Four: The Second Clone War

Both the Jedi and the Republic hierarchy knew full well that the truce between the Jedi factions could not survive. Tensions soon erupted between those bickering rivalries, unable to resign themselves to consensus or give up the principles for which they had been fighting for years. Furthermore, as Jedi were killed in battle, the rise in vendettas against those who had struck down comrades grew, and an endless cycle of vengeance and reparation began.

The corporations who had supported the various factions likewise remained unconvinced that another tectonic shift in the galactic economy was not about to wreak havoc once more. Not only that, but they had begun to profit in a fashion from the conflict itself, a situation that few of the big corporations wanted to see an end to. Rather than a middling peace treaty, the econocrats of the Republic demanded a full-scale treaty, a signed and legally enforceable guarantee of galactic security. Anything else, they believed, paid nothing more than lip-service to the well-being of the Republic and its citizenry.

While the Council of Hapax had initially been seen as a great success, negotiations inevitably broke down, and in little more than a year the Jedi returned to their doctrinal conflict.

Senator Palpatine, a leading voice among the opponents of the Jedi Order and its disruption, leapt at the opportunity presented by the renewal of the war. He authored and successfully lobbied a series of legislation which punished internal disorder by suppressing or outright removing the extensive privileges enjoyed for centuries by the Jedi Order. Most notably, Republic governors were granted extensive powers, and became the new arbiters of galactic law. As the Jedi before them, each dictated the obedience of a single planet.

Eventually, the Jedi Council itself was expelled from their own grand temple on Coruscant, and scattered to distant locations throughout the Core Worlds. The temple was, for a time, retained as a relic of the old era and intended as a future museum to the mysterious Force of Others and its adherents.

The Republic Senate concurrently established a new, enhanced and much more potent, military force, one raised to defend the people of the Republic from any internal or external threat - few were so blind as to not recognise that this threat was now, inferred or otherwise, the Jedi.

Little more than a year after the Council of Hapax, the Jedi fell back to war, and this time the entire Republic along with them. The war-weary public sought an end to the violence via their representatives in the Senate, yet the Jedi to their detriment would not heed them. For a second decade, the Jedi waged terrible battles across the many sectors of the galaxy, further damaging their reputation and their numbers.

Yet they now faced a new complication in the form of an organised and substantial Republic military, which often stood directly between them on the field, or restricting access to an ever-growing list of protected Core Worlds, forcing the conflict into the Outer Rim, or the harsher and less hospitable planets of the Core. Casualties increased, and the cost of the war, in manpower, materials and credits, began to swell.

And the Jedi themselves were no longer at the head of every army, but reduced to commanding several armies or fleets at once, though intermediaries and subsidiaries. Always seen as aloof and distant, the Jedi had now become so even to the forces fighting in their name. Many armies had become entirely composed of mercenaries or even criminals; anyone who would take up arms on behalf of the once-revered Order.

At last, even the vaunted Jedi recognised the inevitability of their approaching fate. To their horror, they discovered that with their numbers so dwindled, the Order had lost substantive control over the judicial system the once oversaw and, even more significantly, recognised how far they had fallen in the hearts and minds of the common citizens of the Republic; the people they were sworn to protect.

The Jedi had always held a complicated relationship with the political and ruling classes of the Republic. The old nobility and especially the Galactic Senate frequently viewed the Jedi as elitist and unaccountable for the incredible power they wielded. Control over such a broad range of judicial powers gave them unprecedented moral and temporal authority in the galaxy. Particularly whenever their sphere of authority conflicted with the interests of the other branches of the government, or powerful corporate or private interests, this created a great deal of resentment and resistance.

Yet there was little the executives and Senators of the Republic could do while the Jedi remained so popular with the people. Radical legislative change had been defeated time and time again precisely because, for better or worse, the Jedi had in fact maintained order on almost every planet they oversaw. Every opportunity to stifle their power was overruled either by the Order itself or enough Senators to oppose such a bill, and frequently shouted down by popular acclaim. So the loss of such support was a critical blow to the Jedi and their cause.

Thus, when the ruling classes of the Republic sensed that the Jedi were vulnerable, many began to relinquish their support for the Jedi factions themselves, and began to agitate for wider reform which might forever limit the influence of the Jedi over galactic affairs. The passing of Statute 12-22j-5a4, a meaningless stream of figures to the average citizen, was crucial in this endeavour, for it mandated the need to replace Jedi authority in the courts with elected officials, in the case of the Order's fracture. It was Palpatine's crowning achievement and saw the Senator become a symbol of definitive action in a time of uncertainty.

Thanks to the ongoing war, the statute not only passed but went into immediate effect, ending the Jedi stranglehold on the judiciary and relegating them to political exile from within their protected enclave among the Old Republic's vast bureaucracy. Not only had they lost their temple - a symbol of their power and prestige at the centre of the Republic's seat of power on Coruscant - but they had also lost the legal authority to act as they had since the early days of the Republic itself.

Let it not be said that the entirety of the Jedi Order remained ignorant of their fall from grace, or that there were not impressive voices within the remnant who had not called for an end to what they viewed as the inherent insanity of war. Many took the opportunity to hearken back to older times, during eras millennia past, quoting esteemed masters such as the classical stoic, Yoda, and the doctrinaire Ulic Quel-Droma, who had formulated and written the Jedi Code itself.

Many Jedi departed the Order during both conflicts, fleeing to the Outer Rim, or allying themselves with forces ready to restore something akin to a system of rational and natural justice. Most of these self-imposed exiles had become disgusted with the hypocrisy of the Order's stance, and its inability to apply their own traditions to the petty feuds which had torn it apart. Many were even resigned to a greatly diminished influence; anything that might sate the furious peoples of the Republic and restore peace to the galaxy once more.

Over the course of several months the Jedi Council, despite remaining fractured on many issues, managed almost miraculously to reach a consensus on the path forward.

With the growing power of the Senate and the sheer weight of resources brought to bear by the corporate supporters of the Republic, the Jedi had little choice but to overcome their differences and reunite, in order to reclaim their control of the judiciary and reassert their form of justice throughout the Republic. Though many felt it was too late, the Council in particular was of the view that the galaxy still needed the Jedi Order if there was to be lasting peace.

At the Council of Bakura, in a more desperate mirror to that of Hapax, the three most prominent Jedi factions reunited in order to face the combined threat of the Republic forces which had morphed from interceding on behalf of key planets to actively pushing the conflict further into the Outer Rim, and also to heal the schisms which had divided the Order itself. But for the Jedi, it was too little, too late.

The Council acted with haste, and in an act of undeniable irony usurped control over a radical new technology created on the planet Tython by the Spaarti Corporation. This was a step too far for many Jedi, particularly those who had returned to their study of the old ways, in which the Jedi were first and foremost beings of the Force, luminous and beyond the temptations of the physical realm: that of crude matter. The Jedi were, if nothing else, above such things and to turn to them even now was tantamount to ultimate defeat, no matter the mere political outcomes of the war - which were trivial in comparison.

Within this most important few weeks of the Second Clone War, the Jedi had gone from commanding vast resources and directing a plethora of vested interest toward their own war goals, to becoming outcasts from their own Republic, facing down the combined might of the Galactic Senate, the civilian military, and several ruthless corporate interests, only to unite in the face of the very conflict which had seen them ostracised in the first place.

Turning to Tython and its new technology, now known as Series VI, the Jedi began creating clones of their greatest warriors, and set in motion a terrible chain of events which would bring about the end of the war for good.

For all their prescience and meditation, the Jedi had not seen the seeds of their own sown in this fateful decision. Scholars continue to debate how they could have come to such a radical decision through anything other than sheer desperation, for in hindsight it seems a folly of catastrophic proportions.

The return of the Jedi, many of whom were believed to be dead or grievously injured, and the Order's new-found dominance of the battlefronts trailing across whole sectors of space, did not go unnoticed among the leaders of the Republic. The tide was turned, and the Jedi began clawing back control over key territories even in the Core Worlds, all within months of having appeared on the very verge of defeat.

While the Republic leadership had indeed struck a key and unforeseen blow to the Jedi at its moment of greatest vulnerability, it did not take the Order long to recognise that the Republic itself now viewed the Jedi as, at best, an insubordinate or, at worst, a mortal enemy.

After long months of war, the Battle of Corellia resulted in a particularly damaging loss for the forces of the Republic, and resulted in the Jedi moving within striking distance of the capital, Coruscant. The end of the war appeared close, and the Republic generals knew it. They also knew that, without a counter-turn in the tide, the Jedi would be victorious.

So too the Senate, sitting in emergency session on Coruscant, held no qualms about the singular means by which they might resolve such a grave circumstance.

Part Three: The First Clone War

During the Fourth Jedi Schism, each of the factions vying for supremacy faced an immediate and very real danger of defeat, and with the Republic bureaucracy spread thin in its support amongst the many combatants, inflation and war levies soon raised havoc among the Galactic Trade Exchange and many corporations began taking sides no longer to simply achieve short-term goals with the aid of the Jedi, but in an attempt to influence the outcome of the entire war in their favour. What, after all, would a grateful Jedi Council not do for their most loyal financial backers once order had been restored?

With the resources of such vast galactic entities involved, the scale of the war only erupted further. As a consequence, many neutral corporations which had stood to one side in the conflict, content to remain aloof or provide their services to any faction who requested it, were forced in one direction or another, either in the hope of drawing the schism to a close or simply in order to survive.

The Senate, initially wedded to a neutral stance, soon found the economic might of its biggest corporations invested in the battle, and fearing that any kind of union between a dominant Jedi faction and a group of powerful corporations could threaten the security of the Republic itself - and the integrity of the Senate in particular - the Republic Naval Command began to take a much greater interest in the ebb and flow of the war, at the behest of the Senate itself.

Before long, it was not uncommon for massive Republic fleets to engage those of a corporate sponsor of a Jedi faction, with equally significant battles raging on a planet below, sometimes between different factions to those which clashed in orbit above.

Resources poured into the effort from across the galaxy, and as the demand for particularly scarce goods such as bacta and energy began to put pressure on supply lines and intergalactic trade, the need for resolution became even greater.

Countless planets suffered beneath the onslaught, reduced to rubble or blackened char as the forces of the Jedi, or the Senate, or one of the countless independent factions, moved through a sector in the hopes of suppressing resistance or forging a bastion among the stars. The Jedi, busied competing amongst themselves, soon found the Senate perpetually blocking their access to particularly lucrative or populated planets, with corporations and industrial barons also throwing their weight into the conflict, sometimes on the side of the Senate, or other times behind one of the factions themselves.

Of all the resources sought by all sides, military shipyards were by far the most precious. Day and night these gigantic orbital factories, many akin to artificial rings literally shackling their slave-planets from orbit, ceaselessly forged the hard steel of new and more powerful battleships. These vessels only grew larger in size, beyond any reasonable proportion compared to those maintained by the Galactic Senate for generations.

All manner of new support vessels grew out of the war, from long-range torpedo boats to hit-and-run frigates, anti-starfighter platforms and even the mysterious Q-ships which would prove decisive in later years.

On the planets below, peaceful plains and rolling hills became little more than vast fields upon which the Jedi could attain glory in single combat, with the fate of entire armies hanging in the balance between two lone figures whose flashing blades would dictate their fate and wrest the tide of battle. Entire armies had stood aside to await the outcome of such duels, knowing that a force with an unchallenged Jedi at its head would emerge victorious eventually.

Such large-scale destruction had a tremendous impact on the galactic economy, and as massive shifts buckled even this most mighty of treasuries, across the Republic economists, academics and industrialists alike sought answers. Namely, how to prevent the war from devastating the galactic economy and citizenry even more than it already had.

Supposedly first invented by the relatively small corporation Tagge & Company, known as TaggeCo, the development of what would later become known as the Series I clone technology became the solution which Republic bureaucrats had sought for so long. Using sophisticated mitochondrial templates, TaggeCo began manufacturing a nearly endless source of labour to replace the lives lost as planetary battles devastated whole sectors of space.

Under the code name 'Oculus', the first trials were held on several industrialised Core Worlds, before the risk of discovery forced the operation to the Outer Rim. There, on a small moon, headquartered in a remote laboratory named Oculus-Alpha, later truncated to simply 'the OA facility', the first serious trials of the decade-long clone technology began to yield results.

Yet flaws were quickly discovered in the technology, and it was soon realised that most clones would not live for more than a handful of years. When the Series II clones were developed within twelve months of the first iteration, they became unstable and highly vulnerable to disease, and were quickly abandoned as genuine subjects after a disastrous early test run.

Beyond their scope as cheap labour for war-ravaged worlds, several corporations saw the potential value of clones as a mechanism for creating entire armies, raised in short order to flood a battlefield, with no reasonable expectation that they would survive beyond the war's end, or even in some cases the battle's end.

The Jedi, already philosophically uneasy about the status and nature of clones themselves, took action when it was discovered that TaggeCo had itself developed a Series III army in secret on the tiny forested moon which had since become their primary facility.

Acting immediately against this threat, the Jedi responded with what was later acknowledged as the worst atrocity of the First Clone War: the Ruin of Endor. The TaggeCo facilities, and most life on the moon itself, was obliterated. Yet a newly-constructed cloning facility on Wayland, the Oculus-Beta facility, was constructed and rumoured to be even more advanced than the original on Endor.

However, the Beta facility was also discovered by the Jedi, who blockaded the planet and threatened its destruction in a similar manner to that of Endor. The Jedi, unwilling to chance that the technology might escape the planet, eventually bombarded the facilities before they had even produced a single living clone. This action essentially terminated TaggeCo's clone technology division and, were it not for their later integration into the New Order Corporation, may have ruined TaggeCo entirely.

The action also brought an end to clone technology as it existed at that time, and the fruits of several decades of research were lost. With no working templates nor the industrial capacity to produce more, many surmised that this brief development of clone technology had come to a swift and final end.

Yet with the simple knowledge that the concept itself was viable, other corporations soon began developing secret cloning technology themselves. Only, their first and primary objective was to ensure that no Jedi ever discovered that the research was underway. What had begun as a technology worthy of galactic-scale advertising and grandeur had been pushed underground; once more, corporations turned to thieves, smugglers and other scoundrels to procure and stow the illicit materials they needed to proceed with their obfuscated research.

After the Ruin of Endor and the almost universal outcry it generated, the Jedi factions called a truce, and gathered for the Council of Hapax in neutral territory, where the threat of clone technology, the economic chaos in the galaxy, the moral collapse of the Order, and the devastation of war, were all discussed.

For over a year, a fragile peace returned to the galaxy. As quickly as it had begun, the First Clone War had ended.

Part Two: The Fourth Jedi Schism

There remains some debate about the classification of what became known as the Fourth Jedi Schism; some historians referred to it as the Pre-Clone War; others insisted it belonged within the larger definition of the First Clone War proper. Regardless, the Fourth Jedi Schism was notable as the event which sparked and guided the early stages of the galaxy-wide wars which would see the Old Republic fall, and usher in the rise of the New Order.

At first, the petty conflicts among the Jedi and their various factional leaders did little more than encourage unrest and discontent among several outlying worlds already prone to rebellion. These were often triggered by issues unrelated to the Jedi themselves, but with their legal arbiters drawn into political conflicts in the Core Worlds many opportunistic dissidents on far-flung worlds saw a chance to upset their existing status quo.

But what began as mere squabbles and political jousting by the Jedi quickly coalesced into full-blown feuds. The Jedi already had a penchant and reputation for solving their most intractable disagreements via a ritualised personal combat, so the concept of duelling Jedi was far from unheard of. Yet the level of enmity which flowed from the chambers of debate into vicious personal rivalries surprised many within and without the Order, even before the entire argument flared into outright civil war.

As the stakes gradually rose, more Jedi joined the factional fault lines to which they were tied, perhaps coalescing during the crisis in ways that they would not have felt was necessary while the Order itself remained in balance. With greater resources, the factions began pressing their influence where they could, including small-scale battles between the Jedi themselves or their surrogates; the ramifications of these minor conflicts nonetheless crackled dangerously through the Order as a whole, until the conflict began to spread further and Jedi from across the galaxy converged upon Coruscant in particular, to add their voice to the cacophony, or to other notable Jedi enclaves and shrine-worlds throughout the Republic, hoping to calm the swelling feuds before it was too late.

Many of the planets upon which the Jedi had once maintained order now threatened to abandon the Republic - their guardians had departed (some never to return) and the justice which they enforced was gradually eroded. Dissent and malcontent began to stir throughout the further-flung and less accessible sectors of the Republic, and some planets ultimately usurped control from their former governors, announcing independence or refusing to pay tithe nor tax to their Republic overlords.

As with similar iterations before it, the Republic sought to unify a vast and disparate number of worlds into a single entity, but inevitably their governing body focused its attention and resources most on locales of highest value; often those same wealthy worlds in the Core which dominated the Senate. In turn, outlying planets and entire sectors became jaded about the purported value of the Senate's esteem when it neglected the values and well-being of its poorest citizens in order to funnel time and energy into petty personal feuds among the elite in Coruscant. To many in the Old Republic, the Jedi embodied both the haughty distance they maintained from the common folk, and the wasted focus on internal political feuds in the face of dire need for order and law in otherwise lawless regions of the galaxy.

Thus, with the loss of guaranteed security and peace, the Republic lost the support of some of its most influential citizen-states. Entire sectors began breaking off or announcing their own unions, confederacies and sub-fiefdoms within the Republic itself, fracturing the unity of the whole and greatly reducing the power of the Senate to speak for the entire galactic citizenry.

The crisis reached its most desperate hour when the Core Worlds of Alderaan and Corellia recalled their Senators from Coruscant, pending the outcome of the Jedi civil war, as it was then being called. This single announcement instigated hundreds of other worlds, many of them corporate headquarters and economic powerhouses, to follow suit. The Republic economy tilted upon the brink of disaster.

The haughty idealism which underscored the Jedi Code was rendered impotent against the reality that, without a distinct hierarchy, the Order itself was vulnerable to such strife. This was, inevitably and as many historians would later note, the first weakness which the New Order sought to remedy from its very inception, and no small few pointed to the dissent among the Jedi as the genesis which propelled the galaxy within a decade from a crumbling social democracy to a burgeoning military autocracy.

Similarly, the Jedi traditionally held little account of financial troubles - in direct contrast to the rest of the galaxy's citizenry - and the precarious position they were forcing the entire Republic to adopt. Secure in their own private holdings thanks to their status and prestige, the various Jedi factions largely concentrated only upon their own influence within the Council, and few seriously considered, yet alone dared plan for, any kind of extended military conflict; such things were relics of the past and not the Jedi way.

Even once the Schism itself began in earnest, most of the early conflict remained highly ritualised and interpersonal, the bloodshed rarely spreading beyond the individuals involved. While the average citizen saw the seeds of instability for the entire republican edifice, the Jedi themselves assumed the entire matter would burn itself out once the key power-brokers had played their hands, fought their duels, and one faction emerged supreme.

However, the need to eventually press for complete dominance over their rivals and enemies caused the Jedi to coalesce in larger numbers, hoping to tip the balance, with some of the more militant among them bringing squired apprentices and loyal companions who had no business being part of the Council's internal machinations. Yet they appeared nonetheless.

Soon, the Jedi who procured such assistance outnumbered and overpowered those who did not; this in turn encouraged Jedi who once disdained the practice to swiftly recruit support of their own. Those who did not were defeated, exiled, or worse. Escalation upon escalation grew throughout the areas of conflict; first, upon Coruscant itself battles raged within and without the temples and squares among the Jedi enclaves, later raging in orbit above the planet between their consular starships; later still, violence flared on outlying worlds, or any place where one faction or another sought to usurp or disrupt the influence of their rivals.

Exploiting the friction between the Jedi factions, each of which were initially little more than a few individuals or splinter-groups among various philosophically inclined scholar-Jedi, scores of military and paramilitary organisations, most of the largest corporations, and the vast resources of countless underworld fiefdoms, flocked in great numbers to the battlegrounds of the Core Worlds, hoping to join the growing conflict.

A cycle of perverse incentives developed, whereupon in clamouring for corporate support many factions would dutifully ensure they avoided this or that particular system, or sent some Jedi or another to deal with a petty dispute between corporations trying to garner a monopoly on a technology the Order had little care for. With their corporate war chests they began to bloat their numbers with mercenaries - many from the underworld - who flocked to the conflict to turn a credit or two and make a name for themselves. Some of the galaxy's most notorious crews grew from the early days of the Jedi civil war.

Soon, the bickering Jedi found themselves supported by entire armies of vested interests, with their vaunted Knights at the head of each, as its various factions refused admit weakness or wrongdoing and, critically, the Jedi took it upon themselves to make physical a conflict which had for many generations been merely political. Before long, the weight of interests tied to the ongoing war created a momentum which, even had the Jedi even desired an end to it, would have become irresistible.

The Fourth Jedi Schism had begun to tear the entire Order apart.

Weaker factions became quickly subsumed within the strength of others, or were defeated in the cold halls of debate. Still others were eradicated on the growing fields of battle. Several grew strong, burned brightly, and were exhausted by their own over-reaching ambition.

Foremost among the factions were two in particular: the highly rigid and orthodox faction known as Balance Before All, which had dominated the politics of the Order and its Council for decades; and the small and elitist but influential sect of renowned Jedi Masters known as One Spirit, One Order. Each began to act quickly to stifle their enemies in the hope that they could quickly regain the ascendancy and end the conflict before it could further damage the integrity of the Order. Yet even by the time the two powerful factions reacted to the violence, in reality it had grown beyond their power to prevent.

In their effort to draw support from various neutral factions, Balance and One Spirit essentially diluted their own ideologies, disillusioning many influential leaders and key supporters, thus further fracturing their own unity. For every group they convinced to join, another departed in disgust, and the cycle of disagreement continued.

But beyond the worst fears of the Jedi, not only did the schism fail to resolve itself, but the mere whiff of dissent among the great judiciaries of the galaxy shuddered the very foundations of the Republic they had so long fought to protect. After several years of fighting, it brought the structures of government to their knees.

The flames of war engulfed the entire Republic.

Observing the chaos which had arisen during the Schism, the Republic itself took belated action to restore order, yet even within that august institution there was nothing close to consensus in regard to the means by which the Republic should - or even could - intervene.

Three Senatorial regimes began to form. The first was a hard-line, military interventionist model, around which formed a nucleus of anti-Jedi Senators who believed that the Schism represented the perfect opportunity to suppress the burgeoning power of the Jedi Order which had stood above and beyond their influence and reach for centuries. The Senate had no direct ability to force the Order's hand, and many Senators resented that fact and had worked tirelessly to legislate greater oversight upon the actions of the Jedi Order.

The second and largest group included the majority of Senators, who took the side of one or more specific factions within the conflict, believing that the Jedi should be able to resolve their own internal conflict, but that the Republic's place was to act to ensure that one side or the other claimed a swift and bloodless victory.

A smaller number of Senators, among a third faction, supported largely no action at all, and favoured simply acting only to protect Republic assets and trade routes during any fighting, professing something of a middle ground between the other two groups. These Senators proposed that the Jedi could, after the Schism abated, be tried as war criminals should their conflict spill into civilian space. This simple idea, which was little more than a footnote to other concerns at the time, would later become a pivotal platform in the New Order's response to the Jedi after the Clone Wars had concluded.

Ultimately, it was the third regime to whose attitude the galactic citizenry and, perhaps, even the Senate as a whole, eventually came to support. Yet it did not take long for particular interests within the Republic to align themselves with various Jedi factions, which suggested that, in practice, the second regime retained its ability to act even as the Senate itself officially decried any official response against, or in support of, the Jedi.

Galaxy-wide conflict soon took its toll. The Jedi, never a numerous Order in comparison with other branches of government, found the frequent clashes on the field of battle had depleted their numbers. Leading vast armies by the nobility of their own example, and from the front, the Jedi were relentlessly exposed to terrible risks. Dangers which, despite their incredible abilities, soon thinned their ranks.

Furthermore, the Jedi were also not infrequently lured into engaging in the ritualised duels enshrined in ancient texts and believed by many Jedi to be the only truly honourable way to resolve serious disputes. This, perhaps more than any other single factor, saw the end of many of the most powerful Jedi Knights of the era.

Further, while the Jedi frequently dominated ground battles and conflicts where individual soldiers could turn the tide of battle, many were also lost in the frequent space battles which, with their absolute dependence on strategy and the manoeuvring of enormous vessels, were less reliant upon the particular talents of the Jedi. That was not to say that the Jedi made poor starship commanders, only that they were most formidable in personal combat. This also exposed many of the Order to defeat when, in other circumstances, they may have felt themselves almost invulnerable against any foe other than another Jedi.

Once a battle moved from the confines of a planet's environment into deep space, the trained officers and admirals of the Galactic Senate, not to mention many talented pirates and Outer Rim mercenaries, were equally matched against many of their Jedi opponents, allowing corporations and other minor players into positions of strength within certain parts of the galactic conflict.

Naturally, many Jedi were indeed talented strategists and admirals themselves, perhaps none more so than Kal Ul-Maas, one of the heroes of the Schism War. Yet Ul-Maas was killed before the Schism's end, prior to the Clone Wars proper; a testament to the reality that even the greatest Jedi were vulnerable in their own way.

Matched head-to-head against their own peers and among the mightiest warriors in the galaxy, utilised directly and frequently in almost every manoeuvre their forces were engaged in, the Jedi soon became perilously few. The ferocity of the Schism was such that the population of Jedi, even across the entirety of the galaxy, simply could not suffer such losses indefinitely.

Part One: The Jedi Knights and the Fall of the Old Republic

The Jedi Knights were once known as the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, the reason for the Republic's moral strength and the stability of a thousand generations: that is the legend which precedes their downfall. Yet it obscures a terrible truth; that the fall of the Old Republic was mirrored by the implosion of the Jedi Order itself.

For centuries before the Clone Wars, the Jedi had become the arbiters of all judicial forums in the Republic. Law-keepers, judges and juries both, they held a powerful sway over all the systems which were a part of the Old Republic. Where they went, their word was law - their mystical powers and legend always preceded them, and none dared question their decisions. Nor their judgements.

Those few who did paid a terrible price for their defiance against the most powerful arbiters of galactic law and order.

Most of the planets of the Core Worlds were governed by a Jedi Knight, or perhaps a council of several Jedi, who enacted justice through the imposition of a rigid code of laws which stifled freedoms and demanded codified behaviour.

Legend speaks of their great arbitrations, of their love for justice, but in practice many Jedi were ruthless, and tolerated neither dissent nor opposition to their decrees. Yet this is the way of strict order, of a guarantee of peace by force, and for those thousand generations the Jedi held the Republic together by the strength of their law, and the absolute belief in their moral righteousness.

The Jedi Council on Coruscant dominated galactic politics, and while they remained ostensibly and legally removed from the Senate and the corporate guilds, their fealty was to the Republic and the Republic alone. Most Jedi were, nevertheless, highly influential figures, and were unafraid of flaunting that influence. Eventually though, even the Jedi Code could not prevent internal strife among the guardians themselves, and much like the Republic as a whole, the once-disciplined Jedi Order began to eat itself alive.

Outwardly powerful, they became inwardly brittle. While each individual Jedi thought himself above the rabble of politics and believed he or she was fighting for ideals like truth and justice, such things are often clearer in theory but hopelessly muddied and complex in practice. The strictures of the Jedi allowed no fluid interpretation of their doctrine. Inevitably there came to be several competing factions among the Jedi, each of whom defined such concepts differently.

The most notable dogmatic differences revolved around the structure and hierarchy of the Order itself, as well as its place within galactic politics and the extent to which individual Jedi should become involved in particularly grey areas such as class conflict and economic events within the galaxy.

Several of these issues came to a head when a group of Jedi, who would later form the core of the Immersion faction, acted against a supposed terrorist threat in the mid-rim, on behalf of the Cybot Galactica corporation, who, they claimed, would have faced severe financial strain and unrecoverable year-end deficits should the facility they defended have been damaged; this fed into galaxy-wide fears of recession, and any corporation as large as Cybot Galactica was by default a lynchpin of economic stability.

Yet the faction did not consult with the Jedi Council in this regard which, while not explicitly mandated within the Code, was a tradition typically followed out of respect. That the group acted unilaterally against the threat was something they felt necessary, and the danger to the corporation was effectively nullified; their success was an early shield against criticism.

Opponents of the Immersion faction claimed they, in protecting the corporation, had acted only to shore up funding for their own interests against their rivals in the Jedi Council, who were due to face election within the year. Factions as a whole, as well as individual Jedi, often sought what many saw as corporate sponsorship for their political ambitions; a process reviled by many of the so-called 'apolitical' Jedi and yet utterly necessary for those who wished to serve on the Council. Several other factions, led by Purity on Serenno, went so far as to demand the rogue Jedi be expelled from the Order entirely, and stripped of all their privileges.

The mere suggestion of exile raised the spectre of previous division within the Jedi, which had sown both dissent and, inevitably, terrible conflict in the past; the result being a great schism and resulting war. This was, naturally, a situation most Jedi were desperate to avoid repeating, no matter their ostensible disagreements with other factions.

So the Council withheld its verdict, waiting for the current crisis to resolve itself before exerting their influence by alternative means, designed to avoid direct conflict. At this time, the One Spirit faction began manoeuvring to make the Council subservient to a single Supreme Jedi Master, and enshrine a more formal hierarchy throughout the Order itself.

For many Jedi, the very idea of the Council's power being held by an individual was repugnant, and yet the nature of the Council's recent deliberations had become - just like the Galactic Senate - hopelessly mired in endless discussions and arguments, designed to pacify often contradictory agendas, resulting in largely inefficient and bloated processes and outcomes, most of which neither offended nor satisfied.

Hence, the concept of a more directly accountable and effective leadership of the Jedi had garnered a great deal of popular support across multiple factions, despite its vehement resistance by noted opponents. The instruments of careful deliberation and organisation that had served the Order well in the days when its numbers were few, had failed them once their reach had spanned a galaxy. Both the Jedi Order and the Republic Senate had reached the bounds of their ability to control the very processes they had put in place to ensure the smooth administration of enormously powerful bodies peopled with ambitious individuals who spoke with half a mind upon the interests of influential allies and rivals alike.

In fact, the prelude to the Clone Wars was neither the first time the Jedi had internally warred, nor the first time they had suffered a crisis of belief within their Order.

For centuries the factions among the Jedi had debated their role in the galaxy, with one side or the other spending its time in the spotlight, counselling their kin as to how best interpret the Code and in what manner the Order should act unilaterally against perceived threats against the Republic, or how much of their independence to surrender to the will of the citizens of the galaxy. During eras when the Order remained tightly controlled by a single powerful faction, or when the balance of power between most or all of the factions remained such that no one group could defy the will of the collective, the Jedi Order remained at peace.

Over a century before the crisis of the Clone Wars, the Third Jedi Schism, also called the Great Scission, had separated the faction later known colloquially as 'dark Jedi' from the politically dominant 'light Jedi', and had seen the former exiled from the boundaries of the Republic entirely. This was what Purity were now seeking from Immersion; to essentially banish them from the politics of the Council and its codified restrictions just as the Sith faction had once become political pariahs and a mechanism for cathartic restoration within the Order itself.

Should they have succeeded, many of the exiled Jedi would have become gifted mercenaries for hire; which Purity had already suggested Immersion had essentially become. The Purity faction did not want the rest of the Order tainted by these beliefs, which argued for pragmatism and the integration - or, immersion - of the Order into a greater range of galactic activities without the appearance of financial benefit.

Others in the Order naturally viewed this position as hypocritical, given that the Order could not survive without material support unless they turned a portion of their numbers from monastic studies and training their fantastic abilities simply to undertake menial tasks like tending to agriculture or engaging in trade. That was the business of the galaxy as a whole - the Jedi were above the fray, but to remain so meant garnering support by other means. Those among the Purity faction often touted tithes and taxes imposed on various bodies from the average galactic citizen to corporations to the Republic bureaucracy itself, as one such solution.

Perhaps because of the existing tensions between notable Council members, between the factions themselves, the dredging up of painful memories and a heightened sense of urgency surrounding the matter of the Council's effectiveness brought the situation to a head sooner and with more vitriol than any among on the Council could have predicted. This new conflict was, therefore, quite different to previous iterations in scope and intensity, and quickly drew multiple factions into direct conflict.

Consequently, the multiple causes of conflict and the uniquely fractured nature of the Order itself resulted in a sequence of events which created a vastly greater consequence for the galaxy as a whole than almost any rupture which had come before it.