The Star Wars The Old Republic Team has finally revealed the new Trailer ‘Betrayed’ for the upcoming Knights of the Eternal Throne story expansion. The Trailer shows Vaylin’s ‘fall’ to the Dark Side of the force. Here is the Trailer below!
Trailer Walk Through
At the beginning of the Trailer we see Senya frantically running along a corridor holding a limp child in her arms. She looks down at the child then a flashback starts. The next thing we see is Senya playing with a young child in a forest. The child picks up a piece of wood and gives it Senya. (Click on an image to enlarge it).
In the next scene we then see that Senya has crafted an animal out of the wood and the child is using the force to spin it around. Senya who is looking out at the Zakuul cityscape, notices what the child is doing and beckons the child to stop yelling ‘Vaylin!’. Vaylin looks disappointed as her mother beckons her to hold the toy animal instead.
We then move on to seeing Senya and Vaylin, still a toddler, watching young Arcann and Thexan doing their fight training. Vaylin looks really excited she looks to her mother and Senya nods as if giving her permission to start her own fighting training.
We then cut to a slightly older Vaylin who is back on the woods, alone attempting to use the force to push a dummy Zakuul Knight suspended from a tree. After a few attempts she screams in frustration and unleashes a wave of force energy obliterating the dummy. She then hears whispers in the trees.
The next scene shows Vaylin doing fighting training in the same arena her brothers did and she is not doing so well. In the next engagement she clenches her free wrist and uses the force to pause the battle and in her anger begins to crush the Zakuul Knights armor causing them serious harm. Senya yells at her to stop. Then as if in a trance she lets go looking surprised by what she’s done. The camera turns to show Valkorion looking on Senya and Vaylin look up at Valkorion as if waiting for judgement.
We then see Valkorion leading Vaylin away through an entryway flanked by white robed persons. Senya looking on helpless as Vaylin looks back toward her mother one last time.
Vaylin is now in the center of a circular chamber. White robed persons are sitting around in a circle perform a ritual on her. As the ritual draws on, Vaylin is transformed. Her hair falls out and tattoos appear to ‘grow’ on her body. She transforms from a terrified little girl to a compliant being teaming with the power of the Dark side.
When the dark side first fully consumes Vaylin, Senya wakes up, startled, having sensed what has happened. She resolves to rescue her daughter and take her away from Valkorion. She travels to the facility and carries Vaylin out of the ritual chamber, down the same corridor we saw at the start, then out onto a bridge where she is met with resistance. The toy animal is left behind.
Senya puts a weak, exhausted, Vaylin down then charges at the Valkorion’s Elite Guard blocking their path and has no trouble taking them down. She beckons Vaylin to come with her but, she doesn’t move.
Behind Vaylin, Valkorion appears flanked by Valkorion’s Elite Guard. Senya is dragged away by Zakuul Knights, who landed behind her, onto a ship. She looks on in horror at Vaylin standing with her father and what he has done to her.
A few years later, we see Senya walking through a ‘battlefield’ searching through the debris. While searching through the remnants, she hears a splash then shortly after finds the toy animal she once crafted for Vaylin. Then in the shadows, a hooded person appears. The hooded person sparks spilled fuel lighting up the scene of carnage in a fiery inferno. The hooded figure then force pulls Senya’s Lightsaber Pike from her then charges towards her. Senya is able to pull a Lightsaber from the battle for herself to deflect the initial attack. They end up in a deadlock where Senya is able to see who her attacker is. She is mortified when she recognises Vaylin completely corrupted by the Dark Side.
Trailer Breakdown and Speculation
The Trailer clearly takes place many years before the events of KOTFE. I would estimate that Vaylin was born around ~10 years before the Sacking of Coruscant. Vaylin was probably around 9-11 years old when the training arena incident happened. This could potentially indicate that the ritual was performed not long after Vitiate signed the Treaty of Coruscant. As for the final scene, I would say Vaylin was perhaps 16-18 years old.
The Trailer demonstrates how an innocent person can become completely transformed and corrupted by the Dark Side. The darkness was always inside her but instead of her being taught to control it, it is manifest and fully unleashed through savage and cruel means. What Valkorion did to his daughter was more akin to something ‘Vitiate’ would have done rather then the seemingly ‘ force balanced’ Valkrion. He’s really proud of how the the Zakuulans have a more balanced view of the force yet this philosophy doesn’t apply to Vaylin.
Valkrion tells us in Chapter 2 that Vaylin was always his favourite child. He saw a lot of himself in her (see Vaylin codex below). So when her power becomes increasingly manifest as she ages, he decides to perform the ritual on her not just to help manifest her power but also to keep control of her.
Vaylin’s Power, the Ritual and Aftermath
The Ritual performed on Vaylin is both fascinating and mortifying to watch. Watching Vaylin’s inner darkness gradually become manifest both physically and mentally consuming her innocence was stunning.
In all the media we consume there is a basic trope. White means goodness, purity and innocence and black means evil, dark and corrupted. This trope is employed very effectively in the Trailer to visually show Vaylin’s transformation. There is no denying that the darkness always resided in her but as a child, Vaylin was only able to manifest the darkness through temporary bouts of anger which did not fully consume her. However, in the scene where she is playing with the crafted toy animal, she is not angry. It was likely just a spontaneous force manifestation. It was unlikely that she was always able to control when her bouts of anger occurred and manifest through the force hence Senya being afraid of her using the force. Vaylin then discovered on her own (in the forest scene) how to use the force to do what she wanted by channeling her anger. The darkness then slowly manifest itself, growing inside of her yet, no where near the point of being corrupted by the dark side. That all changed when Valkorion took her away to supposedly help her reign in her power.
In the Trailer we are shown a time lapse of the ritual. To begin with, the ritual puts Vaylin in a trance or sleep state where it looks like she is having nightmares. She is rocking back and forth, terrified, burying her head in her knees. Then the ritual begins to take hold of her. Her hair falls out and darkens, the ritual is beginning to transform her appearance. Her head is bowed, eyes closed, arms slouched and her legs crossed compliantly. Then as if a puppet being pulled by strings, her arms are limply outstretched in the air, the ritual dictating her every move. Her clothes have turned grey and the sleeves are gone completely. Tattoos begin ‘growing’ on her arms as she continues to be in a dark trance. In the next stage, her clothes are now black and the tattoos have grown further down her arms. Her arms are still outstretched but her palms are facing upward and her arms are stiffened as if she is now complying with the ritual. Then she is competently submissive to the ritual, her power becoming increasingly evident. There are orbs now suspended, motionless around her, arms crossed and the tattoos fully grown. The music intensifies, her hands clench her arms to the climax. All we see is her face, her eyes are still closed. Then suddenly, they open blazing red, consumed with the power and fury of the dark side.
Vaylin, an innocent child no more.
It is unknown whether Valkorion himself actually participated in the ritual himself as we do not see him participating the Trailer. It’s more then likely he was directing the ritual itself if not observing it. I suspect the ritual may have been inspired by Ancient Sith Rituals Vitiate uncovered in his ever continuing search to gain more power and immortality.
I believe it is likely that Valkorion kept Vaylin on that planet the ritual was performed on for quite a few years continuing to perform rituals on her and allowing her to learn to use her powers. Eventually, he decides to unleash her to see what she is capable of or she manages to break free and have a monumental tantrum. The result of what happened is what Senya is investigating or perhaps she once sensed something to do with her daughter? Seeing the full extent of Vaylin’s power, Valkorion hones it in and hides the majority of her power from her and she goes back to Zakuul.
Why is Vaylin not as powerful in KOTFE as she appears to be at the end of the Trailer?
When Vitiate was defeated by the Jedi Knight on Dromund Kaas and weakened, he is no longer able to keep her power hidden from her and Vaylin once again realises the full potential of her powers. But instead of getting Revenge for what her father did to her, she decides to patiently bide her time. Patience, one of Vitiate/Valkorion’s most advantageous traits another things she inherited from her father. Only Valkorion (and now Senya) know the true extent of her capabilities.
The reason we don’t see her full power unleashed in KOTFE like it was at the end of the Trailer is because she is hiding her true power patiently waiting for the right time to strike. Not even Arcann knows what her true capabilities are. So when we see her fighting her mother Senya in Chapter 8, she’s holding back. I would say that they were both fairly even throughout most of the fight with Senya mostly on the defensive. Vaylin was perhaps became too arrogant/confident letting Senya disarm her. Senya of course can not kill Vaylin.
We know that Vaylin afterwards is unhappy that her mother let her live and resolves to kill her. She wasn’t going to hold back when the faced each other in Chapter 16 but Arcann pushed her away from Senya. But more on Chapter 16 later.
But, what about Vaylin’s hair?
Again, the ritual changed her physical appearance as well as gradually unleashing the darkness residing in her. During the process of the ritual not only does she lose all the hair on her scalp, but it also becomes darkened. After all, tattoos literally grew on her body. I don’t think it’s that surprising that her hair also becomes darkened during the process. Have a closer look at her transformation during the ritual in stills from the Trailer above.
Where does the Ritual take place?
I would say it’s likely a planet in Wild Space as Senya is able to get there fairly quickly from Zakuul after sensing what has happened to Vaylin. Or it could even be somewhere on Zakuul itself.
We can safely say that it is definitely not Nathema. Nathema is a lifeless husk. There is no weather it was raining and cloudy from what we saw of the place were the Ritual takes place. The force does not exist there. The planet is a void where it is impossible to use the force. Therefore, the Ritual could not possibly have taken place there.
There wasn’t even any wind, and the air tasted stale in Scourge’s mouth. The temperature was neither cold nor hot, but he felt himself starting to shiver.
“You feel the chill of the Void,” Nyriss told him. “The force is energy; it gives heat to our emotions and our minds. But here it has been stripped away.”
He was shocked by the sound of his own voice. It was flat and dull, as if even sound waves had been distorted by the ritual.
The sun shining down on them from above–a star that has appeared bright orange as they has approached the planet–was now a pale shade of brown. In fact, everything around them was wither brown or gray, as if the colours had been leached out.
Revan, Chapter 15.
Who are the ‘Zealots’?
I originally thought they could possibly be another ‘branch’ of ‘The Emperor’s Hand’ except they reside in Wild Space. However, a recent email from SWTOR, which advertises the new Nathema Zealots Robes, indicated that it’s the armor worn by Valkorion’s Elite Guard. From what we saw in the Trailer, they aren’t ordinary guards. When Senya is fighting them, she manages to knock a helmet off one of them and we get to see what they look like. They’re tattooed and appear to have no eyes hence the face masks they wear which resemble Miralukan masks.
I still believe it’s possible they may serve Valkorion in a similar capacity that the Emperor’s Hand do. For starters, they perform the ritual on Vaylin. Note that when Senya first runs into the guards, they are wearing the same white robes worn by the persons conducting the ritual on Vaylin. Therefore it would seem they are fully controlled and compliant to the will of Valkorion just like the Emperor’s hand are with Vitiate. They aren’t the actual Emperor’s Hand of course as they were all Sith Purebloods. I highly doubt any of the Elite Guard are Sith Purebloods especially if the that one unmasked Guard from the Trailer is anything to go by.
The Rescue Transport
Senya was dropped off at the facility by a Zakuul Knight Transport. They were unlikely aware of her intentions let alone what was happening at the facility so they would have followed her orders. I daresay it wouldn’t have taken long for Valkorion to sense what was happening. Hell, he probably foresaw it. Was the transport that took Senya away the same one that dropped her off? More then likely. At some point the transport would’ve been given new orders by Valkorion to take Senya away. Of course, they would comply. It is interesting to note that the Shuttle doesn’t land straight away to lend a hand. Rather it circles around as Senya takes out the guards shining a light onto the fight.
But wait, doesn’t the Trailer contradict what Senya told us in Chapter 7?
At the beginning of Chapter 7, we get the chance to ask Senya about her relationship with Valkorion, her children and what happened. Here is all the relevant dialogue.
It would seem Senya was not entirely truthful with us about the events leading up to her leaving her children and Valkorion. We saw in the trailer that she forbid Vaylin from using the force from a very young age. As we saw in the Trailer, Vaylin of course rebelled and practiced using the force in secret. It would seem that Senya left more because of Vaylin not wanting to go with her after what Valkorion did to her and had nothing to do with Arcann or Thexan.
Other interesting KOTFE Dialogue to consider
In Chapter 8 when Senya disarms Vaylin, she says this:
On it’s own, it seems like a harmless taunt or dark sarcasm. Or maybe Vaylin in her state of delusion, had perhaps chosen to believe her mother was dead rather then that she left her. However, in light of the final scene from the Trailer, it is possible that Vaylin defeats Senya and leaves her for dead. Of course we have no way of knowing for sure what happened as the Trailer doesn’t show that. So I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
In Chapter 16, after the Outlander defeats Arcann, Senya comes to the Bridge and finds him unconscious. Shortly after, Vaylin shows up.
This conversation shows just how heart broken Senya is and how desperate she is to get her children back and be their mother again. She deeply regrets leaving her children despite having disagreements with Valkorion about them. Arcann seems to perhaps forgive his mother a little as shown by him preventing Vaylin from engaging in a fight with their mother. Vaylin on the other hand is furious when Arcann pushes her away. She is still hell bent on killing her mother. Arcann always seemed more understanding of his mother while Vaylin is still mad at her mother for leaving and not wanting her to be all powerful.
There was perhaps a brief moment however where Vaylin was touched ever so slightly by her mothers sincere words.
So is it really Vaylin in the Trailer?
Seriously, if you’ve read my whole article and still don’t think it’s Vaylin, then I really don’t know what to say to you…
The Betrayed Trailer is a heartbreaking depiction of a mother and daughters bond broken by the dark side of the force. Vaylin has spent her life being controlled by other people. First her mother, Senya then her father, Valkorion and then her brother, Arcann. Now that she is truly free, it will be interesting to see what she does in the proceeding chapters.
What did you think of the Betrayed Trailer? Are you excited or curious about the upcoming KOTET story?