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We do not live side by side with impurity. Your civilization is built on abominations. Your galaxy is polluted. We have come to cleanse it, so that others besides our warrior caste may occupy it and live cleanly here. It is our destiny, according to Supreme Overlord Shimrra and the priests.
~ Tsavong Lah

Tsavong Lah was the one of the main antagonists of the New Jedi Order series, along with Shimrra Jamaane, Nom Anor, and Onimi. Tsavong Lah was the warmaster of the Yuuzhan Vong until his death at the climax of Destiny's Way. Due to his fanatically religious nature, he proved to be a truly inept leader and was easily manipulated by such subordinates as Nom Anor and Vergere. According to the writers, Tsavong was written to be the Darth Vader to Jacen Solo's Luke Skywalker.

Before the series

As depicted in the series, Tsavong Lah is the poster child of the Yuuzhan Vong Empire. The son of a previous Warmaster Czulkang Lah, Tsavong proved to be a noble warrior and a natural leader. Because of this, Tsavong Lah endured the ritual of escalation countless time. His body, a mixture of true flesh and bioengineered implants, closely resembled that of the war god Yun-Yammka. His body armor was actually grown from his flesh, with individual scales embedded in his skin. His reverence for Yuuzhan Vong religion far surpassed usual Yuuzhan Vong faith; even for a Yuuzhan Vong, Tsavong Lah was a fanatic. Like most of his species, Tsavong Lah embraced pain, believing that suffering honored the gods, who had created the universe by sacrificed parts of themselves. Though, again, it could be said that this theology, shared by most of his species, would be tripled when one applied it to Tsavong Lah.

The New Jedi Order series

Dark Tide II: Ruin

Tsavong Lah first appeared Dark Tide II: Ruin, the third installment of the series, as a mysterious Yuuzhan Vong commander who manipulated the current main antagonist Shedao Shai from behind the scenes. In the novel, Tsavong's machinations led to the downfall of the planet Ithor and the disgrace of the rival Domain Shai—not to mention, indirectly, the disgrace of Jedi Knight Corran Horn.

Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse

Tsavong Lah next appeared in the fifth installment of the series, Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse, where he played a behind-the-scenes role in the current antagonist Harrar's plot to poison the Jedi. After faux defector Elan was killed, it was Harrar's friendship with Tsavong Lah that saved him from disgrace. Around the time of this novel, the charismatic New Republic Senator Viqi Shesh became a spy for Executer Nom Anor and (later) Tsavong Lah.

Balance Point

Tsavong Lah made his first real appearance in the sixth installment of the series, Balance Point, where he served as the main antagonist. In the novel, the Yuuzhan Vong warmaster led an attack on the planet Duro. During this time, he kidnapped former New Republic politician Leia Organa Solo, planning to make her his first Jedi sacrifice. However, a guilt-ridden Randa the Hutt sacrificed himself to help Organa Solo escape. After Jedi Padawan Jacen Solo arrived to rescue his mother, Tsavong Lah was nearly killed in battle. After this, Lah recognized Solo as a worthy adversary. From this point on, Tsavong Lah became a personal nemesis for Jacen. In the final chapter of the novel, Tsavong Lah promised a ceasefire if the New Republic agreed to hand Jacen Solo over to the Yuuzhan Vong. After he replaced the limb Jacen took with another biological implant, Tsavong Lah's position was further raised in the Yuuzhan Vong hierarchy.

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Jacen Solo became Tsavong Lah's sworn enemy.

Edge of Victory duology

Tsavong Lah next appeared in the seventh and eighth installments in the series, which together formed the Edge of Victory duology, Conquest and Rebirth. In the duology, it is clearly shown that Lah's promise of a ceasefire was nothing more than a chance to give the Yuuzhan Vong time to recuperate before their next assault. Despite this, the traitorous Peace Brigade, a group of Yuuzhan Vong conspirators, began hunting down Jedi out of hopes of appeasing the alien race. Tsavong Lah is shown at the beginning of Conquest killing Jedi Knight Swilja Fenn, who had been captured by the Brigade and taken to Tsavong Lah. Fenn died, declaring that the Force was stronger than the Yuuzhan Vong and that the Jedi would never die. Later, in the novel, the treasonous Senator Shesh sold out the Jedi base on Yavin IV to Peace Brigaders. During the battle that ensued, Jedi Padawan Tahiri Veila was captured by Master Shaper Mezhan Kwaad and her apprentice, Nen Yim. Unfortunately, her attempts to convert Veila into a Yuuzhan Vong Jedi failed, and she was killed. To Tsavong's great displeasure, however, a Yuuzhan Vong traitor Vua Rapuung sacrificed himself to save Veila and Jedi Padawan Anakin Solo, brother to Lah's sworn enemy. In the closing chapters of the novel, Lah ordered the deaths of every Shamed One on Yavin IV, in order to crush the growing Jeedai heresy among the Yuuzhan Vong outcasts. These efforts were in vain, however, for somehow the heresy grew nonetheless—a heresy which revered Lah's enemies, the Jedi.

In Rebirth, the former Jedi Knight Vergere returned as Lah's personal familiar. Using her intelligence, Lah was able to launch a search for the Millennium Falcon because, as Vergere said, once he had captured Han Solo, his son would come for him. His main appearances in the novel involved, Han, Leia, and Jacen's masquerading as pirates in order to escape Tsavong Lah and his henchmen.

Star by Star

The gods have given me Coruscant. Now I must give them their Jeedai twins.
~ Tsavong Lah

The ninth installment in the series proved to be the turning point of the series. During the events of the novel, Lah was finally ready to launch his attack on the New Republic capital Coruscant. Relying on intelligence from Vergere, Nom Anor, and Senator Shesh, Tsavong worked to tear the Senate apart while he made his plans. At the same time, the bioengineered voxyn, a hybrid of the Yuuzhan Vong fero xyn and Force-sensitive vornskr, worked to destabilize the Jedi. Many Jedi, such as Twi'lek Numa Rar and Chironian Lusa, were killed by the vicious voxyn. While Anakin Solo launched a mission to take out the voxyn queen, Lah prepared his assault on the New Republic capital. Much like Thrawn, a former enemy of the New Republic, Lah attempted to use the New Republic Chief of State Borsk Fey'lya as a pawn, in order to tear the Senate apart. As such, he sent Nom Anor to speak before the Senate, out of hope that Anor and Shesh would be able to convince the Senate to sell out the Jedi. Unfortunately, Fey'lya picked that much to show some courage, denouncing the Yuuzhan Vong and declaring that the Jedi had his full support. This was too little too late, for in the climax of the novel Tsavong Lah launched his invasion of Coruscant.

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At the Battle of Coruscant, Borsk Fey'lya sacrifices himself out of hope that he would take Tsavong Lah down with him.

During the Battle of Coruscant, Fey'lya strapped a bomb to his chest and demanded to meet with Lah, hoping to take the Yuuzhan Vong warmaster down with him. Unfortunately, Tsavong Lah saw right through Fey'lya's deception and refused, claiming that, contrary to Fey'lya's belief, he and the Bothan were not equals. However, Fey'lya's sacrifice was not in vain, for he succeeded in taking out plenty of other Yuuzhan Vong. Following this, Lah assumed Fey'lya's place as leader of Coruscant (soon to be renamed Yuuzhan'tar), while he waited for eminent arrival of Supreme Overlord Shimrra Jamaane. In this climatic novel, a simultaneous defining point took place alongside the Battle of Coruscant—the Jedi mission to Myrkr. Though Lah was not present, his subordinates' efforts led to the deaths of several Jedi, Anakin Solo among them. Also, Vergere and Nom Anor managed to capture Lah's sworn enemy, Jacen Solo. However, Lah's plans for Solo had been slightly amended upon his realization that Solo and his sister Jaina were twins, a key part of Yuuzhan Vong religion. However, this subplot would not fully be detailed until a following novel, Traitor.


Dark Journey and Enemy Lines duology

Tsavong Lah has a very minor appearance in the tenth installment in the series, Dark Journey, where his son Khalee Lah is featured as a major antagonist, along with his friend Harrar. In the novel, he is enraged to learn that the survivors of the Jedi Myrkr mission have stolen Nom Anor's vessel. He is further angered when Jaina Solo begins mocking Yuuzhan Vong religion by impersonating the trickster goddess Yun-Harla to deceive the enemy. Around this time, a new subplot was introduced—Tsavong Lah's most recent implant was being rejected by his body. The fervently religious Lah feared this meant the displeasure of the Yuuzhan Vong primordial god Yun-Yuuzhan.

Be quiet, my son, and know that my last words were reserved for you. Fare well, and may the gods smile upon you, as they once did upon me.
~ Czulkang Lah's dying words

Tsavong Lah appears in both installments in the Enemy Lines duology, Rebel Dream and Rebel Stand, the eleventh and twelfth installments in the series, where his father Czulkang Lah appears as a major antagonist. In the novels, the elder Lah leads an assault on the New Republic-held Borleias. By the end of the duology, Lah is forced to mourn his demise in combat after he falls in a noble sacrifice. During these novels, Tsavong Lah's problem with his implants is resolved with the help of Shesh and now Master Shaper Nen Yim, the latter of whom proves that this rejection was purposefully done by Nom Anor, who Lah discovers is his real nemesis. Throughout the series, Senator Shesh had been under the erroneous belief that she and Lah had a mutual relationship. However, following the fall of Coruscant, it was clear that Lah, who was always scornful toward Shesh, no longer had any use of her. Unwilling to be sacrificed by the Yuuzhan Vong nor executed for treason by the former New Republic, Shesh leaped off a tower and killed herself, being the first of Lah's agents to be taken from him.

Traitor

Tsavong Lah barely appears in the thirteenth installment in the series, Traitor, where his nemesis Nom Anor is featured as the main antagonist. In the novel, Lah approved Anor and Vergere's plan to convert the captive Jacen Solo to the Yuuzhan Vong side. Their plan was to transform Solo into the incarnation of Yun-Yammka, taking advantage of his sister's impersonation of the war god's twin sister Yun-Harla. It is noted by Nom Anor that, due to Lah's fanatic faithfulness, the warmaster proved easy to manipulate. However, the Yuuzhan Vong's plan for Solo backfired on them, following the arrival of Jedi Knight Ganner Rhysode, who was to be a Jedi sacrifice. At the climax of the novel, Vergere betrayed the Yuuzhan Vong and helped Solo escape. As Rhysode sacrificed his life, Vergere and Solo evacuated in Nom Anor's clandestine escape vessel. Vergere became yet another of Lah's agents to leave him.

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Tsavong Lah approves Nom Anor's plan to convert Jacen Solo.

Destiny's Way

Attention all other battle groups! Once our troops are down on Ebaq, you are commanded to withdraw into hyperspace and make your way to Yuuzhan'tar. This battle is lost, but you are ordered to preserve your lives and ships for the victorious battles that will follow. The Battle Group of Yun-Yuuzhan will cover your withdrawal. Praise to the gods! Long live Shimrra, the Supreme One! Do-ro'ik vong pratte!'
~ Tsavong Lah's final command

Tsavong Lah made his final appearance in the fourteenth installment in the series, Destiny's Way, where Lah met his downfall. At the start of this novel, Lah moved from the main antagonist to a secondary antagonist with the arrival of the true main antagonists, Shimrra Jamaane and Onimi. At the climax of the novel, Nom Anor, following misleading intelligence, unwittingly lured the Yuuzhan Vong (Lah among them) into a trap. In the novel, the New Republic finally had time to recuperate from the defeat at Coruscant. Shortly before the climax, pro-Jedi Senator Cal Omas was elected to succeed Fey'lya as Chief of State. Once elected, Omas recruited retired New Republic Supreme Commander Gial Ackbar to orchestrate what would later be known as the Battle of Ebaq 9. In the final battle, Lah's force was cauhgt in a deadly crossfire. Realizing that he was doomed regardless, Lah determined to take as many Jedi with him as he could. He landed his army on the moon, but failed when familiar Vergere sacrificed herself in order to save Jacen Solo from the vengeful Lah by ramming a fighter into the base, triggering a wave of explosive decompression that decimated Lah's army. With nothing left, Lah decided to attack Jaina Solo as a final act of spite towards Jacen Solo. However, this failed when the recently proclaimed Sword of the Jedi stabbed him in the throat.

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Jaina Solo, Tsavong Lah's killer

Following his death, Chief of State Omas managed to reform the Republic into the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances, the government which finally brought down the Yuuzhan Vong Empire. In later novels, Warmaster Nas Choka is considered to be far more pragmatic leader than the fanatical Tsavong Lah, since Choka chose surrender over pointlessly fighting to the death, which had become Lah's MO in the first fourteen novels.

Trivia

  • Tsavong Lah can be seen as the polar opposite of Nom Anor. Whereas Anor is the only atheist among the Yuuzhan Vong, Lah is the most faithful.


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