The First Battle of Onderon took place during the Freedon Nadd Uprising, in the year 3,998 BBY, and pitted the combined forces of the Jedi Order and the Beast Riders of Onderon against the dark side-empowered army commanded by King Ommin of Iziz. Being the first battle of that conflict, it commenced during the funeral procession of Ommin's wife, the Sith sorceress Queen Amanoa, as a group of Jedi Knights led by Jedi Master Arca Jeth prepared to transport both Amanoa's sarcophagus and that of the ancient Dark Lord Freedon Nadd to a newly constructed mausoleum on the far side of Onderon's jungle moon, Dxun.
During Amanoa's procession, a massive groundborer emerged from underground, revealing an army of darksiders led by the Dark Jedi Warb Null. The army managed to retake the coffins and retreated with them on their war machine into the subterranean levels of the city of Iziz, where it was suspected that Amanoa's husband, the sorcerer King Ommin, resided. Arca Jeth, Jedi Knight Ulic Qel-Droma, and Amanoa's daughter, Galia, followed the borer into the tunnels and discovered that Ommin, who had been previously thought to be dead by the general populace of Onderon, was indeed alive, and in league with the spirit of Freedon Nadd.
Under orders from Nadd, Jeth was captured and taken deeper into the tunnels after a brief confrontation with Ommin and his Sith master. As Qel-Droma and Galia attempted to escape, Warb Null confronted them, but was swiftly defeated by the Jedi Knight. They then returned to the surface, where Qel-Droma, realizing that reinforcements were necessary, sent a distress message to the Galactic Republic, beseeching their aid.
For nearly four hundred years, the Inner Rim world of Onderon, had been embroiled in a civil conflict between the only established city of Iziz's dark side-worshiping citizens, and the Beast Riders from the planet's wilderness. The final battle saw the intervention of the Jedi Order, who had dispatched the Jedi Knights Cay and Ulic Qel-Droma, and the Twi'lek Jedi Tott Doneeta, to mediate the civil unrest. The Knights were unsuccessful in bringing about a peaceful resolution between the Beast-Lord Oron Kira and the ruler of Iziz, Queen Amanoa. Thus, their mission quickly degenerated into an all-out battle. Only after the arrival of their own Master, the Arkanian Jedi Arca Jeth, who used his skill with Jedi battle meditation to sway the tide of fighting, was the battle brought to an end. As a last measure, Jeth and his Jedi confronted Amanoa, who had been secretly drawing upon the power of the Dark Lord of the Sith Freedon Nadd in his tomb underneath the royal palace of Iziz. Jeth cast out the darkness of Nadd's tomb with the light of the Force, and without the Dark Lord's influence, Amanoa's power faded as well. She died in her daughter's arms, unable and unwilling to succumb to the light.
With Amanoa dead, Iziz was left without a legitimate ruler. As was the way of the Onderon Royal Family, Amanoa's daughter, Galia, then assumed the throne, and she and her new husband, Oron Kira, became the new King and Queen of Onderon. Immediately, they began making preparations to inter Amanoa and Freedon Nadd, whose remains had been confiscated by the Jedi when Amanoa perished. A funeral commenced, under the direction of Arca Jeth, who was still concerned with the strong darkness he felt emanating from the coffin. To ensure that the dark side power of Nadd's sarcophagus could no longer oppress the citizens of Onderon, Jeth ordered a new tomb to be constructed of Mandalorian iron on Dxun, the planet's jungle moon. Amanoa would be laid there as well.
Meanwhile, Oron Kira's second-in-command, Gobee, and another Beast Rider were ordered by the Jedi to search the catacombs under Iziz, where it was rumored that practitioners of Sith magic were still lurking in the depths. As they delved deeper through miles of tunnels, Gobee and his partner came upon none other than King Ommin himself. The Queen's procession was interrupted by Gobee and the other Beast Rider when they emerged from the tunnels, moments ahead of an attack. Before they could warn their fellow Beast Riders and the Jedi, the sound of a massive boring machine interrupted them. More than just a tunnel-maker, the war engine protruded and sprang forth from below Iziz, releasing scores of Naddist soldiers. At their front was a gigantic lightsaber-wielding Dark Jedi, whose armor radiated with the power of Sith magic.
Immediately, Oron Kira and his men engaged the Naddists as they emptied their war machine, while the Knights engaged the Dark Jedi, who identified himself as Warb Null. Before he could join the battle, Arca Jeth was suddenly attacked through the Force by an unknown adversary and incapacitated. Meanwhile, Null's battle with the Jedi provided ample distraction for his Naddist soldiers, who were tasked with recapturing the sarcophagi of Nadd and Amanoa and bringing them aboard the war machine. Successful in their mission, Null then called for a retreat; the tunnel-maker pulled back and descended into the depths, with the Dark Jedi following close behind. Ulic Qel-Droma chased after them, grabbing onto the tunnel-maker and demanding that the armored Null return and face him. Null never came out, however, and Qel-Droma was nearly pulled into the gaping maw left behind in the war machine's wake. He jumped off the machine in time to avoid falling in the hole after it and rejoined his comrades, just as they were tending to the felled Arca Jeth. Meanwhile, Tott Doneeta received a message that another contingent of the darksider army was approaching the city.
Jeth had barely recovered from the dark side attack when he realized that the Naddists were only distracting the Jedi; their real intention was to recover the sarcophagi of Amanoa and Freedon Nadd. Jeth had deduced that Nadd's coffin was the source of the dark power plaguing Onderon, and that retrieving it along with Amanoa's was the only course of action. It was then that Galia revealed the fact that her father, Ommin, was indeed alive, and that he may be the Jedi's only hope in recovering the sarcophagi. Tott Doneeta, Oss Wilum, and Cay Qel-Droma remained behind with Oron Kira, while Arca Jeth and Ulic Qel-Droma planned to follow the war machine's exit-tunnel, in hopes of confronting the darksiders. Galia insisted on going with them, due to her familiarity with the catacombs. The trio descended into the darkness of the tunnels, intent on finding the darksiders, the sarcophagi, and possibly even King Ommin.
Galia found that, as they traveled deeper underground, she was less familiar with the catacombs than she first believed. Jeth, however, felt the potency of the dark side much stronger there; he was sure that they were indeed going in the right direction. Ulic Qel-Droma was not so concerned with where they were going or finding the King as he was with confronting Warb Null. It was not long, however, before the trio stumbled upon King Ommin himself, who was being physically supported by a full-body, durasteel exoskeleton. Ommin told them that his support-frame was required to augment his movements, but Jeth sensed that a darker power was at work. Ommin bid him close, as he revealed his allegiance with the spirit of Freedon Nadd, whom he had summoned personally from Chaos. Freedon Nadd then appeared behind Ommin, also empowering him with the dark side of the Force.
Arca Jeth immediately confronted Nadd but was intercepted by Ommin, who seized Jeth's throat and commenced smothering him with waves of dark side energy. Jeth was incapacitated, and Qel-Droma attempted to rescue him, but he was unable to penetrate the energy field in which Jeth was encased. Ommin then revealed his Dark Side Army: fully armed, ready for battle, and led by the armor-clad Warb Null. With the Dark Jedi at his flank, the King attempted to seduce Galia to the dark side. He was promptly refused by his daughter, whose only wish was to escape. Qel-Droma, however, gave over to his desire for revenge; he cut his way through Ommin's warriors to Warb Null, and as the King and Freedon Nadd descended into the depths with a subdued Jeth, Qel-Droma engaged the armored darksider in lightsaber combat.
Qel-Droma and Null's duel was brief but intense, and Null was overpowered by the enraged Jedi. Qel-Droma parried several blows before dodging an overhand slash completely and flipping over Null, landing behind him and gaining the advantage as well. Qel-Droma instantly attacked by severing Null's weapon arm, leaving him downed, humbled, and begging for amnesty. Qel-Droma lent no ear as he brought his lightsaber around and beheaded the Dark Jedi. Unbeknownst to him, the death of Null had been planned by Nadd, who saw the duel as a test of the young Jedi's growing dark side power.
It was only then that Qel-Droma realized that he had forsaken both Galia and Jeth, the latter of which had been kidnapped by Ommin and Nadd in the midst of the duel. In their place was Ommin's Dark Side Army, blocking them from the tunnel in which Ommin had departed. Realizing that he was no match for an entire army of Sith magic-empowered warriors, Qel-Droma quickly fled with Galia through the tunnels toward the surface.
Galia and Qel-Droma emerged above ground, only to find that the Royal Palace as well as the city had been retaken by the Naddists. They wandered the war-torn streets of Iziz until they happened upon Cay Qel-Droma, Oss Wilum, and Oron Kira. Ulic Qel-Droma explained to them that Jeth had been kidnapped, and that another of Ommin's dark side militias was approaching fast to join their colleagues in battle. It was then decided that Galia would be ferried away to safety, while the Jedi and Oron Kira would take up command from the Beast Rider stronghold, Fortress Kira. Ulic Qel-Droma knew that the situation had deteriorated further into something that he and his current strength in numbers were incapable of handling. Therefore, his only recourse was to relay a message to the Jedi Order, and also the Galactic Senate on Coruscant, with hopes that they would both dispatch reinforcements.
Qel-Droma's message was indeed received and debated over by the Republic Ministry of Defense, who decided to send the entire Republic Navy in defense of Onderon. The Jedi too acknowledged the call for aid, and responded to their fellows by sending five Knights to aid them. One of the chosen Jedi, a young woman named Nomi Sunrider, was also selected to lead the Republic Fleet into battle. These things were unknown to Qel-Droma and his companions on Onderon, however, leaving them with nothing other than hope to rely on.
The First Battle of Onderon first appeared in the issue Freedon Nadd Uprising 1 of the Tales of the Jedi series of comics. The battle was conceived and written by author Tom Veitch, and was drawn by artist Tony Akins. Both Veitch and Kevin J. Anderson would use the events portrayed in this battle and the following battle as background details for their joint venture Dark Lords of the Sith, where such characters as Ulic and Cay Qel-Droma would be explored in depth while playing integral parts to the story line. The battle also provided a backdrop for the Krath Holy Crusade, which was written as a part of the larger Great Sith War. It was later recounted in the Tales of the Jedi audio drama, written by John Whitman and based on the original script by Veitch.
In the original comic appearance of the First Battle of Onderon, Queen Galia is reunited with Oron Kira and also accompanies him to Fortress Kira with the Jedi. In the audio version, however, Galia is taken to safety by Tott Doneeta, while Oron Kira and the rest of the Jedi take up command from Fortress Kira. Also, in the audio drama, Warb Null loses his arm to Ulic Qel-Droma in their duel before being killed, whereas in the comic version he is simply killed. Another note of contradiction occurs when Ulic Qel-Droma blames Warb Null for cleaving Cay Qel-Droma's arm, causing him to show no mercy to Null before killing him. This conflicts with both the comic version and the audio drama, where in the former, Cay's arm is severed by Amanoa's royal guards, and in the latter, his arm is blasted off by Novar.