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Elders during the latter years of the Infinite Empire were a tribe of Rakata. Their ancestry was the Priest Caste of the Rakata of old.
On Lehon, Rakatan civilization rapidly faded into obscurity and barbarism. Warlords devastated the surface of the planet with weapons of mass destruction and the majority of the Rakata were forced to flee underground. Only the Elders tribe, remained on the surface protected by their ancient temples and enclaves.
During the Jedi Civil War, 20,000 years after the fall of the Infinite Empire, they worked to use the ancient technology to restore order and help the survival of the ancient knowledge and traditions of the Infinite Empire. They were constantly at war with other violent Rakata, such as the One, and feared their Rancor beasts.
Elders desired to destroy the Star Forge so that they could finally put their bloody past behind them, but there was a problem. They could no longer enter their own Temple of the Ancients, the nexus of their collected knowledge and the key to accessing the Star Forge, because the Force was lost to them.
DarthRevan and Malak's arrival in the system gave the Elders a perfect opportunity. Promising to destroy the Star Forge, Revan entered the temple, but he betrayed the Elder's trust and took the space station for himself.
Yet Revan would return three years later and redress that betrayal. Amnesiac, he was brought before The One who again sought his help, but Revan when he finally found the abode of the Elders, they told him about the atrocities of the Rakata and the One. Therefore he did not slaughter them and seeing finally what was 'good', he sided with the Elders; this angered the One who attacked Revan but he, as well as his tribe were all killed.
It is possible for the player to stay loyal to the One and kill the Elder tribe, resulting in Rakatan priests disabling the shields of the Temple. Even after that choice, it is also possible to kill the One's tribe afterwards.