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Entry: 0 of the Journal of Thanadan Vaner, Son of Navered and Kathri Vaner of the Houses Thul and Baliss, respectively.
It is in this journal, that i shall record my life and my thoughts from this point onwards, a lot has changed since Alderaan, and what better way is there to remember ones new life, than to return to the beginning when ones life has almost unfolded and to see what has shaped the life i have lived?
It is with these words that i will conclude my introduction, and when the time is nigh, and the force claims me slowly as each day goes by, i will return to this page, to remember how it all began. How my life in the High nobility of Alderaan, turned into a life of Darkness.
My father should not have sent me away, we could have stood up to the Rist! We are part of House Thul, what does Rist have that we do not? It should not have been this way, i am postphoning my death by a few weeks at most, if my fathers Sith friend is anything to go by i will be dead within the first few days in the Korriban academy. I am still wary of the Rist Assassins, the contract posted on my capture or death was quite hefty, but hopefully i will be able to focus entirely on surviving my trials instead of looking over my shoulder all the time for my would-be killers. I miss the smell of the smooth mountain air of Alderaan, the snow, the trees, the wildlife. If i am blessed enough to live, i should, must, return.
But what if i am not the same person when i return? would i even be accepted as a son of Alderaan? Will i instead be seen as a foreign conqueror, one who is not to be trusted, one to be feared, i would not wish this, because Alderaan is and always will be a part of me, as will my family. And if i am changed by Sith teachings, i am not sure if i would even want to meet them again, for fear of being a potential threat to them. Perhaps it would be best if i died here, so that the man they know in their memories will always remain as the young and outspoken academic, who was always too forward for his own good. I have no wish of being remembered as a Tyrant. Like those Zakuul freaks that have taken control of our skies.
With my thoughts out of the way, i am currently on the personal starship of my Fathers Sith friend, Darth Expletus. A man of similiar build and height as me, with dark ashen robes and a mask that brings chills to my heart. He was the one that discovered my force sensitivity so long ago and alas, had father allowed him i would have been his apprentice, i am glad this never became the case. When i asked him how he met my father he simply answered that it was a "complicated matter, and that he was a different person before they did." Why a Sith Lord would ever decide to befriend a Noble is beyound me, surely the Empire and its Sith do not care about such things as keeping people appeased? The ship was comfortable and spacious enough, but there were some rooms where i was not allowed, and my Akk Dog "Canderous" is appearantly not too pleased by space travel and has been scratching against the metal floor. Oh well, we will reach Korriban within the next few days anyhow, my curiosity, and the restlessness of my hound, can be sated there.
First Setting foot on Korriban was worse than i had initially expected, they confiscated everything but the clothes on my back! My father, a known and hated man to the Sith of the Korriban Academy for reasons i can only dream of knowing, thus making me "dutifully inclined" to "reimburse" the Empire for his supposed crimes. This must be his Sith Friends doing, has to be, how else would they know who i was? He was conveniently absent when i approached the academy itself, running from the guards back to the ship for him would have been pointless as i would have been shot down. They took my credits and supplies, and they had the AUDACITY to claim that my Akk Dog would give me an "unfair advantage" and took him away from me to put him in some cage. In truth they really just want to see me dead at this point.
But i must not let this transgression get in the way, i must still try to survive long enough to get off of this forsaken world, hopefully an opportunity will reveal itself soon.
Korriban was everything my fathers Sith friend said it was before he abandoned me, barren, arid and dusty with sand that looks as if it has been drowned in blood. The air was cold and harsh, and the imposing nature of the academy and its denizens was enough to bring a chill to my spine, but i had to endure, if not for myself i had to do it for my family and for Alderaan. And perhaps, for the good of the Empire.
My Overseer is not unlike a Lord of a Noble house, he was open with his opinions and did not seem afraid to deal with matters personally, Ardran is his name, a man in his mid fourties from what i could see, he is not a frail man though, i have heard from my fellow acolytes that he went so far as to undermine the chances of his apprentice to survive one of the trials he was sent on purely because he was a braggart and would undermine the Empires power in the long run. Some of the more experienced acolytes said that he did it because a certain Lord Thrain made him do it, but i am unsure if that is true.
My first trial was simple enough, i was given some dusty robes and a training blade and was told to clear out some of the looters in the Tomb of Ajunta Pall and reclaim an old relic they were in possession of. I have read the writings of the Prodigal Knight several times in the Family archives, and it truly feels as if i am walking in his footsteps in a way, returning to the place where he pacified the spirit of the ancient Ajunta Pall, and made him become one with the Force. I am unsure how true it is due to it not being written by Revan himself, but there has to be some truth to it, for i felt no presence, no looming darkness in the corner of my mind when i was inside the tomb. I felt strangely at ease, whenever i was not being attacked by Looters, atleast.
The group that possessed the item i sought did not seem very experienced in combat, and their aim was terrible, a simple enough match for a well trained swordsman such as myself, the relic was some form of ancient sith helmet. I took the back entrance out of the tomb which led back to the academy and showed the helmet to my Overseer, Ardran, and his eyes widened when he saw me holding it, he told me that he was "Most surprised" that i had gone through the tomb mostly unscathed and told me to keep the helmet, as he only lied when he said it was a relic of importance. I think it was me surviving the tomb of Ajunta Pall which would eventually lead to my transfer, which will be the subject of my fifth entry. But there were yet a few "debts" to settle...
This will be a shorter entry, as the following day has been hectic, i am lucky to be alive and will need some rest. The only hope i had of ever getting off of Korriban, where my name and the name of my father was widely known, was to find one of the Sith-led organisations in the galaxy and join up with them for training, since finding a shuttle back to Alderaan simply was not an option. And i was not about to just throw away my one shot at survival against the assassins that are after me by not training myself in the ways of the Sith.
After sneaking in to the beast pen within the academy and freed Canderous, he and i went into the nearby tomb of Naga Sadow in order to settle some "debts" with some of my fellow initiates. Someone must have seen me enter the beast pen because when we left the tomb there was a Sith lord waiting for me, with an armed escort of four soldiers from the Korriban Regiment. I was struck by bolts of lightning, but when i woke up, me and my hound were on a shuttle about to take off towards a planet called "Taral V", to be trained at the academy there instead. When i heard this from the pilot i was stunned, yet relieved at the same time. It was as if someone had read my mind and helped me along since leaving the tomb of Naga Sadow. We will have to see where this leads us.
The shuttle ride was uneventful at best, terribly foreboding at worst, i was relieved that i was not about to die by the hands of some Sith Lord of course, but the initial relief was short lived when i remembered that i was still going to a Sith Academy, probably full of people that know my supposedly traitorous father. I could hear the thunderstorms as we entered the atmosphere of Taral V, the thud and crackle of a bolt of unnatural lightning flaring up in the distance was enough to send shocks across the entire shuttle, it almost felt as if it would fall apart at any moment. The pilot must have felt the same, since he increased the velocity to full throttle after the first lightning bolt, never been on a faster shuttle in my life.
I was nervous when we finally did land on the conspicuously empty landing pad, i decided to let Canderous stay on the shuttle, wouldn't want the old dog to get himself in trouble somehow. Only a single figure could be seen from the inside of the shuttle, as i walked out of there and onto the landing pad i became very uneasy. In hindsight, it was probably my senses reacting to the power of Darth Suthre, the one that initiated me into the Dominions Sith ranks. He said only what was needed, i however prattled on about some nonsense about myself, and the Sith, and Alderaan, i do not even remember at this point. Despite that, the initiation went fairly smoothly. And even more surprising is the fact that neither my name nor my likeness caused any suspicion. Surely a Darth would know of a hated "enemy" of the Empire? Did he simply not care? I left the inner chamber of the Academy with many questions. But those questions were to be answered at a later time. I spent most of my time that first day out by the landing pad,meditating and thinking upon all that has happened, as i prepared my mind for the challenges ahead.
I quickly learned from speaking with Darth Suthre that keeping a pet at the Academy was not advisable, altough it saddened me, i had to say goodbye to him that day, for a little while, atleast. I had called upon one of House Thuls retainers, who happened to be on a diplomatic mission at one of the military outposts,and told her to take Canderous with her. With that business out of the way by the end of the day, i only had the future to worry about.
The first few days of being an initiate were suspenseful to say the least, the possibility of me being recognised in the academy and getting dealt with as the son of a "traitor" was still high. I couldn't just let my guard down, but i felt safer here than on Korriban, and for the moment that is enough. My etiquette was sorely lacking, i was not the most disciplined initiate on Korriban due to my brief stay, and i was not well versed in how to properly address lords, or Darths for that matter. Simply bowing whenever a lord or Darth is around and uttering the word "Lord" after every sentence seems to have done the trick for the most part though, so i should consider myself lucky. I have heard murmurings of other initiates that happened to adress Sith Lords the wrong way on the wrong day, and were punished severely for it.
I met a Sith Lord by the name of Aricev today (and this would prove to be an interesting development in the future.) He bade me to follow him down to the "arena", where he would have me tested. I was not sure what to expect, i had sparred against others before, but he gave me little to no detail of what i would be up against, or who, for that matter. We went through the large temple that comprised the main part of the academy, when we were outside, i could see that we were much higher up than we used to be by the entrance of the academy. An old Bridge would lead out to a courtyard cornered by two temples, weathered by the harsh climate of Taral V. I refrained from asking Lord Aricev how old this place was, for fear of asking a stupid(and thus punishable) question.
The arena was an old stone platform, positioned in a clearing not far from the academy. Whilst there, i saw another initiate, a rattataki, he was to be my opponent in this first test. He was a very silent one, not saying more than what was necessary, and when the battle started i found out that he was no stranger to combat. He was not a bulky fellow, he was built similiarly to me and was of the same height, but his fighting style was alien to me, it was completely unlike anything i ever encountered on Alderaan. Every attack was a vicious spinning move, sometimes even going so far as to vault over my shoulders so as to strike my back. My defenses were of no use against this fighter, only a few attacks were parried and some other were dodged by sheer luck. It felt as if he was actually trying to end me permanently, but the rules of the battle were simple, no killing, and with a lord observing i could atleast feel as if my life was safe.
The Battle ended with my defeat, i managed to get a few good hits in, and i felt as if i could have won if i was prepared for my opponents fighting form, but i was the one that felt the sting of defeat this day. But Lord Aricev told us that there was no shame in losing, nor was there much glory in winning, we were both here to become Sith and all of our failures and successes would help us through this long journey.
Not even this battle would prepare me for what was to come.
My body is still sore after what happened today. I regret nothing however, as it revealed a lot about not only myself, but my fellow Sith aswell, only unfortunate thing about this is that i lack the strenght to write for long. Lord Vhexra, hand of the Magistrate Darth Suthre, had arranged for a training session between her, and several initates in the arena. Since i was observing the arena at the time, i was naturally funneled in to fight against Lord Vhexra, in hindsight it proved to be little more than a demonstration of power on her part, yet, i found that i enjoyed myself quite a lot. Until the end, anyhow.
My allies in this fight, Initiate Noviran, aswell as the Rattataki i had fought before, Hittakatte. I exchanged words with him after our duel, and he seemed like a reasonable individual, if perhaps a bit chained to the idea that he was a tool to be utilised by others. The three of us fought in unison, doing our best to keep the lord on her toes. My fellow initiates were knocked down a few times, i felt compelled to assist them in getting up, they yet had strenght to get up the first few times. After this first half of the duel my memory got a bit hazy, i think initiate Noviran was defeated through the use of lightning, with just me and Hittakatte left, we tried to press the attack. But in our advance, Vhexra grabbed my ally and used him to shield herself, my strike was stronger than i had expected, it struck him cold and i was the only one left standing. She asked me if i yielded, and of course, in my "infinite wisdom", i said no, that i never left a matter unresolved.
She unleashed Force lightning upon me, my body contorted, my skin became charred, and i was left kneeling and coughing on the ground. Somehow, i was yet left conscious, and when my allies recovered we were commanded to go to the kolto tanks to recover. This event would awaken something within me, and i have no idea what it is.
I just know that i am far from reaching my full potential after this day.
This was a monumental day for my progress as a Sith, it was today that my initiation into the Shadow Dominion was complete, i was now fully committed to the path of the Dark Side. I am now no longer an initiate, i have progressed towards the rank of Acolyte and i have been chosen by a Sith Lord of the Dominion to be an apprentice. My Master, is Lord Aricev, Keeper of the Dominion.
I was summoned to the facility shared by him and Lord Vhexra, a worthy building used to house both the two lords and all of their apprentices, to swear an oath to my new master. I was initiated into the Dominion fully upon becoming his apprentice, thus becoming a resident of his home, aswell as gaining access to most services rendered within it. Since becoming an initiate, i have slowly started to see past the practical uses of becoming a Sith. It is not about surviving the Rist assassins anymore, should they ever find me, it is about something more than that now. For the first time since i left Alderaan, i can feel as if my contributions have purpose beyound my own wellbeing, with more efficient training and a dedicated teacher i can only see myself improving my proficiency with the Force. The Dominion will have me for as long as i am needed, perhaps when my trials are over, i will consider striking out on my own, or perhaps even go back to Alderaan for a time. But for now, i have a place, and it is with the Dominion, and i shall stand beside my master Aricev.
As my studies of the dark side seem to take longer and longer time to finish whenever i get to them, i will have less and less time to spend on this journal, resulting in a few fairly short entries. But that can be remedied at a later date, i spent this day in silent training, as i reflected upon recent events, I was more or less dragged along to be at my Masters side on Korriban, i tried to wriggle my way out of it, but it was pointless, the best idea i have had since i became an acolyte was to start donning a helmet, the same one that i found in the tomb of Ajunta Pall. And luckily, thanks to this helmet, no one could recognise me, thus i did not get apprehended or stopped by any vengeful Sith on my way to the Academy, Since becoming an acolyte my life as a neophyte of the dark side has taken a turn for the better, with more specialised training and access to more practical facilities for study i see myself elevated in power.
And power is something i will need a lot of, if i am to survive in the future, the Dominion may not kill failed acolytes intentionally but if the Rist assassins find me unprepared, i am done for. Dying early is no longer my greatest concern, but i will hardly be of much benefit to the Dominion (Or House Thul, for that matter) if i let myself get killed. Due to this, i felt as if knowing some defensive techniques would be of great benefit, and luckily my Master felt the same, i spent the rest of this day training with him in my new home. The session was to be one where my defensive capability with the blade would be enhanced by my understanding of the Force. I stood in front of a war droid of an unfamiliar design, it fired upon me with its arm mounted cannons, intent on inflicting harm, my task was to project a shield around my blade so that the energy of the bolt can be absorbed when it is blocked by the blade, thus leaving me unharmed.
In practice it was a bit more difficult than i made it sound, the droids firing pattern was unpredictable, and focusing on both my blade and the droids attacks was challenging, but progress was made nonetheless. Each hit i suffered would fuel my pain, which would lead to better protection against the droids barrage, and i left the session with the fundamental knowledge of the "Saber Absorb" technique. My master seems pleased with my progress thus far, and i can only hope that i will be able to meet his demands in the future. He is a Sith Lord, he is bound to find my weakness eventually.