The Ebon Hawk
|Chronological and political information|
Galactic War; Fallen Empire
Sith Empire; Knights of Korriban
"The future belongs to the Sith."
Darth Benthamic, born Rlusa'gath'ioshi, was a descendant of the ancient warlord Darth Vigor and a Sith Lord during the Galactic War, serving the Empire from a remarkably young age. Adopted by an undercover Republic family on the Sith planet of Ziost, Benthamic loyally served the Empire, embarking on numerous campaigns against their sworn enemies, the Jedi. He was an idealist who advocated for a more pragmatic Order that still remained true to the ideals of their forefathers.
He frequently feuded with his sibling and nemesis, the Jedi Knight Evaoshi.
Personality and Traits
Benthamic, or Ben as his friends called him, was a notoriously hard man to read, even for those close to him. He almost always stayed silent, and when he did speak, it was usually in short, enigmatic riddles that raised more questions than answers. Even in the most awkward situations, he jumped at any chance to preach the word of the Force, sometimes in a sincere attempt to convert skeptics to the Sith ideology and sometimes merely to keep his allies on their toes. His zeal regarding the mysteries of the Dark Side earned him a reputation as a crazed fanatic.
Despite being a Sith, Benthamic, when caught in a battle, would usually seek a pragmatic approach before attacking his foes outright. He was not a merciful man, however, and when given a mission he would fulfill it to the word.
He greatly respected his superiors and fellow Sith at all times, and had a tendency to approach hostile Jedi Knights amiably to throw them off. He constantly commended his peers for their valiant efforts, though when one had come up short, he did not hesitate to make their failings known. On one occasion, when on a mission to eliminate a Republic target, he threatened to kill a member of his strike team himself if they refused to face their fears and aid in the attack.
Skills and Abilities
Having been raised as the smallest child among five older brothers, Benthamic was a natural master at guile and stealth. These traits would be his primary advantages in battle until his graduation from the Sith Academy on Korriban, where he was trained to be a ruthless lightsaber duelist and an adept at combative Force uses. He took an immediate liking to dual-wielding once it was introduced to him by his master, Darth Arctis. In combat, he wielded one curved hilt lightsaber with a red crystal and one standard hilt with a purple crystal.
His combat style was both elegant and wild, drawing inspiration from almost all different lightsaber forms, namely Juyo, Shii-Cho, and Ataru. He constantly used his enemy's attacks against them, turning their savage blows into devastating counterattacks and exploiting their defensiveness by leaping overhead and slicing into their backs. He excelled at both single duels and open combat, though when outnumbered he ran the risk of being overwhelmed, unable to compensate for his disadvantages due to his relatively little muscle power. He was known for being incredibly adaptive, however, acclimating to any challenge that faced him and even adopting different lightsaber forms when necessary.
He usually preferred to keep most of his rage bottled up inside of him and to exploit the emotions of his foes, turning several fully trained Jedi Knights to the Dark Side with only devilishly charismatic verbal assaults and without lifting a finger on multiple occasions. If he could not prevent an outright battle, he would often verbally and mentally pester his enemies to the point of total rage in an attempt to off balance them. He was extremely confident in his ability to sway the mind of any foe, sometimes to the point of pure arrogance. For Benthamic's enemies, words were often just as lethal as the sting of his lightsaber.
Benthamic was described as a master of the blade, though he considered his lightsaber skills dismissive in comparison to his knowledge of the Force. Over the years, he became notorious as an adept investigator of the supernatural aspects of the Dark Side and was often called upon to interrogate willful prisoners. To this end, he was proficient with the mind probe skill, and was commonly seen using the Force to freeze his enemies in place with an arcane stasis technique. Despite his preference to settle conflicts unconventionally, he was no pushover in Force combat; conjuring Sith lightning was as simple as swinging his lightsaber for him, and he took a certain delight in overwhelming groups of enemies with devastating bolts and unnatural Force storms. For his perceived deep understanding in the Force's mysteries, he was often turned to by Force-blind individuals for guidance.
Dark rituals and arcane spells, the pillars of the lost art of Sith sorcery, were favored methods of Benthamic for tearing down his foes. Though he lacked the patience to hang back during battles to conjure up rituals, he often chained in simpler spells, such as Force Drain or mental manipulation, with his normal rotation of lightning and lightsaber attacks, provided he wasn't dual-wielding, in which case he would be wholly focused on bladework.
Telekinesis, specifically, was perhaps the aspect of the Force Benthamic was most practiced and proficient with. When angered or otherwise attuned to the Dark Side, he was infamous for telekinetically snapping the necks of his enemies on a moment's notice or immobilizing entire squads. He favoried Force Choke as a means of intimidation.
He detested blindly running into combat and always came to prepared to face any enemy. A common tactic of his was first engaging his target cautiously and without unleashing the full spectrum of his powers, studying their fighting style, quickly withdrawing, and eventually returning to face them with a cohesive plan of attack. He often employed stealth probe droids of his own design to aid him in combat, both to distract and eliminate unprepared targets.
Separated from his natural parents at a young age Erik was adopted by the Tuva family on Ziost and survived his daily fights with his larger brothers by training himself to be faster and deadlier than anyone else, but mostly deadlier. This was in part to defend his own well-being, though in truth he fostered his skills to defend his younger sister whom he feared needed his help to survive. When tensions grew to the breaking point and Erik was forced to kill one of his brothers out of self defense, his highly conservative patrons forced him out of his home, prompting him to adapt to street life.
Erik made a living by pickpocketing passing Sith Lords and Imperial troopers. who frequented the winding streets of Thule. He made a name for himself as a silent and unseen thief in the shadows, often using his strange innate talents to boost his agility and conceal his presence to his advantage. On one occasion, he stole a prominent Sith Lord's lightsaber and made off with it, prompting the Sith to give chase. The Sith caught Tuva, but instead of killing him on the spot for thievery, he ordered the boy be shipped off to Korriban Academy to be trained in the ways of the Dark Side, impressed by his natural abilities.
During his reluctant stay at the hostile Sith Academy, Erik learned a wide range of combat styles, taking a particular liking to the elegant Jar'Kai (or dual wielding) technique. However, he quickly realized the Academy was apparently no place for the faint-of-heart. He accepted that being fast and charismatic would not be enough to save him.
So Erik studied day and night in the quiet corners of the Academy, wherever he could find solitude. He listened in on exclusive Force training sessions usually reserved for the apprentices of Dark Councilors. Within a few days, Tuva had a firm grip on the art of telekinesis, and he was soon able to produce small bursts of lightning from his fingertips.
The top acolyte of the Academy at the time, Cenum, however, grew more spiteful of Erik by the day. A crimson Sith Pureblood, Cenum despised the human with every fiber in his being, convinced that only those of pure blood should even have a chance to become a Sith. Outraged that Erik still lived, he confronted him one day in the tombs to finish him off personally. He was quite shocked to realize that he had grossly underestimated the acolyte.
When the time came for Agathi to graduate the Academy, many eager Sith Lords attempted to claim him as their apprentice, but it was the unassuming Darth Meridian, a small, unexpectedly deadly female human who ultimately took him. A quiet but hyperactive woman, Meridian was quick to offer her apprentice praise but quicker to sharply criticize him, making a note of every mistake he made in his fighting technique.
The two Sith traveled far and wide, searching the vast galaxy for ancient knowledge and natural wonders. Meridian had an almost obsessive tendency to collect rare species of flora and study archaic Force powers. Though Erik did not posses much of the specific natural talent required to harness the full spectrum of Sith sorcery and alchemy, he excelled at practical applications of the Force, specifically mind probe and valor (a technique used to empower one's agility or strength, or that of another's).
Their adventures were cut short, however, shortly after Tuva was hesitantly proclaimed a Sith Lord by the Dark Council. Meridian was slain by the vindictive Jedi Master Nomen Karr, who accused her of war crimes against the Republic. In return, Erik murdered Karr's padawan, and though the vengeful Jedi could never amass the hard proof needed to prove his involvement in the killing, Karr had almost positively been drawn to the Dark Side by his actions.
The Dark Council deemed it necessary to fill the vacuum of power created in Meridian's absence, though its more extreme members vehemently disagreed that her replacement should be Tuva, claiming that there were better candidates - though in truth, they were aware of his true identity and couldn't stomach the thought of a peasant attaining such a rank. However, Marr vouched for the young human, and his authority was enough to sway them in his favor. Erik took the name Darth Benthamic and set out upon the galaxy, continuing his late master's legacy in a sense by scouring the unexplored regions of the galaxy in search of knowledge and power.
Eventually, Benthamic's involvement in the new war led him to uncover a plot on the Imperial occupied world of Kalga Bland to return it to Republic control. At the heart of the conspiracy, he discovered, was a young Jedi Knight, Evaoshi, aided by the likes of Jace Malcolm and other Republic icons. He pursued the Republic conspirators and their insurgent recruits relentlessly alongside a cadre of Imperials who continued to mine the Jedi's obscured past in an effort to use it against her.
Benthamic was taken aback to learn of young Evaoshi's true origins as an orphan from the planet Thule, the very same Imperial garrison world that he had been raised on. Immediately, he suspected the Jedi was his own sister whom he had all but forgotten about after decades of Sith conditioning. Darth Benthamic, after quelling the rebellion on Kalga Bland, hunted down Evaoshi once more, only to find that she herself was also on a quest to unearth the secrets of her past.
When the two siblings met once more on the volcanic world of Oricon, Benthamic expected her to be no match for his prowess in the Dark Side and even attempted to recruit her into the Empire's war machine as a valuable ally; much to his chagrin, however, Evaoshi's power had increased tenfold since they last met, and she was more than prepared for him. Still, his skill in the Force saved him from total defeat and the two walked away from the battle in a draw.
After parting ways with his sister, Benthamic returned to the war, becoming fast friends with the like-minded Imperial pilot Amelia Kall. The two kindred spirits made a formidable team, particularly during the Balmorran Revolution, where their brutal tactics resulted in the deaths of hundreds of insurgents. It was during this insurgency that the young Darth would truly earn his accelerated ascension within the Sith hiearchy within the eyes of both the upper echelons of the Empire and his contemporaries.
This increasing notoriety led to a strange invitation from a one Darth Jagger to attend a secret meeting on Dromund Kaas. Within a Kaas City stronghold, Benthamic was formally invited to join the elite Sith strike team of the Grand Imperial Order - a group shrouded in mystery that was responsible for countless Imperial victories since the first Galactic War. He joined the GIO and participated in a number of clandestine missions, often working undercover to ensure Sith victories whilst privately building his own power base of loyal officers and lower warriors.
Inner strife within the Order was quite apparent. As the Dark Council called into question their loyalty, high-ranking officers began to doubt the abilities of their leader, the Sith Sorcerer Kwagar. To save their reputation and for the sake of the Empire, many Sith within the GIO, including Jagger and Benthamic, began to conspire to overthrow Kwagar. Though their coup was successful, it still resulted in the inevitable dissolution of the strike team by order of Darth Decimus. Still, the Order remained loosely and unofficially affiliated with one another, their loyal members forming the clandestine Remnants of the Order.
As Benthamic's power and influence grew, he thought it increasingly prudent to find and train a Sith apprentice of his own to one day usurp him and carry on his legacy. During this endeavor, he meditated for hours at a time in search of a suitable candidate; it would be several weeks before he located the ideal apprentice, detecting their presence through a curious force anomaly on the planet of Korriban.
Benthamic traveled to Korriban and combed through the acolytes there before locating the human known as Jereak Stralam, a rising star in the Sith Academy after his well-documented victory over an ancient beast within the planet's labyrinthine burial tombs. This victory created ripples in the Dark Side felt by many Lords, including Darth Jagger, who sought to claim him as an apprentice as well.
Also vying to train Jereak was the recently ascended Darth Gorgos, a powerful member of the Dark Council. Though Benthamic would not hesitate to confront her in an honorable duel to the death, killing Gorgos personally would be a scandalous political move that would be perceived as too ambitious for his own good in the eyes of the Council. As such, he provided the means and encouragement to Gorgos' apprentice to usurp her himself; the Dark Councilor was found dead in their temple days later. Though Benthamic was suspected to be involved in the murder, Gorgos' apprentice quickly claimed responsibility and was subsequently attended to by the Dark Council.
By the time the gambit had come to fruition, however, Stralam had completed his trials on Korriban and was claimed by Darth Jagger. Benthamic was the only Lord to contest the claim, and the matter was brought before the Dark Council. The proposed solution was to initiate a Kaggath between the two Sith - an ancient duel that would pit all of their resources against each other that would end only with one of their deaths. Both declined the notion, citing their shared friendship. The dispute was privately settled, with Jagger formally claiming Jereak following an undocumented credit exchange.
Still, Benthamic secretly kept tabs on Stralam to track his progress. Spying on the apprentice's movements with stealth probe droids of his own design, he was outraged to learn that Jereak had rejected the path of the Dark Side, routinely sparing his opponents and relying on his considerable natural talent in the Force rather than refining his skills. Seeing this as a disgrace, Benthamic tracked Stralam down to the Wilds of Dromund Kaas in hopes of steering him in the right direction, by force if necessary.
Jereak spurned the Darth's advice, calling into question his authority and insisting that he was free to make his own choices. Benthamic rebuked the apprentice for his naivety, stating that dissidence was the easiest way to wind up dead in the Empire, especially among aspiring Sith. As Stralam attempted to leave, Benthamic drew his lightsaber and attacked.
Though Jereak's natural attunement was unprecedented among untrained wielders of the Force, the apprentice was ultimately no match for the Sith Lord, who battered him with physical strikes and sapped his strength with Sith sorcery, making him clumsy and lethargic. In one last gambit to escape, Stralam uprooted a tree with the Force and cast it at Benthamic, who shattered its bark; the Sith shielded himself with Dark energy, though the splinters incapacitated Jereak. Even brought to the brink of death, the apprentice refused to yield, prompting Benthamic to strike him down. Darth Jagger expressed his severe disapproval, even threatening to invoke a Kaggath, though nothing further came of the affair. From then on, Darth Benthamic abandoned his efforts to train an apprentice, determined to forge a legacy singlehandedly.
As the war progressed and it became apparent the Empire was on the losing side, betrayal in the Sith hierarchy was ubiquitous. Most surprisingly, Darth Malgus himself, one of the finest Sith Warriors of the time, rebelled against the Emperor in the midst of the battle for Ilum and founded the so-called New Empire, in turn seducing thousands of Imperials to his side.
Benthamic and two of his allies, Darth Jagger and Lieutenant Amelia Kall of the Imperial Navy, were personally called upon by Malgus to abandon their titles and swear their allegiance to the New Empire. All three vehemently opposed the offer for their own reasons (Benthamic notoriously detested traitors) but nonetheless saw justification for Malgus' frustration with the current Empire, which was stagnated by regressive Sith infighting and a xenophobic and undersupplied military. After Darth Malgus' gambit inevitably fell thanks in part to the trio's interference in his plans, the three Imperials formed a pact unofficially named the Knights of Korriban, drawing inspiration from the progressive yet still Dark Side-oriented ideals of the failed New Empire. The bounty hunter Aphelion was also initiated into the Knights after proving himself.
The four Knights united once more at the request of Benthamic some time later in pursuit of a forgotten Sith artifact called the Charybdis, a crimson red lightsaber crystal that reportedly dated back to the age of Tulak Hord. The crystal itself was imbued with ancient power that transcended far beyond simple sorcery, writhing with the essence of the Dark Side itself. They were alerted to its existence via an intercepted holotransmission to an important Republic official: Jedi Master Evaoshi.
After a number of small scuffles between the Knights of Korriban and Evaoshi's strike team, the crystal hunters eventually met in the outskirts of the Imperial planet Ziost. Within the obsidian walls of the Sith'ari Adas' fortress, the Charybdis was rumored to lie in dormancy surrounded by a maze of deadly traps. Using the half of the map they had retrieved, the Knights maneuvered their way through the traps and confronted Evaoshi's team head on in the center of the fortress.
Covered by his team, Benthamic slipped into the shadows and made a break for Adas' burial chamber, in which, among other artifacts, the Charybdis was said to be hidden. Within, Benthamic discovered both the crystal and his enraged sister Evaoshi. After clumsily replacing his own lightsaber's crystal with the Charybdis, Benthamic engaged his sibling for one last battle.
The power the Darth was able to wield with the Charybdis was quite formidable, even causing the fortress to begin to collapse; yet Evaoshi had immersed herself in the Dark Side since their last meeting and endured through her hatred alone. In her rage, she was able to destroy his brother's lightsaber and the ancient crystal within, forcing him to resort to his purple curved hilt blade. Benthamic lamented that he regretted the two had never known each other and recalled how he had sacrificed his own well-being to protect her from their other brothers. Seeing as how Evaoshi had no memory of their relationship before their first meeting on Kalga Bland, Benthamic hesitantly slew his sister with a quick cut.
With their spirit crushed, Evaoshi's allies fled the fortress and, while, attempting to flee Ziost, were shot out of the sky by Imperial forces who had been alerted to their presence. Meanwhile, the battered Knights left Ziost empty-handed. When Amelia Kall was ousted as a traitorous Revanite, the Knights were effectively disbanded, though Benthamic and Jagger remained in close contact for the remainder of the war.
Times were dire for the Empire. The Galactic War was nearing an end, as it seemed, given repeated defeats for Imperial forces, each of exponentially larger impact. Benthamic and Jagger became champions of the dying Sith Empire, elevated to positions of great authority and respect due to their continued service to the Dark Council in spite of everything.
When it seemed the Empire was on the brink of defeat, however, a curious happening promoted the Sith to hesitantly ally with the Republic. Revan, a long-dead Sith Lord and former Jedi, had seemingly returned from the dead, intent on restoring his arch enemy, the Sith Emperor, to physical form so he may be permanently destroyed.
Jagger and Benthamic were part of the coalition that was sent to Yavin IV to stop Revan, and though the warrior's plans were thwarted, the crazed Sith Emperor, true name Vitiate, was still in part revived from his deep sleep, free to roam the galaxy as an incorporeal spirit. Weeks later, Vitiate's spirit appeared on the Imperial planet of Ziost and began to wreak havoc on Sith forces there, prompting Republic intervention.
As the two Sith led a counterattack in Ziost's orbit against invading Republicans, Vitiate set his plan into motion, using a devastating sorcery ritual to possess the two armies on the planet and drain their essence to empower himself. The planet was annihilated within a day by the resurgent Emperor, who consumed all life on the planet despite both sides' best efforts to stop him.
Benthamic was one of the many Sith called upon by the Dark Council to theorize methods through which to permanently destroy the seemingly immortal Sith Emperor. The Empire's greatest alchemists conspired for weeks in an effort to devise a clever ritual to use Vitiate's consumed essences against him, though their work was cast aside as soon as a dangerous new threat invaded the galaxy.
The Eternal Empire of Zakuul emerged from Wild Space and took both the Empire and Republic by storm, their endless armies led by twin conquerors of considerable strength in the Force. Unbeknownst to most of the galaxy, Zakuul's emperor, Valkorion, was simply another host body inhabited by Vitiate, another tool for the domination of his enemies.
As the Galactic War was brought to an abrupt end with both the Empire and Republic surrendering to Zakuul, Benthamic's mind was set on another prize. He was no longer concerned with defending the Empire, only hunting down an old ally-turned-foe that he had presumed to be dead long ago: Amelia Kall, the pilot who was ousted as a Revanite. Believing Revan's cult to be the catalysts for the awakening of Vitiate and subsequent invasion of Zakuul, Benthamic was even further enraged by her betrayal and intent on exacting his revenge.
Though it serves as the basis for his canonical story, this section should not be taken seriously compared to its official counterpart and merely exists for archival purposes.
An Aspiring Young Sith
At a young age, Agathi, short for his Chiss name of Rlusa'gath'ioshi, learned to outwit his older brothers on the occupied Sith planet of Thule by tricking them into fighting each other, and, when necessary, using his superior speed and agility to his advantage to smash windpipes and crack bones with ease. After being forced out of his own home by his parents, he quickly adopted the life of a street thug, pickpocketing unsuspecting Sith Lords as they passed by without ever being detected.
Over time, Agathi nurtured his ability to be both charming and roguish. His ability to conceal himself with the Force (a concept he did not fully understand at the time) eventually led to his discovery by a powerful Sith Lord, thus beginning his lifelong servitude to the Empire.
It was his natural identity as a roguelike and promiscuous thief in the shadows that earned him the moniker of Actias, deriving from the Chiss word for renegade, a term many local Thule officials used to describe the masked bandit that had been running rampant in the planet's most populous cities with the authorities never managing to catch up with him. Agathi found great amusement in the alias and adopted it as his own name out of rebellion to his fiercely traditional Chiss family. After pickpocketing a Sith Lord's lightsaber and promptly being caught, the mysterious Dark Lord showed the boy mercy, sensing his deep connection to the Force. Escaping punishment, Actias left Thule on an Imperial shuttle bound for Korriban, where he would learn the ways of the Sith or die trying.
During his reluctant stay at the Korriban Academy, Actias excelled at the fine arts of lightsaber combat. Though initially starting at the very bottom of the acolyte food chain, he quickly asserted himself as one of the greatest students in the academy, demanding both respect and fear from all of his fellows. With his skills of guile and charisma, Actias soon gained the undying support of over half the Academy's students while his rival, Cenum, a Sith Pureblood, controlled the other half.
The two factions engaged in open war with each other for several months behind the backs of the Overseers of the Academy, all of whom were none the wiser. When the time came for the deciding battle in the acolyte war, Actas showed up in the tombs completely alone while Cenum arrived with five of his elite "honor guard." As it happened, Actias had purposefully instructed his followers to stay behind and allow him to finish Cenum and his goons off by his lonesome.
Armed with only a training saber and his raw power in the Dark Side, Actias slew all six of them, particularly savoring the slow and agonizing death of his then archenemy. He returned from the Tomb of Marka Ragnos a hero, and was even praised by some of the top Overseers at the Academy, all of them awed by his handiwork. Within days, several Dark Council members had their eye on Actias, an aspiring acolyte who had proven himself to be one of the greatest in the century.
Acolyte No More
Eventually, it was the Dark Councilor Darth Arctis of the Sphere of Ancient Knowledge that claimed Actias as his apprentice, to the dismay of dozens of other highly respected Sith Lords. A fellow dark-skinned Chiss from the planet Thule, Darth Arctis was the most obvious choice, and for that, Actias gladly accepted his offer, ecstatic to sunder the chains of the Academy and ascend to full Sithhood.
During his time as Arctis' apprentice, the two Sith traveled across the Galaxy in search of countless lost artifacts, eventually stumbling across an ancient mystery involving the famed Muur Talisman. A Sith jewel enchanted with great dark power, it had been sought after by both Jedi and Sith for centuries after its disappearance centuries earlier during the reign of Naga Sadow. Arctis concluded that the Force simply desired that the Talisman not be found; that is, until the master-apprentice duo stumbled across a so called "Star Map," on Hoth that depicted the hyperspace travel routes of the Sith Lord Karness Muur, the Talisman's original owner.
Arctis and Actias followed the map for years, traveling far and wide from the Deep Core near the treacherous Galactic Center to the uncharted void of Wild Space. The duo discovered hints of Muur's travels in dozens of planets, some more apparent than others. On numerous occasions, the duo's plans were foiled by the insufferable Jedi Master Nomen Karr, a Jedi who sought to find the Talisman and present it to the Jedi Council for evaluation.
Engaging in countless illegal skirmishes across the Galaxy in a time of exceedingly fragile peace, Arctis and Actias both nearly started the second Galactic War on numerous occasions during their feud with Karr and the rest of the Jedi Council. They avoided permanent damage, but their exploits put them on high alert with the rest of the Dark Council, prompting Arctis' reputation to be endangered.
In a last ditch effort to find the Muur Talisman, Arctis and Actias traveled to Taris, the last known destination of the Sith Lord Karness. Putting his skills in the Force to a test, Arctis instructed Actias to use all of his power to pinpoint the exact location of their lost artifact. After several hours of meditation, Actias received a rough vision of the talisman's location, deep within the murky swamps of the ruined planet.
Arctis and Actias led an Imperial excavation team to the heart of unexplored Taris land, digging up a massive trench over the span of several days in an attempt to find the talisman. Just before pulling out, the Muur Talisman revealed itself in the cursed dirt, prompting Arctis to quickly grab it and examine its power.
Instantly, the indigenous Rakghouls around the area began to fall into a trance-like state, following every one of Arctis' mental orders without question. By the time Nomen Karr and his Republic strike team caught wind of the excavation and made their way to the Imperial encampment, Arctis had gone mad with his newfound power, now commanding an army of fanatic Rakghoul mind slaves. Terrified, Karr and his team attempted to flee in vain. The Jedi Master watched as Arctis transmuted his strike team one by one into horrifying Rakghoul mutants, hungry for human blood. Karr escaped back to Coruscant, but only barely.
Actias was both fascinated and terrified with his master's newfound power, fearing that it could one day become harmful. Indeed, before Arctis could return to Imperial Base Camp on Taris, he had fallen deathly ill to an undiscovered illness dubbed "The Rakghoul Plague." Within days, the Plague had spread throughout the various Imperial encampments and eventually wormed its way into Republic territory. Shuttles desperately attempted to flee the planet; those who succeeded only brought the sickness back with them to their homes. A Rakghoul Plague epidemic had been thrust into motion, only the richest nobles being able to afford preventative vaccination.
Arctis died a power crazed Rakghoul-Chiss hybrid monster, leaving his apprentice the only thing left to his name - the Muur Talisman. Not seeking to follow in his master's footsteps, Actias hid the talisman thousands of miles away from the nearest sentient settlement on Taris, sealing it under a thousand feet of molten rock. The talisman wouldn't be discovered again for thousands of years, long after his death, but the Rakghoul Plague continued to ravage the Galaxy over the years, sending both the Republic and the Empire into disarray.
With the Sphere of Ancient Knowledge now vacant, the Dark Council was eager to find a suitable replacement for Darth Arctis. With the passing of his master, the Sith Emperor's Hand deemed Actias worthy to be promoted to the rank of Sith Lord, thereby permanently freeing him from the chains of any future Sith masters. With a rigorous contest between dozens of Sith Lords now in place to assume control over the Sphere of Ancient Knowledge, Actias was quick to stake his claim as well.
While his powerbase within the Empire was growing and he had many Sith allies now in place, many Dark Council members and various Sith Lords opposed Actias' promotion, citing the ideal that only Darths should be able to ascend to a seat on the Council, though it was patently clear this argument was a facade, as most Councilors believed no alien could achieve such a position. His most vocal rival was Darth Thanaton, a longtime rival of Darth Arctis and a fellow contestant in the race for power.
After weeks of deliberation, it was decided that Darth Thanaton was the most suitable replacement for Arctis. Out of respect, Thanaton offered to make Actias his apprentice, noting his undeniable power in the Dark Side; however, it was not to be, as while he still had the option to take on a master, the newest Sith Lord in the Empire's arsenal elected to instead take the Sith Emperor's executive offer to be stationed wherever he pleased. It was a rare honor bestowed only to the Emperor's most promising aspiring Lords, and one not taken lightly. From then on, Thanaton sought to sabotage Actias' exploits across the Galaxy; he justified it as revenge, though in truth he was extremely bitter to have missed out on one of the greatest potential apprentices in the Empire.
The Sith Lord
Actias spent the next two years as a freelance Sith Lord. His first act was to seek out and destroy Nomen Karr's system of apprentices, seeking revenge for the years of meddling with he and his master's plans. Sure enough, Actias quickly tracked Karr down to planet Hutta. Unbeknownst to the Sith Lord, another Imperial by the name of Darth Baras had also arrived on Hutta to destroy the Jedi mere hours earlier.
The two sensed their shared purpose on the world and sought each other out, quickly establishing a temporary alliance and dedicating both of their powerbases to locating Karr. As it happened, Baras had spent decades building an intricate network of spies, infiltrating the inner workings of both the Republic and the Empire. Karr spent years attempting to bring Baras' schemes to light before the Jedi Council, though he never gained enough evidence to solidly incriminate him.
Just like Actias, Baras tracked Karr to Hutta to silence him permanently. With both of them backed by a squadron of Sith agents, they tracked Karr's location within a matter of days with the combined power of Force tracing and intelligence. The two of them traveled to a small structure built into the side of a mountain several miles from Jiguuna, finding not only their Jedi target but also an ambush party of several Havoc Squad troopers.
Karr intentionally left his trace for both Baras and Actias, hoping to lead them here and eliminate both of his rivals at once. After a difficult skirmish, the two Sith defeated the Havoc Squad troopers and were left to address the Jedi himself. Their blades locked together and Baras was almost instantly disarmed and incapacitated, allowing Karr to steal his lightsaber and stow it away.
With Actias left to address the Jedi on his own, he elected to combine both defensive and offensive tactics and adopted the Makashi form to deal with his opponent. The duel dragged on for ten minutes with neither side gaining an advantage; Actias' steel defense endured while Karr gradually became more angry as time passed, inching closer to the Dark Side with every blocked strike.
The Sith began to verbally attack the Jedi, hoping to exploit his obvious rage and use it to imbalance him. Sure enough, the Jedi began to fully embrace his emotions, causing him to wildly throw himself at Actias. Though he was now unbalanced, he was a force to be reckoned with, sparing Actias no moments of rest. As it became apparent that Havoc reinforcements were on their way, Actias revived Baras and the two of them evacuated from Hutta with their Sith allies. Actias' feud with Karr ended there, but Baras would dedicate the remainder of his life to eradicating his Jedi nemesis once and for all.
Above: Actias some time before joining the GIO.
The Grand Imperial Order
Several months after his skirmish with Nomen Karr, Actias was contacted by an obscure ally by the name of Darth Jagger. Jagger too was a former partner of Darth Baras, though he grew to dislike his reckless zeal over time and abdicated his position. The two met on the Imperial Fleet, and after a few moments of conversation, Jagger invited Actias into the "Grand Imperial Order," a legendary branch of the Imperial military. Though the Order had no formal authority within the greater Empire, its highly skilled members routinely led Imperial troops into war and often functioned as a last-resort task force. Currently without an Imperial subgroup to call home, Actias obliged.
Jagger brought Actias to the Order's home on Kaas City and quickly introduced him to its ruling council, the so-called Elders. Actias quickly gathered that there four primary figures in power: the three brothers Aqueron, Morderis, and Dieta, and a mysterious Emperor by the name of Kwagar. He also learned that there was a clear dissent in the ranks; for the past few weeks, Kwagar had been severely neglecting to lead the Order, and the three brothers had nothing but criticism for him.
Actias ascended through the ranks of the Order quickly. Though he wouldn't meet Kwagar for months, one brother would soon grow to question Actias' methods. Morderis, like him, was an experienced Sith Marauder, perhaps even more skilled in the art of dueling. Morderis made note of Actias' sarcastic and conniving nature, and thus sought to inhibit his ascension for several months.
The two would feud to no end until they were both forced to turn their attentions to a mysterious new member of the order by the name of Paarthur. A witch garbed in a red cloak who claimed she was the last "Nightsister," Paarthur impressed all the senior members of the Order and took a particular interest in Actias above all others. She eventually convinced him to join her in a ritual of "self-discovery," in which a host of possible hidden powers may be revealed.
Actias discovered that night his natural affinity with the dead. Apparitions came to him one-by-one, whispering to him strange secrets of the Dark Side and the deeper nature of his power. Fascinated, Paarther revealed her true intentions to Actias. Several years ago, she had sensed a presence in the outer reaches of the Galaxy; an ancient dark spirit rapidly growing in power who, if left unchecked, could drastically alter the future of both the Empire and the Republic.
For several weeks, Actias attempted to use his power to communicate with the spirit. Alongside Paarthur, Actias revealed the nature of their recent studies to the Order. Cautious but curious, they allowed them to continue their endeavours - eventually, they were involved in the game-changing ritual in which the identity of the spirit was revealed to them.
The entity revealed itself to the the Son, the supposed physical manifestation of the Dark Side. Intrigued by Actias' unorthodox powers, the entity expressed its interest in seizing control of his body to use as his new host. Actias was able to drive the Son out of his immediate consciousness with the help of the three brothers and Paarthur, though the entity's spirit still remained in the deepest depths of his mind, slowly growing in strength and power like a spiritual plague. If not expelled from his body, the Son could very well permanently claim Actias.
Paarthur was quick to pose a possible solution. She explained that there was an abandoned spire in the frozen wastes of Hoth constructed thousands of years ago by an ancient race of Force-wielders. If her suspicions were correct, the spire served as a place of spiritual healing and cleansing of the mind. Seeing no other options, she and Actias traveled to Hoth, accompanied by Aqueron, Morderis, and Dieta "just in case."
The five of them climbed to the top of the spire and began the ritual. It was clear the Son wouldn't give up without a fight; the dark entity immediately awoke within Actias' mind and seized control of the vessel. Actias, possessed by the Son, lashed out at the group before him.
Actias stuck down Paarthur with ease, then quickly disabled Morderis. Dieta posed a more lengthy threat, though not even his mastery of the Dualsaber could protect him from Actias' onslaught and he was promptly disarmed and brought to his knees. Aqueron rushed to his brother's aid, just barely saving him from a killing blow.
The two last standing combatants fought viciously, but even in his rage, Actias could not overwhelm Aqueron's steadfast defense. He was drained to the point of opening himself up to being disarmed, an opportunity Aqueron immediately took. Weaponless and quickly losing power, Actias put up one last stand against his attackers, though the rejuvenated Dieta unleashed a wave of Force power that pushed him over the edge of the spire and into the snow below.
The four of them rushed back down the surface and found the miraculously living Actias. It seemed the dark spirit had been vanquished, though at a great cost: Actias' memories has been completely wiped.
Actias was accepted back into the Order and was retrained by Morderis. Seeking to keep his past from him, the Elders of the Order convinced him his name was Benthamic, a name he would adopt as his new Sith moniker. To Ben's frustration, none of the members of the Order, not even Paarthur, would tell him exactly who he was or how he lost his memory. Despite this, Benthamic still possessed his considerable innate Force capabilities, and in time his powers perfectly mirrored that of his old self's.
Paarthur was the most distant of them all, constantly evading his attempts to probe her for details of his past. Eventually, she disappeared completely. With her gone and none of the others willing to say a word about who he really was, his future seemed grim.
In time, Aqueron expressed his interest in permanently removing Kwagar from leadership, overwhelmingly tired of his inactivity. Aqueron, trusting Benthamic's skills, included him in his schemes along with his two brothers. Preparing for a great secession for several weeks, the four of them, backed by approximately half of the entire Order, confronted Kwagar in his Dromund Kaas throne room.
Kwagar seized the initial advantage, unleashing all of his power at once to blast his opponents away. However, it was clear his months of inactivity had dulled his skills. He had expended all of his energy in a single attack and was now utterly defenseless. Rather than submitting to defeat, Kwagar threw himself out of the window, plummeting to the depths of the city below. His body was never found.
With Kwagar out of the picture, Aqueron seized control of the Order, encouraging the others to either join the fold or leave. With the new Order established, Aqueron elevated Benthamic to the rank of Elder, recognizing that he was not only a great warrior, but deeply cared for his allies despite his ignorance of what they had truly done.
While meditating in his quarters aboard the Order's flagship, Benthamic felt a tremor in the Force emanating from the Sith homeworld of Korriban. Benthamic traveled there in his personal starship and discovered the source of the disturbance; the ancient Beast of Marka Ragnos, the guardian of the Sith Lord's cursed tomb, had been slain by a newly initiated acolyte from Ziost. Benthamic contacted the acolyte, apparently named Jereak Stralam, in secret, commending him for his considerable talent in the Force.
Benthamic offered Stralam membership in the Order, to which he agreed. The acolyte finished his training on Korriban and was promptly made the apprentice of Darth Jagger. Curious of his growing abilities, Benthamic kept tabs on Stralam through a complicated network of stealth probe droids that tracked the apprentice's every move and reported to the Sith Lord daily.
Benthamic was deeply troubled to learn that the apprentice had greatly strayed from the traditional Sith path, sparing unworthy enemies left and right and blatantly overlooking opportunities to excel above the others. When Jagger sent Stralam on a mission to Dromund Kaas, Benthamic decided to take matters into his own hands and confront the apprentice in the secluded Wilds.
The Sith threatened Stralam, warning him to assimilate or die a disgrace. The apprentice foolishly refused, prompting Benthamic to attack him. Though Stralam put up a surprisingly good fight, he was ultimately no match for the much more experienced Sith Lord. Benthamic offered him mercy, promising him that if he matured beyond his idealistic ways, his life would be spared and he would be accepted back into the folds of the Order. The stubborn apprentice refused, forcing Benthamic to slay him where he stood. Though Jagger was initially troubled by Benthamic's interference, the matter was quickly forgotten.
Benthamic spent the next few months scouring the Galaxy for hidden artifacts of Dark Side power as an Elder of the Order, but instead of discovering new power, he began to receive strange visions of another life. He concluded that remnants of his past were now returning to him in scattered bits and pieces. After many days of meditation, he had fully unlocked the secrets of his past and was now sorely aware of the dishonor his fellows had commited.
No longer seeing his fellow Elders as trusted friends but as deceitful vipers, Benthamic left the Order in search of answers. With his powers effectively doubled after experiencing two lives, he was confident he'd be able to find what he was looking for. In due time, Benthamic was proclaimed a Darth by the Dark Council on the authority of the Sith Emperor, after which he took to the galaxy in search of answers.
The Rise of Benthamic
Searching far and wide across the Galaxy for the source of a strange call from the Force, Benthamic was eventually drawn to the planet Scipio. An icy planet host to a dying warrior culture, Benthamic located the source of the disturbance - as it happened, the call emanated from a Muun Sith Lord named Darth Rectivus. In truth, Rectivus had once been an apprentice of Benthamic's former master, Darth Arctis, and was drawn to Scipio to continue Arctis' unfinished project involving a powerful Force-sensitive ore.
Rectivus caught wind of Benthamic's rising power and hoped he would be the last game piece in an galaxy-spanning game of sabacc. Seeing promise in Arctis' concepts, the Sith Lord spent many years pinpointing the exact locations of the supposed Forceful ores and tracked them to somewhere on the planet Scipio. However, due to his master's disdain for him, Rectivus was never able to uncover the secret of how to best excavate the precious ores without destroying them in the process. Seeking to remedy the situation, Rectivus called out to Benthamic from across the galaxy.
As it happened, Benthamic had been privy to Arctis' plan to harvest the ores and refine them into valuable materials for lightsaber forging and had a basic knowledge of the theoretical excavating process. The two Sith brokered a deal and, seeing each other as potentially valuable business partners down the road, subsequently founded the Valencia Mining Company and set about ridding Scipio of its primitive inhabitants so that they could tap into its rich natural resource deposits without interruption.
Within a year, mining operations for the Forceful ores were in full swing and the profits grew more handsome by the day. Soon, Valencia Mining Company's influence spanned multiple Outer Rim systems and employed thousands of beings, ranging from lowly mining droid operators to wealthy trade negotiators. Rectivus was no longer concerned with the Forceful ores, instead setting his sights on drastically expanding his ever-growing corporate empire. Satisfied with what he had gained, Benthamic gave Rectivus the position of Magister of the company and left to once again pursue his own goals - alone. Rectivus gladly accepted and soon rebranded the company as the first Intergalactic Banking Clan, graciously letting Benthamic retain a small share in the bank's profits.
The Ancient Threat
Though he had not mentioned his distress to his partner Rectivus while on Scipio, something began to feel very wrong in the last few months of his time there. Taking it as an omen from the Force, Benthamic withdrew to his hidden base of operations on the ancient world of Bogo Rai, a former Sith temple planet that had long since been abandoned for unknown reasons. Lying at the farthest reach of the Unknown Regions and close the the very edge of the galaxy itself, Bogo Rai reeked of the Dark Side and thus made a perfect home for him.
While there, Benthamic began to sense a familiar yet strange presence that had been following him for quite some time. During meditation, the spirit of a long-dead Sith Lord appeared before him, declaring that he wished him no harm "unless he brought it upon himself." Quickly discovering that he could not harm him with his lightsaber, Benthamic inquired as to his identity and why he had sought him out.
The Sith spirit revealed itself as Benthamic's long-dead ancestor and confessed not only to have been closely watching him for many years, but also that he bore a warning. Cryptic in his words, the spirit warned him of an ancient threat rising and commanded him to come to the Sith burial moon of Yavin IV.
A world that had been infested with the Dark Side practically since the dawn of the Sith much like Bogo Rai, Benthamic had visited Yavin IV once in the past during a mission for Darth Arctis and swore he would never return; however, his curiosity overcame him, and after a short hyperspace jump to Imperial space, Benthamic found himself on the moon's graveyard-like surface once again.
Traveling deep into the forest, it was not long before the Sith spirit revealed itself once more to Benthamic. Introducing itself as Darth Magril, the apparition guided his many times great grandson through the savage jungle of Yavin IV, refusing to answer any questions until the two reached a dark cave that emanated a sinister darkness that felt older and stronger than anything Benthamic had felt before.
"Grim shadows of the past are awakening. Ancient forces of infinite destruction that predate the Empire as you know it now live and breathe once more."
Cautiously, Benthamic entered the cave, a single lightsaber drawn to illuminate its inky black interior. Once inside, he began to experience strange visions - more real than simple dreams and as vivid as nightmares. Several moments in time were displayed to him, including Darth Magril's initiation to the Sith and the events leading up to his proclamation as a Lord.
One vision showed Magril conferring with what Benthamic assumed was the Sith Emperor himself; the two were discussing their eventual return to the galaxy after their centuries-long exodus following the dreaded Sith holocaust. The Emperor appeared content with remaining hidden for much longer, but Magril was more impatient, beseeching him that the Sith reveal themselves once more and crush their eternal enemies, the Jedi, once and for all.
The vision showed Magril begin to doubt the Emperor's power, as the Sith Lord began to wonder if he was so reluctant to strike back due to his lack of strength. Almost giggling to himself by Magril's apparent ignorance, the Emperor brought the Sith Lord to a strange planet deep in Wild Space that felt completely disconnected from the Force itself, as if both the Dark and the Light had been ripped from its very core.
The Emperor explained that the world was called Nathema, and that centuries earlier it was he world he called his home. He recounted several short tales of his young life for some time, explaining how he'd overthrown his tyrannical Sith Lord father at the age of 13 and conquered the entire planet before the end of his teenage years. Magril was infatuated with the tales, but struggled to understand one thing: what had happened to this world that now rendered it gray and lifeless?
Suddenly, the vision's basis in time shifted, now depicting a young hooded Emperor standing on top of a massive mountain before thousands of Sith Lords gathered at its base. It was the very same planet he had seen moments before, but different - instead of gray and desolate, Nathema was teeming with the Force and covered in a thick layer of savannah, much like Benthamic's homeworld of Thule.
The Emperor controlled the ritual for several moments, commanding the Sith Lords before him to sway back and forth in concert and utter strange incantations in ancient Sith tongue. Suddenly, a flash of light came from the Emperor's position atop the mountain, and in seconds all of the Sith Lords gathered before him turned to ashes... along with every other living thing on the planet.
The vision abruptly ended, with the Emperor's ground-shaking laughter still resonating in Benthamic's ears for seveal seconds.
Darth Magril reformed before his ancestor, solemnly explaining what he'd witnessed. The Emperor had conducted a ritual more powerful than any being had ever performed, and now, according to Magril, intended to conduct the same ritual on a galactic scale.
Warning Benthamic that time was running out, Magril faded out of existence, his life essence returning to the Netherworld of the Force, never to manifest once more in the living world.
The Blackstar Society
Concerned not just for the future of the Sith, but the galaxy itself, Benthamic withdrew to the Imperial capital of Dromund Kaas in search of answers. If the Dark Council had known of the Emperor's plans all along, he would have no choice but to reveal them. On the other hand, if anyone within the Emperor's inner circle knew his true intentions, Benthamic doubted anyone would follow him. Still, considering his incomparable power, perhaps there were some in the galaxy who would stand by him no matter the consequences.
Benthamic, using his authority as a Lord of the Sith, traveled to the Sith Sanctum, which sat at the very center of Kaas City. A massive spire that served as a testament not only of the power of the Sith, but as a reminder of the Empire's endless reach, the Sanctum had stood for hundreds of years and supposedly served as the base of operations for the Emperor before he withdrew to an unknown location. If there were answers to be found, Benthamic was convinced they were here.
Sneaking through the dark halls of the Sanctum under the cover of the Dark Side, Benthamic infiltrated the stronghold's central library, which was technically property of the Dark Councilor Darth Nox; though he was intrigued by tales of Nox's amazing powers in the Force, he was not concerned about running into her in the bowels of the library. Nox had a reputation of scouring the galaxy, bouncing from place to place in search of knowledge much like Benthamic.
After hours of searching, Benthamic located a file on the long-dead Dark Councilor Darth Zavakon. Nox's predecessor three times over, Zavakon was a member of one of the first generations of the Dark Council, placed in control of the mysterious Sphere of Ancient Knowledge.
As it happened, Zavakon was one of the few beings in recent recorded history to ever come in direct contact with the Emperor. According to the file, the once sane and wise Zavakon had been driven mad by his meeting with the Sith Emperor, perhaps due to his immense power in the Dark Side. However, Benthamic sensed that Zavakon had not been driven mad at all - he had learned of the Emperor's true plans and simply tried to warn his contemporaries before it was too late and was thus branded a lunatic. He was last seen fleeing to the planet Zosha.
A remote planet, Zosha sat far away from any civillized societies and was firmly within the boundaries of Wild Space. Flanked by three small sun-sized black holes, the planet proved difficult to directly jump to in hyperspace, and thus much of Benthamic's journey was spent within the confines of "realspace." After careful planning and several calculated hyperspace jumps, the Sith Lord arrived in Zosha's orbit to find that, despite its environmental beauty, there was very little life there apart from the thriving plant community.
However, Benthamic quickly realized that he was being followed since he made planetfall. Several hooded figures armed with lightsabers and evidently strong in the Force leapt from the shadows and ordered the Sith to follow them to their hidden mountain base. Intrigued, Benthamic willingly surrendered to them, though not without convincing them to let him keep his lightsaber on his person.
After several attempts to prove them, one cultist revealed their identity as the so-called Blackstar Society, the loyal subjects of an immortal Sith Lord. When he asked asked exactly who the Sith Lord was, Benthamic was more than pleased to hear the name Zavakon.
Soon, they arrived at the Society's hideout, and Benthamic was escorted to their Supreme Leader's throne room. Zavakon immediately sensed Benthamic's affinity with the Force, particularly its Dark Side, and ordered his followers to release his restraints and "make him comfortable. He is our guest, after all."
Following several minutes of pleasantries, Zavakon finally gave in and explained what drove him to flee the known galaxy. Benthamic's suspicions were correct: the Emperor had divulged his plans with Zavakon, thinking him a worthy servant, and was bound to be quite surprised when he discovered that he had fled following their meeting.
Benthamic pressed further, beseeching Zavakon to reveal what he'd been looking for all the way out in Wild Space. But Zavakon simply sighed with forlorn, remarking that Benthamic had not been the first being to come looking for answers as to the Emperor's plans. Without warning, a cackling Zavakon rose from his seat and began to emanate an ancient terror, identical to the aura that Benthamic had touched mere days earlier on Yavin IV.
Zavakon's words were no longer his own, his speech now consisting of perhaps thousands of voices that produced an ungodly echo with immeasurable weight. Inviting Benthamic to try to defend himself, the possessed Zavakon lashed out with an ancient lightsaber and the full extent of his Force powers.
Benthamic sensed that these strange powers, like his speech, belonged not him but some unseen outside force. However, the possessed Zavakon was clumsy and uncoordinated, as if his true self was still somehow resisting the mental invasion. Thanks to this, Benthamic was able to narrowly defeat the puppet, which exploded in a flurry of purple energy the moment his lightsaber met its exposed chest.
Zavakon, once again of sound mind and in his dying breaths, pleaded that Benthamic finish what he started and guide the Blackstar Society to ultimate victory against the resurgent Sith Emperor. When asked how this could be achieved, Zavakon simply uttered a name: Zakuul. Fearful that the Emperor would possess him once more, Zavakon impaled himself with his lightsaber.
Several senior members of the Society flooded into the chamber, initially enraged. However, once they realized what had occured, they quickly dropped to their knees praised Benthamic, whom they hailed as their new Supreme Leader. Informing Benthamic that they had long planned for this day, the Society's master prophet told the new Leader that he would find what he was looking for in the Rishi Maze, a companion satellite of the galaxy that sat beyond any official charts.
After months of preparation, Benthamic, now Supreme Leader of the Society, prepared the 100 most capable warriors within Blackstar and organized an expedition into the Rishi Maze to find the Sith Emperor. Seeking extra assistance, Benthamic also called upon a small army of trusted Sith Lords and Jedi Knights whom he believed could be useful in the excursion into the Unknown Regions; he was convinced neither the Republic nor the Empire in their entireties would be reliable in the inevitable confrontation, and thus handpicked those he trusted the most in secret.
The expeditionary fleet, a mid-sized flotilla of several dozen warships and carriers of both Imperial and Republican design, began its journey into the Rishi Maze six months after the death of Zavakon. Initially, much of the passengers were extraordinarily eager, though several weeks into the mission many began to doubt Benthamic's leadership. However, just before mutiny seemed inevitable, a revelation was made.
Without warning, the fleet arrived at an uncharted planet that seemed to pop into existence moments before they stumpled across it. A relatively small planet dotted with swamps and oceans, the planet's most distinguished feature was its massive thousand-mile city that sat at the center of a continent in its northern hemisphere.
Immediately, Benthamic ordered the fleet to prepare to make landfall, but before it could be done, an enemy fleet of unknown origins came out of hyperspace and began to decimate the expeditionary flotilla, prompting Benthamic to order every single ship to release its escape pods to minimize casualties. Three command ships were instantly destroyed, while Benthamic's flagship, the Avenger (an original Blackstar design) narrowly evaded destruction just long enough for he and the respective Sith and Jedi commanders to jettison down to the planet below - into the heart of the enemy.
The three commanders landed several miles north of the remainder of the expeditionary ground forces in a massive swamp. Fighting through its endless corruption for several days, the Sith commander, Darth Nephantes, was gravely injured, and would have likely died had it not been for the quick thinking of Jedi commander Nikil Nobil, who channeled the strong Force energies of the planet to revive him.
Finally, the three commanders met up with the remnants of the expedition and found that many were injured but spirits were all-around high, as Benthamic had, in the past few days, proved his suspicions that the Emperor was preparing to deciminate both the Republic and the Empire in a resurgence for the ages. However, Benthamic was convinced that it was his destiny alone to face the Emperor, despite the advisement of both Nephantes and Nobil.
Benthamic left his trusted adviser and prodigy of the Blackstar Society, Ormen Gaines, in charge of the expedition in his stead. Commanding him to remain strong in these dark times and find a way off this forsaken planet before they were discovered, Ormen quickly took control of the scattered expedition and set about fulfilling his master's wishes. Meanwhile, the lone Benthamic set off in the direction of the planet's capital city, where he knew he would at last discover the infamous Sith Emperor.
Blending in with the aristrocratic masses of the city, he learned the planet was called Zakuul, and it was the glimmering capital of the ever-growing Eternal Empire, led by the mysterious prophet Valkorion. Indeed, Benthamic quickly pinpointed this Valkorion's place of residence: a massive spire that sat at the city's center - the Eternal Throne.
To his surprise, the gold-armored guards of the spire gladly let Benthamic enter, even personally escorting him to its top as if he were their honored guest. Soon, Benthamic was met by the aptly named Prince Arcann, who introduced himself as the son of the "Eternal Emperor," and invited him to meet Valkorion in his throne room. Unsettlingly, Arcann joked that Benthamic had been late for his eagerly awaited meeting with the Emperor.
Cautiously, and with his two lightsabers concealed, Benthamic entered the throne room and, for the first time in his life, laid eyes upon the Emperor. His presence was unmistakable; he emanated the same ancient stench he had touched weeks earlier at the cave on Yavin IV, and even more recently in his confrontation with the possessed former Supreme Leader of the Blackstar Society.
Like Arcann, Valkorion greeted Benthamic like an old friend, dismissing his honor guards as a gesture of respect. Puzzled, Benthamic queried him as to the point in all of this: what was this new Empire of his? Why had he abandoned the Sith? Did he truly wish to consume the entire galaxy?
Valkorion explained that Zakuul - the Eternal Empire - was merely one more prolonged experiment in a long line of failed empires and civillizations, peaceful and warmongering alike. He explained that he had once found the Sith to be an interesting collection of individuals, and thus sought to save them from the brink of destruction and nurture them to be the warriors they are today. But he had apparently grown tired and disinterested in their antics, and thus founded the Eternal Empire as an alternative to fulfill his need to experiment. He refused to reveal his end goal, or if he truly wished to consume the galaxy in the end.
Satisfied with what he had found and convinced that it was time to put an end to the Emperor's reign, Benthamic drew his lightsaber and attempted to strike Valkorion down. But the Emperor was both insightful and powerful - he anticipated the attack and deflected the blow it in its entirety using tutaminis before it could harm him.
Even after unleashing his full array of Force powers and archaic techniques, Benthamic could not harm the all-powerful Valkorion. Proclaiming him to be yet another simple tool - an especially capable and strong tool, at that - Valkorion seized control of Benthamic's mind, broke his willpower, and possesed him with relative ease.
Now another cog in Valkorion's ever-growing wheel of subjects, Benthamic was sent to exterminate his former allies hidden in the planet's swamp. Leading a massive army of Zakuul Knights and mechanical Skytroopers to the landing point, Benthamic was dismayed to find that Ormen had apparently prevailed in his effort to guide his people off the planet to safety.
Not seeing it as worth his time, Valkorion instead directed Benthamic to the planet Ahch-To located in the dangerous Inner Rim of the galaxy, which he explained the "last of the Jedi had fled to." Confused, Valkorion revealed that his invasion of the galaxy had began, and both the Empire and Republic would fall in a matter of months due to the Eternal Empire's sheer military might.
Ever-faithful, Benthamic traveled to Ahch-To and singlehandedly scoured the planet of any Jedi survivors, discovering an entire society of light-side Force wielders who utilized a bastardized version of Sith sorcery. Slaying legions of them, Benthamic became known by the name of Magehunter by not only the planet's locals, but the entire galaxy at large. Valkorion, seeking to eliminate any shreds of Benthamic's past, proclaimed it his servant's new name.
One year later...
As a result of the Eternal Empire's onslaught spearheaded by Arcann and Magehunter, the forces of the Sith Empire and the Republic had virtually been eliminated. Both were forced back to their capital worlds, Dromund Kaas and Coruscant respectively. It was the Sith Lord Darth Vowrawn of the Dark Council who drafted a treaty to end the destructive war in a decisive Imperial-Republic conditional surrender.
With both Coruscant and Dromund Kaas blockaded and military operations essentially completely frozen for both, the Eternal Empire imposed harsh taxes and regulations to ensure their adversaries would never rise to prominence once more. Still, though they were badly defeated, both the Sith and Jedi remained ever eager to strike back - eventually, once the time was right, they were confident they would have their revenge.
Magehunter remained Valkorion's unwilling servant throughout the war, personally slaying countless enemies of the Throne. After the surrender of the Sith and Jedi, Magehunter was largely left with little to do, as few beings were brave or foolish enough to oppose Valkorion's rule. However, one major power in the galaxy still lingered, its growth in power left unchecked thanks to their covert operations; that is, until the Eternal Emperor sensed their growing presence in the Outer Rim, encroaching on Eternal territory. Confident in his executioners' powers, Valkorion sent Arcann and Magehunter to investigate and, if possible, to eliminate the Blackstar Society permanently.
After a short hyperspace jump from Zakuul, Arcann and Magehunter, accompanied by a small task force of Knights and Skytroopers, tracked the movement of the Society to the wetland planet of Zosha. Believing their adversaries to be cowardly pushovers, however, the two underestimated the power of the devotees of Blackstar and were caught utterly unaware by their almost immediate ambush.
The majority of the Eternal strike force was immediately ravaged into pieces, and while Arcann and Benthamic were able to hold their ground for some time, they were quickly overwhelmed by the forces of the Society who were perfectly adapted to Zosha's unique environmental features. Arcann saw little choice but to flee, electing to selfishly leave his comrade behind in order to save his own skin. His shuttle was immediately shot upon by Blackstar's surface to air defense cannons, though the Prince narrowly escaped obliteration over the planet's orbit and made the jump back to Zakuul to recuperate.
Enraged by Arcann's betrayal, Magehunter was thrown off balance and easily dispatched by the victorious warriors - though, curiously, they did not kill him, instead using a powerful occult spell to render him unconscious. Escorting him back to the Society's hideout, Ormen Gaines, Blackstar's Grand Mage, prepared "Magehunter," for what he called the Rite of Resurgence.
Six whole hours later, the Sith Warrior awoke once more, no longer as the dreaded Magehunter, but the revered Supreme Leader Benthamic. Admitting that he had seen every heinous act he had committed under the influence of Valkorion, the reborn Benthamic now truly understood the depths of the Emperor's depravity. After living what he perceived as three lives and touching both the Dark Side and the Light on numerous occassions, he declared himself balanced in the Force, drawing inspiration from the fallen Revan who had been both a Sith and a Jedi in his centuries-long life. Benthamic encouraged the rest of the Society to follow his lead and embrace both sides of the Force, to which all of them happily obliged.
Setting his sights towards expanding the Blackstar Society's reach, Benthamic extended his sphere of influence across countless planets in Wild Space and began to build what he described as a "nobly intended galactic criminal empire." Worried of a counterattack by the Eternal Empire, Blackstar abandoned Zosha, moving its members and all of its assets to the planet Scipio after enlisting the help of Benthamic's old friend, the Sith-turned corporate magnate Darth Rectivus.
The numerous planets encompassed in the Intergalactic Banking Clan's authority were now indirectly under the control of the Blackstar Society, who reaped small shares of every transaction made in their name. Ormen Gaines, the newly christened first apprentice of Benthamic, personally oversaw negotiations with countless crime families who now suffered under the oppressive rule of the Eternal Empire; he promised them salvation, a sense of dignity, and, of course, countless credits. Within another year, the Blackstar Society had amassed a small army of high functioning pirate scum who, coupled with the order's Force-sensitive warrior sect, made for a sizeable threat greater than the weakened Republic and Sith Empire combined.
As more and more criminals and wayward Sith and Jedi swore their loyalties to Benthamic, the Supreme Leader prepared to go on the offensive in his invisible war with Valkorion, starting with the most valuable planets under their control.
Two years after the resurgence of Benthamic...
All of the most prominent members of the ever-growing Blackstar alliance were in agreement: it was time to take the fight to the Eternal Empire. Taking less than a month to fully detail his plan, Benthamic summoned the prodigies of the Society and the heads of all the crime families within its sphere of influence to a meeting on Scipio to discuss its intricacies. With a unanimous vote, Blackstar set the plan to retake the capital worlds - Operation Hydra - into motion immediately thereafter.
The Blackstar armada jumped out of hyperspace over Dromund Kaas and immediately obliterated dozens of Eternal blockade ships thanks to state of the art "fleet-killer," technology employed by Benthamic's command ship, the Avenger. With the enemy caught off guard, the fleet set about immobilizing and commandeering the remainder of the enemy ships. Meanwhile, Benthamic personally lead a sizeable ground force to retake the Imperial capital.
Benthamic's ground force, comprised of 100 Blackstar warlords and several hundred mercenaries from various crime families, landed near the planet's primary spaceport and quickly seized it with minimal opposition. From there, Blackstar established a temporary base of operations for the duration of the Kaas liberation campaign. As the spaceport was essentially the only way on or off the planet during the blockade, the march towards Kaas City was predicted to be fully perfunctory.
After taking an hour to ensure the immediate orbital threat was dealt with by the fleet above, the invasion force began its march through the wilderness directly to the towering gates of Kaas City. With minimal time to mount a serviceable defense effort, the city was walled by countless makeshift barriers erected by reluctant Imperial citizens ordered by the ruthless Eternal taskmaster who controlled the occupied, the so-called Exarch, Sxip Sdarin.
With Benthamic valiantly leading the offense, the ground force quickly dealt with the city's impromptu defenses and piled into the massive city. They were met by a significant gathering of fanatical Knights of Zakuul and their mechanical counterparts, the Skytroopers, but even their superior numbers were no match for the vindictive warriors of Blackstar.
Soon, the resident Imperial troopers who now answered to Zakuul were called upon to aid the Eternal defense. However, despite harsh threats from the Exarch, the Imperial soldiers refused to fire upon Benthamic and his men, instead turning their weapons to the Exarch's defenders. Thanks to their aid, the forces of Blackstar cut a savage swath through Kaas City, obliterating any of the Exarch's forces and carving a path straight to the city's center, the Imperial Citadel (which housed the Sith Sanctum, Mandalorian Enclave, and Imperial Intelligence HQ) where the Exarch, Sxip Sdarin, reportedly had fled to to form a last minute defense of the city.
Arriving in waves by Skyhopper taxis, the Blackstar forces cleared the landing platform of the Citadel and immediately moved in. Inside, Benthamic released Dark Councilors Vowrawn and Mortis, who had been imprisoned by the Exarch after learning that they had sabotaged the Eternal fleet over the planet by disabling their hyperspace dampeners from below. Thanking their liberator, both Darths gladly named Benthamic their ally in the war and marched with him to the Exarch's dwelling at the top of the spire, the former throne room of the Emperor.
Declaring himself to be more powerful than all of them combined, the Exarch abruptly lashed out at the intruders with a flurry of arcane power bestowed by his master Valkorion. Unsettlingly, Sdarin proved to be a much more competent threat than any of them could have anticipated. The Exarch taunted Benthamic, attempting to throw him off by reminding him of the atrocities he committed in Valkorion's name; but the Supreme Leader remained headstrong, focusing on the battle at hand.
Seizing the upper hand, the Exarch began to gather a storm of dark power, intending to unleash it all at once to obliterate his foes. But before the spell could be cast, Darth Mortis unleashed a powerful Force storm of his own, dispelling Sdarin's channel and leaving him temporarily vulnerable to attack as his connection to the Force had been momentarily severed. Benthamic seized the opportunity, digging both of his cyan lightsabers into the Exarch's back.
With the death of Sdarin and the blockade lifted, Dromund Kaas was once again under the control of the Sith Empire and democratically placed under the leadership of the newly crowned Sith Empress, Darth Acina. Checking in with his apprentice over hologram, Ormen Gaines confirmed the simultaneous liberation of the Republic capital, Coruscant, had been a success.
With the Republic and Empire under a begrudging cease-fire in the wake of the actions of Valkorion, hope had seemingly returned the galaxy as more and more systems began to oppose the Eternal Emperor's oppressive regime. Not intending to make the same mistake twice, Benthamic opted to be patient, taking more time to rally allies before he went for his enemy's throat. He set his sights towards finding the famed Darth Nox, one of the few remaining unaccounted for Dark Councilors and a potentially extremely valuable ally.
Benthamic tracked Nox down to the secluded planet Odessen, which was surrounded by a cluster of volatile stars. Immediately after touching down, he observed the heavily forested planet was exceedingly strong with both the Light and Dark Side of the Force, making it the perfect place for a rogue Jedi or Sith to hide out while the Eternal Empire ravaged the galaxy.
Out among the roofed forest in the dense wildernes, Ben discovered Nox's remote camp, comprised of a small building filled with Sith holocrons and other Force trinkets and a modest tent, inside which the Sith Lord was sleeping. Startled when he attempted to get her attention, Nox attempted to use Force lightning to fry Benthamic, but yielded when she recognized his face.
Disgruntled that the meddlesome rogue Sith who infiltrated her Dromund Kaas library had disturbed her "intense meditations," Nox demanded to know why Ben had bothered to track her down. The Chiss explained that he had spent the past few years building up an alliance to take a stand against Valkorion and his Eternal Empire, composed of many ex-Sith, Jedi, and various crime syndicates. Nox initially doubted Blackstar had any feasible chance against the Eternal threat, but after allowing Ben to rest in her camp and considering her options for the night, Nox agreed to join forces with him and strike a blow against Valkorion.
Taking several months to devise a strategy and build up a sizeable invasion force, Blackstar, with the secret and hesitant help of both the Republic and Empire, attacked the planet of Nar Shaddaa, one of the many urban worlds still under control of Zakuul, but especially vital to the war effort due to its booming economic activity and heavy criminal underworld, which reluctantly served Zakuul.
Brokering deals with a myriad of Nar Shaddan crime families, including what was left of the Hutt Cartel, several weeks earlier, Benthamic gave the order for the criminals to strike against Zakuul immediately after Blackstar landed on the planet, creating a difficult two-front battle for the forces of the Eternal Empire. Quickly overwhelmed, a Zakuulan distress signal was sent out, prompting Arcann and Vaylin, the children of Valkorion, to race for Nar Shaddaa in an effort to both secure the planet and defeat Benthamic's alliance.
The twins pushed back the forces of Blackstar, but were quickly confronted by Darth Nox and a small army of vengeful Sith and Jedi. In the ensuing battle, Arcann split off from Vaylin and was confronted by Benthamic himself. Almost evenly matched, the Prince and the Supreme Leader fought viciously, cutting a path through the city-wide battle. No one dared intervene unti it became apparent that Arcann was beginning to waver, after which a squadron of the fanatical Knights of Zakuul engaged Ben, allowing Arcann to escape and regroup with Vaylin.
Arcann and Vaylin wreaked untold destruction on the planet, using their own Force powers and additional firepower from accompanying Skytroopers to level entire city blocks. Amid the carnage, one female high-ranking Knight, Senya Tirall, realized the depravity of the two twins and almost immediately turned against them, joining the ranks of the bewildered Blackstar warriors. Outraged at their mother's betrayal, Arcann and Vaylin ordered the Eternal Fleet to begin the orbital bombardment of Nar Shadda.
In an effort to draw Arcann out and stop the orbital massacre, Benthamic fled the battle on his personal starship, making a hyperspace jump to uncharted territory in the far reaches of the Inner Rim within the Deep Core, dangerously close to the Galactic Center. The bombardment ceased, and the Eternal Fleet, led by the twins, pursued Ben.
Seeking to take him alive, Arcann activated a powerful tractor beam on Benthamic's ship to draw him in. But Ben had come prepared, outfitting his ship with a device capable of using an enemy's tractor beam against them. Without warning, Benthamic made another hyperspace jump directly into the supermassive black hole at the dead center of the galaxy. Behind him, unable to deactivate their tractor beams, several Eternal warships were being towed against their will towards the black hole, following Ben's lead. Neglecting to reveal the final phase of his plan to his advisers, the entire battle had been a ruse to lure Arcann and Vaylin into a fantastic end, unfortunately taking Benthamic with them but leaving Valkorion practically defenseless without his powerful children to protect him.
As the Eternal ships desperately attempted to circumvent the trap, Benthamic retrieved a holocall mid-jump. Flickering in and out due to poor connection, Nox begged Ben to reconsider his decision, but the Leader was determined to die if it meant turning the tide in the war. Bidding his friend farewell, Benthamic exited the hyperspace jump and was sucked into the black hole, never to be seen again. In a stroke of blind luck, however, Arcann and Vaylin's command ship was able to exit hyperspace just before entering the black hole's event horizon, allowing them to flee the Galactic Center and return to Zakuul, not bothering to finish the job on Nar Shaddaa.
Unwilling to let Benthamic's apparent death be in vain, Nox rallied what was left of the Blackstar invasion force, along with the battered crime families of Nar Shaddaa, and left the planet. In his memory, Nox founded a new faction out of the remainder of Blackstar, simply named the Alliance, fully committed to finishing what Ben started and destroying Zakuul permanently. The new Alliance attracted hundreds more Sith, Jedi, and various militants from all walks of life who were sick of being oppressed by the Eternal Empire.
Darth Rectivus of the Banking Clan was saddened to hear of his old friend's death, but feared that if the Alliance stayed on Scipio any longer, Arcann would be able to hunt them down with ease. One of the new members of the Alliance, a Sith named Lana Beniko, proposed they settle on the uninhabited world of Odessen, where Darth Nox dwelled before being discovered by Benthamic. Nox agreed the little green world would be the best place for the Alliance to base their operations.