- "What did you learn?"
"Not much. For sea-farmers, they were made of pretty strong stuff."
"Seems to be a local trait."
- ―Edell and Peppin
The Mission to Alanciar was an airborne exploratory flight launched by the Lost Tribe of Sith in 2975 BBY to explore the continent of Alanciar, a large continent lying to the west of Keshtah Minor. The mission was led by the High Lord Edell Vrai who had developed the Tribe's airships. Unknown to the Sith, the Herald Adari Vaal had fled to Alanciar two thousand years ago and had warned the local Alanciari about the threat posed by the Sith Tribe. The Alanciari developed a highly militaristic society designed to repel any invader. They had constructed a network of forts, ballistae and signal stations in the Shank region which faced Keshtah.
The Alanciari ballistae shot down the two of the Sith expedition's airships near Point Vigilance. Vrai's airship Candra crashed near Point Defiance where he and several survivors managed to capture two Alanciari locals: Wardmaster Quarra Thayn and her lover soldier Jogan Halder. The Sith then captured a local trawler called the Mischance and retreated to the coast. Vrai managed to coerce Thayn into serving as a guide for an overland mission into Alanciar in exchange for sparing the life of her lover Halder. After receiving orders from Grand Lord Varner Hilts, the remaining Sith departed on the Mischance for Keshtah with the captive Halder. Despite the recent losses and the poor intelligence available on Alanciar, Vrai's rival High Lord Korsin Bentado invaded Alanciar with the Ebon Fleet, which consisted of sixty airships.
- "There are enemies beyond your ken, people of Alanciar. You cannot see them, for they are beyond the sail of your farthest ship. You cannot hear them, though they may speak their evil in dangerous whispers to be heard on the air."
- ―Adari Vaal's actress
The Sith Tribe on the planet Kesh were the descendants of a group of offworld Human Sith who had become stranded during the Great Hyperspace War in 5000 BBY. In 3000 BBY, the Caretaker Varner Hilts had ended the Time of the Rot after he discovered maps which confirmed the existence of another continent besides Keshtah Minor known as Alanciar, or "Keshtah Major". In order to unite the Sith, Hilts made reaching Keshtah Major a major goal of the Tribe's long-term goal of returning to the stars. Under the leadership of his chief engineer High Lord Edell Vrai, the Tribe experimented with developing a reliable and safe means of reaching Alanciar. Following failed experiments with long-distance uvak flights and watercraft, Vrai managed to develop airships that were held aloft by gasbags powered by hydrogen and propelled by uvaks, winged reptiles native to Alanciar.
In 2975 BBY, Lord Vrai obtained permission from Grand Lord Hilts to lead an overflight reconnaissance of "Keshtah Major." His plan was to fly east of Keshtah Minor and then return by crossing the small ocean to the west coast of his home continent. This reconnaissance mission consisted of three airships: the Candra, the Lillia, and the Dann Itra. Each airship was propelled by two uvaks and carried a crew consisting of ten persons: a captain, pilot, thoughtcrier, five warriors, and two Keshiri ambassadors who would be used for communicating with the locals. Edell was captain of the Candra and other expeditionary members included the pilot and uvak-tenderer Peppin, the clairvoyant Taymor, the warriors Ulbrick and Janns, and the Keshiri scholar Tellpah.
Unknown to the Lost Tribe, the Keshiri on "Keshtah Major" had developed a highly-militaristic society over the past two millennia. It was home to a large Keshiri population who called themselves the Alanciari and called their homeland Alanciar. Following a failed uprising against the Sith, the Herald Adari Vaal and three hundred followers had fled across the ocean to Keshtah Major. Vaal had warned the locals about the threat posed by the Tribe and had become revered among the Alanciari. She also made Galactic Basic Standard the new language of the Alanciari in order to prepare them for contact with the Sith. Under Vaal's influence, the Alanciari had built an intricate defense system consisting of ballistae, forts, uvak diamond-flak teams, and a large, well-equipped citizen army. The southern region of Alanciar known as the Six Claws was well-fortified with six seaside forts. The Alanciari were also led by a centralized military government that was based in the capital Sus'mintri's Vaal Hall.
Prior to the invasion, the Alanciari woman Quarra Thayn, the wardmaster and chief military administrator of Uhrar, was having an affair with a soldier named Jogan Halder, who was stationed at Point Defiance, a seaside fort on the peninsula Garrow's Neck. Thayn was married to Brue Thayn and had three children but was unhappy with her marriage. Three years earlier, she initiated an affair with Jogan Halder, who was a signals officer stationed at Point Defiance, the southernmost forts of the Six Claws. The affair began following one of Thayn's routine visits to Kerebba, a military supply center upstream on one of the canals that emptied into one of the bays defined by the Six Claws. Her cousin was a signal officer who operated the Kerebba signal station's semaphore system. Her cousin had learnt about Halder's tales of life in the wilderness and had shared it with Thayn, who fell in love with the author's writings.
When her cousin was reassigned, Thayn managed to transmit signals to Halder through the signal station at Uhrar introducing herself. This began a secret three year secret relationship where thousands of messages were exchanged between Halder and Thayn. Most of these dispatches arrived overnight at Thayn's office in Uhrar and she read them in the morning. For Thayn, Halder's letters came to provide a form of escape from the drudgery of her work as an administrator and mother. During that fateful trip to Point Defiance, Thayn was going to meet Halder physically for the first time. She pretended to be away on a trip to the industrial cities on the Northern Slope.
- "Warriors port and starboard! Prepare to deflect fire. No lightsabers—use the Force!"
- ―Edell Vrai
Jogan Halder and Quarra Thayn were the first Alanciari Keshiri to witness the arrival of Edell Vrai's airships. On that night, Thayn was visiting Halder's outpost at Point Defiance where he worked as a signals officer. By 2975 BBY, the Alanciari Keshiri had developed an intricate semaphore communication network spanning the entire continent which was based on ciphers and signals. Besides the signals operator, Point Defiance also had a Force-sensitive thoughtcrier who was charged with sending messages through the Force. While Halder was showing Thayn around his workplace, Jogan witnessed a black silhouette hovering over the fog from the western coast, which was reputed to face the Sith-controlled continent of Keshtah Minor. The Force-sensitive Quarra also sensed the presence of individuals aboard the airship. Jogan sent a flash signal from one of the semaphore system's cylindrical drums. Since the fort's thoughtcrier was off-duty, Quarra had no choice but to send a signal through the Force. She reluctantly did so because she knew that she was officially not supposed to be at Point Defiance.
Thus, Halder and Thayn succeeded in warning Alanciar about the arrival of the Sith. As a result, the Alanciari ballistae were alerted and readied for battle. While approaching the Six Claws at night, the Lillia's gas envelope was hit by a javelin fired from a ground-based ballistae at Point Vigilance. The airship exploded, killing all its crew and the two uvaks attached to it. The wreckage crashed into the ocean below. The explosion startled the Candra's uvaks and Edell Vrai ordered Peppin to control the animals. Vrai initially thought that lightning had struck the Lillia's hydrogen-filled envelope, setting the ship aflame. The Dann Itra was then struck by two javelins, destroying the airship and its crew. Through his Force abilities, Vrai sensed that the Keshiri below were Force-sensitive and had used the Force to guide their javelins. Thus, the Tribe had made contact with the natives of Keshtah Major but the natives were stronger than them this time.
The only remaining airship was the Candra which was being pursued by uvaks ridden by members of the Alanciari "air force." These uvak riders used long tubes to fire dozens of diamonds at the Sith. The thoughtcrier Taymor was killed by diamond-fire. However, before her death, she managed to send a thought signal warning the Grand Consort Iliana Hilts' thoughtcriers that something bad had happened to Edell's expedition. The Shore Guard also pierced the Candra's gas envelope, causing it to leak hydrogen. With the airship descending, Vrai attempted to deflate the ship while the other Sith crew fought off the attackers. While two of the enemy uvak-riders parried with the defenders, a third uvak-rider dived headlong towards the gondola. This suicide attack shattered the forward section of the Candra, causing the ship to break apart. One of the warriors and a Keshiri ambassador fell to their deaths during this attack.
The only part of the Candra that remained intact was the rear section of the gondola which was still held afloat by the punctured balloon. Vrai and the remaining crew held onto debris as the airship descended into the harbor below. Meanwhile, Quarra and Jogan heard about the Sith incursion through the signal station at Point Defiance. They were taken surprise by the attack but Jogan was overjoyed that the Alanciari ballistae had managed to intercept the invaders. However, Quarra panicked because she knew that her husband thought that she supposedly be touring the industrial cities on the Northern Slope. She had been the one who had transmitted the thought-signal as soon as the invaders had been sighted.
Since the Sith invasion would become big news among the Alanciari, she feared that other Alanciari would find out that she had been visiting Point Defiance Defiance illegally. Quarra also confessed to forging her travel supervisor Belmer Kattun's seal on her letter of transit to Point Defiance. The two Alanciari then entered the stables only to find that Quarra's muntok, a six-legged reptilian beast of burden, had escaped by chewing through its tether. Quarra did not know the name of the animal because it was a beast she had rented from the corral in Tandry and thus could not call it back. At that point, Starboard one of the Candra's tethered uvaks crashed on top of Jogan, breaking his ribs. Starboard had already been killed during the skirmish above.
- "Don't touch him, you filthy Sith!"
"W-what did you say?"
"I said, don't touch him, you..."
- ―Edell Vrai and Quarra Thayn's first conversation
Unseen, the Sith party had dropped north of Point Defiance while the balloon carried the wrecked gondola farther eastward. The remains of the Candra subsequently crashed a kilometer to the northeast of the harbor. Edell Vrai and four surviving ship crew fled from the scene before the Alanciari uvak riders arrived. Besides the Vrai, the other survivors included the uvak-tenderer Pepppin, the warriors Ulbrick and Janns, and the Keshiri Tellpah. They managed to evade Alanciari search parties which were scanning the northern shore across the party. Vrai ordered his party to climb the western summit where there sat a tall white tower which was ringed with a high white wall. This structure turned out to be Point Defiance which had been where Jogan and Quarra had been staying on the night of the attack. Upon reaching the top, Ulbrick was wounded in the thigh by glass projectiles fired from an exotic weapon, later revealed to be a hand-ballista. The gunner turned out to be Quarra Thayn, who had spotted the Sith survivors.
Edell fought back against Thayn and used the Force to fire a spray of sand at the Keshiri woman. This jammed Thayn's ballista but she then used the Force to punch Edell, causing him to fall forward and drop his shikkar blade. Quarra then grabbed his shikkar and attempted to stab the Sith. However, Vrai tapped into Quarra's fear and anger and pushed her back, causing him to drop her dagger. Vrai's companions Peppin and Janns than tackled Quarra and wrestled her to the ground. Nearby, the Sith found Quarra's wounded companion Jogan, who was lying beside the corpse of Starboard. After ordering Tellpah to attend to the wounds of Ulbrick, Vrai was about to kill Jogan when he was told to stop by Quarra who spoke Galactic Basic Standard.
This development surprised the Sith including Vrai who had thought that the natives of Keshtah Major spoke an ancient Keshiri dialect. Vrai and his companions also noted that some of the local Keshiri knew how to use the Force. Thayn informed them that her people had prepared for the Sith invaders and that there was an entire detachment of troops behind them. However, Edell sensed that Quarra was lying and use his Force powers to break down her mental defenses. He was able to find out that the woman was named Quarra and that she wanted to save the life of her wounded companion. After reading her mind, Vrai ordered his followers to bring them inside Point Defiance's tower.
When Thayn warned the Sith to be careful with Jogan and blamed them for the accident with the uvak, Vrai retorted that she had brought the creature down on herself. He also warned that she was about to bring a lot more down on herself. When Thayn commented that the Sith would never get past the Alanciari defenses, Vrai again retorted that she had left the gate open for us. While two Sith carried Jogan inside the tower, Edell attended to Tellpah who was seeing to Ulbrick's injuries. With Ulbrick unable to walk due to numerous lacerations in his leg, Vrai personally decapitated the Sith Saber and ordered Tellpah to hide the body.
Quarra was horrified by the violent nature of Sith culture but Edell warned her never to forget that sight. After ordering his men to bind their captives in the tower, Vrai went to the top of the tower to study the surroundings. Edell and Tellpah then rummaged through Point Defiance's belfries in an attempt to find a way to operate the signaling device. However, they were unsuccessful and Edell in frustration destroyed the stand carrying the signaling cylinders. By this stage, Alanciari forces were mustering outside the gates of the fortress at Garrow's Neck to the east and were heading up the trail towards Point Defiance's tower. Vrai's party was joined by two other Sith survivors from the Candra, bringing the party up to six individuals. While Quarra knew how to operated the signaling device, the Sith were unwilling to trust her since she was an enemy prisoner.
While examining the balcony Edell and Tellpah spotted a ship approaching the southern shore of the peninsula Point Defiance. This ship turned out to be fishing harvester Mischance. While most fishing vessels operated in Alanciar's Southern Passage, captains that were behind on harvesting their quota of seafood were known to cut corners by operating at night and in the western sea, which was the domain of the Shore Guard, Alanciar's coast guard. The Sith also raided Port Defiance's archive and seized Halder's collection of books, which included a copy of the Keshtah Chronicles, an official account of the history of Keshtah Minor which had been written by Adari Vaal. This tome provided the Sith with a trove of information on what the Alanciari knew about the Sith Tribe. The Sith then took their Alanciari prisoners from Jogan's room and headed down the southern shore towards the boat. To hide their presence, they dumped Ulbrick's body down a cistern.
The Sith party managed to evacuate Point Defiance minutes after Alanciari forces from Garrow's Neck arrived to secure the fort. Edell and his followers managed to find a boat which they used to board the sailing ship Mischance. While the Keshiri sailors were unaware of the earlier battle and were taken by surprise, they fought fiercely against the Sith invaders. It took the Sith until dawn to secure the Mischance and all the Keshiri crew fought to the death. Their bodies were thrown into the sea. The Sith managed to captured one Keshiri sailor who was then interrogated by Peppin. However, he refused to disclose any information even under torture and succumbed to his wounds.
- "...You have fought the first battle. You won and you will win again. I declare this day a Day of Observance. You will always be observant. And one day, you will triumph forever!"
"We have all seen this drama before. But this is a special time, of all times—the enemy has come. Tonight our forces are scouring the peninsulas for any trace of the attackers. They will come again, to be certain. The War Cabinet has deployed anti-air forces to the west. Whether they come again in the same numbers or more, they will die. Die like Sith should!"
- ―Adari Vaal's actress and the Mayor of Kerebba during an Observance Day passion play
While Edell Vrai's reconnaissance mission succeeded in reaching Keshtah Major and making contact with the Alanciari, much of it was wiped out by the Alanciari military. While Vrai had been unable to conduct an aerial reconnaissance flight over Alanciar, he and his followers had managed to capture an Alanciari sailing ship. While it was only a lowly harvesting vessel, it was larger than any seagoing vessel that Keshtah had every produce. By morning, only a fifth of Vrai's original expeditionary force remained. The Sith party also noted the martial spirit of the local Keshiri and were concerned that this could complicate their conquest of the new continent. Prior to being attacked by the Alanciari defenders, Vrai's thoughtcriers had managed to inform their superiors in Keshtah that they had made contact with Alanciar. They also managed to transmit emotions of surprise, shock and confusion during the attack.
Following Vrai's contact with Keshtah Major, another High Lord named Korsin Bentado requested an audience with Grand Lord Hilts and his consort Iliana Hilts. The ambitious and violent Bentado advocated a military invasion of Keshtah Major with his fleet of sixty airships known as the Ebon Fleet. However, Hilts and Iliana wanted to wait until Edell returned since Iliana's thoughtcriers had sensed that some sort of harm may have befallen Vrai and his followers. However, Bentado insisted in going ahead with the attack even though the Lost Tribe had no reliable intelligence on the military capabilities of the Keshiri on Alanciar. When Iliana speculated that Edell and his airships may have crashed into the Southern Ocean, Hilts replied that he was still alive since he would have sensed his death. In the end, Hilts reluctantly gave approval for Bentado to launch an invasion of Alanciar. In private, Hilts and his wife regarded Lord Bentado as a hot-headed fool who was sending his forces to a watery death. However, they were willing to sacrifice Bentado and his men since that would eliminate a potential rival.
Back in Alanciar, Edell's uvak-tenderer and pilot Peppin managed to figure out how to operate the ship's sails and steerage. They decided to return to Keshtah by sailing through the Southern Passage to the Sea of Flames. Both reasoned that the Tribe would be interested in the Alanciari sailing vessel and Jogan Halder, along with his collection of books which included the invaluable Keshtah Chronicles. However, Edell decided not to return and made up some new orders to justify his continued presence in Alanciar. He managed to convince Thayn to serve as his guide for a ground reconnaissance mission of Alanciar in exchange for attending to the wounds of her lover Tahyn. Edell agreed to Quarra's conditions but stated that they had to return by two weeks or she would never see her lover again. While Quarra appeared to collaborate with the invaders, she secretly intended to scare the Sith "back to where they came from." After dropping Vrai and Thayn at a small cove to the northeast of Point Defiance, the Mischance returned to Keshtah Minor.
In response to the Sith incursion, Alanciari society was placed on a war footing. The Alanciari prepared their military forces and ballistae to repel another Sith attack. Across Alanciar's cities, civilians and dependents were evacuated to war shelters. The Alanciari military reported directly to a central command, the War Cabinet, which was based in Vaal Hall. The War Cabinet ordered the deployment of military forces to the western regions while troops scoured the peninsulas for any trace of the attackers. The Sith incursion also coincided with Observance Day, a patriotic holiday held every ten years which commemorated the memory of Adari Vaal, the Herald and Rock of Kesh. This year's Observation Day saw an upsurge of anti-Sith sentiment among the Alanciari. These developments set the stage for the Sith invasion of Alanciar.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Mission to Alanciar served as the exposition of John Jackson Miller's short story Lost Tribe of the Sith: Pandemonium, which was first released on July 24, 2012. It was told from the points-of-view of the Alanciari wardmaster Quarra Thayn and the Sith High Lord Edell Vrai. According to Miller's production notes on his personal website Faraway Press, he modeled the Lost Tribe of Sith's first contact with the Alanciari after the real world interactions between colonial powers and native cultures. However this time, he hypothesized a 'thought experiment' where the natives of the New World on Earth had received early warning about the Conquistadors and had developed an advanced civilization. Miller also likened the situation of the Alanciari to the Blitz in Britain during the Second World War. The three Sith airships Lillia, Candra, and the Dann Itra were also a reference to the explorer Christopher Columbus' three ships Niña, Pinta, and the Santa Maria which discovered the New World in 1492. Since puncturing the gasbags of airships was not sufficient enough to cause an explosion, Miller decided to equip the Alanciari with fiery arrows
- Lost Tribe of the Sith: Pandemonium (First appearance)
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 1.41 1.42 1.43 1.44 1.45 1.46 1.47 Lost Tribe of the Sith: Pandemonium
- ↑ Lost Tribe of the Sith/Email from John Jackson Miller
- ↑ JJM notes on Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories