Ji’ark Diary: Balmorra

I’m starting to write a diary for my current main character in TOR, detailing my first person view of my character and what he wants. I intend to keep doing this even if I switch characters. We’ll see how far I get before I stop playing the game and these characters.

It was a long road to finish my training as a Sith Juggernaut and be sent out into the galaxy to make my mark, but it has finally arrived. I have received a spacecraft from my Master, Darth Barras, and have travelled to Balmorra, to get involved directly in the Galactic Civil War for the first time.

As I trained on Korriban and continued my apprenticeship on Drummond Kaas, I learned something about the Sith, and about being a Sith. We are fools. I cannot count the number of missions where I had to deal with Sith either as direct rivals or even as supposed allies where, at the end of it, they decided to try to kill me. Especially since, for the most part, they were woefully inadequate for the job. But why did they try to kill me, in those cases? Because I had something they wanted, or was likely to get something they wanted, or was seen as a threat to their position, or for any number of flimsy and stupid reasons. And the result was that they ended up dead, unable to gain anything or even keep what they have. Those who defended themselves from my attacks mase sense, and those who were dangerous enough to make it close and whom I was in direct competition for something that we both couldn’t have made sense, but in too many cases it was “Curse your sudden and completely predictable betrayal”.

This cannot be the right approach. This cannot be the best way to build and preserve the Empire. Looking at history, and at how often we have put the Republic on the ropes, it seems clear that the main reason we lose is that we cannot work together long enough to exploit our gains; the instant we gain ground we immediately start to fight over who gets to possess the spoils. The Republic, on the other hand, tends to be fractured right up until we prove ourselves a threat, at which point they rally together to preserve the Republic and their way of life. The Sith way of life seems to be constant strife, deception and backstabbing, with each of us having no loyalty to anyone except ourselves.

That is why it was an honour to kill Tremel, even though I regretted it. He was a man of honour, a man willing to put aside his own interests and even his life in order to preserve and strengthen the Empire. If there is anyone I wish to emulate, it is him, and not the arrogant and angry Darth Barras, who has no conception of honour and no interest in anything beyond his own power.

In the Dark Temple on Drummond Kaas, I encountered a holocron from a Sith master, killed for challenging the Sith orthodoxy. The Sith I showed it to worried that his philosophy was like that of the Jedi, but I do not think it was. In it, he pointed out that the Sith base their philosophy on passion, especially fear. But fear is fickle, and can be manipulated, as can all passion. And so if we base our power on fear or other passions, others will use that to manipulate us into fulfilling their ends. Simply having passion is not the same thing as having power. So passion is a lie. But peace is also a lie. Passion does give us strength; it is indeed through passion that our chains are broken. But passion must be controlled, subordinated so that it cannot be manipulated, so that it is always mustered in support of proper ends. The Jedi preach control, but not passion; the Sith preach passion but not control. We need control and passion, freedom and service.

For me, I will serve the Empire, whose strength is the end to which I shall work. My passions shall be guided by her interests, as defined by the Emperor. I shall work towards that with an eye to proper order and honour, which can only benefit the Empire, and not towards the personal desires of anyone, myself included. Only what can be justified by honour and order is an acceptable way to preserve the order of the Empire, and the stability that provides … and without that, there is no reason to wish the Empire to survive.

That, then, is the connundrum. In the Republic, the Jedi preach control and work within a system that preaches total freedom; in the Empire, the Sith preach freedom and work within a system that preaches order and subservience. The Empire has it right; the guiding force must be order and stability. The Sith have it right that overarching control at the individual level stifles creativity and freedom, so that no one can ever actually do the right thing, as opposed to the expected thing. The Republic has it right that even at the highest levels flexibility is always required. The Jedi have it right that passions and freedom must be controlled even at the level of individuals to ensure that the right thing and not the expedient thing is done. The Empire and the Sith and the Republic and the Jedi work against each other, instead of working together, but it seems to me that the Sith work more against a better order and a better system while the Jedi work against an inferior system. The Empire is better than the Republic; the Jedi work better with the Republic than the Sith do. It is practical to accept the better political system; I alone cannot make that a more ideal system. However, I need not reject the Sith and join the Jedi, but can instead try to forge a new and better way for myself, a way that can satisfy both the control and passion that is required for proper action. And that is what I shall do.

I am no longer Sith, but I am also not Jedi. What I am, I will discover.

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