"True power is when the Enemy does not realise it until it is far too late to do anything about it."
— Dark Lord Destius
The following is the official account of the Sith Emperor's life. However, there are may rumours suggesting that all that is mentioned here is not exactly true.
For instance, whilst the Emperor appears to have been conventionally long-lived thus far, it has been noted in old holo-recordings of Sith Orders and conclaves going back from the times of Darth Krayt to Darth Sidious to the Sith Triumvirate to Darth Millennial and even as far back as the reign of the Emperor Vitiate that an Arkanian Sith Lord matching Destius' appearance has been seen in the background, not thrusting himself forward into the limelight. Curiously, despite the proximity of this individual through the ages to various powerful Sith, no one ever documented his name and those people curious enough to start wondering about this fact soon seem to forget their interest and turn to other affairs...
Another rumour suggest that before he became Sith Emperor, he led a double existence as a interplanetary tycoon, the owner of a pan-galactic corporation. Exactly which of the myriad such large companies this could be has never been determined.
"Professor Elvehjem, a quiet word with if you I may? It's about your son...."
— Unknown Jedi Master, to Professor Elvehjem, the father of Destius
Torsteinn Elvehjem was born on the planet of Arkania to a middle-class family who had never had any special connection at all with the Force but who were distantly related to the ruling House of Adasca. It was at a business meal hosted by his father (a well-known and respected scientist) that the first event which was to change his life occurred. Tors was only 5 years old at the time and ran into the room of delegates to have his goodnight hug from his father. As soon as he had entered the room, a man on the other side of the room turned around from the conversation he had been having with another delegate and stopped in mid-sentence. Ignoring his confused colleague, the brown-robed man fixed the boy with his stare and watched him greet his father and then walk towards the door to leave. Tors hesitated at the door, aware of eyes boring into his back. Turning, he immediately was aware of the eyes of this man, filled with power, and felt the touch of his mind like a breeze upon his own. But the breeze was only a fraction of this man's power and somehow Tors was able to perceive this and felt terror for the first time in his short life. He ran swiftly up to his room and hid under his bedclothes, shaking. For those moments, time seemed to slow, his senses extended abnormally and heard the first words of this man which he was never to forget.
"Professor Elvehjem, a quiet word with you if I may? It's about your son...."
Soon afterwards, two sets of footsteps come up to Torsteinn's room and his father entered first, sensing his son's distress. Soothing him, he gently introduced him to the Jedi Master (for that was who this man was) and told him with a shaking voice full of pride that a wonderful thing had happened, that he had been "found". Tors did not know what he meant by that and later felt that ironically, this was him being lost more than found. For in the space of days, he was taken from his family, put on board a shuttle and taken to a new world, dressed in unfamiliar clothes and enrolled in a new school in Coruscant, where this enigmatic man was a teacher. Not allowed contact with his parents, Tors had no choice but to learn the ways of these strange people, the Jedi. Not that it was all bad. Through his studies, he learned there were things he could do that ordinary people couldn't, and he learned that in time there were powers he could use which were available to only a fraction of the population of the Galaxy - and that was good. He had to use it solely for the purposes of good and never for his own advancement, only for the protection and guidance of the masses. Torsteinn never forget the reaction of one of the Masters when one day he asked: "But why? I want to become powerful for my own sake."
The Betrayal of the Jedi
"I don't care! I'm going to leave to complete this half-baked education you have grudgingly given me..."
— Destius, aged 15, arguing with his Master
Tors grew in knowledge and skills, learning to create and wield a lightsaber and to harness the power of the Force over the course of ten years. Eventually, he was apprenticed as a Padawan to a young Jedi Knight and grew in body and mind. Still, the desire to know more about power and a resentment of being snatched away from his old home and family smouldered under the eager shine in his eyes. Soon his thirst unsettled his master who sought advice from the Jedi Master about what to do with this talented but seemingly deeply flawed student. Dragged up before the Council, Tors was told in no uncertain terms that he was to cease this line of questioning, or the Dark Side would find a way into his heart and he could no longer be a Jedi. This was probably the worst thing from their point of view that they could have said to him. First, it confirmed to him (as no one had done so before) that there was such a thing as a Dark Side to the Force, and secondly that the great Masters of the Council feared it. That hinted of power and that, together with the lure of being forbidden, only fuelled him on. Without a source or focus, he could not learn new powers of course. But subtle things in his attitude and behaviours changed and it was not missed.
Whatever else they are, the Jedi are not complete fools. The second event in Tor's life came on a day came when after a dispute, Tors' Master blurted out what had been on his lips for a while - that Tors had already fallen to the Dark Side and no longer deserved to be part of the Jedi. Which was rich, considering that the Jedi had ripped him from his home against his will. Tors then fatefully announced that this was true and that he was leaving anyway to seek the Sith and learn their ways to "complete this half-baked education you have grudgingly given me". This, together with a symbolic lighting of his lightsaber, were probably not his best decisions and more to do with a rush of blood to his head. His master shouted and five other Jedi were around him instantly with sabers drawn, their intent clear. Talented as he was, it was all that he could to fight his way to the door of the temple and to flee, with the six Jedi in hot pursuit. The fight had reached a critical point and an exhausted Torsteinn was overwhelmed by the blur of sabers around him. Seeing his only chance, he made a great Force-leap from the edge of the mile-high causeway for a passing vehicle at the same time his master thrust fowards with a force dash and the point of his saber. What should have pierced Tors' heart went through and through his left thigh as he leaped. The jump was therefore not as good as intended and Tors fell short of his target and plummetted for hundreds of metres, seemingly doomed...
With just fifty metres or so to go, he managed to catch the wing of a small freighter with one hand and hung on for dear life. Half-dead, he clung on grimly until his strength was no more....fortunately that came just as the transport descended over the slums and Tors' loss of grip only resulted in his plunging into a heap of garbage which made it only excruciatingly painful and nothing worse.
Lying like carrion, his fading consciouness resigned itself to an ignoble death in the Undercity of Coruscant and to being eventually picked over by vagrants and then by scavengers - yet another unmarked and unnamed body that the underlife would claim to its own, and which would never be recorded in any statistics. As he finally lost his consciousness, his final thought was of his family and what they would feel if they could see him now. He hoped they would suffer the way he had, for ultimately, they had been to blame for his death.
Death, however, was not his fate at this time. He was picked up and ferried away by members of the Red Hand and taken to a dark place deep in the slums of Coruscant. Here, his clothing, weapon and every removable reminder of his Jedi past was taken away from him and he lay on the operating table of a rather disreputable street surgeon who had been removed from the Coruscant Medical Register for unethical and illegal experimentation. Tors' limbs and back were broken, and his left leg in particular was very damaged, having taken a full through-and-through impaling from a lightsaber. Somehow, the surgeon managed to save not only Tors' life but also his limbs and mobility, though his recovery was complicated by multiple episodes of septicaemia due to the unsanitory conditions the surgery was carried out in. One of these infections took a relatively small scar on the right side of his mouth and pulled it, giving his face a marked permanent sneer on one side. The surgeon was able to reduce this but not remove it altogether (although Destius later had a Byss surgeon add a tatoo to this area to mask the scar itself). It took several months of agony and tears, but the teenager fought his way back to his feet and learned to walk again with an effort of sheer willpower.
The gang of smugglers had not however healed him for altruistic purposes. Forced to become one of them and naturally starting at the bottom of the hierarchy, he travelled between worlds, never forgetting his hatred of the Jedi and their manipulation of his life. Already with honed reflexes and his lightsaber training, Tors was a demon with the vibroblade and also learned in this time how to effectively wield a blaster that the Red Hand supplied him with. His job was to protect shipments and cargo of contraband material. Often his youthful looks made enemies underestimate him, and it was usually not until they fell dying that they realised just how deadly this slender boy was. Tors was good at his job, and began to be trusted by the Red Hand.
Secretly however, he hated them, for yet again his life (and so possibly his death) was not under his own control but dictated to by the whim of others. His native cunning and intelligence warned him not to attempt a brazen escape too soon but to prepare long in advance. Thus, he wandered the Galaxy like a shadow for a year, during which time he managed to skim a tithe of funds, fake a break-in to the Red Hand headquarters from a rival gang (the real point of which was to steal back his old lightsaber) and build his own private network of contacts. Ten months after his fateful flight from the Jedi, he finally saw his chance and took it, escaping from his comrades and smuggling himself away to Tund where he he had heard that strange magics were practised by powerful sorcerors.
Unfortunately, these turned out to be fake practitioners of hocus-pocus based on a weak connection with the Force, rather than the true power of the Dark Side. His power was already more than theirs so he left them, having gathered a synth-crystal to replace the Adegan crystal in his lightsaber. He wandered for another year wrapped in more layers of anger and despair, calling himself a "Shadow Warrior" when asked about his origins.
And so it was that he heard of Byss, a dark and forbidding planet in the Deep Core where it was rumoured that a Sith Emperor still lived. Tors had to use all the skills the Jedi and the smugglers had taught him to gain the information about its whereabouts and he arrived there finally tired and yet strangely hopeful. For the thrum of the waves of energy he had first felt as a young child all those years ago at that dinner he felt again but magnified, multiplied and with darker tones. His heart sang as it resonated with these vibrations and he was aware of a number of powerful beings at the spaceport where he landed. And so it was that young Tors finally met the Sith he had been drawn to for years. Aware of his past and training, a Shistavanen Sith, Darth Gevecht, admitted him into the Order and through him Tors met the man who was to become his Master, Darth Devarii.
Aged 17 and apprenticed to this Dark Lord of the Sith and arrayed suitably, Tors was given by his Master a set of Sith Scrolls and commanded to make his first set of choices, which he made as follows (in no order of significance):
- First Scroll of Sith Rune Magic - the search for ultimate hidden power, the most cerebral of Sith magics
- Scroll of Chaos - basic building block of power, utilisation of all aspects of the Force, the essence of being Sith
- Scroll of Control - control to handle power (eg Chaos), to manipulate others & the environment and the development of focus of one's mind
- Scroll of Emotion - ability to harness anger, fear and hate to a fine balance in oneself and to manipulate to unbalance others
The skills and traits were to mould the young Sith's character and future, as we shall later see...and his Master gave him the name Destius to reflect his developing character; Destius, representative of "clandestine", and of "destiny".
Destius came into the Sith in the latter years of the reign of Emperor Validus, whom Darth Devarii served as his number two - the Imperial Executor. Byss was still a great heart of the Empire, served by its own Imperial Garrison, and Destius learned much about the ways of the Sith in this Dark side fastness.
After Byss - a Rule of Two
The end however came with, for reasons best known to himself. Emperor Validus turned the guns of the SSD Ravager - the great Sith flagship - on Byss itself, destroying the heart of his Empire, before journeying into the unknown. Along with Darth Devarii, Destius managed to escape the devastation wrought by their leader, but many of their comrades in the Dark Lords of the Sith were destroyed in the fall of Byss. Some of the other Sith of Byss also managed to escape and formed a base on the ancient Sith planet of Ziost, and it was to here that Darth Devarii and Destius came, raising a temple of their own in the shadow of the great citadel of Ziost.
The Order was but gone however with only Destius his Master - now the new Dark Lord of the Order - and one or two others remaining, Dark Lord Devarii took to wandering across the Galaxy, looking for former comrades who might also have escaped Byss' demise. As Devarii's forays became longer and longer, Destius - by now Devarii's Hand and a Darth in his own right - grew more and more despondent, holding a close watch on the Temple of the Dark Lords of the Sith in the forests of Ziost. The years passed, and Destius grew, mainly teaching himself the ways of the Sith from holocrons left by his Master and hurriedly secreted from the burning temple on Byss. To pass the time, Destius began to amass the great library that the Dark Lords of the Sith currently enjoys.
The years of separation from his Master, made him at points desperate, lonely, angry and betrayed. At times, he wanted to give up the path of the Sith, at other times he felt like rising up and seizing the mantle of Dark Lord for himself. In the end, he did neither, holstering his impatience, waiting for the return of his Master and their brethren.
Thus it was that Darth Destius began to see the decay in the Sith rule on Ziost. Always slightly apart from the other Sith, Destius realised the Sith were fading, becoming pale shadows of the great Orders they had been on Byss. Eventually one of the Sith from Ziost, Darth Kestrel, broke away and landed on the planet of Vjun and began to build himself the foundations of a new Empire there. Destius noted the ambition and talent of this Kestrel and travelled to Vjun many times in the early days, noting how quickly Vjun grew and outshone Ziost with its majesty and power. He formed a personal alliance of sorts with Darth Kestrel, and secured a promise that, should the Dark Lords of the Sith ever need a planet to grow on, Vjun would be open.
So it was that on a return from a few years of fruitless searching, Dark Lord Devarii found himself swiftly upon another ship again bound for Vjun, piloted by his eager young Shadow Hand. Arranging a meeting between Dark Lord Devarii and the new Emperor Kestrel, Destius brokered a deal which meant that Dark Lords of the Sith indeed got their temple on Vjun, designed by the Emperor himself. This was fortunate, the Sith of Ziost being desperate by this time, pulling down the temple there thinking the Dark Lords truly dead and gone. At the same time, Destius travelled to the planet of Dromund Kaas and recreated there using his Force-aided building abilities a facsimile of the ancient Temple of the Dark Force, a dark side religion of Sith Prophets long dead. He decided to use this temple as a firm and independent base for the Order, whilst having the Vjun temple as a local embassy on the Sith Capital. With the allegiance shifted now from the fading Ziost to the rising Vjun, the Dark Lords of the Sith were on a more stable platform from which to grow. However, yet again, Dark Lord Devarii departed on a lengthy journey to the unknown, from which he has still not returned. It is unclear at this stage whether he is still alive, or whether in some deep and dark corner of the Galaxy (or perhaps beyond), he met his final end...
The Return of the Dark Lords
It was around this time, when it was unclear whether Dark Lord Devarii would ever return or not, that out of the blue the former Sith Emperor, Dark Lord Validus, returned to the known regions, bringing with him Darth Mortis - a former Dark Lord of the Sith in his own right. Together, they decided to take back full control of the Order and Darth Destius at last had the support he desired and he swiftly moved, welcoming the unexpected return of both Dark Lords and going back instigating change and using his by-now considerable experience and cunning to the benefit of the Order he loved above all else. Along with these two former leaders came other great Sith of old including Darth Gevecht, Darth Adazca, Darth Ptas and Darth Caliga.
Like a coiled spring released after decades of isolation and frustration, Darth Destius took the arrival of the Dark Lords as a sign to swiftly move to revive this greatest of Orders. Using their authority and experience married with his organisation and attention to detail, he guided the Order into a return from the dead which was nothing short of miraculous. Never before had an Order as silent and dead for so long been successfully revived, and yet with their assistance, this was achieved.
A few years ((months in SL terms)) later, the Dark Lords was revived to a thriving and respected Sith Order and Academy, rising in prominence until the other Sith of Vjun began to fear their rise in their own back-yard and drove them from their planet with a surprise and unprovoked attack on their local temple, destroying it utterly. This however, was not quite the crushing defeat it may have initially seemed to those on Vjun, for the Dark Lords of the Sith merely retreated to Dromund Kaas and grew even more rapidly, colonising this dreadful world and turning themselves once more into the premier Order of Sith as befitted its great lineage. During this occupation of Dromund Kaas, Destius stumbled on the original Dark Force Temple, buried in the swamps of the planet. After enlisting Dark Lord Validus' aid, the original temple was raised from the depths with great sorcery and restored. A grander, darker building than the facsimile, it became the home of the Order and Darth Destius destroyed his own creation on the other side of the planet so that it would never fall into the wrong hands. Now settled and regally powerful once more, the Dark Lords of the Sith began to be approached by various other Orders, including those of Vjun who had once betrayed them, for support in the quest to purify the Sith by culling the weak.
The Reformation of the Sith Empire
Eventually, the Dark Lord Validus expressed a desire to return to his ancient seat of government on Byss, the Order having outgrown the temple on Dromund Kaas. Darth Destius travelled to the shattered remnants of the home of his youth and using his Sorcerous abilties, stabilised the volcanic planetoid enough that Darth Validus could return there and build his Empire anew.
On the newly-colonised planet of Byss, Darth Destius assisted Emperor Validus as his Hand over the many years that followed, helping to oversee the transformation of Byss from initially little more than a fortified camp to an impregnable fortress and finally into an urban cityscape, dominated by the capital city of Khayal. When his old friend and colleague Darth Gevecht rose to challenge and kill Emperor Validus, Darth Destius stood apart and then saw Validus return in a reborn Sith species form to slay his usurper. However, whilst Validus' physical form was vigorous and youthful, Destius could sense the decay of his rule overall, degraded into self-aggrandisement and above all the wish to rule for perpetuity, no matter the cost. So it was that when he discovered that Gevecht had also not permanently perished but had had his essence captured by his former apprentice Darth Nyx and transferred to a clone of his body in a distant world, Destius decided to assist his old friend in overthrowing the Sith Emperor.
He distracted Emperor Validus from the true threat posed by Novo, the reborn Darth Gevecht, by declaring himself unilaterally a Dark Lord of the Sith and thereby giving the Emperor concern that Destius might be about to challenge him. So it was that Novo's return to the heart of the Sith Empire went unmarked by even a great Sith Sorcerer like Validus, and the final showdown when it happened was totally a surprise to the incumbent Emperor. Faced by the possibility of a united opposition of Novo, Destius, Nyx and others, Emperor Validus abdicated and departed the known Galaxy on one of his long voyages, leaving Novo as the new Sith Emperor.
Dark Lord Destius assisted Emperor Novo in consolidating his grip on the Sith Empire and extending its reach through the Galaxy to new worlds. Novo's rule was a time of expansion and power, but his aggressive stance caused alarm in other parts of the Galaxy. It was perhaps not a total surprise then that a terrorist - later confirmed to be the Imperial Sith Military's General NC-304 - attacked and successfully blew up the Sith Emperor's flagship with him inside it, ending the rule of Emperor Novo.
Finding himself suddenly the most qualified Sith to take over from Novo as Sith Emperor, Destius seized his chance and took the Imperial Throne for himself. One of his first acts was to name as Imperial Executor his co-leader of the Order, Dark Lady Rowe and he took the Sith Emperor into a new era of stability and prosperity. Under his watchful gaze, the Dark Architect Darth Infestus set about conducting a grand reconstruction of the planet of Byss. The capital was moved from the dryly-named "Imperial Center" to the new Imperial city of Khayal, and fashioned in grander, more ambitious forms as befitting the capital of a Sith Empire.
In the years since he has taken the throne of the Sith Empire, Dark Lord Destius has grown to like being at the very heart of power. For so many long years the assistant or understudy to a leader, he revelled now in being the one to whom all others turned. And it is rumoured, like his predecessor Emperor Validus, that he has no intention of ever dying and turning power over to another. With his formidable powers of Sith Sorcery and Alchemy, access to cutting-edge scientific innovation and with the wealth of an Empire at his disposal, Dark Lord Destius may well have advanced his knowledge of the Dark Side of the Force to a stage where he is able to hold death at bay, for who knows how long? Despite periodically over decades becoming slightly frailer and less vigorous, he always emerges shortly afterwards youthful and full of vigour and potency. He has shown no interest whatsoever in training a successor or in raising a child because - it is said - that he cannot in his vast imagination conceive of a worthy enough individual to follow him...other than himself.
The one blot on his reign so far - though not directly attributable to himself - was the loss of the captured Jedi world of Ossus to a coalition of Jedi and Ysanna led by Master Leonardis who had combined their forces to cast a unified Wall of Light, stripping the local Sith rulers of their connection to the Force and blocking Ossus from the reach of the Sith Empire for the foreseeable future. Emperor Destius did not take well to this news and, after slaying all those on his side involved with the defence of Ossus, vowed to have his revenge on the Jedi of Ossus and has already made moves to permanently blockade that world from the outside Galaxy.
( To be continued...)
Many years of quiet reflection since he joined the Sith have given Dark Lord Destius a quiet cunning and endless patience, which make him a dangerous foe, albeit under an urbane and polished veneer of civility. Be under no illusions however; he can tap the full power of the Dark Side when needed to act in controlled rage.
Like many Arkanians, Dark Lord Destius is an accomplished scientist, particularly expert in the medical / genetics field. When combined with his deep understanding of Sith Alchemy, he has found a way to combat the aging process which by now would have rendered him elderly. With Dark-Sided aid, he has renewed his entire genome without the need for external clones (this is not to say that he does not have any however, he is a known student of Sidious' work) and he has an improved (but not complete) genetic resistance to poisons and disease, as well as an accelerated healing (again not infallible). Again like many Arkanians, he has experimented with cybernetic technology and whilst he is not in favour of crass demonstrations of machinery, he has made some subtle enhancements to himself which cannot be detected easily - for instance an intraocular filter to be used when in high-brightness environments which Arkanians usually struggle with along with macrozoom, a custom-made latent-memory enhancement chip which is usually quiescent unless called upon to avoid the sort of pychosis issues that users of the more intrustive Biotech Industries Borg Construct Aj^6 implant and the Iskalloni race suffer from.
Several of his Apprentices have failed him in the past, not sharing the qualities of his patience and endurance, and they were discarded, cast aside like the empty husks they were in truth. So far only five of his Apprentices - Aeon, Scrathio, Derriphan, Moi'Rai and Decon - showed promise and were truly worthy vessels for his experience and knowledge to fill.
Dark Lord Destius is high in the hierarchy of the oldest of Sith Orders: Dark Lord of the Order and Emperor of the Sith. Aside from this, he is also one of the High Prophets (formerly Supreme Prophet) of the Dark Lords, using his vision and understanding of the currents of the Dark Side and manipulating it to achieve the ends he desires.
Behind the Scenes
Dark Lord Destius is played by the Second Life avatar "Torsteinn Elvehjem" since March 2007. Before this, however, a previous account of his (with the same IC name) was around for the middle portion of Darth Padar's reign in Korriban in 2005. He is the sim owner of Dromund Kaas and Byss, the current home of the Dark Lords of the Sith, and has previously also owned the Adascåndr (Arkania) sim.