The Alliance That Never Was: An Account of the Elder Compact and Its Aftermath
by Errik Nimdok, Professor of Jedi/Sith History, University of Alderaan
by Errik Nimdok, Professor of Jedi/Sith History, University of Alderaan
This article is meant to provide a cohesive, if secondhand, account of the events of the failed Elder Compact and so-called “Jedi schism” that followed. It is written from an IC perspective in the hopes of clarifying “what really went down”. That said, it should not be taken as an official Chaos canon document. This is a history, not the history, so if you spot inaccuracies, generalizations, oversimplifications, and bias, please direct all your criticisms to the nutty professor that wrote it. I tried my best to depict everyone and everything equally, but since I was a participant in many of these events, bias is inevitable. I realize this was/is a sensitive subject, so keep in mind that I did this for fun (I’m a History major, so yes, writing a 12 page essay about a fictional schism is my idea of fun) and because I wanted something I could reference quickly, without having to wade through pages and pages of threads. I’ve shared it here for the Chaos community to use as a resource.
At Polaris Court on Naboo, representatives from the three so-called “elder nations”, galactic factions which had lasted more than a decade, gathered together. The summit was described as an emergency meeting meant to finally discuss the looming threat of the Bryn'adûl. The Draelvasier horde had already wiped out several systems located within the territories of the Sith Empire and the Silver Jedi Concord, and were also encroaching dangerously near the borders of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. For many who faced the destruction of their homeworlds and the genocide of their species, these talks came much too late.
Those in attendance among the Elder Council, as it came to be known, had a history of open hostilities with one another. To say nothing of the ancient philosophical/religious divide between the Jedi and the Sith, it was plain that neither faction trusted the Confederacy, nor did the reps of the CIS trust TSE or the SJC. Over the course of the meeting (which in most accounts was said to have been quite brief) an alliance was proposed, but dismissed. The details of this treaty, which came to be known as the Elder Compact, were never fully ratified as the attendees were unable to come to a consensus. Disagreements aside, what ultimately proved fatal to the proceedings was the requirement set forth by the Sith Empire that anyone who participated in the alliance would have to provide assistance to them in their fight against the New Imperial Order and Galactic Alliance as well as engage in open warfare with the Bryn'adûl.
The Sith Empire was facing three enemies at once, attacking from two fronts. The NIO, which had splintered off from TSE following a massive purge of all Sith within their ranks, were engaged in a joint effort with the Galactic Alliance and its affiliated Jedi enclave, the New Jedi Order, to eradicate TSE. The NIO was fanatical in its determination to destroy the Empire it had once been a part of; their vicious campaign proved highly effective, eroding the Sith Empire’s western border. Therefore, the Sith sought to “save their own skins”. It was not merely enough to gain allies in the fight against the Bryn'adûl; they also needed help with the NIO/GA, who were rapidly overtaking the Bryn as far as being a threat to their Empire.
It’s obvious to see why this didn’t fly. Tensions were already running high between old enemies, and there was simply no reason for the SJC or the CIS to fight the NIO or the GA on behalf of the Sith. In fact, to do so would be against their own interests. The Elder Compact collapsed when it became apparent that TSE had other motives which proved wholly unpopular (to say the least) with both parties.
The issues brought up at the meeting, such as the proposed blanket protection of Midvinter by the Sith, did not go away—and of course, the problem of what was to be done about the Bryn'adûl incursion remained unsolved. Despite the failure of the summit to generate anything concrete, rumors and hearsay spread rapidly. Startlingly, false reports and fake news were published even in what were considered reputable news outlets. Much of the information about the meeting which was carried far and wide was inaccurate, exaggerated, and in some cases downright false. The damage done by these lies and twistings of the truth would have volatile results.
At the time, there was no love lost between the NJO or the Silver Jedi Order, the Jedi enclave attached to the Concord, despite being neighbors and sharing the same philosophical roots. While it is true many members of the New Jedi Order also held dual membership with the Silver Jedi, animosity had begun to fester among them. Many in the NJO viewed the Silvers as cowards, citing their failure to protect the Core from the One Sith many years prior, while the Silvers believed the NJO were too militant, engaging in behavior unbefitting of the Jedi. Both critiques had merit. The Silvers had largely retreated from the galactic stage, rarely contributing even to the defense of worlds which would have greatly benefitted from Jedi protection. Meanwhile, the NJO had been accused of war crimes, said to have been spurred on by the commands of the GA government and their allies in the NIO. While the two groups had remained on friendly terms up until that point, this ill feeling had lurked just beneath the surface for some time.
The mere suggestion of the Elder Compact was the spark which ignited these tensions. At a time when no one knew for certain what their leaders had decided upon, conferences were being held to discuss the Compact as if it had already been ratified. An impending attack upon Sith-held Dantooine by NIO and GA forces was presumed to be the site of the first battle which would be fought by Jedi and Sith as allies. Many Jedi signed on with either side and prepared for combat deployment, unaware that they were being misled with regards to the validity of the alliance.
One particular conference, called by then Silver Jedi Grandmaster Coren Starchaser, would set the tone for the rest of what followed. Why Starchaser, who was present at the Elder Council summit, spoke to those present as if the Compact had passed, is unknown. It may be that he was misled or given false information (some of his comments imply that the Compact was the brainchild of the Concord’s politicians, not its Jedi, although he could have been trying to deflect the blame from his compatriots), or perhaps he was attempting to quell the rumors, yet found himself overwhelmed by those who criticized the Silver Jedi for even giving the idea any consideration in the first place. The fact that Starchaser alone was tasked with explaining the situation to the rest of the Silver Jedi is troubling in and of itself, but also could indicate that the leaders of the Silvers were not all in agreement on this matter.
During the conference, numerous individuals expressed their contempt for the idea of an alliance with the Sith. The typical reasoning brought up was that the Sith could not be trusted. Lingering scars from previous betrayals, such as the infamous deception of Taeli Raaf which culminated in the Sacking of Coruscant years earlier, contributed to the prevalence of hatred and distrust of the Sith. Generally the Jedi found the possibility of such an alliance disturbing, unacceptable, and not worth the trouble. Some did not even consider the Bryn'adûl a significant threat to begin with. Others were so infuriated they opted to leave the Silver Jedi altogether, defecting to the New Jedi Order and other enclaves. Coren Starchaser himself, faced with enormous pressure from his fellow Jedi, stated that not even he could support the Compact.
Yet there were also those few who did. Most prominent among this minority was Laertia Io, who along with her associate Syd Celsius, served as the primary voice of dissent. Io’s single-minded focus on the Bryn'adûl, fueled by her personal experiences in previous battles with them at Yurb and Nar Kreeta, stressed that the Draelvasier horde had surpassed the Sith as a threat. After all, the Bryn'adûl did not care about the distinctions between the Jedi and the Sith. They would kill and destroy indiscriminately in their quest to end all life in the galaxy. Yet Io and Celsius were also willing to fight their fellow Jedi on behalf of the Sith in order to preserve the Compact.
Io and Celsius’ remarks were met with immediate derision and refutation. The Sith Empire was at the weakest they had been in years, it was said. The genocide enacted by the Bryn'adûl was, in a twisted way, a blessing in disguise, as it would hasten the demise of the hated Sith. Never mind all who had died at their hands and would die in the future. It was also suggested that the Sith, known for their policy of no mercy, would turn genocide upon the Draelvasier species in return, which the Jedi could not condone regardless of the Bryn'adûl’s violent culture. No sentient species deserved extinction.
At the end of the conference, Io and Celsius departed for the Silver Rest on Kashyyyk, where they attempted to drum up support for the alliance among the Silver Jedi there. Their efforts were largely in vain, as shortly after, the news of the Compact’s failure finally began to circulate. In light of these updated reports, a second Jedi conference was called on board Tribunal Station in the Outer Rim. Cotan Sar’andor, formerly of the Outer Rim Coalition, hosted the event, but it was the leaders of the New Jedi Order who did most of the talking.
Given my previous characterization of the NJO, this should come as little surprise. The NJO are by far the more active and confrontational of the two major Jedi enclaves, seeking to bring the battle to their enemies rather than wait to be attacked. This position has earned them both praise and criticism in equal measure. The Tribunal dialogue was spearheaded by Ryv Karis, the NJO’s “Sword of the Jedi”, who made a name for himself in the role of a Jedi warrior along the lines of Anakin Skywalker during the early Clone Wars.
Karis opened the discussion by laying the blame for the attempted alliance upon the Concord’s politicians rather than the Silver Jedi Order. One Concord politician, Ipalli Torru, had recently published a letter addressed to the galaxy at large, urging them to “compromise for our future” in an effort to drum up support for the doomed Compact. Anyone who supported it was thus painted as a political sellout or (at best) misguided. But the first utterances of “Sith traitor” and other related monikers would be lobbed in Tribunal’s halls, as those gathered accused each other of colluding with their sworn enemies. Some still supported the basic idea of the Compact, which was to work with anyone who was threatened by the Bryn'adûl, regardless of affiliation or ideology. But most were unwilling to take such a risk, and were highly suspicious of anyone who showed a willingness to compromise in the face of evil.
Laertia Io and Syd Celsius appeared once again as the primary voice of the Compact’s supporters. The conversation shifted to issues of morality and what qualified as “evil” when Karis asked “Are you with me?” in an attempt to get those present to at least agree they would not fight each other. Tom Kovack, a Silver Jedi Padawan, pointed out that the NJO, by working with the forces of the NIO, a fascist totalitarian regime composed of former Sith, had already allied themselves with a morally questionable faction. But the NIO were at least considered a more trustworthy organization than TSE.
The conference came to a dramatic end when Io and Celsius were asked by NJO Knight Auteme Denko-Durren to leave, on the grounds that they were causing a disruption and failing to contribute anything useful to the debate. In a final show of disrespect before their departure, Io spat at Auteme and stormed out. It was clear that the Compact had, without a doubt, utterly failed to garner enough support. Yet Io and Celsius, along with Celsius’ Padawan, Starlin Rand, former Silver Jedi Grandmaster Thurion Heavenshield, and new Grandmaster Sakadi Marathi Sinvala of the Silver Jedi Order would fight alongside the Sith at Dantooine against their fellow Jedi, albeit each for their own reasons.
Much was made of the fact that Irveric Tavlar, the de facto leader of the NIO’s armies and head of the invasion of Dantooine, had been born and raised there. NIO forces rallied around the idea that they were taking back what was theirs. The Sith preyed upon this mentality in ironic fashion by refusing to evacuate Dantooine’s civilian populace, despite having been warned well in advance of the impending attack. Citizens were instead armed with blasters and vibroblades and told they must stay behind to protect their homes and families from the invaders who would attempt to seize it from them.
The CIS offered some support of the Sith in the form of troops and starships. Among the Silver Jedi aiding the Sith, there were a grand total of five people officially documented as having participated in the defense of Dantooine.
Among these were Laertia Io, Syd Celsius, and Celsius’ Padawan Starlin Rand. Rand was the sort of apprentice who would follow his master anywhere, and therefore had no real allegiance to the Sith; in the Dantooine Enclave, he stole several items from the archives and attempted to smuggle them offworld, only to find himself fighting his fellow Jedi, culminating in a duel with Cotan Sar’andor, of all people, in which young Rand lost his right hand. The injury to her Padawan prompted Celsius’ departure from the battlefield to seek medical aid.
Laertia Io got into a duel with Ryv Karis which ended in a stalemate. The incident would earn her the awe and infamy of her fellow Jedi. Both cycled between trying to reason with the other and attempting to kill them outright. Sakadi Marathi Sinvala, who had taken over leadership of the Silver Jedi after Coren Starchaser stepped down, fought beside the Sith Empress Joycelyn Zambrano, only to turn on her when the newly crowned Empress attempted to kill New Jedi Knight Auteme Denko-Durren, whom they encountered on the battlefield.
Most shocking and poignant of all was the sight of Thurion Heavenshield fighting alongside Darth Carnifex, the former Sith Emperor. Heavenshield’s motives were entirely personal. As king of Midvinter, he had made a deal with the Sith in order to protect his homeworld from the Draelvasier in exchange for providing aid. Yet when faced with his fellow Jedi as opponents, Heavenshield was quick to come to their defense against Carnifex.
In the aftermath of this mess of a battle, consequences for those who had participated on the side of the Sith were demanded by the New Jedi Order, who stormed the Silver Jedi Temple on Commenor to force the Silvers’ hand. Once again Ryv Karis took the lead in this endeavor. While he stressed to the NJO that they needed to give the Silvers a chance to speak, an atmosphere of brooding hopelessness and tension quickly descended over this third and final conference.
Many present were still recovering from injuries sustained in battle. A medical station was set up to deal with any potential medical emergencies that might arise. There was a sense that this meeting might definitely erupt into violence, depending on the outcome. Finally, an official statement was made by a protocol droid speaking on behalf of Master Sinvala: “There never was an official alliance with the Sith. The Silver Jedi who were present on Dantooine acted on their own. They had reasons to be there, and most, if not all, likely with good intentions. Therefore it is important to recognize that what happened on Dantooine is not as black and white as some in this room claim it to be. It is nuanced and complex, and therefore the Silver Assembly will judge each case individually… We will judge those who identify themselves as Jedi killers, or those who openly admit their willingness to do so, very harshly. And we trust the New Jedi Order to do the same.”
Thurion Heavenshield was the first to offer up his lightsaber and submit to punishment for his actions. Starlin Rand also followed his example. Laertia Io, present without Syd Celsius, was the only one who refused to submit. She stated that she did not regret her actions and would kill more Jedi if necessary. Io left before she could be forcibly detained and brought to trial; her whereabouts are currently unknown, though she has been sighted in a few battles since, fighting alongside the CIS and the Sith against the Jedi.
There were still those on the NJO side who wanted to punish the entirety of the Silver Jedi Order for the sins of a handful of people who had acted independently. They based this on the fact that many more had signed up for battle on the Sith side than had actually fought at Dantooine. Once the news broke that the Elder Compact had not been ratified, most had rescinded their vows to come to the planet’s defense. Naturally, the Silver Jedi, most of whom had not supported the Compact in the first place and certainly didn’t participate in the chaos at Dantooine, were totally resistant to this idea. Consequences would instead be levied out against those who were directly involved. But neither Thurion Heavenshield nor Starlin were ever officially exiled, once their respective situations were examined in more detail.
The NJO and the Silvers alike were left cold by the proceedings. It could be said that no one was completely satisfied with what was done in the aftermath of Dantooine. Thurion Heavenshield, considered by many to be a great hero, had stepped down, retreating to Midvinter and minimizing his involvement in Jedi affairs. Laertia Io, the most grievous offender, had fled before she could be brought to justice. Syd Celsius didn’t even bother to show up. Starlin Rand was just a kid. The anticlimactic ending of the entire affair left many wanting more.
In many ways, they were back to where they had started. The NJO still saw the Silvers as cowardly, standing by while evil flourished, simply because striking first didn’t fit their philosophy. The Silvers felt that the NJO were too bloodthirsty. Blame was pinned on Ryv Karis for egging his people on and widening the divide between the two enclaves, or on the Silver Jedi’s leaders for misleading people in the early stages, or even on the news outlets which had reported false information.
Now that some of the dust has settled, many questions remain. Have the Jedi schismed, even if only informally? Is the relationship between the Silvers and the NJO irreparably damaged by these events? The division certainly seems wider than it has ever been, despite Ryv Karis accepting Thurion Heavenshield’s peace offering on Commenor. Though it failed to find acceptance, the Elder Compact is still talked about and alluded to by Jedi across the galaxy; the fallout from it will influence the decisions made today and tomorrow. The legacy of the alliance that never was is still growing, and will continue to grow, but only time will tell what direction it will grow in.
The Elder Council - Thread in which the Elder Compact was supposed to have been discussed.
Special Broadcast: Information Leaked From the Silver Jedi Concord - Sensationalist news article published presenting the Compact as ratified.
Compromise For Our Future: A Senator’s Bid To the Galaxy - Letter written by Senator Ipalli Torru.
Growing Tensions and Civil Unrest - News article describing a statement issued by a Concord politician to the GA.
No Quarter: NIO Invasion of Dantooine OOC Thread - Includes ally sign up sheet, in which dozens of people signed on to ally with the Sith.
Life Over Politics - First conference thread.
Eve of No Return - Private thread in which Syd Celsius and Laertia Io travel to the Silver Rest.
Can’t Say I Didn’t Warn You, Huh? - Second conference thread.
No Quarter - Dantooine invasion thread.
Stand With Me, Stand Against Me, Or Stand Aside - Third and final conference thread.