Out of Character Information
Intent: The intent of this submission is fleshing out the Chapter of Night, the Dark Side-aligned branch of the Confederacy’s Knights Obsidian, and to create an educational institution in line with Confederate ideals.
Image Credit: Arundel Castle in West Sussex, England, Srina Talon for the art she provided in the Confederacy's Art Folder, and Gerwald Lechner for his edit of the Academy's Header!
Landing Platform: [X]
East Talon Road: [X]
Night Tower: [X]
Academy Campus: [X]
Thorn Hall: [X]
West Talon Road: [X]
Exodus Arena: [X]
Heavy atmospheric turbulence: [X]
Structure Name: Thorn Academy
Classification: Educational Institution
Affiliation: Confederacy of Independent Systems
Accessibility: The Thorn Academy is located on the desolate planet Apatros, where it is isolated from galactic society for the sole purpose of privacy. For the wellbeing and safety of both students and staff alike, third-party access to the Academy grounds is highly restricted and needs to be approved by either the Lord Executor or the Academy Headmaster. Trespassing upon Academy grounds will result in prosecution and appropriate corrective action to the fullest extent permitted by Confederate law.
Description: An old, elegant castle that has been extensively restored and remodelled over the years, the Thorn Academy would not have mistaken for a museum or the residence of a Viceroy. At first glance it differs very little from other high-class educational institutions, if not for the extensive security presence on the forty acres of land that make up the Academy grounds and surround the castle both inside- and outside its walls.
Points of Interest
*All Points of Interest are image links.
- Landing Platform: Located outside the castle walls, the Landing Platform of the Thorn Academy isn’t nearly big enough to be considered an actual Spaceport. It is mainly used to receive bulk orders of new supplies and, at the start or end of the academic year, the transport of arriving or departing students and staff. A less-known function of this facility, and the sole reason why the Landing Platform isn’t located within the castle walls, is the processing of equipment manufactured by the Obsidian Forge; something the students of Thorn Academy shouldn’t be confronted with for their own safety and wellbeing.
- East Talon Road: Named after the benefactor of the Thorn Academy, Exarch of the Confederacy Srina Talon, the East Talon Road runs between the Landing Platform and the Academy Campus. It is roughly half a mile long and designated strictly for foot traffic, with the notable exception being the cargo droids that ferry supplies, and sometimes the occasional student, between the two facilities. Halfway between the Landing Platform and the Academy Campus, the East Talon Road splits off into a small side-road that leads up to a bluff; connecting the Night Tower on top of this bluff to the East Talon Road.
- Night Tower: The Night Tower is the only facility on the Academy grounds which is strictly off-limits to both students and staff alike. Only the Obsidian Masters and a very limited number of Obsidian Knights, all of whom are personally selected by the Lord Executor, are allowed entrance into this facility; officially due to the presence of a strong Force Nexus attuned to the Dark Side. While this is technically true, the actual reason why the Night Tower is so strictly off-limits is due to the Obsidian Forge, which is powered by said Dark Side Nexus and located deep within the catacombs of the tower.
- Academy Campus: The Campus of the Thorn Academy is housed in the main building of the castle. It is split into three different wings surrounding the courtyard. Located in the East Wing are the dormitories of the Academy’s female students and the private rooms of the female staff members. On the other side of the courtyard, located in the West Wing, are similar dormitories and private rooms for the Academy’s male students and staff members. These two wings are connected by the North Wing, which can be accessed both from within and through the courtyard. This communal wing houses the Main Hall where meals take place on set times each day, various recreational areas, the Infirmary, and the educational floors; including the offices of Academy staff, the Library, and various classrooms, sparring grounds, meditation areas, and summoning laboratories.
- Thorn Hall (as seen from the Thorn Gardens): Much smaller than the other three wings surrounding the courtyard, Thorn Hall is located in the South Wing. Separated from the other three interconnected wings by the Talon Road, Thorn Hall serves as the Headquarters for the Chapter of Night and is off-limits to students; instead only accessible by Academy staff and approved members of the Knights Obsidian. Thorn Hall houses the Dark Council chambers, the chambers of the Lord Executor, private rooms and studies for sworn members of the Chapter, and several guest rooms. It also features a subterranean vault and a fortified armory, as the Chapter of Night directs the security of the entire forty acres of Academy grounds from Thorn Hall.
- West Talon Road (The start of the West Talon Road as it leaves the Academy Campus): The West Talon Road is the main road that spans the full length of the Thorn Academy grounds. It is roughly a hundred miles long, not counting the numerous side-roads that connect to the various other facilities of the Thorn Academy, and it is designated for both vehicular- and foot traffic. Contrary to the much smaller East Talon Road, the sheer length of the West Talon Road makes it impossible to travel by foot and as such, in addition to the automated Academy buses that travel the road in a 24-hour timetable, the Thorn Academy rents out personal speeders to students and staff alike.
- Exodus Arena (as seen from the West Talon Road): After the incident of 855 ABY, when a stray ball obliterated the statue of the Lord Executor in the courtyard, it was decided that a dedicated Forceball facility was required on Academy grounds. Located on the West Talon Road, roughly two miles away from the Academy Campus, now lies the Exodus Arena; home of the Thorn Academy’s renowned Forceball fields. While the Exodus Arena also houses various other facilities, including the swimming pool and the equestrian fields, Forceball is easily the most prominent sport.
High: While visible security precautions are kept to a minimum for the safety and wellbeing of both students and staff alike, the presence of both the Night Tower and Thorn Hall on Academy grounds effectively classify the Thorn Academy as a high security location within Confederate space.
-Heavy atmospheric turbulence (One of Apatros' many thunderstorms): Even though the Metus Plateau on which the Thorn Academy is located has been the subject of extensive terraformation efforts to support the presence of an educational institution, the planet Apatros itself remains a largely untouched volcanic wasteland. Hot air rising from the planet’s heated surface is the source of strong, constant thermal turbulence which is further amplified near the edges of the terraformation zone, where the hot air collides with the much cooler air of the Metus Plateau to create the permanent heavy thunderstorms present in the area. Even without the presence of a powerful Force Nexus on the planet, the thermal turbulence and thunderstorms would play havoc on any ship descending down to- or ascending from Thorn Academy; without the assistance of Apatros Aerospace Control in the form of an approach vector, navigating the atmosphere of Apatros is both dangerous and very stress intensive.
- Automated defences: One huge advantage of the Confederacy’s droid armies is that they don’t require extensive housing facilities, and can be kept out of sight from both Academy students and staff alike. Stored in the fortified armory of Thorn Hall and the subterranean hangars of the Landing Platform, the Chapter of Night commands a powerful garrison of Battle Droids and Droid Fighters capable of delaying a potential attacker long enough for reinforcements to arrive.
- Chapter of Night: While the Thorn Chapter is scattered throughout Confederate space, the Dark Side chapter of the Knights Obsidian maintain a sizable presence within their Headquarters of Thorn Hall. Dangerous and highly-trained warriors in their own right, the Chapter of Night stands ready to defend their home and fight any potential attacker aside their vast garrison of droids.
- Capital Armada: Given Apatros’ close proximity to Geonosis, the Capital of the Confederacy, the Apatros System is frequently patrolled by ships of the Capital Armada. In fact, on the sheer condition that they don’t disturb the Thorn Academy, fighters of the Capital Armada frequently practice atmospheric flight manoeuvres in Apatros’ turbulent upper atmosphere. Due to the presence of a powerful Force Nexus attuned to the Dark Side, the Thorn Academy is required to send a safety message to Geonosis every thirty-six hours; failure to send an all-clear message will prompt the Capital Armada to dispatch ships in order to check up on the Academy.
It is hard to say just how old the castle that houses Thorn Academy really is. While there is evidence that it was built a long time ago, possibly dating centuries back, most likely when the Force Nexus on Apatros was either first discovered or possibly even rediscovered, it remains difficult to determine an exact age. Irregardless, the castle is elegant, sturdy and, after extensive restoration efforts by the Knights Obsidian upon rediscovering the Force Nexus, inhabited by the Chapter of the Night. When the Viceroyalty of the Confederacy of Independent Systems questioned the traditional teaching methods of existing Dark Side Academies and called for an overhaul of the educational system where students wouldn’t be bullied or even downright murdered for being deemed too weak, the castle became the location of choice; it had a strong Force Nexus attuned to the Dark Side close by, and the Dark Side chapter of the Knights Obsidian were already housed there as it was.
In the aftermath of The Omega War, the plan for a new Dark Side Academy was approved and the limited terraforming efforts of Apatros began. Named the “Metus Plateau” after the Vicelord of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, the terraforming efforts were centered at Thorn Castle and the ridge upon which it was built; a total of roughly forty acres which were redeveloped in order to make the climate more suited for long-term habitation.
Thorn Academy, as the Castle is called after its conversion into a dedicated educational facility, is now the main Dark Side Academy within the Confederacy of Independent Systems. It is a peaceful place where students, regardless of species and gender, can study- and train in the Dark Side of the Force in relative safety, without the fear of bullying or assault which plagued traditional Dark Side Academies. In line with the ideals of the Viceroyalty, not everyone studying at the Thorn Academy is required to join the Knights Obsidian either; Thorn Academy also features a wide variety of other studies for those Force Sensitive citizens who wish for a normal career and merely want learn how to keep their Force Sensitivity under control.