DB:Dark Side Compendium Litany of the Grand Masters

From Emperor's Hammer Encyclopaedia Imperia

Litany I: The Beginning

Most of the history of the Brotherhood prior to joining the Emperor's Hammer has been lost in the mists of antiquity. When Kane Vader, the first known Grand Master, came to the Aurora System his archives were not complete or extensive, and he and his servants were loath to speak of the past. Despite this, the Dark Brotherhood was welcomed into Ronin's vision of a new Imperial order. In gratitude Kane Vader appointed Ronin as the first Headmaster of the Brotherhood's new institution of learning, the Shadow Academy.

Kane Vader did not remain as Grand Master long after the Brotherhood joined the Emperor's Hammer. Unused to working overtly and with such freedom, Kane retired into the darkness whence he came, leaving another to take the title of Grand Master.

Litany II: A Time of Awakening

Lord Jedgar Octavian Paladin became Grand Master after Kane left. Unlike his predecessor, Paladin had served within the Strike Fleet prior to joining the Brotherhood, and had a clear idea of the power and resources available to him. The shrewd and somewhat ruthless man wasted no time in exploiting those objects for the Brotherhood's benefits.

The Shadow Academy came to full fruition during this time, its first incarnation consisting of three phases of Order-specific training for the Krath and Sith. Robes were finalized, and the dress created during Paladin's reign was used with little alteration for many years. The first edition of the Dark Side Compendium was released, as well as the first Dark Voices; and the Envoys were also created, they were originally conceived as a Brotherhood-aligned Fleet Commander's Honor Guard, with a similar point system. Weekly (IRC) meetings also became a fixture during Paladin's time. It is also assumed that the Main Body of the Dark Council, as it exists today (excluding Seneschal), was formed as well. The membership of the Brotherhood during this period was around 100.

Paladin was rewarded greatly for his efforts as Grand Master. He received a promotion to Fleet Admiral and the Medal of Honor. After a reign of approximately eight months, Paladin retired from Grand Master. Paladin was one of the most dynamic leaders of the Brotherhood, and he remained with it for a very long time serving in other positions, most notably Justicar until it was dissolved. He also served as the Strike Fleet's High Inquisitor until his disappearance, which some assumed to be his retirement into a life of solitude and study.

Litany III: The First Interim

Succeeding Paladin as Grand Master was Kreeayt Havoc, the previous Deputy Grand Master. While Kreeayt's reign was short (approximately three months), he introduced important new concepts into the Brotherhood. The most noteworthy being Praetors and Magistrates, which were intended to mirror the TIE Corps' Command Attaches and Assistants. Praetors were originally given the rank of Dark Side Adept and formed a Praetorian Diet which could be used for voting purposes. Magistrates were originally given the rank of Krath Priest/Sith Warrior. At the end of Kreeayt's reign he was elevated to Executive Officer of the Strike Fleet. Brotherhood membership had doubled now boasting a little over 200 members.

Kreeayt's Deputy Grand Master, Crona, was the next Grand Master. The exact date of his appointment is unknown, as the first Dark Voice released in his reign is not dated. However, by this time the Brotherhood's membership was reaching 400 and the Obelisk were now the third Order within the Brotherhood. Information from former Grand Master Jac Cotelin states that during Crona's reign the Brotherhood had slipped into a relative state of torpidity, and that Tau Squadron (the Brotherhood's Elite Squadron) became a serious source of dissent. After an altercation with the Fleet Commander the High Court and the Fleet Commander ousted Crona from Grand Master and expelled him from the Strike Fleet.

Litany IV: A Return to Order

After Crona's expulsion Grand Admiral Ronin appointed Jac Cotelin as the new Grand Master. Cotelin began by purging the Dark Council and expelling Tau Squadron upon appointment, paving the way for a new generation of leaders to control the direction of the Brotherhood. The most notable achievements of Cotelin's reign was the establishment of Clans and Houses as a means to structure the membership of the Dark Brotherhood, the expansion of ranks between Sith Warrior and Dark Side Adept, the creation of the first medals, establishing the position of Lord Chamberlain and the coming to power of the mysterious Star Chamber.

While previous accounts of the Star Chamber place it as a thing of ominous power the truth of the matter is that it was the "Clan of the Dark Council." While not every Dark Council member was a part of it, previous Grand Masters and long-standing Council members were among it's members. It was the Star Chamber that chose the direction of the Brotherhood during Cotelin's reign and the Dark Council served to implement the Star Chamber's will. Presumably, the Star Chamber existed before Cotelin's reign and continued its influence afterwards.

Litany V: A Period of Change

Grand Master Cotelin resigned after a long successful tenure during which the Brotherhood grew to over 1000 members. His replacement was Justinian Khyron, a former Master at Arms and a Strike Fleet officer. Khyron's reign was marked by a great deal of change and alteration in Brotherhood structure. He created guidelines on forming House and Clan Crests; the Art of Vendetta, which was created by Paladin, was recognized; the first Great Jedi Wars and Vendettas were held; the position of Archon was created to handle medals, but was also later dissolved, and medals became the responsibility of the Chancellor; the Grand Master's Royal Guard was created; Clans and Houses were altered into their current forms; Sith Advisor became the Sith High Warrior.

Despite all these advances, a revolt within the ranks occurred. Clan Ar'kell, displeased with the Grand Master and the way the Brotherhood was being run, defected and formed their own lesser Brotherhood, the Society of Shadows, led by the former Ar'kell Consul, Sauron. Not much was done about the defection, save that it was more or less widely ignored by the Dark Council and the Star Chamber, which Sauron blamed for Ar'kell's defection. Khyron reigned for well over a year before resigning.

Litany VI: The Second Interim

After Khyron's resignation Justin Stryker became Grand Master. He reigned for half a year acting primarily as a caretaker to the Brotherhood. Upon Stryker's resignation, Khyron returned for a second term as Grand Master. Khyron's second term was not nearly as impressive as his first, of note was the alteration of the Clan and House structure to have three Houses per Clan, one for each Order.

After Khyron's second reign, the Star Chamber faded from memory, and while it is assumed that it still held power, its influence and effect on the Brotherhood post-Khyron is unknown.

Litany VII: Technological Advancement

Thedek, Master-at-Arms, replaced Khyron as Grand Master. His reign included the creation of Oracle which was originally intended as a position to maintain the Dark Side Compendium and the creation of the Chamber of Justice. Revisions to the Grand Master's Royal Guard, the Envoys, and the Dark Side Compendium also occurred during this time. Thedek created the first comprehensive database for the Dark Brotherhood, the former darkbrotherhood.com.

Litany VIII: Stagnation

Following on from Thedek was Archibald Zoraan, previously the Consul of Clan Tarentum. His reign saw a few notable Dark Council appointments, minor revisions to the Dark Side Compendium and updates to the Shadow Academy. However as a Grand Master, although capable of acting the part of an indomitable leader, Zoraan was manipulative and prone to exaggeration as a means to support his own ideals and not invested in the development of the Brotherhood itself. This lead to upheaval in the membership and even protests which where shutdown using the Brotherhoods more punitive policies intended to maintain the wellbeing of the membership, this led to Envoys being deployed to identify dissenters.

With no other recourse Executive Officer Alan Kawolski and Grand Admiral Ronin intervened. Zoraan would then claim the Dark Brotherhood to have autonomy and attempt to remove the Brotherhood from the control of the Emperor's Hammer. The argument for autonomy made by Zoraan can be found here.

The attempt at secession failed and Zoraan was deposed. But not before wiping most of Thedek's archives doing great harm to both the Dark Brotherhood and it's members.

Litany IX: Power Corrupts

After the Zoraan crisis subsided, Chi-Long, formerly known as Faethor, replaced Zoraan as Grand Master. Most of the Thedek's archives were slowly recovered one way or the other, but Thedek, angered over the appointment of Chi-Long as Grand Master, claimed that all the data within his archives was just that: his, and no one could use it. Apparently, the same insanity that touched Zoraan also touched Thedek, and the former Grand Master was expelled from Imperial space on pain of death. Shortly after, construction of a new database began.

After the initial turmoil, Chi-Long's reign was a strange one. He went through four Deputy Grand Masters during his eight month tenure, and more often took credit for others' projects than constructed his own. He also went on a sabbatical for well over two months, leaving then Deputy Grand Master Astatine in charge for the duration, and later rewarding Astatine by removing him. Perhaps the most famous scandal of his reign was his attempted deposing of Sith High Warrior Firefox. Khan, the Proconsul of Clan Alvaak, had been charged with publicly defaming the Grand Master. Firefox, wishing to aid a friend, submitted a log of Chi-Long insulting and defaming the Fleet Commander. In retaliation, Chi-Long attempted to remove Firefox, but was stopped by the Executive Officer.

Despite these oddities, Chi-Long's reign included various, important revisions to the Dark Side Compendium, the creation of the Assembly of Consuls and Emissary, the resurrection of the Envoys, and a Vendetta. He also made some notable appointments to the Dark Council. Sadly, the Envoys were widely rumored to be a secret spy force for Chi-Long, and the Vendetta was less than well-planned. Near the end of his reign, Chi-Long was highly disliked by Brotherhood membership, a fact that reached the ears of the Emperor's Hammer Command Staff. Determined to do something, the Executive Office took punitive action against the Grand Master.

Litany X: A Destiny Divided

After being practically ousted by Alan Kawolski, Chi-Long retreated bitterly into the darkness and swore never to aid the Brotherhood again. In his place, long-standing Sith High Warrior and Battlegroup Commander of the Avenger Task Force Firefox became Grand Master. Firefox's reign was an active one, with many astute appointments to the Dark Council. While there were no Vendettas for over a year, improvements to the medal system, Dark Side Compendium, and the Brotherhood website were all enacted. The position of Oracle, originally intended by Firefox to publish the Dark Voice, was dissolved after a few months. Project Thallium, an effort made by then Deputy Grand Master Astatine to create more structure and order in the Brotherhood was spearheaded, but died down after he left the position. But peace was not to prevail in the Brotherhood.

Krath High Priestess Mairin Astoris was appointed as Astatine's replacement and for the first month or so she proved to be a happy choice. However her domineering nature soon began to show itself when she began to perform the duties of other Dark Council members and initiate projects without the Grand Masters consent. This resulted in the release of a sub-par Vendetta, despite intending to please the membership of the Brotherhood, delays and poorly executed events caused discontent. Meanwhile a rift between Dark Council members stunted their effectiveness as lethargy set in amongst the Clans of the Brotherhood. Astatine, who was also the Executive Officer, began to put pressure on Firefox to take action.

Firefox did not react well to this pressure. In the last few weeks of his reign, he made a secret alliance with former Grand Master Chi-Long. Their goal was to break away as a subgroup and regain the fabled sister organization status, claiming their reason for doing this was Astatine's acerbic personality. After three weeks of planning the Grand Master, in accordance with former Grand Masters Jac Cotelin, Khyron, Master-at-Arms Corran Force, Headmaster Pyralis (also known as Darth Vader), and Proconsul of Naga Sadow Trevarus Caerick signed a document that stated their grievances and reasons for wanting sister organization status once more. Grand Admiral Ronin, however, would have nothing of it. He immediately demanded that the rogues relinquish their claims to the database they held, as well as any other materials they had whilst they were part of the Emperor's Hammer.

The argument began to get rather murky as legal issues were brought forth. Ultimately, nothing was completely resolved as neither side was going to take the matter to court. Instead, many Emperor's Hammer members politely requested that their works or dossiers be removed from the rogue Dark Brotherhood and Firefox honored their requests. However many members also left with the rogues, striking a huge blow to the Brotherhood's membership base. Astatine and Ronin after expelling the rogues from the Fleet began a search for a new Dark Council and began construction of a new Dark Brotherhood website. The rogues continue to exist in their own organization.

Litany XI: Reeling from Shock

Within five days Astatine and Ronin appointed Rapier, a former Emperor's Hammer Security Officer, to Grand Master. But with the Brotherhood stripped of many members with leadership experience, appointments to the Dark Council as well as Clan and House Summit positions struggled to deal with low morale, lacklustre activity and more problems brought about by the sudden disappearance of many members and relied upon resources. The Dark Council would witness the passing of two Deputy Grand Masters, two Headmasters, three Chancellors, two Heralds and three Sith High Warriors during this time of upheaval and search for stability.

Even after the resulting closure of two Clans (Taldryan and Naga Sadow), many Houses still stood on the brink of closure due to low membership and activity. Many House Summits neglected to perform their duties and several insufficiently experienced Dark Jedi advanced to Clan Summit positions they were not wise or powerful enough to maintain.

Despite the efforts of the Dark Council and a dedicated few throughout the Brotherhood, the general state of malaise continued for months. There were however some notable advances in the period including the design of a new set of Brotherhood Robes, Awards and the release of the Brotherhood News Letter, the Dark Voice.

Around ten months after the split the Executive Officer and Fleet Commander of the Emperor's Hammer decided to take further action to point the Brotherhood in a new direction. At a regular fleet meeting, Executive Officer Astatine announced the removal of Grand Master Rapier, Deputy Grand Master Gelton Torr, and Chancellor Angel Saris. The former Master-at-Arms, Dark Side Adept Khaen, was to become the next Grand Master.

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