The Dachia Crisis
The event widely known as The Dachia Crisis, or the Dominonist Civil War, was a violent conflict between the Dominionist faction of the Starlit Court and the Starlit Court as a whole, during which an armed insurrection sized control of Sihi and nearly destroyed the worldship.
Changing Views on the Grail Quest
By the time the Starlit Court had been in Beacon Space for around 75 years, the longest that it had spent in any one sector so far, the Starlit Court’s inability to find Grail had begun to cause significant unrest.
Dissatisfaction with the as-yet incomplete quest gave rise to two new militarist factions. One was The Dominion, a group claiming that the Light was indicating Beacon Space as a whole rather than a specific system or planet. The other militarist faction was The Realists, whose members had lost faith in The Starlit Path entirely. Both groups asserted that the Sihians should abandon their search for Grail and adapt to a reality without the Grail Quest. These two groups found themselves reluctant allies in their common belief that the Starlit Court should return to its ancient, warlike roots by carving itself a new home in Beacon Space through conquest.
Though neither militarist group had any success winning the support of the Grandmasters, of the two the Dominion had an easier time winning support and finding its Monks and Sages places on the Council of Elders. Unlike the Realists, the Dominion were still devoted to the Starlit Path, and differed mostly only in their interpretation. The Realists were considered far more radical; they found popularity mainly among the common people and men-at-arms, with few knights joining their cause.
The newly-elected Elders loyal to the Dominion’s cause immediately began a full court press against the Traditionalists on the Council, hoping to force a vote on the future of the Grail Quest. Despite diligent effort, they were always in the political minority.
Seen as too hawkish by their peers, the Dominion members of the Council of Elders found themselves making more political enemies than friends. They were often compared to the court’s warlike ancient Elentar ancestors - a comparison that doomed their debate position from the outset. Additionally, the Dominion always had a problem separating their position from that of their Realist counterparts (who staged frequent, loud protests among the first four wards of Sihi), causing Traditionalist opposition to easily unify against them.
The constant friction among the Council of Elders eventually began to catch the attention of The Castellan and The Council of Grandmasters, who feared that the Dominion’s interpretation of the Starlit Path would gain further traction among the Monks and Sages. After several years of debate, the issue came to a vote; when the vote was decided in the Traditionalists’ favor, they hoped they had finally seen the end of the discussion. They were mistaken...
Over time, seeing that their efforts on the debate floor of the Council were proving ineffective, Dominion-aligned Elders began turning their efforts to convincing high-ranking knights to take action in pursuit of the Dominion’s goals. Though begrudgingly, they also began bringing Realists into the fold to turn their otherwise-antagonistic militarist movements into a coalition, both groups thinking that their point of view would win out given time.
Three years of debate proved the militarist coalition to be more cohesive than the Traditionalists expected, while still proving to the Dominion and the Realists that debate alone was unlikely to win enough of the Elders to their side. Using the Realists as recruiters, they began a campaign to convert high-ranking knights to their cause, hoping that glory and conquest would prove persuasive where mere words had failed.
After a year of continued deadlock in the Council of Elders, the Dominion succeeded in recruiting a prominent knight: Syr Ancelot, Master of The Order of the Mourning Blade, Blademaster, Undefeated, a storied figure who was well-respected even outside his own knightly order. He proved to be the one able to bring the militarist coalition the victory they were looking for. Three months after committing himself to conquest, he returned to the Starlit Court proud and victorious, having, unbidden, conquered a world in the name of the empire-to-be.
However, Syr Ancelot’s victory was short-lived; the Grandmasters and Castellan were appalled by his rash behavior and immediately ordered the arrest of Syr Ancelot, his lances, and the Dominion Elders who encouraged knights to go rogue. The accused knights did not go quietly, managing to escape custody. Syr Jaqués the Sparrow, who led the forces sent to apprehend them, was brutally killed by Syr Ancelot during the escape.
The Calm before the Storm
After escaping arrest at the hands of Syr Jaques, Ancelot and his supporters in the Dominion hatched a plan. Ancelot would have his remaining Dominionist and Realist sympathizers on Sihi start leaving Sihi on quests or begin wandering.
His supporters were to take time to regroup and plan on how to get the rest of the Starlit Court to follow their interests. They would act from shadows, secretly to free the Dominion Elders; rather than spearheading overt protests or riots in the streets. Slowly, over the span of seven months, Knights, Squires, and Men-at-Arms from the court disappeared without notice. These disappearances were at first investigated but nothing conclusive came back as to why the Knights took so long to return. As they did eventually return, the matter was dropped and deemed not too out of the ordinary. Being wanderers for almost a thousand years, Knights would often be taken by wanderlust and disappear for extended spans of time.
During this time, Syr Ancelot was planning to force the issue. He believed wholeheartedly that the Path of the Starlit Court was one of Blood and Conquest and came up with an idea to give the court only one option in the matter. Gathering his forces for training and Briefing on his plans, he revealed to the Dominionists and Realists that he would crash Sihi into the planet Dachia, knowing full well that Sihi’s engines were irreplaceable and that the ship would not survive entry into an atmosphere. This action would force the Court to either conquer or die trying. As he was a Master of an Order he was able to concoct an intricate plan, subdivided in phases, designed specifically to disable and destroy Sihi.
He spent seven months training and readying all those who had joined him, a significant number. Roughly half of the The Order of the Mourning Blade, the Order Syr Ancelot originated from, had made the journey to join him, including a mass variety of Sihians who fully believed that conquest was the true goal of the Path. With supporters to spare, Ancelot sent many of them back to Sihi to lie in wait for his first move.
The Plan was simple: His forces would cause widespread destruction and chaos on Sihi to distract The Guardian Fleets. He would time his approach, making sure The Resolute was on duty so it could betray the Fleet and give himself cover to enter Sihi relatively unimpeded. When on Sihi, he would have communications and the inner and outer defenses disabled to enable his entrance to the control room of the Worldship. Lastly, he would fly Sihi and crash it into the planet of Dachia, a controlled collision.
At the end of his seven months of preparation, he simply had to wait until everything was in order for him to pull it off. In two months after placing all of the pieces Ancelot sprang his trap and attacked Sihi.
The Crisis over Dachia
Through coordination with his Knights who were at Sihi, Ancelot was notified by Syr Iago of the Order of the Griffon that everything was in place to start. Iago denoted that only a carrier—SCS Crucible—and two battleships—SCS Pride and SCS Resolute—were guarding Sihi. The attack was held off temporarily after the conditions were perfect; it had to be to catch the Guardian Fleet on surprise. The delay relaxed the new rotation, lulling them into a false sense of security.
When the attack was called by Syr's Ancelot and Iago, the Guardian Fleet of Sihi was quick to respond; a good deal of their forces were sent into the station to deal with the internal situation, just as Syr Ancelot had anticipated. Both the Order of the Mourning Blade and Griffon had been ordered to fully deploy to the surface, leaving only the First Forge and the Order of the Lion in reserve. The agents who spent the better part of a year infiltrating Sihi to conduct this attack were deliberately spread in the aft half of the Worldship to divert the attention of the defenders away from Castle Sihi.
Once sufficiently spread out, Syr Iago notified Syr Ancelot to bring his fleet in to board the space station. Syr Benedict was signaled to order his Dominionist Knights on the Resolute to Fire upon the SCS Pride, the defenders spread thin. With a Capital ship in Dominionist control, firing upon the defenders, Syr Ancelot had little trouble invading Sihi as there was next to no resistance in space. Despite the Order of the Griffon deploying their Frigates, piloted by their Men-at-Arms, things were dire. Half of the SCS Crucible’s forces were ordered to engage the enemy in heated dog fights. The sheer amount of Dominionist attackers completely occupied the stalwart defenders of Sihi, deadlocking their forces as time quickly ran out.
Once aboard the station, Syr Ancelot had the Anchorage doors locked and communications cut between the internals of Sihi and the stations outside, furthering the Chaos, and preventing his opponents from impeding his take over of the Castle and Sihi’s control room. This was so effective that he was able to jump out of reach of the Guardian fleet and get to the nearby Chaco system, Dachia within his destruction. All he had to do now was orchestrate the controlled crash of Sihi into Dachia so that the survivors that remained would be forced to conquer to survive.
The Guardian Fleet, without Sihi and still under attack, had mixed reactions. The Griffon frigates manned by their Men-at-Arms immediately disengaged from the battle, desperately trying to discover where their home had gone. The Order of the Lion and the SCS Pride were trying to recapture the SCS Resolute, as they were still being fired upon when the World Ship made its Drive Space Jump. The Order of the First Forge with the SCS Crucible was busy trying to win the combat in the void of space.
Unbeknownst to Ancelot, seven knights under the command of Syr Alaric and Syr Reinauld had found a way onto the station after the doors to the Anchorage had been closed, just before Sihi had jumped to the Cacho system. These seven would fight their way to the Castle to undo what Ancelot had done. Having entered through a little known side entrance at Realm’s Keep managed by The Crows of Maeve, Reinauld and Alaric’s squad would have to fight through all of Sihi to make it to the Castle in time to stop Syr Ancelot in time.
Arriving at Dachia, the Dominion would start their slow descent into the Planet. The crash would kill millions by their estimates, but enough survivors were predicted to rebuild and start along their guided Path of Death and Conquest. The descent would take about thirty minutes until Sihi was too far within the planet’s gravity well, beyond escape. During this time, Dominion forces would go out of their way to detain or eliminate any and all Knights of rank Lieutenant and above, as only they possessed the access required to stop the navigation computer from crashing the station.
Before Sihi was stopped from crashing into Dachia, the Guardian Fleet, which had been left behind by Sihi’s jump through space, was able to win their day. However, most of the remaining ships within the fleet were not battle nor flight ready. The Resolute and The Pride were both badly damaged. The Resolute was completely disarmed, made toothless by The Pride, which was unable to move due to its damage. Toward the end of the battle, the Order of the Griffon frigates and The Crucible were able to find the ultimate path Sihi had taken. As soon as they were able, they jumped to Drive Space to try to make up for lost time. If they had been the last and only hope for keeping Sihi afloat, the worldship would be a ruin on Dachia to this day.
Fortunately, within Sihi, Syrs Alaric and Reinauld were making their way to the Castle via the Spear of Light, the large Light fixture acting as a sun for the citizens within the Worldship. The Dominion tried desperately to stop this squad of heroes from getting through to the Castle, from stopping Ancelot. Ultimately, every group that intercepted them as they flew through the Spear of Light was beaten back by Syr Reinauld’s Lance. Growing entirely fed up with the progress of the combined force of the lances of Storm and Maw, Syr Ancelot sent Syr Iago entire garrison that he had stationed at the Castle. This did not stop Syr Reinauld, as he had a member of the Unsheathed Soul in his lance.
Syr Sarff single handedly annihilated most of Iago’s force, unsheathing his soul and utilizing the immense powers of The Bleed. Reinauld, the only member of his lance able to pierce the defenses and enter the Castle, was able to challenge Ancelot to a duel to the death, the victor of which would determine the navigation course of Sihi.
Syr Reinauld, bloodied and tired, was able to best Syr Ancelot. Syr Ancelot had been his superior in swordplay, but Syr Reinauld outwitted and overpowered his overconfident opponent. Limping and in critical condition, the Knight Lieutenant made it to the navigation console with difficulty. Reports of the day's events make mention of a boy, Corwin Drake who lifted Syr Reinauld off the ground to help him reach the control room within the Castle's west wing. As soon as Sihi was safe and the communication restored, an announcement was made that Syr Ancelot was killed in an honorable duel. This prompted the Dominion forces on Sihi to retreat or surrender. Syr Reinauld collapsed from his injuries and lay unconscious until medical attention arrived.
About a week after the crisis was resolved, an elaborate award ceremony was held. Though absent due to his injuries, his condition still grim, Syr Reinauld was given the greatest honor any citizen of Sihi can achieve: the title “Champion of Sihi,” the twenty-first in the Starlit Court’s history. His return to consciousness approximately one week later afforded him the further glory of becoming the fifth Champion to survive their acquisition of the title.
After the dust settled, all remaining members of the Realist and Dominion militarists were exiled by the Castellan, whether they participated in the hijacking attempt or not. Though it was a significant loss to exile approximately 10% of the total population, it was determined to be the best course to secure Sihi’s safety. The entirety of the Order of the Griffon was summoned and collectively tasked to bring justice to any Dominion forces that escaped judgment, beginning the first Wyld Hunt.
Damage to Sihi was extensive after the failed hijacking. After assessing the damage, the Forge Orders placed their initial estimate at 15 years to complete repairs, repairs which required an obscene quantity of resources. This caused a period of economic stress as the Court focused its collective energy and resources fully on the repair of Sihi. The First Forge and the Bright Forge attempted to cooperate on the repair efforts, but frequently disagreed behind closed doors. As a result, Sihi was stranded over Dachia for twenty years instead of the projected fifteen.
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