Eyes: Red around the iris with gold and green to the pupil.
Hair: Black, tousled
Skin: Reddish-brown, Black tattooed jatoo prominent on his face.
Age: 27 – 29 (Approx)
Home Planet: Iridonia
Class: Former Sith Lord
Path: Knight (Former Sith)
Family: Being a foundling, Vilak’s family, of sorts, remains on Iridonia
Notable Physical Features: Vilak’s Jatoo markings, tattooing, are prominent on his face, much like his stoic demeanor, but for his eyes which have a haunted look to them, as if he has seen too much in his time. The dark tattoos also carry down his neck, over his shoulders, back, and torso, along with a myriad of scars about his body. The His voice is notable, an accent mixed heavily with Imperial formality, which has caused him trouble, being that he is thought to be an Imperial.
Personality: Stoic, stubborn, unwavering, determined, and loyal, often to a fault, after his years as a Sith, Vilak is far less volatile, more careful in his actions, and deliberate in everything he does from meditating to practicing saber katas to seeking ways to assist others. Vilak is a survivor like that of his people, a testament to his past, present, and future.
Physical Description: He is tall, and by his posture--purpose driven. Even now, a Jedi, he prefers to wear black jedi robes.
Born into a clan of nearly sixty members, Vilak should have had a typical but rigorous life surrounded by extended family on Iridonia. He was the child of older Zabrak parents with three grown children, raising families of their own, lending to the strength of the clan.
However, this idyllic, although harsh life due to the conditions found on Iridonia, was not to be. Not long into his childhood he began to grow hair on his head. Being that his parents were heavily horned, hairless and had produced pleasing and strong similar offspring they decided to cast off the child into the wilderness due to such a weakness, of which they did efficiently with little regrets, as the young child, barely talking and able to fend for himself was left in the darkness, surrounded by acidic smells and all manner of wildlife. Vilak’s earliest memories of this time were of pounding fear, hiding in the deep darkness, hunger, and loss.
His story would have surely ended had it not been for the arrival of the old warrior Tarek. The old Zabrak had undertaken a hunting expedition with two youth’s fast approaching their rite of passage the Res’Selonoren. When Tarek came upon the child, who was huddled in a small dark crevice, visibly weak but making threatening gestures and sounds, he decided the youngster showed strength and was worth saving.
Tarek had little trouble gathering up the flailing child. The hunt was abandoned. Tarek named him on the trek to his new home, a series of deep caves where he found himself surrounded by both children and adults. As he came to understand, his new home was a gathering place for those unwanted members of Zabrak society. Some without tattoos or Jat’o, who were unable to pass the Res’Selonoren, those cast off for various indiscretions against their clans, and those like Vilak who were cast away for both known and unknown reasons due to some weakness or another.
Tarek traded with other clans, and as Vilak would later come to realize received gifts and supplies due to his stature as a warrior from various clans and individuals. Tarek was a strict but efficient teacher and mentor. Weakness was never tolerated. The young were taught how to survive and become strong of body learning hand-to-hand combat and weaponry. The old Zabrak lead well with firm words tempered through diligent instruction. All members of Tarek’s growing clan were expected to provide and become integral parts of their wayward existence.
Growing to adolescence Vilak thrived under Tarek’s leadership, finding friends amongst the group. One in particular a young girl named Kylix. She was fast and agile, whereas Vilak revealed in the hunt, tending to face matters headlong. Kylix often took the kill with a quick flash of her blades at the creatures back, while Vilak was fending off fierce teeth and claws.
One day under the reddish skies of Iridonia, Vilak and Kylix were on the hunt. Whatever they found would contribute to feeding their makeshift clan. They tracked their quarry, a carnivorous scaled beast with a long tail capable of swatting prey or pursuers. Not particularly big, but fast, and possessing a fierce temperament. Nearing the bank of a small acidic lake, they deftly moved over rocks and past thorny scrub vegetation only to realize they had lost their prey. The smell of the acidic water was overpowering, looking around Vilak ventured forward. A yellow haze rose from the placid water. Crinkling his nose and blinking he sneezed, glancing away from the water only to have his chest exploded in pain, and he flew through the air onto the rough sandy bank near the water. Gasping for breath, he could hear Kylix calling for him and the taloned feet of their quarry now turned attacker scrabbling quickly his way. Breathing raggedly, he reached for his short bladed stave that normally hung at his hip. It was gone. Instead of fear, he felt rage growing within him. Rage at his foolishness. A true hunter and warrior would never make such a mistake, loosing track of his prey.
The beast was upon him and all Vilak could think was the thing would die, but it was not fear he felt, rage, anger, fury, a warrior did not die in such a way. With that thought, the scaled thing flew through the air long tail flailing, landing in a jumbled heap half in the fetid water. Vilak was on it without thought or knowing how such a thing happened. Water splashed causing small burns. His injuries and the haze of fumes and world around were forgotten. His hands did what his stave should have, rendering the thing’s chest ragged and bloody until it was lifeless beneath his fists.
His rage had settled over him like a thick red cloud. When it lifted, he was straddling the thing, bloodied with jagged claw marks upon his body and burns from the acidic water. Kylix stood near mouth gapping. He blinked trying to clear his thoughts and looked down at what he had done, not knowing how it had happened. Climbing off the thing, he staggered and fell to his knees. Kylix was soon beside him a look of uncertainty about her features. Vilak blinked feeling the thudding of his beating hearts in his chest. His breathing was labored. Kylix helped him to his feet. He starred at the lifeless beast, his doing then looked to his ragged hands, knuckles torn and bleeding.
“Let’s go.” Kylix said in a small voice, wrapping her arm around his chest and guiding his arm over her shoulder.
“But, what… what happened…”
“Doesn’t matter now, come on,” she said in an unquestioning tone.
The trek back to their home was long. No words were spoken. Upon their return, Vilak slumped at the entry way. Everything part of him hurt. He had never felt so tired and full of fuzzy thoughts as he stared at peculiar crevice in the stone wall, finding the jagged edges of it fascinating.
Kylix ran for Tarek. When they returned others came as well. Vilak was carefully taken within and placed on a simple cot. One of the elder Zabrak, with wisps of graying hair came to tend his wounds. Tarek drew Kylix aside. Their hushed voices floated over him as he lost consciousness.
When he woke, Tarek was beside him along with another Zabrak. An older man, with hints of dark veins riddling his red skin with a fierce Jat’o. The man wore dark robes with a hilt hung at his belt. He was introduced as Herrok. The man’s eyes were piecing and Vilak could not help but feel uneasy in his presence. Tarek informed Vilak that he would go with Herrok, a sith lord, who would teach him. Confused and in pain, Vilak could do little more than nod as he was roused and despite his injuries was told to gather his things. Tarek’s tone was telling.
There would be no arguing with the aged warrior. He gathered what little possessions he had but could not find Kylix. Herrok’s harsh voice hurried his efforts and soon he followed the robed man from his home to find a dark sleek speeder waiting for them. He had seen a few over the years, along with ships in the sky, coming and going from places, but never understood how they worked. There was little technology in his life, small solar lights and an occasional datapads he had seen elders use. Tarek had said there was no use for such, one must rely on oneself and one’s allies, not such items.
The ride in the speeder could not quiet the turmoil within and the pain and discomfort of his healing injuries were constant companions. How could Tarek cast him away… He looked to man piloting the craft, finding his unease growing.
“You have a question boy?” Herrok asked his eyes on the terrain ahead.
Vilak swallowed, “Why me?”
Herrok laughed then gave Vilak a sharp look before returning his gaze to the twisted-trees and cragged-cliffs, “the dark side is in you boy, we shall see if you are worthy or not.”
The answer made no sense, “But I…” Vilak said before being cut off.
“I’ve answered your question, you will learn, or you will not, I will not suffer weakness. Quiet.”
Vilak felt as much as heard the man’s tone and said no more, his thoughts racing, the dark side meant nothing to him, why had everything changed, what happened. He did not understand. He missed Kylix, and most of all Tarek.
Herrok’s home was a functional building with dark gray heavy walls, smooth in texture, and flat roof, all a metal like substance. He ran his hand over the surface of it. It was strange and new. He wondered about the local predators, but saw no evidence of their passing in the walls, no claw marks, nothing. The door to the building opened strangely, whooshing up into the building itself. Herrok paid it no mind walking through.
Following Herrok within, there was a main room that held strange things, in one corner. They looked like glowing cubes, red in nature with symbols. The lights within the room reminded him of the solar lights Tarek used, but those they had to recharge, these appeared part of the wall and ceiling. There were other items, a rack with weapons, a rug upon the floor, a low bench to site, another table, then a hallway. The interior shared the same dark gray color as the exterior. There was another place with a table and blinking lights on the wall. He was led to a small sparse room.
“You will rest, and heal, prepare yourself Apprentice. Your training begins soon.”
He walked in. The door shut behind him with a snap, startling him. Looking around there was a low bed, more a mattress then anything else, a small table, chair and a box with a strange insignia on it. It looked like spokes in a wheel. Vilak opened the box to find clothing inside, black in color, two tunics and pants.
He sat on the bed, tired, bewildered, hurting, staring at the gray wall. What of his life. The hunts, the other children, Kylix, Tarek… the elders, lending his help to all. What now. He laid his head on the rough blanket of the bed.
The following days he was fed meat from what seemed to be fresh kills, but little else. His efforts to start communication were met by silence. The door opened. The door closed, and yet he remained in the gray box until Herrok ordered the bandages removed, approved of the resulting gashes turning to scars and told him it was time.
Vilak quickly learned that Herrok was a harsh master. Where he had found an honorable mentor in Tarek, with Herrok he found a treacherous master who required all manner of inane tasks that further infuriated Vilak. He was also forced to learn the beginnings of a new language named basic. When asked why he needed to know such, Herrok would only say, “if you survive, you will one day understand.” He learned quickly what had pushed the beast from him at the acid lake. He had a connection to the force that Herrok was determined to mold. He had never acted from anger such as he did that day, or now did under Herrok’s harsh treatment. He felt continuous rage.
His weapons and combat knowledge grew to include what Herrok called Saber forms. The first time he saw Herrok ignite a red bladed saber he understood and knew he wanted to wield one. Affecting the environment around him became many lessons with the force. Hunting large fierce predators and grueling tests became his norm. When he pushed back against his rage, attempting to show compassion, or arguing against so much death, he suffered under force lightning and was called weak, a fool, worthless. Numerous times Vilak challenged Herrok only to receive harsh punishments. He grew to hate the condescending laughter of the sith lord.
When he was nearing the age of fourteen, Tarek, who he had not seen in nearly two years, arrived to collect Vilak. It was time for his rite of passage the Res’Selonoren.
When he greeted Tarek outside Herrok’s home he felt a wash of relief, was he to be freed… yes, he would be an adult soon.
Tarek met Vilak’s eyes then nodded to Herrok before beckoning Vilak to his side then turning away, pack strewn at his back, leaving Vilak to follow at the older man’s quick pace.
When they were away from the home Tarek’s pace slowed, “it is good to see you, you’ve grown, and stronger too.”
He felt a rush of pride hearing such, “I have so wanted to go home. It has been difficult.”
“Yet, the difficulty has suited you.”
Vilak opened his mouth to deny, but found Tarek was correct, he was stronger and felt the flow of the force around him, available to draw on and use.
“You are well prepared for the Res’Selonoren. I expect you to remember my teachings.”
“How is everyone? Is Kylix well?”
“We will talk of that later, for now, we will discuss the challenges to prepare you while we travel. There are several clans gathered at the Rising Festival.”
While they walked Tarek spoke of what he would likely face and what was required of him. Honor above all. They walked throughout the day, carefully evading predators. The Rising Festival was held at the top of a mesa overlooking canyons. Tents of various sizes ringed one side of the mesa. They joined others arriving to the festival on the wide path up. The smells of cooked meat met his nose, along with the voices, some in song. He had never seen so many people in one place. Tarek walk through the crowds, passed the food stalls, saying hello to many, as they made their way to the center of the mesa where a raised dais sat with a large ring of chairs and furs. Other youths his aged milled through the area along with adults. Soon the clan elders made their way toward the dais, some with help, taking their chairs.
With the clan elders assembled, the youths were brought forward, including Vilak. The elders presented physical challenge first, which required them to run a gauntlet through a nearby canyon ripe with dangers. An acidic river snaked through the narrow floor of the canyon, requiring careful passage along the rock ridges and thick rough twisted trunks of trees. Of predators or other dangers, they did not say. It would be a staggered race, each youth testing him or herself with spotters placed throughout. Lots were drawn. Vilak was to go ninth. Each runner was presented with a satchel, containing a length of rope and a sheathed knife.
Vilak fixed the knife to his belt as he watched the first runner head off. He felt his twin hearts pound in anticipation. Taking a deep breath, he drew the force to him, thinking of the challenge, there was no failure. When his turn came he ran with determination to the mouth of the canyon then made his way to the rocks staying clear of the water, knowing there could be predators lurking in the muck. It would be a test of strength and stamina.
He moved across the jagged rocks, and along the gnarled branches, concentrating on the objective. He felt the force move through him, his desire grew, if he could complete the trial he could go home to Kylix, to the others. A flash of hate moved through him thinking of the Herrok. How the aged Zakrak had taken everything from him, forcing him into something he did not ask for. Snarling with rage, Vilak pushed ahead, feeling a surge of energy, sensing the dangers around him. He surged forward with a shout, which echoed through the canyon, as if tempting the creatures within him meet his challenge.
He heard a cry, nearly passing it by, until he glanced beyond him, now a way through the canyon. A boy, looked to be his age, lay crumpled on the rocks, clutching his leg, knife out, eyes wide with fear.
Hearts pounding, it was a distraction he heard… he had his goal, he could take it, take it all…
He slowed, hearing the cry for help behind him. He could sense the danger to the boy, the predators heard the weak cries… knew the meal would be easy….
He blinked feeling the force move through him, urging him forward, leave it… it’s weak.
Vilak shook his head, images of the children he grew up with prominent in his mind, the boy could be any one of them… What would Tarek say…
He clenched his fists, feeling the struggle within. It would be so easy. A more panicked cry now, “help,” the boy yelled, a snarl close by.
Vilak turned, thoughts of Tarek prominent in his mind, and dropped down with little effort using the force to the rock the boy lay upon. Knowing there was little time, he helped the boy stand. Everything was silent expect for the ragged breaths of the boy, his beating hearts, the snarls of nearby predators…
The urge to leave the boy, toss him as food to the beasts below pulled at him, but he did not. Tarek… he could not.
The sun was low in the sky when Vilak and the boy arrived before the elders. His emotions were mixed, shame at not accomplishing the task to the best of his abilities, and pride at helping the boy, whose name was Narnik.
Looking to Tarek, Vilak feared what he might see, did he fail… but no, Tarek inclined his head faintly, walked over giving a clap on his shoulder.
“Come, there is one test left.”
Vilak swallowed and nodded, glancing to Narnik as he was being helped to the healer’s tents.
The elders looked upon him as he approached the dais, one asked a question, “What is the essence of a warrior?”
Vilak looked at the aged Zabrak before him, clan leaders all of them, and felt the weight of the question. He glanced to Tarek, who stood still, expectant.
Breathing deeply, he thought of his choice to help Narnik, of Kylix, of the others, and answered, “The essence of a warrior is honor to oneself and one’s comrades, protect worthy allies, defeat one’s enemies, and above all achieve victory using both mind and body.”
There was silence after he had spoken but for a nod from the elder seated to the center, “this one has completed the Res’Selonoren with honor, go now, receive the rights of adulthood.”
Vilak looked around at the gathered clans then to Tarek who nodded walking from the dais into the crowd. Vilak could do little else but follow the man, as he was congratulated by people he passed. He could hear the elders announcing the next rite as they walked towards tents ringing the festival.
Tarek entered one, Vilak close at his heels, and nodded to a group of two Zabrak women and two Zabrak men within. A palate lay upon the floor along with various tools laid in careful order. Vilak received his Jat’o facial tattoos that day as directed by Tarek. As he did not have an official clan to speak of Tarek chose tattoos nearly matching his own. The procedure was painful, but he found it easy enough to bear.
After the Jat’o was finished, they joined the clans for evening festivities where Vilak was surrounded by other youths, who had also passed their rites. It was a night full of all manner of rich and spiced meats and drink. When morning came, Tarek roused him. The man’s tone had a forlorn quality to it as he then told Vilak to prepare himself. He would be leaving Iridonia.
When questioned Tarek shook his head only saying, “you remind me of the son I lost. Your shuttle is waiting to take you to Korriban. You are to be trained by the sith. Herrok has arranged it.”
Incensed at the thought Vilak vehemently refused saying that he would not go, “Sith like Herrok were treacherous, and above I wish to see Kylix.”
Tarek shook his head walking from the tent. “That is not to be.” Tarek’s voice grew stern his posture stiffening, “Should I have left you to die? You are weak. Perhaps I should kill you now.” Tarek put his hand on the blade at his side, gaze firm brooking no argument.
Deflated Vilak stood uncertain.
“If you fail me have no doubt I will kill you, now go.” Tarek stepped to the tent door, brushed the flap back and pointed to the small shuttle waiting in an open area beyond the tents.
Vilak opened his mouth to speak, meeting Tarek’s eyes, closed his mouth and nodded striding from the tent to the shuttle. He had but the clothes on his back and the vibroblade he had taken to using. He did not look back to see the old warrior’s shoulders slump. His hand shook as it fell from his blade.
Day by day...
The ship was sterile, often to quiet, but for the hum of the engines. He could feel the black they traveled through, along with the ebb and flow of the force. But it didn't always bring peace. Sometimes it was as if his memories had come to life before him, past battlefields—scores dead, scorched corpses.
Fighting on Illum, as he felt the cold so keenly, beneath the aurora borealis hanging in the atmosphere, and other places where the Empire had a foothold or had wanted one.
And then there was Drumond Kaas. He had loved that place. It's wildness, but then there was the darkness that seemed to thrive—a place of bitter survival, like Korriban. The ruins hidden underground that took the lives of Sith, young and old--the dead to feed the beasts that thrived in the darkness.
At times visitations of the past pulled him from his meditation, as darkness crept in as if trying to find a place to grow, bringing anger and rage. It was the confinement of the ship, he told himself, dredging up memories that felt as clear as a still pool of water.
But instead of falling into anger, now he found balance far more manageable, and more often than not, on the training course with his saber in hand. The white crystal glowed in the silvery and black hilt, lending focus to his thoughts through the hum of the blade. Years before on Illum, the crystal had called to him. At the time, he had nearly left it, but it was like a strange promise of something to come. He didn't understand it then but so keenly did now.
It was the saber katas that he would move through first. After kneeling and meditating at the center of the room, he would then stand fluidly and hold his saber high over his head. Blade angled back down at a forty-five-degree angle, precise, exacting. He had grown up with a weapon in hand, it seemed. And now, he felt most in control with his saber.
Moving through the katas, Vilak worked to refine every movement. Every foot placement, every twist and turn, every slash, leap, and riposte strike as if he met an enemy's blade in a counterstrike. His athletic, muscular form was made for such tactics, strength, and forward momentum, crushing one's enemies.
And then, when the slight sheen of sweat graced his brow, and his twin hearts beat stronger, he moved on the droids. Saber up, forty-five degrees, angled back down, and then the sequence began. Rushing forward, pushing his advantage of strength and power before a change of tactics. Vilak slowed and waited as if he were facing a force-wielding opponent that used maneuverability and agility to counter him.
He had fought both Jedi and Sith before, who worked to use Djem So against him, and he had learned difficult lessons all those years back—nearly meeting death more than once. So now, especially so, Vilak focused on his breathing. In. Out. In. Out. Calm. Measured.
There was no challenge in it beyond his sense of self and mental aptitude. But the exercise had merit. The dark side took hold when emotions roiled and sprung free like a raging beast. No longer. That was not what he wanted for himself.
Inhaling, then exhaling, he pressed the attack again, utilizing deflection to send blaster bolts back at the droids, this time with careful precision.
Not to cut down the clanking metal, but only to graze, leaving blackened scorch behind on the armor plating. Shifting tactics, he then brought up a barrier of energy, diffusing the blaster fire, and resetting it again before finishing off with what Pearl had taught him, energy defection, pushing balls of energy at the droids.
It went on like this at some point every day.
Training was far more comfortable than the awkwardness of all the new people now around him. Good people, he mused, even though it proved difficult to settle in with them. Pearl though, she had been kind and an eager teacher. And Master Dor, Vilak appreciated the man's quiet thorough teaching, and the questions he asked.
Perhaps in time, his place among the Jedi would grow more comfortable, easier.
Being around them reminded Vilak of all differences in his life. He never knew a Jedi temple the way they had. He had only walked through ruins. But then, these people, they had lost so much, yet they endured.
Much like his own people on distant Iridonia. Survivors all of them, fighting for a place in the galaxy. And he knew yet again, for all the strangeness of his choice to come to the Jedi, it was the correct one. And he knew there were things happening onboard the ship that he wasn't directly privy to, not that he expected to be briefed. But there was the one who was brought aboard... dark and broken. He expected in time he'd learn more.
There was trust to be earned.