OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION
Intent: IC propaganda. Also sub a movie that will annoy Elpsis a good deal.
Image Credit: N/A.
Media Name: Heroes of Purity: A Firemane Film.
Length: Long, for a movie.
Description: 'Heroes of Purity' is a war movie produced by Firemane Industries & Technology. The purpose of it is to detail the events of the Tephrike campaign against the Dominion of Light, which was recently undertaken by Firemane forces under the command of Tegaea Alcori. The movie represents Firemane's perspective of the campaign. As a result, it depicts Firemane and House Kerrigan-Alcori in a positive light. While primarily meant for distribution in areas influenced by House Kerrigan-Alcori, it is available for a wider audience.
Author: Ivra Rassan.
Reception: Varies. The audience appreciation score inside Firemane influenced areas tends to be high to very high, though some veterans of the campaign have been critical of creative liberties that have been taken with the depiction of the battle. Elpsis is one of them, though she has not been able to voice this publicly. A significant number of Tygarans, unused to movie magic, have been very impressed by the movie. It helps that the movie uses real Tygarans instead of giving elf roles to humans and that Tygaran characters receive a positive portrayal as competent soldiers.
The visuals have also been praised. It has been beneficial that the moviemakers were able to hire people who can actually fly, summon fireballs and shoot lightning without digital tricks. This made special effects easier. The filmmakers were able to mobilise large numbers of actual soldiers or militiamen to serve as extras. The scenes set on the Scarlet Destiny were filmed on an actual Firemane warship. The performance of Kira Zanaan, Elpsis' actress, has also won praise. Kira really got into a physically and mentally very demanding role. One stylistic criticism is that the large cast can make things hard to follow at times.
However, the movie has also aroused criticism. Some Jedi have protested the depiction of the Dominion, viewing it as a vilification of their order. In all fairness, while the Dominion is in fact an oppressive, totalitarian dictatorship, Tephrike has been isolated for many centuries and even now is barely known. So the criticism is understandable, especially since the movie is quite negative on Jedi in general.
Certain elf nationalist groups such as the Shadow Knights have criticised the movie for representing 'colonialist monkeigh saviour propaganda', as the elves in it still operate under the command of the humans of Firemane and their partnership with House Kerrigan-Alcori is depicted as purely positive. Liberal groups have accused the movie of having a pro-war, militarist message. The movie has, ironically, not been distributed on Tephrike itself. Ironically, the unambiguously positive portrayal of a Yuuzhan Vong character, Mezha Krazhmir, has given the movie a positive reception in certain progressive Vong groups. This is ironic since Siobhan does not like Vong.
In addition to the film itself, there are behind the scenes videos that provide historical background on Firemane and the campaign and describe the creation process of the movie. This also includes a Firetruth interview with the real Elpsis about her experiences, including her time in captivity. Finally, there is a collection of deleted scenes.
Event Name: Tephrike Campaign.
Links: Into Darkness.
Overview: Tephrike's four-hundred year isolation ends. A large battle between the Dominion of Light and the combined forces of Firemane and the Republican Guard ends with a serious defeat for the former. Several thousand Dominion political prisoners are freed and a major Dominion fortress falls to the Guard, emboldening the revolutionary insurgent movement.
The Jedi Grandmaster of the Dominion is assassinated by the Council, which is blamed on a Firemane bombing, and Battlemaster Mahtara takes control. Elpsis Kerrigan-Alcori is freed from a concentration camp of the Dominion's Inquisition. In the aftermath, Firemane forces withdraw from Tephrike after signing trade deals with the Guard. However, the Dominion rallies under more cohesive, rational leadership and mobilises for a war to the knife.
The movie opens in media res with a scene on one of Tephrike's moons. A Firemane task force responds to an emergency call from an unknown base located on it. It turns out an oxygen fire has broken out, causing havoc. Firemane soldiers find dead bodies across the outpost. It is revealed that the dead soldiers belong to a nation that calls itself the Dominion of Light. Propaganda can be found on the walls, warning the inhabitants about demons and the Dark Side. The technology is rather primitive, which is showcased by some huge computers. The team finds the corpse of what seems to be a Jedi. Major Tempest, a tall, commanding Dahomian, directs the crew to find out what they can about these people, as everyone seems to be dead.
However, one of her subordinates, Elpsis senses that someone is still alive. She recklessly follows her senses and comes across a young woman called Mara, who sent out the distress call. Mara is clearly frightened and trapped by fire. However, Elpsis walks through the flames, making them part before her. It is clearly a strain for her and for a moment we see her getting almost overwhelmed by the fire as it burns her armour.
But she pulls through, blind eyes glowing, and retrieves the sole survivor. Mara is deeply shocked by the arrival of someone who clearly is not from the Dominion or her world, for that matter. Elpsis is shown as empathic, calming her as she pulls her out of danger. She meets up with the rest of the crew, and is admonished a bit for being reckless. However, Firemane now has a survivor who can tell them what happened.
Quickly they leave the base. Mara is astonished to learn that there are still people outside of Tephrike. The team learns that the natives believe themselves to be the last survivors of the Gulag Virus or, as they call it, the Great Darkness. They sight of the large Firemane battleship in space awes her. The crew lands on the Scarlet Destiny, the Firemane flagship.
While Mara is sent to the medbay, Tempest and Elpsis meet up with Tegaea Alcori, head of the expedition and Elpsis' adoptive mother, and Colonel Leonina Varkathras, a Cathar Force Master and ground forces commander. They do not take kindly to Elpsis being reckless, but are happy about having a survivor to question. Elpsis expresses discontent about her abilities being doubted, but is told by Leonina that being a Master is about judgement and not just power. There is also an undercurrent of Elpsis wanting to impress her mother.The audience learn that Firemane has been on a voyage for several months to discover worlds cut off by the Gulag Virus and help them connect with the larger Galaxy.
Elpsis voices her hope that they can aid the people of this planet and volunteers to question Mara. She is assigned to this task, however Tempest acts as a voice of caution, noting that some of the propaganda found in the base is troubling and that some people do not want to be helped. Before leaving, Elpsis has a private moment with her mother. Tegaea expresses concern over her daughter's reckless behaviour and tries to warn her that she does not need to impress her.
Rather she should just work as if she's anyone else under her command. Elpsis rightly points out that she's not just anyone though. Her insecurity and desire to be worthy of her family comes to light. The conversation leaves Elpsis somewhat chagrined. Subsequently she has a scene with Mara, who has been given treatment. She administers a vaccination to make sure the girl does not catch any foreign diseases. Mara expresses amazement at the idea that there is life outside Tephrike and is impressed by the advanced technology.
Elpsis questions her a bit about life on her homeworld. We learn that the Dominion is a Jedi theocracy at war with two other powers, the Republican Guard and the Disciples of the Vader. Mara regards the Guard as anarchists and terrorists who have committed terrorist attacks throughout the Dominion, while the Disciples are barbaric Sith who enslave aliens and worship Vader as a god.
However, there is an undercurrent of fear when she refers to certain servants of the Dominion, but she described the Grandmaster as a good man. It is also revealed that Mara is a clone. Indeed, she is a bit confused by the idea of someone having parents and not being raised by the state. She also seems to consider sexual intercourse sinful. This leaves Elpsis somewhat troubled, but she hopes Firemane can change things for the better and help the people.
In Nexus City, the Jedi Council convenes, debating the sudden arrival of unknown spaceships. The Jedi Temple is almost an exact replica of the old Jedi headquarters on Coruscant. There is a strong atmosphere of superstition, as several Councillors believe the intruders to be demons or dark side manifestations. Others urge caution. Jedi Master Doran, a Krevaaki, speaks out in favour of accommodation, hoping to reconnect with the greater Galaxy and win the destructive conflict. General Kennobi denounces the latter as cowardly.
However, Grand Inquisitor Antonius speaks to him telepathically, advising him to be patient, and let the unbelievers reveal themselves. The Council votes to on whether to enter negotiations. Acting on Antonius' advice, Kennobi does not dissent. The Grandmaster voices his support for diplomacy, urging his Councillors not to let rashness cloud their judgement. He exhorts them to trust in the Light. One of the moderate Masters, a Twi'lek called Airla, is given the honour of negotiating with the outsiders.
Elpsis reports to Leonina and Tegaea on her conversation. There are some misgivings about what she said, but the atmosphere is hopeful. Tegaea decides they should seek out the rebels and the Dominion, but not the Sith. The conversation is interrupted by a call from the surface. The connection is bad due to the Dominion's primitive tech, but Tegaea manages to have a chat with Master Airla.
Airla is somewhat pompous and her language is flowery, but she presents the Dominion as a peaceful nation that is willing to treat with the outsiders. The two agree that Firemane will dispatch a delegation with an honour guard to Nexus City. However, Firemane will also have some escorts in the sky on stand-bye. After learning of this, Elpsis volunteers to head the delegation.
Leonina and Tegaea have reservations. The former notes Elpsis' temper and lack of experience, the latter is reluctant to put her daughter in possible danger. However, Elpsis insists that she needs to do this. She keeps being told she needs to play more of a leadership role in the company and the Order and this is her chance. Moreover, she is the CEO's daughter. Finally, Tegaea agrees. When Elpsis leaves the briefing and gets ready for the assignment, she has a tender scene with Tempest.
There is some flirtatious banter. Dahomian wants to go with her to the surface, but Elpsis insists this is something she has to do herself. Tempest relents, but promises to be out there if Elpsis needs her. Elpsis is appreciative, noting Tempest is the one person she feels she does not need to prove herself to. The two share a kiss before heading off to their respective hangars.
Cut to Elpsis' dropship taking off to Nexus City. Aside from her, there is a small group on the transport. Captain Mirut heads the escort, while a Firemane diplomat called Firana Marux is there to advise Elpsis on protocol. Elpsis is visibly nervous and reacts stiffly when the diplomat addresses her as 'Lady', but shares some light-hearted banter with Sergeant Loyalty, who calls her little Fire Princess in a teasing way. As they fly over Nexus City, Loyalty notes that it must feel weird for someone who ran away from Jedi to now lead an embassy to a whole country run by them.
Elpsis says that she never looked back when she left them, but that even though she does not like Jedi and is distrustful of the idea of a theocracy run by them, the common people may still deserve a chance. Besides, on Tygara her mothers managed to aid the Qadiri and Xioquo, who are now both noble allies and have abolished slavery. They behold various monuments in Nexus City, such as the great Jedi Temple, the Square of Heavenly Peace, the Arch of Triumph and the Senate Dome.
However, some of these grand buildings are in a poor state. In Loyalty's words, it looks like someone built Coruscant on a swamp. Reaching out with her powers, Elpsis senses tranquility and peacefulness...but it reminds her of the kind induced by being stoned. She also senses an undercurrent of fear. Elpsis looks uncomfortable, but Firuxa reminds her of her task and coaches her on what to say. Finally, the transport comes in to land.
A large ceremonial square has been set aside for the meeting. Vast artifices of gigantic and crumbling appearance loom over it. It is as if someone has heard about Coruscant as it once was through the most basic descriptions and has been trying to recreate it. Civilians line the square, all dressed in the same brown robes as Jedi of old. Soldiers form a barrier around them, their weapons held somewhat upward. Elpsis' Force sight shows many have the same aura...they are clones. A giant image of the Grandmaster towers over the square, his wizened head shrouded by a halo of light. He smiles benignly at his flock. As the shuttle touches down, a small contingent of actual Jedi approaches, with Force imbued blades sheathed at their side. One of them is Jedi Knight Diona, the Grand Inquisitor's agent.
A group of Younglings is also present. Boys and girls are represented equally. All are clones. They wear a portrait of the Grandmaster on a badge pinned to their left breast. They sing the Dominion's version of the Jedi code, "There is no emotion, there is calm. There is no ignorance, there is obedience. There is no passion, there is serenity. There is no chaos, there is order. There is no death, there is the Light." Elpsis and other Firemane members look rather uncomfortable by the sight.
A little anxious but determined, Elpsis approaches the Dominion delegation with Firuxa at her side and an honour guard behind her. She is wearing a dress uniform, with her lightsabre on her belt. She and Master Airla engage in conversation, exchanging diplomatic pleasantries. She makes eye contact with Diona, but no words are exchanged.
Elpsis is a bit stiff, but polite and affirms her hope for peaceful relations and helping Tephrike reconnect with the Galaxy. Airla speaks about Tephrike and Nexus City, describing that it was built as a home for the faithful after the Sith destroyed Palmyra, Tephrike's old capital. It provides a beacon of hope to the rest of the world. She asks about Firemane, but while Elpsis is in the process of responding, all hell breaks loose.
Elpsis receives a premonition, directing her towards a hidden sniper. She sees the slug leave the rifle before it does and anticipates is trajectory. Yelling a warning, she knocks the Firemane diplomat who is with her down and summons a barrier. More snipers fire. A heavy slug round hits Elpsis in the leg, she staggers, but keeps up the shield. Airla is injured. A cry is heard: "For the Dominion! Darkness shall fall!" The crowd is oddly passive. They flinch, but few panic or take cover. Instead they depart in orderly rows, watched by uniformed goons.
However, Jedi wielding Force imbued swords charge. Firemane soldiers set up perimeter fire, using buckshot. Captain Mirut grabs Airla, double tapping her with a stun bolt. She manages to drag the Jedi to the transport. However, Firemane soldiers come under heavy fire and some are cut down. Firemane support gunships and starfighters are swarmed by primitive Dominion starfighters and come under attack by militia using shoulder-launched missiles. Tegaea can only watch from the bridge and dispatch more squadrons and ships to support.
Elpsis finds herself in the rear, covering the retreat to protect her comrades. A glorious wave of flame ripples from her hands, burning Jedi and Dominion militia. She burns and cuts down foes, but is disorientated by a grenade before she can reach the waiting transport, which is under heavy fire. Loyalty and Mirut try to give her covering fire with their bolters, but Elpsis is blitzed by three Jedi, led by Diona. Clad in imbued armour and wielding enchanted swords, the three Jedi are skilled, using the Force to coordinate their actions. Each time she parries a blow or unleashes an attack on one Jedi, the two others strike relentlessly.
The trio seeks to push her into a corner, where their armour, physical strength and numbers will help them. Elpsis manages to disrupt their meld and gain a momentary edge, but the transport is being pounded. She is too far away to get to it and cannot run with her injured. More militia are charging. She manages to take down two Jedi with fire and sabre and lifts the transport, forcing it to take off. A wounded Jedi hamstrings her, she blasts him with fire in the face and the ship almost falls, but she holds it aloft.
Then Diona does a pommel bash to knock her out. An enraged mob descends on Elpsis seeking to lynch her, but Diona fires in the air, claiming her as a prisoner for the Inquisition. Once she comes to, Elpsis tries to reason with her captor, but Diona is having nothing of it. A collar is forced upon her throat and when she tries to use the Force, she cries out in pain from electrical shocks. Her aura vision is shown to be disrupted, as she struggles to see. She is dragged into an armoured vehicle and the convoy takes off. Having learned what has happened, Tempest pursues the convoy with a trio of gunships.
The gunships come under heavy fire from militia and Dominion soldiers using flak cannons and shoulder-launched missile launchers. However, their heavy firepower takes down a large number of Dominion followers. Tempest manages to use Telekinesis to deflect a missile and a Jedi who tries to pull down the lead gunship is mowed down by shattercannon fire from an impressively muscled, cursing Sergeant Freya Solveig.
The gunships swoop down, and cut a bloody swathe as they get closer and closer to the convoy, targeting its escorts. But then the pilots start losing control over their craft. General Kennobi is seen invading their minds. Seeing their chance, Dominion soldiers fire missiles. One Firemane pilot is able to regain control and pull away, but the other gunships crash, including Tempest's.
Tempest, Freya, Karrigan'Xalda and a male Vashyada warrior called Jaromir survive. The quartet can just about transmit a distress signal before the wreck is being swarmed by Dominion troops. The quartet lets it rip, unloading with bolters, a minigun and grenades. Tempest fries opponents with blasts of lightning and uses her lightsabre to beat a Dominion Jedi warrior, but is injured. Jaromir and Xalda use earth magic to create a barrier of sorts, but the the team is pinned down and cannot retreat. Soon they are in a furious melee. Freya uses a Reaper Shotgun to tear through opponents or club them, but is struck. Things look grim.
Aboard, the Scarlet Tegaea and her staff face the unpalatable prospect that Elpsis is out of her hands and they cannot immediately retrieve Tempest and her team. When they get the Dominion on the line, it is represented by the Grand Inquisitor, who blusters and proclaims the Light will prevail.
Tegaea issues an ultimatum to him, but he refuses to back down, stating that Airla's life does not matter since she is an infidel who conspired with the 'foreign Sithspawn'. Siobhan Kerrigan learns of the crisis and contacts her wife Tegaea, stating that Firemane cannot back down and must unleash the power of the Phoenix. The two matriarchs share a moment where they resolve to bring their daughter and their people back, or avenge them.
A Firemane aide who questions the decision to go to war far away from home for one person is shot down by Siobhan, who states Firemane does not give in to blackmail and cannot be threatened by thugs and terrorists. Tegaea orders a bombardment of Nexus City's shields and military installations, starting with the Jedi Temple. Meanwhile, a group of Jedi, led by Master Doran, confront the Grandmaster, believing the Inquisition went behind his back.
But it turns out that the Grandmaster is in full agreement. He proclaims that he let a hundred flowers bloom to unmask the weeds in the garden and that the time has come for the final battle between good and evil. The dissidents are killed and the Grandmaster addresses the Dominion. Meanwhile, the convoy bearing Elpsis arrives at Fortress Purity.
Jedi Diona delivers her to Inquisitor Lea, who declares that they have struck a great blow for the Light and that the Grand Inquisitor will be pleased. When Diona questions how they will prevent the 'Sithspawn' warships from razing Nexus City, Lea states that the 'hammers of light' will purify them. She admonishes Diona to have faith in the Light. Elpsis is taken away to cleansed. When she refuses to confess to a series of fictitious crimes, she is tortured.
While this happens, her interrogators recite the Dominion's Jedi Code. Her head is shaved, then she is burnt and hot water is poured down her throat. Then she is dragged away to a tiny, filthy cell and shackled. She tries to reach out with the Force to her mother and lover, but the collar prevents her.
The heavy slug is still lodged inside her leg, so Elpsis uses telekinesis to pull it out and then cauterises her wound with fire. This triggers her collar and she experiences a seizure. Jedi healers help stabilise her and give her medical attention. Lea is unfazed when confronted by Diona, stating that these are growing pains to bring about Elpsis' rebirth into the Light, just like Diona embraced the side of righteousness. Diona wants to return to the frontlines to fight the coming invasion, but is charged with being Elpsis' jailer. Looking back at the captured Firemane, she close looks to sympathetic, then turns rigid.
Things look dire for Tempest, Freya, Jaromir and Xalda, but as they are about to be overrun, Dominion soldiers are suddenly cut down from the rear. A rag-tag group of rebels, concealed through use of Cloaks of Nuun, emerges, taking out Dominion clone troopers with precise fire. Their leader is Mezha Krazhmir, a Yuuzhan Vong. They are the Republican Guard. There is no time for explanations. With Dominion troops on their heels, the Firemane soldiers have no choice but to follow their unlikely rescuers. The group escapes into the wilderness.
Meanwhile, Firemae carries out strikes against Nexus City's shield. A magpulse torpedo forces an opening into it, enabling an elite Qadiri starfighter squadron led by the dashing Jazan Jai Khalal to slip through and blow up the generator. The Scarlet Destiny's Harbinger Cannons pound the Jedi Temple. The Grandmaster and his inner circle have to flee to a bunker while the temple crumbles.
Enraged, the Grandmaster launches a rant, but the Grand Inquisitor is able to deflect his anger by assuring him that the hammer of light will cleanse the Sithspawn and usher in a new age. In the outskirts of Nexus City, two launching platforms are revealed and surface to space missiles are fired. One of Firemane's corvettes is struck. There is no structural damage, but the souls of the crew are consumed and the corvette plummets to the surface.
A second missile soars towards the Scarlet. Through some daring piloting and Force-enhanced coordination, Jazan and her squadron narrowly catch it with tractor beams and, their leader puts it, 'take out the trash' by tossing it into a sun. There is great relief on the Scarlet, but the overall mood is somber. Airla is subjected to interrogation. The revelation that her peers have abandoned her breaks her and she provides information on Purity.
The day ends with Firemane and the Dominion at an impasse, Tempest and her group reaching an underground rebel camp and Elpsis shackled in her cell while rats bite and gnaw at her. As if touched by her empathy, one rat eventually stops biting and licks her hand. To keep Elpsis from getting sleep, propaganda keeps blaring out of loudspeakers, telling her that the Dominion is victorious and she can only find salvation in the Light.
It is still dark when Elpsis is woken up. She is washed by being sprayed with cold water from a hose. Her dirty Firemane uniform is replaced with a prison outfit. Diona presents her with breakfast in form of an unappetising gruel, but only lets her eat it after she recites the Jedi Code several times. When she condemns the Dominion and calls it out on its hypocrisy, she is punished. Then she is put to work doing menial chores and cleaning the robes of Jedi. Naturally this is very difficult for her due to being blind and wearing the collar. Her failure to make a robe pristine again results in correction.
However, Diona intervenes when a guard gets overzealous. The other Inquisitor reacts angrily, accusing Diona of having become too close to a heretic, for attachment is a sin. In turn, Diona accuses the Inquisitor of having given into anger. For a while Elpsis is left unharmed. She and Diona end up talking. Elpsis insists that Firemane has peaceful intentions. Diona asserts that she is doing her duty and Elpsis is tainted. She asserts that the Dominion is not just her country, it is her family and she has a duty to be loyal to it, but only has stock responses when Elpsis asks her how betrayal and torture can be of the Light. Later Elpsis is taken away for forced labour. There she meets some prisoners. Some take pity on her, others are understandably wary of the newcomer.
Her story of being from the stars is met with disbelief, but some prisoners are interested. When a prisoner collapses from strain, Elpsis stands up for but is beaten by a guard. The prisoner is taken away. Still in poor shape, Elpsis is soon unable to perform well and guards arrive to take her away. When she meets Diona, there is almost something like pity in the Jedi Inquisitor's eyes. At the behest of Inquisitor Lea, Elpsis is wired to a machine and Jedi mentalists invade her mind. She struggles, but is unable to keep them out.
While chanting, they try to rearrange her memories of the Tephrike expedition. Diona is forced to participate in order to provide energy for the meld, but in this moment she sees some of Elpsis' real memories. This leaves her shocked. When Elpsis is questioned about the expeditions, she gives the programmed responses, which causes her to panic when she realises what she said. She is brought back to her cell. There, she tries to burn her collar at the hinges, having figured out that it will not be triggered if she uses the Force in very short bursts, much like blinking.
Tempest, Freya, Xalda and Jaromir are brought to General Aruunzeb, a high-ranking Republican Guard commander. Naturally he is a Mon Calamari. The Guard are not terrorists, they are freedom fighters in the tradition of the Rebel Alliance. After managing to establish contact with Tegaea, the two sides agree to an alliance. Guard scouts have tracked the convoy to Fortress Purity, a massive Dominion fortress. Taking it will help the Guard because it is a major citadel on the way to Nexus City. Its loss will be a grievous blow to the Dominion. Firemane will be able to get revenge and rescue Elpsis. After Tempest and her team return to the Scarlet, there is a briefing with Leonina and Tegaea. Leonina will command the assault and coordinate with the Guard.
Freya and Xalda will be part of the assault force, while Tempest leads a strike team that includes Loyalty and Jaromir to infiltrate the fortress. At Leonina's suggestion, Tegaea assigns Sergeant Hikari Saito, a stealth and Force suppression specialist from Panatha, and her Silencers to the assault force. They are joined by Cataphracts, an elite order of Qadiri knights in power armour. One of their own, Varkasa Jai Nasal, will be a prominent part of the assault force.
While Elpsis is being subjected to forced labour and brainwashed, the assault takes form. Cue montage of the Firemane soldiers getting ready. Saito is introduced as a tough soldier, getting her team organised. She is devout to the old gods of the Epicanthix. She and Xalda hit it off. However, when the Firemane troops and the Guard start their assault, it turns out the Dominion has a few surprises up its sleeve. General Kennobi is in command, awaiting the arrival of the Grand Inquisitor. Through the Force he foresees their attack. Firemane bombs the fortress from orbit, laying many Dominion defences to waste, but the fortress has extensive trenches, bunkers and underground complexes.
When Firemane dropships launch, kamikaze starfighters attack them. Many Dominion vessels are destroyed, but some reach their targets. Xalda and Saito and Firemane soldiers with them have to bail out of their transport before it goes up in flames. The dropship bearing Freya and her squad of power armoured heavy infantry is separated from them. When the pilot is unwilling to land, Freya and her soldiers use their jetpacks to bail out. By chance or design, they end up dropping on top of a Dominion trench.
Putting her superior strength and Reaper shotgun to good use, Freya begins tearing through opposition. She fights and puts a Jedi down. Dominion troops trying to counterattack them are put down by precise sharpshooter fire. Mezha, her Twi'lek friend Synthia Vao and other partisans emerge from the shadows. Mezha remarks that she has had to come to the rescue of the star warriors again. This earns her a growl from Freya, but the two team up.
Cue plenty of action scenes and bad one-liners. Meanwhile, Xalda, Varkasa and Saito rally a rag-tag group of Firemane soldiers, including Cataphracts and regulars. There is some tension between Xalda and the Qadiri, but it has to be buried for the greater good. They ambush a force of Jedi and Dominion soldiers who have swarmed some crashed Firemane soldiers. The pair works together to surprise and take down Jedi. Saito and their Silencers use their skills as snipers and to dampen enemy Force-users, Xalda her terramancy and stealth skills. However, when they try to contact high command, a storm suddenly breaks out.
The Dominion has activated a weather control machine. Not only does this hamper communications with the Scarlet Destiny, it also largely negates Firemane's air power. Dominion light artillery begins shelling and they soon come under attack from infantry. The Dominion's guns are ultimately taken out by Freya, Mezha and their crew, as they hit the Dominion in the rear. Both warriors work together to take out a Wookiee Jedi, then use the Dominion's own guns to shell its lines.
However, a counterattack forces them to pull back. Leonina coordinates the forces from her command post, directing Firemane artillery and orbital strikes. The storm is extremely hazardous, but while the Scarlet Destiny cannot directly intervene in the fight, it can bomb the roads leading to Purity. Firemane self-propelled artillery is ambushed by saboteurs and Leonina leads the Order of Fire in a charge against Dominion ambushers. Meanwhile, Tempest's team begins its infiltration, but encounters danger on the way.
Unfortunately for Elpsis, the damage she did to her collar is detected. She attempts escape, but is subdued. Diona uses the Force to stun her and she is subdued. While correction is carried out in form of strappado, she sees the prisoner she earlier tried to defend. The prisoner has now become a 'Repentant', having been brainwashed into believing in the Dominion. She serenely informs Elpsis that she is not beyond redemption and can still embrace the Light. Pain and strain are evident on Elpsis and she seems closer and closer to breaking.
Freya, Mezha and their comrades gain some relief when Jazan's squadron bombards Dominion forces, using instinctive astrogation and Force meld to navigate through the storm. While the Firemane regulars and rebels fight their way through a trench, Saito, Xalda and the other soldiers face a fierce battle on a hill, even with a mist concealing their approach. Suicide bombers, Jedi snipers, illusionists and the elite Ever Loyal Vanguard, a force of Dominion Jedi warriors clad in Force Imbued armour, using imbued melee weapons and shields, assails both groups. Varkasa and the Cataphracts prove their valour against these Jedi warriors.
General Kennobi steels his warriors with Battle Meditation, trying to enhance them and undermine his enemies. Freya overcomes the influence through sheer anger, Mezha inspires rebels with a fiery speech, Saito shakes it off through discipline and Xalda through fury and faith.
However, all suffer injuries. A group of Qadiri elementalists, the Celestial Dragons, can redirect the storm against the enemy. But pillboxes and soldiers are concealed by Dominion sorcerers through illusions. Tempest and her team pierce the defence ring, not the least thanks to Jaromir's and Loyalty's stealth skills, but are detected and assaulted by the Inquisition. Tempest fights one of the Jedi Masters. The Grand Inquisitor arrive and is notified of this, but seems unconcerned.
After blustering that the Dominion has weapons at its disposal more powerful than even the hammers of light, he orders Elpsis to be brought to him. Upon being confronted by Diona, he blusters that victory is near. When she insists that holding their prisoner gains them nothing and even questions the Dominion's narrative, he threatens her, declaring that her lineage is tainted and she only lives on his sufferance. When she erred, he remade her and he can easily unmake her.
Elpsis, by now, in a poor state, is brought to him in shackles. He redoubles his efforts to rewrite her memories and uses his power to project images of the Dominion's triumph and of the Scarlet Destiny being Force nuked. However, the mental invasion causes her to snap. The collar shocks her, sending a powerful electrical surge, but she burns it. Fire sweeps across the hall.
Diona defects, fighting Inquisition guards and Inquisitor Lea, who uses illusions and stealth powers against her. Diona is injured several times by Lea, who uses doppelgangers and invisibility against her, then traps her in an illusion of a massacre the former Inquisitor committed. Diona must face her sins, and manages to strike down Lea. Elpsis faces the Grand Inquisitor, who wields her lightsabre.
Elpsis burns him with a wave of flame, but is hurt when he unleashes Spears of Midnight Black tainted with Force Disease. Her left hand is maimed when she channels Tutaminis to block a lightsabre blow with it. Chanelling the heat, she forces super heated air down his throat, burning a lung. The Grand Inquisitor manages to bury her beneath rubble. Elpsis experiences flashes of her life, from her time with the Jedi, on the streets, as a Firemane soldier and with her family. It gives her the strength to push through the pain, dig her way out and smite him.
Diona and Elpsis look upon one another amidst the carnage. Not enemies anymore...but not friends. Diona's old world has collapsed. She seems to expect Elpsis or Firemane will kill her. But Elpsis does not. Faced with a choice, Diona chooses to fight the Dominion instead of run. Prisoners, having noticed the commotion, rise up and Elpsis comes to their aid. There are plenty of explosions.
The Firemane groups break through the Dominion's defensive lines. Hearing this, General Kennobi orders the Dominion's last reserve to be committed to the fight: Younglings. One of his staff officers questions this decision and pleads with him not to send the children to their deaths. But Kennobi demands it because either the 'Sithspawn' will be overcome by their purity or they will hold their fire and be destroyed.
Either way, the Dominion will win. Driven into battle by their superiors after being given drugs to suppress the fear, the child soldiers charge the Firemane and Republican Guard troops, who have linked up in the ruins. Many Firemane soldiers are reluctant to shoot. Even Xalda wavers, trembling as she sees herself in the young ones, having been in their shoes a long time ago. Saito and the Silencers try to stun the young ones by using the Force, but they are tired after endless fighting. In the end, they fire. Kennobi does not join the young ones he sent on a suicidal charge. Instead, he activates his lightsabre and commits suicide. His corpse is found by Freya and Mezha. Their disgust is obvious. Mezha takes his lightsabre. Tempest and Elpsis are reunited in the ruins of Purity, taking down the last Inquisition soldiers still standing with fire and lightning.
The battle is a victory, but many Dominion, Republican Guard and Firemane soldiers lie dead. Leonina tours the battlefield, seeing the corpses of the Younglings. A number of Firemane soldiers volunteer to bury them, among them a very sorrowful Xalda, who sings a sad lament for them in her native tongue, beseeching the Mother Earth to take them to a better place.
Leonina has a brief meeting with General Aruunzeb, then meets Freya and Mezha. The human and the Yuuzhan Vong depart as sort of friends. The Dominion is in a shambles, part of its army is in open rebellion and the Guard will press its advantage to bring it down. Siobhan and Tegaea are informed of what has transpired. Upon learning of the defeat, the Grandmaster is ambushed and assassinated by his own Council. Elpsis collapses due to exhaustion and injuries, after telling Tempest not to hurt Diona, who does not resist when she is cuffed.
Tegaea has a reunion with her daughter, who is put in a bacta tank. In an epilogue on the Arx Aeternae, the individual stories are wrapped up. Saito and Xalda have become friends and the latter even sort of tolerates the Qadiri and Vashyada, Jazan is a hero and Freya sort of admits she would not mind seeing Mezha again. Varkasa has composed a ballad celebrating Firemane's victory and the deeds of her fellow Qadiri.
Diona is doing penal labour, but it is implied that she may be pardoned due to good behaviour and honest remorse for her sins. Elpsis visits her in prison and that two have some dialogue. It is awkward for both, but there is some understanding. Diona a nullifier, but it only keeps her from using the Force instead of causing her pain. The prisoners who were rescued by Firemane are being resettled and will be allowed to exist as an autonomous community under Firemane protection. On Tephrike, the Republican Guard prepares for its next push. Mezha and her comrades are now equipped with more modern Firemane weapons and it is implied that the conquest of Purity has produced a surge of rebellions against the tyrannical theocracies.
There is an awards ceremony similar to in A New Hope, except everyone gets a medal. Siobhan Kerrigan gives a speech, commending her forces and their allies for their valour. Elpsis shares a sweet moment with Tempest and decides to assume a position of leadership among the Young Flames so that she can pass on what she learned, having learned what it means to be a Master. She vows to make the sacrifices of those who perished on Tephrike count.
"It's bollocks, Mother, and you know it."
"What the script says is true - from a certain point of view."
"Oh, cut the doublespeak, will you? It makes me out to be some kind of heroine. I'm not. I wasn't your obedient soldier. I went down there against orders. I succumbed to brainwashing. I..."
"Nobly sacrificed yourself to ensure the safety of your comrades. Endured horrible torture. Then found the strength to rise up and destroy your torturers and save the lives of many innocents. And are now being groomed for a position of leadership in the Order of Fire. All of this happened. We are merely streamlining the narrative."
"Whitewashing it, you mean."
"You will eventually realise that many truths we hold dear depend on our point of view. Our public wants simple truths. They want heroes. Perhaps the Elpsis in the movie does not fully represent you. But she is who you will be."
"Still your pawn, am I right? There's really nothing and no one you won't use to further your precious legacy that you care more about than anything else, is there?"
"No, because that legacy is all about assuring the safety and strength of the family, including you, when I'm dead and my ashes lie in an urn somewhere. You want to head the Order one day. Well, here's a lesson for you: the truth is so valuable that it can only be passed out in measured doses. Otherwise it might kill the recipient."
"And I suppose you want me to stamp it. Show up at the premiere, shake hands and smile."
"It is in your interests."
"Meaning you need me to. I want some of the profits to go to helping the Tephriki prisoners who came with us. Not just prefabs and stuff. Many are sterile. We got the science to fix it. If we're blathering about helping them in a movie, we might as well do it instead of forgetting about them."
- Elpsis and Siobhan having creative differences.
The movie describes the Tephrike campaign. It is accurate in broad strokes, but several creative liberties have been taken. As is common for movies intended for a mass audience, plot lines have been condensed, characters amalgamated and so on. The Firemane Exploration Corps did indeed conduct an expedition under the leadership of Tegaea Alcori that ended up discovering the lost world of Tephrike.
On this war-torn planet, they made first contact with the Dominion of Light, a Jedi-led totalitarian theocracy that sought to exert total domination over its population through control over the media, police terror and cloning. It was engaged in a war with two other factions, the slaveholding, human supremacist Disciples of the Vader and the revolutionary Republican Guard, which pursued a radical anti-Force-user agenda.
The initial phase of the expedition diverges strongly from reality. The Firemane fleet ran into a group of Dominion starfighters. Mistakenly believing the intruders to be demons, the primitive starfighters attacked and were decimated. Subsequently, Firemane landed a task force led by Leonine Varkathras on one of Tephrike's moons and stormed a Dominion base. There was no oxygen fire, instead the task force subdued or eliminated Dominion clone troopers.
As in the movie, Elpsis befriended a comms technician called Mara, albeit under different circumstances. Subsequently Firemane and the Dominion entered negotiations. A moderate faction led by Battlemaster Mahtara sought accommodation with the outsiders, believing they could be used to their advantage. However, a group of radicals led by the Grand Inquisitor Antonius and the Grandmaster viewed this as treason. A Firemane delegation was ambushed by the extremists. During the course of the fighting, Elpsis was captured.
Contrary to what the movie says, Elpsis had not been assigned to the delegation. In fact, Tegaea had ordered her to stay on the Firemane flagship. However, she went against orders and joined its security detail due to a vague premonition of danger. The depiction of her sacrificing herself to ensure the retreat of the delegation is accurate, as is her capture at the hands of the Inquisition.
Subsequently, Firemane went to war against the Dominion. It bombed the Jedi Temple and had to deal with Dominion retaliation in form of Force-enhanced nuclear missiles. However, the Dominion politics are greatly simplified. This partly intentional, partly a result of Firemane simply lacking the information. As a result, the movie mostly leaves out Mahtara's scheming to overthrow the Grandmaster. The same applies to the fact that two of the missiles did not launch because Mahtara's soldiers intervened, though Jazan's heroics did in fact save the Firemane flagship from destruction.
In contrast to what the movie states, Elpsis was not brought to Fortress Purity. Instead she was interned in an Inquisition prison camp away from the capital. As a result, the Battle of Fortress Purity and the operation to find and rescue her were two separate campaigns. The movie narrative simplifies things to keep the film from becoming overly long and make the story easier to follow. Elpsis being subjected to physical and mental torture and eventually bonding with her jailer is accurate. However, the movie leaves out that for a while she succumbed to her brainwashing and murdered a captured Firemane pilot at the behest of her captors.
After carrying out a bombing campaign against military targets and infrastructure, Firemane landed ground forces to assault Purity. These operated in cooperation with the Guard. The movie glosses over the Guard's radical anti-Force-user views, presenting them as a noble successor to the Rebel Alliance. In actual fact, cooperation between the two groups was rather teeth-clenched. While individual soldiers such as Sergeant Freya Solveig of Firemane and Lieutenant Mezha Krazhmir of the Guard cooperated well and emerged as something close to comrades, on the whole there was a lot of distrust.
Indeed, at first the Guard was reluctant to commit its full force, as it had tried to assault Purity a few years ago and been routed and distrusted its ally. When reflecting on the depiction of the rebels, Siobhan remarked candily: "This will be mightily embarrassing if we have to fight them one day." While the Dominion was technologically inferior to Firemane, it compensated through use of a weather control machine, kamikaze pilots, religious zealotry and mass use of Jedi warriors.
In the end, when all was lost, its Jedi General sent a horde of Younglings on a suicidal death charge to cover the retreat of his officers. Then he committed suicide. Laira Darkhold, horrified by what was happening, tried to save the Younglings by hacking through the guns of her allies, potentially putting them in danger. However, she was knocked out by one of her fellow Resistance operatives. Firemane soldiers, including Xalda, buried the dead child soldiers afterwards.
Thus while the battle was a victory, it was a hard-fought one. The ground operation was led by Colonel Leonina Varkathras, who was later promoted to Brigadier. Individuals such as Karrigan'Xalda, Freya Solveig, Sergeant Hikari Saito, the Cataphracts of the Ascendant Phoenix and Jazan Jai Khalal distinguished themselves in the fight.
The movie merges the search for Elpsis as well as her eventual rebellion with the Purity battle. While Elpsis rebelled against her conditioning and killed the Grand Inquisitor in a big duel, these actions occured far away from Purity. The same applies to the prisoner revolt that was sparked by her actions. Indeed, the search for her was a more drawn-out affair, as Firemane first assaulted another concentration camp to acquire intelligence. Historically, Major Tempest led the search for the captured Kerrigan-Alcori, and while she duelled Dominion Jedi warriors, this did not happen at Purity.
Some of the figures that fought in the actual campaign have been removed. Nyssa Vykaris, a close companion of Elpsis who participated in the operation to find her, does not appear in the movie because the filmmakers believed it would take too long to explain why a Pureblood is on the 'good' side. Nyssa was extremely vexed about this. Likewise, a Firemane associate called Natalie Dorne has been omitted. In contrast to Nyssa, this happened at her request. Being a spy and a rebel insurgent, she could do without the publicity.
The movie also does not mention Laira Darkhold, a member of the Resistance, Jedi Padawan and secretly the Crown Princess of Alderaan. The same applies to the Resistance unit that accompanied her and consisted of a mixture of former Galactic Alliance Guard and defected Death Troopers. She and her friends fought at Purity. The portrayal of the actual fighting is mostly accurate, right down to squad level tactics, call signs, equipment and so on. However, the Dominion is portrayed as having more and better troops than it actually had, especially Jedi. While the Dominion deployed these in large numbers, the movie embellishes it a bit. It also depicts some Firemane units and allied groups that played no part in the campaign.
The chase scene where Tempest and other Firemane soldiers pursue the convoy to rescue Elpsis did not happen in reality. Firemane did make contact with the Republican Guard under similar circumstances, but what actually happened was that Laira, some of her friends and some Firemane pilots were shot down during the betrayal, retreated into the wilderness while being pursued by Dominion troops and were rescued by the rebels.
Finally, the film combines Rhea and Diona into one character. Diona was the Jedi Inquisitor who captured Elpsis and acted as her jailer. Over time she came to empathise with her captive, while also participating in her torture and helping thwart an escape attempt. Ultimately, her sympathy cost her, as she was arrested by her superiors and Elpsis was ordered to rewrite her memories. However, invading her former jailer's mind and seeing her guilt caused Elpsis to snap and turn on her captors. Elpsis engaged the Grand Inquisitor, who had come gloat over his 'creation', in a dramatic duel and slew him. The movie's depiction of the fight is faithful to what actually happened.
Diona aided her, slaying Jedi Inquisitor Lea, who had supervised Elpsis' brainwashing and been responsible for doing the same to one of the fallen Knight's friends.Rhea, by contrast, was the Grand Inquisitor's apprentice, though she was really more like a traumatised slave he kept on a leash, having manipulated and then forced her into doing his bidding. Rhea joined Elpsis and Diona in revolt after the Grand Inquisitor was slain. She later became Elpsis' student. From the perspective of the filmmakers both characters were very similar. Elpsis' actions sparked a prison revolt.
A group of prisoners who had been conspiring to escape, fearing that the Inquisition intend to 'evacuate' the camp, led a rebellion in the camp. It succeeded with the help of Elpsis and Firemane troops led by Tempest. A rogue Dominion task force dispatched by Mahtara tried to penetrate the camp during the chaos and retrieve Elpsis so that she could be used as a bargaining chip, but was forced to stand down.
The end of the campaign left the Guard emboldened and the Dominion weakened. However, the fact that many of its madmen and opportunists had been killed actually ended up helping the Dominion. The Grandmaster was murdered by a cabal of conspirators led by his former Padawan Jedi Master Cassius. With their backing, Mahtara disbanded the Council and assumed command. A coalition of pragmatic hardliners took power, willing to shed self-defeating baggage to mobilise the Dominion for war. Mahtara is entirely omitted from the movie, which ends on a more uplifting note.
Firemane forces withdrew from Tephrike after making a deal with the Republican Guard, based on which they would provide the rebels with more advanced weapons, medical supplies and advisors in return for resources. The prisoners who had been freed from the Dominion camps were given the option to depart with Firemand and settle somewhere safe. Before leaving, Firemane's warships levelled the Vaderites' Castle. The Sith used their sorcery to summon demons onto Firemane's flagship. However, the bombardment resulted in the Vaderites losing their Dark Lord and their centre of operations. His rival Darth Eisen declared himself Dark Lord, for he had been canny enough to leave the fortress when the bombardment begun. However, he soon had to contend with other claimants.
In the aftermath of the campaign, Firemane commissioned the movie. Siobhan liked the idea when it was presented to her, believing it would be good for morale. Moreover, it could be used to attract new recruits by presenting a positive view of Firemane in general and its armed forces in particular. From her perspective, the movie was also damage control. The Grandmistress' daughter had been captured and tortured. This was a sign of weakness.
In her view, this was something that needed to be addressed in order to silence unpalatable whispers. Thus the movie would show Elpsis' heroic side and further villainise the Dominion. Though Firemane is a corporation, it has also assumed functions more commonly associated with those of a planetary government in certain fringe areas of space that are under its protection. She also believed that it would be a good way to capitalise on the important role many Tygaran Sepoys has played in the campaign.
Movie culture was still new to the Tygarans, and so significant efforts were made to make the movie accessible to as many of the elves as possible and to get actual elves to play the roles. Because the movie was backed by Firemane, the filmmakers were able to hire actual Force-users, especially elementalists, get some fancy equipment, advisors and so on. A force of Firemane grunts were able to earn some additional credits by appearing as extras. Of course, this also meant that a Firemane officer kept an eagle eye on the script and production phases.
The movie portrays Firemane's leadership as being more united behind the campaign than it actually was. While there was a general consensus that the Dominion's treachery had to be answered with some form of retaliation, some senior Firemane officials such as Vice President Kaylah Danton were concerned about getting bogged down in a campaign without end on a planet far from home. This was especially pertinent since Siobhan was set on completely crushing the Dominion until Purity fell and she received word that her daughter, whom she had believed dead, was alive and had been rescued. Even Tegaea initially wavered on whether she should do what was needed to get her back, knowing it would cost many lives. It fell to Siobhan to issue an executive order. The film largely omits this.
Ivra Rassan was hired to produce the movie. Her past work in Holowood and with Firemane recommended her for the position. She was also selected to direct because she could take orders from Siobhan and make sure Firemane's leader did not meddle unduly. This was quite pertinent since many a movie project has failed due to excessive executive meddling and rewrites. The crew got to use and occasionally blow up real military vehicles. The main cast was put through several weeks of training at a Firemane army camp to get them to bond and ensure they could plausibly portray their roles.
Finding a suitable actress to portray Siobhan proved somewhat problematic. This is in spite of the fact that Siobhan only has some brief cameos. Nonetheless, Siobhan herself joined the trials to check who would be best portraying her. Initially, Dahlia Lynson was picked. However, she could not get into the role and Siobhan argued with her a lot. Dahlia would later describe the Kerrigan matriarch as tyrannical. For her part, Siobhan called her 'vapid', 'intellectually compromised' and a host of terms that would be inappropriate to print. So Ivra gave Dahlia the boot and hired Nala Dheeye instead. Nala is a bit older than Siobhan, but Firemane's leader was satisfied with her commanding performance.
Elpsis was portrayed by Kira Zanaan, a method actress who really got into a very physically taxing role. She shaved her hair bald since that was what was done to Elpsis during captivity. She also did her own stunts and persisted with this despite having horrible pains after breaking two teeth while filming a fight scene. Elpsis was unhappy about a number of creative decisions made by the writers and did not appreciated the way she was written. The fact that she was portrayed as purely noble and heroic made her unhappy and quite mad. Siobhan wanted her daughter as a heroine and wanted her story to be told the 'right' way. Elpsis was also very unhappy about the omission of a number of people who had fought at Tephrike, such as Nyssa and Laira.
However, she struck up a friendship with Kira. Elpsis had not wanted to be deeply involved in the project, but her actress sought her out to discuss her role and talk about her experiences. As mentioned above, the film largely makes use of actual elementalists. However, Kira is only a minor Force-Sensitive. As a result, CGI had to be used for her fire bending. An exception was made for her due to her acting skills.
During an early stage of production, the crew considered replacing Kira with an actual pyromancer. However, Elpsis made a rare appearance on set and shot the idea down. The two attended the premiere together. White lenses were used to portray Elpsis' physical blindness. Sometimes the camera showed her vision in first person, such as while she was being tortured by the Inquisition. Auras came and went due to the pain she was feeling in such scenes, reflecting her real struggle to even see.
Edited by Elpsis Kerrigan-Alcori, 10 September 2019 - 02:15 PM.