glorious empire

Democratia Aut Mors, Sed Non Imperium

Frantically posting a story I wrote a year ago (seriously, a year ago) in order to appease the people who just started following my blog (I’m alive I swear)

We were the pride of the Ytrian Imperial Fleet. Five hundred ships, more than most species had in their possession, military and civilian. Five hundred ships, tens of thousands of sailors. So we did what we do best, what empires do best, we expanded our territory.

We expanded, and our rule was benevolent. We built hypergates, expanded trade, ensured the naked were clothed and the hungry were fed. We did this for those who we conquered, and in time they came to love us. A line of emperors a hundred generations long unmarred by a succession war, a line of emperors a hundred generations long each educated from birth to know they served the people. We had perfected the rule of a monarch, we had perfected the hereditary leadership, by getting rid of the only issue it had. Unreliable monarchs.

So when we came to the edge of a Republic, we were amused. Many species that now lived and died in the borders of our great empire had experimented with democracy at one point in time, and now all had renounced such failings and were happily in servitude to our glorious leader, Emperor Ytriax'us the Forty Third of His Name, Light of the Empire, Great Servant of the People.

So when we came to the edge of a Republic, we did what we always did. We gave them a choice. Submit to us peacefully, or submit to us through war. We will give you all the boons of the empire, or grind your armies away and restructure your planets to better serve.

The first of the Republic’s planets came to us, and they accepted our benevolent offer. They were enfolded in the arms of the empire, and loved as all our people are loved. They were given boons of technology such as their planet had never seen.

Then came the second, the third, and eventually the fifteenth planet of the Republic to submit to our glorious empire. We grew ever stronger, as was our destiny, as was our duty.

The other planets of the Republic, they would not submit. So we marshaled our great fleet, our five hundred ships, and we sent them to war.

The Republic met us in combat, and the Republic fell in combat. And the Republic was absorbed into our benevolent empire as dozens of species before it had been absorbed into our empire.

That is, they were going to be. But right as our great fleet, still with four hundred and sixty six great ships of combat was about to finish off the flagship of the Republic, and bring the predictable end to this predictably tragic combat, four massive ships jumped into the system.

All four were huge ships, many times larger than any of our battleships, and all were emblazoned with similar words, hated words, words I have come to dread hearing. The Yorktown, the Waterloo, the Normandy, the Gettysburg. A pale skinned biped came onto the screen.

“You sailors, soldiers, and ships of the Ytrian Empire. You will visit no more violence upon these people. You will depart this system and all systems which did not voluntarily join your empire now, or I swear you will suffer the consequences. These ships are those of the Knights Terra, as are those that will follow, and you will visit no more war upon those peaceful stars.”

We laughed, shocked by the presumption of these four ships. What paltry force this was, to presume to issue demands to us. We were the Ytrian Empire, and we knew no master but our Emperor, may he reign forever.

So our Admiral, great Ytriax'an, cousin to the Emperor Most High, amused by their impertinence, deigned to speak to the scum.

“You who are the Knights Terra, we know not of you, but you clearly know of us. We are the ships of the Ytrian Empire, and we will not permit you to stand in the way of progress. All will come under our benevolent rule, by peace or by force the choice is yours.”

After that, after that there was violence. Sudden, immediate, overwhelming violence. We had no idea the Terrans were in range for their weapons. We had no idea their missiles were capable of destroying one of our Battleships with a single blow. We handful of survivors fled, ran for the safety of home and Empire.

As we left that system, they broadcast a single message to us.

“Democratia aut mors, sed non imperium.”

We’ve spent the last decade decrypting that message. It is in a Terran tongue that was dead a thousand years ago, but they stubbornly refuse to let go entirely. Loosely translated it means “Democracy or Death, but never Tyranny”. It is the motto of the Knights Terra, who have rained death and destruction upon our Empire.

To your battle stations now crew, the Stalingrad just warped into the system, to join her sisters the Madrid, the Bull Run and the Kursk.

Defend the Emperor, prepare to meet your ancestors with dignity, and when our Empire dies remember those who destroyed it. Remember those who shattered our rule, who would not suffer our Emperor to spread his rule throughout the galaxy.

Remember the Terrans

So I’ve probably said this before, but I’ll say it again.

The reason Dragon Age Inquisition feels so much like a misfire is because it missed a lot of the point of the previous games in the series. Where Inquisition was a story about a Chosen One figure being the only one who can fight and stop this threat, the kind of story we’ve seen repeatedly and constantly in the fantasy genre, Dragon Age Origins and especially Dragon Age 2 were designed to deconstruct the familiar tropes of the genre.

I mean, Dragon Age 2 is pretty much explicit in that fact. The point and purpose of the ‘Varric as narrator’ device is that Cassandra has heard the tale of the Champion of Kirkwall and now wants to know the truth, wants to know about the person behind that myth. What she ends up getting is a tale of an ordinary person dragged into situations beyond their control and, by virtue of a little luck and some faithful companions, ends up being the one still standing at the end of it. Hawke is no Chosen One. S/he’s just a person who was in the wrong place at the right time and got to be remembered as a hero.

And even the Warden has this trait - the Warden, by virtue of the origins mechanic, could not be ‘the Chosen One’ either. We get plenty of information on the other origins that indicate that, regardless of whether we chose to play as that character, those origins still occurred. Howe still invades Highever and kills much of the Cousland family. Endrin’s middle child is blamed for the death of his eldest and sentenced to the Deep Roads. Brosca entered the Provings and ends up dying in Jarvia’s prison cells. All the origins happen, it’s just your decision tells Duncan where to go to recruit.

Origins itself was meant to deconstruct a lot of the standard tropes in fantasy. Here, the elves were beaten and down-trodden, long past the days of their ancient, glorious empire, where any arrogance on their part was purely meant as the only way they really can fight back with humanity - ‘we may have little, but we will take pride in that little.’ Mages are not the wise and respected advisors to some noble, but instead are locked up and shackled in a tower because the abilities they have are dangerous and deadly if they’re allowed to run free. The dwarves, often considered ‘as constant as the stone’ are a stagnant and dying culture, and the one dwarf we ever really meet who embodies the stereotypes is Oghren, who is a pariah among his fellow dwarves. Hell, in many ways, the qunari are orc-analogs, and instead of being the simple bruisers whose first instinct is to crush and smash and destroy, they’re highly intelligent, to the point that they have technology far beyond what the humans have.

Dragon Age started as a deconstruction and even examination of old fantasy tropes. On a personal note, that’s what made the series so interesting to me - instead of just taking a Tolkien-style world at face value, Dragon Age took those tropes and turned them on their head. In some ways, it was asking the genre to evolve, because as influential as Tolkien has been, we’re at a point where the fantasy genre isn’t really moving outside of these narrowly defined categories of what fantasy has been. And fantasy that doesn’t imagine moving beyond that? That’s a waste of the genre and ideas.

But Inquisition… Inquisition wants to play those Tolkien style tropes far straighter than they’ve been in the past. And it doesn’t reconstruct them first. It just acts like that classic interpretation of things has been in play since the beginning, even though it hasn’t, and, in multiple cases, actively set out to go against them.

Dragon Age began with a lot of deconstruction of the fantasy genre, in some ways asking ‘is fantasy going to stay where it is or grow and evolve?’ And if Inquisition is an indication, the answer is apparently ‘stay where it is.’ Which if you ask me, that’s a damn shame, because there’s a lot that can be done with fantasy, if someone would just take the chance. I hope future games will.

    LEAGUE OF LEGENDS LORE-INSPIRED AESTHETIC ( 02 / ?? )   || SHURIMA.  

(  A thousand years ago, the glorious empire of Shurima shone like a second sun across the desert. After a flawed Ascension ritual, the gleaming capital city was reduced to ruins, swallowed by the sands forever or so it would seem. )

the tower of dawn cover plot is honestly so bad

like…..who wrote it

it sounds like a dystopian novel from 2010 im hyperventilating

cure his wounds that he recieved in rifthold” ??? ableism on a cover??? wounds????? bloomsbury disrespecting disabled people???? *pretends to be shocked*. also !!! @ the fact that the sjm team really seem to think that you need to ~~cure~~ disabled characters because they don’t belong in a fantasy book…tired…next

yrene ??? the pure lil angel from tab that sardines blamed for being sexually assaulted??? that’s a random character to pit against kale and neryl because she could heal sardines after she was an asshole but not kale….it makes 0 sense? why would yrene heal sardines but hate kale? it sounds like sjm is going to pull fucking reverse racism storylines with this fucking bullshit and im already over it

these fucking names I swear to God….stop disrespecting south asian cultures you bourgeois swiss sandwich mess. “Kahgan” “Torre Cesme” (sounds like expensive posh wine lmao) is this written by disney

“lord westfall carries darkness from his own past” 1. edgy 2. his entire relationship with alien is probably a decade long trauma right there 3. rowrat whiteporn is also a possibility - especially considering how much of a dick he was to kale for absolutely no reason whatsoever

 “yrene soon realises it could engulf them both” what the fuck does this mean. i swear to god if this is sjm pitting two women against each other over a MAN,,,,i will loose my mind 
PS who the fuck says “engulf” on the cover of a young adult book…what the fuck is she doing

“warriors sore on mighty ruks” im shakig what kid of fresh hell is this

honestly the entire line is full circle next level earnest hemmingway type of nonsense:

“deep in the shadows of distant mountains where warriors sore on mighty ruks, long awaited answers slumber.” what does this mean!!!!!! whAT DOES IT MEAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! is she going to appropriate other warrior cultures…i swear if she touches them i will RIOT

“a glorious empire, a desperate quest, an ancient secret” 
sounds like a really bad porno imo

another thing, antica sounds like antiva. y’know, from dragon age. the game she’s continuously rips off shamelessly in her series. i don’t know what i expected.

can someone tell sarah that white savior storylines aren’t cute…i love daenerys but her white savior ass is problematic as hell girl….this is like a nightmare you can’t wake up from. i thought we did this plot in tab already??? recycling old plots??? sarah j maas relates.

instead of making her woc badass, sarah decides to pull a “see??? im not racist these white people save the enslaved poc!!!”

trash. all of it. i hope this series dies soon. 

Identity - A Star Wars Story - Part 5

This is it my friends, the final part of Identity. I would like to thank my dear friend @miss-skymidala  for requesting this story in the first place! I hope I ended it well and if you want more Star Wars related writings send in some requests! Thanks for sticking with me on this wild ride. Now finally, I give you Identity - A Star Wars Story - Part 5…

Taggeed : @lust-for-pan @princeofsassgard (sorry if I forgot anyone)

“Have hope Y/N, always.” He retracted his hand, sad brown eyes watching you. And as the space closed you shouted, “Cassian I lov-” You were cut off by the clang of metal as the ramp shut completely. You pounded your fists against the metal, screaming for Cassian and Jyn.

Aben pulled you off the floor, but you were to overpowered by anger and pain. You threw yourself on the floor and you could hear the ship break through the atmosphere of Scarif.

“Y/N, if we’re going into the heart of Imperial command, we need to be ready to attack.” Aben’s voice barely broke through to you as you grasped the kyber necklace and closed your eyes. Aben walked away, prepping the weapon you did have. You just sat on the floor, quietly weeping, praying.

“Rogue One; May the Force be with you.”


“We’re approaching the Death Star,” Aben said, her voice cold, “grab your blaster.” You looked up at your friend from your spot on the ground. Her eyebrows were furrowed and her lips were set in a hard line. You didn’t need to use the Force to tell what she was planning. Darkness clouded around her like a swarm of flies. You remembered what Chirrut had said about Cassian on Eadu and felt sick to your stomach. You stood and turned to look out of a window back to Scarif. Hardly anything remained; pieces of the planet flying high above the site where the Death Star’s laser struck. You felt the pain, immense heart ache of a hurting planet, a dead planet. Tears stung at your eyes, but you pushed them down.

“What’s the point?” You murmured, but Aben heard you. Her head spun to face you, her eyes ablaze. She marched towards you, meeting your eyes. “The point!?” She asked, furious. “We take out as many of those monsters as we can and go down fighting. Like Chirrut, like Jyn and Cassian. Like Bodhi. We don’t give up, because they wouldn’t,” she paused, sadness becoming more apparent in her features, “they didn’t.” A loud thump and hissing sound interrupted the moment, causing both you and Aben to turn around.

“We docked.” She whispered, turning back to face you. You nodded at her and picked up your blaster. You and Aben quickly found defensive positions and readied your weapons. The ship door opened and a cold breeze blew into the star cruiser.  Before you or Aben could fire a single shot, both of your blasters flew to the ground. You gasped, but Aben remained composed as she pulled a grenade from her belt. Before she could pull the pin, she was lifted off her feet. She dropped the bomb to the floor and clawed at her neck with her hands. You leapt to her side, pulling her down with the Force. She let out a gasp for air and fell to the ground.

“You.” The voice was robotic, as if it came from a new branding of droid, but when you turned, it was not a droid you saw. A tall figure, dressed in all black, stood in the doorway of the ship. Behind it, the Death Star’s hallway was filled with a multitude of stormtroopers. The Empire knew of your arrival, and felt so compelled by it, they sent troops and a masked creature.

You felt as if you should cry and your head grew muddled with fear; but you felt the warmth of the kyber crystal against your chest and found a renewed strength. You glanced at Aben, who was still on the ground regaining her breath, and closed your eyes. Your hand shot out and with a pull, a cold piece of metal fell into your hand. As if it was an instinct, born into your blood from years ago, you pressed the activator switch. With a buzz, red light flooded your face and the dark creature shouted in anger. “Fire!”

The stormtroopers barged into the ship, unleashing a reign of heavy fire. Using the lightsaber, stolen from the cloaked being, you returned their fire with aimed ricochets. They fell in front of the figure, who remained silent as you sliced through the flood of white armor. What felt like minutes passed, when you had made your way to stand near the creature. With all of his guards slain, he stood quietly. He took a loud breath, “Next time, ask before you take things that do not belong to you.”

You almost laughed at the nerve of the man. You just stared at it’s masked face, and raised the red lightsaber above your head, ready to strike it down.

“Y/N! No!” You heard Aben shout, but it was too late. Before the blade could hit him, the creature raised a gloved hand and everything around you went dark.


“Y/N! Y/N please wake up,” you heard her panicked voice before you saw her face. Your eyelids fluttered open and you were met with a harsh light. You squinted, sitting up to study your surroundings. “Where are we?” Your voice came out more rough than you thought it would sound, but Aben only shook her head. “On the prison deck of the Death Star,” she murmured but she didn’t seem entirely sure, “but all I know for sure is that you went bantha shit on those troopers.”

You rocked off the ledge you were lying on to stand. “What was that thing with them,” you asked, rubbing your aching head. Aben turned to face you, her eyes wide in fear. “Death himself,” she whispered, the terror in her being more apparent than ever. You walked towards her, leading her to sit on the ledge, “Don’t worry Y/N, I’ll get us out of here.” As your friend slept on the ledge, you looked around your cell, seeing only grey walls and a single door. You knew the only chance of escape would come with enemies entering the cell or rebels freeing you. You felt your heart lurch at the thought of the rebels, hoping they got the plans to destroy the Death Star. Now, you and Aben just had to escape before the rebel fleet blew you up.

Keep reading

How the races feel

Imperium: The emperors dying and we’re oppressed this sucks

Eldar: Half our race is dead and we are being eaten by Slaanesh this sucks

Tau: Everyone makes fun of us and won’t join the greater good this sucks

Tyranids: No emotions

Orks: Why cant wez eva git gud units dis sucks

Necrons: Our glorious Empire is gone, this would suck if we felt any emotions

Chaos: The galaxy is nothing but misery and death and treachery and constant war………….this is fucking great!

Forgotten Gods

Inspired by this.

“The best generals in the galaxy. Nobody knew war like those two.” Pilots tell each other, sitting on hidden bases and exchanging childhood memories. Once the Jedi they talk about were larger than life, but now the younger recruits don’t even recognize their names.

“She was the bravest, most moral queen Naboo ever had.” An old handmaiden claims. She still looks beautiful, has aged gracefully the way her queen never could. Her students listen avidly, but the handmaiden knows that they will never truly understand.

“There was a great master of the Jedi.” Some people whisper, hunched over dirty tables in smoky bars. “He was not human, not Twi'lek or Togruta. He was of a species nobody knows. But he existed, and he was powerful.”

They never met him, never even saw him, but they’ve heard of him. Rumors. Legends. Myths. Everybody is just one story of many in the end, even those who thought they’d changed the world.

“The senate used to mean something.” A young girl screams, desperate to get somebody to listen. “They used to vote for us!” Ongoers shake their heads. Doesn’t she know that all of this is long gone?

“The war was a terrible time. But they protected us. They were our soldiers, they fought for us.” And elderly man mumbles. His breath smells of alcohol. His son gives him a pitying look and takes the bottle out of his hands.

“Mando wasn’t always like this. There was a duchess, and she tried to change us. To make us into a peaceful people.” The teachers voice is full of disdane, and his students snicker. Mando’s go to war, everyone knows that. Why would this duchess ever want to change that?

“Today we celebrate the day our glorious Empire was founded. It guarantees stability and peace, in a world that’s chaotic and dangerous. May the Empire last forever!” The radio announces. People all around applaud. They barely remember a different time.

“What is this?” A child asks. She looks at the giant ruins in the middle of Coruscant, something like awe in her eyes. Her mother quickly grabs her hand and pulls her away. “Only stone. The evil that lived here was long since destroyed.” The mother is afraid, but the child doesn’t stop looking until the blackened ruins are out of sight.

“Who did this statue depict?” A young trader asks an elderly salesman. The man looks into the sands, at the stone that is half buried under it. “Nobody important.” He says, and pretends not to feel the sense of dread in the back of his neck that this statue gives everyone who remembers.

“What was before the Empire?”

“Nothing.”

you know one aspect of aph america and england’s relationship that i think is really interesting to explore is the late WW2 era and afterwards…how would arthur feel, battered and aching everywhere after the war, feeling the raw strength and power that used to hum in his veins fading, all the while alfred seethes with power and vitality. watching his empire crumble to pieces, as his colonies- one after another, sharper and harder after the trial by fire that is WW2- whether via the barrel of a gun or pen- demand their independence. (but of course, the sun has to set, doesn’t it? someday…)

of course, he’d known for a long time that alfred is no longer the small, inquisitive child who barely came up to his waist. of course, he’d already seen the steely ambition and desire for greatness in his eyes a long time ago, been forced to admit that alfred is in the end, like him in many ways. (but he’d never contemplated the idea that his glorious empire would ever end, would ever be succeeded.) he’d already seen hints of how something terrifying had awoken in america in the 40s, the way the boy who seemed placidly content with isolationism snapped awake, vowed revenge, vowed to rain fire and destruction on his enemies.

but it doesn’t quite fully sink in just how the world is changed. until he sees america standing, his silhouette tall and strong, great and terrible, in a field of smoke and ash-and suddenly feels oh so small

(the king is dead, long live the king.)

shaqncheese-deactivated20151227  asked:

hey! i really love this blog. i always look forward to reading your posts (they're hilarious). anyway, i was wondering how the 2ps would react to reader (or a close friend idk) challenging them to a fight lol. thank you! keep up the good work!

((you do? aaah thank you, i’m glad you think so!

and yeah, i shall try  ´ ▽ ` )ノ

lol be warned that below are simply my children being dorks as always))


You: FITE ME (ง •̀_•́)ง

2P!America: *stares* …ahahaha bRING IT ON,, *suggestively flexes muscles* why don’tcha come ‘ere dollface, I’ll even give you a free punch to my abs if ya want?~

2P!China: Fight you? *blinks* Mmm… how about I just tie you to my bed instead? (¬‿¬)

2P!England: *tilts head and coos* oh goodness, why would I ever want to fight a precious little angel like you?

2P!France: save it *presses his hand to your head to calm you down*

2P!Russia: don’t be absurd

2P!Italy: ……..,, *chuckles* you talk pretty big game don’t ya

2P!Germany: *dramatically whips off jacket* LET’S GO BRO

2P!Japan: *nonchalantly continues reading the newspaper* settle down please

2P!Canada: tch… you’ve had too much sugar…….,, no more Timmy’s for you

2P!Romano: BISH U WANNA FIGHT,, *takes off earrings* shit’s about to go down mmhyeah

2P!Austria: *laughs gracefully a’f* don’t kid yourself darling, there is no way you could take on the glorious Austrian empire~ but you’re quite adorable for trying, i must say!

2P!Prussia: *smiles nervously* …………….,,, no no of course I don’t want to fight you

SWTOR, THE WAR FOR IOKATH.

So, I’ve been doing some prepping today, gotta make sure when my Quinn comes I have enough gifts to get him maxed out.. Agent Victoria Krell and him are going to make quite the pair.. I know there’s a lot of you Quinn haters out there, but.. I mean, who could stay mad at that?! such a strong, handsome, loyal to the Empire.. ahh, okay, yes I do have a man crush on him, but nevertheless, my agent is eager to return to her home on DK and server her purpose for the glorious Sith Empire.. rant done!

Originally posted by threeheadedinternet

Because the Monos discord is entirely too encouraging, just a small bit of fun with an Atlantis!RWBY AU. @maburito, a slightly different interpretation of the scene. @cass-burger and @dashingicecream, y’all might get a kick out of this, too. It’s short.


Weiss carefully followed her guide’s footsteps, watching every crumbling stone for any hint of falling away from beneath her. When the group unanimously nominated her to be the one to talk some sense into the surprisingly thriving lost civilization, she’d thought the very worst she’d have to do would be stare someone down. But, of course, just like every other little moment of this blasted trip, things couldn’t go quite to plan, and instead she found herself drug around the city by the Princess, amusement and wonder shining in bright amber eyes in equal measure.

Of course… she wasn’t exactly counting that as a bad thing, not at all. For one, she’d learned more about the ancient Faunus society- their customs, their language, their habits, all the things scholars had only been able to theorize about for centuries- in a matter of hours than she’d thought she’d known for the past ten years, so that could only be counted as a boon. And, well, she’d be lying if she tried implying that she didn’t enjoy Princess Blake’s company.

“It’s just a bit further,” the Faunus said, looking over her shoulder as they slipped between two fallen pillars. “I can’t believe this.”

“Finally, a sentiment we share.” As soon as she passed through the gap, she looked around, noticing the algae covering murals and runes, deep etchings into the stone depicting various scenes from the Empire’s history or perhaps myths from those times. She couldn’t be sure without a closer look but Blake kept moving so she followed, approaching the edge of a shallow inlet. Beyond, she could see one of the Faunus fishing boats, the strange with a small flock of four winged creatures circling overhead. “When we came down here, the most we expected to find was ruins and bones, the vestiges of your people and more questions than answers.”

Keep reading

Spectacular panorama of the Royal Navy pre-war Mediterranean Fleet at anchor in Gibraltar, 1938. Visible are His Majesties Ships: Glorious, Hood, Warspite, Malaya, Royal Oak, Nelson, Rodney, two more of Royal Oaks sister battleships and the battlecruiser Repulse (beyond Rodney). Obviously there are a lot of smaller warships in the picture that aren’t discernible. Huge fleet, few carriers.

anonymous asked:

Thoughts on Bodhi's backstory, his bond with Galen and his eventual decision to defect? R1 could have done with more Bodhi Rook scenes, less weird tentacle monster imo.

  • Bodhi Rook has loved flying since Cheuske Taintia “borrowed” her older brother’s speeder, and let them all have a try behind the controls. It’d felt like laying both hands on an energy coil, something humming under his fingers, making his back teeth ache.
    • When he shuts his eyes, he can still look through that viewshield, out into the darkness. 
      • They’d dimmed the headlamps—whispering to one another, flush with the illicit thrill of the stolen speeder, the abandoned field, the excitement of being young, and feeling on the verge of something. The grass was spread out before them, undulating like the sea, and Bodhi can remember thinking flying was like stepping into another galaxy, some place apart and suspended in space.
        • (There were no rations, in this bit of space; his father never came home in silence, and went immediately to bed; his mother didn’t cry over the holos of her sons killed in action over Bastatha.
        • This world was dark, and green, and hushed, warm with all their breathing, trembling, and Bodhi was flying, skimming over that sea of grass, and he was free—)
    • His mother does not cry, when he stumbles in from the night, half-drunk on the feeling, wings on his feet. She and his father simply look at him for a long moment, before sending him to bed.
      • He dreams of silver wings, against the dark sky.
  • Reecee is loyal to the Empire; Bodhi only vaguely remembers a time when the Emperor’s holoimage did not flicker on the mantle, when people asked ‘if’ their sons would enlist, and not ‘when’
  • He thinks he spends the next four years of schooling fidgeting in his seat, stalking the perimeter of the airfield like wanting will put him in the pilot’s seat. 
      • Learns everything he can, to the point where when he shuts his eyes, he can picture the controls of a TIE fighter or a command shuttle, perform basic maneuvers on his phantom controls.
        • (I used to be fearless, you know, he told Galen once. His hands were still shaking, and he had to grit his his teeth, hugging himself to stave off the fever-rush of stim come-down. There are—these rock formations, on Reecee. I used to climb them, just with my hands, trying to get that flying feeling back.
          • Did it work? Galen had asked.
            Hah, Bodhi had laughed, a stuttering sound. You know, it didn’t. But once I lost my footing, fell almost seven meters—that felt like flying. Shattered my kneecaps and broke most of the bones below my hips, but for just a minute, it was exactly right.)
  • The first thing they teach at the Imperial Flight Academy is that the Empire must be preserved. At its borders prowl wolves—the Rebels, the Separatists, criminals, scum, thieves—all jealous of the glory and might of the Empire, and the wisdom of the Emperor. Were it not for its brave soldiers, the galaxy would be plunged again into the chaos and disorder of the Republic
  • The second thing they teach at the Imperial Flight Academy is that the designation of of ‘brave soldier’ mostly seems to be earned through dying.
    • To be fair, they do not say this. 
      • But Bodhi once spent all night studying the TIE specs, and went to his instructor the next day. Where’s the shielding? he asked, pulling up the schematic on his datapad, just to make sure he wasn’t missing something. His instructor had looked at him for a moment before saying, that’s none of your concern, pilot, and striding away down the corridor.
      • The instructors occasionally bring in pilots—officers—to speak to the trainee classes, share stories of their glorious battles for the Empire. But Bodhi has seen the other pilots, who wander through the halls looking like living ghosts. Their hands shake, long after any stim should have left their systems, and when spoken to, they stare with bloodshot, unseeing eyes.
        • He’s heard the jokes that TIE fighter pilots are bugfuck, spice-addled; mad as rathtars and twice as vicious. But he thought that was typical military talk, like referring to the troopers as ‘bucketheads’
      • Once, as part of a practice misrep, Bodhi asks for pilot deaths per standard annum. (He just needs to compare attrition rates, make sure his calculations are correct—) “That record does not exist,” the records hall droid replies crisply.
        • He tries his query a hundred ways, but the records don’t exist. Whether the ship was salvageable, yes; stimulant stores and shipments, sure; even orders given. They have records of when pilots were ordered into battle, but not how many pilots returned.
        • Bodhi reports this to his Tactics instructor, who is the highest-ranked officer at the Academy. He listens thoughtfully, nodding and looking increasingly worried. I’ll take this straight to the top, he swears, taking the datachip from Bodhi.
          • (The trash droids don’t come around often enough. Bodhi sees the broken shards in the wastebasket, the next time he has class.)
  • When Bohdi shuts his eyes, he can still see the green world, the invisible controls. He shuts his eyes—
    • He keeps them shut, for a long time. Goes through the rest of the Academy like that, his first five postings, living only for the moments they sit him down in a craft, tell him to leave the stars in his TIE’s rear sensors.
      • He does not care about the rest, when he is flying
      • (I don’t think I’m a good person, he slurred once, when he collapsed in a stim-addled haze at Galen’s door. Galen helped him stand, took him in; Bodhi vaguely remembers being curled up on a bed, crying, and Galen stroking his hair and murmuring in something that wasn’t Basic.
        • I have a daughter about your age, Galen had said the next morning, when Bodhi woke up in sweat-drenched sheets, a headache like a blaster-cannon between his eyes. 
        • Bodhi didn’t know what to say to that, so he made some excuse and left. They never did have much to say to one another, when he wasn’t high or Galen wasn’t tinkering with Bodhi’s fighter.)
  • The stim makes it easier—the TIE pilots are all addicted to it, to some degree, a cocktail of norepinephrine and epinephrine, adrenaline, all rotting their brains. Stim narrows the world, until it’s just you and the stars and the controls, your own blood crackling with lightning. Everything’s fast and easy, liquid, like flying. Nothing matters but you and doing. Doesn’t even matter what you’re doing. 
    • The first time Bodhi tries flying without it, he’s so tired, distracted, he screws up his flight plan, barely makes it to dock. His commander screams at him for five minutes, and all he wants to do is lie down. He hasn’t been actually tired in years, he’s forgotten what it feels like, how heavy it is.
    • They take him off TIE fighters shortly after that. He’s almost grateful. (It’s too hard, too wired into his brain now, climbing into a cockpit with that tab dissolving on his tongue. Freighters and command shuttles don’t twig that bit of his brain.)
    • Going without stim is like—
      • Not like taking blinders off, nothing that drastic. But it doesn’t feel as though the world is on the verge of ending anymore, that something must be done about it now, right now. It’s amazing how much more there is in the world, when it isn’t rushing past at hyperspeed.
      • He finds himself thinking, in the new absence, wondering why the Empire is ordering him there, what cargo he’s bringing here. Why there are so many pilots and soldiers on a research base. What it is that Galen’s building.
        • (At first he asks these questions aloud, but he gets blank, bewildered stares from the other pilots. Then the stares turn suspicious, hostile, and he stops asking.)
    • The record droids don’t keep track of death tolls for every conflict he’s flown in, but the estimates are enough to make him crave a stim tab, or at least some very strong alcohol.
      • He tries it out once, alone in the cockpit of a command shuttle. I’m not a good person, whispered, just to himself. Immediately he feels like being sick, and he has to rest his head against the yoke, breathe deep.
  • It’s the first time he’s ever actually knocked on Galen’s door, standing upright and without even a trace of stim in his system. (He’s still twitchy, doesn’t think that’ll ever go away—and moreso knowing that the deck of cards clutched in his hand is technically contraband, for both of them.)
    • Do you play sabacc? he blurts out, when Galen answers the door. The man looks somewhat surprised—it’s been a good few months since their paths last crossed in the hangar, longer since the last time Bodhi dragged himself to this door. But he smiles all the same, lets him in.
    • (The datachip wasn’t in his shoe, just for the record. Might have damaged the tech, that way. He’d slipped into the worn deck of sabacc cards he kept in his inner breast pocket. And he’d carried it there, right between the Idiot and the Star.)
Hux & Kylo: Children of War

I recommend the Visual Dictionary to anyone with even the slightest interest in furthering their knowledge of The Force Awakens - it’s filled with marvellous photos, bizarre names and amusingly petty labels (one points at Hux’s pasty face and says “pallor from time spent indoors").

It’s also very helpful for illuminating backstories and character motivations, and the particular detail I want to consider here is that both Hux and Kylo have the same ultimate goal - they both want to rule. Hux, we’re told in the VD, “feels it is a matter of destiny that he be given a chance to sit on the throne that rules the galaxy”. Kylo, meanwhile, “sees it as his birthright to rule the weaker beings in the galaxy”. In light of their eerily similar ambitions, the fierce competitiveness that exists between them becomes clearer - they’re not just arbitrarily vying to outdo each other. They’re competitive because they have the same goal, and the nature of that goal means only one of them is going to achieve it.

While ‘rule everything’ is pretty standard as far as villain goals go, it’s worth considering why it’s the particular desire of Hux and Kylo. And while we only have a few details, they give us some idea of the psychology underpinning their behaviours and obsessions. 

Hux was the toddler son of an Imperial Commandant when the Empire fell, and he will have grown up with the remnants of the once-mighty Imperial faction. In the VD we’re told that he was raised on stories of the heroism and justness of the Empire and the people who served it. Alongside this, he also understood the Rebellion to be little more than a terrorist organisation. However, despite the many stories of Imperial glory he was told as a child, Hux will have known that his parents and their glorious Empire failed. Ashamed and embittered, on his own behalf and on the behalf of his parents, he longs for a return to the order and prestige of the vanished Empire. Naturally, he sees himself at the head of any restored system of governance.

Kylo was born around a year after the Battle of Endor, and while the details of his early life are even slimmer than they are for Hux we know that he’s the only son of Han and Leia. He will have been told what his parents achieved, and he will have (presumably) been expected to follow in their footsteps by helping to consolidate the new democracy they had fought for. It’s reasonable to speculate that he felt enormous, crushing pressure because of this, which would perhaps explain his susceptibility to Snoke’s temptation and the allure of his grandfather’s monolithic image. As Kylo sees it, Vader represents an uncomplicated and reassuring model of power and authority - a mask betrays no emotion, no humanity and no weakness. By following Vader’s model and finishing what he started, Kylo’s goal is to become the ultimate authority in the galaxy.

Both men suffer from an acute sense of inadequacy that they’re endlessly compensating for with everything from their clothes to their speech. Hux presents an image of absolute control and self-discipline, which is manifest in every aspect of him, from his immaculately polished boots to the pristine, shining halls of the Finalizer. Kylo, meanwhile, wears a mask just as his grandfather did - but unlike his grandfather, there is no necessity or function to it. Kylo’s mask serves two purposes - it hides Kylo’s poignantly vulnerable human face, and gives him an unyielding shield to hide behind.

Both men have found and latched onto entirely different models of power and control. For Hux, that system is military order - there are rules, uniforms, systems and a clear chain of command. Kylo, meanwhile, relies on the Dark side of the Force for his meaning - and the Dark side simply doesn’t play very well with the things that Hux likes. The Dark side is fundamentally selfish, and has no time for bureaucrats and pen pushers who spend their free moments writing the imaginary legal code of their dream dictatorship (no one can tell me that isn’t what Hux does at weekends, okay?) One of the central sources of Hux’s loathing of Kylo - a wild card, a Force user and the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa - is that he effectively undermines everything he has striven to achieve. Kylo’s mere presence on the Finalizer is a sticking point for Hux - Kylo is an irritant Hux only endures because a.) Snoke wants it and b.) he knows Kylo could snap his neck on a whim if he so desired.

If Hux is order and control, Kylo is chaos and passion. Whereas Hux demands conformity, efficiency and protocol, Kylo is primarily concerned with his feelings and what they dictate in any given moment. While Hux will only betray his pent-up emotions by letting spit fly while delivering his Hitler First Order Youth Revival speech, Kylo will variously hack at equipment with his lightsaber, strangle junior officers with the Force, make angsty confessions to his dead grandfather’s charred mask, and bring back young women he finds in the woods for mysterious reasons. In short, they both represent opposite extremes and entirely different paths - this is why they hate each other’s guts and are incessantly bitching about the other man’s incompetence (especially with Snoke).

In short, Hux and Kylo do whatever the opposite of ‘play nicely’ is and I love it. They’re just so fun to watch. I’m sorry Poe, but I want Hux and Kylo to have the spin-off comic book series.