Lord of the Sith
The Emperor’s Wrath
Queen of Kuat
The Golden Conqueror
Scourge of Trandosha
So early this year I had the notion to cosplay this Hallowe’en as my Sith Warrior character from the online Star Wars: The Old Republic. She’s a character who’s become very dear to my heart, although I’m still rewriting the sequel because the first draft has many wobbly spots. (almost done!)
Make-up and photography in the outdoor location done by the beautiful and talented Masha, who is also my most advanced piano student!
(also dun tell me I can’t shoot in the woods and pretend it’s an alien planet just because everyone else does it, where am I gonna get a Star Wars-y location for free?)
Some reference pictures and backstory (warning: spoilers): Akuliina is the only daughter of Count Anotin Volkov, the second-most powerful man at the Kuati court after Darth Calamit, the Sith ruling the planet when she was a girl. At the age of twenty, she was sent to the planet Korriban to formally begin her Sith training. However, due to political machinations on the part of her teachers, and her own fierce previously-trained skill, she graduated within a month, becoming the apprentice of Darth Baras. She acquired a number of minions on her missions on Baras’s behalf, notably a hyper-competent naval officer (Captain Quinn), a former Jedi apprentice whom Akuliina seduced to the dark side (Jaesa), and a sassy Twi’lek scamp (Vette) who became almost like a sister to the Sith.
When Baras inevitably betrayed Akuliina, she was enraged and was quickly recruited by the Emperor to embody his Wrath, to strike down his enemies – which now included Baras. She devoted all her energy into defeating her former master, though her plans were almost derailed when her captain and lover, Quinn, also betrayed her thanks to Baras’s manipulations. She still felt such feelings for him that she grudgingly spared his life, but it wasn’t until much later that she actually forgave him, after he was nigh-mortally wounded and Baras was dead.
Two years later, Akuliina and Quinn married secretly, only for her ex-boyfriend Kadolan to make an assassination attempt on her wedding day. Annoyed about nearly everything in this situation, she set off in pursuit, only to be shot down over the planet Myrkr, where the Force is silent. Powerless, she was captured by Kadolan’s forces, and only quick thinking on Quinn’s part and a chance meeting with an old friend of Vette’s saw her rescued before she was shipped off-planet in stasis to her enemy. Away from Myrkr, with her power restored and her fury building, she summoned her fleet and made her way to her home planet of Kuat, where Kadolan was fighting Calamit for control. When the dust settled, she was the uncontested ruler of the planet.
I haven’t played the expansions yet so I don’t know what happens next. But Akuliina has two children: Snyezana, and Mataiyas (who was kidnapped and raised by Jedi with no knowledge of his parents, then sent to fight his mother – but that’s another story).
Akuliina is a firebrand, a confident, arrogant, utterly fearless woman who has been raised to luxury and unquestioning obedience from those around her, a woman with a fierce temper that she makes little attempt to control. She also has a surprisingly introspective self-aware side that few beyond Quinn and Vette ever see. Her flaws include huge trust issues and a Sith-healthy dose of paranoia (not to mention the standard Evil Empire package of racism, imperialism, and totalitarianism). She takes pleasure in her skill and power, though her main strength is hand-to-hand combat, and she’s not particularly good at strategy or deep scheming, though she’s decent in the political arena; she can’t cook and is a terrible starship pilot, though she rides her speeder bike like a professional swoop jockey. She loves to tease and flirt; in social situations she is ever poised and elegant. Of course she never apologizes, but she adores pepernoten, although I think I misinterpreted my friend’s description of said edibles entirely. She is my angry violent baby and I love her.
Naturally, one of the first things I acquired was the wig – many of you know about my anime wig collection, and this one came from the same source. I built the head jewelry myself with materials from Michael’s craft store (in fact, I got a LOT of the materials there, excepting the fabric, such as the craft foam for the armour).
I didn’t acquire the contacts until much later, thanks to hemming and hawing about whether I should go back to the optometrist for a proper prescription or not. The website doesn’t say where they’re based, though the envelope says the product came from Malaysia. Also, as you can see, they were triple sealed under rubber, metal, and plastic in those little jars, and the metal sliced my thumb open; they really didn’t want it to get tampered with in transit. XD (My thought process: Why is there red dye on the rubber inner lid? It almost looks like blood. Did someone bleed on this while packing it for me? Oh wait, that’s my blood! Where am I bleeding from!?)
The armour I built roughly following this tutorial, and painted with fabric paint. The shoulder pieces have a cardboard base to enable them to retain their shape since craft foam is a bit wishy-washy on its own. They’re held on with a strap harness that isn’t in the original design but the original design is literally magic since computer-generated 3D images don’t need anything to hold them up. The belt was completed last, so it’s still pretty rough – if I decided to wear this somewhere else (maybe next time there’s a convention in London, I’ll actually go?) I would probably redo it.
The pants I bought at Value Village, and sewed self-made padding onto. My sewing machine gave me a bit of a scare at first, for a while it didn’t seem like the stitches were holding together correctly; I think I had it on the wrong tension. The studs are actually decorative nails you would use on furniture, but with the pokey bits clipped off so to glue them to the clothing. No one’s going to see the Imperial emblem on the button, but I think it’s fitting. : D
The top was a terrifying prospect before I created it; now, its one of the best things I’ve ever sewed. Although it isn’t perfect, the zipper side especially. I took a long-sleeved sweater for a pattern and cut out the bits from an old sheet first, so that I could see better how it would fit together, and then launched right into the rest of it, checking often that I could still put it on. It turned out surprisingly well, although it was, unsurprisingly, very time-consuming, even with the sewing machine – and there were quite a few parts that needed to be hand-sewn. I used an entire spool of red thread.
My ‘work area’ is the floor between my bed and the window; it gets good light and my sunlamp provides even more. I’m not a very organized person so yes just throwing ALL my materials and tools in one spot more or less works for me. This was while in the process of gluing the collar to the top. The collar is, again, craft foam, with velcro to close it, and the silver discs are made of wood covered with aluminum foil. The darker red fabric has a black fleece backing which leads me to believe it’s actually intended for rainjackets. Cool!
There are a few details I left off for various reasons; either I forgot them, or in the case of her butt area in the reference pictures, I don’t even know what’s going on with the layers there so I simplified it.
The lightsabers! Every Sith needs one or two. Akuliina uses two. Now, most of you have heard my lightsaber rant but here it is again. In the 90’s, Kenner made good lightsabers. Super fat hilts to hold all the parts, but they would light up when you pushed the power button, make noises when you swung them, make noises when you hit them on things, and turn off when you hit the power button again. I had a green RotJ Luke saber. It was great.
No one makes those any longer. Hasbro now makes cheap pieces of garbage that light up when you push the button, make some noises automatically, then turn off again automatically after about ten seconds. And no one else makes toy lightsabers. Nowadays, you can’t get the good stuff unless you build your own from scratch (or possibly using one of the several overpriced “build your own lightsaber” online stores (which don’t include the toy-like extendable blades since ‘real’ collectors think it looks cheap and fake – how am I going to carry it on my belt then??)) – ORRRRR going to Disneyworld, so clearly I picked that as the cheaper option since I needed two lightsabers. (also I could visit one of my internet friends, so win-win lol)
So anyway, once I’d acquired my lightsabers from the other end of the continent, it was surprisingly difficult to modify them according to my source material. In the end I just added loops for hooking onto the belt and painted them. The off-hand saber has quite a complex shape that I probably won’t get without access to some 3D printing that I haven’t researched yet. Something for the future!
I wore this to work all week and I had some pretty great responses, thank you everyone!
And that’s why I abruptly quit FFXIV, because this wouldn’t have gotten done in time otherwise. XD (and now it’s NaNoWriMo, and that game is literally figuratively heroin, so I’m not touching it for a while)