A Note from Silver and JediXMan on Star Wars Battle Threads

Recognizing that the contents of this blog can be received as disrespectful, before explaining this at length, let me preface this discourse by saying that this blog will be rather blunt and direct in its outline but that it's targeted at no one in particular and is only written to address a glaring trend rather than individual characteristics of any one user. Let me also say that there are obvious exceptions to what is described here and that the topics highlighted here are not universally applicable. So please do not feel personally offended or singled out. This was not written with you in mind, and this is not meant to be an aggressive retaliation or some kind of offensive polemic. This is just an explanation of my and @JediXMan's behavior.

Having said that, the topic at hand is Star Wars battle threads. When a Star Wars battle thread surfaces, almost invariably, someone will call out either JXM or myself or both for the purposes of protracting the discussion and looking for the input of someone they consider knowledgeable on the subject. There is nothing wrong with this, especially since JediX volunteered himself for that function in The Battle Callout Phonebook. However, as you hopefully have noticed by now, we do not always respond to this summons. In fact, I would venture to say that we scarcely do.

The reason for this is that we simply find the majority of Star Wars battle threads that currently appear to be, if I may speak candidly, uninspired and bereft of potential to generate worthwhile discussion. This can in some cases refer to battle threads that pit two SW characters against one another, but usually this pertains to threads that pit one SW character against a character from a different company/universe/mythos. JediX and I find that by and large these threads attract negative attention and rarely incite inquisitive posts but rather dismissive, dogmatic posts from users who quite honestly know very little about SW material.

Of course, there are users also who are essentially the unofficial, counterfeit spokesmen for JXM and myself, users who presume to speak on our behalf and quote our opinions and regurgitate our points and arguments almost verbatim as if they represent us in doing so and who appear ostensibly knowledgeable in the process. I was always offput by users like this because they failed to actually learn and arrive at conclusions for themselves and instead resorted to just parroting my or JediX's opinions as fact. "JediXMan and Silver said ABC; so therefore it's true." This is an appeal to authority logical fallacy. Neither I nor JXM are infallible and have never professed to be. Additionally, even if a user re-posts evidence from source material provided by myself or JediX to verify their assertion, that still only gives the facade of being informed on the subject because your information is limited to what I or JXM have said, which definitely does not cover all the source material in-depth.

I don't say this to insult anyone or to unfairly categorize people's opinions, but while part of the purpose of these forums is to learn, you should also do your own homework instead of depending on someone else's knowledge and analyses. Whatever you learn from someone else should be internalized, re-evaluated from the source material, and assessed from your own perspective before being repeated. So when I say that there are users who are uninformed on SW material that are fans of works published by another company, I am in no way saying that there are no users on the pro-SW "faction," for lack of a better descriptor, that themselves are uninformed. There are.

With that said, the visible trend on SW vs non-SW threads is that fans of works from another publishing company are not very interested in learning anything new about SW characters. To repeat what I said in my preface, there are obvious exceptions to this, but I am speaking to what I observe to be the overwhelming bulk of cases. Instead of inquiring as to the attributes of an SW character, instead the propensity seems to be to fall back on a foregone conclusion about what that SW character may or may not be capable of without actually having the knowledge of the character to say that for sure and then to ascribe victory to the opposing party in the thread. If someone then replies by pointing out the accomplishments of that SW character that the non-SW fan may not be aware of, the natural predisposition seems to be to doggedly deny the showing, attempt to undermine it, or derail the issue with a red herring about the canonicity of EU material without themselves being very aware of what is or is not canon.

Frequently, when fans of a different mythos see a feat achieved by an EU character, what I see them say in response can be accurately simplified as, "I can't fathom how Star Wars character ABC could perform feat XYZ. This cannot be correct." This is called an argument from incredulity. Your willingness to believe something is factual changes nothing about its veracity. Another common defense is, "I have seen all the Star Wars films and never witnessed abilities of this kind." This is anchoring to your initial exposure or experience. Just because you were never aware of a certain detail in your limited experience with something does not mean it can't happen with it. These two types of counterarguments speciously manufacture the impression of faithfulness to high-canon source material (the films) while in actuality just serve as a means to reject other canon material (the EU) so as to assist the standing of their preferred character in the thread. As for dodging the issue by calling into question the canonicity of EU material, I direct users here and leave it at that. There is no reason users should be wasting their time arguing over something so fundamental.

Ultimately, the underlying problem that I and JXM have is the attitude many users not so well-versed in the EU have towards it. The ideal debating circumstances would be that we don't have to educate users at all, but it would be perfectly fine for us to educate users in order to have a constructive discussion. The one condition is that you have to want to learn in order to be educated. There is nothing wrong with asking questions on battle threads, and why so many users neglect this very simple option is beyond me. Even when users do ask questions to learn about the other character(s) involved, the question is asked with a contemptuous demeanor and typically has a preconceived answer: that whatever accomplishments the SW character has cannot exceed those of the character they're defending. This strips the thread of any and all discussion value, because no one is actually interested in the discussion; they're interested in ensuring the victory of their preferred character. This is why, to me and JediX, most SW vs non-SW threads are just mine fields not really worth the effort, because the effort will virtually always be wasted.

Don't misunderstand. I'm not saying that we SW fans are these poor, misunderstood, ostracized champions of the unpopular opinion, because in some threads, SW characters do find more support than non-SW characters. I also am not trying to draw a proverbial line in the sand between us and fans of other publishing companies, the way that DBZ and DC/Marvel had very paroxysmal factions. Trust me, this issue of SW and non-SW fans is not even close to the warzone that was DBZ vs DC/Marvel threads. I also don't mean that users should only debate with other users who agree with them; chances are, you'll learn most with users you disagree with. But to learn, both users need to be willing to hear one another's cases, a trait absent in the threads I'm describing. Lastly, I don't mean to diminish anyone's right to post their opinions. Users can opine anything they want, whether substantiated or not, but the ability to post an opinion doesn't mean a good discussion is in sight.

I say this instead to explain why JXM and I consistently ignore call-outs on SW battle threads. We simply don't see the majority of SW battle threads created right now as productive conversationally. We're not trying to sound jaded or to encourage other SW fans to avoid SW battle threads; if you can navigate them, please do in our absence. It just comes down to the fact that I and JediX have debated in SW vs non-SW threads before quite a few times, and in our experience, threads created with SW characters vs non-SW characters have no positive outcomes in most instances. So to conclude, we are sorry that we don't usually respond to your call-outs, and if we see any SW battle threads that we would consider “safe” to engage in, we will. The two of us have just learned to pick our battles, so to speak.

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Force Misconceptions: The Unifying Force (Preface)

The Unifying aspect of the Force is a dimension of the Force’s nature that is so remarkably misunderstood that I feel I will need more than one blog to address it properly. This blog will simply cover the basic and most prevalent misconception plaguing it without addressing the enormity of its total facets. The Unifying Force is a very expounded principle of the Force, and its outlook represents a vast range of points of focus for Jedi. Its counterpart, the Living Force, is another property of the Force that will receive its own individual blog. After posting that one, I will then probably discuss both of them together in one final essay that will actually enumerate countless qualities of the Force as a whole, but that will be a long time from now (finding time to accumulate sources for these blogs is tough). This, however, will be my preface to the blog I will write in the future.

In this blog, I will detail the fundamental characteristics of the Unifying Force and deal, more aggressively than usual, with the accompanying misconception about it. Understand that unlike my other blogs of this kind where I treated the subject matter very seriously, in this blog I will take a few liberties in how I attack this misconception, because this misconception, to me, has the unique characteristic of being both tiresome and also unintentionally funny. Note however that because this is only an overview blog, some particular details pertaining to the Unifying Force will not be covered, and as a result, certain sources on the issue will not be cited, such as the novel The Unifying Force. In my later blogs, I will more loquaciously detail those other sources and their contribution to the subject.

To begin, instead of starting off by establishing what the Unifying Force is, like I normally would in a misconceptions blog, let’s just cut right to the misconception and talk about what the Unifying Force is not. The conventional definition of the Unifying Force championed by many casual EU readers would be a paraphrase of “an outlook on the Force which maintains that the Force does not intrinsically possess a light or dark side.” Were I to ask any users who subscribe to that opinion on the Unifying Force for a source to corroborate that interpretation, I would hazard the guess that nine out of ten users would be unable to provide any. Typically, they would direct me to Wookieepedia or claim that the novel The Unifying Force confirms this definition (which it does not). Wookieepedia is not a canon source, and while it is a very useful tool for finding sources, it should not in and of itself be referenced as a source. When it comes to the Force, Wookieepedia can sometimes be unreliable in its summaries on it, and some of its articles on the Unifying Force are a prime example of that. Therefore, allow me to quote a source that talks about this:

The Living Force, as accepted by Jedi throughout the ages, is believed to exist in most living creatures. Jedi who believe in the tenets of the Living Force rely on their instincts and become attuned to the living things around them. They are mindful of the future and what might result from their current actions, but they remain focused on the present. The Living Force has both a light and a dark side, and Force-users must be mindful of their emotions lest they succumb to the temptations of the dark side. Those who adhere to the doctrines of the Living Force believe that life creates the Force and that the Force is an omnipresent field of energy that surrounds and permeates living things, and that living things are connected by it. Through the Living Force, certain Jedi are able to retain their identities after death, manifesting as Force spirits while still becoming one with the Force.

Jedi who adhere to the Living Force view recognize the existence of mid-chlorians in all living beings. The higher the concentration of midi-chorians in a life form, the stronger that life form’s connection is to the Force, and the greater its potential to use it—for good or evil.

The Unifying Force, garnering less support among the Jedi than the Living Force, teaches that the Force is a single power and has neither a light side nor a dark side. The Unifying Force has no sides and does not take sides, treating all living creatures equally. This view has been supported by the likes of Vergere and Emperor Palpatine. (The only significant difference between the Jedi view and Palpatine’s view is that the Sith see the Force as a means to an end, while the Jedi see it as an end unto itself.) Those who follow the Unifying Force tend to keep their eyes on the future and possibilities, leading them to act in ways to fulfill a destiny instead of focusing on the here and now, like those who follow the Living Force.

--Taken from Jedi Academy Training Manual

This is a source that contends the Unifying Force outlook dismisses the notion of constituent light and dark sides. In fact, this is the only source that makes this assertion about the Unifying Force. No other sources in the entire lore that I have ever been able to find reiterate this description. The materials that first introduced the concept of the Living and Unifying Force never did either. That this is the only source may not necessarily be condemning (although it does carry less weight), but the fact that several other sources, both preceding and succeeding this source, contradict what this source says does diminish its credibility. I repeat: to my knowledge and research, not a single other source ever released coincides with this explanation of the Living Force and the Unifying Force.

More importantly, take note of one very crippling item found in that text:

The Unifying Force, garnering less support among the Jedi than the Living Force, teaches that the Force is a single power and has neither a light side nor a dark side. The Unifying Force has no sides and does not take sides, treating all living creatures equally. This view has been supported by the likes of Vergere and Emperor Palpatine.

--Taken from Jedi Academy Training Manual

Did you catch the flaw? Let me isolate the text of significance: “The Unifying Force…has neither a light side nor a dark side… This view has been supported by the likes of…Emperor Palpatine.”

Do you see the problem yet? Let me isolate the text again but condense it just a little more: “The Unifying Force has [no] dark side. This view has been supported by Emperor Palpatine.”

Do you see it now? This sourcebook just stated that Emperor Palpatine adheres to the Unifying Force perspective, and that, by consequence of the Unifying Force’s declared precepts, he does not believe in the existence of the dark side of the Force…

Let me qualify that statement to help you grasp its import. Emperor Palpatine, Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith, the character for whom at least half of his dialog in the films consists of extolling on the virtues of the dark side of the Force…does not believe in the existence of the dark side. Darth Sidious, who brought the Sith Order to its zenith in culmination of their philosophy and lineage…does not believe in the existence of the dark side. Emperor Palpatine, who founded a New Order built on the power of the dark side to permeate the galaxy in order to subdue it…does not believe in the existence of the dark side. Palpatine, who made every effort to expand the imbalance of the Force towards the dark side, whose only sentimental relationship is with the dark side of the Force, whose sole intention was to subordinate all life in the universe to a rule of darkness, who once in a moment of solidarity with the dark side claimed himself to be the dark side itself…does not believe in the existence of the dark side…

Emperor Palpatine does not believe in the existence of the dark side of the Force.

Emperor Palpatine does not believe in the existence of the dark side of the Force.

Palpatine does not believe in the existence of the dark side.

Palpatine does not believe in the dark side.

PALPATINE…DOES…NOT…BELIEVE…IN…THE…DARK…SIDE.

Words fail me. I honestly cannot fathom how any Star Wars authors could so thoroughly misrepresent the most fundamental qualities of a prominent movie character. It baffles me as to how a source like that could even be published without the editors noticing the glaring error. Really, where did they even get that idea from? “Palpatine doesn’t believe in the existence of the light or dark sides.” What nonsense. I have no idea how you can possibly write that about a guy who spends most of his screen time sharing his twisted fantasies about how sexy the dark side is. Call it an ad hominem against the source if you want, but that one statement disqualifies the entire source for me, never mind that several other sources run contrary to the definition of the Unifying Force espoused by the Training Manual. Seriously, I...don’t…even…

Sigh. Anyway… To continue, the fact of the matter is that this proposed interpretation on the Unifying Force is met with an overwhelming number of sources that discredit it. Since I’ve stalled long enough talking about what the Unifying Force is not, what is it then, and, since it was mentioned, what is the Living Force? The Living and Unifying sides of the Force are simply this: the Living Force is the present, personal, organic flow of the Force; the Unifying Force is the cosmic, future, transcendent flow of the Force. The Force is an omnipresent field, and it manifests itself on both a minute and astronomic scale. The Force both pervades living creatures individually, even microscopic creatures, but it also spans the galaxy and wraps around celestial bodies. The Living Force and the Unifying Force simply draw attention to this dichotomy.

Sabla-Mandibu, a Jedi seer who chronicled Jedi teaching, illustrates the Living Force and the Unifying Force like this (this section also conflicts with the Training Manual in that it identifies Force Ghosts as extensions of the Unifying Force, not the Living Force as the JATM suggested):

The Force is bigger than all of us, but expresses itself in two aspects. The Living Force is raw and close at hand. It is the life energy tingling around you when you pass among plants and animals in a walk through the jungle. When beings die, you sense it through the Living Force. When many die at once, the loss of their energy may shock you, even knock you out. All of your tangible Force Force abilities—such as running, jumping, heightened senses, moving objects, or soothing the emotions of others—are techniques by which we become agents of the Living Force.

The Unifying Force is a vast cosmic power. You may not sense it yet, but with patience and insight you will. The Unifying Force is the stars and galaxies, the rippling surface of space and time. It is this voice that whispers of your destiny, and make no mistake—the Force does have a will. To commune with the Unifying Force is to temporarily leave your body, allowing you to walk in the past or see the future. Some of the ancients believe it is even possible to transcend death.

--Taken from The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force

Tionne Solusar similarly relays this account (pay attention to how Tionne insists that the light and dark sides are echoed in both the Living and Unifying Force):

On Ossus, the Jedi came to understand that both the light side and dark side of the Force reflect aspects of the living Force, the in-the-moment manifestation of life energy, and the unifying Force, the cosmic expression of prophecies and destinies.

--Taken from Jedi vs Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force

These sources offer a more consistent and, quite plainly, accurate examination on the Unifying Force. And just to reinforce the point, here are three instances where the Living Force is called to Obi-Wan’s attention as well as a quote from Yaddle about listening to the Unifying Force to acquire foresight, and in each quote, the Living Force is contrasted with the “big picture,” so to speak, while the Unifying Force is a reference to broader events:

Obi-Wan bristled slightly at the mild reprimand, but it was deserved. He had a habit of looking forward, as opposed to staying in the moment, as Qui-Gon preferred—of attending to what the Jedi called the living Force.

"I'm not worried, Masters," Obi-Wan said good-naturedly. "I'm only thinking forward." He waited for Qui-Gon to offer some piece of wisdom regarding the living Force, but for once his Master kept silent.

Yaddle turned to face Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, who were standing outside the Masters' circle. "You two: flying here, flying there, chasing clues... If stopped for a moment to listen to the unifying Force, see what was coming you might have."

--Taken from Cloak of Deception

The reclosing of the deck canopy quieted the howl of the wind outside, and now from deeper within the city Obi-Wan could hear a ragged choir of hoarsely bellowing cries that had the resonance of large animals—they reminded him of something...

Suubatars, that was it—they sounded vaguely like the calls of the suubatars he and Anakin had ridden on one of their last missions before the war, back when biggest worry Obi-Wan had had was how to keep his promise to Qui-Gon...

But he had no time for nostalgia. He could practically hear Qui-Gon reminding him to focus on the now, and give himself over to the living Force.

So he did.

--Taken from Revenge of the Sith

To further establish this point, let’s consider this: if the Unifying Force really is a philosophy that the Force is not possessed of a light or dark side, then we should find that devotees of the Unifying Force deny the existence of the light and dark sides. Do we? Well, Sabla-Mandibu, who authored the above expository segment on the Force from The Jedi Path, certainly believes in the existence of the light and dark sides and even warns Jedi students about the dangers of the dark side:

You already know of the Force as omnipresent, simultaneously existing as both a personal energy and as an imposing power through its Living and Unifying aspects. The dark side is not some "missing piece." Don't be tricked into seeking it. The Force is a mountain rising from water—the dark side is merely the submerged, scum-covered underside. If you choose to dive, the slime will trap and drown you.

--Taken from The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force

Dooku mentions in a conversation with Palpatine that Qui-Gon’s emphasis on the Living Force competes with his faith in the prophecy of the Chosen One, which aligns with the Unifying Force. Dooku absolutely believes in the light and dark sides:

“Qui-Gon is rash,” Dooku was saying. “Despite his fixation with the living Force, he demonstrates his own contradictions by being a true believer in the prophecy—a foretelling more in line with the unifying Force.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis

Dooku understood that this was more than a test for Skywalker; though Sidious had never said so directly, Dooku was certain that he himself was being tested as well. Success today would show his Master that he was worthy of the mantle of Mastery himself: by the end of the coming battle, he would have initiated Skywalker into the manifold glories of the dark side, just as Sidious had initiated him.

--Taken from Revenge of the Sith

Yoda’s vision through the Force was a product of his stressing the Unifying Force, and Yoda even found himself in dispute with Qui-Gon over Qui-Gon’s centrality of the Living Force where Yoda would rather he attended to the Unifying Force.

Yoda and Qui-Gon had a long-standing relationship, but Yoda was one of those who sometimes took issue with Qui-Gon's focus on the living Force over the unifying Force.

--Taken from Cloak of Deception

"The larger prophecy: that unfold the dark times would. Born into their midst the Chosen One is, to return balance to the Force."

"Anakin," Obi-Wan said.

Yoda regarded him for a long moment. "Difficult to say," he said quickly. "Maybe, yes; maybe, no. More important the shroud of the dark side is. Many, many discussions Dooku had. With me, with other members of the Council. Most of all, with Master Sifo-Dyas."

Obi-Wan waited. "Close friends they were. Bound together by the unifying Force. But worried about Master Dooku, Sifo-Dyas was. Worried about his disenchantment with the Republic; about self-absorption among the Jedi. Saw in Dooku the effect of Qui-Gon's death, Sifo-Dyas did. The effect that resurfaced the Sith had." Yoda shook his head mournfully. "Knew of Dooku's imminent departure, Master Sifo-Dyas did. Sensed, he may have, the birth of the Separatist movement."

--Taken from Labyrinth of Evil

I really shouldn’t have to post proof that Yoda believes in the existence of the light and dark sides, but just for the sake of it:

As Obi-Wan grew as a Master, he found himself more inclined towards the Unifying Force.

Whether foresight was something innate in Obi-Wan or the result of his continuing fascination with the unifying Force—the long view—Obi-Wan couldn't say.

--Taken from Labyrinth of Evil

Again, there should be no need for this, but in case there is any doubt that Obi-Wan believes in the existence of the light or dark sides:

Luke also accepts the function of the Unifying Force.

"Seeing into the future is an aspect of the Unifying Force, but Yoda warned me that the future is always changing. We have the power to make our own destinies."

—Luke

--Taken from Book of Sith: Secrets of the Dark Side

…Do I really have to post evidence that Luke of all people concretely believes in the existence of the light and dark sides?

More examples of this sort could be produced. There is a surplus of characters who simultaneously believe in the duality of the Force’s light and dark sides as well as the Unifying Force. How is this possible? Because the Unifying Force has nothing to do with the existence, or lack thereof, of the light and dark sides. The Unifying Force is the Force as it expresses itself on a grand and cosmic scale. Numerous sources consistently convey this meaning. The Training Manual is overruled by the multiplicity of sources that distinguish the Unifying Force as a timeless and cosmic power, not to mention the stories that narratively incorporate the Unifying Force without disregarding the light and dark sides. This is the real definition of the Unifying Force.

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Force Misconceptions: Force-Resistant Species

There are many species in Star Wars, both sentient and non-sentient, that are in some fashion resistant to influence or detection through the Force. However, most people seem unaware how this insubordination to Force suggestion transpires, and others even translate this immunity to others by holding Force-resistant species as a standard, saying that if a Jedi can’t affect a certain species with the Force, then that attests to a limitation in their Force power. Both of these issues will be addressed here. Before continuing, I will not be covering every species with some resistance to the Force. The Yuuzhan Vong notably will not be dealt with here; the Vong race will receive its own “Force Misconceptions” blog at some point in the future, because there are countless misunderstandings about them.

To begin, let’s address species that displayed shielding to Force abilities in the movies: Hutts and Toydarians. We all should be familiar with these two; both resisted Mind Tricks in the movies, Jabba the Hutt from Luke Skywalker and Watto from Qui-Gon Jinn. But how did Jabba and Watto resist the Jedi’s Force suggestion? First, in the novelization of Return of the Jedi, Jabba noted that his brain patterns are very distinct from those of humans, which would inhibit Luke’s ability to arrest Jabba’s thoughts and subject them to his own influence.

Bib stood proudly before Jabba. “Master, I present Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight.”
“I told you not to admit him,” the gangster-slug growled in Huttese.
“I must be allowed to speak.” Luke spoke quietly, though his words were heard throughout the hall.
“He must be allowed to speak,” Bib concurred thoughtfully.
Jabba, furious, bashed Bib across the face and sent him reeling to the floor. “You weak-minded fool! He’s using an old Jedi mind trick!”
Luke let all the rest of the motley horde that surrounded him melt into the recesses of his consciousness, to let Jabba fill his mind totally. “You will bring Captain Solo and the Wookiee to me.”
Jabba smiled grimly. “Your mind powers will not work on me, boy. I am not affected by your human thought pattern.”

--Taken from Return of the Jedi

What about Toydarians? Sources have told us that Toydarians’ bodily structure also contributes dissimilar mental facilities and that Hutts and Toydarians both possess adamant wills that are difficult to subjugate through Force suggestion.

Another unique trait of this species is its brain structure. While this is seemingly no more complex than that of an average human or other sentient species, Toydarians are able to resist attempts at mind control and Force domination.

--Taken from The New Essential Guide to Alien Species

Both Hutts and Toydarians possess varying degrees of mental strength that can make them immune to Jedi mind tricks. In an event from the year 4 A.B.Y. that has since become the stuff of legend, Luke Skywalker found himself unable to mentally persuade Jabba the Hutt to release Rebel prisoners, and had to resort to a backup plan.
A personal log of Darth Vader, recovered from his fortress on Vjun, revealed Vader’s disturbing perspective regarding Toydarians. It should be noted that Vader’s disposition may have been influenced by Anakin Skywalker’s relationship to Watto, the Toydarian junk dealer and slaver who was young Anakin’s “master” on Tatooine. Although Shmi Skywalker’s recovered journal suggests that Watto was a relatively benevolent master, it is conceivable that Vader’s memories of Watto were unfavorable. Furthermore, the identity of the “Toydarian subject” mentioned in Vader’s recordings remain unknown, but records from Tatooine preclude the possibility that it was Watto.

These creatures have become such an irritation that every time I see one I want to strike it down with my lightsaber. Be that as it may, I interviewed a Toydarian subject show showed a great amount of resistance to Force suggestion, up to the point that I created physical discomfort. I found that they can be easily intimidated by a demonstration of strength. And it proved relatively simple to cause it to expire, merely by making its existence extremely painful. Ultimately, though it showed a great degree of willpower, it was no match for the power of the Force.

--Taken from Jedi vs Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force

So the issue is the wavelength of the species’ thoughts and willpower. That partially answers the question, but is there anything else? Does this inability to Mind Trick Hutts or Toydarians speak of inherent weakness on the parts of Luke and Qui-Gon as telepaths, or is there something more complex at work? Recent stories have informed us there is. Bowspritz, a Jedi biologist, elucidated in The Jedi Path that Hutts and Toydarians innately repel suggestion through the Force as a result of biological adaptions.

My specialty is alien biology, and as a Jedi I recognize that the fundamental unifier of all life is the Force. It is fascinating how the Force inspires such a variety of change and adaption, even allowing species to develop barriers that redirect the Force’s natural flow. Because such evolution can be found among recognized sentient beings, you should be able to identify these species on sight if you wish to use your Jedi abilities to their fullest.

Hutts You and your Master will probably run across a Hutt’s thugs long before you meet an actual Hutt, but don’t use mind tricks if you’re brought before their boss! Hutts are notoriously difficult to influence or read through the Force. Their elusiveness has been a struggle for the Jedi since our forebears left Tython.

Toydarians These fascinating beings have lighter-than-air gases in their bellies that enable flight in standard or less-than-standard gravities. But remember that Toydarians are resistant to mind tricks, illusions, and telepathic suggestions. They are well aware of this fact and boast that they can easily outsmart a Jedi. Do not haggle with a Toydarian vendor!

--Taken from The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force

Now, how can biological evolution impact a species’ connection to the Force? The answer lies in Bowspritz’s remark that the Force itself can inspire evolutionary adaptation, which can alter a species’ place in the Force. This makes sense, as the Force pervades all forms of life and is the collective consciousness of life; in fact, it generated life from itself and instigated life’s natural growth. Though the Force is not deterministic (unless a being willingly surrenders to the Force’s directive), the Force can motivate mindsets and emotions, which a decision-making being can accept or deny. And if the Force can galvanize a sentient being to action or provide the capacity for choice, it can certainly alter biological compositions.

After all, the Force does pronounce life in the form of biological makeup. The Force might be present in everything, whether organic or inorganic, but the Force manifests itself from living beings most as opposed to inorganic matter. Droids, for instance, cannot be Force sensitive despite existing in the Force, while virtually any sentient life can (even sentient crystals). While there is validity in Yoda’s statement that the “crude matter” of living beings do not advertise the truth of living beings and in Luke’s statement that living entities really are “beings of light,” the Force is most potent in organic life and has a profound influence on it. Even since the OT, this was displayed in a minor way when it was established that Force sensitivity can be inherited from a being’s lineage; Luke and Leia acquired their Force sensitivity from Anakin, as the example given in the films. In the EU, Force sensitivity passed along the Halcyon lineage lacks skill in Telekinesis but has an aptitude for Illusions and Absorption. As well, one of the primary applications of Sith alchemy is the administration of physical enhancements in creatures, which often ingrains in them a stronger connection to the dark side. Naturally then, it follows that the Force could also affect life’s evolution.

To illustrate this point in the most detail, let’s look at two other cases of Force-resistant species, the Yinchorri and the ysalamiri. The Yinchorri, like Hutts and Toydarians, are resistant to mental manipulation, and ysalamiri are notorious for their Force-neutralizing fields. It is a commonly misunderstood that ysalamiri are simply absent in the Force and can just sever others in the Force who are near them, but this is not entirely accurate. In their accounts on them, Tionne Solusar and Bowspritz explain that ysalamiri actually use the Force in order to negate it within a restricted range.

Yinchorri These reptilians are immune to mental manipulation and cannot have their internal balance disrupted by advanced Force techniques. Their warriors also wear cortosis armor, so don’t pick a fight.

--Taken from The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force

Ysalamiri are salamander-like, nonsentient creatures native to the planet Myrkr. Sessile, arboreal, and equipped with strong claws that draw nutrients from Myrkr’s mineral-rich trees, they cling to their branches with such tenacity that special knowledge is required to remove them without killing them. The ysalamiri’s most remarkable characteristic is its ability to create a “bubble” in which the Force cannot exist. More specifically, the Force cannot be manipulated within such a bubble, which can extend up to ten meters in radius from a single ysalamiri. In groups of ysalamiri, such bubbles can extend and overlap, resulting in vast areas in which the Force cannot be used on Myrkr.
Talon Karrde, the founder of the Smugglers’ Alliance, was based on Myrkr when Grand Admiral Thrawn cam to acquire ysalamiri, which Thrawn then used to protect himself from Force-users. To prevent the ysalamiri from dying after they were removed from the trees and to allow for their use as a mobile means of defense against Force-users, Imperial engineers fashioned special nutrient-infused pipe frames that could be worn on the backs of individuals.
The ysalamiri’s incredible ability to disable or “push back” the Force is part of a natural defensive mechanism that protects them from another indigenous species on Myrkr, the Force-sensitive pack animals called vornskrs. Cunning predators, vornskrs are fur-covered canine animals with sharp teeth and poison-coated, whip-like tails. Their attunement to the Force seems to be tied directly to their hunting instincts, as they are naturally able to detect Force-users, and also use this ability to hunt ysalamiri. They regard any Force-user as prey, and will not hesitate to attack Jedi.

--Taken from Jedi vs Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force

Why shouldn’t animals use the Force? That was my thought when I first heard of the phenomenon as an Initiate, before I started down the path that ultimately gave me the honorific of beastmaster. Since that time I’ve seen plenty of evidence that the Force can be an evolutionary advantage, just like spines or antlers.

Central to any such discussions are the vornskrs and ysalamiri of a classified world. Their abilities caused the Council to quarantine the entire system. Vornskrs are quadrupedal predators that can sense the Force and can use that sense to home in on their prey. So because Jedi are strong in the Force, they appear the biggest and tastiest meal a vornskr has ever encountered. Beware the enemy that utilizes this ability to hunt Jedi.
Though vornskrs are organic “Jedi detectors,” their Force abilities are negligible compared to those of the ysalamiri—arboreal lizards that create bubbles or voids in the Force that hide their energy from predators like vornskrs. Enough ysalamiri clusted together can generate a void large enough to disable an army of Jedi from using the Force.

--Taken from The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force

This changes the matter considerably. If ysalamiri were somehow just removed from the Force and could assert that status onto others around them, that would be evident in how Force sensitive’s respond to it, as there would be little solution to a situation like that, but if a character could circumvent the effects of ysalamiri’s Force bubbles, then that further affirms the idea that ysalamiri use the Force to void the Force, because Force-derived skills can be counteracted. And there is an instance of that; Luke once briefly noted during the Vong War that he had practiced preventing himself from being cut off from the Force by ysalamiri.

"Would she? Obi-Wan and Yoda never talked about what the distant future held for me. Maybe if I hadn't spent the past few years trying to learn how to overcome ysalamiri and tune my lightsaber to cleave cortosis ore, I'd know what course the Jedi should take now. It's the dark side that calls constantly for aggression and revenge—even against the Yuuzhan Vong. The stronger you become, the more you're tempted." Luke gazed at his wife. "Maybe Jacen's right about there being alternatives to fighting."

--Taken from Agent of Chaos I: Hero’s Trial

This also means that if the Force itself is what enforces an ysalamiri’s Force-retardant bubble and fomented Hutt, Toydarian, and Yinchorri Force-resistances, among others, that there might be a way to overcome the latter three species’ Force-resistances as well. But to bypass a Force-resistance, you need to isolate the root of that resistance. We know that the Force engineered a natural environmental adaption in species like Toydarians or Yinchorri, but that clarification is still too simplistic. Through what means did the Force accomplish this? How exactly is the Force linked to biological functions? What caused it to modify a species’ reaction to it? Darth Plagueis answers this.

During his experiments on midi-chlorians, Plagueis finds that midi-chlorians can adjust a species’ connection to the Force. Midi-chlorians are the intermediaries between the Force and organic life that interpret the Force’s will to living beings, and because midi-chlorians are biological and serve the Force, they can protect a species from environmental or predatory dangers through the evolutionary process as the Force directs them to. Plagueis uncovered this relationship between adaptions and midi-chlorians while operating on a Yinchorri subject and attributed the Force-resistance that midi-chlorians cultivated in Yinchorri to other species with natural Force adaptions as well. He found that by his manipulation of midi-chlorians, he could force the midi-chlorians to drop the defenses that shield a Yinchorri’s mind and subsequently Mind Trick the Yinchorri successfully.

Holding Qayhuk’s baleful gaze and motioning with his hand, Damask said, “You have no interest in seeing Yinchorr seated in the Senate.”
Qayhuk took umbrage. “Why else would we have journeyed all this way?”
“You have no interest in seeing Yinchorr seated in the Senate,” Plagueis repeated.
Qayhuk glanced at his green-skinned brethren, then looked at Hill. “Is Magister Damask deaf or in ill health?”
Hill turned to Damask in concern but said nothing.
Damask concealed his astonishment. As rumored, the Yinchorri were apparently resistant to Force suggestion! But how was it possible that midi-chlorians in a being of relatively low intelligence could erect an impenetrable wall against the influence of a Sith? Was this some sort of survival mechanism—the midi-chlorians’ way of protecting the consciousness of their vessels by refusing to be manipulated? He would need to possess one of these beings to learn the secret.

A gift to Damask from the Council of Elders on the occasion of Yinchorr’s seating in the Senate, the towering reptilian condemned murderer shuffled to the center of the energy field that defined his cage on Aborah and, with confusion contorting the features of his beaked face, prostrated himself on the permacrete floor and mumbled in Basic: “I’m honored to be here and to perform whatever tasks you require of me.”
Standing at the field’s shimmering perimeter, 11-4D pivoted his head toward Plagueis. “Congratulations, Magister. At last he responds to your suggestion. You have undermined his resolve.”
That resolve, Plagueis had learned after more than two years of experimentation on the Yinchorri, was in fact a kind of Force bubble fashioned by the turtle-like alien’s limited number of unusually willful midi-chlorians. This suggested that the Yinchorri was actually strong in the Force, despite his pitifully low count. The discovery had come as a breakthrough, and Plagueis was still grappling with the implications.
The Force bubble itself was similar to those generated by creatures that drew on the Force to avoid predation by natural enemies. The relationship between the arboreal ysalamir and its adversary, the vornskr, provided a curious example, in that the latter was attracted to the former by the very mechanism the ysalamir employed as a defense. Where an extremely low midi-chlorian count might have bolstered the odds of survival, nature had instead made the ysalimir species strong in the Force. So strong, in fact, that several of the creatures acting in concert could create a Force bubble encompassing kilometers rather than meters. In a sense, the Jedi Order had done the same on a galactic scale, Plagueis believed, by bathing the galaxy in the energy of the light side of the Force; or more accurately by fashioning a Force bubble that had prevented infiltration by the dark side, until Tenebrous’s Master had succeeded in bursting the bubble, or at least shrinking it. How the Order’s actions could be thought of as balancing the Force had baffled generations of Sith, who harbored no delusions regarding the Force’s ability to self-regulate.
The Yinchorri former convict wasn’t the only new addition to Plagueis’s island facility. In the eleven years that had elapsed since the capture of Venamis and the recruitment of Sidious, Plagueis had collected more than a dozen beings of diverse species and had been subjecting them to a wide range of experiments involving volition, telepathy, healing, regeneration, and life extension, with some promising results. As for the Bith would-be Sith Lord, he was alive and well, though kept comatose more often than not, and always under the watchful photoreceptors of 11-4D or a host of custodial droids.
Plagueis hadn’t lost interest in Venamis by any means, but the Yinchorri’s immunity to Force suggestion—an immunity the species shared with Hutts, Toydarians, and others—had provided him with a new line of investigation. Unlike ysalamiri, which created a Force bubble in the presence of danger, the Yinchorri were in a perpetual state of involuntary immunity to Force suggestion. The fact that immunity was in a sense hardwired into them meant that the ability was an adaptation, prompted by a past threat to the survival of the species. To Plagueis, it meant that the Yinchorri’s midi-chlorians had evolved to provide protection to a species that was naturally strong in the Force. If that were indeed the case, then the Yinchorri were living proof that the Sith of the Bane line had been on the right path from the very start.

In the same way that the pre-Bane Sith had been responsible for their own extinction, the great dark side Lords of the past had doomed themselves to the nether realm through their attempts to conquer death by feeding off the energies of others, rather than by tapping the deepest strata of the Force and learning to speak the language of the midi-chlorians. Plagueis was finally learning to do that, and was just beginning to learn how to persuade, prompt, cajole, and coax them into action. Already he could command them to promote healing, and now he had been successful in enticing them to lower their defenses. If he could compel a murderous Yinchorri to become peaceful, could he—with a mere suggestion—accomplish the opposite by turning a peaceful being into a murderer? Would he one day be able to influence the leaders of worlds and systems to act according to his designs, however iniquitous? Would he one day conquer not only death but life, as well, by manipulating midi-chlorians to produce Forceful beings, even in the absence of fertilization, as Darth Tenebrous might have attempted to do with gene-splicing techniques and computers?
Perhaps.
But not until the singular flame of the light side was extinguished from the galaxy. Not until the Jedi Order was stamped out.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis

This puts everything into perspective. The Force itself originated the adaptions in species such as Yinchorri or Hutts or Toydarians or ysalamiri or several others with resistances to Force powers and did so through the activity of midi-chlorians present in these species as an evolutionary revision to protect that species. That elaborates on how any species could universally and involuntarily repulse the influence of the Force, because it would be near to impossible to do that without the Force’s consent. It also evinces no defect in Jedi or Sith powers for failing to appropriate their powers against these species, because the midi-chlorians, actuators of the Force’s will that they are, implanted these adaptions with the Force itself, and even then, there are some like Luke and Plagueis who have exercised methods of overturning these resistances.
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Force Misconceptions: The Dark

To continue onto another subject of the Force, the topic at hand is the Dark.

Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers to Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, Revenge of the SithReturn of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, Dark Empire, and The New Rebellion below.
In some Star Wars stories, there is a narrative concept which Matthew Stover named the Dark. But there is question as to the relationship between the Dark and the Force; one common misconception held is that the Dark is tantamount to or, in some way, is the dark side of the Force. Another misconception is that the Dark may not even exist but is simply a metaphor. This is not so. For me to refute these misconceptions, I need to define its characteristics, but that is no easy task. The Dark is...complicated.

Were I to summarize its key definition in only a few words, my summary would be this: final, perpetual, ineluctable nonexistence. Referring to the Dark as an abstraction, the Dark embodies the eventual end of an existence. The laws that govern the universe point to the fact that nothing is permanent. All inorganic matter degrades, and all organic matter dies. This can require practically incomprehensibly long periods of time to happen for some natural phenomena (celestial bodies, for instance, can endure for countless years), but ultimately, everything expires. As a metaphysical power though, the Dark is, once again, more complicated.

For background on the Dark, let’s discuss which stories it has appeared in. The Dark was primarily a concept integrated and developed by Matthew Stover in his novels, mostly Shatterpoint, Revenge of the Sith, and Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, and “the Dark” is one of the names he ascribed to it, another name being “the jungle” from Shatterpoint. This idea has been present in other novels though, such as Sean Stewart’s Yoda: Dark Rendezvous. However, the Dark adds dimensions even to themes prevalent in stories such as Return of the Jedi, and one of the primary sources for the Dark, as I said above, is Revenge of the Sith. While it may never be outright discussed in the films, the fact that the Dark can be traced into the plots of Lucas’ stories exhibits huge significance.

To give a complete overview of the Dark, I will post the descriptive intervals between section divisions in Revenge of the Sith and analyze their meaning.

The dark is generous.
Its first gift is concealment: our true faces lie in the dark beneath our skins, our true hearts remain shadowed deeper still. But the greatest concealment lies not in protecting our secret truths, but in hiding from us the truths of others.
The dark protects us from what we dare not know.
Its second gift is comforting illusion: the ease of gentle dreams in night's embrace, the beauty that imagination brings to what would repel in day's harsh light. But the greatest of its comforts is the illusion that the dark is temporary: that every night brings a new day. Because it is day that is temporary.
Day is the illusion.
Its third gift is the light itself: as days are defined by the nights that divide them, as stars are defined by the infinite black through which they wheel, the dark embraces the light, and brings it forth from the center of its own self.
With each victory of the light, it is the dark that wins.

--Taken from Revenge of the Sith

This exposition describes multiple facets of the Dark. It begins with the statement that the Dark is generous, due to its various “gifts.” The gift of concealment “protects” people from a reality they would rather be ignorant of. The gift of illusion bears the deception that between the Dark and the Light, the Dark is the weaker force. The Dark allows people to believe its alleged frailty and to champion the ideals of the Light. Lastly, the gift of the Light is the suggestion that the Dark produced the Light from within itself in accordance with its will, but the gift of the Light is apparently meaningless, as the Dark always overpowers the Light.

On a philosophical note, this section establishes that the Dark is the underlying truth, not the Light; the Light is a “gift” that masks the undesirable truth. The Dark precedes the Light. Where the Light is an artificial construct, the Dark is the universal constant. In a paradoxical sense, the Dark always existed because it is nonexistence. Therefore, if nothing predates something, the Light is the illusion, not the Dark. The Light had to be generated, had to have an origin, while the Dark was simply there. The Dark is a grim truth that presides over the illusions of Light that all beings willingly and blithely live under.

The dark is generous, and it is patient.
It is the dark that seeds cruelty into justice, that drips contempt into compassion, that poisons love with grains of doubt.
The dark can be patient, because the slightest drop of rain will cause those seeds to sprout.
The rain will come, and the seeds will sprout, for the dark is the soil in which they grow, and it is the clouds above them, and it waits behind the star that gives them light.
The dark's patience is infinite.
Eventually, even stars burn out.

--Taken from Revenge of the Sith

The Dark is patient as it engenders cruelty, contempt, and doubt and waits for the consummation of these traits. The purpose of this is to feed itself. The Dark is ultimate destruction that preludes oblivion. To advance the cause of destruction, the Dark can often dispense attitudes of discontent and unease which can motivate beings to act after their baser natures and damage or kill whatever or whoever their disdain is targeted at. Any destruction feeds (but does not sate) the Dark.

Metaphorically, the Dark is further described as the “soil” in which these seeds grow and the “clouds” that rain on them. Literally, the Dark exists in every being, as every being possesses the capacity to experience the Dark’s seeds and as the Dark masks itself within the core of every being.

Of even more titanic weight is the Dark’s wait for stars to die. The immeasurably protracted periods required to simply wait for a star to extinguish is a demonstration of the Dark’s patience and longevity. If the Dark is self-existent, it is therefore permanent, and waiting the years for a star to die is nothing compared to infinity. When the Light goes out, it appears to leave behind the Dark, but in actuality, the Dark was there first, waiting for the Light to burn out. Ultimately, this settles concretely that the Light is transient; the Dark is permanent.

The dark is generous, and it is patient, and it always wins.
It always wins because it is everywhere.
It is in the wood that burns in your hearth, and in the kettle on the fire; it is under your chair and under your table and under the sheets on your bed. Walk in the midday sun and the dark is with you, attached to the soles of your feet.
The brightest light casts the darkest shadow.

--Taken from Revenge of the Sith

The Dark will always be the victor. This has to be so because the Dark exists in all places. Even in the light of a fire, there is darkness around or under it or within a kettle heated by it. The Dark travels with a person wherever they go. If a person walks in the night, then the Dark surrounds them; if a person walks in the daylight, then the Dark is concentrated into a definable outline of that person. If the Dark is the fundamental truth, then it could be said that the shadow is the real being, not the person themselves. 

Worse, the Light can strengthen the Dark: the brighter the Light, the Darker the shadow. A star lighting a world illuminates the days but leaves shadows during those days, never able to wholly send away all Darkness, and when the day ends, the Dark rules  for the night. The Light itself intensifying the Dark accentuates the Dark’s invulnerability.

The dark is generous, and it is patient, and it always wins—but in the heart of its strength lies weakness: one lone candle is enough to hold it back.
Love is more than a candle. Love can ignite the stars.

--Taken from Revenge of the Sith

But now we meet a deficiency. If the Dark is so unbeatable and so omnipotent, why does it retreat from the smallest Light? If the Dark is so all-consuming and so everlasting, how can life persist? If the Dark is so inescapable and so compelling, how can anyone experience love? Why does the Dark need to wait for stars to die? If its power was so immense, why couldn’t it consume the star instantaneously? It is noted that the brightest Light casts the Darkest shadow. During the night, the Dark subsumes everything, but during the day, the Dark is compressed into shaded spaces. But why is that? Why is it the Dark is held back by Light at all?

To further illustrate the facets of the Dark, let’s consider its narrative uses. As I said, the Dark has been used as a narrative device in many prominent story lines. In Shatterpoint, Mace Windu struggles with the idea that the Dark is the underlying truth and governs the war efforts of the Clone Wars. He refers to it as the law of the jungle, but he addresses it on a lower scale. In Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, Jai Maruk and Whie Malreaux especially, as well as Scout and Yoda, contemplate an ulterior meaning, even possibly transcending the Force’s light and dark sides.

Master Yoda held up his bowl. "Asked the toaster to make this feast I did," he said, nodding benevolently at Fidelis, "that we might share our food, and remember our lost Master Leem and Master Maruk."
Fidelis handed the Padawans beakers of a rich purple liquid that tasted like candleberries and rainwater and the smell of sweet stuff. It fizzed on Scout's tongue as she drank a toast. "Master Leem and Master Maruk."
"That's it?" Whie said angrily. "That's what you want to do? Eat? Maks and Jai Maruk dead, and all you can think about is filling your bellies?"
Scout looked up guiltily, licking cracker crumbs off the edge of her mouth.
"What about finding Ventress?" Whie demanded. "What about making her pay for what she did? Are the Jedi about justice, or dessert?"
"Profiteroles Ukio," Fidelis said quietly. "With a caramel ganache filling."
Yoda savored a spoonful of gumbo. "Honor life by living, Padawan. Killing honors only death: only the dark side."
"Well, much has the dark side been honored, then," Whie said bitterly.
"Kid, it's been way too many hours since you've slept," Scout said.
"Don't call me kid," Whie said dangerously. "I am not your little brother. I look out for you, not the other way around, Tallisibeth. Jai Maruk was right about you. If I hadn't been taking care of you back in the spaceport, I might have been able to get down to the floor in time to stop her from killing them both."
"Taking care of me!" Scout cried, outraged. "Who was pinned to the railing by his butler droid while I was trying to get down there? Who snuck off to hear stories about his so-called real family in the first place?" she said, white with anger.
Yoda set his bowl of gumbo regretfully aside. "Hear it working, do you?"
"Hear what?" Whie snapped.
"The dark side. Always it speaks to us, from our pain. Our grief. It connects our pain to all pain, our hurt to all hurt."
"Maybe it has a lot to say." Whie stared at the starscape hovering over the projector table. "It's so easy for you. What do you care? You are unattached, aren't you? You'll probably never die. What was Maks Leem to you? Another pupil. After all these centuries, who could blame you if you could hardly keep track of them? Well, she was more than that to me." He looked up challengingly. Tear tracks were shining on his face, but his eyes were still hard and angry. "She was the closest thing I had to a mother, since you took me away from my real mother. She chose me to be her Padawan and I let her down, I let her die, and I'm not going to sit here and stuff myself and get over it!" He finished with a yell, sweeping the plate of crêpes off the projection table, so the platter went sailing toward the floor.
Yoda's eyes, heavy-lidded and half closed like a drowsing dragon's, gleamed, and one finger twitched. Food, platter, drinks, and all hung suspended in the air. The platter settled; the crêpes returned to it; Whie's overturned cup righted itself, and rich purple liquid trickled back into it. All settled back onto the table. Another twitch of Yoda's fingers, the merest flicker, and Whie's head jerked around as if on a string, until he found himself looking into the old Jedi's eyes. They were green, green as swamp water. He had never quite realized before how terrifying those eyes could be. One could drown in them. One could be pulled under.
"Teach me about pain, think you can?" Yoda said softly. "Think the old Master cannot care, mmm? Forgotten who I am, have you? Old am I, yes. Mm. Loved more than you, have I, Padawan. Lost more. Hated more. Killed more." The green eyes narrowed to gleaming slits under heavy lids. Dragon eyes, old and terrible. "Think wisdom comes at no cost? The dark side, yes—it is easier for them. The pain grows too great, and they eat the darkness to flee from it. Not Yoda. Yoda loves and suffers for it, loves and suffers."
One could have heard a feather hit the floor.
"The price of Yoda's wisdom, high it is, very high, and the cost goes on forever. But teach me about pain, will you?"
"I..." Whie's mouth worked. "I am sorry, Master. I was angry. But...what if they're right?" he cried out in anguish. "What if the galaxy is dark. What if it's like Ventress says: we are born, we suffer, we die, and that is all. What if there is no plan, what if there is no 'goodness'? What if we suffer blindly, trying to find a reason for the suffering, but we're just fooling ourselves, looking for hope that isn't there? What if there is nothing but stars and the black space between them and the galaxy does not care if we live or die?"
Yoda said, "It's true."
The Padawans looked at him in shock. The Master's short legs swung forth and back, forth and back.
"Perhaps," he added. He sighed. "Many days, feel certain of a greater hope, I do. Some days, not so." He shrugged. "What difference does it make?"
"Ventress was right?" Whie said, shocked out of his anger.
"No! Wrong she is! As wrong as she can be!" Yoda snorted. "Grief in the galaxy, is there? Oh, yes. Oceans of it. Worlds. And darkness?" Yoda pointed to the starscape on the projection table. "There you see: darkness, darkness everywhere, and a few stars. A few points of light. If no plan there is, no fate, no destiny, no providence, no Force: then what is left?" He looked at each of them in turn. "Nothing but our choices, hmm?
“Asajj eats the darkness, and the darkness eats her back. Do that if you wish, Whie. Do that if you wish."
The old Jedi looked deep into the starscape, suns and planets and nebulae dancing, tiny points of light blazing in the darkness.
"To be Jedi is to face the truth, and choose. Give off light, or darkness, Padawan." His matted eyebrows rose high over his swamp-colored eyes, and he poked Whie with the end of his stick. Poke, poke. "Be a candle, or the night, Padawan: but choose!"


Whie cried for what seemed like a long time. Scout ate. Fidelis served. Master Yoda told stories of Maks Leem and Jai Maruk: tales of their most exciting adventures, of course, but also comical anecdotes from the days when they were only children in the Temple. They drank together. Many toasts.
Scout cried. Whie ate. Fidelis served.
Yoda told stories, and ate, and cried, and laughed: and the Padawans saw that life itself was a lightsaber in his hands; even in the face of treachery and death and hopes gone cold, he burned like a candle in the darkness. Like a star shining in the black eternity of space.

--Taken from Yoda: Dark Rendezvous

Yoda and Whie’s conversation underscores the nature of the Dark: most of the universe is dark, and everything eventually dies. So what if there is no point to life at all? In terms of story structure, Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor and Revenge of the Sith expound most on the Dark, and those will be our most prominent sources from here on out.

In Revenge of the Sith, certain major characters have second-person descriptive sections that introduce their characters. In Anakin’s character introduction, it is revealed that Anakin battles with the idea that everything, even stars, die, a prospect he fears. He fears it because he believes it is his responsibility to save people, and despite being quite possibly the greatest Jedi who ever lived, he might not be great enough to stop the Dark.

This is Anakin Skywalker:
The most powerful Jedi of his generation. Perhaps of any generation. The fastest. The strongest. An unbeatable pilot. An unstoppable warrior. On the ground, in the air or sea or space, there is no one even close. He has not just power, not just skill, but dash: that rare, invaluable combination of boldness and grace. He is the best there is at what he does. The best there has ever been. And he knows it.
HoloNet features call him the Hero With No Fear. And why not? What should he be afraid of?
Except—
Fear lives inside him anyway, chewing away the firewalls around his heart. Anakin sometimes thinks of the dread that eats at his heart as a dragon. Children on Tatooine tell each other of the dragons that live inside the suns; smaller cousins of the sun-dragons are supposed to live inside the fusion furnaces that power everything from starships to Podracers.
But Anakin's fear is another kind of dragon. A cold kind. A dead kind.
Not nearly dead enough.
Not long after he became Obi-Wan's Padawan, all those years ago, a minor mission had brought them to a dead system: one so immeasurably old that its star had long ago turned to a frigid dwarf of hypercompacted trace metals, hovering a quantum fraction of a degree above absolute zero. Anakin couldn't even remember what the mission might have been, but he'd never forgotten that dead star.
It had scared him.
"Stars can die—?”
"It is the way of the universe, which is another manner of saying that it is the will of the Force," Obi-Wan had told him. "Everything dies. In time, even stars burn out. This is why Jedi form no attachments: all things pass. To hold on to something— or someone—beyond its time is to set your selfish desires against the Force. That is a path of misery, Anakin; the Jedi do not walk it."
That is the kind of fear that lives inside Anakin Skywalker: the dragon of that dead star. It is an ancient, cold dead voice within his heart that whispers all things die...
In bright day he can't hear it; battle, a mission, even a report before the Jedi Council, can make him forget it's even there. But at night—
At night, the walls he has built sometimes start to frost over. Sometimes they start to crack. At night, the dead-star dragon sometimes sneaks through the cracks and crawls up into his brain and chews at the inside of his skull. The dragon whispers of what Anakin has lost. And what he will lose.
The dragon reminds him, every night, of how he held his dying mother in his arms, of how she had spent her last strength to say I knew you would come for me, Anakin...
The dragon reminds him, every night, that someday he will lose Obi-Wan. He will lose Padmé. Or they will lose him.
All things die, Anakin Skywalker. Even stars burn out...
And the only answers he ever has for these dead cold whispers are his memories of Obi-Wan's voice, or Yoda's. But sometimes he can't quite remember them.
all things die...
He can barely even think about it.
But right now he doesn't have a choice: the man he flies to rescue is a closer friend than he'd ever hoped to have. That's what puts the edge in his voice when he tries to make a joke; that's what flattens his mouth and tightens the burn-scar high on his right cheek.
The Supreme Chancellor has been family to Anakin: always there, always caring, always free with advice and unstinting aid. A sympathetic ear and a kindly, loving, unconditional acceptance of Anakin exactly as he is—the sort of acceptance Anakin could never get from another Jedi. Not even from Obi-Wan. He can tell Palpatine things he could never share with his Master.
He can tell Palpatine things he can't even tell Padmé.
Now the Supreme Chancellor is in the worst kind of danger. And Anakin is on his way despite the dread boiling through his blood. That's what makes him a real hero. Not the way the HoloNet labels him; not without fear, but stronger than fear.
He looks the dragon in the eye and doesn't even slow down.
If anyone can save Palpatine, Anakin will. Because he's already the best, and he's still getting better. But locked away behind the walls of his heart, the dragon that is his fear coils and squirms and hisses.
Because his real fear, in a universe where even stars can die, is that being the best will never be quite good enough.

--Taken from Revenge of the Sith

This fear, as stated above, stems from an early experience of his with a dead star and was exacerbated by the loss of his mother. As the story progressed, Anakin’s fear increased when he began having visions of Padme dying, and this fear lends itself to Anakin’s fall. Part of the interest to Anakin in the dark side is what it can offer him. Among things he wants, the supreme thing being Padme and his unborn child’s survival, Anakin wants his fear to leave him. As Darth Vader, he thought he had discovered a means to eliminate his fear.

The Sith Lord who once had been a Jedi hero called Anakin Skywalker stood, drawing himself up to his full height, but he looked not outward upon his new Master, nor upon the planet-city beyond, nor out into the galaxy that they would soon rule. He instead turned his gaze inward: he unlocked the furnace gate within his heart and stepped forth to regard with new eyes the cold freezing dread of the dead-star dragon that had haunted his life.
I am Darth Vader, he said within himself.
The dragon tried again to whisper of failure, and weakness, and inevitable death, but with one hand the Sith Lord caught it, crushed away its voice; it tried to rise then, to coil and rear and strike, but the Sith Lord laid his other hand upon it and broke its power with a single effortless twist.
I am Darth Vader, he repeated as he ground the dragon's corpse to dust beneath his mental heel, as he watched the dragon's dust and ashes scatter before the blast from his furnace heart, and you—
You are nothing at all.
He had become, finally, what they all called him.
The Hero With No Fear.

--Taken from Revenge of the Sith

However, Anakin quickly came to discover that he had not completely removed his fear, and after his duel with Obi-Wan on Mustafar and after nearly strangling Padme to death, when Vader awakens on the operating table, he finds that his fear was not some inward dragon that was defeated by a being called Vader. It was simply him and his fearful thoughts that resulted in where he is.

This is how it feels to be Anakin Skywalker, forever:
The first dawn of light in your universe brings pain.
The light burns you. It will always burn you. Part of you will always lie upon black glass sand beside a lake of fire while flames chew upon your flesh.
You can hear yourself breathing. It comes hard, and harsh, and it scrapes nerves already raw, but you cannot stop it. You can never stop it. You cannot even slow it down. You don't even have lungs anymore. Mechanisms hardwired into your chest breathe for you. They will pump oxygen into your bloodstream forever.
Lord Vader? Lord Vader, can you hear me?
And you can't, not in the way you once did. Sensors in the shell that prisons your head trickle meaning directly into your brain.
You open your scorched-pale eyes; optical sensors integrate light and shadow into a hideous simulacrum of the world around you. Or perhaps the simulacrum is perfect, and it is the world that is hideous.
Padmé? Are you here? Are you all right? you try to say, but another voice speaks for you, out from the vocabulator that serves you for burned-away lips and tongue and throat.
"Padmé? Are you here? Are you all right?"
I'm very sorry, Lord Vader. I'm afraid she died. It seems in your anger, you killed her.
This burns hotter than the lava had.
"No...no, it is not possible!"
You loved her. You will always love her. You could never will her death.
Never.
But you remember...
You remember all of it.
You remember the dragon that you brought Vader forth from your heart to slay. You remember the cold venom in Vader's blood. You remember the furnace of Vader's fury, and the black hatred of seizing her throat to silence her lying mouth—
And there is one blazing moment in which you finally understand that there was no dragon. That there was no Vader. That there was only you. Only Anakin Skywalker.
That it was all you. Is you.
Only you.
You did it.
You killed her.
You killed her because, finally, when you could have saved her, when you could have gone away with her, when you could have been thinking about her, you were thinking about yourself...
It is in this blazing moment that you finally understand the trap of the dark side, the final cruelty of the Sith—
Because now your self is all you will ever have.
And you rage and scream and reach through the Force to crush the shadow who has destroyed you, but you are so far less now than what you were, you are more than half machine, you are like a painter gone blind, a composer gone deaf, you can remember where the power was but the power you can touch is only a memory, and so with all your world-destroying fury it is only droids around you that implode, and equipment, and the table on which you were strapped shatters, and in the end, you cannot touch the shadow.
In the end, you do not even want to.
In the end, the shadow is all you have left.
Because the shadow understands you, the shadow forgives you, the shadow gathers you unto itself—
And within your furnace heart, you burn in your own flame.
This is how it feels to be Anakin Skywalker.
Forever...

--Taken from Revenge of the Sith

But why is fear such a preeminent issue? Because as Mace Windu discovered in the battles in the jungles on Haruun Kal:

There was a time when Mace Windu had feared the power of the dark; there was a time when he had feared the darkness in himself. But the Clone Wars had given him a gift of understanding: on a world called Haruun Kal, he had faced his darkness and had learned that the power of darkness is not to be feared. He had learned that it is fear that gives the darkness power.

--Taken from Revenge of the Sith

“It is fear that gives the darkness power.” An important revelation in understanding it. Why does fear strengthen the Dark? Because fear is egocentric. Self-aggrandizement is the ideal motive (excluding outright knowing servitude to the Dark) for furthering the causes of the Dark. If the Dark’s end is absolute annihilation, then people with self-interested goals with no regard for the sake of others’ lives can assist the ambitions of the Dark. The Sith fit that profile.

In Revenge of the Sith, Darth Sidious characterizes the intricacies of the Dark. Everything he does corresponds to a particular feature of the Dark discussed in the interims. First, Sidious is generous. He lives under a Force Concealment that hides his true face, a face that Anakin and the rest of the galaxy would rather not know. He presents the illusion that day, or the Republic, is infinite by first championing its ideals but then abolishing the Republic and reforming it into the Galactic Empire, or the night, which he intended to be eternal. And he allowed the Jedi Order to police the galaxy and defend it in the Clone Wars, bringing them out from the center of himself, so to speak, as the Jedi serve the Republic, and the Republic is led by the Supreme Chancellor. But with each victory of the Jedi over the CIS, Sidious ultimately wins, because no matter who wins the Clone Wars, a Sith controls both sides.

Now the scene below subtly altered, though to the physical eye there was no change. Powered by the dark side, Dooku's perception took the measure of those below him with exhilarating precision.
Kenobi was luminous, a transparent being, a window onto a sunlit meadow of the Force.
Skywalker was a storm cloud, flickering with dangerous lightning, building the rotation that threatens a tornado.
And then there was Palpatine, of course: he was beyond power. He showed nothing of what might be within. Though seen with the eyes of the dark side itself, Palpatine was an event horizon. Beneath his entirely ordinary surface was absolute, perfect nothingness. Darkness beyond darkness.
A black hole of the Force.

"Darth Plagueis was my Master. He taught me the key to his power," the shadow said, dryly matter-of-fact, "before I killed him."
Without understanding how he had moved, without even intending to move, without any transition of realization or dawning understanding, Anakin found himself on his feet. A blue bar of sizzling energy terminated a centimeter from Palpatine's chin, its glow casting red-edged shadows up his face and across the ceiling. Only gradually did Anakin come to understand that this was his lightsaber, and that it was in his hand.
"You," he said. Suddenly he was neither dizzy nor tired.
Suddenly everything made sense.
"It's you. It's been you all along!"
In the clean blue light of his blade he stared into the face of a man whose features were as familiar to him as his own, but now seemed as alien as an extragalactic comet—because now he finally understood that those familiar features were only a mask.
He had never seen this man's real face.

Because Mace, too, has an  attachment. Mace has a secret love. Mace Windu loves the Republic.
Many of his students quote him to students of their own:  "Jedi do not fight for peace. That's only a slogan, and is as misleading as slogans always are. Jedi fight for civilization, because only civilization creates peace."
For Mace Windu, for all his life, for all the lives of a thousand years of Jedi before him, true civilization has had only one true name: the Republic.
He has given his life in the service of his love. He has taken lives in its service, and lost the lives of innocents. He has seen beings that he cares for maimed, and killed, and sometimes worse: sometimes so broken by the horror of the struggle that their only answer was to commit horrors greater still.
And because of that love now, here, in this instant, Anakin Skywalker has nine words for him that shred his heart, burn its pieces, and feed him its smoking ashes.
Palpatine is Sidious. The Chancellor is the Sith Lord.
He doesn't even hear the words, not really; their true meaning is too large for his mind gather in all at once.
They mean that all he's done, and all that has been done to him—
That all the Order has accomplished, all it has suffered—
All the Galaxy  itself has  gone through, all the years of suffering and slaughter, the death of entire  planets—
Has all been for nothing.
Because it was all done to save the Republic.
Which was already gone.
Which had already fallen.
The corpse of which had been defended only by a Jedi Order that was now under the command of a Dark Lord of the Sith. Mace Windu's entire existence has become crystal so shot-through with flaws that the hammer of those nine words has crushed him to sand.

Anakin Skywaker knelt in the rain. He was looking at a hand. The hand had brown skin. The hand held a lightsaber. The hand had a charred oval of tissue where it should have been attached to an arm.

"What have I done?"
Was it his voice? It must have been. Because it was his question.
"What have I done?"
Another hand, a warm and human hand, laid itself softly on his shoulder.
"You're following your destiny, Anakin," said a familiar gentle voice. "The Jedi are traitors. You saved the Republic from their treachery. You can see that, can't you?"
"You were right," Anakin heard himself saying. "Why didn't I know?"
"You couldn't have. They cloaked themselves in deception, my boy. Because they feared your power, they could never trust you."
Anakin stared at the hand, but he no longer saw it. "Obi-Wan—Obi-Wan trusts me..."
"Not enough to tell you of their plot."
Treason echoed in his memory.
...this is not an assignment for the record...
That warm and human hand gave his shoulder a warm and human squeeze. "I do not fear your power, Anakin, I embrace it. You are the greatest of the Jedi. You can be the greatest of the Sith. I believe that, Anakin. I believe in you. I trust you. I trust you. I trust you."
Anakin looked from the dead hand on the ledge to the living one on his shoulder, then up to the face of the man who stood above him, and what he saw there choked him like an invisible fist crushing his throat. The hand on his shoulder was human. The face...wasn't.
The eyes were a cold and feral yellow, and they gleamed like those of a predator lurking beyond a fringe of firelight; the bone around those feral eyes had swollen and melted and flowed like durasteel spilled from a fusion smelter, and the flesh that blanketed it had gone corpse-gray and coarse as rotten synthplast. Stunned with horror, stunned with revulsion, Anakin could only stare at the creature. At the shadow. Looking into the face of the darkness, he saw his future.
"Now come inside," the darkness said.
After a moment, he did.

Anakin stood just within the office. Motionless. Palpatine examined the damage to his face in a broad expanse of wall mirror. Anakin couldn't tell if his expression might be revulsion, or if this were merely the new shape of his features. Palpatine lifted one tentative hand to the misshapen horror that he now saw in the mirror, then simply shrugged.
"And so the mask becomes the man," he sighed with a hint of philosophical melancholy. "I shall miss the face of Palpatine, I think; but for our purpose, the face of Sidious will serve. Yes, it will serve."

Order Sixty-Six is the climax of the Clone Wars.
Not the end—the Clone Wars will end some few hours from now, when a coded signal, sent by Nute Gunray from the secret Separatist bunker on Mustafar, deactivates every combat droid in the galaxy at once—but the climax.
It’s not a thrilling climax; it’s not the culmination of an epic struggle. Just the opposite, in fact. The Clone Wars were never an epic struggle. They were never intended to be. What is happening right now is why the Clone Wars were fought in the first place. It is their reason for existence. The Clone Wars have always been, in and of themselves, from their very inception, the revenge of the Sith.
They were irresistible bait. They took place in remote locations, on planets that belonged, primarily, to “somebody else.” They were fought by expendable proxies. And they were constructed as a win-win situation.
The Clone Wars were the perfect Jedi trap.
By fighting at all, the Jedi lost.
With the Jedi Order overextended, spread thin across the galaxy, each Jedi is alone, surrounded only by whatever clone troops he, she, or it commands. War itself pours darkness into the Force, deepening the cloud that limits Jedi perception. And the clones have no malice, no hatred, not the slightest ill intent that might give warning. They are only following orders.
In this case, Order Sixty-Six.
Hold-out blasters appear in clone hands. ARC-170s drop back onto the trails of Jedi starfighters. AT-STs swivel their guns. Turrets on hovertanks swung silently.
Clones open fire, and Jedi die.
All across the galaxy. All at once.
Jedi die.

--Taken from Revenge of the Sith

Sidious is patient. He foments corruption in the Republic Senate, unrest in the Jedi Order, and war across the galaxy. Because a Sith rules over the Republic, there is little way to avoid his influence of debasement. And he waits for the star that is Anakin Skywalker to succumb to his fear and burn out. He waits for Darth Vader to freeze over the furnace heart of Anakin Skywalker.

Dooku could not argue. Not only had the Dark Lord introduced Dooku to realms of power beyond his most spectacular fantasies, but Sidious was also a political manipulator so subtle that his abilities might be considered to dwarf even the power of the dark side itself. It was said that whenever the Force closes a hatch, it opens a viewport...and every viewport that had so much as cracked in this past thirteen standard years had found a Dark Lord of the Sith already at the rim, peering in, calculating how best to slip through.
Improving upon his Master's plan was near to impossible; his own idea, of substituting Kenobi for Skywalker, he had to admit was only the product of a certain misplaced sentimentality. Skywalker was almost certainly the man for the job.
He should be; Darth Sidious had spent a considerable number of years making him so.
Today's test would remove the almost.

Dooku derived a certain melancholy satisfaction—a pleasurably lonely contemplation of his own unrecognized greatness—from a brief reflection that Skywalker would never understand how much thought and planning, how much work, Lord Sidious had invested in so hastily orchestrating his sham victory.

Anakin stared at his hands. The left one was shaking. He hid it behind him.
"It's them or me, Anakin. Or perhaps I should put it more plainly: It's them or Padmé."
Anakin made his right hand—his black-gloved hand of durasteel and electrodrivers—into a fist.
"It's just—it's not...easy, that's all. I have—I've been a Jedi for so long—"
Sidious offered an appalling smile. "There is a place within you, my boy, a place as briskly clean as ice on a mountaintop, cool and remote. Find that high place, and look down within yourself; breathe that clean, icy air as you regard your guilt and shame. Do not deny them; observe them. Take your horror in your hands and look at it. Examine it as a phenomenon. Smell it. Taste it. Come to know it as only you can, for it is yours, and it is precious."
As the shadow beside him spoke, its words became true. From a remote, frozen distance that was at the same time more extravagantly, hotly intimate than he could have ever dreamed, Anakin handled his emotions. He dissected them. He reassembled them and pulled them apart again. He still felt them—if anything, they burned hotter than before—but they no longer had the power to cloud his mind.
"You have found it, my boy: I can feel you there. That cold distance—that mountaintop within yourself—that is the first key to the power of the Sith."
Anakin opened his eyes and turned his gaze fully upon the grotesque features of Darth Sidious.
He didn't even blink.
As he looked upon that mask of corruption, the revulsion he felt was real, and it was powerful, and it was—
Interesting.
Anakin lifted his hand of durasteel and electrodrivers and cupped it, staring into its palm as though he held there the fear that had haunted his dreams for his whole life, and it was no larger than the piece of shuura he'd once stolen from Padmé's plate.
On the mountain peak within himself, he weighed Padmé's life against the Jedi Order.
It was no contest.
He said, "Yes."
"Yes to what, my boy?"
"Yes, I want your knowledge."
"Good. Good!"
"I want your power. I want the power to stop death."
"That power only my Master truly achieved, but together we will find it. The Force is strong with you, my boy. You can do anything.
"The Jedi betrayed you," Anakin said. "The Jedi betrayed both of us."
"As you say. Are you ready?"
"I am," he said, and meant it. "I give myself to you. I pledge myself to the ways of the Sith. Take me as your apprentice. Teach me. Lead me. Be my Master."
Sidious raised the hood of his robe and draped it to shadow the ruin of his face.
"Kneel before me, Anakin Skywalker."
Anakin dropped to one knee. He lowered his head.
"It is your will to join your destiny forever with the Order of the Sith Lords?"
There was no hesitation. "Yes."
Darth Sidious laid a pale hand on Anakin's brow. "Then it is done. You are now one with the Order of the Dark Lords of the Sith. From this day forward, the truth of you, my apprentice, now and forevermore, will be Darth..."
A pause; a questioning in the Force—
An answer, dark as the gap between galaxies—
He heard Sidious say it: his new name.
Vader.
A pair of syllables that meant him.
Vader, he said to himself. Vader.
"Thank you, my Master."

--Taken from Revenge of the Sith

Sidious always wins. He always wins because his reach spans the galaxy. He is the reigning Dark Lord of the Sith and currently embodies the dark side of the Force, and the dark side’s imbalanced growth overshadows the perception of the Jedi. His darkness has saturated the entire galaxy because the Force has lost its balance. And even the Jedi in their numbered thousands are not a potent enough light to press back the dark side-ascendant Sith Lords. Sidious is a shadow of the Dark.

Dooku could only shake his head in awe. And to think that only days earlier, the Jedi had seemed so close to uncovering, even destroying, all he and his Master had worked for. But he should never have feared. His Master never lost. He would never lose. He was the definition of unbeatable.
How can one defeat an enemy one thinks is a friend?

The Coruscant nightfall was spreading through the galaxy. The darkness in the Force was no hindrance to the shadow in the Chancellor's office; it was the darkness. Wherever darkness dwelled, the shadow could send perception.

There came a turning point in the clash of the light against the dark. It did not come from a flash of lightning or slash of energy blade, though there were these in plenty; it did not come from a flying kick or a surgically precise punch, though these were traded, too.
It came as the battle shifted from the holding office to the great Chancellor's Podium; it came as the hydraulic lift beneath the Podium raised it on its tower of durasteel a hundred meters and more, so that it became a laserpoint of battle flaring at the focus of the vast emptiness of the Senate Arena; it came as the Force and the podium's controls ripped delegation pods free of the curving walls and made of them hammers, battering rams, catapult stones crashing and crushing against each other in a rolling thunder-roar that echoed the Senate's cheers for the galaxy's new Emperor.
It came when the avatar of light resolved into the lineage of the Jedi; when the lineage of the Jedi refined into one single Jedi. It came when Yoda found himself alone against the dark.
In that lightning-speared tornado of feet and fists and blades and bashing machines, his vision finally pierced the darkness that had clouded the Force. Finally, he saw the truth.
This truth: that he, the avatar of light, Supreme Master of the Jedi Order, the fiercest, most implacable, most devastatingly powerful foe the darkness had ever known...
just—
didn't—
have it.
He'd never had it. He had lost before he started. He had lost before he was born. The Sith had changed. The Sith had grown, had adapted, had invested a thousand years' intensive study into every aspect of not only the Force but Jedi lore itself, in preparation for exactly this day. The Sith had remade themselves. They had become new.
While the Jedi—
The Jedi had spent that same millennium training to refight the last war. The new Sith could not be destroyed with a lightsaber; they could not be burned away by any torch of the Force. The brighter his light, the darker their shadow. How could one win a war against the dark, when war itself had become the dark's own weapon?
He knew, at that instant, that this insight held the hope of the galaxy. But if he fell here, that hope would die with him. Hmmm, Yoda thought. A problem this is...

--Taken from Revenge of the Sith

And this is the core narrative dynamic of the Dark: the Sith at the time are unbeatable. So how is it then that Obi-Wan and Yoda planned to raise up Luke and Leia to defeat the Sith and the Empire? How is it that the Rebel Alliance was formed? How is it that the Sith were defeated and the Empire crumbled? The answer to that question lies in Luke’s choice in Return of the Jedi: How did Luke defeat the Sith? Answer: He didn’t. 

While Luke was confronting Darth Vader and Palpatine, he was gradually drifting closer to his dark side. Naturally, his unsteady relationship (to put it mildly) with his father, his concern for his friends in the Battle of Endor, and his intention to somehow stop the Emperor would motivate him to exploit what seems to be an obvious resource, a resource which could actually be successful. But if Luke submitted to the dark side, he could end up rendering himself a servant to the Emperor. All he would accomplish would be to destroy his father. Or, if he did access enough power to destroy Palpatine as well, he could end up replacing Palpatine as Emperor. No matter where he went with his decisions, the dark side would lead him to further corruption, but the light seemed too weak to stop the Sith. He couldn’t win. Even if he won the fight, he would lose.

Vader’s shuttle settled onto the docking bay of the Death Star, like a black, wingless, carrion-eating bird; like a nightmare insect. Luke and the Dark Lord emerged from the snout of the beast with a small escort of stormtroopers, and walked rapidly across the cavernous main bay to the Emperor’s tower elevator. Royal guards awaited them there, flanking the shaft, bathed in a carmine glow. They opened the elevator door. Luke stepped forward.
His mind was buzzing with what to do. It was the Emperor he was being taken to now. The Emperor! If Luke could but focus, keep his mind clear to see what must be done—and do it. A great noise filled his head though, like an underground wind.
He hoped Leia deactivated the deflector shield quickly, and destroyed the Death Star—now, while all three of them were here. Before anything else happened. For the closer Luke came to the Emperor, the more anythings he feared would happen. A black storm raged inside him. He wanted to kill the Emperor, but then what? Confront Vader? What would his father do? And what if Luke faced his father first, faced him and—destroyed him. The thought was at once repugnant and compelling. Destroy Vader—and then what. For the first time, Luke had a brief murky image of himself, standing on his father’s body, holding his father’s blazing power, and sitting at the Emperor’s right hand.
He squeezed his eyes shut against this thought, but it left a cold sweat on his brow, as if Death’s hand had brushed him there and left its shallow imprint.
The elevator door opened. Luke and Vader walked out into the throne room alone, across the unlit antechamber, up the grated stairs, to stand before the throne: father and son, side by side, both dressed in black, one masked and one exposed, beneath the gaze of the malignant Emperor.
Vader bowed to his master. The Emperor motioned him to rise, though; the Dark Lord did his master’s bidding.
“Welcome, young Skywalker.” The Evil One smiled graciously. “I have been expecting you.”
Luke stared back brazenly at the bent, hooded figure. Defiantly. The Emperor’s smile grew even softer, though; even more fatherly. He looked at Luke’s manacles.
“You no longer need those,” he added with no-bless oblige—and made the slightest motion with his finger in the direction of Luke’s wrists. At that, Luke’s binders simply fell away, clattering noisily to the floor. Luke looked at his own hands—free, now, to reach out for the Emperor’s throat, to crush his windpipe in an instant...
Yet the Emperor seemed gentle. Had he not just let Luke free? But he was devious, too, Luke knew. Do not be fooled by appearances, Ben had told him. The Emperor was unarmed. He could still strike. But wasn’t aggression part of the dark side? Mustn’t he avoid that at all costs? Or could he use darkness judiciously, and then put it away? He stared at his free hands...he could have ended it all right there—or could he? He had total freedom to choose what to do now; yet he could not choose. Choice, the double-edged sword. He could kill the Emperor, he could succumb to the Emperor’s arguments. He could kill Vader...and then he could even become Vader. Again this thought laughed at him like a broken clown, until he pushed it back into a black corner of his brain.
The Emperor sat before him, smiling. The moment was convulsive with possibilities...
The moment passed. He did nothing.

Slowly, Luke and Vader circled. Lightsaber high above his head, Luke readied his attack from classic first-position; the Dark Lord held a lateral stance, in classic answer. Without announcement, Luke brought his blade straight down—then, when Vader moved to parry, Luke feinted and cut low. Vader counterparried, let the impact direct his sword toward Luke's throat... but Luke met the riposte and stepped back. The first blows, traded without injury. Again, they circled.
Vader was impressed with Luke's speed. Pleased, even. It was a pity, almost, he couldn't let the boy kill the Emperor yet. Luke wasn't ready for that, emotionally. There was still a chance Luke would return to his friends if he destroyed the Emperor now. He needed more extensive tutelage, first—training by both Vader and Palpatine—before he'd be ready to assume his place at Vader's right hand, ruling the galaxy. So Vader had to shepherd the boy through periods like this, stop him from doing damage in the wrong places—or in the right places prematurely.
Before Vader could gather his thoughts much further, though, Luke attacked again—much more aggressively. He advanced in a flurry of lunges, each met with a loud crack of Vader's phosphorescent saber. The Dark Lord retreated a step at every slash, swiveling once to bring his cutting beam up viciously—but Luke batted it away, pushing Vader back yet again. The Lord of the Sith momentarily lost his footing on the stairs and tumbled to his knees.
Luke stood above him, at the top of the staircase, heady with his own power. It was in his hands, now, he knew it was: he could take Vader. Take his blade, take his life. Take his place at the Emperor's side. Yes, even that. Luke didn't bury the thought, this time; he gloried in it. He engorged himself with its juices, felt its power tingle his cheeks. It made him feverish, this thought, with lust so overpowering as to totally obliterate all other considerations. 
He had the power; the choice was his. 
And then another thought emerged, slowly compulsive as an ardent lover: he could destroy the Emperor, too. Destroy them both, and rule the galaxy. Avenge and conquer. 
It was a profound moment for Luke. Dizzying. Yet he did not swoon. Nor did he recoil. 
He took one step forward.
For the first time, the thought entered Vader's consciousness that his son might best him. He was astounded by the strength Luke had acquired since their last duel, in the Cloud City—not to mention the boy's timing, which was honed to a thought's-breadth. This was an unexpected circumstance. Unexpected and unwelcome. Vader felt humiliation crawling in on the tail of his first reaction, which was surprise, and his second, which was fear. And then the edge of the humiliation curled up, to reveal bald anger. And now he wanted revenge.
These things were mirrored, each facet, by the young Jedi who now towered above him. The Emperor, watching joyously, saw this, and goaded Luke on to revel in his Darkness. “Use your aggressive feelings, boy! Yes! Let the hate flow through you! Become one with it, let it nourish you!”
Luke faltered a moment—then realized what was happening. He was suddenly confused again. What did he want? What should he do? His brief exultation, his microsecond of dark clarity—gone, now, in a wash of indecision, veiled enigma. Cold awakening from a passionate flirtation. He took a step back, lowered his sword, relaxed, and tried to drive the hatred from his being.
In that instant, Vader attacked. He lunged half up the stairs, forcing Luke to reverse defensively. He bound the boy's blade with his own, but Luke disengaged and leaped to the safety of an overhead gantry. Vader jumped over the railing to the floor beneath the platform on which Luke stood.
“I will not fight you, Father,” Luke stated.
“You are unwise to lower your defenses,” Vader warned. His anger was layered, now—he did not want to win if the boy was not battling to the fullest. But if winning meant he had to kill a boy who wouldn't fight...then he could do that, too. Only he wanted Luke to be aware of those consequences. He wanted Luke to know this was no longer just a game. This was Darkness.

--Taken from Return of the Jedi

Every option Luke had to win led to the dark side, and no matter who won, someone lost, someone would die, feeding the Dark. For Luke to defeat the Sith, he would have to use the Sith’s own power against them; in killing the Sith, he would become a Sith. And the Sith would continue to perpetuate goals that undermined and ultimately destroyed life if that would actuate their imperatives. In essence, as the Revenge of the Sith intervals pointed out, “With each victory of the light, it is the dark that wins.” So if every path to victory Luke had resulted in the Dark winning ethereally and the Sith winning practically, then what is the one thing that Luke as a Jedi in the Light could do that the Sith could not do? He could lose. So he did. He cast aside his lightsaber, knowing that would forfeit his life, and decided not to kill Vader or Palpatine but instead allowed the Emperor to attempt to kill him. And the result? Anakin arose from out of Vader and outshone Palpatine, ending the Sith’s dominion.

Luke heard something else, though. “Your thoughts betray you, Father. I feel the good in you...the conflict. You could not bring yourself to kill me before—and you won't destroy me now.” Twice before, in fact—to Luke's recollection—Vader could have killed him, but didn't. In the dogfight over the first Death Star, and later in the lightsaber duel on Bespin. He thought of Leia, briefly now, too—of how Vader had had her in his clutches once, had even tortured her...but didn't kill her. He winced to think of her agony, but quickly pushed that from his mind. The point was clear to him, now, though so often so murky: there was still good in his father.
This accusation really made Vader angry. He could tolerate much from the insolent child, but this was insufferable. He must teach this boy a lesson he would never forget, or die learning. “Once again, you underestimate the power of the dark side...”
Vader threw his scintillating blade—it sliced through the supports holding up the gantry on which Luke was perched, then swept around and flew back into Vader's hand. Luke tumbled to the ground, then rolled down another level, under the tilting platform. In the shadow of the darkened overhang, he was out of sight. Vader paced the area like a cat, seeking the boy; but he wouldn't enter the shadows of the overhang.
“You cannot hide forever, Luke.”
“You'll have to come in and get me,” replied the disembodied voice.
“I will not give you the advantage that easily.” Vader felt his intentions increasingly ambiguous in this conflict; the purity of his evil was being compromised. The boy was clever indeed—Vader knew he must move with extreme caution now.
“I wish no advantage, Father. I will not fight you. Here...take my weapon.” Luke knew full well this might be his end, but so be it. He would not use Darkness to fight Darkness. Perhaps it would be left to Leia, after all, to carry on the struggle, without him. Perhaps she would know a way he didn't know; perhaps she could find a path. For now, though, he could see only two paths, and one was into Darkness; and one was not.
Luke put his lightsaber on the ground, and rolled it along the floor toward Vader. It stopped halfway between them, in the middle of the low overhead area. The Dark Lord reached out his hand—Luke's lightsaber jumped into it. He hooked it to his belt and, with grave uncertainty, entered the shadowy overhang.
He was picking up additional feelings from Luke, now, new crosscurrents of doubt. Remorse, regret, abandonment. Shades of pain. But somehow not directly related to Vader. To others, to...Endor. Ah, that was it—the Sanctuary Moon where his friends would soon die. Luke would learn soon enough: friendship was different on the dark side. A different thing altogether.
“Give yourself to the dark side, Luke,” he entreated. “It is the only way you can save your friends. Yes, your thoughts betray you, son. Your feelings for them are strong, especially for—“
Vader stopped. He sensed something.
Luke withdrew further into shadow. He tried to hide, but there was no way to hide what was in his mind—Leia was in pain. Her agony cried to him now, and his spirit cried with her. He tried to shut it out, to shut it up, but the cry was loud, and he couldn't stifle it, couldn't leave it alone, had to cradle it openly, to give it solace.
Vader's consciousness invaded that private place.
“No!” screamed Luke.
Vader was incredulous. “Sister? Sister!” he bellowed. “Your feelings have now betrayed her, too... Twins!” he roared triumphantly. “Obi-Wan was wise to hide her, but now his failure is complete.” His smile was clear to Luke, through the mask, through the shadows, through all the realms of Darkness. “If you will not turn to the Dark Side, perhaps she will.”
This, then, was Luke's breaking point. For Leia was everyone's last unflagging hope. If Vader turned his twisted, misguided cravings on her...
“Never!” he screamed. His lightsaber flew off Vader's belt into his own hand, igniting as it came to him. He rushed to his father with a frenzy he'd never known. Nor had Vader. The gladiators battled fiercely, sparks flying from the clash of their radiant weapons, but it was soon evident that the advantage was all Luke's. And he was pressing it. They locked swords, body to body. When Luke pushed Vader back to break the clinch, the Dark Lord hit his head on an overhanging beam in the cramped space. He stumbled backward even farther, out of the low-hanging area. Luke pursued him relentlessly.
Blow upon blow, Luke forced Vader to retreat—back, onto the bridge that crossed the vast, seemingly bottomless shaft to the power core. Each stroke of Luke's saber pummeled Vader, like accusations, like screams, like shards of hate.
The Dark Lord was driven to his knees. He raised his blade to block yet another onslaught—and Luke slashed Vader's right hand off at the wrist. The hand, along with bits of metal, wires, and electronic devices, clattered uselessly away while Vader's lightsaber tumbled over the edge of the span, into the endless shaft below, without a trace.
Luke stared at his father's twitching, severed, mechanical hand—and then at his own black-gloved artificial part—and realized suddenly just how much he'd become like his father. Like the man he hated. Trembling, he stood above Vader, the point of his glowing blade at the Dark Lord's throat. He wanted to destroy this thing of Darkness, this thing that was once his father, this thing that was...him.
Suddenly the Emperor was there, looking on, chuckling with uncontrollable, pleased agitation. “Good! Kill him! Your hate has made you powerful! Now, fulfill your destiny and take your father's place at my side!”
Luke stared at his father beneath him, then at the Emperor, then back at Vader. This was Darkness—and it was the Darkness he hated. Not his father, not even the Emperor. But the Darkness in them. In them, and in himself. And the only way to destroy the Darkness was to renounce it. For good and all. He stood suddenly erect, and made the decision for which he'd spent his life in preparation. He hurled his lightsaber away. “Never! Never will I turn to the dark side! You have failed, Palpatine. I am a Jedi, as my father was before me.”
The Emperor's glee turned to a sullen rage. “So be it, Jedi. If you will not be turned, you will be destroyed.”
Palpatine raised his spidery arms toward Luke: blinding white bolts of energy coruscated from his fingers, shot across the room like sorcerous lightning, and tore through the boy's insides, looking for ground. The young Jedi was at once confounded and in agony—he’d never heard of such a power, such a corruption of the Force, let alone experienced it.
But if it was Force-generated, it could be Force-repelled. Luke raised his arms to deflect the bolts. Initially, he was successful—the lightning rebounded from his touch, harmlessly into the walls. Soon, though, the shocks came with such speed and power, they coursed over and into him, and he could only shrink before them, convulsed with pain, his knees buckling, his powers at ebb.
Vader crawled, like a wounded animal, to his Emperor's side.

On the Death Star, Luke was nearly unconscious beneath the continuing assault of the Emperor's lightning. Tormented beyond reason, betaken of a weakness that drained his very essence, he hoped for nothing more than to submit to the nothingness toward which he was drifting. The Emperor smiled down at the enfeebled young Jedi, as Vader struggled to his feet beside his master.
“Young fool!” Palpatine rasped at Luke. “Only now at the end, do you understand. Your puerile skills are no match for the power of the dark side. You have paid a price for your lack of vision. Now, young Skywalker, you will pay the price in full. You will die!”
He laughed maniacally; and although it would not have seemed possible to Luke, the outpouring of bolts from the Emperor's fingers actually increased in intensity. The sound screamed through the room, the murderous brightness of the flashes was overwhelming.
Luke's body slowed, wilted, finally crumpled under the hideous barrage. He stopped moving altogether. At last, he appeared totally lifeless. The Emperor hissed maliciously.
At that instant, Vader sprang up and grabbed the Emperor from behind, pinning Palpatine's upper arras to his torso. Weaker than he'd ever been, Vader had lain still these last few minutes, focusing his every fiber of being on this one, concentrated act—the only action possible; his last, if he failed. Ignoring pain, ignoring his shame and his weaknesses, ignoring the bone-crushing noise in his head, he focused solely and sightlessly on his will—his will to defeat the evil embodied in the Emperor.
Palpatine struggled in the grip of Vader's unfeeling embrace, his hands still shooting bolts of malign energy out in all directions. In his wild flailing, the lightning ripped across the room, tearing into Vader. The Dark Lord fell again, electric currents crackling down his helmet, over his cape, into his heart.
Vader stumbled with his load to the middle of the bridge over the black chasm leading to the power core. He held the wailing despot high over his head, and with a final spasm of strength, hurled him into the abyss. Palpatine's body, still spewing bolts of light, spun out of control, into the void, bouncing back and forth off the sides of the shaft as it fell. It disappeared at last; but then, a few seconds later, a distant explosion could be heard, far down at the core. A rush of air billowed out the shaft, into the throne room.
The wind whipped at Lord Vader's cape, as he staggered and collapsed toward the hole, trying to follow his master to the end. Luke crawled to his father's side, though, and pulled the Dark Lord away from the edge of the chasm, to safety.
Both of them lay on the floor, entwined in each other, too weak to move, too moved to speak.

--Taken from Return of the Jedi

But how did this happen? How did the supposedly unbeatable Sith lose? The answer is hinted at in a memory of Luke’s of a lesson from Obi-Wan and Yoda.

Luke waited—but a moment. In the very faltering, he found strength. Thus had Ben and Yoda both instructed him: when you are attacked, fall. Let your opponent’s power buffet you as a strong wind topples the grass. In time, he will expend himself, and you will still be upright.

--Taken from Return of the Jedi

For a more direct answer, consider what the most all-powerful aspect of the Dark seems to be: that it always wins. But for that to be true, then the Dark has a very distinct, very compromising limitation. For the Dark to be the Dark, it has to be unbeatable, and for it to be unbeatable, it can never lose, even once. If the Dark wins a million times but loses just once, its claim on invincibility is shattered completely, and it ceases to be the Dark. So if the Dark always, compulsively, absolutely has to win, then what can the Light do that the Dark can’t? The Light can choose to die. The Light can lose. In other words, let the Dark win. But if the Light loses, how will the Dark be stopped?

“Love is more than a candle. Love can ignite the stars.” Therein lies the Dark’s final weakness, and the source of Sidious’ defeat. Love can ignite a star; when Luke elected not to kill Vader, he evinced a care for Vader despite everything he did. One of the core traits of Vader’s character is that he hates himself because of his guilt over the atrocities he's committed, the most shameful one for him being his contributing to Padme's death, but Luke loved him. This simple gift on behalf of his son dissolved the frozen heart of Vader and restored the fire, the star, of Anakin Skywalker. Anakin defeated both Sith Lords, Sidious and Vader, saved the galaxy, and restored balance to the Force.

For the first time, the Death Star rocked. The collision with the exploding destroyer was only the beginning, leading to various systems breakdowns, which led to reactor meltdowns, which led to personnel panic, abandonment of posts, further malfunctions, and general chaos. Smoke was everywhere, substantial rumblings came from all directions at once, people were running and shouting. Electrical fires, steam explosions, cabin depressurizations, disruption of chain-of-command. Added to this, the continued bombardments by Rebel Cruisers—smelling fear in the enemy—merely heightened the sense of hysteria that was already pervasive. For the Emperor was dead. The central, powerful evil that had been the cohesive force to the Empire was gone; and when the dark side was this diffused, this nondirected—this was simply where it led.
Confusion.
Desperation.
Damp fear.
In the midst of this uproar, Luke had made it, somehow, to the main docking bay—where he was trying to carry the hulking deadweight of his father's weakening body toward an Imperial shuttle. Halfway there, his strength finally gave out, though; and he collapsed under the strain. Slowly he rose again. Like an automaton, he hoisted his father's body over his shoulder and stumbled toward one of the last remaining shuttles. Luke rested his father on the ground, trying to collect strength one last time, as explosions grew louder all around them. Sparks hissed in the rafters; one of the walls buckled, and smoke poured through a gaping fissure. The floor shook.
Vader motioned Luke closer to him. "Luke, help me take this mask off."
Luke shook his head. "You'll die."
The Dark Lord's voice was weary. "Nothing can stop that now. Just once let me face you without it. Let me look on you with my own eyes."
Luke was afraid. Afraid to see his father as he really was. Afraid to see what person could have become so dark—the same person who'd fathered Luke, and Leia. Afraid to know the Anakin Skywalker who lived inside Darth Vader.
Vader, too, was afraid—to let his son see him, to remove this armored mask that had been between them so long. The black, armored mask that had been his only means of existing for over twenty years. It had been his voice, and his breath, and his invisibility—his shield against all human contact. But now he would remove it; for he would see his son before he died.
Together they lifted the heavy helmet from Vader's head—inside the mask portion, a complicated breathing apparatus had to be disentangled, a speaking modulator and view-screen detached from the power unit in back. But when the mask was finally off and set aside, Luke gazed on his father's face. It was the sad, benign face of an old man. Bald, beardless, with a mighty scar running from the top of his head to the back of the scalp, he had unfocused, deepset, dark eyes, and his skin was pasty white, for it had not seen the sun in two decades. The old man smiled weakly; tears glazed his eyes, now. For a moment, he looked not too unlike Ben.
It was a face full of meanings, that Luke would forever recall. Regret, he saw most plainly. And shame. Memories could be seen flashing across it... memories of rich times. And horrors. And love, too.
It was a face that hadn't touched the world in a lifetime. In Luke's lifetime. He saw the wizened nostrils twitch, as they tested a first, tentative smell. He saw the head tilt imperceptibly to listen—for the first time without electronic auditory amplification. Luke felt a pang of remorse that the only sounds now to be heard were those of explosions, the only smells, the pungent sting of electrical fires. Still, it was a touch. Palpable, unfiltered.
He saw the old eyes focus on him. Tears burned Luke's cheeks, fell on his father's lips. His father smiled at the taste.
It was a face that had not seen itself in twenty years.
Vader saw his son crying, and knew it must have been at the horror of the face the boy beheld. It intensified, momentarily, Vader's own sense of anguish—to his crimes, now, he added guilt at the imagined repugnance of his appearance. But then this brought him to mind of the way he used to look—striking, and grand, with a wry tilt to his brow that hinted of invincibility and took in all of life with a wink. Yes, that was how he'd looked once. And this memory brought a wave of other memories with it. Memories of brotherhood, and home. His dear wife. The freedom of deep space. Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan, his friend...and how that friendship had turned. Turned, he knew not how—but got injected, nonetheless, with some uncaring virulence that festered, until...hold. These were memories he wanted none of, not now. Memories of molten lava, crawling up his back...no.
This boy had pulled him from that pit—here, now, with this act. This boy was good.
The boy was good, and the boy had come from him—so there must have been good in him, too. He smiled up again at his son, and for the first time, loved him. And for the first time in many long years, loved himself again, as well.
Suddenly he smelled something—flared his nostrils, sniffed once more. Wildflowers, that was what it was. Just blooming; it must be spring. And there was thunder—he cocked his head, strained his ears. Yes, spring thunder, for a spring rain. To make the flowers bloom. Yes, there...he felt a raindrop on his lips. He licked the delicate droplet...but wait, it wasn't sweet water, it was salty, it was...a teardrop.
He focused on Luke once again, and saw his son was crying. Yes, that was it, he was tasting his boy's grief—because he looked so horrible; because he was so horrible. But he wanted to make it all right for Luke, he wanted Luke to know he wasn't really ugly like this, not deep inside, not all together. With a little self-deprecatory smile, he shook his head at Luke, explaining away the unsightly beast his son saw. "Luminous beings are we, Luke—not this crude matter."
Luke shook his head, too—to tell his father it was all right, to dismiss the old man's shame, to tell him nothing mattered now. And everything—but he couldn't talk.
Vader spoke again, even weaker—almost inaudible. "Go, my son. Leave me."
At that, Luke found his voice. "No. You're coming with me. I'll not leave you here. I've got to save you."
"You already have, Luke," he whispered. He wished, briefly, he'd met Yoda, to thank the old Jedi for the training he'd given Luke...but perhaps he'd be with Yoda soon, now, in the ethereal oneness of the Force. And with Obi-Wan.
"Father, I won't leave you," Luke protested. Explosions jarred the docking bay in earnest, crumbling one entire wall, splitting the ceiling. A jet of blue flame shot from a gas nozzle nearby. Just beneath it the floor began to melt.
Vader pulled Luke very close, spoke into his ear. "Luke, you were right...and you were right about me... Tell your sister...you were right."
With that, he closed his eyes, and Darth Vader—Anakin Skywalker—died.
A tremendous explosion filled the back of the bay with fire, knocking Luke flat to the ground. Slowly, he rose again; and like an automaton, stumbled toward one of the last remaining shuttles.

--Taken from Return of the Jedi

“With each victory of the light, it is the dark that wins,” but the inverse of that precept seems to apply as well. When Yoda fought Sidious in Revenge of the Sith, he realized that he was overmatched. He could not beat the Sith by fighting against them. Fighting itself served the Dark, because no matter who won, someone lost. Someone died. And the Sith were simply better at war than the Jedi were. They prepared themselves to be.

But Luke found a different way. He found that if the Dark could not be defeated head-on, it could be defeated by its own strength. The Dark can never lose, but a Jedi can. A Jedi can lose a million times and win once, and that one victory will be enough. Yoda may not have been able to defeat the Emperor; Luke may not have been able to defeat the Emperor. But Anakin could. Despite how many victories Sidious had and how long he retained power, if he lost once, he lost it all. All of his previous victories, no matter how numerous they may be, and all of his amassed power, no matter how expansive it may be, all means nothing if Anakin Skywalker sacrifices himself to defeat the Sith and restore balance to the Force. Palpatine designed the Empire in such a way that without him, it could not function. He did this because he never wanted to be succeeded, but he was also confident he never could be. He believed he was unbeatable. He was wrong.

Sidious characterizes the Dark in Revenge of the Sith, and the last expository section on the Dark applies to him as well. His strength is his alleged invincibility, but in the heart of that strength lies a weakness. One lone candle can hold him back; Luke is that candle. And Luke’s love for his father could ignite the star that is Anakin Skywalker. The star that is Anakin Skywalker could defeat the Sith.

Following these events however, the simple fact that the Empire had been fragmented without the Sith overseeing it and the New Republic had been founded does not end the struggle with the Dark. The Sith may have been defeated, but that does not answer the concept of the Dark itself. Luke still had more to learn about it, and in Return of the Jedi, he learned very little. He only had a glimpse of it, similar to Mace or Yoda or Anakin. Although he may have uncovered a truth that other Jedi failed to, Luke never grasped the full implications of what he did until a year later at the Battle of Mindor. At the Battle of Mindor, the New Republic fought Imperial forces led by a former Emperor’s Hand Blackhole. Before working for the Empire, Blackhole was trained as a Sorcerer of Rhand.

The Sorcerer’s of Rhand follow an existential nihilistic and absurdist philosophy that dictates that the only true reality is the lasting reality, and the only lasting reality is the Dark. They believe that the universe is subjugated to what they label the Way of the Dark. The Force, to them, is insignificant. It is merely one part of existing reality, a part that, along with everything else that is, enters oblivion in the infinite Dark. Because of this outlook, the Sorcerers of Rhand devote themselves to absolute destruction, and Blackhole fashioned himself as something of a universal terrorist, planning to survive until he has ushered all life in the universe to the Dark, after which he will enter the Dark himself. Blackhole’s musings also dispense the most basic definition of the Dark taken from one of the Rhandite dictums: “Existence is fleeting. Destruction is eternal.”

Cronal's rise to power had started with a vision: a vision of the Dark.
More than a vision, in fact; more than a simple prophecy, or precognition. To the Nightsisters of Dathomir, it was the Heartshadow.
Other Force users had other names for it.
But Cronal called it simply Darksight.
Deep in the area ignorantly described by the Old Republic, and later the Empire, as the "Unknown Regions," there was a vast cloud of dust and rock and interstellar gas that pulsed with a bloody and forbidding scarlet glow as it radiated away the energy of twelve stellar clusters within. This was the Perann Nebula; the twelve clusters that it surrounded were known collectively as the Nihil Retreat. The absolute rulers of the Nihil Retreat, dreaded masters of darkmagicks beyond the grasp of even the Sith, were the Sorcerers of Rhand.
The Sorcerers of Rhand were the only family Cronal would ever know. The Rhandites had plucked him from the arms of the nameless woman who had borne him, and had forged him as a weapon is forged, awakening his insight, refining his will, opening his mind to the One Truth:
Only power is real, and the only real power is the power to destroy. Existence is fleeting. Destruction is eternal.
Every child was born waiting for death. Civilizations fell, and their very ashes were swallowed by time. The stars themselves burned out. Destruction, on the other hand...
Destruction was the will of the universe.
Some called it entropy, and tried to quantify and constrain it with the laws of thermodynamics. Some expressed it with a simple poetic declarative: Things fall apart. Some even tried to dismiss it with a joke: Anything that can go wrong will. But it was not a joke, or poetry; it was not science, nor was it subject to any law.
It was the Way of the Dark.
Destruction was easy...and permanent. When a being was killed, everything he or she would have ever done or possessed, seen or felt, was murdered. And that murder made a permanent change in the structure of the universe—it emptied the universe of an entire life, and left behind only a void.
That void was the foundation of truth.
That was why the Jedi and the Sith would remain forever locked in their pointless battle: because all their philosophy of light versus dark, of service versus mastery, was as meaningless as the whistle of wind through desert rocks. Service and mastery were equally futile, even illusory, in the face of the One Truth. All the endless Jedi vs. Sith nattering of "the dark side of the Force" blinded them one and all to the bare reality that there was nothing but the Dark.
The Dark was not a side of the Force, and it was no mere portion of reality. It was reality. The Sorcerers of Rhand had never spoken of the Force, and Cronal was to this day unsure whether they would have had any understanding of how the Force was viewed and spoken of in the rest of the galaxy. To the Rhandites, it was only the Dark, and the only pertinent feature of the Dark was that it would respond to the will of a properly trained being, so long as that being's will was in line with the Way of the Dark.
It was the Dark that set world against world, nation against nation, sibling against sibling, child against parent. It was the Dark that brought pestilence and starvation, hatred and war. The Dark was the hidden energy of the cosmos itself: that which pressed galaxy away from galaxy, star away from star until finally each and every world would fade within its own private black hole, moving too swiftly from its neighbors for their light to overtake it.
This was why Cronal had chosen the code name Blackhole: because he had willed himself to become an event horizon of the Dark.
And of all the powers the Dark granted its adepts, the greatest was Darksight. It was Darksight that had led Cronal far from the Nihil Retreat, beyond the Perann Nebula and out of the Unknown Regions altogether, in search of the truth of his visions. It was Darksight that had led him to Dromund Kaas, where he had easily infiltrated and come to dominate that pack of pathetic, self-deluded fools who styled themselves Prophets of the Dark Side. Imagine, to waste one's brief foray in life, the fleeting bright instant between the infinite dark before and the eternal dark beyond, in mere study—in trying to learn to use the "dark side of the Force" to merely predict the future.
With Darksight, Cronal could create the future. He was familiar, in concept, with the pale shadow-imitation of Darksight that had supposedly been employed by some exceptional Jedi and certain among the Sith—the pathetic conjuror's trick they called battle meditation. Through massive concentration and expenditure of energy, they claimed to subtly influence the course of a single combat, or, for the most powerful among them, an engagement of greater forces, like armies in collision or fleet-to-fleet battles. They claimed that their simplistic Force-powered visualization of a desired outcome would subtly shift probabilities and grant them luck, that it would inspire their allies and demoralize their enemies. Of course, these claims could never be proven, or disproven; any charlatan might simply take credit for any random victory, or ascribe a defeat to the will of the Force—or a supposedly more powerful Force-user practicing his or her own "battle meditation" in service to the opposite side...
Battle meditation. Idiots.
Anyone trained by the Rhandites could have told them: any and all battles, all wars, the very concept of battle itself, served but a single end. Their only function was destruction. Only by setting one's will upon pure destruction could victory be achieved. When your will was fixed steadily upon the Way of the Dark, the Dark itself became your partner in all that you did.
Cronal was living proof of this truth. It was Cronal's Darksight that had attracted the attention of Palpatine and brought Vader to Dromund Kaas; even Kadann, the fool who pretended to be the Supreme Prophet of the Dark Side, never suspected how entirely his order served not some fantasy of Sith power, but the Dark itself…because Cronal had made it so. Palpatine had plucked Cronal from the Prophets and set him apart from even the other elite Emperor's Hands, for Palpatine had been swift to recognize that his was a gift that transcended mere prophecy. Any fool with a trace of ability could see echoes of the future—Palpatine himself was rather good at it—but Cronal's ability transcended mere prophecy as hyperdrive transcends the wings of a shadowmoth.
Palpatine had been impressed with the "accuracy" of Cronal's "predictions"...yet not even the great Darth Sidious had ever suspected that Cronal's predictions were accurate not because Cronal had seen the future, but because he had chosen that future. That exact future.
He had decided, and his choice had molded all of history to his will. That was the power of Darksight: to search among all the possible futures for the one that best suited your own desire and the Way of the Dark...and then to map each step that must be taken to bring you to that future, and bring that future to you. But to make it happen, you had to bind your desire to the Dark, and dream only of destruction.
Palpatine had been a fool. He had thought he could make the Dark serve him, instead of the opposite. In the days of the Old Republic, before he had revealed his Sith identity, Palpatine literally could not fail. Every blind flailing gesture of every Jedi who'd set himself against him had turned to his advantage, and even the sheerest accidents of fortune had served his goal...because that goal had been the destruction of the Jedi Order, and the death of the Republic. He'd served the Dark unknowingly, all the while believing that the Dark was only a means to an end, a tool to help him destroy his enemies and clear his path to absolute power.
What he'd never understood was that destruction was his power. As soon as he'd turned his will to rulership, to building instead of destroying, he had forsaken the Way of the Dark...and everything had begun to go wrong for him. Where before he could not fail, now he'd had no chance of succeeding, because when you turn your back on the Dark, the Dark turns its back on you.
Only days after the Battle of Yavin, Cronal had cast his mind deep into the void, seeking the future of the young Rebel pilot who had destroyed the Death Star, and had found him as an older, more seasoned man, dressed in dark robes—and bearing a lightsaber.
Kneeling before the Emperor, to swear his allegiance to the dark side.
My fate...will be the same as my father’s.
Which was when Cronal finally understood who Darth Vader was, and saw the terrible flaw that would bring the Order of the Sith to its ultimate destruction. A destruction that Cronal not only was determined to survive, but was certain he could transform into an eternal victory for the Dark. And, not incidentally, eternal life for himself.
Near to eternal, anyway; as long as a single living thing struggled and suffered and fed the Dark with killing and dying, Cronal would be here. His ultimate sacrifice to the Dark would be the survival of his consciousness until the heat death of the Universe...when he would be joined forever with the final oblivion of all that had ever been. All that will ever be.
He would be the last.
Slowly, subtly, through the months and years from Yavin to Endor, Cronal had served his vision. A delicate balance had had to be meticulously maintained, to navigate the intricacies of the relationship between Palpatine and Vader...to inculcate a rivalry with the half-mechanical terror that Palpatine had elevated to the rank of Lord of the Sith. For all his undoubted physical power, Vader had never been more than a blunt instrument, with no real understanding of the truth of the Dark, nor of the uses of real power. He had been, all in all, only a thug with a lightsaber...and, as it proved, a weakhearted, emotionally crippled, impulsively treasonous thug at that.
Though Vader could never have been Cronal's equal in coursing the mazy paths of dark power, it had served Cronal's purpose to pretend jealousy—even to appear to fail, more than once, and to openly bridle under Vader's supposed authority, so that Palpatine had begun to suspect that Cronal might deliberately sabotage the monster's operations. Thus it was that he had persuaded Palpatine—subtly, oh-so-delicately, so that the Emperor believed to the day of his death that it had all been his own idea—that Cronal could better serve the Empire from afar, away from Coruscant, away from the prying optical receptors of Vader's ridiculous helmet. Away from the entirely too keen vision, both physical and mystic, of Palpatine himself.
Out among the forgotten fringes of the galaxy, Cronal had appeared to merely bide his time, running minor operations through his private networks of agents, while in truth he had devoted his life to searching out forgotten lore of the ancient Sith and other supposed masters of the Dark. If they had done so much damage even with their limited understanding of the Dark, how much greater destruction might be wrought by one who knew all their secrets, and also knew the One Truth?
He traveled in secret, deep into the Unknown Regions, following his Darksight vision to worlds so ancient that even legend had no memory of them. Among the drifting moon trees that flowered in the interstellar space of the Gunninga Gap, he was able to discover and assemble scraps of the Taurannik Codex, which had been destroyed in the Muurshantre Extinction a hundred millennia before; arcane hints in that forbidden tome led him to the Valtaullu Rift and the shattered asteroid belt that once had been the planet-sized Temple of Korman Lao, the Lord Ravager of the long-vanished race of demon-worshipping reptoids known as the Kanzer Exiles. The lore in the Temple fragments gave him the knowledge he needed to capture the corrupt spirit essence of Dathka Graush, to rip it free from its resting place in Korriban's Valley of Golg, to eventually extract and consume even the most secret lore of Sith alchemy that the ancient tyrant had carried to his grave.
And that ancient Sith alchemy had given him the knowledge to forge a device to control the living crystal that formed the structure of Mindorese meltmassif...
Because the Emperor had once confided in him that the transference of the spirit to another was a pathway to the ultimate goal of a Sith: to cheat death. Of course, he had been thinking of clones, but Cronal's plans were more ambitious; if such a feat was possible, he determined that he would perform it—and not to a mere clone body, either. After all, his own body had never been strong, and his service to the Dark had eaten away what little strength he'd had until he could no longer stand—until he could no longer feed himself, or even breathe without the life-support functions built into his gravity chair. Why should he settle for exchanging his flawed and failing body for another of the same model, every bit as certain to fail?
No. His devotion to the Way of the Dark had shown him a path to power greater than Palpatine could have ever dreamed: to transfer his consciousness permanently into a body that was young, that was healthy and handsome in a way Cronal had never been. A body more powerful in the Force than Vader, potentially more powerful even than Palpatine. The body of a true hero, beloved by all rightthinking citizens in the galaxy as the very symbol of truth and justice…
He would not simply turn Luke Skywalker to the service of the Dark. Why should he? Luke Skywalker served the Dark already, without ever guessing; he had powers of destruction that humbled even the Death Star.
No: Cronal would become Luke Skywalker, and serve the Dark himself.

--Taken from Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor

As mentioned in the perspective-based description above, Blackhole had theories on the Sith and the Jedi, but these were flawed. Because he denied there being any validity in the Force, Blackhole considered their endeavors inferior and believed that the Sith themselves were pawns in his own game. He failed to calculate the will of the Force or the Force’s very existent dual nature as relevant to the continuous thriving of the universe. But his theories began to infect Luke’s thoughts on the Jedi and Sith and life itself as well when he caused Luke to enter something of a dream-state, though it was more real than a dream. In this state, Luke simply hovered in empty space watching everything in the universe deteriorate for innumerable years until there was nothing left but the Dark, and this vision showed the full exactitude of the Dark. Where Mace, Yoda, and Anakin only had brief glances at the full scope of the Dark, Luke experienced the most potent, detailed, and comprehensive view of the Dark of any Jedi before him.

Though he was far from conscious, Luke knew something was wrong. He felt...cold.
Unbelievably cold. He'd been cold before—a couple years earlier, on Hoth, he'd come within a shaved centimeter of freezing to death before Han had found him—but this was different. That cold had been a creeping numbness, and weakness, and a growing inability to force his hypothermic muscles to move. This cold, though, froze him without the comfort of numbness. Tiny razor-edged crystals of ice—colder than ice, so cold they burned, cold as liquid air—grew inward through his skin at every pore, becoming hairlines of freeze that crept along his nerves.
And with the cold came silence.
Physical silence, deeper than a living creature can truly experience: not just the absence of external sound, but the absence of all concept of sound. No whisper of breath, no hush of blood coursing through arteries, no faintest beat of his heart. Not even the vaguest sensation of vibration, or pressure, or friction on his skin. But the cold and the silence went deeper than the merely physical. They were in his dreams.
These dreams were glacially slow, actionless, featureless hours of empty staring into empty space, hours becoming years that stretched into numberless millennia, as one by one the stars went out. He could do nothing, for there was nothing to do. Except watch the stars die.
And in their place was left nothing. Not even absence. Only him. Floating. Empty of everything. Without thought, without sensation. Forever.
Almost.
His first thought in a million years trickled into his brain over the course of decades. Sleep. This is the end of everything. Nothing left but sleep.
The second thought, by contrast, followed instantly upon the second. Wait...somebody else is thinking with my mind.
Which meant he wasn't alone at the end of the universe.
Even in frozen dreams of eternity, the Force was strong with him. He opened himself to the Sleep Thought and drew it into the center of his being, where with the Force to guide and sustain him, he could examine the thought, turn it this way and that like an unfamiliar stone.
It had weight, this thought, and texture: like a hunk of volcanic basalt around a uranium core, it was unreasonably dense, and its surface was pebbled, as though it had once been soft and sticky and somebody had rolled it across a field of fine gravel. As he let the Force take his perception into greater and greater focus and detail, he came to understand that each of these pebbles was a person—human or near-human, every single one, bound into an aggregate matrix of frozen stone.
As the Force took him deeper, he came to understand that this stone he held was also holding him; even as he turned it in his hand, it also surrounded and enclosed him—that it was a prison for every one of these pebble-lives, and that these imprisoned lives were also imprisoning him.
He was the stone himself, he discovered: the very matrix of dark frozen stone that bound them all. He trapped them and they trapped him, and neither could let go. They were bound together by the very structure of the universe.
Frozen by the Dark.
And here was another strangeness: Since when did he think of the structure of the universe as capital-D Dark? Even if there might be some trace of truth in that bleak perception, when had he become the kind of man who would surrender to it? If the Dark wanted to drag him into eternal emptiness, it was going to have to fight him for every millimeter.
He started looking for the way out. Which was also, due to the curious paradox inherent in his Force perception, the way in. The imaginary thought-stone in his imaginary hand was a metaphor, he understood—even as was the frozen stone he had become—but it was also real on a level deeper than nonimaginary eyes could ever see. He was the stone...and so he did not need to reach out to touch the lives represented by the pebbles. He was touching them already. He only had to pay attention.
But each life-pebble on which he focused gave back no hint of light. No perception even of the human being it represented, only a featureless nonreflective surface like a smoothed and rounded spheroid of powdered graphite. Each one he touched gave back no hope, no purpose, no dream of escape, but instead drew these out from his frozen heart, swallowed them whole, and fed them to the Dark. And the Dark gave up no trace of evidence they had ever existed.
All he got from the pebbles was gentle wordless urging to let himself sleep. Struggle is futile. The Dark swallows everything in the end. All his hopes, all his fears, every heroic dream and every tragic reality. Every single distant descendant of everyone who had ever heard of him. All would be gone, leaving not even an echo to hint that they had ever existed. The only answer was sleep. Eternal sleep. Sleep.
Luke thought, Never.
He had an intuition that was half memory, half guess, and maybe altogether a hint from the Force, because when he again turned that imaginary stone in his imaginary hand, one of those imaginary pebbles of powdered graphite had a crack in it that wasn't imaginary at all. And through that crack, tiny beyond tiny, nanometrically infinitesimal, so small that if it hadn't been imaginary, Luke couldn't have seen it even with the most advanced instruments in the galaxy, shone the very faintest conceivable glimmer…
Of light.
With the Force to guide him, he focused his perception into a similarly nanometric filament. And through that tiny crack of light within the imaginary stone, Luke found the universe.

Focusing his whole self into his Force perception with all his power and every scrap of the mental discipline that Ben and Master Yoda had pounded into him, Luke could send enough of himself along that filament of light that he could see again—dimly, distantly, through waves of bizarre distortion—and what he saw was sleeves.
Voluminous sleeves, draped together as though concealing folded hands...and beyond them, a floor of smooth stone, illuminated by cold, flickering blues, like the light cast by the screen of a holoplayer. He tried to lift his head, to get a look around, but the view didn't change, and he realized that the eyes through which he saw were not his.
With that realization, other perceptions began to flower within his consciousness. He became aware that the floor at which his borrowed eyes were staring was connected with him somehow...that it was not ordinary stone at all, but a curious semicolloidal structure of crystal...that it was, inexplicably, somehow alive.
That when he set his mind to it, he could feel the life, like a sub-sonic hum can raise a tingle on the skin. But it wasn't on his skin that he felt it, it wasinside his head...and he felt it because he had crystals of that semicolloidal somehow-living stone growing inside his brain...
No—
Not his brain.
The crystals grew within the other brain, the one connected to the eyes he was borrowing from outside the universe. This became another subject of contemplation, like his imaginary stone, because like that imaginary stone he was both inside this borrowed brain and outside it, pushing in while looking out. And when he touched those crystals with his attention, he could hear—no, feel—the whisper of despair that had murmured to him at the end of the universe.
Sleep. Struggle is futile. All things end. Existence is an illusion. Only the Dark is real.
He could feel now that the whisper came from outside this borrowed brain, even as his own perception did, and that the crystals somehow picked up this whisper and amplified it, adding this brain's limited Force power to its own, the same as it had done with the other hundreds of brains that Luke could now feel were all linked into this bizarre system. There was somebody out there.
Luke thought, Blackhole.
And with that thought, he could feel the malignancy that fed this field of Dark: the ancient wheezing cripple entombed within his lifesupport capsule, who poured his bleak malice through a body-wide webwork of this selfsame crystal...
Just like the one growing within Luke's own body.
And with that understanding came power: he set his will upon the web of crystal within his body and allowed the Force to give power to his desire; now he was able to clearly perceive the link between his crystals and those within this borrowed brain. Then, when he willed the head to raise, it did, and when he willed the eyes to take in the room, he saw a stone cavern, dimly lit by waves of blue energy discharge that crawled along the stone walls and ceiling like living things—the same crackling discharge Luke had seen in the Cavern of the Shadow Throne—though this energy did no harm to the people gathered here.
The cavern was filled with Moon Hats. Each and every one among them stood motionless with head lowered, hands folded invisibly within the drape of their sleeves. Each and every one among them faced a large stone pedestal that stood empty in the center of the room. The pedestal was of a single piece with the floor, but not as though it had been carved from it; it looked as if it had grown there, like a tumor. It was about a meter and a half high, and its flat top was roughly the same size and shape as a comfortable single bed. From time to time, with a kind of regularized increase of frequency like the tide coming in, the electric discharge from the walls and ceiling would pause, and shiver in place as though captured between electrodes; then with a painfully bright flash, they would converge upon the stone pedestal and vanish into its surface.
Luke understood. That's me, he thought. That's where I am. Buried alive in solid rock.
This didn't particularly bother him; after spending eternity at the end of the universe, mere death didn't mean much at all. Death was better than what Blackhole was trying to do to him. With him.
As him.
He didn't know if he could save himself, but he might be able to help these people. That would have to be enough. Luke reached out through the crystals with the Force...and found nothing beyond this one lone brain to grasp. Though he could feel them clearly, though he could listen to the whisper of the crystals in their heads, he could find no surface on those crystals that his will could grasp. Exactly like his dream: these were the pebbles of featureless graphite. Nothing there but the Dark.
This one alone had that fissure of light...
In the distant reaches of his memory, he found a lesson of Yoda's, from one long solstice night, deep in the jungle near Dagobah's equator. When to the Force you truly give yourself, all you do expresses the truth of who you are, Yoda had said, leaning forward so that the knattik-root campfire painted blue shadows within the deep creases of his ancient face. Then through you the Force will flow, and guide your hand it will, until the greatest good might come of your smallest gesture.
He'd never really understood that lesson. He'd only tried to live according to the principle...but now there was an image slowly breaching the surface of his consciousness. An image of his own hand, delivering a punch. Just to the right of center, on the forehead of "Lord Shadowspawn." Which had been precisely the impact required to crack the crystalline matrix inside his brain.
A simple act of mercy, born of no other desire than to end a conflict without taking a life, now had become his own lifeline, by which he could draw himself back from the eternal nothing at the end of the universe. He could feel his connection now, could sense the control he might exert through this connection; a simple twist or will would seize this body and make it act at his command—he could even, he sensed, send his power with the Force through this body to serve his desire. He could make this man his puppet, and forge his own escape.
Or...
He could abandon his fear, and express the truth of who he was.
For Luke Skywalker, this was not even a choice. Instead of a command, he sent through the link a friendly suggestion.
Hey, Nick, he sent. Why don't you wake up?

Somebody had switched on the lights inside Nick's head.
He jerked awake, blinking. His eyes wouldn't focus. "Man...I have been having the weirdest dream..."
He tried to rub his eyes, but his hands were tangled in something...what was this, sleeves? Since when did he wear pajamas? Especially pajamas made out of brocade so thick he could have used it as a survival tent on a Karthrexian glacier... And his head hurt, too, and his neck was stiff, because his head had gained a couple of dozen kilos—must have been some serious party, to leave him with this bad a hangover—and when he did finally free his hands and rub his eyes and massage his vision back into something resembling working order, he took in his surroundings...and blinked some more.
He was standing in a stone chamber along with about forty other people who were all wearing funny hats and robes just like his, who all stood motionless and silent in a crowd around a big stone pedestal with heads lowered and hands folded inside their sleeves, and he said, "Oh, okay. That explains it."
It hadn't been a dream.
Okay, sure, a nightmare, maybe—but he was wide awake now and the nightmare was still going on, which meant it was as real as the deep ache in his feet, not to mention his back and his neck. How long had he been standing like this, anyway? Plus there was this knuckle-sized knot of a bruise over his right eye...
Oh, he thought. Oh yeah, I remember.
For a long, long moment, he didn't move. He couldn't guess exactly how long he'd have to make his moves from the first instant he attracted Blackhole's attention, but he had a pretty good idea what the old ruskakk's reaction was gonna be: the walls and floor and ceiling of this whole chamber were made of meltmassif.
This was always the problem with Jedi, Nick decided. Whenever there were Jedi around, you ended up in some kind of trouble that nobody in the galaxy could possibly survive. Not even the Jedi himself. And this time, it wasn't even about dying. It was about getting stuck as Blackhole's sock puppet for the rest of his natural life. So what was he supposed to do?
On the other hand, doing nothing sure wouldn't make anything better. He could feel Blackhole inside his head—a cold slimy goo like the trail left behind by a Xerthian hound-slug on a damp autumn day—and he could feel, too, that Blackhole could snatch back control of Nick's arms and legs and brain anytime he felt like it; the only reason Nick had any self-awareness at all was that Blackhole's whole attention was focused on the kid inside the stone slab.
Overall, it looked like both of them were pretty well fragged. But, y'know, he reminded himself, that kid is supposed to be a Skywalker. Nick had never been superstitious, but there was something about that name. It seemed to carry the promise, or at least the possibility, that the day might be saved in some incomprehensibly improbable fashion. Even if the situation was so clearly hopeless that only a lunatic would even try.

--Taken from Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor

Note the circumstances of Luke’s escape from that experience with the Dark: When Luke arrived on Mindor to diplomatically talk to Blackhole, Blackhole had Luke meet with his scapegoat, “Lord Shadowspawn” who was actually Nick Rostu under the control of Cronal’s Sith alchemical meltmassif control matrixes. When Luke fought Nick, he struck Nick in the head, which damaged the control matrix and severed Cronal’s control over Nick. When Luke was placed in the dream state, Nick was there as well, as were Blackhole’s other subordinates who had been afflicted with the same crystalline matrix. That crystalline matrix transmitted into their thoughts hopeless visions of the Dark. But because Nick’s control matrix was partially dismantled, those mental suggestions were not wholly successful, and Nick was able to retain a minuscule ray of light in Luke’s dream thought. That afforded Luke a way out of the Dark. “...one lone candle is enough to hold it back.” Sparing Nick’s life spared Luke from Blackhole’s control and spared him from the Dark.

For a time, Luke was unable to reconcile this experience with the Dark with his Jedi training, as he began to see life as pointless. He knew he had a mission and still saved lives where he could, but it wasn’t until he willingly explored the Dark to find Leia, whom Blackhole was attempting to subvert to his influence, that he threw back Cronal’s distorted view of the Force and life itself.

Making contact with the Melters wasn't the hard part. Luke simply laid his left hand on the shimmering black stone of the crypt wall. His hand's sprouted thatch of shadow web melded instantly with the stone's crystalline structure...
And they were there. He could feel them. It was an unfamiliar sensation, vaguely analogous to sight—he sensed them in the stone the way one human might see another from a distance. Getting their attention wasn't hard, either. They became aware of him in the same instant that he perceived them—and they knew he perceived them. He sensed their instant curiosity and puzzlement, and felt the interchange of lightning-fast pulses of energy between them like a conversation in a language he could not understand. The hard part was actually talking to them.
They sent tentative, questing pulses toward him in what could have been a cautious hello, and he felt his own shadow web respond, but not like an answer. More like an echo, or a harmonic overtone—as though the dark mirror of his nervous system was warping into some kind of resonance with their signal. To communicate with them, he would have to send his mind fully into the shadow web alongside his nerves, into his internal void that swallowed even the memory of light. He'd have to join them in the dark.
In the Dark.
To bring his consciousness into resonance with the Melters would require that he not only stare into that abyss, but dive into it headfirst. To drown himself in the void. To let the dark close over his face and seep into his ears and eyes and down his throat and entomb him in the empty, meaningless end of all things.
But—
The Melters were at the core of this. Everything came back to them somehow. Meltmassif was their body, or bodies, or the medium in which they lived; meltmassif was the active ingredient in the Pawn Crowns. It was the control crystals and the deadly interlock inside each Pawn's brain. It was the underlying structure of Blackhole's entire base. It was the shadow web that Blackhole had used to infect Luke with despair.
It was what he would use to steal Leia's body.
It was dark where they were. Not just dark, but Dark.
And he was afraid.
Afraid that the Dark really was the truth. The only real truth. That everything else everyone pretended was important was only a deception, a distraction, a game to keep your mind off the eternal oblivion to come. He had spent aeons in the Dark and he knew its awful power.
Everything dies, it would whisper forever in his heart. Even stars burn out.
But if his nerve failed him now, he'd be leaving Leia in that Dark. Alone. Forever. The Dark would swallow her as if she'd never existed. What chance would she have to escape? She wasn't even a Jedi. How would she find light?
Because that's what Jedi do, isn't it? Luke thought. That's what we're for. We're the ones who bring the light.
So he gathered his courage and focused his mind to open a channel into the Force, because if he was going to dive into the absolute negation of light, he'd better bring along some of his own. He allowed his consciousness to touch the event horizon of the shadow web's black hole, and let himself slip across the threshold and fall forever into the Dark.

His senses were useless here in the Dark. Here was no sight, no sound, no touch, no awareness of his body. He had only an inchoate awareness of being part of some kind of indefinable field of energy—or perhaps he was the indefinable field of energy. The only perception he could summon beyond simple awareness of his own existence was of certain modulations in this energy field: unreceivable signals, untouchable textures, unseeable colors. Irretrievably alien. Cold and ancient lives that had never experienced the beat of a heart, the touch of a hand, the taste of air.
Impossibly distant, unreachable, born of vanished stars.
Stars, he thought. Yes. That's it: stars. That's where they come from. That's where we meet. Because that's what I am, too.
Everything in the universe is born of dying stars. Every element is created in the fusion furnace of stellar cores. Every atom that exists was once part of some long-vanished star—and that star was part of others before it, an unbroken chain of ancestry back to the single cosmic fireball that had been the birth of the universe.
It is the death of stars that gives the universe life.
With the idea of stars on which to hang his imagination, he could bring his situation into a kind of focus. Instead of a formless field of barely perceptible energy, he visualized himself as part of a stellar cluster, vast and dim; those alien modulations of energy became distant stars.
Though every true star is functionally the same—a fusion furnace in space—each is also an individual. One may be larger, another hotter; one may be nearing the end of its life cycle, collapsing in upon itself or expanding to destruction, while another might be freshly forming by aggregating the dust and gases of ancient supernovae. In Luke's imagination, he could read their individual spectra the way he might recognize a human face: they looked tired, and old, and far apart, burning themselves out in the endless Dark.
But he, too, was a star, and the light that shone from him was the Force.
Each and every distant star on which he fixed his attention, however dim it was, instantly brightened as his light fed its own. They drew near, attracted by his energy, captured by his gravitational field, growing ever brighter as they approached, burning hotter, giving off bursts of exotic particles like gusts of delighted laughter. They fell into orbit around him, becoming a new system of infinite complexity wheeling through the Dark in joyous dance.
Here we are, in the Dark, he thought. And it's not empty. It's not meaningless. Not with us all here. It's beautiful.
And each one he had touched with the Force remained linked to him by pulsing threads of light as they basked gratefully in its power; they had been trapped in this freezing Dark for so long, their only light coming from the burning away of themselves and their kin, forever fading until one by one they would wink from existence...
With that, Luke discovered that he knew them now. Not as though they had told him about themselves; not as though there was any communication at all. Luke didn't need to be told. He was part of them now, joined to them by the Force. He knew their lives as if they were his own, because in the light of the Force he was those lives, and they were him. He knew them as they knew themselves: a corporate entity that was also an array of individuals, nodes of consciousness in a larger network of mind. They had—been born? been created? altered? evolved?—first become aware of themselves (themself?) as alive on Mindor's rocky, airless sister planet, which Luke knew only as Taspan II; they had no name for the planet that Luke could comprehend. There they had lived for untold millennia, basking in Taspan's unfiltered glare, in fear of nothing save the changes that could be wrought in the meltmassif that was their home by radiation from Taspan's occasional starspots and stellar storms.
They did not have any comprehension of the cause of the Big Crush; the Imperial weapons research facility on Taspan II had been entirely outside their concern. In those days, they hadn't even known what humans were; they'd never had experience of noncrystal-based life-forms. The Big Crush itself had been no disaster for them; on the contrary, the planet's destruction had simply scattered its crust into a vast cloud, with orders of magnitude more surface area to absorb the energy of the star. For the Melters, the Big Crush had been an all-too-brief Golden Age; their culture/mind had blossomed throughout the system, celebrating their accession to Paradise.
For these particular Melters, the Golden Age of Paradise had come to an abrupt and catastrophic end, as the chunks of their shattered home planet had drifted across the orbit of Mindor. Captured by its gravity, they had fallen to its surface in each and every rock storm, and soon found that their new home was less a home than a prison. An oubliette. A cosmic-extermination camp. Many, many individual Melters had been lost as their rocks had burned away in the atmosphere, and the radiation-absorbing qualities of the vaporized meltmassif screened the survivors from Taspan's life-giving rays. The survivors were slowly dying of energy asphyxiation.
They were drowning in the Dark.
Each rockfall brought new Melters into Mindor's lethal gloom, and every meteor that burned away deepened the shadow that was killing them. That shadow also cut them off from the rest of the Melter community out among the asteroids; they simply did not have the power to drive a signal very far into the planet's atmosphere. All they could do was wait, struggling to survive, and try to comfort the new victims falling into this planetary prison every day.
Comfort was what the Melters originally had sought from humans, as well; the human nervous system produced a tiny trickle of energy in the general wavelength of the Meltermind, which drew Melters to humans the way a glow rod attracted cave moths.
Cave moths, Luke thought. Perhaps that was what had happened to him at the cave...something in the meltmassif had been stealing light from inside him...
When these organic life-forms, these tiny flickering candle flames of warmth and light in the permanent midnight that was Mindor, had started shooting Melters with stun blasts that randomized the microcrystalline structure of meltmassif, the Melters had begun sequestering them in self-defense. There had never been malice in their attacks at all; they didn't even understand that their captives were dying—they were unclear on the whole concept of organic-death. It wasn't murder, or war, or even violence, because they really didn't comprehend any of those concepts, either. Their campaign against humanity had been, to them, merely pest control.
As all this information filtered through his consciousness, Luke at last became aware that the stellar cluster of which he was the center was itself moving, rolling through the Dark as though in orbit around some vastly more massive gravity source, something so huge and dark that it could be seen only by its effect on the stars of the Melters in his cluster. One by one they were peeled from his cluster, stripped away to spiral into decaying orbits around the inescapable void until one by one they flared with a last brief burst of light as they slipped over some invisible event horizon and vanished forever.
An event horizon of the Dark, consuming the last of the light in his universe...
Oh, he thought. I get it. It's a black hole.
Some kind of metaphor for how Blackhole—how appropriate that old code name seemed now—was controlling the Melters, he figured; Blackhole must be luring them down somehow, cutting them off from each other so their only source of light was what he chose to feed them...
Even thinking about it seemed to increase the imaginary black hole's gravity gradient; he found himself drifting closer and closer to the event horizon, gathering speed as his spiral orbit tightened, more and more of the stars around him falling away, some to vanish into the black hole's insatiable maw, others breaking free into higher orbits until he was entirely alone, no star left between him and the black hole...
Except one.
One star like none of the others still swung through an orbit lower than his: a blue-white supergiant, far larger, far brighter than any his imagination had so far produced. This one did not feed upon his Force light, but shone with its own, as brilliant and powerful as his. It fell in a tightening tide-locked gyre down the black hole's gravity well, and as it fell the relentless pull of the void was stripping a huge jet of energy and mass from it, a fountain of star-stuff ripped from its heart and sucked down across the event horizon to vanish forever in dark beyond the Dark.
And he knew this star was Leia.
He reached out to her, but there was nothing to grasp, nor any hand to grasp it; he'd had some crazy half-formed idea to grab her and slingshot around the black hole and out again, because he'd half forgotten that this was only a vision after all, only a metaphor, and if he tried to stretch it into reality it would shatter. So instead he brought his light to bear, focusing a beam of the Force upon his sister star.
Leia, hang on, he tried to send. Don't give in to the Dark. I'm coming for you. Hang on.
He felt no response, only overwhelming sadness and crushing despair and that empty, lost meaninglessness at the end of the universe, and he couldn't even tell if this came from her or from himself. He tried to focus the Force on her, to make his beam of light a conduit for strength that might save her, even as the tiny crack of light he'd found in one imaginary pebble had saved him—but somehow his light could not add to hers. He burned a different color, but no more brightly.
He remembered too well that terrible void, the endless lack that was deeper than any darkness. If only there were some way he could show her that all the light she'd ever need shone from her own self...but that was only a metaphor. Wasn't it?
What Ben and Yoda had called the dark side wasn't actually dark; it had nothing at all to do with the visual spectrum. The phrase dark side of the Force was just an expression. An evocative shorthand to express a broad range of negative characteristics. A metaphor.
They could have called it the evil side, or the death-and-destruction side, or the enslaving-the-whole-galaxy side. But they didn't. They called it the dark side. But they'd never seen dark like this. Or had they?
Maybe they had been here, at the end of all things—or at least glimpsed it. Maybe they had seen the truth of the Dark. Maybe that's why they never talked about a "light side." Because there wasn't one.
But, Luke thought, gazing upon the brilliant blaze that was his sister, just because there's no "light side" doesn't mean there's no light.
He had thought he was bringing light with him into the darkness, by holding on to the Force. Now he saw that the Force's light didn't shine on him. It shone through him.
He was the light in the darkness.
He saw it now, and it made sense to him at last. That same light shone through Leia, and as soon as he understood that, he began to sense other lights, pinprick stars far out in the dark. Some of them he recognized: Han, and Lando...Wedge and Tycho, Hobbie and Wes and the rest of the Rogues...Nick, and Aeona Cantor, Lieutenant Tubrimi and Captain Tirossk and so many, many others, sailors and marines, even the impossibly distant spray of vanishingly faint stars that must have been the stormtroopers, for even they were lights in the darkness. All of them were stars. And every star, every life, was a thing of beauty. 
And Leia couldn't see them. She couldn't even look their way, not anymore. Her star was tide-locked to the black hole—its gravity would not allow her to turn her face away. He couldn't even get her attention. And the black hole was aware of him now; the abyss he'd stared into was now staring into him. He felt its emptiness that nothing could fill, its bleak hunger that could never be satisfied. In his mind, it swelled toward him like jaws opening to swallow the universe, capturing every scrap of light and hope and love that Luke could channel from the Force. The longer he stared, the more he lost, and nothing he could do would help Leia at all. Once that maw closed around her, she would be lost to the Dark forever.
All right, he thought. I guess I'll have to do this the old-fashioned way.
He opened his eyes.

--Taken from Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor

This is revealing. In his perception of the Dark, Luke sees many sides of the Dark not before shown. Where Blackhole and the Sorcerers of Rhand are dogmatic in their system of thinking that the Dark overarches over the universe and is entirely inevitable, Luke examines another truth: all life is light. And light can hold back darkness. The principal core of this matter rests with stars. The Dark constantly seems to be whispering that stars will burn out. What Luke observes is that the death of stars conserves life.

Think about just a few of the major distinctions between light and dark and life and death. Darkness resides behind all light. Light dispels darkness, but when the light goes out, the darkness returns. Life exists for a time, but when it dies, it dies forever. Darkness and death are permanent. Light and life are transient. “Existence is fleeting. Destruction is eternal.” But irrespective of the length of existence of any particular light or living being, what can light and life do that darkness and death cannot do? Reproduce. One candle can ignite another; life produces more life. Darkness may be able to spread where light is absent, but darkness is incapable of forming new darkness. Death may be continual, but the dead cannot produce more dead. Stars represent this disparity.

When one star “dies,” it leaves behind residual matter; that residual matter will gravitate to the residual matter of other stars. These collections of matter will eventually coalesce into a new star. Stars reproduce. A dying star creates a new star. As Luke perceived, this event marked the beginning of the universe. Blackhole mused about the heat death of the universe that would herald its destruction. But the dead-star principle applies on a universal scale as well. The original burst of matter and energy that bred the universe corresponds with that principle. What Luke found is that while life and light and the universe itself may be temporary, it can form new life and light and even a new universe. Once the Dark eventually does consume the entirety of reality, a new one will spring up from the previous one. Existence may be fleeting, but existence creates more existence. The Dark may be indefinite, but from Luke’s perception of the infinite Dark, the formulation of new life, light, stars, and universes from dead ones is indefinite as well. From this, Luke found that life is not meaningless, even if it is temporary. In fact, the temporal status of life is part of what makes it valuable. If it only exists for a time, then there is all the more reason to preserve it.

Kar crouched, his bare back against an icy wall, in a stone chamber filled with the dead. Corpses in long robes littered the floor, and the room stank of corruption; the only light came from blue spark-chains that crackled across the ceiling. His heart hammered against his ribs, and his breath rasped in his throat. His teeth were bared in an involuntary snarl, and his fingers scrabbled against the stone at his back as if he could somehow dig his way through. All from fear of the small blond man.
The same small blond man who now stood on the far side of the piles of dead bodies, inoffensive and mild, his expression friendly, his hands, empty of weapons, spread wide in invitation.
Kar did not know where this place might be, or how he had come to be here; he had no memory of having been anywhere like this maze of stone peopled only by dead men. He knew only that he had never felt such terror. Not as a child, lost and alone in the lethal jungles of his homeworld; not in the dock of the Galactic Court on Coruscant; not even in the infinite deadly dark of Kessel's spice mines. He had come back to himself in the midst of battle, blind with rage, surrounded by armed men on a Starship's hull, He remembered seizing this little man in his unbreakable grip; he remembered sinking his needle teeth into the little man's throat, biting down like a vine cat strangling an akk wolf. And he remembered what the little man had done to him.
The hands that scrabbled against the wall at his back still sprouted the black crystal hairs. His mouth was full of these crystal hairs, stiff and sharp as needles; when he worked his jaw, they cut and slashed at his palate and punctured his gums. And he could feel them inside him, throughout his body, an infection of dead stone within his living flesh...
He snarled wordless animal sounds. What are you?
The small blond man started toward him. "I'm not your enemy, Kar."
Stay back!
"I can't. Too many lives depend on me."
I'll kill you! Kar gathered himself to spring. I will rip your head from your body. I will feast upon your guts!
"It's all right to be afraid, Kar. This is a frightening place. Things have been done to you here that should never be done to anyone."
It's so...dead. Something broke inside him then; his rage and terror fled, and he sagged to his knees. Nothing but stone and corpses. Everything dead. Dead within. Dead without. Dead forever.
"Not everything." Though the small blond man had to step over corpses to reach Kar's side, his expression of sympathy and compassion never flickered. "You're alive, Kar. I'm alive."
That means nothing. Kar's eyes burned as if he'd dipped his face in sand. We mean nothing.
"We're the only meaning there is." The small blond man extended a hand. "Trust me or kill me, Kar. In the end, it'll come out the same. I will not harm you."
What are you? His snarl had gone plaintive. What do you want from me?
"I'm a Jedi. My name is Luke Skywalker," the small blond man said. "And I want you to take my hand."

--Taken from Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor

These are the answers to the Dark and the answers Luke brought to Cronal when Luke lastly challenged him in the Dark.

Deep in hyperspace, Cronal reached up For the Shadow Crown. His life-support chamber was buried within an asteroid of meltmassif; with the Shadow Crown to focus and amplify his control, he could part the stone that shrouded his chamber's viewports and so enjoy the infinite nothing of hyperspace. He loved gazing into hyperspace, the nothing outside the universe. The place beyond even the concept of place... Ordinary mortals sometimes went mad, succumbing to the delirium of hyper-rapture, from gazing too long into the emptiness. Cronal found it soothing: a glimpse into the oblivion beyond the end of all things.
To him, it looked like the Dark.
It would be some consolation for the frustration he had faced these past days. How was it that everywhere he turned, there seemed to be a Skywalker waiting to bar his path? Still, the Skywalker boy's weakness had been a gift. How fortunate he was that Skywalker had lacked the strength of character to simply kill him.
Even in Cronal's wandering through the trackless wastes of hope where he had lost his way, he still had managed to deliver a blow to the infant second Republic from which it would never recover. Not to mention that he still had the advanced gravitic technology made possible by the properties of meltmassif, and he had the Shadow Crown itself.
Yes, he had lost his best chance to acquire a young, powerful, and influential body to carry his consciousness, but he still had his original body with all his powers intact. In a few days—long enough to be certain that every Republic ship still in the Taspan system was crewed only by the dead—he could return, harvest the meltmassif from the asteroid clouds, and begin anew. He would not repeat his mistake, however. Never again would he seek to build rather than destroy. Never again would he create anything but engines of ever-greater destruction. Never again would he forsake the Way of the Dark. His rule of the galaxy would be no mere Second Imperium, it would be the Reign of Death. He would preside over a universe of infinite suffering whose only end would he oblivion, meaningless as life itself. He would author the final act in the saga of the galaxy.
With that dream to comfort him in his temporary exile, he lowered the Shadow Crown upon his head and sent his will into the Dark beyond darkness, to take control of the mind in the stone.
But where there should have been Dark, he found only light.
White light, brilliant, blinding, a young star born within his head. It seared his mind, blasting away even his memory of darkness. He recoiled convulsively, like a worm encountering red-hot stone. This was more than light; it was the Light.
It was the power to drive off the Dark.
This was inconceivable. What could heat his absolute zero? What could banish his infinite night?
You should know. The voice of the Light was not a voice. It spoke without speaking, communicating not with words, but with understanding. You invited me here.
Skywalker? This light was Skywalker?
In the instant he thought the name, Cronal saw him: a shape of light, absolute, uncompromising, kneeling within the Election Center in the darkest heart of the Shadow Base, his hands solemnly interfolded with the massive paws of Kar Vastor. He had linked his shadow nerves to Vastor's, and through the intimate connection between Vastor and Cronal he had somehow stretched forth to touch the Shadow Lord himself.
In the Dark, Cronal saw Skywalker smile. Thank you for joining me here. I was a little worried you might get away with that silly crown of yours.
This was impossible. This must be some hallucination, a twisted product of his Darksight run amok. He was in hyperspace! Hyperspace did not, could not, interact with realspace—
I was with Ben Kenobi in hyperspace when he felt the destruction of Alderaan. No wall can contain the Force.
The Force, the Force, these pathetic Jedi kept nattering on about the Force! Did any of them even faintly comprehend how naive and foolish they were? If any of them had ever had so much as a glimpse of the real power of the Dark, that glimpse would have snuffed their tiny minds like candles in a hurricane—
Was my tiny mind snuffed? I must have missed that part.
Cronal could sense gentle amusement, like a tolerant uncle indulging a child's tantrum. Fury rose within him like molten lava climbing a volcanic fault. This simpleminded youth had fooled himself into believing his paltry light could fill the infinite Dark? Let him shine alone within eternal night. Cronal opened himself wholly to the Dark, cracking the very gates of his mind, expanding the sphere of his power like an event horizon yawning to swallow the universe. He surrounded Skywalker's light, and with a shrug of power he consumed it.
In this arena, minds naked to the Dark contending in nonspace beyond even hyperspace, there was no question of age, or health, or physical strength. Here the only power that counted was the power of will. Skywalker and his so-called Force could never match Cronal's mastery of the Way of the Dark. On this level, Cronal was Blackhole. From his grip no light could escape.
Escape? Me? Did you forget that you're the one who's running away?
Cronal suddenly felt, unaccountably—and unpleasantly—warm. At first he dismissed this unwelcome sensation; he was too experienced a servant of the Dark to be distracted by a minor malfunction in his life-support settings. But gradually he became aware that his body—specifically, his body's skin—did not seem to be warm at all. It was, in fact, chilly. And damp. As though he had broken out, somehow, in a cold sweat.
He turned his mind back to the Dark, and became again the ultimate black hole. He examined the abyss of darkness he had become and found it to be flawless. Perfect. The ultimate expression of the absolute power of the Dark. This boy, this infantile Jedi-ling, had thought his meager light could stand against that power? Cronal's black hole had swallowed every last lumen; Skywalker's light was gone forever. His puerile Force trick of light had done to Cronal nothing whatsoever.
That's because I'm not trying to do anything to you. I'm doing something through you.
What? How could Skywalker still speak?
A creeping dread began to poison Cronal's smug satisfaction. What if Skywalker was telling the truth? What if the boy had been so easily vanquished because he had intended to be? He had already used his tiny gift of the Force to forge a link through Kar Vastor to Cronal...what if his light had not been destroyed by falling into the black hole that was Cronal's mind? What if his light had simply passed through?
That's where you dark siders always stumble. What's the opposite of a black hole?
Cronal had heard this cosmological theory before: that matter falling into a black hole passes into another universe...and that matter falling through black holes in other universes could pass into ours, bursting forth in pure, transcendent energy.
The opposite of a black hole was a white fountain.
He thought, I've been suckered.
The Sith alchemy that had created the Shadow Crown had imbued it with control over meltmassif in all its forms; to drown Skywalker in the Dark, Cronal had opened a channel into the Crown. Through the Crown. Through the Shadow Crown, Skywalker's light could shine upon every crystal of darkness. Every shadow stormtrooper. Every gravity station. Every millimeter of the shadow web of crystalline nerves in his body, and Vastor's, and—
And Cronal's own!
With a snarl, he yanked his mind back into his body; it would require only a second to pull the Crown from his head. Or it would have, if he could have made his arms work...
In the shimmery glow from the viewscreens within his life-support capsule, Cronal could only sit and watch in horror as his skin began to leak black oil. This black oil flowed from every pore, from his ears and nose and mouth and eyes. This black oil drained even from the channels within the Shadow Crown. And not until the last drop of it had left his body could Cronal even take a breath.
He did not, however, have time for more than a single breath he fore the meltmassif rehardened, encasing him wholly in a sarcophagus of stone. The asteroid of meltmassif around his chamber melted, and its shreds vaporized as they fell from the hyperdrive zone. Very soon, the hyperdrive itself fell away, as it had been mounted on the stone, rather than on the chamber. The chamber, no longer within the hyperdrive's protective envelope of reality, simply dissolved.
Cronal had enough time to understand what was happening. He had enough time to feel his body lose its physical cohesion. He had time to feel his very atoms lose their reality and vanish into the infinite nothing of hyperspace.

--Taken from Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor

And here finally you can see why I repeatedly capitalize the “L” in Light. Luke submitted to the Force as an empty conduit; in doing so, he opened himself to absolute Light, the antithesis of the Dark. The Light of the Force is an answer to the Dark, and in a very real way, the Light Luke projects is the Force. Where the Dark encapsulates nothingness, the Force is present in everything. The Force is the energy of life, a universal life force for all living beings (in a way both vitalistic and not), and as Luke discovered with the Melters, life is Light, which is to say, the Force is Light. In the Force lies every solution, so to speak, for the Dark.

This also proves that there is a definitive Light contrary to the Dark. From here we could assign the opposite characteristics to the Light that Revenge of the Sith did to the Dark. The Light is transparent, not meaningfully concealing or illusory in its demeanor. It does not deny the existence of the Dark; it simply manifests itself as an alternative to the Dark. It is unassuming in that it is not bent on overpowering anyone or anything; it is not mindful of its own status because its nature is to coruscate outward, not introspect its own ascendancy. It is not combative or forceful; it is willing to fall to the Dark but can shine through it even in its defeat. The Light seeds justice, compassion, and love. Its stars can die, but its dead stars amalgamate into new ones. The Light tolerates the Dark, even during the day when the Dark's shadows are cast. And the Light, for all its passivity, is powerful enough to restrain the Dark with even its smallest rays.

This concluding engagement between Luke and Cronal once again shows that Luke did not simply overpower his enemy. In fact, Luke allowed the Light of the Force to be devoured by Cronal’s singularity of the Dark. But Blackhole was oblivious to the fact that immersing Luke’s Light within himself didn’t eradicate that Light but instead caused it to travel through him, flooding all of the beings controlled by his alchemical systems and flooding his own power. Luke even proposed the idea that on the other side of Cronal's black hole would be a white fountain. The singularity could absorb the light, but it would release it again. As before, the Dark lost by winning, and the Light won by losing.

To elucidate on that, while these events were transpiring, Leia experienced the Dark for herself. Blackhole subjected Leia to a duplicate dream state that he put Luke under, but Leia’s reaction to it was somewhat different.

Cronal paused in the archway of the Cavern of the Shadow Throne. His Throne still hovered on its platform of meltmassif, all dark and sinister in the bloody glow of the lava-fall behind it. Looking upon the cavern through Kar Vastor's eyes, he felt a bit melancholy; it truly was a pity that his magnificently staged reality holodrama would never reach the broad audience it deserved. But such were the vicissitudes of life and art; rather than mourning his spoiled masterpiece, he resolved to focus entirely upon the truly important task of permanently securing a new and healthy body. Not to mention killing everyone who might know, or even suspect, that this young and lovely girl was in fact an old and ugly man.
He shifted the unconscious Skywalker girl from the massive shoulder of his stolen body and set her gently down. He could not help taking a moment to contemplate her, as she lay upon the stone, lovely and graceful even in unconsciousness. He could not help recalling how he had watched her, through his years in Imperial Intelligence; he'd monitored her anti-Imperial activities for a considerable span prior to her open break and alleged treason at the time of the Alderaan affair. Young Senator Organa, he mused. Princess Leia Skywalker, hiding in plain sight for all those years. Who'd have thought it?
She was a superior choice to her brother in almost every way. After all, she was no Jedi; in her body, no one would expect him to go gallivanting across the galaxy, risking his life to save strangers. No, after the traumatic experience of surviving the Imperial trap that had taken the lives of her brother, her raffish paramour, and so many of her friends and allies, she would reluctantly retire from her life of adventure and devote herself full-time to politics. She was perfect.
He closed his eyes and let his mind slip partially back into the ancient decrepit body that lay in its life-support chamber. From within that skull, he could send forth his mind into the rock from which the cavern had been shaped, and seize once more the wills of the creatures that used it as their physical forms.
The bridge that had connected the cavern's ledge to the Throne grew once more, carrying the Skywalker girl and Kar Vastor's bulk out to the platform of the Shadow Throne before once more shrinking away. The stone of the platform itself rippled and spread and curved upward to entomb the unconscious girl and the immobile man in a seamless rocky shell that hovered far out above the lake of molten lava. Cronal decided that this should very likely be sufficient to prevent unwelcome interruption.
Now all that remained was to ensure that his new body would not be consumed in the stellar conflagration that was already beginning. A palsied hand groped through the darkness to the chamber's voice modulator, which would transform his creaky wheeze into Shadowspawn's liquid basso, then he keyed a preset secure comm channel.
"Yes, my lord? Is it time?"
"It is," Cronal said simply. "Engage."
Then again he closed his eyes and returned his consciousness to the Vastor body. He didn't bother to open that stolen body's stolen eyes, for within the tomb of stone was only darkness. He had no need for eyes. He tuned his stolen brain to the proper frequency for control and pushed, and the stone of their tomb responded. Ultrafine hairlines of crystal began to thread themselves in through the Skywalker girl's pores, and in with the crystals came the full power of his will.
Sleep. This is the end of everything. Nothing left but sleep.
Sleep forever.

In the absolute blackness of the Shadow Egg, Cronal had only one problem left.
The Shadow Egg, as he had mentally dubbed it in the instant of its creation, was his improvised cocoon of meltmassif in the Cavern of the Shadow Throne. It hovered where the Shadow Throne had once stood, held aloft by the repulsorlifts that had once supported the Throne. There was no longer a lava-fall behind it, nor a lake of molten lava below; whatever remained of the volcano's lifeblood, once the Shadow Base had cut free from the planet, had spilled from its underside in a rain of fire. The Shadow Egg bobbed gently in midair as the shock waves of the Shadow Base's ongoing destruction passed over it. This ongoing destruction was not Cronal's problem; it was not a problem at all. He had counted on it. Had the Republic forces not hit upon their idea of deflecting his own gravity bombs back at him, he would have been forced to blow the Shadow Base up himself.
The Battle of Mindor was to have only one survivor.
Nor was he concerned that all his preparation for his new life had focused upon impersonating Luke Skywalker rather than his sister; one useful lesson he had taken from working with Palpatine was the value in flexible planning. He would, as Leia, simply fake amnesia—traumatic brain injury would be an ideal explanation for any stumbles or fumbles he might make upon meeting the princess's old acquaintances—and then discreetly hire one of the countless hacks who scripted holothrillers to make something up. He would, he anticipated, even have this holothriller produced. He already had a few ideas for a title: Princess Leia and the Shadow Trap, for example. Or, perhaps, Princess Leia and the Black Holes of Mindor.
Nor was he worried about making an escape from his own trap, once the transfer of his consciousness was complete. Buried in meltmassif not far from the Election Center, he had secreted a custom craft to make his escape as Luke. Though in appearance it was a very ordinary-looking Lambda T-4a, its hull was layered with so much additional shielding that there was no cargo capacity at all, and virtually no room for passengers. The cockpit was altogether fake; a pilot and at most two or three others could be packed into a tiny capsule cocooned in additional radiation shielding in the center of what would have been, in an ordinary shuttle, the passenger compartment.
All necessary planning had been done. All difficulties had been anticipated, and all contingencies had been covered. Except one.
The blasted girl simply refused to break.
The incrystallation had gone flawlessly; the raw power of the Vaster body had enabled Cronal to propagate a shadow web of crystalline nerves throughout her body with the speed of frost spidering across supercooled transparisteel. With only a short time available—and no ready supply of thanatizine II—he had proceeded without drug suspension. After all, this was but a mere girl who had, through an accident of genetics, an exceptionally powerful connection to the small fraction of the Dark that Jedi had ignorantly named the Force. He should have been able to overwhelm her by brute strength alone.
He had taken her sight, cut away her hearing, erased her senses of smell and taste and touch. He had stripped her kinesthetic sense, so that she was no longer aware of her own body at all. He had shut down the activity of certain neurotransmitters in her brain, so that she could no longer even remember how being alive had felt.
She wasn't lighting him. She didn't know how. He wouldn't let her remember what fighting was.
She just wouldn't let go.
She had something that her brother had lacked, some inner spark of intransigence that sustained her against the Dark. He couldn't guess what this spark might be; some sort of primitive, girlish emotional attachment, he presumed. Whatever it was, it must be extinguished once and for all; she must sleep forever. 
The problem was how to do it without killing her outright. The meltmassif shadow nerves would contain only his consciousness; he needed her brain to be fully functioning to maintain autonomic functions. He hadn't gone to all this trouble to simply trade his decaying body for one that was already dead.
This was taking far too long. The boy Jedi had been ready to let himself slip away in a fraction of the time; of course, the boy had given him more to work with. He carried with him an inner darkness that would no doubt have astonished his sister, had she lived long enough to discover it. Had Skywalker not damaged Shadowspawn's control crystals, none of this would have been necessary in the first place. But as the situation stood, he could only drive his will deeper into the Dark—to gnaw away her resistance with the single-minded intensity of a Klepthian rock otter chewing into a basalt clam's shell.
But when he finally did break through that resistance, he found her brain not weak and quivering, but hard like a burnberry stone, and shining with a brilliant white light that was not imaginary at all. That light stabbed him like a knife in the eye, and drove him reeling back.
He took that stone in the palm of a hand made of the Dark, and with a Dark rock hammer he struck it...and the imaginary hammer splintered in the imaginary hand. He came at the stone like a gem harpy, and swallowed it into a crop powerful enough to pulverize diamond, but it burned its way out. He made fists of whole galaxies and brought them together to crush this one tiny star, but when their cataclysm faded back into the Dark, the tiny star shone on.
"What is wrong with you?" he shouted at the star in frustration. "What are you, and why won't you die?"

--Taken from Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor

But how did Leia stay untouched by the Dark’s power? What did she have that Luke lacked when he fell into that void? Cronal’s suggestion about a “primitive, girlish emotional attachment” is more accurate than he realized. This is what saved Leia:

Han had stayed at Leia's side as her seizures quieted; he stayed at her side as her every pore oozed black and shiny meltmassif, as it drained off her and puddled on the blanket. And he would stay at her side as the groundquakes strengthened and the killing sun rose over the horizon. He would be at her side when the planet exploded.
A bitter irony: she had suffered so much from being forced to watch her homeworld destroyed. Now she would die in very much the same brutal fashion as had her family and all her people. That was why he figured he probably shouldn't wake her up.
But the Force again displayed that nasty sense of humor; Leia stirred, and her eyelids fluttered. "Han...?"
"I'm here, Leia." He felt like his heart would burst. "I'm right here."
Her hand sought his. "So dark..."
"Yeah," Han said. "But the sun's coming up."
"No...not here. Where I was." She drew in a deep breath and released it in a long, slow sigh. "It was so dark, Han. It was so dark for so long I couldn't even remember who I was. I couldn't remember anything."
Her eyes opened and found his face. "Except for you."
Han swallowed and squeezed her hand. He didn't trust his voice.
"It was like...like you were with me," she murmured. "You were all I had left—and I didn't need anything else."
"I'm with you now," he said, his voice hoarse, unsteady. "We're together. And we always will be."

--Taken from Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor

Leia loved Han. That was what saved her. She was a star in Blackhole’s perception, and his desperate exertions to extinguish that star failed. Why? “Love is more than a candle. Love can ignite the stars.” If fear empowers the Dark, love empowers the Light. That was what made Leia invulnerable to the Dark. As long as she loved Han instead of fearing the Dark, it had no claim on her. Even when all her memories of everything else, any reality there is, were stripped from her, the Dark could not forcefully deprive her of love against her will. Even through the Dark's propensity for seeding doubt in love, Leia was still inextinguishable within it.

This was what saved Obi-Wan and Yoda as well when they died in A New Hope and Return of the Jedi respectively. After the inauguration of the New Order, Yoda was visited by the Force Ghost of Qui-Gon Jinn again, as he had been before. This time though, Qui-Gon imparts to Yoda the secret to life, which circumvents the Dark.

Beyond the transparisteel crystal of the observation dome on the airless crags of Polis Massa, the galaxy wheeled in a spray of hard, cold pinpricks through the veil of infinite night. Beneath that dome sat Yoda. He did not look at the stars. He sat a very long time.
Even after nearly nine hundred years, the road to self-knowledge was rugged enough to leave him bruised and bleeding.
He spoke softly, but not to himself.
Though no one was with him, he was not alone.
"My failure, this was. Failed the Jedi, I did."
He spoke to the Force.
And the Force answered him. Do not blame yourself, my old friend.
As it sometimes had these past thirteen years, when the Force spoke to him, it spoke in the voice of Qui-Gon Jinn.
"Too old I was," Yoda said. "Too rigid. Too arrogant to see that the old way is not the only way. These Jedi, I trained to become the Jedi who had trained me, long centuries ago—but those ancient Jedi, of a different time they were. Changed, has the galaxy. Changed, the Order did not—because let it change, I did not."
More easily said than done, my friend.
"An infinite mystery is the Force." Yoda lifted his head and turned his gaze out into the wheel of stars. "Much to learn, there still is."
And you will have time to learn it.
"Infinite knowledge..." Yoda shook his head. "Infinite time, does that require."
With my help, you can learn to join with the Force, yet retain consciousness. You can join your light to it forever. Perhaps, in time, even your physical self.
Yoda did not move. "Eternal life..."
The ultimate goal of the Sith, yet they can never achieve it; it comes only by the release of self, not the exaltation of self. It comes through compassion, not greed. Love is the answer to the darkness.
"Become one with the Force, yet influence still to have..." Yoda mused. "A power greater than all, it is."
It cannot be granted; it can only be taught. It is yours to learn, if you wish it.
Slowly, Yoda nodded. "A very great Jedi Master you have become, Qui-Gon Jinn. A very great Jedi Master you always were, but too blind I was to see it."
He rose, and folded his hands before him, and inclined his head in the Jedi bow of respect.
The bow of the student, in the presence of the Master.
"Your apprentice, I gratefully become.”

--Taken from Revenge of the Sith

Love is the discipline to maintain one's identity even after full submergence into the Force. Yoda had informed Whie of the fact that he loved in spite of what it cost him, but he neglected the full range of this disposition. The Rise of the Empire era Jedi were very opinionated about emotions; they tended to equate any strong emotion with a potentially dangerous attachment. In fact, this traditionalist mentality lent itself to Anakin's fall. When Anakin was worried over Padme's possible death in childbirth, he wanted to find wisdom from the Jedi but knew the subject matter of his concern was ostracized by the Order. When he spoke to Yoda, he was vague when he divulged his fear, and no wisdom on Yoda's part satisfied Anakin's turmoil. So he sought out a Sith Lord for help. If the Jedi had been more sympathetic toward attachments instead of complacently observing misguided traditions, there would have been less motivation for Anakin to join the Sith ranks. Yoda even admitted this in the above dialog. Qui-Gon had to teach him that love is not an attachment that should be abstained from. Yoda learned this, as did Obi-Wan, though they failed to learn it as exhaustively as Luke did. In Return of the Jedi, both Yoda and Obi-Wan urged Luke to simply kill Vader; although they accepted Qui-Gon's lessons, their mindset was still mired by their traditionalist views which left them unable to distance themselves from what they thought they knew. Fortunately, Luke disagreed with their counsel, as Yoda and Obi-Wan were incorrect.

This concept of becoming a Force Ghost through a yielding to love was also shown by Obi-Wan on the first Death Star when he dueled Darth Vader for the last time in A New Hope. He may not have been able to defeat Vader, but he could occupy Vader's attention (as Vader was eager for another opportunity to face Obi-Wan after the way Obi-Wan mutilated him on Mustafar) until Luke could depart the Death Star. Obi-Wan sacrificed himself, losing to the Dark, so that the star that is Luke could survive, and he achieved oneness with the Force. Love ignites stars, and love induces life with individuality within the Force.

On top of the Force Ghost item, we seem to have found another certainty: Love requires an object, just like fear does; because love is external, others are often the object of love. Where fear is egocentric, concerned over what might happen to the self or what might happen to an object of care for the sake of the self, love is entirely external. Its care is for others. With that in mind, this proved to save several characters. Luke’s love for his father saved Anakin from Darth Vader, and Leia’s love for Han saved her from the Dark. The external nature of this is visually conveyed by the contrast between a black hole and a fountain of light ("fountain" of light of course being one of many water metaphors for the Force). Black holes draw inward; fountains of light project outward. One is for the self; the other is for others. The key to this is the mindset toward others and the presence or lackthereof of another. Where darkness is solitary, unity drives back darkness.

This fact was demonstrated again when Luke temporarily served under the reborn Emperor Palpatine. Though he never fully turned to the dark side, he nearly descended into it as he chose to learn its ways. Luke did this for a slew of reasons, foremost of which included his desire to understand why Anakin chose the dark side in the first place, his need to ascertain information about the dark side to conquer it from within, and his plan to sabotage the Emperor’s efforts. Additionally, when Luke first stood before Palpatine’s throne on Byss, he was in a situation very analogous to his facing Palpatine on the second Death Star: if he struck Palpatine down, he ran the risk of falling to the dark side irrevocably, and even if he did, the Emperor’s spirit would return in a new body to plague the galaxy again. In short, the Sith seemed unbeatable yet again.

Though the Sith no longer embodied the dark side and had lost their grip on the galaxy at large and their grip on the balance of the Force after Anakin restored the balance, Palpatine had perfected a dark side power of a more destructive magnitude than he ever had before. To defeat the Sith, the influence of the dark side, and the destructive powers of the Emperor that serve the Dark, Luke had to lose yet again, but in this instance, he had no one there to help him. He was alone. Luke had only barely gained purchase on the knowledge of the necessity of unity for a Jedi, not only in battle against dark siders or the dark side itself but against the Dark as well.

Luke actually never defeated the Sith before; Anakin did. Luke simply operated as the catalyst that kindled Anakin’s Light; it was not a solitary achievement. But when he challenged the Emperor on Byss, he had no one to help him. A quality of both the light side of the Force and the Force itself is that it is not confined to a single being. Its will is to be distributed to all, and Jedi learn from this. They consider the Force the bloodline of their existence. However, adherents to the dark side revel in their own avarice for power and refuse to share it with others. The Sith even exercise this standpoint pervasively enough to defy the sovereignty of the Force itself; they became subservient to the dark side of the Force but eventually relegated the dark side as subservient to them, embodying its power. This, and corruption permeating the galaxy as a result of functional inadequacy on the part of the Republic and the Jedi Order, imbalanced the Force, but the Force demands balance. So it employed Anakin as its agent to destroy the Sith bodily, releasing the dark side from their physical forms, and in simultaneity releasing the galaxy from the captivity of the dark side. When the Emperor returned years later, he was without his former domination, and he wanted back what Anakin had forced him to lose.

Unlike the Light Side of the Force, which embraces the whole, the entire focus of the Dark Side is the self. The appeal of the Dark Side is its very destructiveness and its isolation. Those who seek power for selfish reasons find comfort in its narcissistic gaze. The Dark Side emphasizes aggrandizement of self to the exclusion of others. In this way, rage and anger are turned into sources of strength.
Many are attracted to the Dark Side because its selfish nature allows great and showy deeds. The ease with which power is summoned belies its danger, for anger and hatred consume the individual even as one dominates one’s surroundings. Ultimately, the Dark Side rejects the very celestial nature of life itself. To the Jedi, the Force is not a part of their existence; it is their existence. To a student of the Dark Side, this is incomprehensible.

What Palpatine realized was that the Dark Side had never gained the fame the Light held because it was a personal, secretive thing. The Light was good for simple tricks and for the altruistic, but such things were useless to one who knew the things the Force made one capable of. Palpatine became convinced the Dark Side was ignored because few had the courage to pay the price it demanded. Since the Dark Side didn’t lend itself to sharing and other such weak-minded attitudes, there had not been organizations of Dark Side servants to endure the ages.

--Taken from Dark Empire Sourcebook

But as before, Luke could not subdue Palpatine by himself. His mistake was in rejecting the aid of Leia when he divined through the Force that a consolidation of dark side power was growing and instead opposed it by himself, leading him to be transported to Byss. Because of that mistake, he was nearly lost to his dark side. But as Luke regarded Vader, Leia had confidence in Luke in that she knew he was not a confederate of the dark side yet; she believed, rightly, that there was good in him and that he could still be saved. Her raw compassion for him illuminated a Light that liberated him from Palpatine’s authority. Together, they combined their power in the Force to overcome the Emperor.

Through this whole ordeal, Luke also thoroughly appreciated the reality and life of the Force. The destructive powers the Emperor derived from the dark side were expedient for the Dark, but not only was Luke’s cognizance of the mandate of a Jedi and the duality of the light and dark sides of the Force magnified, he discerned the continuation of life forever that can be found on the planes of the Force. The Dark could only touch the material existence. The Force is reality, and in the Force, life lives on after physical death. Yoda's description about "luminous beings" now fits more. All life is Light in the Force, and the Force radiates throughout the universe, not only in living beings but even in non-living matter. There is a brightness to the Force's energies as well that, as before, emanates over the Dark. The "crude flesh" may be transient and may be subject to the Dark, but the Force, in all its intensity, is not.
Years later during the Kueller Crisis, Luke's resolution to facing Kueller was to replicate Obi-Wan's sacrifice. Luke was injured before his duel with Kueller by a ship explosion and was too weak to defeat him. His own anger at himself for failing Kueller, who was one of his former students, provoked the problem further. Kueller was Darth Vader to Luke's Obi-Wan. But Luke elicited the solution to this from Obi-Wan's duel with Darth Vader and from the knowledge he gained during the return of Palpatine on how to capitulate to the Force to become a Force spirit. He meant to let Kueller strike him down so his power could amplify. In that state, he could conjoin his power to Leia's, and the two of them, together, could stop Kueller. However, before his plan could come to completion, it was interrupted when Han, Chewbacca, and Mara Jade arrived with an ysalamiri, which dampened Luke and Kueller's connection to the Force. Regardless, although his tactic never came to fruition, Luke yet again evidenced lack of fear of death and the Dark; trust in the Force for continued existence and life; and unity as the substance of Jedi strength.

"Give up, Skywalker," Kueller said. "You lack the strength to defeat me. I will kill you this time. And then I will slaughter your sister."
Leia! She had her lightsaber. Luke extended his hand, and Kueller brought his blade down at it. Luke dodged as Leia's lightsaber sailed in the air toward him, landing neatly in his fingers. Immediately he ignited the blade and its reassuring hum echoed in the growing darkness.
"Ah," Kueller said. "So you have chosen to fight me. Careful, Master Skywalker. If you do so with the wrong attitude, you might join my side."
"I've fought better than you, Kueller," Luke said. The lightsaber felt odd in his hand. "And won."
"Years ago, Skywalker. You've become complacent." Kueller slashed at Luke. Luke parried, the electric clash of blades ringing in the night air.
Then Kueller whirled and blocked several bursts of blaster fire. Leia peeked out of the bay doors.
"Leave him alone, Kueller. It's me you want!" she yelled.
His death mask glowed from an internal light. It made his smile even more sinister than usual. "Actually, President, I want your entire family. Without them, there are no true Jedi."
Luke inched closer. His blade was still out, still humming. He wanted Kueller to fight him, not Leia. Leia wasn't ready yet. "Actually, Kueller, there are dozens of Jedi now."
"But not Jedi Masters, Skywalker."
"There are more than you imagine," Luke said, thinking of Callista. She would provide quite a battle against Kueller, even without the Force.
Kueller turned to Luke, and Leia fired again. Without even looking at her, Kueller blocked the blaster shots. The shots flew harmlessly to the sides. Then her blaster rose in the air, and exploded a few feet above her head. "Use another of those, President, and it will explode in your hand."
"You like explosions, don't you, Kueller?" she said. Luke suppressed a smile. She was trying to distract him so Luke could attack. But it wasn't that easy. Kueller had pushed Luke far enough that Luke's feelings were confused. He wasn't certain if he was going after Kueller out of anger or hatred, instead of in defense. That would only make Kueller stronger. He seemed to be stronger anyway, giving credence to Luke's theory.
"Small explosions, President," Kueller said, his blade still locked with Luke's. "Large ones destroy wealth."
Leia stepped out of the bay. She was unarmed. "Even if you kill us, Kueller, you won't get the rest of us. The explosives you put in the droids won't work. We shut the droids off."
"Did you, now?" Kueller's tone was mocking. Luke could feel the physical pressure Kueller was putting on the blade. They were locked in a battle of wills, their strength holding the blades together in a haze of light. "You managed to tell all the developed planets about the droids, President? Because if you didn't, then I will still get enough strength from one single order to defeat you all."
A chill ran through Luke. All those lives. All those billions of lives. They meant nothing more to Kueller than a breath of air, a surge of adrenaline, a swallow of food. Anger flowed through Luke, deep and fine and rich. He had created this monster. Luke, through his arrogance, had given Kueller all the tools he needed to destroy the entire galaxy. If Luke hadn't taught all his students about the dark side, if he hadn't warned them repeatedly and in detail about the quick and easy path, then Kueller would still be Dolph, not this hateful being who wore a death mask proudly and dealt in lives as a smuggler dealt in stolen goods.
Kueller turned toward Luke and grinned. His lightsaber broke free from the enmeshment and whooshed near Luke. Luke jumped aside, pain shivering through his back, and down his arms.
Kueller had suddenly gotten stronger.
"Kueller!" Leia shouted. She held another blaster. He turned his attention to her, and Luke thrust his blade toward Kueller's side, drawing blood before Kueller swirled away.
Easy blood. The lightsaber moved with a sureness Luke had never felt before.
Leia's blaster was turning red. She tossed it aside before it exploded, and rolled in the opposite direction.
Kueller had turned back to Luke, thrusting, parrying, thrusting, their sabers locked in a battle as loud and spark-filled as Luke's battle with Vader. Kueller's breath hissed through the mask, but it wasn't Vader's stentorian breathing that it imitated.
It was the Emperor's greedy gasping.
Luke staggered under Kueller's next blow, and barely managed to roll aside. His ankle kept buckling under him, but he forced himself to put weight on it. They had moved into the alleyway Luke had seen in that strange moment of vision. Stones littered the ground all around them, and the light only came through a small opening on either end. Luke could no longer see Leia.
Use your aggressive feelings, boy! Let the hate flow through you.
Kueller struck at him, his blow shattering a nearby rock. He was stronger. Much stronger. And his strength seemed to be increasing. Luke's arms were growing tired battling the power of Kueller's blade. Then Kueller laughed, a gurgling, familiar laugh. The Emperor's laugh, the unamused choking of a slave to the dark side.
Fueled by hatred, anger, and fear.
Luke was making him stronger. Luke's response, his hatred, his own self-loathing at creating this thing, this student who had become a horror, was making the thing even stronger. Kueller slammed his blade against Luke's, and the sparks lit the area all around them. Luke parried. Parried again. And again. He was trapped in a cycle of hatred and anger. If he fought, Kueller got stronger, and if he attacked, Kueller got stronger still.
Luke glanced at the mouth of the alley.
No Leia.
He was alone with this thing he had created. The rogue student. The Vader to his Ben.
Vader.
Ben.
Luke grinned. He suddenly knew what he had to do to break free.

Her hands were useless, and Kueller was no longer listening to her arguments. He was watching Luke.
Luke, who looked like a man possessed.
Luke, who had always warned her not to give in to anger, was giving in to his.
And Kueller was smiling. He seemed to be growing taller, and broader, the aura of power around him so great that it made him seem invincible.
Then a look passed across Luke's face. It was a familiar look, but it wasn't his. She had seen it before.
On the day she met him, so many years ago.
She had seen that look the only time she had seen Obi-Wan Kenobi alive. He had been fighting Darth Vader, and then he smiled, and raised his lightsaber—
—and Vader cut him in half. His lightsaber's blade faded, the hilt spinning through the air before landing on his empty, steaming cloak.
Luke had said Obi-Wan believed that moment made him stronger, but really it had only made him dead.
Dead.
Leia stumbled a few steps forward. Luke didn't see her in the growing darkness. Kueller hesitated as Luke slowly raised his lightsaber blade toward his face.
Just as Obi-Wan had.
Kueller smiled.
Just as Vader must have.
"Luuuuuuuuuuke!" Leia screamed as Kueller brought his lightsaber up, preparing to strike.

Luke was raising his lightsaber, his heart pounding. He was reaching out with the Force, going back to the place he had gone when he first fought Exar Kun. He would be out of his body but protected within the Force. Just as Ben had done in his battle with Darth Vader. Luke would come back even stronger, and he would guide Leia to defeat Kueller.

--Taken from The New Rebellion

Near the conclusion of the Yuuzhan Vong War, Luke reiterates this truth to Jacen during their conversation about Vergere's theories and the Unifying Force, stating it in the simplest possible diction. The physical world is not the only reality or even the truest or the most authentic reality; the Force is reality. And in the Force live beings of Light.

"Each of us stands at a kind of midpoint, from which we're capable of seeing only so far in either direction. Our senses have been honed over countless millennia to allow us to navigate the intricacies of the physical world. But because of that, our senses blind us to the fact that we are much more than our bodies. We truly are beings of light, Jacen."

--Taken from The Unifying Force

Love ignites stars. Stars produce more stars. More stars create more Light. Light holds back the Dark. It appears we have found something of an impasse. The Dark does not seem to be able to be defeated in a sense where it can no longer exist, but neither can the Light, which is to say the Force. But then, neither needs to be removed. The Force is all-encompassing and all-embracing; it really is a Unifying Force. The material existence of life may end, but it will endure in the non-literal realms of the Force. Certain Jedi can unite with the Force without surrendering their individuality while everyone and everything else simply surrenders to it. And the cycle of life will continue. Life will be born, it will die, it will return to the Force, and the Force will spark more life. The closing line of the Jedi code articulates this fact: “There is no death; there is the Force.”

Despite their powers, even the most powerful of Jedi eventually die. For most, death is a release from their physical forms, and allows them to join the totality of the Force. However, encounters with Jedi apparitions indicate that some Jedi have learned how to maintain their identities even after death, so that they linger at the edges of the physical world of the living as Force spirits.

--Taken from Jedi vs Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force

Hopefully, after this much of an explanatory post on the elements of the Dark, it can now be understood. With that done, we still have our initial question: What is the Dark to the Force? How are they related? Are they related at all? Is the Dark the dark side of the Force? To the latter question, Cronal answered that. His incorrect estimation of the Force notwithstanding, Cronal was correct when he delineated the Dark as more monumental than simply one side of the Force.

The Dark was not a side of the Force, and it was no mere portion of reality.

--Taken from Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor

To affirm Blackhole’s opinion, let’s contrast the Dark and the dark side of the Force. The dark side of the Force is a necessary and intrinsic dimension of the Force’s composite whole. It is an offset to the Force’s light side, both sides paralleling one another to both oppose and interconnect with one another while inclining toward a placid balance. The dark side epitomizes death, destruction, and chaos.

The Light is positive. It is intimately bound with the essence of living things; it is peace, harmony and knowledge. The Light Side springs from the great pattern of existence. It draws strength from diversity and tolerance. It is also inherently communal in nature, thriving on cooperation. Those emotions that enhance the existence of the whole flow from it and tap into its great reserves of strength and peace. Patience, humility and self-sacrifice are paths to enlightenment. Above all, it seeks harmony and perfection.
The Dark Side, in comparison, is the force of entropy and destruction. Chaos and rage feed it and are its sources of power. The Dark Side is a part of nature—it is not inherently evil, but evil comes from its irrationality, its intolerance and its lack of control. Bestial and predatory, domination is its goal. Mercilessly aggressive and unforgiving, its adherents are blinded by greed and lust for power over those weaker than themselves.

--Taken from Dark Empire Sourcebook

One all-encompassing driving Force influences the destiny of the galaxy. An energy field generated by all living things, the Force surrounds and penetrates everything, binding the galaxy together. Universal balance—life and death, creation and destruction—is reflected in the Force, and thus is reflected from the Force back into the galaxy at large. The Force, for all the mystery and the power it provides, is as much a part of the natural order as suns and planets and life itself.
The Force has as many mysteries as it has aspects. It may be a nonsentient energy field, the sum of all creation. It may be an eternal entity, knowing and unknowable. It may be both of these and more; it may be something else entirely. The only certain truth is that the Force exists and is omnipresent, and that’s enough for most who study its various influences. From the Living Force to the Unifying Force, this mysterious energy field consists of a multitude of properties. The light side and dark side are always present, constantly struggling for balance in the galaxy and within individual beings.
The natural order encompasses balance. Day and night, life and death, light and dark—each pair represents a different kind of balance. As a part of the natural order, the Force follows the same rules. The light side embodies peace, knowledge, and serenity. The dark side encompasses fear, anger, and aggression.

--Taken from The Dark Side Sourcebook

A Jedi should never commit murder, for any reason. When confronted with a life-or-death struggle, however, a Jedi may have to kill to complete her mission. This act is always unfortunate, because deliberately ending a life strengthens the dark side. However, if the cause is justified—if the Jedi is protecting others, serving the will of the Force, or even merely acting in self-defense—then the light side is equally strengthened.

--Taken from Power of the Jedi Sourcebook

Safeguarded by the powers of the dark side, the Sith could hardly fear death when they were allied to it.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis

The obvious response then is that if the dark side symbolizes death, what difference is there between the dark side and the Dark? The difference is that where the dark side is simply material death, the Dark is unmitigated decimation. Where the death of life augments the dark side, destruction to the degree of nonexistence is the faculty of the Dark. The Dark simply takes death farther to the point of complete oblivion. Even in the dark side of the Force, beings still exist. When Emperor Palpatine descended into death for the last time, he didn't cease to exist. Rather, he became adjoined to the Force as Obi-Wan and Yoda did, but where Obi-Wan and Yoda were fastened to the Force’s totality in peace, Palpatine was entrapped in Chaos within the dark side, along with other dark siders like him. We can also surmise divergence between the dark side and the Dark by the fact that the dark side needs the light side to devise a composite balance; the dark side focuses chaos as a counterbalance to the harmonious creation component of the light side. Conversely, the Dark is self-existent; it does not require a counterpart. In fact, the ultimate end of the Dark is for nothing to exist at all.

"One of the Emperor's Force Storms destroyed the Alliance base on the moon of Da Soocha and the entire fleet above it. Every day I'm reminded how lucky we are that Palpatine is lost to Chaos forever."
—Luke

--Taken from Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side

The Light and Dark Side manifest themselves in the way they are used; they are simply different interpretations of a single aspect of nature, and they exist in balance with themselves and the universe. Just as with any aspect of life and death, both the Dark Side and the Light Side are intertwined with each other, are necessary to each other and form a cosmic balance.

--Taken from Dark Empire Sourcebook

From this, we can state that the Dark is not the dark side, but there are similarities. The Dark and the dark side both thrive on destruction, though in unequal calibers. One of the chief uses of the dark side is to cause physical destruction, as opposed to the light side, which imparts far more powers for knowledge and healing. The Dark and the dark side also both collect power from fear. This was shown when Luke sensed fear in the Emperor on the second Death Star, when he learned not to fear the Dark during the Battle of Mindor, and when he discovered fear in the dark side during his tenure as the Emperor’s student. For that matter, the very thing that almost sent Luke into the dark side in Return of the Jedi was fear; the relentless assault he threw at Vader was subsequent to Vader's threat to corrupt Leia. Luke became afraid for her sake. Farther back than that in Revenge of the Sith, Anakin found that when he attained the mantle of Sith Lord, his fear never fled from him but instead ingrained itself even more assiduously into his being. All dark siders experience fear, though some reject that fact. Although it was a cold statement to make to a nine year old boy, Yoda's assessment that fear leads to the dark side was absolutely correct.

This is why dark siders, namely the Sorcerers of Rhand and the Sith Lords, are ideal for bolstering the Dark. The Jedi in the Old Republic stress dispassion as the road to service to the will of the Force, and Luke’s Jedi Order emphasizes that as well, but with more leniency for the proper and mandatory love of life. These offer little room for fear in the path of a Jedi, which, in conjunction with Jedi hesitation to kill, prevents Jedi from assisting the Dark. Other extremist light side pacifists and isolationists, such as the Fallanassi, would also not reinforce the Dark either. But the Sith, who enjoy powers of destruction as called for to meet their goals and who care nothing for beings they consider beneath them, would be fitting actuators for the Dark. Though the Sorcerers of Rhand, who knowingly serve the Dark, would be more appropriate devotees of the Dark, the Sith facilitate it well. This is why in stories that incorporate the Dark, it appeared that the Dark always favored dark siders. This is not due to the Dark being related to the dark side as much as the fact that dark siders will naturally promote that course of action anyway; light siders have just as much capability to further the destruction of the Dark but will be reluctant to because of their traditions.

Yet, in the Dark Side are anger and hatred and isolation and...fear. That fear drives the Jedi to isolation, jealousy and the desire to be the most powerful of all.

--Taken from Dark Empire Sourcebook

Darth Vader stood on the command bridge of the Mustafar control center, hand of durasteel clasping hand of flesh behind him, and gazed up through the transparisteel view wall at the galaxy he would one day rule. He paid no attention to the litter of corpses around his feet. He could feel his power growing, indeed. He had the measure of his "Master" already; not long after Palpatine shared the secret of Darth Plagueis's discovery, their relationship would undergo a sudden...transformation.
A fatal transformation.
Everything was proceeding according to plan.
And yet...
He couldn't shake a certain creeping sensation...a kind of cold, slimy ooze that slithered up the veins of his legs and spread clammy tendrils through his guts...
Almost as though he was still afraid...
She will die, you know, the dragon whispered.
He shook himself, scowling. Impossible. He was Darth Vader. Fear had no power over him. He had destroyed his fear.
All things die.
Yet it was as though when he had crushed the dragon under his boot, the dragon had sunk venomed fangs into his heel. Now its poison chilled him to the bone.
Even stars burn out.
He shook himself again and strode toward the holocomm. He would talk to his Master. Palpatine had always helped him keep the dragon down.

--Taken from Revenge of the Sith

Luke paused, for he saw something else, as well; something he hadn’t seen before in the Emperor. Fear. 
Luke saw fear in the Emperor—fear of Luke. Fear of Luke’s power, fear that this power could be turned on him—on the Emperor—in the same way Vader had turned it on Obi-Wan Kenobi. Luke saw this fear in the Emperor—and he knew, now, the odds had shifted slightly. He had glimpsed the Emperor’s nakedest self.

--Taken from Return of the Jedi

When he finally withdrew his mind from the Dark, Luke found himself in darkness of the wholly ordinary sort. The flicker of the energy discharge had fled from the chamber that had once been the Election Center.
He knelt in darkness, and from that darkness came a long, slow growl that the Force allowed him to understand as words. Jedi Luke Skywalker. Is it done?
By reaching into the Force, he could feel the surviving Republic ships jump away as the artificial mass-shadows of the destroyed gravity stations shrank and vanished. He felt the final breakup of the Shadow Base, and the final destruction of Mindor under the killing radiation of Taspan's flares.
All gone, now. Everything was gone.
No more shadows.
"Yes," Luke said. "Yes, it is done."
Is this where we die?
"I don't know," Luke said. "Probably."
How long?
Luke sighed. "I don't know that either. I sealed the chamber when I came in, so we'll have air. For a while. But I don't know how thick the stone around us might be, now that the mountain's broken up. I don't know how much radiation it can block. We could be cooking right now."
And there is no one who can come for us.
"Their ships can't protect them. Not from radiation like this."
Then this will be where our lives end.
"Probably."
I do not like this place. I do not know how I came to be here, but I know I did not choose this.
"None of us did."
This is a bad place to die.
"Yes."
Granted a choice, I would not die beside a Jedi.
"I'm sorry," Luke said. And meant it.
I have known Jedi. Many, many years ago. That knowing was not a gladness for me. I believed I would never know another, and I rejoiced in that belief. But it is a gladness for me to be proven wrong. I am happy to have known you, Jedi Luke Skywalker. You are more than they were.
"That's—” Luke shook his head blankly, blinking against the darkness. "I mean, thanks, but I barely know anything."
So you believe. But I say to you: you are greater than the Jedi of former days.
Luke could only frown, and shake his head again. "What makes you say that?"
Because unlike the Knights of old, Jedi Luke Skywalker...
You are not afraid of the dark.

--Taken from Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor
So what affiliation is there between the Dark and the Force? To resolve that inquiry, I will reply with another one: Where did the Force come from? What are its origins? Objective, out of universe sources and in-universe sources have unraveled that the Force always existed.

Although the Force always existed, it was first identified and developed by the group of “wizards and mystics” who eventually formed the Jedi Order.

--Taken from Power of the Jedi Sourcebook

The Force is timeless, but we Jedi have not always been present to interpret its teachings.

--Taken from The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force

So the Dark is the underlying reality, but so is the Force. Moreover, where is the Force? Cronal believed in a number of limitations on the Force that did not actually exist because he saw the Force as a paltry and temporary section of the Dark, but Luke proved him wrong. The Force pervades everywhere, even another dimension such as hyperspace.

In the Dark, Cronal saw Skywalker smile. Thank you for joining me here. I was a little worried you might get away with that silly crown of yours.
This was impossible. This must be some hallucination, a twisted product of his Darksight run amok. He was in hyperspace! Hyperspace did not, could not, interact with realspace—
I was with Ben Kenobi in hyperspace when he felt the destruction of Alderaan. No wall can contain the Force.

--Taken from Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor

You already know of the Force as omnipresent, simultaneously existing as both a personal energy and as an imposing power through its Living and Unifying aspects.

--Taken from The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force

The only certain truth is that the Force exists and is omnipresent, and that’s enough for most who study its various influences.

--Taken from The Dark Side Sourcebook

So the Dark is everywhere, and the Force is everywhere. But for the sake of contradistinction, what do the Force and the Dark embody? The Force embodies life and existence; the Dark embodies destruction and oblivion. If the Force is life, where did life originate from? The Force. The Force itself generated life.

The Force is not inherently good or evil. It has its light side and its dark side. It is a tool, and like any other tool it can be misused or even broken. Ignorance leads to improper use of the Force; the unwise use the Force emotionally. Incorrect use of the Force can lead to death and destruction. Only through proper training can the Force be justly applied.
In addition, the Force is a living entity, generating life. The Force is a necessary and vital part of the universe. When running a Jedi campaign, think of the Force as more than merely a means by which the characters can gain extreme powers. It is a metaphor for the universal nature of life itself, vibrant, dynamic, and dangerous. All Jedi are permeated by the Force, just as all beings are, but the Jedi are most aware of it. Events in one region might affect another as if the galaxy were one interconnected being, with the Force as its blood and life.

--Taken from Power of the Jedi Sourcebook

As Jedi learn more about the Force, they frequently form their own theories about how and why it works. They question how, if the Force creates and sustains life, it can have a dark side.

--Taken from Power of the Jedi Sourcebook

But don’t these truths about the Force contradict what we were told by the Jedi? According to Obi-Wan pertaining to the origins of the Force, “[the Force] is an energy field generated by living things.” Yoda paraphrased this definition, “Life creates [the Force] and makes it grow.” These two simple adages are common among most Jedi, and they can be attested to by the fact that the Force is life. All life is an extension of the Force, and when life dies, it returns to the universal consciousness of the Force. It has also been witnessed by Jedi that the death of a mass number of beings benefits the dark side but also that destruction on a grand enough scale diminishes the Force. But if the Force is self-existent, if the Force is transcendent of the natural conceptualization of time, if the Force is omnipresent, if the Force is life, and if the Force generated life, how could the Force be created by life in turn? The Dark offers an answer to this question. The Force did exist before the universe, before life; it did generate life from itself. But conversely, life also generates the Force. How can this be so? Because the Force as we know it is only one of the forms the Force has existed in.

We know the Force is not immutable; it can be altered. For instance, the balance of the Force can be moved by a series of causes, the utmost one being the quality of life in the universe. To take that a step further, the balance between its light and dark sides was an attribute of the Force acquired over time. As Luke elaborated on during his analysis of the Unifying Force in its totality, the Force’s light and dark sides are reflections of the light and dark sides within thinking individuals. Because people can make conscious decisions that can be allocated into light and dark sides, good and evil, the Force adopted this trait as well, developing a light and dark side (though, because the Force doesn’t have the characteristic of choice, its light and dark sides are not good or evil, unlike the light and dark sides of individuals). These are only two examples. The status of the Force itself can change. If it can change its status, then Obi-Wan and Yoda’s examination on the Force is only pertinent to the Force as they can conceive it within the realms of their experience and their present time. However, before life existed, the Force was a different body. It would have to be so, in any case.

If life is dependent on the Force and vice versa, how could one or the other have an origin related to one another? Both would need to have existed without a true beginning, and nothing would have brought them into being. This simply cannot be the case. Life does have an origin. The Force, on the other hand, is more difficult to explain. On the one hand, yes, the Force is finite and does have a definite origin as it was generated from life; on the other hand, the Force always existed. If this is true, then what was the Force before life?

I submit that the Dark is the Force before life existed. As the Revenge of the Sith interims said, the Dark brought the Light forth from the center of its own being while other sources tell us that the Force created life; these two sentiments are actually identical. Once life came into being, the Dark was transfigured into the Force as we now know it. So what Obi-Wan and Yoda said was true...from a certain point of view. The Force is timeless, never witnessing a conception, but this is true because of its Dark face. The Force, as Jedi know it, did have a beginning because life had a beginning. But the Force in a different form always existed. Odd Bnar illustrated this truth in a holocron entry. Though he didn't seem to grasp the gravity of his assessment or all the implications of it, he described that the universe was born out of a "Great Void," which bears resemblance to the nonexistence of the Dark, and that the Force interlaced itself into the universe as natural existence came into being.

Out of the Great Void came the universe, its galaxies, star systems, and suns. Everything that exists, and will ever exist, was spawned from the primordial plasma of time’s beginning. Over billions of years planets formed and life arose through a steady progression of increasingly complex organisms. Woven into and intertwined with all of this—from the smallest molecule to the largest star—was the Force. As civilizations grew upon these newly formed planets—newly formed on a celestial scale, that is—they began to sense, if only subconsciously at first, this mystical energy. Over the millennia, the Force has been called by an uncountable number of names: the Unity, the Way, the Power, Magic. All hint at one aspect or another of the Force’s all-encompassing presence, but none completely reflect its true nature.
And perhaps none shall, for the Force defies explanation. At times it seems dualistic, yet it has no separate components. Most prominent among the contradictions is the fact that the Force has two aspects, the light and the dark, yet without one the other would cease to exist. For most beings these concepts hang well out of reach, celestial nonsense better left unconsidered. But for a select few, the Force is everything.

--Taken from Tales of the Jedi Companion

Think of it like this. If the Dark is oblivion, absolute nothingness, then it would basically be a completely blank, dark space, something like this.
But fill that empty space with stars and a bursting Light. Now you have the Force.
This extrapolation makes sense especially when Luke communicated with the Melters in the Dark. He was connected to them by the Force which existed in the Dark. The Force being the Dark, or rather the Force formerly being the Dark, reconciles a few points in the descriptions about the Dark. For instance, if the Dark seeds cruelty into justice, contempt into compassion, and doubt into love, where did justice, compassion, and love come from if the Dark underlies all that is? Even if the Dark does always defeat the Light, why did it produce the Light from itself to begin with? What Light could Luke have refracted to repel the Dark if the Dark always wins? The Force justifies these questions.

While the Force itself is not a decision-making being, its light and dark sides do correspond to the light and dark sides of individuals, copying their peace and anger. But where did thinking beings attain the capacity for peace or anger in the first place if the Force had to adopt peace and anger from thinking beings? I contend that while the Dark seeds cruelty, contempt, and doubt, the Force seeds justice, compassion, and love; this was implied when Luke communicated with the Melters and channeled “light and hope and love” from the Force. This is to say, the Force seeds both love and fear as the Light and the Dark are part of the Force. The Force is impartial. It is not a benevolent or malevolent being; in fact, it is not a being of any kind. It is living but only because it is the essence of everyone and everything living. It does not and cannot force anyone to do anything. It has a will, or natural inclination, but doesn’t make conscious decisions. However, it can allow living beings who have the ability to make choices to experience cruelty or justice, contempt or compassion, doubt or love at their discretion. It can seed these properties or, to put it another way, provide the aptitude for these properties, but not force anyone to use them. The Force instigates cruelty, contempt, and doubt to feed its Dark face; it instigates justice, compassion, and love to feed its Light face. All are part of the Force. And once thinking beings capable of choice began to depend on their own personal light and dark sides that represent life and death, peace and chaos, the Force took on this attribute as well and willed a balance between them.

The Force formerly being the Dark also explains why life exists at all. The Force generated life but also accepts the death of life. It allows the universe to fall back into oblivion, back into the Dark, but from there recreates the universe from the old one. Life is part of the Force; so is death. Existence is part of the Force; so is nonexistence. The Dark does win, but so does the Force. And Luke opened himself as a vessel to the Force to push back the Dark. The Light he generated was the Light of existence melting away the Dark of nonexistence. The Force is the whole of both. And more than that, the Dark being the prior status of the Force explains a reputed statement of Yoda's: "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter." But why is that so? If the Light and the Dark are part of the Force, why is life Light in the Force? Why are all living beings, not exclusively Jedi, luminous beings at their core instead entities of darkness? Because, as Luke perceived within the spaces of the Dark, the Dark is already there while living beings are the stars that populate the dark ether; life is the Light in the Dark.

The Dark is a very interesting concept within the Star Wars universe, and its relationship to the Force and the reactions it garners from different characters is what highlights its intrigue. What the Dark ultimately did as a narrative device was to add new dimensions to the Force while piecing together several key theme in the major stories.
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My Thoughts on Disney's Star Wars Films

Let me preempt this blog with two forewords: First, as a few of you may have noticed, I have been absent from forum activity on CV due to preoccupation with RL matters and due to my reputed dissatisfaction with the forum quality here. But periodically, I do log in to check in on the site but rarely post. However, Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm and their professed intentions to produce more Star Wars movies desperately begs a response, and since I would rather not wait for my inbox to explode with messages regarding this subject, I will just post my opinion here.

Second, I feel compelled to address an aspect of Star Wars fandom. As everyone knows, most casual and hardcore Star Wars fans, in the past decade especially, have been intensely perturbed with the creative direction of the Star Wars franchise particularly as a result of the prequel trilogy, which extracts mixed opinions from viewers, and, for EU fans, as a result of the storylines following the New Jedi Order series, among a few other questionable stories. Because of this, there has been a certain divide in the fandom, but contrary to popular belief, this divide isn't even so much about whether a fan enjoys any one story or not. The divide, really and truly, is about whether the fan even likes Star Wars. Let me explain. A while back, I read an article called “Why Do Star Wars Fans Hate Star Wars?” by Adam Summers (the link is to a forum that reposted the article, not the original source; the original source was Jive magazine’s site, which seems to have removed the blog). There are other similar blogs, such as “No One Hates ‘Star Wars’ Quite Like a ‘Star Wars’ Fan” which basically reiterate the position. And, honestly, as someone who is familiar with Star Wars fandom, this assessment of the standard proclivity of the fandom is absolutely correct. There are some fans who are so extreme that they reject any Star Wars media other than A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back (the films only, not the novelizations or the comic adaptions). Many fans who despise most Star Wars media would not consider a fan who accepts much of the franchise a “real” fan. With that said, I can be categorized as a “fake” Star Wars fan because I enjoy most of the franchise.

Now, I have expressed my malign for story arcs such as The Old Republic multimedia project, The Force Unleashed multimedia projects, and the entirety of the Legacy era, among a few others, and on account of that, the conclusion could be surmised that I dislike most Star Wars stories. But this is untrue. Those stories that I have a distaste for comprise a small fraction of all of Star Wars continuity. Although I haven’t read everything, I have read a respectable quantity of all Star Wars stories. And from what I have read, I enjoy a solid portion of the Old Republic era, the vast majority of the Rise of the Empire era, the vast majority of the Rebellion era, the vast majority of the New Republic era, the vast majority of the New Jedi Order era, and none of the Legacy era. The crucial distinction between me and most of Star Wars fandom is that most Star Wars stories that I’ve read, I like. So by the estimations of many “real” Star Wars fans, I’m a pretender (especially since I don’t attend cons or collect memorabilia or costumes; I just read the stories from novels, comics, etc.). Obviously, there are creative decisions I have taken issue with, and I have made my opinions on them clear. But (as a rough approximation), I would say that about 80% of Star Wars lore, I genuinely enjoy or, at the very least, don’t hate.

Why am I running on this verbose explanation? So as not to be misunderstood, I don't say this to insult other Star Wars fans; people can like or dislike whatever they choose. But I want to establish my own personal mentality before elucidating on my opinion of Disney’s Star Wars project. It alters my perception considerably that I don’t automatically associate new Star Wars film projects with the apocalypse, as many other fans would. I am a Star Wars fan, but I’m not an angry, disgruntled Star Wars fan. And that puts me in a minority and makes a significant difference. So if any of you are expecting me to start a raging rant, you will be disappointed (rants are typically JXM’s specialty anyway; if you want one, request his opinion on this).

With that said, here are my thoughts. My initial reaction is that there are too few details released pertaining to this project for me to form an objective consensus on the story quality, characterization, or Force exposition without arguing from ignorance. So I will not be approaching those subjects. Instead, I want to discuss a live action style of presentation, necessity (or lack thereof), and impacts on continuity.

Briefly, since it has been implicated that these movies could, in the Star Wars film tradition, be live action, I have a problem with that. Maybe I am too attached to them, but I would rather not replace the original actors with younger substitutes (and I doubt Disney would hire the original cast if their movies occur within a decade after Return of the Jedi). Instead, it would be better, to me, if the movies were animated and employed voice actors who simulated the voices of the original cast. But this is just my preference, and somehow, I doubt it will result in that.

Necessity. Do I find this necessary? Short answer: No. Long answer: The story told by the six existing Star Wars movies are very self-contained and, really, need no further development. Of course, many would say this of PT as well, as the OT was, for the most part, a complete story, but it left many questions of its past unanswered. From a narrative standpoint, there is nothing wrong with ambiguity, as long as it leaves no plot holes, and the ambiguity of Obi-Wan, Yoda, Anakin, the Jedi Order, and the Old Republic conveyed an atmosphere of mystique about the lore, which many people preferred. However, there was legitimate room for expansion on those unused plot lines, which is where the PT came in. In this case, while it could be argued that sequels to the original trilogy are no more unnecessary than the PT was, I would disagree. Whatever your opinion on its finished product may be, the PT did have more story potential within a cinematic medium. Post-OT stories bear possibilities but are not required, and I say that because they are never referenced. Throughout the OT, there are allusions to previous events and characters we know little about. All the PT did was attempt to offer closure on those unresolved plot threads (whether that attempt was successful or not is up to you). However, sequels to the OT have no basis within the movies themselves; there are no implications of future events or unsettled matters (which is self-evident, because those events hadn’t happened yet). The OT provides a simple end. This is why the EU entertained the opportunity to expound on the potential stories in separate mediums, much of which many people have never read and care next to nothing about. In a film medium, with only the PT and OT as a guideline for its history, there is just no demand for follow-up stories. The EU is an evolution of the lore with no technical genesis for its storylines within the confines of the movies themselves; the PT, conversely, did have foundations for its exact story within the movies themselves, which is why I find the addition of sequel movies unnecessary.

Having said that, can I see sequel movies as worthwhile additions to the franchise? If handled well and had the EU not already done so, yes, but that leads me into my next point. Parts of the EU could either be G-Canonized or retconned as a consequence of sequel movies, and this is my primary reservation. We could analyze the story necessity of sequel movies as much as we want, but even if the movies are completely unneeded, that does not inherently preclude the prospect of them being decent films (of course, this presumes on your willingness to believe that Disney has the capacity to manufacture good Star Wars films, and I will leave that subjective expectation to your own discretion). The EU is where my interest in this issue rests. Truth be told, I, as with many other EU fans, like the EU more than I do the movies. From what Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy discussed, they may actually incorporate EU material as a framework.

Lucas: “Well, um, I always said I wasn’t gonna do any more, and that’s true, ‘cause I’m not gonna do anymore. But that doesn’t mean I’m unwilling to turn it over to Kathy to do more. I have story treatments of 7, 8, and 9 and a bunch of other movies, and, and obviously, we have hundreds of books and comics and everything you could possibly imagine. So, you know, I sort of move that treasure trove of stories and various things to Kathy, and, you know, I have complete confidence that she’s gonna take them and make great movies.”


Interesting. Is he suggesting that Lucasfilm will be transferring over their EU media as criterion for story development in Disney’s films? If so and if this is taken seriously and with care, I would be very relaxed about this film proposal. So long as Disney respects the EU (for the sake of a hypothetical condition, let’s set aside whatever hesitancy we have to trust Disney for a moment), I have few concerns with this premise. Now, will they recognize the EU as a foundation for sequel story lines almost verbatim? For instance, would they develop film adaptions of The Truce at Bakura, which is an immediate sequel to Return of the Jedi? Or the Thrawn or Dark Empire trilogies, since those are among the most popular EU works? Difficult to determine based on the minimal information we have been apprised to, but for me personally, whether or not Disney decides to consent to EU continuity is the most prevalent topic to read into whenever they deliver updates. But what about stories that may not be adaptions of EU events but instead original stories that still recognize the EU? According to early hints by Lucas, the sequels could deal with the formation of the New Republic decades following RotJ. If that is the case, that could be interpreted as a choice to ignore the EU, or it might not. After all, in the NR and NJO eras, the New Republic was constantly being established. For a governmental entity as colossal and as aggregate as the Galactic Republic, it should come as no surprise that it would take time to fully establish it. So these hints on Lucas' part could garner varying translations, especially since many of them could have been evinced before the news of Disney buying Lucasfilm, as Lucas has divulged his original plans for a sequel trilogy before. Additionally, this statement could very well be far to young in the development stages to be irrevocably conclusive.

Although it may not be translatable to Disney’s habits, Lucas himself did actually include EU-original characters into his movies. Aalya Secura and Quinlan Vos, for instance, originated in Dark Horse’s comics, and Lucas assimilated them into the PT. There are other examples of this as well. If Disney models their practices respective of the EU after Lucas’ recognition and appreciation for the EU when making his movies, then EU continuity could be better off. On the other hand, the EU has suffered continuity errors as a result of The Clone Wars multimedia project. Where Lucas seemed to exercise caution about the EU during the developing stages of the PT (and contrary to popular belief, the PT did not destroy EU continuity; it built it tremendously), he and his creative team (which involves Dave Filoni) seemed more oblivious during TCW. In fairness, when the PT was being released, EU stories during the Rise of the Empire era were scarce, as that era had been largely untouched until the PT’s release. As well, Filoni has stated that he genuinely intends not to hurt continuity, but unfortunately, there have been multiple changes. It should be pointed out though that TCW has contained several EU concepts but sometimes adjusts them needlessly. So if Disney models their practices respective of the EU after Lucas and Filoni’s recognition and appreciation for the EU when making TCW, the Post-RotJ EU would likely still exist but would endure unnecessary revisions.

We should also inspect Disney’s attention to the EU fandom. Would they be willing to disregard EU continuity altogether and upset EU fans in the process in favor of their own stories? Or, for the sake of broadening and subsisting their audience, carefully integrate EU productions into their movies? Or would it matter? If Disney disrupted EU canon and earned the contempt of its fans, would that affect the future of their films? Personally, I doubt it. Star Wars has an immense audience; EU fans constitute a modicum of that audience. Chances are, even if EU fans are revolted by Disney’s handling of EU canon, the films would be a market success nonetheless. After all, numerous fans detested the PT but still visited the theater to watch it. From a marketing perspective, I’m not entirely convinced it would carry any substantial meaning to Disney if they wrecked the EU or not, and aside from poor publicity and compulsory criticism, that may be their only incentive not to dismantle the EU medium.

Another thought is how Disney could feasibly execute this. Assuming Disney acknowledges it, the EU is very precise in its linear standing with previous events. While there are plot inconsistencies (especially in horrendously written stories, such as those authored by Troy Denning or Karen Traviss, which willfully ignore prior canon), most authors have the sense to research the stories chronologically preceding their own, which is why most stories in the Old Republic, Rise of the Empire, Rebellion, New Republic, and New Jedi Order eras are relatively coherent in their placement in continuity. They are definitely disparate because of the varying authors and times of release, but they can function sufficiently in a continuous medium. Understanding that, how could Disney maintain EU continuity unless they meticulously adapted all mandatory Post-RotJ stories into films? This presents a challenge out of the gate that could cause canonical mistakes.

Of course, all of this assumes that Lucas’ remark on “books and comics” portends that Disney will acclimate their film projects toward the management of EU continuity in the first place, which might or not be the case. On that note, I do wonder about novelizations or comic adaptions of these upcoming movies though. If the movies have original stories and content, then novelizations and comic adaptions could be in order; if they borrow from the plots of EU novels or comics, then they might simply have a comic supplement to a novel the movie is based on or a novel supplement to a comic the movie is based on. Or they might abandon the adaption altogether. Although I doubt this would be ever be realized, I wonder if, in the event that Disney discards the EU, a new canon class could be instated. For instance, I wonder if there could be a split in G-Canon, one to accommodate Lucas’ first vision and a second to accommodate Disney’s direction. The former could continue to be the baseline for the EU that currently exists, and the second could serve as a baseline for an alternate EU (not an alternate reality; my hope would be that this doesn’t create a parallel universe but rather a wholly separate continuity). That way, our current EU could persist and publish more works in the set continuity while Disney’s could introduce their own continuity. Do I believe Lucasfilm would adopt this system? No, and I honestly hope they never need to. This is just a contingency in case Disney retcons the EU.

So, what is my opinion on this? Setting aside the state of the EU, I am thoroughly indifferent toward this development. I honestly did prefer Lucas’ original statement that he would never spearhead another Star Wars movie and hoped that that statement meant others never would either, meaning Revenge of the Sith would be the last movie. But since Disney is planning on more, fine. To be honest, I don’t really care. My thoughts on this are almost identical to my thoughts on TCW. I’m not a fan of TCW (though some of the related comics were decent), but unlike other fans, I never hated it. I just have no substantive investment in it one way or another. While TCW does bother me with its retcons (Ahsoka Tano’s existence being the retcon that irritates me the most, not just because I find her character uninteresting but because she interposed herself between the Obi-Wan and Anakin Jedi team dynamic that Clone Wars novels had formulated), there are a few ideas TCW gave us that were actually very good in my opinion (the Legend of Mortis, for instance). This upcoming film project resonates with me the same way. If the movies turn out to be good, fine. If they turn out to be mediocre, fine. I really just don’t care that much. What I care more about is how the EU will be influenced by the addition of more movies. If the EU is retconned out, I will be frustrated with that (but on a positive note, at least it will prevent Denning from writing any more awful Legacy series). If the EU is sustained through all this, great. If the movies are faithful adaptions of EU stories that leave the present EU continuity intact, even better. But right now, my attention is with the EU, not with the movies.
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Force Misconceptions: Sith'ari

This could develop into an infrequent but potentially long series of blogs I will write here. There are numerous misconceptions surrounding the Force, which I find can be refuted very simply if only more sources were looked over. The intrinsic dimensions of the Force are fascinating to read about, for several reasons, such as their origins in various religions and mythologies; the countless philosophies and outlooks on the Force that have been elucidated on throughout the lore; the cause-and-effect relationship between the ethereal realms of the Force and the mundane realm of the galaxy; the questions of purpose, value, morality, and all things pertaining to life that are encompassed by studying the Force; the growth of understanding about the Force that lends itself to character development; the aspects of the Force that by themselves generate plot points; and so on. The Force is possibly my favorite part about Star Wars, both in the movies and the EU, simply because of how much material there is to it to analyze and compare. For this reason, I want to offer some clarity regarding the facets of the Force. 

The subject I want to cover here is the prophecy of the Sith'ari. 
 
Sith'ari is a word meaning "Lord" or "overlord." It was first attributed to King Adas by the Sith people he reigned over a few millennia before the formation of the Republic. Since his death, the Sith people foretold of another Sith'ari. There were very particular tenets to qualification of the Sith'ari, which are explained as follows:

"I know the Jedi myth of Mortis, of a Chosen One who will destroy the dark side and bring balance to the Force. The Sith have their own prophecy. Since the time of King Adas, they have foretold the coming of a perfect being—the Sith'ari.
The abbatar around my neck translates the term as "overlord." Yet it is more accurate to consider the Sith'ari a god, as the Sith Purebloods believe. While some among the Kissai priests deem that the prophecy began and ended with Adas, many more await the Sith'ari's return.
It has not escaped us that we could claim the Sith'ari mantle and exert even more power over Sith Space. Yet such a move could backfire among the superstitious. Not even Ajunta Pall is so careless.
The prophecy of the Sith'ari has been passed through verbal tradition. It is too sacred to be inscribed on a scroll's parchment. From the Kissai, I have learned its essence:

The Sith'ari will be free from limits.
The Sith'ari will lead the Sith and destroy them.
The Sith'ari will raise the Sith from death and make them stronger than before.

I admire the first tenet, because breaking chains is the essence of the dark side and the foundation of my Sith Code. Improvement through sacrifice and rebirth resonates among these people who prize breeding and alchemy."

--Taken from Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side

This section from Book of Sith was written by Sorzus Syn, and she of course adds her own commentary in addition to the precepts. So who is this Sith'ari? To answer that question, the prerequisites have to be noted. The Sith'ari must meet three qualifications: 
  1. be free from limitations
  2. lead and destroy the Sith
  3. reinvent the dead Sith and make them stronger than ever before
 
Who meets these qualifications? The generally accepted answer is Darth Bane. But is Bane the correct answer? I have heard in the past other Sith being touted as the Sith'ari, but the baseless standing of those arguments is always self-evident. No ancient Sith had ever been free from limitations, destroyed the Sith, and then remade them stronger than ever before, much less met the other qualifications described elsewhere. So is Bane the correct answer, or is this a misconception? Bane had, after all, destroyed and recreated the Sith Order at the last Battle of Ruusan. 

Sith'ari This was the name used by the ancient Sith to describe a perfect being who would rise to power and bring balance to the Force. According to prophecy, the Sith'ari would rise up and destroy the Sith, but in the process would return to lead the Sith and make them stronger than ever before. The first being known to have carried the title was the ancient King Adas, who unified the Sith tribes on Korriban some 3,000 years before the formation of the Republic. After Adas's death at the hands of Rakatan invaders, many pretenders claimed to hold the title of Sith'ari, but none of them was able to restore the Sith to power until the discovery of a man named Dessel. Dessel was trained on Korriban during the years leading up to the Battle of Ruusan; he eventually became Darth Bane, the man who reinvented the Sith and established the Rule of Two.

--Taken from The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia 

And all of what the Encyclopedia said is true. Preceding the Battle of Ruusan, Bane had come to believe that the Brotherhood of Darkness, whom he was trained by at the Korriban Sith academy, were denying the Sith Order a true inheritance. He believed that the dark side of the Force was not a "fire," as he put it, which can ignite power in anyone and continue to be passed liberally to any adept. He argued instead that the Force is a "venom," which if "poured into many cups, it loses its potency until it becomes so diluted it is merely an irritant. Yet pour those cups back into a single vessel and you will have the power to stop a Krayt dragon's heart." This was the foundation of Bane's philosophy and his new Sith Order, which operated under his Rule of Two, which dictated that there can only ever be two Sith Lords: a master and an apprentice. The master will occupy all of the power ("venom") of the dark side until the apprentice supersedes him or her, at which point the apprentice will kill the master and transfer the master's power into themselves. In this way, only one Sith will, in Bane's words, "embody the power," while the other "craves it." This view of the Force is tinted by a dark side perspective which looks to its own benefit. While the light and dark sides of the Force are not inherently good or evil, because the Force itself is not good or evil, the light and dark sides of individuals can be delineated that way. The light side, both of the Force and of people, promotes selfless service to life and the Force out of genuine care for the status of life and the Force. The dark side, on the other hand, promotes egocentric service to self-aggrandizement out of fear for the status of self without absolute domination over life and the Force. Of course then Bane would naturally see fit to limit the number of practitioners of the dark side, because this affords him the opportunity to horde all power for himself. But primarily, he did this because he saw a pattern in the history of Sith societies collapsing themselves because of infighting. The Brotherhood of Darkness' answer to the problem of infighting was to make all Sith Lords equal while allowing there to be any number of Sith Lords. But Bane not only saw a problem with the number of Sith, he saw a problem with the idea of equality between Sith, as he had come to believe that equality was a lie. The Brotherhood believed in a "rule of the strong" with respects to the Sith conquering the galaxy but overlooked that principle when it came to the Sith Order themselves. Part of why Bane learned from the Brotherhood in the first place was because of their "rule of the strong."
 
Bane accepted this ideology because of his upbringing. He grew up as a cortosis miner on Apatros, which is a very harsh planet to live on, with his abusive father. Since he lived during the New Sith Wars and since the Republic bought Cortosis from Apatros, Bane had heard many visitors talk about the war. The Republic travelers who arrived on Apatros would talk about the Jedi and the Republic's collective vow of defense against injustice and upholding equality, while simultaneously talking about the atrocities of the Sith armies. However, because of the adversities in his life, Bane had no faith in their platitudes, as he said, "I wasn't convinced that the Sith were monsters. Bad things happen on both sides during any war. As far as I knew, the Sith were people, just like you. Just like me. And I didn't go along with the Jedi belief that all beings are created equal. After all, some beings are smarter or stronger than others. And for all that Jedi talk about helping those in need, it didn't change the fact that a Jedi had never saved me from any injustice." So it was easy for Bane to deny the Brotherhood's proposal of equality among Sith Lords and instead follow a more accurate "rule of the strong," which didn't contradict itself by the strong ruling the galaxy but not other Sith. Instead, Bane had the strongest Sith rule the Sith Order as well (a maxim he called the "Rule of Two").

The reason Sith believe the rule of the strong, as Palpatine described in more grandiloquent detail in The Weakness of Inferiors, is because the weak "endanger their own lives and the lives of others through poor decisions, reckless behavior, and simple inability to engineer the reality of their ambitious dreams. They are like children, crying in frustration because they do not comprehend their own limitations. These weaklings need structure—to be shown their place in the existing social order. It is left to the wise and powerful to provide that structure in order for civilization to survive and thrive in the galaxy."  

Sidious adopted this system of thinking through his own experiences as well. Growing up, Palpatine recognized that he was different for a reason he couldn't identify yet (which he later learned was because of his Force sensitivity) and as a result had immense potential. But his father, Cosinga, who was involved in Naboo's politics, was content to maintain the remedial financial and political position his noble family had. Cosinga was also displeased in Palpatine because Palpatine's siblings behaved the way Cosinga wanted them to, while Palpatine disagreed with Cosinga and committed offenses which could create scandals to his house. But most importantly Cosinga believed Palpatine could achieve greater accomplishments than he himself could and as a result resented his son for his superiority. Palpatine believed that his father was stifling his potential, believing himself to be innately extraordinary, while Cosinga was simply an "inferior" who "endangered [his] own life and the lives of others through poor decisions, reckless behavior, and simple inability to engineer the reality of [his] ambitious dreams." All of this contributed to Palpatine agreeing with the Banite doctrine that the weak exist to serve the strong, and since the Banite Sith believe themselves to be the strongest, they conclude that they not only could rule, they are entitled to rule. 
 
With this, Bane eliminated the contradictions. Bane was fully aware of the fact that to follow this school of thought to its logical conclusion, a Sith had to be willing to be killed by another Sith if that other Sith was more powerful than he was. So he did. He founded a new Sith Order wherein the student would learn from the master until that student exceeded the power of the master and killed him or her. If the student failed, then another student would be selected until one supplanted the master and inducted an apprentice of their own to restart the cycle. The Rule of Two produced the most powerful Sith Lords in the history of the galaxy, and it eventually succeeded, because the Banite Sith did overtake the whole galaxy, unlike all previous Sith Orders. 
 
So Bane characterizes the second and third tenets of the Sith'ari prophecy. According to Sorzus, the Sith'ari would be considered a deity among later generations of Sith Lords. Did this happen? Yes. So Bane meets that qualification as well.

The aptly named Darth Bane, who had redefined the Sith by limiting their number and operating from concealment, had mined cortosis as a youth on Apatros long before embracing the tenets of the dark side. In the thousand years since his death, Bane had become deified; the powers attributed to him, legendary.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis

But what about some of the other tenets? Was Bane free of restrictions? Actually, no. In fact, Bane was the weakest of the Banite Sith, not the most powerful or the most free. Among his limitations, he himself admitted that he had no propensity for Sith sorcery all the while declaring it a purer expression of the dark side. In conjunction, Bane stated that all Force sensitives are inclined toward certain practices and less so toward others. 

"A rare few have a natural affinity for the dark side itself. They can delve into the depths of the Force and summon arcane energies to twist and warp the world around them. They can invoke the ancient rituals of the Sith; they can conjure power and unleash terrible spells and dark magics."
"Is that my gift?" Zannah asked, barely able to contain her excitement. "Am I a Sith sorcerer?"
"You have the potential," Bane told her. From inside his robes he produced a thin leather-bound manuscript. "Hidden deep inside the Holocron, I discovered a list of powerful spells. I transcribed them into this tome. They will help you focus and channel your power for maximum effect...but only if you study them carefully."
"I will, Master" Zannah promised, her eyes gleaming as she reached out to take the book from his hands.
"My ability to guide and teach you in the ways of sorcery are limited," Bane warned her. "My talents lie in another direction. To unleash your full potential you will have to do much of the study and research on your own. It will be...perilous."

--Taken from Rule of Two

Darth Bane had referred to sorcery as one of the purest expressions of the dark side of the Force, and yet he hadn’t been able to harness those energies with near the skill as had his onetime apprentice Zannah.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis

How can a supposed "perfect" being destined to be free of limitations concede to his boundaries? How can this "perfect being free of limits" be succeeded by an apprentice who surpassed his power? It stands to question then whether Bane adequately fulfilled the obligatory guidelines of the Sith'ari prophecy. Sidious remarked on this point as well, acknowledging Bane's impediments.

"My Master suggested, perhaps spuriously, that Darth Bane fulfilled this prophecy by annihilating the old Sith order and establishing the Rule of Two. Yet Bane was not free of restrictions. As my plans unfold, I grow ever closer to unlimited power."

--Taken from Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side
 
Which then begs the question: Who has the merits to claim the title of Sith'ari? As has been noted by the Encyclopedia, there were many pretenders to it. Among them were all of the authors whose magnum opuses were included in the Book of Sith. Daniel Wallace, who was among the developers for Book of Sith's publication, said that it was a running joke in the sourcebook that all of the Sith believed themselves to be the Sith'ari. Sorzus Syn even writes, "Though I have never put my faith in farseeing, I remain convinced the Force called me here. Perhaps I am the Sith'ari." So it seems obvious that every Sith, wanting to affirm themselves the last and ultimate Sith Lord, professes to be the Sith'ari purely for the purposes of their own self-aggrandizement. But none of the pretenders come even remotely close to the qualifications, not like Bane. Who else is there then? One of the claimers to the title was Sidious. 

"Throughout the eras, the Sith foretold of a being who would destroy the Order and rebuild it stronger than before. I do not care about ancient prophecies. The approval of the dead is meaningless. Yet it is clear that the Sith'ari could be no other than me."

--Taken from Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side

“You may be wondering: when did he begin to change?
“The truth is that I haven’t changed. As we have clouded the minds of the Jedi, I clouded yours. Never once did I have any intention of sharing power with you. I needed to learn from you; no more, no less. To learn all of your secrets, which I trusted you would eventually reveal. But what made you think that I would need you after that? Vanity, perhaps; your sense of self-importance. You’ve been nothing more than a pawn in a game played by a genuine Master.
“The Sith’ari.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis
 
My first response to this would be, "Palpatine's just full of himself, as usual. This is the same guy who said, 'I am the dark side.'" But let's evaluate Sidious' merits. Objective sources and character feats tell us that he is the most powerful Sith Lord who ever lived and is the dark side's purest expression. While this would probably be categorized as self-deluded boasting rather than a feasible goal, the Emperor recorded his plan to increase the raw destructive capacity of his Force Storms to outmatch even that of the Death Star superlaser. Of course, this goal was never realized, because he was defeated before it could ever come to fruition (assuming it could come to fruition). His knowledge of the dark side transcends that of any other dark sider before him, and the quantity of powers that he has been attested to know is greater than any previous Sith as well. As the last Sith Master in the Banite line, he embodied the dark side to a more potent degree than any other Sith Lord before him during the Rise of the Empire era (until he died physically, releasing the dark side from his physical form and dissolving the Empire, which restored the balance of the Force). He and Plagueis exercised more command over the Force, life, and the galaxy at large than any Sith had before when they enlarged the Force's imbalance. While I am apprehensive about labeling any Force sensitive as "free of restrictions," Palpatine approaches it more closely than any other Sith Lord. 
 
What about destroying and remaking the Sith? Bane completed that rather spectacularly, which is why he is usually considered the Sith'ari. Has Sidious done anything comparable? While this is not as ceremonious or dramatic as Bane's killing of the Brotherhood, Palpatine actually did expire the Rule of Two and, by extension, the Banite system. And why shouldn't he? He was, after all, the Sith Lord who initiated and ruled a Sith-conquered galaxy. The Rule of Two was designed from the start to consummate with the most powerful Sith Lord possible, a Sith Lord who would be strong enough to lead the Sith in ruling the galaxy. Once that had been effected, the Rule of Two had served its purpose. After Sidious named himself Emperor, he kept Vader in his service and even attempted to teach Vader how to regain his potential. But since Vader seemed unable to reach his full potential again, Palpatine also accepted other initiates who could potentially outmatch Vader. The reason the Emperor still had formal Sith apprentices (the Dark Side Adepts are not formal Sith apprentices, merely Dark Jedi) is twofold: 1) to reverence Bane's doctrine and 2) to aid him in ruling the Empire. However, although Sidious would take apprentices, he would never take a successor. 

The Sith Order, in hiding for a millennium, had awaited the birth of one who was powerful enough to return the Order to prominence. Darth Sidious was the fulfillment of that prophecy, capable of exacting the Sith's revenge on the Jedi for having nearly eradicated the practitioners of the dark side of the Force.

--Taken from The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia

He's not Satan, he just goes down to the corner and gets Satan's cigarettes.
You got it. And when he finds out Luke is his son, his first impulse is to figure out a way of getting him to join him to kill the Emperor. That's what Siths do! He tries it with anybody he thinks might be more powerful, which is what the Emperor was looking for in the first place: somebody who would be more powerful than he was and could help him rule the universe. But Obi-Wan screwed that up by cutting of his arms and legs and burning him up. From then on, he wasn't as strong as the Emperor—he was like Darth Maul or Count Dooku. He wasn't what he was supposed to become. But the son could become that.

--Taken from Rolling Stone #975 

Envy, hatred, betrayal... They were essential to mastering the dark side, but only as a means of distancing oneself from all common notions of morality in the interest of a higher goal. Only when Sidious had understood this fully had he acted on it, killing his Master while he slept.
Unlike Plagueis, Sidious knew better than to sleep.
More important, by the time Vader was capable of becoming a risk to his Mastery, Sidious would be fully conversant with the secrets Plagueis had spent a lifetime seeking—the power of life over death. There would be no need to fear Vader. No real reason to have an apprentice, except to honor the tradition Darth Bane had resurrected a millennium earlier.
The ancient Sith had been utter fools to believe that power could be shared by thousands. The power of the dark side should be shared only by two; one to embody it, the other to crave it.
Vader's transformation meant that Sidious, too, was able to focus once more on important matters. With Vader in his place, Sidious could now devote himself to intensifying his authority over the Senate and the outlying star systems, and to rooting out and vanquishing any who posed a threat to the Empire.
He had brought peace to the galaxy. Now he meant to rule it as he saw fit—with a hand as strong and durable as one of Vader's prostheses. Crushing any opponents who rose up. Instilling fear in any who thought to obstruct or thwart him.
Vader would prove to be a powerful apprentice, at least until a more suitable one was found. And a powerful weapon, as well, at least until a more powerful one was readied...

--Taken from Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
 
Instead, Sidious established what he called the Rule of One (not Krayt's ignorant Rule of One, which is more akin to Kaan's short-sighted Brotherhood of Darkness). The One Sith implement meant that once he controlled the galaxy, he would control it personally forever, and no one else would replace him, which is why the Emperor structured the New Order to be impossible to subsist without his influence.

More than a century before, when Tenebrous had been but a Sith apprentice himself, the magnificent computational power of his Bith brain had led him far beyond the simplistic Force studies imposed on him by his Master. He had always been far too intelligent to be seduced by the traditional Sith metaphysical twaddle of dark destiny and the witless fantasy of endless war against the equally witless Jedi Order. Soon he had confirmed to his own satisfaction that the dark side of the Force, far from being some malevolent mystic sentience bent on spreading suffering throughout the Galaxy, was in truth merely an energy source, and a tool with which he could impose his will upon reality. It was a sort of natural amplifier he could use to multiply the effectiveness of his many useful abilities.
None of which was more useful than his matchless intellect.
Like many Sith before him, he had turned his powers toward knowledge of the future. But unlike any Sith before him, he had the enormous brain of his people, which combined sheer brute processing power with a level of analytic precision simply beyond the capacity of any other species. The future was always in motion, and while other Sith always struggled to foresee the faintest, least specific hints of what was to come, Tenebrous had no need to see the future.
He could calculate it.
While still merely an apprentice, his analysis had shown him the inevitable end of the Banite Sith and its preposterous Rule of Two. His calculations plainly indicated the coming of a shadow so vast it would darken the galaxy entirely—so vast it would mark the end of both Jedi and Sith as the universe had known them heretofore. The rise of the shadow would be the end of history itself.
Tenebrous had not the slightest doubt that the entire galaxy would measure time according to its arrival. Events would be marked by how long they had preceded the shadow, or how long after it they followed.
Though the exact nature of the great shadow remained occult, the remorseless logic of his extrapolation detailed the coming destruction of the Banite system, and the rise of what would become known as the "One Sith." One Sith! The conclusion was so obvious as to require no confirmation: one single Sith Lord would arise of such power that he'd have no need of any apprentice nor fear the Jedi. He would take and hold the galaxy by his own hand alone. Without an apprentice—or a Jedi Order—to destroy him, the One Sith would rule forever!
A heady prospect, with only a single drawback: Tenebrous was not to be that Sith Lord. His own death was clearly foretold, entirely inevitable, and it would precede the shadow by decades.

Now Tenebrous touched upon his apprentice's powers of foresight, which were also vastly more developed than Tenebrous had believed. For a moment, Tenebrous found his perception cast far forward in time—to Plagueis' own death at the hands of his apprentice, who was himself only visible as a smear of darkness...
A shadow!

--Taken from The Tenebrous Way 

"As Darth Bane instituted the Rule of Two, so I will begin the Rule of One. The Sith Will now be sustained by one—one to hold the power and others, talented in the Force, to execute my will as dark side agents."

--Taken from Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side

From this, we can conclude that Palpatine had abolished Bane's creed and ratified his own amendment after the Rule of Two had outlived its function. So in a sense, Sidious did destroy the old Sith Order. In killing Darth Plagueis, Sidious carried out the last execution and usurpation of a Banite master by his apprentice in the Sith Order, and after the Empire rose to prominence, he did away with the Banite line altogether. (I will address that Plagueis and Tenebrous had already believed the Rule of Two was no longer necessary before Sidious did, but Sidious was the last of them to believe that, not to mention he survived Plagueis anyway. In killing Plagueis, Sidious also dismantled Plagueis' system, which was that two Sith, Plagueis and Sidious, should be equal confederates in ruling the universe.) While all of this is not so titanic an undertaking as Bane destroying the Brotherhood, it could fit the second and third adages of the Sith'ari prophecy. Was Sidious ever seen as a deity the way Bane was? Not exactly in that manner or at least not very often, no. The Emperor, however, was seen as the very face of Authority over the entirety of the galaxy. This is somewhat ambiguous though.

Another thought: The Encyclopedia claims that the Sith'ari would bring balance to the Force, no doubt an offset to the Jedi's Chosen One prophecy. But did Bane do anything of the sort? Not at all. In fact, Bane hardly affected the balance at all. Plagueis and especially Sidious were the ones who tipped the scales toward the dark side. It has to be noted though that the Sith actually imbalanced the Force, not sustained its balance, but that tenet is of course written from the perspective of a Sith. To a Sith, imbalancing the Force toward the dark side could be seen as balancing it, because the Sith see little worth in balance beyond simply a restriction to overcome and because the Sith could well see the balance of the Force as whatever they decide it is due to their self-proclaimed sovereignty over the Force itself. However, this standard is more open to interpretation than many others. Is "bringing balance to the Force" done from a Sith's perspective or from a perspective of fact? Because the fact is that none of the Banite Sith helped the balance; they destabilized it. So really, this could serve to accredit the possibility that there is no Sith'ari or that portions of the Sith'ari prophecy are unreliable. 
 
With all of that said, who is the Sith'ari? Is it Bane? Bane is the likely candidate due to his reconstruction of the Sith Order and his deification, but he fails to uphold the very first listed statute of the Sith'ari prophecy, which is to be free of limitations. What about Palpatine? He more closely reflects the "freedom from limits" tenet, and in a way, he did somewhat remake the Sith Order after the formation of the Empire. But he was not considered a "god," per se, and the whole issue of "bringing balance to the Force" needs more specificity for me to determine how either Bane or Sidious could meet that qualification. So the Sith'ari is...unclear. To be honest, I have some personal doubts about the legitimacy of the prophecy to begin with. No Sith is ever truly free of any and all restrictions, not even the most powerful among them, because while Sith submit that they have subdued the dark side, the dark side in return subdues them. No Sith has ever upheld the balance of the Force either because their deliberations will directly oppose the Force's will (though there is some leniency for different translations on that). If I had to pick one, I would say Bane is the Sith'ari based on all the above material and the fact that most sources implicate that he is the Sith'ari, but truth be told, neither Bane nor Sidious, nor any other Sith for that matter, completely personify the criteria of the Sith'ari prophecy.
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Darth Plagueis/Magister Hego Damask Respect Thread

Plagueis is a very obscure character and a favorite one of mine.

As with other EU respect threads, however, this will be different in that comics are not the only source material for Star Wars. To represent Plagueis' capabilities, I will not be posting comic scans as he has no comic appearances but instead will be presenting quotes from novels, a short story, sourcebooks, handbooks, etc. For those of you who are hazy on Star Wars knowledge, let me explain a few things first.

1. Just in case this needs to be said, EU is Expanded Universe. Basically, EU Star Wars is all information and material separate from the movies as well as the movies themselves. This includes TV shows, comics, novels, video games, etc.
2. The Star Wars canon classes will be brought up in this thread at least a few times. So, to follow the terms I use and just to clarify, in Star Wars continuity, there are five canon classes.

  • G-Canon- (George Lucas Canon). This is the highest canon class. It includes only the movies and material pertaining to them.
  • T-Canon- (Television Canon). This is the second highest canon class and includes any information provided in TV shows. This includes Star Wars The Clone Wars, as an example.
  • C-Canon- (Continuity Canon). This is the basic canon. This includes everything else that is confirmed to be in continuity, i.e., novels, comics, sourcebooks/handbooks, video games, etc.
  • S-Canon- (Secondary Canon). This is essentially any information that has yet to be confirmed as canon. It should only be mentioned in the context that there is a chance a given piece of information could be non-canon.
  • N-Canon- (Non Canon). Self-explanatory.
3. I may also abbreviate the titles of events or series. For instance, Darth Plagueis is DP. The Tenebrous Way is TW . Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader is DLTRoDV . So on and so on.
4. As I said above, I will be quoting books. I will have no scans of pages from novels and only a few from sourcebooks/handbooks. In general, I will take a section from a book, quote, and list what the source material is.
5. For those of you who may be skeptical about my using sourcebooks/handbooks as a legitimate source of information, understand that Star Wars source/handbooks have a much better level of credibility than Marvel handbooks, for instance. In comparison with the comic or novel that a certain section may be based on, Star Wars handbooks and sourcebooks tend to be extremely accurate and are often re-released every few years with updated information. Facts provided in sourcebooks are C-Canon.

Having gone through all that (hopefully it all makes sense), respect Plagueis.

Powers

Plagueis’ powers are enhanced upon Darth Tenebrous’ death.

With 11-4D deep in processing mode, Plagueis withdrew a vial of his own blood and subjected it to analysis. Despite the recent amplification of his powers he sensed that his midi-chlorian count had not increased since the events on Bal’demnic, and the analysis of the blood sample confirmed his suspicions.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Damask’s arrival at Naboo causes the coldest winter the Naboo and Gungans had experienced.

Later it would be said by Naboo and Gungan alike that they couldn’t recall a colder winter than the one that followed Hego Damask’s autumnal visit to their world. The rivers and even the falls below Theed froze; the rolling plains and tall forests were blanketed three meters deep with snow; plasmic quakes rocked the Gallo Mountains and the Lake Country, the Holy Places and the undersea city of Otoh Gunga; and many of the egresses of the underwaterways that hollowed the planet were blocked by ice floes.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


While traveling to Aborah, Sidious has a vision of Aborah and perceives it inordinately saturated in the dark side, a result of Plagueis’ use of the Force while there.

A standard month after the events on Coruscant, Plagueis summoned Sidious to Muunilinst. Sidious had visited the High Port skyhook but had never been invited downside, and now he found himself soaring over one of the planet’s unspoiled blue oceans in a stylish airspeeder piloted by two Sun Guards. As the speeder approached Aborah, he settled deeply into the Force and was rewarded with a vision of the mountain island as a transcendent vortex of dark energy unlike anything he had ever experienced. It was something he would have expected to encounter only on Korriban or some other Sith world.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Sidious perceives Plagueis’ power and presence in the Force.

Just arrived on the Hunters’ Moon, Sidious studied Plagueis as the Sith Lord and his droid, 11-4D, viewed a holorecording of a black-robed Zabrak assassin making short work of combat automata in his home on Coruscant, some hovering, some advancing on two legs, others on treads, and all firing blasters.
Twenty years had added a slight stoop to the Muun’s posture and veins that stood out under his thinning white skin. He wore a dark green utility suit that hugged his delicate frame, a green cloak that fell from his bony shoulders to the fort’s stone floor, and a headpiece that hewed to his large cranium. A triangular breath mask covered his ruined, prognathus lower jaw, his mouth, part of his long neck, and what remained of the craggy nose he’d had before the surprise attack in the Fobosi. A device of his own invention, the alloy mask featured two vertical slits and a pair of thin, stiff conduits that linked it to a transpirator affixed to his upper chest, beneath an armored torso harness. He had learned to ingest and imbibe through feeding tubes, and through his nose.
Seen through the Force, he was a nuclear oval of mottled light, a rotating orb of terrifying energy. If the Maladian attack had weakened him physically, it had also helped to shape his etheric body into a vessel sufficiently strong to contain the full power of the dark side. Determined never again to be caught off guard, he had trained himself to go without sleep, and had devoted two standard decades to day-and-night experimentation with midi-chlorian manipulation and attempts to wrest a few last secrets from the Force, so that he—and presumably his human apprentice—might live forever. His inward turn had enabled him to master the equally powerful energies of order and disorder, creation and entropy, life and death.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis’ death releases a monumental tremor in the Force.

A tremor took hold of the planet.
Sprung from death, it unleashed itself in a powerful wave, at once burrowing deep into the world’s core and radiating through its saccharine atmosphere to shake the stars themselves. At the quake’s epicenter stood Sidious, one elegant hand vised on the burnished sill of an expansive translucency, a vessel filled suddenly to bursting, the Force so strong within him that he feared he might disappear into it, never to return. But the moment didn’t constitute an ending so much as a true beginning, long overdue; it was less a transformation than an intensification—a gravitic shift.
A welter of voices, near and far, present and from eons past, drowned his thoughts. Raised in praise, the voices proclaimed his reign and cheered the inauguration of a new order. Yellow eyes lifted to the night sky, he saw the trembling stars flare, and in the depth of his being he felt the power of the dark side anoint him.
Slowly, almost reluctantly, he came back to himself, his gaze settling on his manicured hands. Returned to the present, he took note of his rapid breathing, while behind him the room labored to restore order. Air scrubbers hummed—costly wall tapestries fibers against the spread of spilled fluids. The droid shuffled in obvious confliction. Sidious pivoted to take in the disarray: antique furniture overturned; framed artwork askew. As if a whirlwind had swept through. And facedown on the floor lay a statue of Yanjon, one of four law-giving sages of Dwartii.
A piece Sidious had secretly coveted.
Also sprawled there, Plagueis: his slender limbs splayed and elongated head turned to one side. Dressed in finery, as for a night on the town.
And now dead.
Or was he?
Uncertainty rippled through Sidious, rage returning to his eyes. A tremor of his own making, or one of forewarning?
Was it possible that the wily Muun had deceived him? Had Plagueis unlocked the key to immortality, and survived after all? Never mind that it would constitute a petty move for one so wise—for one who had professed to place the Grand Plan above all else. Had Plagueis become ensnared in a self-spun web of jealousy and possessiveness, victim of his own engineering, his own foibles?
If he hadn’t been concerned for his own safety, Sidious might have pitied him.
Wary of approaching the corpse of his former Master, he called on the Force to roll the aged Muun over onto his back. From that angle Plagueis looked almost as he had when Sidious first met him, decades earlier: smooth, hairless cranium; humped nose, with its bridge flattened as if from a shock-ball blow and its sharp tip pressed almost to his upper lip; jutting lower jaw; sunken eyes still brimming with menace—a physical characteristic rarely encountered in a Muun. But then Plagueis had never been an ordinary Muun, nor an ordinary being of any sort.
Sidious took care, still reaching out with the Force. On closer inspection, he saw that Plagueis’s already cyanotic flesh was smoothing out, his features relaxing.
Faintly aware of the whir of air scrubbers and sounds of the outside world infiltrating the luxurious suite, he continued the vigil; then, in relief, he pulled himself up to his full height and let out his breath. This was no Sith trick. Not an instance of feigning death, but one of succumbing to its cold embrace. The being who had guided him to power was gone.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis



Midi-chlorian Manipulation
Midi-chlorian Manipulation is a dark side power through which the adept can command midi-chlorians for purposes such as healing, resurrection, or the creation of life.


Plagueis gives an account of his successes in forcing midi-chlorians to suspend their standard function and protract their life cycle.

“The solution, therefore, is not to introduce new midi-chlorians but to impose one’s will on the midi-chlorians already present in the subject. This can be done through the energy of the pneuma. Just as a warrior in peak condition can lift a heavy weight, so can someone with a sharpened mental focus and an affinity for the Force achieve a measurable effect on living cells.
I begin with experiments on scurries and other small creatures. I used my will, amplified through my body’s own midi-chlorians, to override the lesser concentrated midi-chlorian voices in the test subjects. This proved more challenging than I predicted. Because midi-chlorians are linked by a universal mind, the ones in my own cells seemed to resist this imposition upon their fellows. But eventually I succeeded, first with small creatures, then with slaves purchased from the Hutts. I forced the midi-chlorians to override their natural life cycles. What I discovered is that these midi-chlorians would not die. Instead, they drew upon sustaining Force energy, which acted on a microscopic level to halt tissue decay in their host, putting an end to aging and disease.”

--Taken from Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side


He documents his experiments in increasing the midi-chlorian count of living beings.

“My experiments proved midi-chlorians could be controlled. If this is true, then could they not also be induced to create life at the molecular level? Midi-chlorians in the cells of the mother could, in theory, be persuaded o craft a zygote.
For consistency in my test subjects, I obtained hundreds of identical humanoids, each with consistent midi-chlorian level. After much experimentation, I succeeded in prodding the midi-chlorians to replicate themselves through asexual fission. Though in most cases, this process increased the numbers uncontrollably and killed the host.
But I believe that by using this method I can trick midi-chlorians into creating a zygote. Then it would simply be a matter of growing the subject under normal biological conditions. Such a subject could, of course, take years to hit the development milestone of a typical humanoid, but he could have a midi-chlorian count as high as 20,000 per cell. That is more than any Jedi or Sith in recorded history. Although entirely theoretical, such an achievement is intriguing.”

--Taken from Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side


Plagueis weakens the mental defense a Yinchorri’s midi-chlorians offer him to render him susceptible to Force suggestion.

A gift to Damask from the Council of Elders on the occasion of Yinchorr’s seating in the Senate, the towering reptilian condemned murderer shuffled to the center of the energy field that defined his cage on Aborah and, with confusion contorting the features of his beaked face, prostrated himself on the permacrete floor and mumbled in Basic: “I’m honored to be here and to perform whatever tasks you require of me.”
Standing at the field’s shimmering perimeter, 11-4D pivoted his head toward Plagueis. “Congratulations, Magister. At last he responds to your suggestion. You have undermined his resolve.”
That resolve, Plagueis had learned after more than two years of experimentation on the Yinchorri, was in fact a kind of Force bubble fashioned by the turtle-like alien’s limited number of unusually willful midi-chlorians. This suggested that the Yinchorri was actually strong in the Force, despite his pitifully low count. The discovery had come as a breakthrough, and Plagueis was still grappling with the implications.
The Force bubble itself was similar to those generated by creatures that drew on the Force to avoid predation by natural enemies. The relationship between the arboreal ysalamir and its adversary, the vornskr, provided a curious example, in that the latter was attracted to the former by the very mechanism the ysalamir employed as a defense. Where an extremely low midi-chlorian count might have bolstered the odds of survival, nature had instead made the ysalimir species strong in the Force. So strong, in fact, that several of the creatures acting in concert could create a Force bubble encompassing kilometers rather than meters. In a sense, the Jedi Order had done the same on a galactic scale, Plagueis believed, by bathing the galaxy in the energy of the light side of the Force; or more accurately by fashioning a Force bubble that had prevented infiltration by the dark side, until Tenebrous’s Master had succeeded in bursting the bubble, or at least shrinking it. How the Order’s actions could be thought of as balancing the Force had baffled generations of Sith, who harbored no delusions regarding the Force’s ability to self-regulate.
The Yinchorri former convict wasn’t the only new addition to Plagueis’s island facility. In the eleven years that had elapsed since the capture of Venamis and the recruitment of Sidious, Plagueis had collected more than a dozen beings of diverse species and had been subjecting them to a wide range of experiments involving volition, telepathy, healing, regeneration, and life extension, with some promising results. As for the Bith would-be Sith Lord, he was alive and well, though kept comatose more often than not, and always under the watchful photoreceptors of 11-4D or a host of custodial droids.
Plagueis hadn’t lost interest in Venamis by any means, but the Yinchorri’s immunity to Force suggestion—an immunity the species shared with Hutts, Toydarians, and others—had provided him with a new line of investigation. Unlike ysalamiri, which created a Force bubble in the presence of danger, the Yinchorri were in a perpetual state of involuntary immunity to Force suggestion. The fact that immunity was in a sense hardwired into them meant that the ability was an adaptation, prompted by a past threat to the survival of the species. To Plagueis, it meant that the Yinchorri’s midi-chlorians had evolved to provide protection to a species that was naturally strong in the Force. If that were indeed the case, then the Yinchorri were living proof that the Sith of the Bane line had been on the right path from the very start.

In the same way that the pre-Bane Sith had been responsible for their own extinction, the great dark side Lords of the past had doomed themselves to the nether realm through their attempts to conquer death by feeding off the energies of others, rather than by tapping the deepest strata of the Force and learning to speak the language of the midi-chlorians. Plagueis was finally learning to do that, and was just beginning to learn how to persuade, prompt, cajole, and coax them into action. Already he could command them to promote healing, and now he had been successful in enticing them to lower their defenses. If he could compel a murderous Yinchorri to become peaceful, could he—with a mere suggestion—accomplish the opposite by turning a peaceful being into a murderer? Would he one day be able to influence the leaders of worlds and systems to act according to his designs, however iniquitous? Would he one day conquer not only death but life, as well, by manipulating midi-chlorians to produce Forceful beings, even in the absence of fertilization, as Darth Tenebrous might have attempted to do with gene-splicing techniques and computers?
Perhaps.
But not until the singular flame of the light side was extinguished from the galaxy. Not until the Jedi Order was stamped out.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He can influence midi-chlorians to heal injuries.

Plagueis was finally learning to do that, and was just beginning to learn how to persuade, prompt, cajole, and coax them into action. Already he could command them to promote healing, and now he had been successful in enticing them to lower their defenses.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis reveals to Sidious that he had used the Force to conceive life in creatures.

Sidious considered it, then asked, “Is Magister Damask your maker, droid?”
 “No, sir. He is simply my present master.”
Deeper in the complex, they moved past cages containing as many creatures as could be found in a well-stocked zoo. OneOne-FourDee indicated a cluster separate from the rest.
“These are the Magister’s most recent pregnancies.”
“The Magister’s?” Sidious repeated in bewilderment.
“His success rate has improved.”
Sidious was still trying to make sense of the droid’s statements when they entered a long corridor lined with windowless cells. Through the Force he could sense life-forms behind each locked door.
“Captives?”
“Oh, no, sir,” 11-4D said. “Ongoing experiments.”

“The Bith—Venamis...”
“Dispatched by Tenebrous to test me—to eliminate me had I failed. But Venamis has been a gift; essential in helping me unlock some of the deepest secrets of the Force. Every creature you have glimpsed or sensed here has been a similar blessing, as you will see when I lead you into the mysteries.”
“What did the droid mean when it said the Magister’s pregnancies?”
Beneath the breath mask, Plagueis might have quirked a smile. “It means that the pregnancies were not achieved by normal means of conception, but rather through the Force.”
Surprise and disbelief mingled in Sidious’s blue eyes. “The Force?”
“Yes,” Plagueis said pensively. “But I failed to exercise due caution. As we attempt to wrest the powers of life and death from the Force, as we seek to tip the balance, the Force resists our efforts. Action and reaction, Sidious. Something akin to the laws of thermodynamics. I have been audacious, and the Force has tested me the way Tenebrous sought to. Midi-chlorians are not easily persuaded to execute the dictates of one newly initiated in the mysteries. The Force needs to be won over, especially in work that involves the dark side. It must be reassured that a Sith is capable of accepting authority. Otherwise it will thwart one’s intentions. It will engineer misfortune. It will strike back.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Palpatine recalls that he and Plagueis had made headway in learning to control midi-chlorians years earlier.

Palpatine’s eyes sparkled in sadistic delight. Valorum was getting everything he deserved. He had demonstrated some diplomatic skill during the Stark Hyperspace War, but his election to the chancellorship had more to do with a pedigree that included three Supreme Chancellors and deals he had cut with influential families like the Kalpanas and the Tarkins of Eriadu. His adulation of the Jedi Order was well known; less so his hypocrisy—much of his family wealth derived from lucrative contracts his ancestors had entered into with the Trade Federation. His election seven years earlier had been one of the signs Plagueis had been waiting for—the return to power of a Valorum—and had followed on the heels of a remarkable breakthrough Plagueis and Sidious had engineered in manipulating midi-chlorians. A breakthrough the Muun had described as “galactonic.” Both of them suspected that the Jedi had sensed it as well, light-years distant on Coruscant.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis and Sdious perform meditative rituals in which they manipulate midi-chlorians and exercise dominion over the Force to imbalance the Force toward the dark side, spreading darkness throughout the galaxy.

While midi-chlorians appeared to resist manipulation of a sort that might imperil the balance of the Force, they remained passive, even compliant, in the case of a weak-willed being manipulated by one who was strong in the Force.

“The Bith—Venamis...”
“Dispatched by Tenebrous to test me—to eliminate me had I failed. But Venamis has been a gift; essential in helping me unlock some of the deepest secrets of the Force. Every creature you have glimpsed or sensed here has been a similar blessing, as you will see when I lead you into the mysteries.”
“What did the droid mean when it said the Magister’s pregnancies?”
Beneath the breath mask, Plagueis might have quirked a smile. “It means that the pregnancies were not achieved by normal means of conception, but rather through the Force.”
Surprise and disbelief mingled in Sidious’s blue eyes. “The Force?”
“Yes,” Plagueis said pensively. “But I failed to exercise due caution. As we attempt to wrest the powers of life and death from the Force, as we seek to tip the balance, the Force resists our efforts. Action and reaction, Sidious. Something akin to the laws of thermodynamics. I have been audacious, and the Force has tested me the way Tenebrous sought to. Midi-chlorians are not easily persuaded to execute the dictates of one newly initiated in the mysteries. The Force needs to be won over, especially in work that involves the dark side. It must be reassured that a Sith is capable of accepting authority. Otherwise it will thwart one’s intentions. It will engineer misfortune. It will strike back.”

Palpatine’s eyes sparkled in sadistic delight. Valorum was getting everything he deserved. He had demonstrated some diplomatic skill during the Stark Hyperspace War, but his election to the chancellorship had more to do with a pedigree that included three Supreme Chancellors and deals he had cut with influential families like the Kalpanas and the Tarkins of Eriadu. His adulation of the Jedi Order was well known; less so his hypocrisy—much of his family wealth derived from lucrative contracts his ancestors had entered into with the Trade Federation. His election seven years earlier had been one of the signs Plagueis had been waiting for—the return to power of a Valorum—and had followed on the heels of a remarkable breakthrough Plagueis and Sidious had engineered in manipulating midi-chlorians. A breakthrough the Muun had described as “galactonic.” Both of them suspected that the Jedi had sensed it as well, light-years distant on Coruscant.

And so it had been left largely to Sidious to bring the same fervor to the manipulation of events in the mundane world that Plagueis brought to the manipulation of midi-chlorians. Instead of challenging each other, they had both dedicated themselves to executing the Grand Plan. Political mastery and mastery of the Force. Someday soon, the Sith would wield both, with Sidious the face of the former and Plagueis behind the scenes, advising him about the latter. Like Plagueis, Sidious had moved judiciously, for unintended repercussions in the real world could be as damaging to the Sith imperative as blowback from the Force. The fact that the Force had not struck back argued that their partnership was something unique and in accordance with the will of the Force. Plagueis’s self-imposed isolation had taken a toll on some of the plans he and Sidious had engineered for the Trade Federation and other groups. But Plagueis had made what amounted to a full recovery from his injuries, and the dark side was no longer simply on the ascendant but risen and climbing toward the zenith.

Plagueis began to pace the cool floor. “No Sith have ever been in the position in which we now find ourselves, Darth Sidious: in step with the reemergence of the dark side, fortified by the signs and omens, certain that revenge and victory are near at hand. If the Jedi would abide by their philosophy of acting in accordance with the Force, of doing what is right, they would roll over for the dark. But they resist. Yoda and the rest of the Council members will double their meditation sessions in an effort to peer into the future, only to discover it clouded and unknowable. Only to discover that complacency has opened the door to catastrophe.
“If indeed they have been acting in accordance with the Force, how could we be succeeding in tipping the balance? How could the dark side be gaining ground? In fact, the Jedi have fallen away from their self assigned duty, their noble path. Could they have prevented it? Perhaps by having remained in control of the Republic, by electing and reelecting Jedi Supreme Chancellors. Or perhaps by absenting themselves completely from the affairs of the Republic, and attending to their arcane rituals in the belief that right thinking by them would keep the Republic strong and on course, the galaxy tipped into the light, instead of having allowed themselves to become marshals and enforcers.”
He cast a questioning look at Sidious. “Do you see the grand error of their ways? They execute the Republic’s business as if it were the business of the Force! But has a political body ever succeeded in being the arbiter of what is right and just? How easy it is for them to bask in self-assurance in their castle on Coruscant. But in so doing, they have rendered themselves ill equipped for the world we have spent a millennium bringing into being.”
He cleared his throat.
“We’re going to back them into a contradiction, Darth Sidious. We’re going to force them to confront the moral quandary of their position, and reveal their flaws by requiring them to oversee the conflicts that plague their vaunted Republic.
“Only Dooku and a handful of others have grasped the truth. All those years ago when I first met him on Serenno, I thought: What a blow it would be to the Order if he could be enticed to leave and embrace the dark side. What a panic it might incite. For if one could leave, then ten or twenty or thirty could follow, and the hollowness at the center of the Order would be plain for all to see.”
The Muun’s eyes narrowed. “One can’t be content to abide by the rules of the Jedi Order or the Force. Only by making the Force serve us have we prevailed. Eight years ago we shifted the galaxy, Darth Sidious, and that shift is now irreversible.”

Time is short.
Still in safekeeping on Aborah were texts and holocrons that recounted the deeds and abilities of Sith Masters who, so it was said and written, had been able to summon wind or rain or fracture the skies with conjured lightning. In their own words or those of their disciples, a few Dark Lords claimed to have had the ability to fly, become invisible, or transport themselves through space and time. But Plagueis had never succeeded in duplicating any of those phenomena.
From the start Tenebrous had told him that he lacked the talent for Sith sorcery, even though the inability hadn’t owed to a deficiency of midi-chlorians. It’s an innate gift, the Bith would say when pressed, and one that he had lacked, as well. Sorcery paled in comparison with Bith science, regardless. But Plagueis now understood that Tenebrous had been wrong about sorcery, as he had been wrong about so many things. Yes, the gift was strongest in those who, with scant effort, could allow themselves to be subsumed by the currents of the Force and become conduits for the powers of the dark side. But there was an alternative path to those abilities, and it led from a place where the circle closed on itself and sheer will substituted for selflessness. Plagueis understood, too, that there were no powers beyond his reach; none he couldn’t master through an effort of will. If a Sith of equal power had preceded him, then that one had taken his or her secrets to the grave, or had locked them away in holocrons that had been destroyed or had yet to surface.
The question of whether he and Sidious had discovered something new or rediscovered something ancient was beside the point. All that mattered was that, almost a decade earlier, they had succeeded in willing the Force to shift and tip irrevocably to the dark side. Not a mere paradigm shift, but a tangible alteration that could be felt by anyone strong in the Force, and whether or not trained in the Sith or Jedi arts.
The shift had been the outcome of months of intense meditation, during which Plagueis and Sidious had sought to challenge the Force for sovereignty and suffuse the galaxy with the power of the dark side. Brazen and shameless, and at their own mortal peril, they had waged etheric war, anticipating that their own midi-chlorians, the Force’s proxy army, might marshal to boil their blood or stop the beating of their hearts. Risen out of themselves, discorporate and as a single entity, they had brought the power of their will to bear, asserting their sovereignty over the Force. No counterforce had risen against them. In what amounted to a state of rapture they knew that the Force had yielded, as if some deity had been tipped from its throne. On the fulcrum they had fashioned, the light side had dipped and the dark side had ascended.
On the same day they had allowed Venamis to die.
Then, by manipulating the Bith’s midi-chlorians, which should have been inert and unresponsive, Plagueis had resurrected him. The enormity of the event had stunned Sidious into silence and overwhelmed and addled 11-4D’s processors, but Plagueis had carried on without assistance, again and again allowing Venamis to die and be returned to life, until the Bith’s organs had given out and Plagueis had finally granted him everlasting death.
But having gained the power to keep another alive hadn’t been enough for him. And so after Sidious had returned to Coruscant, he had devoted himself to internalizing that ability, by manipulating the midi-chlorians that animated him. For several months he made no progress, but ultimately he began to perceive a measured change. The scars that had grown over his wounds had abruptly begun to soften and fade, and he had begun to breathe more freely than he had in twenty years. He began to sense that not only were his damaged tissues healing, but his entire body was rejuvinating itself. Beneath the transpirator, areas of his skin were smooth and youthful, and he knew that eventually he would cease to age altogether.
Drunk on newfound power, then, he had attempted an even more unthinkable act: to bring into being a creation of his own. Not merely the impregnation of some hapless, mindless creature, but the birth of a Forceful being. The ability to dominate death had been a step in the right direction, but it wasn’t equivalent to pure creation. And so he had stretched out—indeed, as if invisible, transubstantiated—to inform every being of his existence, and impact all of them: Muunoid or insectoid, secure or dispossessed, free or enslaved. A warrior waving a banner in triumph on a battlefield. A ghost infiltrating a dream.
But ultimately to no end.
The Force grew silent, as if in flight from him, and many of the animals in his laboratory succumbed to horrifying diseases.
Regardless, eight long years later, Plagueis remained convinced that he was on the verge of absolute success. The evidence was in his own increased midi-chlorian count; and in the power he sensed in Sidious when he had finally returned to Sojourn. The dark side of the Force was theirs to command, and in partnership they would someday be able to keep each other alive, and to rule the galaxy for as long as they saw fit.
But he had yet to inform Sidious of this.
It was more important that Sidious remain as focused on manipulating events in the profane world as Plagueis was intent on dominating the realm of the Force, of which the mundane was only a gross and distorted reflection.
To be sure, the light had been extinguished, but for how long and at what cost?
He recalled a stellar eclipse he had witnessed on a long-forgotten world, whose single moon was of perfect size and distance to blot out the light of the system’s primary. The result hadn’t been total darkness but illumination of a different sort, singular and diffuse, that had confused the birds and had permitted the stars to be seen in what would have been broad daylight. Even totally blocked, the primary had shone from behind the satellite’s disk, and when the moon moved on there had been a moment of light almost too intense to bear.
Gazing into Sojourn’s darkening sky, he wondered what calamity the Force was planning in retreat to visit upon him or Sidious or both of them for willfully tipping the balance. Was retribution merely waiting in the wings as it had been on Coruscant twenty years earlier? It was a dangerous time; more dangerous than his earliest years as an apprentice when the dark side might have consumed him at any moment.
For now, at least, his full convalescence was near complete. Sidious was continuing to become more powerful as a Sith and as a politician, his most intricate schemes meeting with little or no resistance. And the Jedi Order was foundering...
Time would tell, and time was short.

Plagueis entered the room that had served as his meditation chamber. Though the high-ceilinged space was already fixed in his memory, he studied the few pieces of furniture in silence, as if searching for some detail that had escaped his notice. His eyes lingered on the small antechamber in which he and Sidious had been sitting when they had brought about the shift, and the strength of that memory was such that he was catapulted into a moment of intense reverie.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


While manipulating midi-chlorians to imbalance the Force, Plagueis and Sidious accidentally conceive Anakin Skywalker as the Force’s response to their defying its will.

Palpatine’s eyes sparkled in sadistic delight. Valorum was getting everything he deserved. He had demonstrated some diplomatic skill during the Stark Hyperspace War, but his election to the chancellorship had more to do with a pedigree that included three Supreme Chancellors and deals he had cut with influential families like the Kalpanas and the Tarkins of Eriadu. His adulation of the Jedi Order was well known; less so his hypocrisy—much of his family wealth derived from lucrative contracts his ancestors had entered into with the Trade Federation. His election seven years earlier had been one of the signs Plagueis had been waiting for—the return to power of a Valorum—and had followed on the heels of a remarkable breakthrough Plagueis and Sidious had engineered in manipulating midi-chlorians. A breakthrough the Muun had described as “galactonic.” Both of them suspected that the Jedi had sensed it as well, light-years distant on Coruscant.

The Muun’s eyes narrowed. “One can’t be content to abide by the rules of the Jedi Order or the Force. Only by making the Force serve us have we prevailed. Eight years ago we shifted the galaxy, Darth Sidious, and that shift is now irreversible.”

Time is short.
Still in safekeeping on Aborah were texts and holocrons that recounted the deeds and abilities of Sith Masters who, so it was said and written, had been able to summon wind or rain or fracture the skies with conjured lightning. In their own words or those of their disciples, a few Dark Lords claimed to have had the ability to fly, become invisible, or transport themselves through space and time. But Plagueis had never succeeded in duplicating any of those phenomena.
From the start Tenebrous had told him that he lacked the talent for Sith sorcery, even though the inability hadn’t owed to a deficiency of midi-chlorians. It’s an innate gift, the Bith would say when pressed, and one that he had lacked, as well. Sorcery paled in comparison with Bith science, regardless. But Plagueis now understood that Tenebrous had been wrong about sorcery, as he had been wrong about so many things. Yes, the gift was strongest in those who, with scant effort, could allow themselves to be subsumed by the currents of the Force and become conduits for the powers of the dark side. But there was an alternative path to those abilities, and it led from a place where the circle closed on itself and sheer will substituted for selflessness. Plagueis understood, too, that there were no powers beyond his reach; none he couldn’t master through an effort of will. If a Sith of equal power had preceded him, then that one had taken his or her secrets to the grave, or had locked them away in holocrons that had been destroyed or had yet to surface.
The question of whether he and Sidious had discovered something new or rediscovered something ancient was beside the point. All that mattered was that, almost a decade earlier, they had succeeded in willing the Force to shift and tip irrevocably to the dark side. Not a mere paradigm shift, but a tangible alteration that could be felt by anyone strong in the Force, and whether or not trained in the Sith or Jedi arts.
The shift had been the outcome of months of intense meditation, during which Plagueis and Sidious had sought to challenge the Force for sovereignty and suffuse the galaxy with the power of the dark side. Brazen and shameless, and at their own mortal peril, they had waged etheric war, anticipating that their own midi-chlorians, the Force’s proxy army, might marshal to boil their blood or stop the beating of their hearts. Risen out of themselves, discorporate and as a single entity, they had brought the power of their will to bear, asserting their sovereignty over the Force. No counterforce had risen against them. In what amounted to a state of rapture they knew that the Force had yielded, as if some deity had been tipped from its throne. On the fulcrum they had fashioned, the light side had dipped and the dark side had ascended.
On the same day they had allowed Venamis to die.
Then, by manipulating the Bith’s midi-chlorians, which should have been inert and unresponsive, Plagueis had resurrected him. The enormity of the event had stunned Sidious into silence and overwhelmed and addled 11-4D’s processors, but Plagueis had carried on without assistance, again and again allowing Venamis to die and be returned to life, until the Bith’s organs had given out and Plagueis had finally granted him everlasting death.
But having gained the power to keep another alive hadn’t been enough for him. And so after Sidious had returned to Coruscant, he had devoted himself to internalizing that ability, by manipulating the midi-chlorians that animated him. For several months he made no progress, but ultimately he began to perceive a measured change. The scars that had grown over his wounds had abruptly begun to soften and fade, and he had begun to breathe more freely than he had in twenty years. He began to sense that not only were his damaged tissues healing, but his entire body was rejuvinating itself. Beneath the transpirator, areas of his skin were smooth and youthful, and he knew that eventually he would cease to age altogether.
Drunk on newfound power, then, he had attempted an even more unthinkable act: to bring into being a creation of his own. Not merely the impregnation of some hapless, mindless creature, but the birth of a Forceful being. The ability to dominate death had been a step in the right direction, but it wasn’t equivalent to pure creation. And so he had stretched out—indeed, as if invisible, transubstantiated—to inform every being of his existence, and impact all of them: Muunoid or insectoid, secure or dispossessed, free or enslaved. A warrior waving a banner in triumph on a battlefield. A ghost infiltrating a dream.
But ultimately to no end.
The Force grew silent, as if in flight from him, and many of the animals in his laboratory succumbed to horrifying diseases.
Regardless, eight long years later, Plagueis remained convinced that he was on the verge of absolute success. The evidence was in his own increased midi-chlorian count; and in the power he sensed in Sidious when he had finally returned to Sojourn. The dark side of the Force was theirs to command, and in partnership they would someday be able to keep each other alive, and to rule the galaxy for as long as they saw fit.
But he had yet to inform Sidious of this.
It was more important that Sidious remain as focused on manipulating events in the profane world as Plagueis was intent on dominating the realm of the Force, of which the mundane was only a gross and distorted reflection.
To be sure, the light had been extinguished, but for how long and at what cost?
He recalled a stellar eclipse he had witnessed on a long-forgotten world, whose single moon was of perfect size and distance to blot out the light of the system’s primary. The result hadn’t been total darkness but illumination of a different sort, singular and diffuse, that had confused the birds and had permitted the stars to be seen in what would have been broad daylight. Even totally blocked, the primary had shone from behind the satellite’s disk, and when the moon moved on there had been a moment of light almost too intense to bear.
Gazing into Sojourn’s darkening sky, he wondered what calamity the Force was planning in retreat to visit upon him or Sidious or both of them for willfully tipping the balance. Was retribution merely waiting in the wings as it had been on Coruscant twenty years earlier? It was a dangerous time; more dangerous than his earliest years as an apprentice when the dark side might have consumed him at any moment.
For now, at least, his full convalescence was near complete. Sidious was continuing to become more powerful as a Sith and as a politician, his most intricate schemes meeting with little or no resistance. And the Jedi Order was foundering...
Time would tell, and time was short.

Plagueis entered the room that had served as his meditation chamber. Though the high-ceilinged space was already fixed in his memory, he studied the few pieces of furniture in silence, as if searching for some detail that had escaped his notice. His eyes lingered on the small antechamber in which he and Sidious had been sitting when they had brought about the shift, and the strength of that memory was such that he was catapulted into a moment of intense reverie.

Dooku smiled with his eyes, but not in mirth. “On the contrary, as you say. Since I’m interested in learning more about the possibility of an alliance.”
Palpatine adopted a hooded look. “You’re resolved to leave the Order?”
“Even more than when we last spoke.”
“Because of the Council’s decision to intervene at Naboo?”
“I can forgive them that. The blockade has to be broken. But something else has occurred.” Dooku chose his next words carefully. “Qui-Gon returned from Tatooine with a former slave boy. According to the boy’s mother, the boy had no father.”
“A clone?” Palpatine asked uncertainly.
“Not a clone,” Dooku said. “Perhaps conceived by the Force. As Qui-Gon believes.”
Palpatine’s head snapped back. “You don’t sit on the Council. How do you know this?”
“I have my ways.”
“Does this have something to do with the prophecy you spoke of?”
“Everything. Qui-Gon believes that the boy—Anakin is his name—stands at the center of a vergence in the Force, and believes further that his finding him was the will of the Force. Blood tests were apparently performed, and the boy’s concentration of midi-chlorians is unprecedented.”
“Do you believe that he is the prophesied one?”
“The Chosen One,” Dooku amended. “No. But Qui-Gon accepts it as fact, and the Council is willing to have him tested.”
“What is known about this Anakin?”
“Very little, except for the fact that he was born into slavery nine years ago and was, until recently, along with his mother, the property of Gardulla the Hutt, then a Toydarian junk dealer.” Dooku smirked. “Also that he won the Boonta Eve Classic Podrace.”
Palpatine had stopped listening.
Nine years old... Conceived by the Force... Is it possible...
His thoughts rewound at frantic speed: to the landing platform on which he and Valorum had welcomed Amidala and her group. Actually not Amidala, but one of her look-alikes. But the sandy-haired boy, this Anakin, swathed in filthy clothing, had been there, along with a Gungan and the two Jedi. Anakin had spent the night in a tiny room in his apartment suite.
And I sensed nothing about him.
“Qui-Gon is rash,” Dooku was saying. “Despite his fixation with the living Force, he demonstrates his own contradictions by being a true believer in the prophecy—a foretelling more in line with the unifying Force.”
“Nine years old,” Palpatine said when he could. “Surely too old to be trained.”
“If the Council shows any sense.”
“And what will become of the boy then?”
Dooku’s shoulders heaved. “Though no longer a slave, he will probably be sent to rejoin his mother on Tatooine.”

Plagueis came to a halt at the entry to Palpatine’s apartment. Eventually one of Queen Amidala’s near-identical handmaidens came to the door, a vision in a dark cowled robe. Her eyes fixed on the breath mask. “I’m sorry, sir,” she said, “Senator Palpatine is not here.”
“I know,” Plagueis said. “I’m here to speak with a guest of the Senator. A young human boy.”
Her eyes remained glued on the mask. “I’m not permitted—”
Damask motioned swiftly with his left hand, compelling her to answer him. “You have my permission to speak.”
“I have your permission,” she said in a distracted voice.
“Now where is the boy?”
“Anakin, you mean.”
“Anakin, yes,” he said in a rush. “He’s the one. Fetch him—now!”
“You just missed him, sir,” the handmaiden said.
Plagueis peered past her into Palpatine’s suite. “Missed him?” He straightened in anger. “Where is he?”
“Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn came to collect him, sir. I suspect that you can find him at the Jedi Temple.”
Plagueis fell back a step, his thoughts reeling.
There was still a chance that the Council would decide that Anakin was too old to be trained as a Jedi. That way, assuming he was returned to Tatooine...
But if not... If Qui-Gon managed to sway the Council Masters, and they reneged on their own dictates...
Plagueis ran a hand over his forehead. Are we undone? he thought. Have you undone us?

It was late in the evening when Plagueis made his way onto a public observatory that provided a vantage on the proprietary arabesque of a landing platform on which Queen Amidala’s Royal Starship basked in the ambient light.
With the cowl of his hood raised, he moved to one of the stationary macrobinocular posts and pressed his eyes to the cushioned eye grips. Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the boy had arrived at the platform in a Jedi ship; Amidala, her handmaidens and guards, and a loose-limbed Gungan in an open-topped hemispherical air taxi. Just then the latter group was ascending the starship’s boarding ramp, but Qui-Gon and the round-faced desert urchin had stopped short of the ship to speak about something.
What? Plagueis asked himself. What topic has summoned such an earnest look to Qui-Gon’s face, and such confused urgency in the boy?
Lifting his face from the macrobinoculars, he stretched out with the Force and fell victim to an assault of perplexing images: ferocious battles in deep space; the clashing of lightsabers; partitions of radiant light; a black-helmeted cyborg rising from a table... By the time his gaze had returned to the platform, Qui-Gon and the boy had disappeared.
Trying desperately to make some sense of the images granted him by the Force, he stood motionless, watching the starship lift from the platform and climb into the night.
He fought to repress the truth.
The boy would change the course of history.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis

Sidious recalled the desperate return trip to Coruscant; recalled using all his powers, and all the potions and devices contained in his medkit, to minister to Anakin's hopelessly blistered body and truncated limbs.
He recalled thinking: What if Anakin should die?
How many years would he have had to search for an apprentice even half as powerful in the Force, let alone one created by the Force itself to restore balance, by allowing the dark side to percolate fully to the surface after a millennium of being stifled?

--Taken from Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader

“My experiments proved midi-chlorians could be controlled. If this is true, then could they not also be induced to create life at the molecular level? Midi-chlorians in the cells of the mother could, in theory, be persuaded o craft a zygote.
For consistency in my test subjects, I obtained hundreds of identical humanoids, each with consistent midi-chlorian level. After much experimentation, I succeeded in prodding the midi-chlorians to replicate themselves through asexual fission. Though in most cases, this process increased the numbers uncontrollably and killed the host.
But I believe that by using this method I can trick midi-chlorians into creating a zygote. Then it would simply be a matter of growing the subject under normal biological conditions. Such a subject could, of course, take years to hit the development milestone of a typical humanoid, but he could have a midi-chlorian count as high as 20,000 per cell. That is more than any Jedi or Sith in recorded history. Although entirely theoretical, such an achievement is intriguing.
If a new life form could be created where none existed before, the living could sustain their bodies indefinitely. Science has led to these conclusions, yet these events must be guarded with utmost care. For now, it remains purely theoretical.”

“I can’t help feeling a chill as I read the account by Plagueis, knowing that my father was known for his high midi-chlorian count, which was supposedly even higher than Yoda’s.”
—Luke

“The beliefs of the Jedi are expressed in ritual and storytelling. Plain language somehow eludes those who have grown up tightly wrapped in tradition.
The Jedi await the coming of a savior, a prophesied Chosen One who will destroy the Sith and bring balance to the Force. The Jedi tell of Mortis, a place of impossible geography inside the angles of a gargantuan monolith. The three all-powerful beings of Mortis can assume strange shapes and exemplify the dark side, the light side, and the principle of balance.
Compelling? It is debatable, but at the very least it is an adequate way to illustrate an allegorical point. Day coexists with night, for example and construction is always followed by ruin. Yet many of the Jedi treat the legend of Mortis as literal truth. They believe that the Chosen One will prevent these gods and demons from tearing the universe asunder—that their champion will be a vessel of pure Force energy.
So we come back to midi-chlorians. These organisms allow beings to live and provide a connection to the Force. If bred in sufficient quantities, midi-chlorians can even conceive a new life form and bestow upon it powers greater than any Jedi has ever dreamed, generating a vergence in the Force.
If I induce midi-chlorians to create such a being, my handiwork would fit all the descriptions of their Chosen One. But he would be an agent of my will. How fitting that the misguided reliance on superstition could lead to a Sith creation that is hailed by the Jedi as a savior.”

--Taken from Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side

Anakin’s mother, Shmi, confirmed in her own words what Qui-Gon had already suspected—the boy was immeasurably strong in the Force. Neither knew of Darth Plagueis’s suspected involvement in inducing midi-chlorians to create life, though Shmi informed Qui-Gon that Anakin had no natural father.

Palpatine had carefully cultivated Anakin's hopes for preventing this dire premonition, and had revealed everything to Anakin: Palpatine's secret identity as Darth Sidious. His murder of his own Master, Darth Plagueis. The role that the Sith had played in creating Anakin by manipulating the midi-chlorians.

--Taken from The New Essential Chronology

It was believed that the teachings of the Sith Lord Darth Plagueis, applied by his apprentice Darth Sidious, were instrumental in Anakin's birth, resulting in the conception of a boy with an unnaturally high midi-chlorian count.

--Taken from The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia


Plagueis revives Darth Venamis from death repeatedly, heals scar tissue in his own body, and increases his midi-chlorian count.

On the same day they had allowed Venamis to die.
Then, by manipulating the Bith’s midi-chlorians, which should have been inert and unresponsive, Plagueis had resurrected him. The enormity of the event had stunned Sidious into silence and overwhelmed and addled 11-4D’s processors, but Plagueis had carried on without assistance, again and again allowing Venamis to die and be returned to life, until the Bith’s organs had given out and Plagueis had finally granted him everlasting death.
But having gained the power to keep another alive hadn’t been enough for him. And so after Sidious had returned to Coruscant, he had devoted himself to internalizing that ability, by manipulating the midi-chlorians that animated him. For several months he made no progress, but ultimately he began to perceive a measured change. The scars that had grown over his wounds had abruptly begun to soften and fade, and he had begun to breathe more freely than he had in twenty years. He began to sense that not only were his damaged tissues healing, but his entire body was rejuvinating itself. Beneath the transpirator, areas of his skin were smooth and youthful, and he knew that eventually he would cease to age altogether.
Drunk on newfound power, then, he had attempted an even more unthinkable act: to bring into being a creation of his own. Not merely the impregnation of some hapless, mindless creature, but the birth of a Forceful being. The ability to dominate death had been a step in the right direction, but it wasn’t equivalent to pure creation. And so he had stretched out—indeed, as if invisible, transubstantiated—to inform every being of his existence, and impact all of them: Muunoid or insectoid, secure or dispossessed, free or enslaved. A warrior waving a banner in triumph on a battlefield. A ghost infiltrating a dream.
But ultimately to no end.
The Force grew silent, as if in flight from him, and many of the animals in his laboratory succumbed to horrifying diseases.
Regardless, eight long years later, Plagueis remained convinced that he was on the verge of absolute success. The evidence was in his own increased midi-chlorian count; and in the power he sensed in Sidious when he had finally returned to Sojourn. The dark side of the Force was theirs to command, and in partnership they would someday be able to keep each other alive, and to rule the galaxy for as long as they saw fit.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis kills Ars Veruna by eliminating his midi-chlorians.

“What do you want with me, Damask?” Veruna asked when he could, breathing hard.
“Closure.”
Veruna stared at him in disbelief. “You got what you wanted. Isn’t it enough that I abdicated?”
“Your abdication would have been enough, had you not tried first to have me killed.”
Veruna gritted his teeth. “Everything I built was in jeopardy of being taken from me—even the monarchy! You left me no choice!”
Plagueis stood and reseated himself on the edge of the bed, like some macabre confessor. “I understand. Faced with a similar choice, I might have done the same. The difference is that I would have succeeded where you failed.”
“I’ll remain here,” Veruna said in a grasping way. “I won’t cause you or Palpatine any more trouble.”
“That’s true.” Plagueis paused, then said, “Perhaps I should have been more honest with you from the start. I delivered the Trade Federation to you; I put Tapalo, then you on the throne. How did you imagine I came by such power?”
Veruna ran a trembling hand over his thinning hair. “You were born the son of a wealthy Muun, and transformed that wealth into power.”
Plagueis made a sound of disappointment. “Have you not yet learned that the galaxy isn’t moved by credits alone?”
Veruna gulped and found his voice. “How did you come by such power, Damask?” he asked in a whisper of genuine interest.
“I was shown the way to power by a Bith named Rugess Nome.”
“I know the name.”
“Yes, but his true name was Darth Tenebrous, and he wore the mantle of the Dark Lord of the Sith. I was at one time his apprentice.”
“Sith,” Veruna said, as if weakened by the very word.
“Had you known, would you have allied with me?”
Veruna marshaled the strength to shake his head. “Political power is one thing, but what you represent...”
Plagueis made his lips a thin line. “I appreciate your honesty, Veruna. Are you beginning to tire of my presence?”
“Not...of you,” Veruna said, with eyes half closed.
“Let me explain what is happening to you,” Plagueis said. “The cells that make up all living things contain within them organelles known as midi-chlorians. They are, in addition to being the basis for life, the elements that enable beings like me to perceive and use the Force. As the result of a lifetime of study, I have learned how to manipulate midi-chlorians, and I have instructed the limited number you possess to return to their source. In plain Basic, Veruna, I am killing you.”
Veruna’s face was losing color, and his breathing had slowed. “Bring...me back. I can still be...of service...to you...”
“But you are, Your Majesty. A celebrated ancient poet once said that every death lessened him, for he considered himself to be a brother to every living being. I, on the other hand, have come to understand that every death I oversee nourishes and empowers me, for I am a true Sith.”
“No...better than...an Anzati.”
“The brain eaters? What does
better than mean to those of us who have passed beyond notions of good and evil? Are you better than Bon Tapalo? Are you better than Queen Padmé Amidala? I am the only one fit to answer the question. Better are those who do my bidding.” Plagueis placed his hand atop Veruna’s. “I’ll remain with you for a while as you meld with the Force. But at some point, I will have to leave you at the threshold to continue on your own.”
“Don’t do this...Damask. Please...”
“I am Darth Plagueis, Veruna. Your shepherd.”
As life left Veruna’s body, the path he and Plagueis followed wound deeper into darkness and absence. Then Plagueis stopped, overcome by a sudden sense that he had already seen and traveled this path.
Had he? he wondered as Veruna breathed his last.
Or had the Force afforded him a glimpse of the future?

--Taken from Darth Plagueis



Sith Lightning
Force Lightning is a dark side ability which projects raw Force energies in the form of electricity from the user's body and casts them on a target, causing pain or possibly death, as well as gradually sapping the victim's life.


Tenebrous and Plagueis release Lightning down the length of an ore shaft in attempt to halt the digging of a mining droid and leave residual charges of energy crackling after they stop firing Lightning.

Plagueis glanced at Tenebrous. “Who procured the probe?”
“This isn’t the time for questions. The probe is about to breach the pocket.”
Hastening to the rim of the circular shaft, the two Sith removed their gloves and aimed their long-fingered unprotected hands into the inky darkness. Instantly tangles of blue electrical energy discharged from their fingertips, raining into the borehole. Strobing and clawing for the bottom, the vigorous bolts coruscated into the lateral corridor the probe had excavated. Crackling sounds spewed from the opening long after the Sith had harnessed their powers.
Then the repetitive strikes of the jackhammer began once more.
“It’s the ore,” Tenebrous said. “There’s too much resistance here.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


After absorbing blaster bolts, Plagueis projects Lightning powerful enough to lift Wandau to the ceiling and seemingly reduces his bones to dust.

The lightsaber had scarcely left the Muun’s grip when Wandau flew from cover to bring the attack to the Muun, triggering his blaster as ceaselessly as Maa Kaap was still doing. This time, though, the Muun merely stretched out his right hand and absorbed the bolts. Traveling up the length of his arm and across his narrow chest, the energy seemed to fountain from the hand awaiting the return of the spinning weapon as a tangle of blue electricity that hissed from his tapered fingers, catching Wandau full-on and lifting him to the ceiling of the hold before dropping him to the puddled deck in a heap, as if his bones had turned to dust.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Holding her hands, Plagueis electrocutes an Iktotchi dark side prophetess to death.

Saleucami’s primary was low in the sky by the time Plagueis reached the stone slab and stood facing the Iktotchi. Her broad hands took hold of his, and she tightened her thick fingers around his narrow palms.
“A Muun of wealth and taste—the first who has come in search of me,” she said.
“You were selected,” Plagueis told her.
She held his gaze, and a sudden look of uncertainty came into her eyes, as if Plagueis had locked horns with her. “What?”
“You were selected—though without your knowledge. And so I needed to meet you in person.”
She continued to stare at him. “That’s not why you are here.”
“Oh, but it is,” Plagueis said.
She tried to withdraw her hands, but Plagueis now had firm hold of them. “That’s not why
you are here,” she said, altering the emphasis. “You wear the darkness of the future. It is I who have sought you; I who should be your handmaiden.”
“Unfortunately not,” Plagueis whispered. “Your message is premature and dangerous to my cause.”
“Then let me undo it! Let me do your bidding.”
“You are about to.”
A fire ignited in her eyes and her body went rigid as Plagueis began to trickle lightning into her. Her limbs trembled and her blood began to boil. Her hands grew hot and were close to being set aflame when he finally felt the light go out of her and she crumpled in his grasp. Askance, he saw one of the Iktotchi’s Twi’lek disciples racing toward him, and he abruptly let go of her hands and stepped away from her spasming body.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He generates Lightning that spreads across a landscape.

Getting to his feet, Plagueis extended his long arms in front of him and loosed a storm of Force lightning that crackled over the landscape, igniting fires in the grass.
“A Jedi sufficiently strong in the Force can be trained to produce a facsimile, but not true Sith lightning, which, unabated, has the power not only to incapacitate or kill, but to physically transform the victim. Force lightning requires strength of a sort only a Sith can command because we accept consequence and reject compassion. To do so requires a thirst for power that is not easily satisfied. The Force tries to resist the callings of ravenous spirits; therefore it must be broken and made a beast of burden. It must be made to answer to one’s will.
“But the Force cannot be treated deferentially,” he added as a few final tendrils sparked from his fingertips. “In order to summon and use lightning properly, you will someday have to be on the receiving end of its power, as a means of taking the energy inside yourself.”
Sidious watched the last of the brush fires burn out, then said, “Will I eventually be physically transformed?”
“Into some aged, pale-skinned, raspy-voiced, yellow-eyed monster, you mean. Such as the one you see before you.” Plagueis gestured to himself, then lowered himself to the ground. “Surely you are acquainted with the lore: King Ommin of Onderon, Darths Sion and Nihilus. But whether it will happen to you, I can’t say. Know this, though, Sidious, that the power of the dark side does not debilitate the practitioner as much as it debilitates those who lack it.” He grinned with evil purpose. “The power of the dark side is an illness no true Sith would wish to be cured of.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis



Telekinesis
Force Telekinesis is a power through which a Force sensitive can move, contort, and control matter for a variety of effects, ranging from constructive purposes to destructive ones.


Plagueis supports rubble falling from a cave ceiling and then collapses another part of the cave ceiling down on Darth Tenebrous so fast that Tenebrous nealry didn't comprehend what struck him.

A few meters away Plagueis, hurled face-first to the ground by the intensity of the vaporizing blast, lifted his head in time to see the underside of the domed ceiling begin to shed enormous slabs of rock. Directly below the plummeting slabs sat their starship.
“Master!” he said, scrambling to his feet with arms lifted in an attempt to hold the rocks in midair.
His own arms still raised in a Force-summoning posture, Tenebrous swung around to bolster Plagueis’s intent. Behind him, the fireball’s final flames surged from the mouth of the tunnel to lick his back and drive him deeper into the grotto.
The cave continued to spasm underfoot, sending shock waves through the crazed ceiling. Cracks spread like a web from the oculus, triggering collapses throughout the grotto. Plagueis heard a rending sound overhead and watched a fissure zigzag its way across the ceiling, sloughing layer after layer of stone as it followed the grotto’s curved wall. Now, though, it was Tenebrous who was positioned beneath the fall.
And in that instant Plagueis perceived the danger Tenebrous had foreseen earlier: his death.
His death at Plagueis’s hands.
While Tenebrous was preoccupied holding aloft the slabs that threatened to crush the ship, Plagueis quickly reoriented himself, aiming his raised hands at the plummeting slabs above his Master and, with a downward motion of both arms, brought them down so quickly and with so much momentum that Tenebrous was buried almost before he understood what had hit him.
Stone dust eddying around him, Plagueis stood rooted in place as slabs interred the starship, as well. But he gave it no thought. His success in bringing the ceiling down on Tenebrous was proof enough that the Bith had grown sluggish and expendable. Otherwise, he would have divined the true source of the danger he had sensed, and Plagueis would be the one pressed to the floor of the grotto, head cracked open like an egg and chest cavity pierced by the pointed end of a fallen stalactite.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He lifts slabs of rock and stacks them to build a mount high enough for him to leap out of the grotto, which is too high for anything less than a jetpack to reach and too high for Plagueis, who can leap ten meters vertically, can jump to and which is large enough to land Tenebrous’ vessel in, demonstrating the immensity of the cave and a significant amount of slabs and rubble necessary to reach the opening of the cave.

Again he squinted into the light pouring in through the oculus. Not even his power in the Force was enough to carry him from the floor and up through the grotto’s unblinking eye. Nothing short of a jetpack would do, and the ship didn’t carry one. His gaze drifted from the oculus to the grotto’s curving walls. He supposed he could spider his way along the arched underside of the dome and reach the eye, but now he saw a better way. More, a way to accomplish two tasks at the same time.
From a spot mid-distance between the ship and rubble pile beneath the oculus, he immersed himself in the Force and, with gestures not unlike those he and Tenebrous had used in arresting the ceiling collapse, began to levitate slabs from the ship and add them to the rubble heap, stopping only when he had both exposed the hatch of the ship and was confident he could Force-leap through the oculus from atop the augmented pile.
When he tried springing the hatch, however, he found that it wouldn’t budge. He was ultimately able to gain entry to the cockpit by assailing the transparisteel canopy with a series of Force blows. Worming his way inside, he retrieved his travel bag, which contained a comlink, his lightsaber, and a change of clothes, among other items. He also took Tenebrous’s comlink and lightsaber, and made certain to erase the memory of the navicomputer. Once outside the ship, he peeled out of the enviro-suit and blood-soaked tunic, trading them for dark trousers, an overshirt, lightweight boots, and a hooded robe. Affixing both lightsabers to his belt, he activated the comlink and called up a map of Bal’demnic. With scant satellites in orbit, the planet had nothing in the way of a global positioning system, but the map told Plagueis all he needed to know about the immediate area.
He took a final look around. It wasn’t likely that an indigene would have reason to investigate the grotto, and it was even less likely that another interstellar visitor would find this place; even so, he spent a moment regarding the scene objectively. A partially crushed but costly and salvage-worthy starship. The decomposed body of a Bith spacefarer. The aftermath of an explosive event... The scene of an unfortunate accident in a galaxy brimming with them.
Satisfied, Plagueis leapt to the top of the pile, then through the roof into the remains of the day.

Plagueis fixed the lightsaber hilt to his hip and set out at a fast clip, all but outracing the rain. If the scanners and motion detectors were as precise as they appeared to be, they would find him, though his speed might cause whoever was monitoring the security devices to mistake him for one of the wild, bushy-tailed quadrupeds that inhabited the landscape. He paused at the nebulous edge of the illuminated area to confirm his bearings, then made straight for the castle’s ten-meter-high southern wall and leapt to the top without breaking stride. Just as quickly and as effortlessly he dropped into the garden below and sprinted into the shadows cast by an ornamental shrub trimmed to resemble some whimsical beast.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis uses Lightsaber Throw to scalp one target and sever the arm of another.

Spying Blir’ and Semasalli, the Muun hurled the lightsaber in a spinning arc that took off the Balosar’s antenepalps and scalp and most of the wrinkled Dresselian’s left shoulder, misting the already agitated air with teal-colored blood. As alarms continued to wail and foam continued to gush, Blir’ folded and fell face-first to the slickened deck, while Semasalli, screeching in pain, collapsed to one side, reaching futilely for his severed arm with the other.
The lightsaber had scarcely left the Muun’s grip when Wandau flew from cover to bring the attack to the Muun, triggering his blaster as ceaselessly as Maa Kaap was still doing. This time, though, the Muun merely stretched out his right hand and
absorbed the bolts. Traveling up the length of his arm and across his narrow chest, the energy seemed to fountain from the hand awaiting the return of the spinning weapon as a tangle of blue electricity that hissed from his tapered fingers, catching Wandau full-on and lifting him to the ceiling of the hold before dropping him to the puddled deck in a heap, as if his bones had turned to dust.
In strobing red light, Maa Kaap’s eyes tracked the rise and fall of his broken comrade. His blaster depleted, the Zabrak drew a vibroblade from a belt sheath and launched himself at the Muun, his large right hand intent on fastening itself onto the Muun’s spindly neck.
The Muun caught the lightsaber, but instead of bringing it to bear against Maa Kaap, he danced and twirled out of reach of the vibroblade and commenced parrying the Zabrak’s martial kicks and punches, until a side-kick to the thorax drove Maa Kaap clear across the cabin and slamming into the bulkhead.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He kills Wandau with a hand gesture.

“You dishonor your heritage and your weapon, Jedi,” Wandau managed to say. “You could have used…the Force to compel us to do as you wished. I’ve not only seen that, but experienced it.”
The Muun’s face contorted in distaste. “If you’ve so little will,” he said in the tongue of Wandau’s species, “then you’re of no use to me, Klatooinian.” And ended Wandau’s misery with a click of his thumb and middle finger.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis breaks a tree branch during his duel with Venamis.

For no sooner had the blades of their weapons clashed than Venamis began to bring the fight to him in unexpected ways, twirling his surprisingly limber body, tossing the lightsaber from hand to hand, mixing forms. At one point he leapt onto an overhanging greel branch and, when Plagueis severed it with a Force blow, hung suspended in the air—no mean feat in itself—and continued the fight, as if from high ground.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He pulls Venamis’ lightsaber to himself before Venamis can accomplish the same.

With a gesture of his other hand, Venamis called for his lightsaber, but Plagueis was a split second quicker, and the hilt shot into his own right hand.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis records that uses the Force to nudge nanosyringes on a microscopic level during his experiments.

“I guide the nanosyringes with microscopic nudges in the Force.”

--Taken from Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side


He hurls a young Sidious to the ground.

Sidious whirled, flinging himself at Plagueis, only to meet an irresistible force and be hurled backward to the frozen ground.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis pushes down a Kursid warrior.

That was when Plagueis tossed aside the stun pike and ignited his crimson blade, and a collective lament rose from the crowds on the hillsides.
“Execute one, terrify one thousand,” he said.
Hurling the warrior to the ground with a Force push, he used the lightsaber to deftly open the primitive’s chest cavity; then he reached a hand inside and extracted his still-beating heart.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis briefly uses Choke on an unsuspecting Sidious as he tells the latter of the time he murdered Kerred Santhe.

Plagueis paused in narrow-eyed reflection. “It was one of the few times I saw my Master outmaneuvered. But he didn’t set his sights on revenge—not immediately, at any rate. Once in production, the starship met with such success that Kerred Santhe was able to acquire a controlling interest in Sienar Technologies and Republic Sienar Systems. Only by agreeing to an arranged marriage between his youngest daughter was Sienar’s president, Narro, able to retain his position as chief designer. By then, though, Narro had entered into a secret partnership with Tenebrous, and the time had come to settle scores.”
Plagueis moved as he spoke.
Damask Holdings was in its infancy, but I had already earned a reputation among the galaxy’s elite, and so received an invitation to attend a design conference on Corulag, which was then headquarters not only for Sienar Technologies but for Aether Hypernautics, Danthe Artifice, and a dozen other corporations. The guest speaker was the Senator representing the Bormea sector, and many luminaries from Coruscant, Corellia, and Kuat attended. From distant Lianna came Kerred Santhe and his young and unhappy wife, supported by an entourage of retainers and Santhe Security guards. I was seated at a table directly across from him, and the menu specialty that night was bloateel. Have you ever tasted it, Sidious?”
“As a teenager. At a gala hosted by House Palpatine.”
“Then you know that the creature is one of the most poisonous to be found in the galaxy. The preparation is both dangerous and exacting, as the creature must be skinned while alive to guard against its toxins infiltrating the flesh. Needless to say, nothing enlivens a banquet like the prospect of near-instant death, and the hall could barely contain the anticipation as individual portions were served.
“I waited to act until I saw Santhe chewing his first bite.”
Plagueis brought the thumb and forefinger of his left hand close together, and Sidious, taken by surprise, felt his throat close. He gasped for breath.
“Yes. Just so you have an understanding of what Santhe must have felt.” Plagueis opened his fingers and Sidious inhaled deeply, his face flushed and his hands stroking his throat.
“Only then I kept the pressure on until his face began to turn red, his hands flew to his throat, his muted calls for help brought everyone around him out of their chairs. I think his bulging eyes might have found mine when I finally pinched his trachea closed completely. Of course, medtechs had been standing by in the event of just such an emergency—Ithorians, if I recall correctly, armed with doses of antitoxin and medicines to counter the effects of anaphylactic shock. But none did the trick that night, for the dark side of the Force had Santhe in its grip and no drug or resuscitation technique was equal to the task of keeping him alive.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He sends a Maladian flying to a far wall.

Plagueis moved his eyes just enough to fix the locations of some of the two dozen assassins that had survived the Sun Guards’ counterattack; then he dug deep into the Force and catapulted himself to his feet. The closest of the assassins swung to him with raised vibroblades and rushed forward, only to be flung backward off the canted stage and against the room’s curved walls.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis scatters numerous small objects as projectiles.

Others Plagueis felled with his hands by snapping necks and putting his fists through armored torsos. Spreading his arms wide, he clapped his hands together, turning every loose object in the vicinity into a deadly projectile.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis sends out a telekinetic wave that practically atomizes Maladian assassins.

The wait lasted only until Plagueis attempted to unleash lightning. His second subsidiary heart failed, paralyzing him with pain and nearly plunging him into unconsciousness. The assassins wasted not a moment, throwing themselves at him in groups, though in a vain attempt to penetrate the Force shield he raised. Again he rallied, this time with a ragged sound dredged from deep inside that erupted from him like a sonic weapon, shattering the eardrums of those within ten meters and compelling the rest to bring their hands to their ears.
In blinding motion his hands and feet smashed skulls and windpipes. He stopped once to conjure a Force wave that all but atomized the bodies of six Maladians. He spun through a turn, dragging the wave halfway around the room to kill half a dozen more.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


While injured, he shakes the floor of a chamber, knocking assassins to the ground.

With nothing more than the Force of his mind, Plagueis rattled the floor, knocking some of the assassins off their feet, but others rushed in to take their places, slashing at him with their vibroblades from every angle.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He pushes a window out of its sill, opens doors, and then uses Choke on Veruna.

Plagueis stepped away from the wall to glance at the upper-story windows, all of which were dark, save for an arched opening near the end of the wall. Crouching, he maneuvered through bushes under a series of wide windows, then began to scale the wall, fastened to it like an insect. The tall and narrow target opening turned out to be a fixed pane of thick glass; the source of the light, a pair of photonic sconces that flanked a set of elaborately carved wooden double doors. Peering through the glass, he flicked his fingers at a security cam mounted high on the inner wall and aimed at the doorway, dazzling the mechanism and freezing the image of an unoccupied antechamber. Then, placing his left hand at the center of the glass, he called on the Force, pushing inward on the pane until it broke free of the adhesive weatherseal that held it in place. Telekinetically, he manipulated the intact pane to rest atop a table snugged to the opposite wall of the antechamber, and slipped through the opening. For a long moment he remained on the inner windowsill, waiting for his cloak and boots to dry and studying the patterned floor and double doors for evidence of additional security devices. Satisfied that the stunned cam was all there was, he planted his feet on the floor and walked to the doors, using the Force to trick them into opening just enough to accommodate his passing between them.
The only light in Veruna’s enormous bedroom came from a cam similar to the one in the antechamber, and just as easily foiled.
The former King himself was sleeping on his back under shimmersilk sheets in the center of a canopied bed large enough to fit half a dozen humans of average size. Plagueis disabled a bedside panel of security alarms, moved an antique chair to the foot of the bed, and switched on a table lamp that supplied dim, yellowish light. Then, sitting down, he roused Veruna from sleep.
The old man woke with a start, blinking in response to the light, then propping himself up against a gathering of pillows to scan the room. His eyes widened in thunderstruck surprise when they found Plagueis seated at the edge of the light’s reach.
“Who—”
“Hego Damask, Your Majesty. Beneath this mask my former enemies may as well have fashioned for me.”
Since Veruna’s eyes couldn’t open any wider, his jaw dropped and he flailed for the security control panels, slamming his hand down on the buttons when they didn’t respond.
“I’ve rendered them inoperative,” Plagueis explained, “along with the security cams. Just so that you and I could converse without being interrupted.”
Veruna swallowed and found his voice. “How did you get past my guards, Damask?”
“We’ll come to that in a moment.”
Magne—” Veruna attempted to scream until his voice went mute and he clutched at his throat.
“There will be none of that,” Plagueis warned.
“What do you want with me, Damask?” Veruna asked when he could, breathing hard.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He swirls his telekinetic powers around himself, hurling and damaging objects throughout his suite.

Still struggling for breath, Plagueis managed to stand, but only to collapse back onto the couch, knocking a statue from its perch. Sidious moved in, his hands upraised to deliver another bolt, his expression arctic enough to chill the room. A Force storm gathered over the couch, spreading out in concentric rings, to wash over Sidious and hurl objects to all corners. In the center of it, Plagueis’s form became anamorphic, then resumed shape as the storm began to wane.

Slowly, almost reluctantly, he came back to himself, his gaze settling on his manicured hands. Returned to the present, he took note of his rapid breathing, while behind him the room labored to restore order. Air scrubbers hummed—costly wall tapestries undulating in the summoned breeze. Prized carpets sealed their fibers against the spread of spilled fluids. The droid shuffled in obvious confliction. Sidious pivoted to take in the disarray: antique furniture overturned; framed artwork askew. As if a whirlwind had swept through. And facedown on the floor lay a statue of Yanjon, one of four law-giving sages of Dwartii.
A piece Sidious had secretly coveted.
Also sprawled there, Plagueis: his slender limbs splayed and elongated head turned to one side. Dressed in finery, as for a night on the town.
And now dead.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis



Telepathy/Empathy
Force Telepathy is a power through which Force sensitives can read, communicate, and manipulate thoughts. Empathy is a power through which Force sensitives can read, communicate, and manipulate emotions.


As a child, Damask manipulates his friends, influencing their emotions to induce enjoyment, comfort, discomfort, or anxiety.

Hego was not yet five years old when he began to sense that he was somehow different. Not only was he more astute than his playmates, but he could often manipulate them, arousing laughter when he wished to, or just as often tears; comfort just as often as anxiety.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He uses a Mind Trick on another young Muun to convince him to leap out a window.

One afternoon a Muun youngster he had grown to dislike pushed his way past Hego in an effort to be first to reach a staircase that led down to the Damask home’s lower-level courtyard. Grabbing his peer by the upper arm, Hego said, “If you’re in such a rush to get downstairs, then jump out the window.” Locking glances, Hego repeated the suggestion, and his victim took it to heart. Many questions were asked after the youngling’s broken body was discovered in the courtyard, but Hego kept the truth from everyone but his mother. She made him go over his explanation in increasing detail, until finally saying, “I’ve long suspected that you have the gift your father and I share, and now I know it to be true. It’s a strange, wondrous power, Hego, and you have it in abundance. Your father and I have spent our lives keeping our gifts a closely guarded secret, and I want your word that for the time being you will speak of it only to me or to him. Later in life this power will serve you well, but right now it must remain undisclosed.”
Having lived a surreptitious life for so many years, Hego found the notion of sharing the secret only with his parents completely natural.
No one held him responsible for his playmate’s plunge from the window, but, soon after, the steady stream of playmates began to dry up.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


After killing the Iktotchi prophetess, Plagueis Mind Tricks a Twi’lek into believing that she fainted, that Plagueis was uninvolved in her collapse, and to aid her predicament.

A fire ignited in her eyes and her body went rigid as Plagueis began to trickle lightning into her. Her limbs trembled and her blood began to boil. Her hands grew hot and were close to being set aflame when he finally felt the light go out of her and she crumpled in his grasp. Askance, he saw one of the Iktotchi’s Twi’lek disciples racing toward him, and he abruptly let go of her hands and stepped away from her spasming body.
“What happened?” the Twi’lek demanded as other disciples were rushing to the Iktotchi’s aid. “What did you do to her?”
Plagueis made a calming gesture. “I did nothing,” he said in a deep monotone. “She fainted.”
The Twi’lek blinked and turned to his comrades. “He did nothing. She fainted.”
“She’s not breathing!” one of them said.
“Help her,” Plagueis said in the same monotone.
“Help her,” the Twi’lek said. “Help her!”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


After Palpatine reduces his mental shielding, Plagueis views the emotions within him.

Plagueis sat tall in the chair, in genuine astonishment. He could see Palpatine now in all his dark glory. Anger and murder had pulled down the walls he had raised perhaps since infancy to safeguard his secret. But there was no concealing it now: the Force was powerful in him! Bottled up for seventeen standard years, his innate power had finally burst forth and could never again be stoppered. All the years of repression, guiltless crimes, raw emotion bubbling forth, toxic to any who dared touch or taste it. But beneath his anger lurked a subtle enemy: apprehension. Newly reborn, he was at great risk. But only because he didn’t realize just how powerful he was or how extraordinarily powerful he could become. He would need help to complete his self-destruction. He would need help rebuilding those walls, to keep from being discovered.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis
 

Plagueis constructs a Force Illusion of himself to trick Sidious.

Sidious steadied himself on the scree slope, the jagged stones beneath his bloody palms, elbows and knees quivering, as if yearning to immerse themselves in the frigid waters of the crystalline blue lake at the base of the near sheer incline. A few meters above sat Plagueis, cross-legged atop a flat-topped outcropping, his back turned to Sidious and his gaze seemingly fixed on the blinding snowfields that blanketed the mountain’s summit.
“If you don’t already want to murder me, you will before I’m through with you,” he was saying. “The urge to kill one’s superior is intrinsic to the nature of our enterprise. My unassailable strength gives rise to your envy; my wisdom fuels your desire; my achievements incite your craving. Thus has it been for one thousand years, and so it must endure until I’ve guided you to parity. Then, Sidious, we must do our best to sabotage the dynamic Darth Bane set in motion, because we will need each other if we’re to realize our ultimate goals. In the end there can be no secrets between us; no jealousy or mistrust. From us the future of the Sith will fountain, and the diverse beings of the galaxy will be better for it. Until then, however, you must strive; you must demonstrate your worthiness, not merely to me but to the dark side. You must take the hatred you feel for me and transform it into power—the power to overcome, to forbid anything from standing in your path, to surmount whatever obstacle the dark side designs to test you.”
Scarcely listening, Sidious moved with utmost care, his hands and knees seeking firm purchase on the stones. For weeks Darth Plagueis had deprived him of sleep, food, and water. Now if only he could reach the Muun, his thirst would be slaked, his hunger sated, his contusions healed. Countless times the broad expanse of rock debris had slipped and he’d had to ride the slide almost to the shore of the lake, tumbling, surfing on his front and back, abrading his ruddy skin, bruising nearly every part of himself. Only to have to pick his way back to the top.
Seething in silence, he managed to scale a meter more of the slope, calling on the Force to ensure his balance, to render him weightless.
“Fool,” Plagueis derided him. “Success doesn’t come from summoning help from the Force, but from taking control of it and generating the power from within yourself.” He sighed theatrically. “Still, I’m somewhat encouraged by the progress you’ve made. Mere centimeters from me now, almost within arm’s reach. Soon I’ll be able to feel your breath on my neck and perceive the heat of your rage—your desire to kill me, as if by doing so, you could lay claim to the authority I embody.” He paused but didn’t move, much less glance over his shoulder. “You want to strangle me, like you did your poor, misunderstood mother; tear me limb from limb as you did the bodyguards. Fair enough. But to do so you will have to make a greater effort, Apprentice.”
Like a feline, Sidious leapt from the scree, his curled fingers aimed for Plagueis. But instead of vising themselves around the Muun’s slender neck, his hands went through thin air and met each other, leaving him to collapse face-first atop the outcropping. Off to one side he heard his Master laugh in scorn. Either Plagueis had moved faster than Sidious could discern or, worse yet, he had never been there to begin with.
“So easily tricked,” Plagueis said, confirming the latter. “You waste my time. More of this and the dark side will never take an interest in you.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


After decreasing a Yinchorri's mental defenses by overriding his midi-chlorians, Plagueis plants a mental suggestion into his mind.

A gift to Damask from the Council of Elders on the occasion of Yinchorr’s seating in the Senate, the towering reptilian condemned murderer shuffled to the center of the energy field that defined his cage on Aborah and, with confusion contorting the features of his beaked face, prostrated himself on the permacrete floor and mumbled in Basic: “I’m honored to be here and to perform whatever tasks you require of me.”
Standing at the field’s shimmering perimeter, 11-4D pivoted his head toward Plagueis. “Congratulations, Magister. At last he responds to your suggestion. You have undermined his resolve.”
That resolve, Plagueis had learned after more than two years of experimentation on the Yinchorri, was in fact a kind of Force bubble fashioned by the turtle-like alien’s limited number of unusually willful midi-chlorians. This suggested that the Yinchorri was actually strong in the Force, despite his pitifully low count. The discovery had come as a breakthrough, and Plagueis was still grappling with the implications.
The Force bubble itself was similar to those generated by creatures that drew on the Force to avoid predation by natural enemies. The relationship between the arboreal ysalamir and its adversary, the vornskr, provided a curious example, in that the latter was attracted to the former by the very mechanism the ysalamir employed as a defense. Where an extremely low midi-chlorian count might have bolstered the odds of survival, nature had instead made the ysalimir species strong in the Force. So strong, in fact, that several of the creatures acting in concert could create a Force bubble encompassing kilometers rather than meters. In a sense, the Jedi Order had done the same on a galactic scale, Plagueis believed, by bathing the galaxy in the energy of the light side of the Force; or more accurately by fashioning a Force bubble that had prevented infiltration by the dark side, until Tenebrous’s Master had succeeded in bursting the bubble, or at least shrinking it. How the Order’s actions could be thought of as balancing the Force had baffled generations of Sith, who harbored no delusions regarding the Force’s ability to self-regulate.
The Yinchorri former convict wasn’t the only new addition to Plagueis’s island facility. In the eleven years that had elapsed since the capture of Venamis and the recruitment of Sidious, Plagueis had collected more than a dozen beings of diverse species and had been subjecting them to a wide range of experiments involving volition, telepathy, healing, regeneration, and life extension, with some promising results. As for the Bith would-be Sith Lord, he was alive and well, though kept comatose more often than not, and always under the watchful photoreceptors of 11-4D or a host of custodial droids.
Plagueis hadn’t lost interest in Venamis by any means, but the Yinchorri’s immunity to Force suggestion—an immunity the species shared with Hutts, Toydarians, and others—had provided him with a new line of investigation. Unlike ysalamiri, which created a Force bubble in the presence of danger, the Yinchorri were in a perpetual state of involuntary immunity to Force suggestion. The fact that immunity was in a sense hardwired into them meant that the ability was an adaptation, prompted by a past threat to the survival of the species. To Plagueis, it meant that the Yinchorri’s midi-chlorians had evolved to provide protection to a species that was naturally strong in the Force. If that were indeed the case, then the Yinchorri were living proof that the Sith of the Bane line had been on the right path from the very start.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He senses conflict in Sidious.

At no time during the visit to Sojourn had Darth Plagueis asked to hear his feelings about the death order he had issued for Vidar Kim. And no wonder, since Palpatine had given his word to do anything Plagueis asked of him. But it was obvious that the Muun had sensed Palpatine’s conflict.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis senses passion and relentlessness in Dooku.

But on the few occasions Plagueis had encountered Dooku, he had sensed something in him that warranted further investigation. Dooku was said to be one of the Order’s finest lightsaber masters, and he had earned a reputation as a skilled diplomat, as well; but his passion and restlessness were what had captured Plagueis’s attention.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Seemingly before Sidious rebuilt his mental shielding, Plagueis senses Sidious’ wonder over the state of former’s power.

Sidious pivoted to see his Master limp into the room, mouth, chin, and neck concealed behind a breath mask or transpirator of some sort. Most of the vibroblade wounds had healed, but his skin looked especially wan. Sidious had been wondering if Plagueis had been weakened by the attack, but he saw now that, for all the punishment his body had sustained at the hands of the Maladian assassins, the Muun was no less strong in the Force.
“Your thoughts betray you,” Plagueis said. “Do you think that Malak’s powers were weakened by Revan’s lightsaber? Bane by being encrusted in orbalisks? Do you think Gravid’s young apprentice was hindered by the prosthesis she was forced to wear after fighting him?”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


With a Mind Trick, he compels a handmaiden to reveal confidential information.

Plagueis came to a halt at the entry to Palpatine’s apartment. Eventually one of Queen Amidala’s near-identical handmaidens came to the door, a vision in a dark cowled robe. Her eyes fixed on the breath mask.
“I’m sorry, sir,” she said, “Senator Palpatine is not here.”
“I know,” Plagueis said. “I’m here to speak with a guest of the Senator. A young human boy.”
Her eyes remained glued on the mask. “I’m not permitted—”
Damask motioned swiftly with his left hand, compelling her to answer him. “You have my permission to speak.”
“I have your permission,” she said in a distracted voice.
“Now where is the boy?”
“Anakin, you mean.”
“Anakin, yes,” he said in a rush. “He’s the one. Fetch him—now!”
“You just missed him, sir,” the handmaiden said.
Plagueis peered past her into Palpatine’s suite. “Missed him?” He straightened in anger. “Where is he?”
“Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn came to collect him, sir. I suspect that you can find him at the Jedi Temple.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis



Farsight/Vision/Sense/Precognition
Farsight, Vision, and Sense are Force powers that allow the user to peer into the future, gain clairvoyant information, detect life, and perceive all surroundings, among other uses.


As a child, Hego reads his friends’ intentions and divines secrets and dishonesties.

Hego was not yet five years old when he began to sense that he was somehow different. Not only was he more astute than his playmates, but he could often manipulate them, arousing laughter when he wished to, or just as often tears; comfort just as often as anxiety. He learned to read intentions and body language. When he sensed that someone didn’t like him he would go out of his way to be generous, and when he sensed that someone liked him too much he would occasionally go out of his way to be difficult, as a means of testing the limits of the relationship. He divined tricks and deceits, and sometimes allowed himself to play the victim, the dupe, out of concern for arousing unwanted suspicion or being forced to reveal too much about his hidden talents.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He senses the Force within Jedi who visit Mygeeto and within Rugess Nome.

Like Muunilinst, Mygeeto received many important visitors, and at times it struck Hego that, in lieu of his being able to explore the galaxy, the galaxy was coming to him. On several occasions, his father met with Jedi Knights and Padawans who came in search of Adegan crystals, which the Jedi Order used in the construction of training lightsabers. Hego had long since perfected his ability to mask his powers from others. Even without revealing his true nature to the Jedi he was able to sense in them a kind of like-minded power, though one that was clearly at cross purposes with his own. From early on he knew that he could never be one of them, and he began to abhor their visits, for reasons he couldn’t grasp. Even more puzzling, he came to sense a power closer to his own in a Bith visitor named Rugess Nome.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis senses Tenebrous’ operating calculations.

But I need to warn you...” Tenebrous started to say and fell abruptly silent.
Plagueis could sense the Bith’s highly evolved mind replaying recent events, calculating odds, reaching conclusions.
“Warn me about what, Master?”
Tenebrous’s black eyes shone with yellow light and his free hand clutched at the ring collar of Plagueis’s enviro-suit. “You!”
Plagueis pried the Bith’s thin hand from the fabric and grinned faintly. “Yes, Master, your death comes at my bidding. You said yourself that perpetuation with purpose is the way to victory, and so it is. Go to your grave knowing that you are last of the old order, the vaunted Rule of Two, and that the new order begins now and will for a thousand years remain in my control.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis perceives Tenebrous in the Force and observes the activity of Tenebrous’ midi-chlorians as the latter dies, as he has done to many beings before.

Tenebrous was paralyzed and unconscious but not yet dead. Plagueis had no interest in saving him—even if it were possible—but he was interested in observing the behavior of the Bith’s midi-chlorians as life ebbed. The Jedi thought of the cellular organelles as symbionts, but to Plagueis midi-chlorians were interlopers, running interference for the Force and standing in the way of a being’s ability to contact the Force directly. Through years of experimentation and directed meditation, Plagueis had honed an ability to perceive the actions of midi-chlorians, though not yet the ability to manipulate them.
Manipulate them, say, to prolong Tenebrous’s life.
Looking at the Bith through the Force, he perceived that the midichlorians were already beginning to die out, as were the neurons that made up Tenebrous’s lofty brain and the muscle cells that powered his once-able heart. A common misconception held that midi-chlorians were Force-carrying particles, when in fact they functioned more as translators, interlocutors of the will of the Force. Plagueis considered his long-standing fascination with the organelles to be as natural as had been Tenebrous’s fixation on shaping the future. Where Bith intelligence was grounded in mathematics and computation, Muun intelligence was driven by a will to profit. As a Muun, Plagueis viewed his allegiance to the Force as an investment that could, with proper effort, be maximized to yield great returns. True, too, to Muun psychology and tradition, he had through the decades hoarded his successes, and never once taken Tenebrous into his confidence.
The Bith’s moribund midi-chlorians were winking out, like lights slowly deprived of a power source, and yet Plagueis could still perceive Tenebrous in the Force. One day he would succeed in imposing his will on the midi-chlorians to keep them aggregate. But such speculations were for another time. Just now Tenebrous and all he had been in life were beyond Plagueis’s reach.
He wondered if the Jedi were subsumed in similar fashion. Even in life, did midi-chlorians behave in a Jedi as they did in a devotee of the dark side? Were the organelles invigorated by different impulses, prompted into action by different desires? He had encountered many Jedi during his long life, but he had never made an attempt to study one in the same way he appraised Tenebrous now, out of concern for revealing the power of his alliance with the dark side. That, too, might have to change.
Tenebrous died while Plagueis observed.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis

Shielded from suffering by his command of the Force, Tenebrous observed the death agony of his physical form with appropriately Bithan dispassion. And now his impossibly refined perceptions detected the brush of Plagueis’ mind, as the apprentice probed the vanishing midi-chlorians of his dying master with his own use of the Force, as Tenebrous had known he would.

Now that his body’s physical senses had altogether perished, Tenebrous found his perception to the Force to be proportionately heightened. With glorious precision, he could trace the slightest wisp of Plagueis’ clumsy Force-probing as his apprentice sought to record and analyze every detail of Tenebrous’ death. He could feel Plagueis himself: crouched nearby, his eyes closed, the long spiderish fingers of one hand stretched forth as though to snatch Tenebrous’ disappearing midi-chlorians from mid-air.
This was Plagueis’ customary technique: a close examination, through the Force, of midi-chlorian decay that accompanied the physical death of his victims. Tenebrous was by far the most powerful Force-user whose death Plagueis had the opportunity to observe, and he had known all along that his apprentice would apply all his physical, mental, and Force capabilities—pitiful as they might be—to witness each slightest detail.

--Taken from The Tenebrous Way


He recalls the Force’s prompting to kill Tenebrous and feels the existence of another being of equal potency.

Awake in the oppressive heat, he replayed the events of the previous day, still somewhat astounded by what he had done. The Force had whispered to him: Your moment has come. Claim your stake to the dark side. Act now and be done with this. But the Force had only advised; it had neither dictated his actions nor guided his hands. That had been his doing alone.
He knew from his travels with and without Tenebrous that he wasn’t the galaxy’s sole practitioner of the dark side—nor Sith for that matter, since the galaxy was rife with pretenders—but he was now the only Sith Lord descended from the Bane line. A true Sith, and that realization roused the raw power coiled inside him.
And yet...
When he reached out with the Force he could detect the presence of something or some being of near-equal power. Was it the dark side itself, or merely a vestige of his uncertainty? He had read the legends of Bane; how he had been hounded by the lingering presences of those he had defeated in order to rid the Sith Order of infighting, and return the Order to a genuine hegemony by instating the Rule of Two: a Master to embody power; an apprentice to crave it. To hear it told, Bane had even been hounded by the spirits of generations-dead Sith Lords whose tombs and manses he had desecrated in his fervent search for holocrons and other ancient devices offering wisdom and guidance.
Was Tenebrous’s spirit the source of the power he sensed? Was there a brief period of survival after death during which a true Sith could continue to influence the world of the living?
It was as if the mass of the galaxy had descended on him. A lesser being might have heaved his shoulders, but Plagueis, wedged into his clandestine tomb, felt as weightless as he would have in deep space.
He would outlive any who challenged him.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis perceives the transference of midi-chlorians into the Force as the Woebegone’s crew dies and notes the strength in the Force of its members as well as their midi-chlorian count.

With the Woebegone traveling through hyperspace, Plagueis lay prone on the captain’s bunk, a bacta patch covering the wound on his back, contemplating the results of his attempts to prolong the lives of those crew members who had survived the altercation. Even where he had been successful in effecting repairs to damaged blood vessels and organs, the results had been temporary, as he had not been able to influence or appeal to the midi-chlorians to assist. Calling on the Force to mend ruptured arteries, torn muscle, or broken bone was no more difficult than levitating slabs of stone. But such refurbishments had little effect on a being’s etheric shell, which was essentially the domain of the midi-chlorians, despite their physical presence in living cells.
Among the ship’s crew, the Togruta, Captain Lah, had been the strongest in the Force, but she was beyond his help by the time he reached her. Had it not been for sloppiness on his part, owing to fatigue and blood loss, and lightning-fast reflexes on hers, the lightsaber might simply have pierced her neck and cervical spinal cord. But she had spun at the moment of impact, and the crimson blade had all but decapitated her. The Zabrak, too, had a slightly higher-than-normal midi-chlorian count, but not high enough to make him Force-sensitive. How different it had been to observe the behavior of the Zabrak’s midi-chlorians compared with those of Darth Tenebrous, only two days earlier!
The Jedi routinely performed blood tests to verify the midi-chlorian counts of prospective trainees, but Plagueis had passed beyond the need for such crude measurements. He could not only sense the strength of the Force in another but also perceive the midi-chlorians that individualized Forceful beings. It was that dark side ability that had allowed generations of Sith to locate and initiate recruits. The dispersal of midi-chlorians at the moment of physical death was, for lack of a better term, inexorable. Analogous to his fated confrontation with the
Woebegone crew, the moment of death appeared to be somehow fixed in space and time. According to his Sith education, since Captain Lah and the others had been in some sense dead from the moment Plagueis’s gaze had alighted on the freighter, it followed that the midi-chlorians that resided in alleged symbiosis with them must have been preparing to be subsumed into the reservoir of life energy that was the Force long before Plagueis had stowed away. His attempts to save them—to prolong that state of symbiosis—were comparable to using a sponge to dam a raging river.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He feels the Woebegone exit hyperspace.

Feeling the ship revert to realspace, Plagueis rose from the bunk, dressed, and walked forward, stepping over the corpses sprawled in the main cabin, the deck plates awash in fire-suppressant fluid and blackening pools of blood, and through passageways reeking of death.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis senses that his midi-chlorian count is unchanged.

With 11-4D deep in processing mode, Plagueis withdrew a vial of his own blood and subjected it to analysis. Despite the recent amplification of his powers he sensed that his midi-chlorian count had not increased since the events on Bal’demnic, and the analysis of the blood sample confirmed his suspicions.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Damask senses the arrival of Larsh Hill and two Muuns.

That Sith ceremonies and symbols had been incorporated into the ceremonies and the architecture of the fortress was Damask’s secret alone.
Sensing the arrival of Larsh Hill and two other Muuns, he swung from the parapet view.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He senses Darth Venamis’ Force sensitivity and presence from a distance.

“Go,” Damask told them. “But keep me informed.”
Stretching out with his feelings, he began to scan the forest again. Someone was out there, but not in the area the guards were searching. He attended through the Force to the sound of movement in the trees. Had the Gran infiltrated an assassin? If so, had they found one clever enough to divert the Sun Guards into chasing an illusion? Damask and the other Muuns should have been the targets, but instead of moving toward the fort, the intruder was actually moving away from it.
He spent another long moment listening; then, like a wraith, he dashed down three flights of stone steps and out through the old gate into the waking forest, parting his cloak as he ran, his left hand on the hilt of the lightsaber. Lifting off in great numbers from their evening roosts and screeching in displeasure, the morning’s earliest risers warned the rest that a hunter was on the loose. Of the most dangerous sort, Damask might have added: a hunter of sentients. In moments he was deep in a stand of old-growth greel trees well outside the security perimeter, when he sensed something that stopped him in mid-stride. Motionless, he drew inward in an effort to verify what he’d felt.
A Force-user!

A Jedi spy? he wondered.
They had tried repeatedly to penetrate Sojourn’s defenses during previous Gatherings. But unless one had arrived in a ship designed and built by Darth Tenebrous, there would have been no way to reach the surface undetected. And yet someone had obviously succeeded in making it downside. Lifting his hand from the hilt of the lightsaber, Damask minimized his presence in the Force, surrendering his eminence and disappearing into the material world. Then he began to move deeper into the forest, winding his way through the trees, allowing the Jedi to stalk him even as he berated himself for having acted rashly. If it came to ambush, he would not be able to fight back and risk exposing himself as a Sith. He should have allowed the Sun Guards to deal with the intruder.
But why would a Jedi bother to trip the perimeter sensors only to retreat beyond their reach? They didn’t make mistakes of that sort. And surely whoever was out there wouldn’t have expected a Muun to respond, if for no other reason than Muuns didn’t make mistakes of that sort. So what was this one after?
Ahead Damask heard the characteristic hiss and hum of a lightsaber, and saw the weapon’s blade glowing in the mist. Emerging from behind a thick-boled tree, the wielder had the lightsaber in his right hand, angled toward the spongy ground.
A crimson blade in a crimson wood.
Instantly he called his own lightsaber to his left hand, igniting the blade as the figure in the mist revealed itself fully: a tall, thin, pink-skinned craniopod with large lidless eyes—
A Bith!

Tenebrous?
He faltered momentarily. No, that wasn’t possible. But who, then? Tenebrous’s offspring, perhaps—some spawn grown from his genetic material in a laboratory, since the species reproduced only in accordance with the dictates of a computer mating service. Was that why Tenebrous had declined to discuss midi-chlorians or ways of extending life? Because he had already found a way to create a Force-sensitive successor?
“I knew I could draw you out, Darth Plagueis,” the Bith said.
Plagueis dropped all pretence and faced him squarely. “You’re well trained. I sensed the Force in you, but not the dark side.”
“I’ve Darth Tenebrous to thank for it.”
“He made you in his image. You’re a product of Bith science.”
The Bith laughed harshly. “You’re an old fool. He found and trained me.”
Plagueis recalled the warning Tenebrous had nearly given voice to before he died. “He took you as an apprentice?”
“I am Darth Venamis.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He feels Venamis summoning Force Lightning.

With a gesture of his other hand, Venamis called for his lightsaber, but Plagueis was a split second quicker, and the hilt shot into his own right hand. Sensing a storm of Force lightning building in the Bith, he crossed the two crimson blades in front of him and said: “Yield!”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis senses a Kubaz concentrating and manipulating the Force.

With the table accelerator humming to life and the Kubaz sliding some of his chits across the gambling grid, Plagueis stretched out cautiously with the Force, sensing intense concentration on the part of the Kubaz, and then an extraordinary surge of psychic energy. The Kubaz was using the Force—not to steer particles along certain paths but to dazzle the electromagnets and significantly reduce the number of paths the created particles were likely to take.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He perceives his Shi’ido target even after the Shi’ido skinshifts into an Askajian.

Hurrying through buildings undercut by the tunnel, they emerged just where the pedestrian bypass debouched into a public square fronted by restaurants and boutique shops. OneOne-FourDee sharpened his optical receptors and trained them on the mouth of the tunnel. “Based on the rate of speed at which the Shi’ido was walking when he entered the tunnel, he should have exited by now.”
“And indeed he has,” Plagueis said. “Direct your attention to the hefty Askajian who is passing by the Aurodium Spoon.”
The droid’s photoreceptors rotated slightly. “The Shi’ido skinshifted inside the tunnel.”
“I suspected he might.”
“Would that I had a tool comparable to the Force, Magister.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Damask electrocutes an Iktotchi prophetess until he feels her die, then withdraws his assault.

Saleucami’s primary was low in the sky by the time Plagueis reached the stone slab and stood facing the Iktotchi. Her broad hands took hold of his, and she tightened her thick fingers around his narrow palms.
“A Muun of wealth and taste—the first who has come in search of me,” she said.
“You were selected,” Plagueis told her.
She held his gaze, and a sudden look of uncertainty came into her eyes, as if Plagueis had locked horns with her. “What?”
“You were selected—though without your knowledge. And so I needed to meet you in person.”
She continued to stare at him. “That’s not why you are here.”
“Oh, but it is,” Plagueis said.
She tried to withdraw her hands, but Plagueis now had firm hold of them. “That’s not why
 you are here,” she said, altering the emphasis. “You wear the darkness of the future. It is I who have sought you; I who should be your handmaiden.”
“Unfortunately not,” Plagueis whispered. “Your message is premature and dangerous to my cause.”
“Then let me undo it! Let me do your bidding.”
“You are about to.”
A fire ignited in her eyes and her body went rigid as Plagueis began to trickle lightning into her. Her limbs trembled and her blood began to boil. Her hands grew hot and were close to being set aflame when he finally felt the light go out of her and she crumpled in his grasp. Askance, he saw one of the Iktotchi’s Twi’lek disciples racing toward him, and he abruptly let go of her hands and stepped away from her spasming body.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis discerns that Abraxin’s strength in the dark side diminished over the centuries.

Abraxin had been strong in the dark side during Bane’s lifetime, when it had been aligned with Lord Kaan’s Brotherhood of Darkness, but Plagueis could sense that the power had waned significantly in the intervening centuries.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He senses the approach of Naat Lare and two Jedi.

Surfacing to the riotous stridulations of insects, Plagueis leapt to the muddy shore, dressed, and perched himself in starlight on the slippery roots of a leafy tree. Shortly, he sensed an echo in the Force and saw ripples in the water some distance away. In the dim light, a blue-green nest of head-tresses broke the surface, followed by a pair of lidless maroon eyes. Then the amphibious sentient from Glee Anselm appeared, pulling himself ashore like some devolved beast and fixing his attention on Plagueis. At the same time, Plagueis heard the sound of a water skimmer approaching rapidly from deeper in the swamp, and sensed the presence of the two Jedi.
“You’re not Venamis,” Naat Lare said in Basic, one hand on the hilt of a vibroblade strapped to his muscular thigh.
“He helped you escape Bedlam and sent you here as part of your training.”
Naat Lare’s hand closed on the hilt. “Who are you?”
Plagueis stood to his full height. “I am Venamis’s Master.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Damask determines the relationship between Vidar Kim and the woman accompanying him.

Plagueis recognized the older male as Palpatine’s mentor in the youth program, Vidar Kim, and sensed that the comely black-haired female was Kim’s paramour.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He feels a disturbance in the Force caused by Palpatine’s murders.

A sudden current of intense dark side energy snaked through Plagueis. Stronger than any feeling he had experienced since the death of Darth Tenebrous, replete with flashes of past, present, and perhaps future events, the disturbance was powerful enough to snap him completely out of his trance. A rite performed; a confirmation conferred. Half expecting to find Venamis sitting upright on the table, he opened his eyes to the sight of 11-4D shuffling toward him from the operating theater’s communication console.
Plagueis’s mouth formed a question: “Hill?”
“No. The young human—Palpatine. A deep-space transmission.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


After Palpatine reduces his concealment of his Force sensitivity, Plagueis views the Force within him.

Plagueis sat tall in the chair, in genuine astonishment. He could see Palpatine now in all his dark glory. Anger and murder had pulled down the walls he had raised perhaps since infancy to safeguard his secret. But there was no concealing it now: the Force was powerful in him! Bottled up for seventeen standard years, his innate power had finally burst forth and could never again be stoppered. All the years of repression, guiltless crimes, raw emotion bubbling forth, toxic to any who dared touch or taste it. But beneath his anger lurked a subtle enemy: apprehension. Newly reborn, he was at great risk. But only because he didn’t realize just how powerful he was or how extraordinarily powerful he could become. He would need help to complete his self-destruction. He would need help rebuilding those walls, to keep from being discovered.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He feels Palpatine’s powers increase.

“Very good,” Plagueis said, after the recounted tale had forced itself between Sidious’s blue and trembling lips. “I can feel your remove, and sense your increasing power.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis senses Sidious drawing on the Force and notes his intentions.

Scarcely listening, Sidious moved with utmost care, his hands and knees seeking firm purchase on the stones. For weeks Darth Plagueis had deprived him of sleep, food, and water. Now if only he could reach the Muun, his thirst would be slaked, his hunger sated, his contusions healed. Countless times the broad expanse of rock debris had slipped and he’d had to ride the slide almost to the shore of the lake, tumbling, surfing on his front and back, abrading his ruddy skin, bruising nearly every part of himself. Only to have to pick his way back to the top. Seething in silence, he managed to scale a meter more of the slope, calling on the Force to ensure his balance, to render him weightless.
“Fool,” Plagueis derided him. “Success doesn’t come from summoning help from the Force, but from taking control of it and generating the power from within yourself.” He sighed theatrically. “Still, I’m somewhat encouraged by the progress you’ve made. Mere centimeters from me now, almost within arm’s reach. Soon I’ll be able to feel your breath on my neck and perceive the heat of your rage—your desire to kill me, as if by doing so, you could lay claim to the authority I embody.” He paused but didn’t move, much less glance over his shoulder. “You want to strangle me, like you did your poor, misunderstood mother; tear me limb from limb as you did the bodyguards. Fair enough. But to do so you will have to make a greater effort, Apprentice.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He experiences a sense of foreboding.

At the same instant Hill’s right knee touched the polished stone, a jangle of foreboding laddered up Plagueis’s spine. Turning ever so slightly, he saw that 11-4D had rotated its head toward him in a gesture Plagueis had come to associate with alarm. The dark side fell over him like a shroud, but instead of acting on impulse, he restrained himself, fearful of betraying his true nature prematurely.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He senses that Jabba is telling the truth about the Bando Gora.

“I need no assistance.” Plagueis leaned forward in the armchair. “What do you know that I may not know?” Jabba inflated his body, then allowed the air to escape him in a protracted, mirthless laugh. “I know something you may not yet know about the Bando Gora.”
Plagueis raised himself somewhat in the chair. Hideously masked Bando Gora assassins had become a growing concern in the Outer Rim, posing a problem to the leadership of some of the cartels Plagueis backed. “Now you have my interest, Jabba.”
“The cult has a new leader,” Jabba went on, happy to have the high ground. “A human female, she has entered into a plan with Gardulla, a Malastare Dug named Sebolto, and a Republic Senator to distribute contaminated death sticks, as a means of supplying the Bando Gora with brain-dead recruits.”
Plagueis stretched out with the Force to peer into the Hutt. Jabba wasn’t lying. “This human female,” he said.
“I’ve heard rumors.”
Again Jabba was telling the truth. “Rumors will suffice for now.”
The Hutt rubbed his meaty hands together. “Her name is Komari Vosa, and word has it that she is a former Jedi.”
Plagueis knew the name only too well. Some ten years earlier, Komari Vosa had been a Padawan of Master Dooku.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Damask feels that Sifo-Dyas will help the Sith.

“A reward we should withhold from Maul, but probably won’t.” Damask glanced at Palpatine. “In any event, it wasn’t Pavan who handed you the holocron. It was delivered by the dark side.”
Palpatine thought about it for a moment. “And Sifo-Dyas? Will he do it?”
“Even if he decides against it, there may be a way to place the order in his name. But the Force tells me that he will do it.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He gains faint impressions of future events and learns that Maul will not survive  the Federation blockade of Naboo.

The words stirred deep misgiving in Plagueis and he stretched out with the Force, attuned to its swirling currents. Momentarily, the gates that obscured the future parted and he had a glimpse of events to come, or events that might come.
Either way, he was not encouraged.
Had he and Sidious misunderstood? Would it be better to abort the plan and trust that Palpatine would be elected even without having Naboo fall to the Trade Federation? Once the Jedi learned of the existence of one Sith, would they launch an intense hunt for the other? Sidious had formed an almost filial bond with Maul. Attached to the present, he failed to grasp the truth: that this was the last time he and his apprentice might see each other in the flesh.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis sees images in the Force portending the future.

It was late in the evening when Plagueis made his way onto a public observatory that provided a vantage on the proprietary arabesque of a landing platform on which Queen Amidala’s Royal Starship basked in the ambient light.
With the cowl of his hood raised, he moved to one of the stationary macrobinocular posts and pressed his eyes to the cushioned eye grips. Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the boy had arrived at the platform in a Jedi ship; Amidala, her handmaidens and guards, and a loose-limbed Gungan in an open-topped hemispherical air taxi. Just then the latter group was ascending the starship’s boarding ramp, but Qui-Gon and the round-faced desert urchin had stopped short of the ship to speak about something.

What? Plagueis asked himself. What topic has summoned such an earnest look to Qui-Gon’s face, and such confused urgency in the boy?
Lifting his face from the macrobinoculars, he stretched out with the Force and fell victim to an assault of perplexing images: ferocious battles in deep space; the clashing of lightsabers; partitions of radiant light; a black-helmeted cyborg rising from a table… By the time his gaze had returned to the platform, Qui-Gon and the boy had disappeared.
Trying desperately to make some sense of the images granted him by the Force, he stood motionless, watching the starship lift from the platform and climb into the night.
He fought to repress the truth.
The boy would change the course of history.
Unless...
Maul had to kill Qui-Gon, to keep the boy from being trained.

Qui-Gon was the key to everything.

Plagueis and Sidious spent the day before the Senate vote in the LiMerge Building, communicating with Maul and Gunray and seeing to other matters. Early reports from Naboo indicated that Amidala was more daring than either of them had anticipated. She had engineered a reconciliation between the Naboo and the Gungans, and had persuaded the latter to assemble an army in the swamps. Initially, Sidious had forbidden Maul and the Neimoidians to take action. The last thing the Sith needed was to have Amidala emerge as the hero of their manufactured drama. But when the Gungan army had commenced a march on the city of Theed, he had no choice but to order Gunray to repel the attack and slaughter everyone.
Plagueis neither offered advice nor contradicted the commands, even though he knew that the battle was lost and that the boy would not die.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis



Listening
Force Listening is a power through which a Jedi can augment the acuteness of their physical senses.


Plagueis enhances his hearing to hear a conversation between Magneta and a security guard.

Plagueis moved to a stained-glass window just as two humans were hurrying through a hallway beyond. With rain overflowing a gutter high overhead, he felt as if he were standing behind a waterfall.
“Check on him and report back to me,” the female was saying.
Plagueis recognized the voice of security chief Magneta. Sticking close to the outer wall, he paralleled the movement of Magneta’s subordinate to the end of the hallway, then through a right-angled turn into a broader hall that led to a control room tucked beneath the sweep of a grand staircase. Plagueis sharpened his auditory senses to hear Magneta’s man ask after Veruna, and a human female reply, “Sleeping like a baby.”
“Good for him. While the rest of us drown.”
“If you’re so miserable, Chary,” the woman said, “you should consider returning to Theed.”
“I’m thinking about it.”
“Just don’t expect me to follow you.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis



Force Concealment
Force Concealment is a power that masks Force sensitivity or alignment in the Force and hides a Force sensitive's presence or existence.


As a child, Hego masks his potency with the Force from Jedi visitors to Mygeeto.

Having lived a surreptitious life for so many years, Hego found the notion of sharing the secret only with his parents completely natural.
No one held him responsible for his playmate’s plunge from the window, but, soon after, the steady stream of playmates began to dry up. Worse, his father began to grow distant—even while Hego found himself becoming more and more a part of Caar’s world. He considered that his father might be lying about having the power, or had come to think of Hego as some kind of monster. And yet he observed his father employing his eldritch powers of persuasion and manipulation in business dealings.
Like Muunilinst, Mygeeto received many important visitors, and at times it struck Hego that, in lieu of his being able to explore the galaxy, the galaxy was coming to him. On several occasions, his father met with Jedi Knights and Padawans who came in search of Adegan crystals, which the Jedi Order used in the construction of training lightsabers. Hego had long since perfected his ability to mask his powers from others. Even without revealing his true nature to the Jedi he was able to sense in them a kind of like-minded power, though one that was clearly at cross purposes with his own.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis hides his presence.

“Go,” Damask told them. “But keep me informed.”
Stretching out with his feelings, he began to scan the forest again. Someone was out there, but not in the area the guards were searching. He attended through the Force to the sound of movement in the trees. Had the Gran infiltrated an assassin? If so, had they found one clever enough to divert the Sun Guards into chasing an illusion? Damask and the other Muuns should have been the targets, but instead of moving toward the fort, the intruder was actually moving away from it.
He spent another long moment listening; then, like a wraith, he dashed down three flights of stone steps and out through the old gate into the waking forest, parting his cloak as he ran, his left hand on the hilt of the lightsaber. Lifting off in great numbers from their evening roosts and screeching in displeasure, the morning’s earliest risers warned the rest that a hunter was on the loose. Of the most dangerous sort, Damask might have added: a hunter of sentients. In moments he was deep in a stand of old-growth greel trees well outside the security perimeter, when he sensed something that stopped him in mid-stride. Motionless, he drew inward in an effort to verify what he’d felt.
A Force-user!

A Jedi spy? he wondered.
They had tried repeatedly to penetrate Sojourn’s defenses during previous Gatherings. But unless one had arrived in a ship designed and built by Darth Tenebrous, there would have been no way to reach the surface undetected. And yet someone had obviously succeeded in making it downside. Lifting his hand from the hilt of the lightsaber, Damask minimized his presence in the Force, surrendering his eminence and disappearing into the material world. Then he began to move deeper into the forest, winding his way through the trees, allowing the Jedi to stalk him even as he berated himself for having acted rashly. If it came to ambush, he would not be able to fight back and risk exposing himself as a Sith. He should have allowed the Sun Guards to deal with the intruder.
But why would a Jedi bother to trip the perimeter sensors only to retreat beyond their reach? They didn’t make mistakes of that sort. And surely whoever was out there wouldn’t have expected a Muun to respond, if for no other reason than Muuns didn’t make mistakes of that sort. So what was this one after?
Ahead Damask heard the characteristic hiss and hum of a lightsaber, and saw the weapon’s blade glowing in the mist. Emerging from behind a thick-boled tree, the wielder had the lightsaber in his right hand, angled toward the spongy ground.
A crimson blade in a crimson wood.
Instantly he called his own lightsaber to his left hand, igniting the blade as the figure in the mist revealed itself fully: a tall, thin, pink-skinned craniopod with large lidless eyes—
A Bith!

Tenebrous?
He faltered momentarily. No, that wasn’t possible. But who, then? Tenebrous’s offspring, perhaps—some spawn grown from his genetic material in a laboratory, since the species reproduced only in accordance with the dictates of a computer mating service. Was that why Tenebrous had declined to discuss midi-chlorians or ways of extending life? Because he had already found a way to create a Force-sensitive successor?
“I knew I could draw you out, Darth Plagueis,” the Bith said.
Plagueis dropped all pretence and faced him squarely. “You’re well trained. I sensed the Force in you, but not the dark side.”
“I’ve Darth Tenebrous to thank for it.”
“He made you in his image. You’re a product of Bith science.”
The Bith laughed harshly. “You’re an old fool. He found and trained me.”
Plagueis recalled the warning Tenebrous had nearly given voice to before he died. “He took you as an apprentice?”
“I am Darth Venamis.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He conceals his Force sensitivity from two Jedi, Ni-Cada and Lo Bukk and then briefly allows one to detect his immersion in the Force, after which he converses with the two without their suspecting his Force sensitivity.

Up ahead two Jedi layered in the Order’s traditional brown robes were haggling with a Barabel over the rental price for a water skimmer. Plagueis anchored himself in the material realm as the younger of the two Jedi—a Zabrak—swung slowly around to watch him and 11-4D as they passed.
Responding to the Jedi’s look with a nod of his head, Plagueis kept walking, deviating from the path only when they had reached a small market building, from which the pair of Jedi and the Barabel skimmer pilot could still be observed. Familiar with Barabel, Plagueis eavesdropped on conversations among the merchants, who sat behind trays of dead fish, birds, and insects the swamp had provided. The marsh haunt killings were on everyone’s mind, as were superstitions about the Blight. But the arrival of the Jedi was viewed as a good omen, in that the Order was venerated for having helped settle a clan dispute on Barab I almost a millennium earlier.
Plagueis drew 11-4D to the market entrance and instructed him to sharpen his photoreceptors on the Jedi, who were in the midst of concluding their business with the skimmer pilot. He then allowed himself to call deeply on the Force.
“Both of them reacted,” the droid said. “The Cerean directed a gaze at the market, but didn’t focus on you.”
“Only because he has his feelers out for a Nautolan rather than a Muun.”
A short time later, while Plagueis and 11-4D were wandering through the settlement, someone called out in Core-accented Basic: “We appear to be the only strangers in town.”
The voice belonged to the rangy Cerean, who had emerged from an eatery bearing a flagon of liquid. Following him outside, the Zabrak set two mugs on a table that enjoyed a pool of shade.
“Join us, please,” the Cerean said, nodding his tall conical head toward the table’s spare chair.
Plagueis stepped toward the table but declined the chair.
“A locally produced beer,” the Zabrak said, pouring from the flagon. “But I saw a bottle of Abraxin Brandy inside, if that’s more to your liking.”
“Thank you, but neither at the moment,” Plagueis said. “Perhaps after working hours.”
The Cerean motioned to himself. “I am Master Ni-Cada. And this is Padawan Lo Bukk. What brings you to Abraxin, citizen—”
“Micro-loans,” Plagueis cut in before having to provide a name. “The Banking Clan is considering opening a branch of the Bank of Aargau here as a means of shoring up the local economy.”
The Jedi traded enigmatic looks over the rims of the mugs.
“And what brings the Jedi to Abraxin, Master Ni-Cada? Not the shellfish, I take it.”
“We’re investigating the recent killings of marsh haunts,” the Zabrak said, perhaps before his Master could prevent him.
“Ah, of course. My droid and I saw the bodies of four of the pitiful creatures when we entered the settlement.”
The Cerean nodded gravely. “This so-called Blight will be over by tomorrow.”
Plagueis adopted a look of pleasant surprise. “Wonderful news. There’s nothing worse than superstition to cripple an economy. Enjoy your drinks, citizens.”
OneOne-FourDee waited until he and Plagueis were well out of earshot of the Jedi to say: “Are we departing Abraxin, Magister?”
Plagueis shook his head. “Not before I find the Nautolan. I’ve no choice but to attempt to draw him out of hiding.”
“But should you call on the Force, you’re likely to attract the Jedi, as well.”
“The risk may prove worthwhile.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis again conceals himself from Ni-Cada and Lo Bukk.

Naat Lare’s hand closed on the hilt. “Who are you?”
Plagueis stood to his full height. “I am Venamis’s Master.”
The Nautolan looked confused, but only momentarily. Then he genuflected in the mud. “Lord,” he said, lowering his head.
The sound of the skimmer was closer now, just around a bend in the swamp. “Two Jedi have tracked you.”
Naat Lare’s tresseled head swung to the sound of the skimmer.
Plagueis began to retreat into the shadows, and into mundane nature. “Prove yourself worthy to me and Venamis by killing them.”
“Yes, my lord.” The Nautolan sprang to his feet and dived into the slime-covered water.
Deep in the leafy trees Plagueis waited. The skimmer’s motor went silent; then water surged and shouts of alarm and sudden flashes of light erupted in the night.
“Master!”
A harsh guttural sound rang out, followed by a scream of pain.
“Stand aside, Padawan.” “Master, it’s—”
Another scream, higher in pitch.
“Don’t! Don’t!”
The thrum of an angered lightsaber, a howl of pain, and something heavy struck the water.
“Is he alive? Is he alive?”
Someone moaned.
“Wait...”
Waves broke on the rooted shore close to where Plagueis had concealed himself.
“Master?”
“It’s done. He’s dead.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He roots himself in the physical realm while conversing with Dooku, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Sifo-Dyas.

When Count Vemec finally called a break in the proceedings, and many of the participants headed to the food tables, Plagueis found himself alone with Dooku, Sifo-Dyas, and Qui-Gon Jinn, and drew the cloak of the profane over himself.
“Bickering is becoming all too common,” he remarked to no one in particular. “In the absence of resolution, it will be the outlying systems that will suffer most.”
Dooku nodded sagely. “The hyperwave repeater should have been a Republic undertaking. The Senate erred in allowing the HoloNet to be privatized.”
Qui-Gon Jinn’s ears pricked up, and he glanced at Plagueis. “Discontent in the outer systems is in keeping with the aims of Damask Holdings, is it not, Magister?”
“On the contrary,” Plagueis replied in a composed voice. “We advocate for the interests of neglected worlds when and wherever we can.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Damask cloaks his powers from Palpatine.

The contingent of Senators had scarcely left when Palpatine heard his name called; turning, he saw Ronhar Kim in the company of two older human Jedi. Quietly he pulled his powers deeper into himself and adopted a mask of cordiality.
“Jedi Ronhar,” he said, inclining his head in greeting.
The black-haired Jedi returned the nod. “Senator Palpatine, may I introduce Masters Dooku and Sifo-Dyas.”
Palpatine was familiar with the former, but only by reputation. “A great honor, Masters.”
Dooku appraised him openly, then arched an eyebrow. “Excuse me for staring, Senator, but Ronhar’s descriptions of you led me to expect someone older.”
“I disguise myself well, Master Dooku. My age, that is.”
“Either way,” Sifo-Dyas remarked, “a talent required by your position.”
“An ignoble truth, Master Sifo-Dyas. But we strive to remain faithful to our conscience.”
Dooku smiled with purpose. “Hold tight to that, Senator Palpatine. Coruscant will surely test your resolve.”
Ronhar Kim had his mouth open to speak when another familiar voice rang out.
“I didn’t realize that you were acquainted.”
“Magister Damask,” Dooku and Sifo-Dyas said simultaneously, turning to greet him.
Damask looked at Palpatine. “Recently—on Serenno, in fact—Masters Dooku, Sifo-Dyas, and I engaged in a spirited discussion about the current state of the galaxy and our hopes for the future.”
“Serenno,” Palpatine said, more to himself and mildly confounded. Damask hadn’t said anything about Jedi attending the meeting there. So what message was he sending now? Glancing at the trio of Jedi, he thought back to his Master’s remark that even Jedi could be turned to the dark. Had the near-bungled assassination of Vidar Kim persuaded Plagueis to entice and recruit a Jedi to serve as his apprentice?
“Ronhar just introduced us to the Senator,” Sifo-Dyas was explaining.
Dooku’s eyes moved from Damask to Palpatine and back again. “May I inquire how it is that you and the Senator know each other?”
Damask motioned to Palpatine. “Senator Palpatine and Damask Holdings share a dream for Naboo...” He gestured inclusively to Hill and the other Muuns. “Palpatine was one of the few who early on saw the wisdom of ushering in a new era for his homeworld.”
Palpatine sensed scrutiny from someone outside the circle the ten of them had formed. Just short of the Senate Building’s Great Door, Pax Teem had stopped and was gazing at Palpatine, his eyestalks extended. And Palpatine could scarcely blame him, since even he had been caught off guard by Plagueis’s eagerness to acknowledge him in public.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis minimizes his presence in the Force.

It certainly wasn’t that he didn’t trust Darth Sidious. But Plagueis had never observed Maul at close range, and he was curious about Sidious’s relationship with him. He knew that they had seldom met outside The Works, let alone walked together on a balcony of one of Coruscant’s most stylish monads in the dead of night, wrapped in their cowled cloaks. But it was only fitting that they should finally do so. With 11-4D close at hand, Plagueis stood observing the two of them from afar, his presence in the Force minimized.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis



Force Deflection/Absorption/Barrier
Force Deflection is a power through which a Jedi can redirect projectiles of virtually any kind. Force Absorption allows the user to absorb and drawn in energy, whether to dissipate it or to convert it into usable energy for themselves. Force Barrier, or Force Shield, is a power that generates an energy force field around the user to defend against attacks.


Plaguies uses Deflection to redirect blaster bolts.

The Muun’s reaction to the barrage of bolts that converged on him required almost more processing power than the droid had at its disposal. By employing a combination of body movements, lightsaber, and naked right hand, the agile sentient evaded, deflected, or returned every shot that targeted him.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He uses Absorption to draw in and harness energy from blaster bolts as bolts of Lightning.

The lightsaber had scarcely left the Muun’s grip when Wandau flew from cover to bring the attack to the Muun, triggering his blaster as ceaselessly as Maa Kaap was still doing. This time, though, the Muun merely stretched out his right hand and absorbed the bolts. Traveling up the length of his arm and across his narrow chest, the energy seemed to fountain from the hand awaiting the return of the spinning weapon as a tangle of blue electricity that hissed from his tapered fingers, catching Wandau full-on and lifting him to the ceiling of the hold before dropping him to the puddled deck in a heap, as if his bones had turned to dust.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis creates a Barrier to ward off assassins coming near him.

The wait lasted only until Plagueis attempted to unleash lightning. His second subsidiary heart failed, paralyzing him with pain and nearly plunging him into unconsciousness. The assassins wasted not a moment, throwing themselves at him in groups, though in a vain attempt to penetrate the Force shield he raised.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis



Force Scream
Scream is an involuntary dark side power from which the user releases a powerful scream of energy brought on by intense anger, pain, or distress.


Plagueis releases a Force Scream that stuns and shatters the eardrums of assassins near him.

The wait lasted only until Plagueis attempted to unleash lightning. His second subsidiary heart failed, paralyzing him with pain and nearly plunging him into unconsciousness. The assassins wasted not a moment, throwing themselves at him in groups, though in a vain attempt to penetrate the Force shield he raised. Again he rallied, this time with a ragged sound dredged from deep inside that erupted from him like a sonic weapon, shattering the eardrums of those within ten meters and compelling the rest to bring their hands to their ears.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis



Convection
Convection is the ability to produce intense heat from a Force sensitive's body to no ill effect to themselves.


Plagueis melts snowflakes falling near him before they reach his body, possibly by use of Convection.

The obedient orphan stood shivering in swirling snow. Around him rose ice pinnacles shaped like jagged teeth; a glacial wind howled through them. Plagueis stood nearby, flakes of snow and ice gyrating around him but never lighting on him, melting before they reached him.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis



Electronic Manipulation
Electronic Manipulation is a power by which a Force sensitive can manipulate a machine's physical and electrical components to alter its functionality.


Possibly by use of Electronic Manipulation, Damask stuns security cameras and disables security controls.

Plagueis stepped away from the wall to glance at the upper-story windows, all of which were dark, save for an arched opening near the end of the wall. Crouching, he maneuvered through bushes under a series of wide windows, then began to scale the wall, fastened to it like an insect. The tall and narrow target opening turned out to be a fixed pane of thick glass; the source of the light, a pair of photonic sconces that flanked a set of elaborately carved wooden double doors. Peering through the glass, he flicked his fingers at a security cam mounted high on the inner wall and aimed at the doorway, dazzling the mechanism and freezing the image of an unoccupied antechamber. Then, placing his left hand at the center of the glass, he called on the Force, pushing inward on the pane until it broke free of the adhesive weatherseal that held it in place. Telekinetically, he manipulated the intact pane to rest atop a table snugged to the opposite wall of the antechamber, and slipped through the opening. For a long moment he remained on the inner windowsill, waiting for his cloak and boots to dry and studying the patterned floor and double doors for evidence of additional security devices. Satisfied that the stunned cam was all there was, he planted his feet on the floor and walked to the doors, using the Force to trick them into opening just enough to accommodate his passing between them.
The only light in Veruna’s enormous bedroom came from a cam similar to the one in the antechamber, and just as easily foiled.
The former King himself was sleeping on his back under shimmersilk sheets in the center of a canopied bed large enough to fit half a dozen humans of average size. Plagueis disabled a bedside panel of security alarms, moved an antique chair to the foot of the bed, and switched on a table lamp that supplied dim, yellowish light. Then, sitting down, he roused Veruna from sleep.
The old man woke with a start, blinking in response to the light, then propping himself up against a gathering of pillows to scan the room. His eyes widened in thunderstruck surprise when they found Plagueis seated at the edge of the light’s reach.
“Who—”
“Hego Damask, Your Majesty. Beneath this mask my former enemies may as well have fashioned for me.”
Since Veruna’s eyes couldn’t open any wider, his jaw dropped and he flailed for the security control panels, slamming his hand down on the buttons when they didn’t respond.
“I’ve rendered them inoperative,” Plagueis explained, “along with the security cams. Just so that you and I could converse without being interrupted.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis



Force Heal
Force Heal allows a Force sensitive to regenerate tissue to heal wounds, reduce pain, and cure afflictions.


Plagueis numbs himself to the pain of his injuries.

Plagueis wasn’t certain how long he remained at Tenebrous’s side. Long enough, though, that when he rose his legs were quivering and some of the dust from the explosion had settled. Only when he took a few backward steps did he realize that the event had not left him unscathed. At some point, probably when he was focused on murder, a rock or some other projectile had pulped a large area of his lower back, and now the thin tunic he wore beneath the enviro-suit was saturated with blood.
Despite the swirling dust, he inhaled deeply, eliciting a stab of pain from his rib cage and a cough that spewed blood into the hot air. Drawing on the Force, he numbed himself to the pain and tasked his body to limit the damage as best it could. When the injury ceased to preoccupy him, he surveyed the grotto, remaining anchored in place but turning a full circle.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He briefly stabilizes the fatal injuries of Maa Kaap before Kaap dies.

Straightening out of a wide-legged stance, the Muun deactivated the lightsaber and scanned the beings he had killed and those he had maimed with chilling exactitude. His yellow eyes fell on 11-4D, but only for an instant; then he fixed the lightsaber to his belt and went quickly to his nearest victim, who happened to be Doo Zuto. Dropping to one knee alongside him, the Muun gazed intently at the Quara’s twitching body, but precisely at what the droid couldn’t surmise. Zuto’s bulging marine eyes seemed to implore his assailant for help, but the Muun did nothing to stanch the flow of blood or offer palliative aid.
He remained by the Quara’s side for a few moments, then moved quickly to Maa Kaap, from whose crushed chest cavity blood bubbled with each shallow breath. Again, the Muun ran his eyes over his victim, from Maa Kaap’s tattooed face to his large feet. Eyes closed, the Muun adopted a posture that suggested intense concentration or meditation, and Maa Kaap snapped back to panic-stricken consciousness. OneOne-FourDee tuned in to the Zabrak’s pulse and found it regular—but only for a moment. Then the rhythm of Maa Kaap’s heartbeat grew ragged and breaths began to stutter from his lungs.
Soon he was dead.
The Muun appeared to be frustrated, and his disappointment increased on finding that Blir’ was deceased, as well.

With the Woebegone traveling through hyperspace, Plagueis lay prone on the captain’s bunk, a bacta patch covering the wound on his back, contemplating the results of his attempts to prolong the lives of those crew members who had survived the altercation. Even where he had been successful in effecting repairs to damaged blood vessels and organs, the results had been temporary, as he had not been able to influence or appeal to the midi-chlorians to assist. Calling on the Force to mend ruptured arteries, torn muscle, or broken bone was no more difficult than levitating slabs of stone. But such refurbishments had little effect on a being’s etheric shell, which was essentially the domain of the midi-chlorians, despite their physical presence in living cells.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He cups a neck injury to slow bleeding.

Plagueis pressed his right hand to the right side of his neck to discover that a disk had made off with a considerable hunk of his jawbone and neck, and in its cruel passing had severed his trachea and several blood vessels. He cupped the Force against the injury to keep himself from lapsing into unconsciousness, but he fell to the floor regardless, with blood pumping onto the already slick stone circle.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis performs cardioversions on two of his hearts.

Not a meter away stood 11-4D, five decapitator disks protruding from his alloy body and telltale lights blinking, in the midst of a self-diagnosis routine. Having run himself through a similar test, Plagueis knew that he had lost a great deal of blood, and that one of his subsidiary hearts was in fibrillation. Sith techniques had helped him perform chemical cardioversions on his other two hearts, but one of them was working so hard to compensate that it, too, was in danger of becoming arrhythmic.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis



Speed/Dark Rage/Protection/Jump
Force Speed allows the user to accelerate their movements, reflexes, thought processes, and perceptions. Force Protection renders the user resilient to physical harm. Dark Rage or Force Rage augments a Force practitioner's strength and resolve.


Plagueis trains himself never to sleep.

Just arrived on the Hunters’ Moon, Sidious studied Plagueis as the Sith Lord and his droid, 11-4D, viewed a holorecording of a black-robed Zabrak assassin making short work of combat automata in his home on Coruscant, some hovering, some advancing on two legs, others on treads, and all firing blasters.
Twenty years had added a slight stoop to the Muun’s posture and veins that stood out under his thinning white skin. He wore a dark green utility suit that hugged his delicate frame, a green cloak that fell from his bony shoulders to the fort’s stone floor, and a headpiece that hewed to his large cranium. A triangular breath mask covered his ruined, prognathus lower jaw, his mouth, part of his long neck, and what remained of the craggy nose he’d had before the surprise attack in the Fobosi. A device of his own invention, the alloy mask featured two vertical slits and a pair of thin, stiff conduits that linked it to a transpirator affixed to his upper chest, beneath an armored torso harness. He had learned to ingest and imbibe through feeding tubes, and through his nose.
Seen through the Force, he was a nuclear oval of mottled light, a rotating orb of terrifying energy. If the Maladian attack had weakened him physically, it had also helped to shape his etheric body into a vessel sufficiently strong to contain the full power of the dark side. Determined never again to be caught off guard, he had trained himself to go without sleep, and had devoted two standard decades to day-and-night experimentation with midi-chlorian manipulation and attempts to wrest a few last secrets from the Force, so that he—and presumably his human apprentice—might live forever. His inward turn had enabled him to master the equally powerful energies of order and disorder, creation and entropy, life and death.

The Muun’s renewed vigor had taken Sidious by surprise. The mere fact that he had escaped the devastation on Sojourn made him seem almost omnipotent. Though even when ensconced in his affluent citadel in the Manarai district, he had yet to relax his vigilance or submit to sleep.

With dreamy weariness beginning to get the better of him, it was all Plagueis could do to lift the glass to his nose. No sooner did he set the drink down than it tipped over, saturating the tablecloth. His eyelids began to flicker and close, and his breathing slowed. In twenty years of never having had to contend with Plagueis in a state of sleep, the transpirator clicked repeatedly in adjustment, almost as if in panic.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He leaps to the top of a pile of stone slabs and then out of a cave.

Again he squinted into the light pouring in through the oculus. Not even his power in the Force was enough to carry him from the floor and up through the grotto’s unblinking eye. Nothing short of a jetpack would do, and the ship didn’t carry one. His gaze drifted from the oculus to the grotto’s curving walls. He supposed he could spider his way along the arched underside of the dome and reach the eye, but now he saw a better way. More, a way to accomplish two tasks at the same time.
From a spot mid-distance between the ship and rubble pile beneath the oculus, he immersed himself in the Force and, with gestures not unlike those he and Tenebrous had used in arresting the ceiling collapse, began to levitate slabs from the ship and add them to the rubble heap, stopping only when he had both exposed the hatch of the ship and was confident he could Force-leap through the oculus from atop the augmented pile.
When he tried springing the hatch, however, he found that it wouldn’t budge. He was ultimately able to gain entry to the cockpit by assailing the transparisteel canopy with a series of Force blows. Worming his way inside, he retrieved his travel bag, which contained a comlink, his lightsaber, and a change of clothes, among other items. He also took Tenebrous’s comlink and lightsaber, and made certain to erase the memory of the navicomputer. Once outside the ship, he peeled out of the enviro-suit and blood-soaked tunic, trading them for dark trousers, an overshirt, lightweight boots, and a hooded robe. Affixing both lightsabers to his belt, he activated the comlink and called up a map of Bal’demnic. With scant satellites in orbit, the planet had nothing in the way of a global positioning system, but the map told Plagueis all he needed to know about the immediate area.
He took a final look around. It wasn’t likely that an indigene would have reason to investigate the grotto, and it was even less likely that another interstellar visitor would find this place; even so, he spent a moment regarding the scene objectively. A partially crushed but costly and salvage-worthy starship. The decomposed body of a Bith spacefarer. The aftermath of an explosive event... The scene of an unfortunate accident in a galaxy brimming with them.
Satisfied, Plagueis leapt to the top of the pile, then through the roof into the remains of the day.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis and Sidious leap in quick succession and travel fast enough to maintain pace with a herd of beasts.

In mad pursuit of their prey and all but taking flight, the two Sith, Master and apprentice for eleven years now, bounded across the grassy terrain, their short capes snapping behind them, vibroblades clenched in their hands and bare forearms flecked with gore; blood caked in the human's long hair and dried on the Muun's hairless brow. Twisting and swirling around them was a herd of agile, long-necked quadrupeds with brown-and-black fur; identical and moving as if possessed of a single mind, leaping at the same instant, reversing direction, cycloning gregariously over the short-napped savanna.
“This is not a chase,” Plagueis said as he ran, “this is a summoning. You need to get behind the eyes of your target and become the object of its desire. The same holds true when you summon the Force: you must make yourself desirable, fascinating, addictive, and whatever power you need will be at your command.”
Blended into the herd, the animal Sidious had fixed his sight on would have been indistinguishable to normal beings. But Sidious had the animal in his mind and was now looking through its eyes, one with it. Alongside him suddenly, the creature seemed to intuit its end and tipped its head to one side to expose its muscular neck. The moment the vibroblade stuck, the creature’s eyes rolled back and grew opaque; hot blood spurted but quickly ceased to flow—the Force departing, and Sidious drawing its power deep into himself.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He leaps ten meters vertically onto a wall and then drops off the other side.

Plagueis fixed the lightsaber hilt to his hip and set out at a fast clip, all but outracing the rain. If the scanners and motion detectors were as precise as they appeared to be, they would find him, though his speed might cause whoever was monitoring the security devices to mistake him for one of the wild, bushy-tailed quadrupeds that inhabited the landscape. He paused at the nebulous edge of the illuminated area to confirm his bearings, then made straight for the castle’s ten-meter-high southern wall and leapt to the top without breaking stride. Just as quickly and as effortlessly he dropped into the garden below and sprinted into the shadows cast by an ornamental shrub trimmed to resemble some whimsical beast.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Doo Zuto and Pepe Rossh claw and bite Plagueis, who is unharmed by their attacks.

Now Zuto and PePe dived at the Muun from both sides and actually managed to get a hold on him. But it was as if the Muun had turned to stone. The Kaleesh and the Quara attacked with teeth and claws, but to no perceptible effect. And when the Muun had had enough of it, he positioned the lightsaber directly in front of him and gyred in their grasp, taking off PePe’s tusked face and Zuto’s blunt, whiskered snout. OneOne-FourDee’s olfactory sensors detected an outpouring of pheromones that signaled the death of the Kaleesh. Zuto, on the other hand—though gurgling blood and moaning in pain—could perhaps be saved if treated in time.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis casually stands in frigid weather and says he has withstood violent storms without any discomfort.

The obedient orphan stood shivering in swirling snow. Around him rose ice pinnacles shaped like jagged teeth; a glacial wind howled through them. Plagueis stood nearby, flakes of snow and ice gyrating around him but never lighting on him, melting before they reached him. Unlike Sidious, who was outfitted in a thin enviro-suit, the Sith Lord was wearing only a cloak, narrow trousers, and a skullcap.
“It was on this world that I first became aware of my Force powers and dark impulses,” he said, loudly enough to be heard over the wind. “Compared with temperate Muunilinst, Mygeeto is ruthless and uncompromising, but I learned to adapt to its harsh conditions, and before the age of eight I could venture out into the most violent storm dressed in less than you wear now. But I haven’t brought you here to acquaint you with my past, Sidious. If you were of a species acclimatized to these conditions, I would have brought you instead to a desert world. If you were an aquatic being, I would have stranded you on dry land. The divide between the ways of the Force as practiced by the Sith and the Jedi has less to do with the distinction between darkness or the presence of light than between—in your case—naked cold and the presence of warmth. Between distress and comfort, entropy and predictability.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis strikes Tenebrous, breaking his neck.

Plagueis leaned away from him, nonchalant, but in fact filled with an icy fury. “I’ll find a way home, Tenebrous, as will you.” And with a chopping motion of his left hand, he broke the Bith’s neck.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He kicks Maa Kaap across a cabin, breaking his spine and rupturing arteries.

The Muun caught the lightsaber, but instead of bringing it to bear against Maa Kaap, he danced and twirled out of reach of the vibroblade and commenced parrying the Zabrak’s martial kicks and punches, until a side-kick to the thorax drove Maa Kaap clear across the cabin and slamming into the bulkhead. OneOne-FourDee’s audio pickups registered the snap of the Zabrak’s spine and the bursting of pulmonary arteries.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis strikes with enough force to break opponents' necks and send his fists through armored assassins' torsos.

Others Plagueis felled with his hands by snapping necks and putting his fists through armored torsos.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He smashes the skulls and windpipes of Maladians.

The wait lasted only until Plagueis attempted to unleash lightning. His second subsidiary heart failed, paralyzing him with pain and nearly plunging him into unconsciousness. The assassins wasted not a moment, throwing themselves at him in groups, though in a vain attempt to penetrate the Force shield he raised. Again he rallied, this time with a ragged sound dredged from deep inside that erupted from him like a sonic weapon, shattering the eardrums of those within ten meters and compelling the rest to bring their hands to their ears.
In blinding motion his hands and feet smashed skulls and windpipes.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis maintains a running pace with Tenebrous, whose speed on his initial dash nearly knocks Plagueis to the ground.

Nearly knocked over by the swiftness of Tenebrous’s departure, Plagueis had to call deeply on the Force merely to keep up. Retracing the inclined path they had taken from the grotto in which their starship waited, they fairly flew up the crystal-studded tunnel they had picked their way through earlier. Plagueis grasped that a powerful explosion was perhaps imminent, but was mystified by his Master’s almost mad dash for the surface. In the past Tenebrous had rarely evinced signs of discomfort, let alone fear; so what danger had he sensed that propelled him with such abandon? And when, in the past, had they fled danger of any sort? Safeguarded by the powers of the dark side, the Sith could hardly fear death when they were allied to it. Plagueis stretched out with his feelings in an attempt to identify the source of Tenebrous’s dread, but the Force was silent.
Ten meters ahead of him, the Bith had ducked under a scabrous outcropping. Haste, however, brought him upright too quickly and his left shoulder glanced off the rough rock, leaving a portion of his suit shredded.
“Master, allow me to lead,” Plagueis said when he reached Tenebrous. He was only slightly more agile than the Bith, but he had better night vision and a keener sense of direction, over and above what the Force imparted.
His pride wounded more than his shoulder, Tenebrous waved off the offer. “Be mindful of your place.” Regaining his balance and composure, he streaked off. But at a fork in the tunnel, he took the wrong turn. “This way, Master,” Plagueis called from the other corridor, but he stopped to surrender the lead.
Closer to the surface the tunnels opened into caverns the size of cathedrals, smoothed and hollowed by rainwater that still surged in certain seasons of Bal’demnic’s long year. In pools of standing water darted various species of blind fish. Overhead, hawk-bats took panicked flight from their roosting places in the stippled ceiling. Natural light in the far distance prompted the two Sith to race for the grotto; but, even so, they were a moment late.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis runs in a blur.

Plagueis calculated that he could cover the distance to the spaceport by evening of the following day, which would still give him a standard week in which to return to Muunilinst in time to host the Gathering on Sojourn. But he knew, too, that the route would take him through areas inhabited by both elite and plebeian Kon’me; so he resolved to travel at night to avoid contact with the noisome and xenophobic reptilian sapients. There was little point to leaving dead bodies in his wake.
Cinching the robe around his waist, he began to move, slowly at first, then gathering speed, until to any being watching he would have appeared a dazzling blur; an errant dust devil racing across the treeless terrain.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He runs fast enough to appear as a blur to 11-4D, who is fast enough to dodge blaster bolts.

The Woebegone had just reverted to realspace when 11-4D’s audio sensors registered unusual sounds from aft: an activation click, a prolonged hiss of energy, a dopplering slash, a stuttering exhalation of breath. The sounds were followed by a sudden outpouring of heat from the corridor that accessed the cargo bays and what might have been interpreted as a gust of wind. Only by adjusting the input rate of its photoreceptors was the droid able to identify the blur that raced into the cabin space as a male Muun dressed in a hooded robe, trousers, and softboots that reached his shins.

Slowly surrendering energy, the bolts caromed from the deck and bulkheads, touching off alarms, prompting a switch to emergency illumination, and unleashing cascades of fire-suppressant foam from the ceiling aerosols. No sooner had the Balosar and the Dresselian entered the cabinspace than hatches sealed the corridors, preventing any escape from the melee. Only 11-4D’s ability to calculate trajectories and react instantaneously to danger kept it from being on the receiving end of any of the numerous ricochets.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis dodges and deflects a hail of blaster bolts.

The humming lightsaber dangling from his left hand, the Muun remained silent, letting his posture speak for his nefarious intent. In turn the crew members, realizing that they were being wrongly accused, clambered to their feet, reaching at the same time for the weapons strapped to their hips and thighs. That the Muun permitted them to do so furnished 11-4D with yet another mystery—at least until it realized that the Muun was merely courting combat.
The droid wondered what Captain Lah could possibly have said or done to arouse so much wrath in the Muun. It replayed the memory of her priming the blaster. Had she decided that the problems the Muun presented for the Woebegone could best be solved by killing him, only to have misjudged him entirely? Regardless, it was apparent that the Muun believed the entire ship complicit in Captain Lah’s actions, and had decided to take it upon himself to mete out retribution of the cruelest sort. 11-4D assumed that this would include him, and instantly initiated a series of redundant routines that would back up and store data, in order to provide a record of what was about to occur. The face-off tableau in the cabinspace had endured for only a moment when Wandau, who had served as a bodyguard for a celebrated Hutt, leapt into action, drawing and firing his blaster even as he raced for cover behind one of the bulkheads. A split second behind, Maa Kaap raised his weapon and fired a continuous hail of blaster bolts at the Muun. In the same instant Zuto and PePe, crouched low to the deck, sprang forward in an attempt to outflank their opponent and place him at the center of a deadly crossfire.
From the passageway that led to the cockpit came the rapid footfalls of the pilot, Blir’, and the ship’s Dresselian navigator, Semasalli. 11-4D knew that they had been monitoring cam feeds of the cargo bay, and thought it likely that they had witnessed whatever sentence the Muun had levied on Captain Lah.
The Muun’s reaction to the barrage of bolts that converged on him required almost more processing power than the droid had at its disposal. By employing a combination of body movements, lightsaber, and naked right hand, the agile sentient evaded, deflected, or returned every shot that targeted him. Slowly surrendering energy, the bolts caromed from the deck and bulkheads, touching off alarms, prompting a switch to emergency illumination, and unleashing cascades of fire-suppressant foam from the ceiling aerosols. No sooner had the Balosar and the Dresselian entered the cabinspace than hatches sealed the corridors, preventing any escape from the melee. Only 11-4D’s ability to calculate trajectories and react instantaneously to danger kept it from being on the receiving end of any of the numerous ricochets.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis and Venamis fight fast enough to seemingly leave trails of light from their blades scattered throughout various parts of a forest.

To Plagueis, lightsaber duels were tedious affairs, full of wasted emotion and needless acrobatics. Tenebrous, however, who had pronounced Plagueis a master of the art, had always enjoyed a good fight, and had clearly bequeathed that enthusiasm to his other trainee. For no sooner had the blades of their weapons clashed than Venamis began to bring the fight to him in unexpected ways, twirling his surprisingly limber body, tossing the lightsaber from hand to hand, mixing forms. At one point he leapt onto an overhanging greel branch and, when Plagueis severed it with a Force blow, hung suspended in the air—no mean feat in itself—and continued the fight, as if from high ground. Worse for Plagueis, Tenebrous had made Venamis an expert in Plagueis’s style, and so the Bith could not only anticipate but counter Plagueis’s every move. In short order, Venamis penetrated his defenses, searing the side of Plagueis’s neck.
The contest took them backward and forward through the trees, across narrow streams, and up onto piles of rocks that were the ruins of an ancient sentry post. Plagueis took a moment to wonder if anyone at the fort was observing the results of the contest, which, from afar, must have looked like lightning flashing through the forest’s understory.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He moves in a blur as he rips off a part of Sidious’ environment suit.

“I understand, Master,” Sidious managed in a stuttering voice.
Plagueis showed him a malevolent smile. “I once said as much to my Master, when in fact I understood nothing. I merely wanted to put an end to the pain.” In a blur of motion, he tore open the front of Sidious’s enviro-suit.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Taking turns, Plagueis and Sidious deflect blaster bolts from droids who move on them in waves from a group of two hundred total droids.

On Hypori they were the prey, standing back-to-back in their black zeyd-cloth hooded robes at the center of concentric rings of droids, retrofitted by Baktoid Armor to function as combat automata. Two hundred programmed assailants—bipedal, treaded, some levitated by antigrav generators—armed with a variety of weapons, ranging from hand blasters to short-barreled burst-rifles. Plagueis hadn't allowed his young apprentice to wield a lightsaber until a few years earlier, but Sidious was brandishing one now, self-constructed of phrik alloy and aurodium, and powered by a synthetic crystal. Made for delicate, long-fingered hands—as much a work of art as a weapon—the lightsaber thrummed as he waved the blade from side to side in front of him.
"Every weapon, manufactured by whatever species, has its own properties and peculiarities," Plagueis was saying, his own blade angled toward the ferrocrete floor of the battledome's fabricated cityscape, as if to light a fuse. "Range, penetrating power, refresh rate... In some instances your life might depend on your ability to focus on the weapon rather than the wielder. You must train yourself to identify a weapon instantly—whether it's a product of BlasTech or Merr-Sonn, Tenloss or Prax—so that you will know where to position yourself, and the several ways to best deflect a well-aimed bolt."
Plagueis put his words into action as the first ring of droids began to converge on them, staggering the attack and triggering bursts at random. Orbiting Sidious, the Muun's blade warded off every volley, returning the bolts to their sources, or deflecting them into the facades of the faux buildings surrounding them or into other droids. At other times Plagueis made no attempt to redirect the attacks, but simply torqued his rangy body, allowing the bolts to miss him by centimeters. Around the two Sith, the automata collapsed one after the next, gushing lubricants from holed reservoirs or exploding in a hail of alloy parts, until all were heaped on the ferrocrete floor.
"The next ring is yours," Plagueis said.
Rugged, uninhabited Hypori belonged to the Techno Union, whose Skakoan foreman, Wat Tambor, owed his seat in the Republic Senate to Damask Holdings. In exchange, the bionic humanoid had made Hypori available as a training ground for members of the Echani Sun Guard and provided the necessary battle droids. Calling in another favor, Hego Damask had requested a private session in the fabricated cityscape, so that Plagueis and his apprentice could be free to employ lightsabers—though only for the purpose of deflecting bolts rather than dismemberment or penetration.
When it came Sidious's turn to demonstrate his skill, Plagueis spoke continuously from behind him, adding distraction to the distinct possibility of inadvertent disintegration.
"A being trained in the killing arts doesn't wait for you to acquire him as a target, or establish him or herself as an opponent, as if in some martial arts contest. Your reactions must be instantaneous and nothing less than lethal, for you are a Sith Lord, and will be marked for death."
The droids continued to converge, ring after ring of them, until the floor was piled high with smoking husks. Plagueis issued a voice command that brought the onslaught to an abrupt end and deactivated his lightsaber. The pinging of cooling weapons, the hiss of escaping gas, the unsteady whir of failing servomotors punctuated the sudden silence. Alloy limbs spasmed and photoreceptors winked out, surrendering their eerie glow. The recycled air was rotten with the smell of fried circuitry.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plaguies and Sidious fight an army of hundreds of Kursid warriors and defeat them all, showing the speed to evade all of their attacks and incapacitate all of them and showing the stamina to fight for hours.

The location of the planet known to the Sith as Kursid had been expunged from the Republic records in distant times, and for the past six hundred years had been reserved for use as a place of spectacle. Masters and apprentices of the Bane lineage had visited with enough regularity that a cult had come into being in that part of the world based on the periodic return of the sky visitors. The Sith hadn't bothered to investigate what Kursid's indigenous humanoids thought about the visits—whether in their belief systems the Sith were regarded as the equivalent of deities or demons—since it was unlikely that the primitives had yet so much as named their world. However, visiting as apprentice and—more often than not—as Master, each Sith Lord had remarked on the slow advancement of Kursid's civilization. How, on the early visits, the primitives had defended themselves with wooden war clubs and smooth rocks hurled from slings. Two hundred years later, many of the small settlements had grown to become cities or ceremonial centers built of a crude sort, and magical guardian symbols had been emblazoned on the sloping sides of defensive walls. At some point previous to Darth Tenebrous's visit as an apprentice, replicas of the Sith ships had been constructed in the center of the arid plateau that served as a battleground, and enormous totemic figures—visible only from above—had been outlined by removing tens of thousands of fists-sized volcanic stones that covered the ground. On Plagueis's first visit, some fifty years earlier, the warriors he and Tenebrous had faced had been armed with longbows and metal-tipped lances.
That the Sith had never demanded anything other than battle hadn't kept the primitives from attempting to adopt a policy of appeasement, leaving at the ships' perpetual landing site foodstuffs, sacrificial victims, and works of what they considered art, forged of materials they held precious or sacred. But the Sith had simply ignored the offerings, waiting instead on the stony plain for the primitives to deploy their warriors, as the primitives did now with Plagueis and Sidious waiting. Announcing their arrival with low runs over the city, they had set the ship down and waited for six days, while the mournful calls of breath-driven horns had disturbed the dry silences, and groups of primitives had flocked in to gather on the hillsides that overlooked the battleground.
"Do you recall what Darth Bane said regarding the killing of innocents?" Plagueis had asked.
"Our mission," Sidious paraphrased, "is not to bring death on all those unfit to live. All we do must serve our true purpose—the preservation of our Order and the survival of the Sith. We must work to grow our power, and to accomplish that we will need to interact with individuals of many species across many worlds. Eventually word of our existence will reach the ears of the Jedi."
To refrain from senseless killing, they wielded force pikes rather than lightsabers. Meter-long melee weapons used by the Echani and carried by the Senate Guard, the pikes were equipped with stun-module tips capable of delivering a shock that could overwhelm the nervous systems of most sentients, without causing permanent damage.
"The next few hours will test the limits of your agility, speed, and accuracy," Plagueis said, as several hundred of the biggest, bravest, and most skilled warriors—their bodies daubed in pigments derived from plants, clay, and soil—began to separate themselves from the crowds. "But this is more than some simple exercise in our rise to ultimate power, and therefore servants of the dark side of the Force. Centuries from now, advanced by the Sith, they might confront us with projectile weapons or energy beams. But then we will have evolved, as well, perhaps past the need for this rite, and we will come instead to honor rather than engage them in battle. Through power we gain victory, and through victory our chains are broken. But power is only a means to an end."
To the clamorous beating of drums and the wailing of the onlookers, the warriors brandished their weapons, raised a deafening war cry, and attacked. A nod from Plagueis, and the two Sith sped across the plain to meet them, flying among them like wraiths, evading arrows, gleaming spear tips, and blows from battle-axes, going one against one, two, or three, but felling opponent after opponent with taps from the force pikes, until among the hundreds of jerking, twitching bodies sprawled on the rough ground, only one was left standing. That was when Plagueis tossed aside the stun pike and ignited his crimson blade, and a collective lament rose from the crowds on the hillsides.
"Execute one, terrify one thousand," he said.
Hurling the warrior to the ground with a Force push, he used the lightsaber to deftly open the primitive's chest cavity; then he reached a hand inside and extracted his still beating heart.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He practically outpaces rain as he runs fast enough that motion detectors would mistake him for a wild creature.

Plagueis fixed the lightsaber hilt to his hip and set out at a fast clip, all but outracing the rain. If the scanners and motion detectors were as precise as they appeared to be, they would find him, though his speed might cause whoever was monitoring the security devices to mistake him for one of the wild, bushy-tailed quadrupeds that inhabited the landscape. He paused at the nebulous edge of the illuminated area to confirm his bearings, then made straight for the castle’s ten-meter-high southern wall and leapt to the top without breaking stride. Just as quickly and as effortlessly he dropped into the garden below and sprinted into the shadows cast by an ornamental shrub trimmed to resemble some whimsical beast.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis




Dueling

Plagueis is considered a master combatant by Darth Tenebrous.

To Plagueis, lightsaber duels were tedious affairs, full of wasted emotion and needless acrobatics. Tenebrous, however, who had pronounced Plagueis a master of the art, had always enjoyed a good fight, and had clearly bequeathed that enthusiasm to his other trainee.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He recognizes techniques of Niman and teräs käsi employed by Darth Maul.

Just arrived on the Hunters’ Moon, Sidious studied Plagueis as the Sith Lord and his droid, 11-4D, viewed a holorecording of a black-robed Zabrak assassin making short work of combat automata in his home on Coruscant, some hovering, some advancing on two legs, others on treads, and all firing blasters.
Twenty years had added a slight stoop to the Muun’s posture and veins that stood out under his thinning white skin. He wore a dark green utility suit that hugged his delicate frame, a green cloak that fell from his bony shoulders to the fort’s stone floor, and a headpiece that hewed to his large cranium. A triangular breath mask covered his ruined, prognathus lower jaw, his mouth, part of his long neck, and what remained of the craggy nose he’d had before the surprise attack in the Fobosi. A device of his own invention, the alloy mask featured two vertical slits and a pair of thin, stiff conduits that linked it to a transpirator affixed to his upper chest, beneath an armored torso harness. He had learned to ingest and imbibe through feeding tubes, and through his nose.
Seen through the Force, he was a nuclear oval of mottled light, a rotating orb of terrifying energy. If the Maladian attack had weakened him physically, it had also helped to shape his etheric body into a vessel sufficiently strong to contain the full power of the dark side. Determined never again to be caught off guard, he had trained himself to go without sleep, and had devoted two standard decades to day-and-night experimentation with midi-chlorian manipulation and attempts to wrest a few last secrets from the Force, so that he—and presumably his human apprentice—might live forever. His inward turn had enabled him to master the equally powerful energies of order and disorder, creation and entropy, life and death.
“You have made him fearsome,” Plagueis remarked without turning from the recording, as the athletic Zabrak cleaved a Colicoid Eradicator droid down the middle and whirled to cut two others in half. The yellow-eyed humanoid’s hairless head bore a crown of small horns and geometrical patterns of black and red markings.
“Fearless, as well,” Sidious said.
“Still, they are only droids.”
“He’s even more formidable against living beings.”
Plagueis looked over his shoulder, his eyes narrowed in question. “You’ve fought him in a serious way?” Reconstructed vocal chords and trachea imparted a metallic quality to his voice, as if he were speaking through an enunciator.
“I stranded him on Hypori for a month without food and with only a horde of assassin droids for company. Then I returned to goad and challenge him. All things considered, he fought well, even after I deprived him of his lightsaber. He wanted to kill me, but was prepared to die at my hand.”
Plagueis turned fully to face him. “Rather than punish him for disobedience, you praised his resolve.”
“He was already humbled. I chose to leave his honor intact. I proclaimed him my myrmidon; the embodiment of the violent half of our partnership.”
“Partnership?” Plagueis repeated harshly.
“His and mine; not ours.”
“Regardless, you allowed him to believe that he is more skilled than he actually is.”
“Did you not do the same for me?”
Plagueis’s eyes reflected disappointment. “Never, Sidious. I have always been truthful with you.”
Sidious bowed his head in acknowledgment. “I am not the teacher you are.”
Plagueis spent a long moment observing the holorecording. The Zabrak’s fists and legs were as lethal as his lightsaber, and his speed was astounding. “Who applied the markings?”
“The mother did—in keeping with rituals enacted shortly after birth. An initiation, during which a Dathomirian Zabrak infant is submerged in an oily bath, energized with ichor conjured by the Nightsisters’ use of magicks.”
“A peculiar decision, given her hope to send the child into hiding.”
“The Nightsisters rarely leave Dathomir, but Nightbrothers are sometimes sold into servitude. I believe the mother wished him to be aware of his heritage, wherever he ended up.”
On seeing the Zabrak’s lightsaber produce two blades, Plagueis drew in his breath. “A saber-staff! The weapon of Exar Kun! Did he construct that?”
“The prototype was two lightsabers he had welded pommel-to-pommel in imitation of the Iridonian zhaboka. I furnished the knowledge that allowed him to improve on the original design and construct the one he is using.”
Plagueis watched as droid after droid was impaled on the opposing crimson blades. “It strikes me as unnecessary, but I won’t deny his mastery of the Jar’Kai technique.” Again, he turned to Sidious. “Niman and teräs käsi will never substitute for dun möch, but I appreciate that you have trained him to be a fighting machine rather than a true apprentice.”
“Thank you, Master.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Darth Plagueis vs Darth Venamis. Venamis is proficient in identical fighting styles and techniques to Plagueis, making him a match for the latter, but despite this, Plaguies shifts tactics and overwhelms Venamis, disarming him.

Keening klaxons fractured the morning silence.
Damask’s eyes narrowed and swept the surrounding forests for signs of disturbance. He had moved to the southernmost parapet when two Sun Guards hurried up the stairs in search of him.
“Magister, the eastern perimeter has been breached,” one of them reported.
Outside the fort’s walls, illumination was coming up and drone ships were beginning to meander through the treetops. Occasionally one of the imported beasts would lumber into the safe zone, touching off the alarms, but none of the remote cams were showing evidence of intrusion.
“It’s possible that one of our guests may have overstayed his or her welcome,” the second Sun Guard said. He stopped to listen to a message being relayed to his helmet earphones. “We think we have something.” He looked at Damask. “Will you be all right, Magister, or should we wait with you?”
“Go,” Damask told them. “But keep me informed.”
Stretching out with his feelings, he began to scan the forest again. Someone was out there, but not in the area the guards were searching. He attended through the Force to the sound of movement in the trees. Had the Gran infiltrated an assassin? If so, had they found one clever enough to divert the Sun Guards into chasing an illusion? Damask and the other Muuns should have been the targets, but instead of moving toward the fort, the intruder was actually moving away from it.
He spent another long moment listening; then, like a wraith, he dashed down three flights of stone steps and out through the old gate into the waking forest, parting his cloak as he ran, his left hand on the hilt of the lightsaber. Lifting off in great numbers from their evening roosts and screeching in displeasure, the morning’s earliest risers warned the rest that a hunter was on the loose. Of the most dangerous sort, Damask might have added: a hunter of sentients. In moments he was deep in a stand of old-growth greel trees well outside the security perimeter, when he sensed something that stopped him in mid-stride. Motionless, he drew inward in an effort to verify what he’d felt.
A Force-user!

A Jedi spy? he wondered.
They had tried repeatedly to penetrate Sojourn’s defenses during previous Gatherings. But unless one had arrived in a ship designed and built by Darth Tenebrous, there would have been no way to reach the surface undetected. And yet someone had obviously succeeded in making it downside. Lifting his hand from the hilt of the lightsaber, Damask minimized his presence in the Force, surrendering his eminence and disappearing into the material world. Then he began to move deeper into the forest, winding his way through the trees, allowing the Jedi to stalk him even as he berated himself for having acted rashly. If it came to ambush, he would not be able to fight back and risk exposing himself as a Sith. He should have allowed the Sun Guards to deal with the intruder.
But why would a Jedi bother to trip the perimeter sensors only to retreat beyond their reach? They didn’t make mistakes of that sort. And surely whoever was out there wouldn’t have expected a Muun to respond, if for no other reason than Muuns didn’t make mistakes of that sort. So what was this one after?
Ahead Damask heard the characteristic hiss and hum of a lightsaber, and saw the weapon’s blade glowing in the mist. Emerging from behind a thick-boled tree, the wielder had the lightsaber in his right hand, angled toward the spongy ground.
A crimson blade in a crimson wood.
Instantly he called his own lightsaber to his left hand, igniting the blade as the figure in the mist revealed itself fully: a tall, thin, pink-skinned craniopod with large lidless eyes—
A Bith!

Tenebrous?
He faltered momentarily. No, that wasn’t possible. But who, then? Tenebrous’s offspring, perhaps—some spawn grown from his genetic material in a laboratory, since the species reproduced only in accordance with the dictates of a computer mating service. Was that why Tenebrous had declined to discuss midi-chlorians or ways of extending life? Because he had already found a way to create a Force-sensitive successor?
“I knew I could draw you out, Darth Plagueis,” the Bith said.
Plagueis dropped all pretence and faced him squarely. “You’re well trained. I sensed the Force in you, but not the dark side.”
“I’ve Darth Tenebrous to thank for it.”
“He made you in his image. You’re a product of Bith science.”
The Bith laughed harshly. “You’re an old fool. He found and trained me.”
Plagueis recalled the warning Tenebrous had nearly given voice to before he died. “He took you as an apprentice?”
“I am Darth Venamis.”
“Darth?” Plagueis said with disgust. “We’ll see about that.”
“Your death will legitimize the title, Plagueis.”
Plagueis cocked his head to the side. “Your Master left orders for you to kill me?”
The Bith nodded. “Even now he awaits my return.”
“Awaits...” Plagueis said. As astonishing as it was to learn that Tenebrous had trained a second apprentice, he had a surprise in store for Venamis. Inhaling, he said, “Tenebrous is dead.”
Confusion showed in Venamis’s eyes. “You wish it were so.”
Plagueis held his lightsaber off to one side, parallel to the ground. “What’s more, he died by my hand.”
“Impossible.”
Plagueis laughed with purpose. “How powerful can you be if you failed to sense the death of your Master? Even now, your thoughts fly in all directions.”
Venamis raised his lightsaber over one shoulder. “In killing you I will avenge his death and become the Sith Lord he knew you could never be.”
“The Sith he
wanted me to be,” Plagueis corrected. “But enough of this. You’ve come a long way to challenge me. Now make a worthy effort.”
Venamis charged.
To Plagueis, lightsaber duels were tedious affairs, full of wasted emotion and needless acrobatics. Tenebrous, however, who had pronounced Plagueis a master of the art, had always enjoyed a good fight, and had clearly bequeathed that enthusiasm to his other trainee. For no sooner had the blades of their weapons clashed than Venamis began to bring the fight to him in unexpected ways, twirling his surprisingly limber body, tossing the lightsaber from hand to hand, mixing forms. At one point he leapt onto an overhanging greel branch and, when Plagueis severed it with a Force blow, hung suspended in the air—no mean feat in itself—and continued the fight, as if from high ground. Worse for Plagueis, Tenebrous had made Venamis an expert in Plagueis’s style, and so the Bith could not only anticipate but counter Plagueis’s every move. In short order, Venamis penetrated his defenses, searing the side of Plagueis’s neck.
The contest took them backward and forward through the trees, across narrow streams, and up onto piles of rocks that were the ruins of an ancient sentry post. Plagueis took a moment to wonder if anyone at the fort was observing the results of the contest, which, from afar, must have looked like lightning flashing through the forest’s understory.
Realizing that the fight could go on indefinitely, he took himself out of his body and began working his material self like a marionette, no longer on the offensive, instigating attacks, but merely responding to Venamis’s lunges and strikes. Gradually the Bith understood that something had changed—that what up until then had been a fight to the death seemed suddenly like a training exercise. Exasperated, he doubled his efforts, fighting harder, more desperately, putting more power into each maneuver and blow, and in the end surrendering his precision and accuracy.
At the height of Venamis’s attack, Plagueis came back into himself with such fury that his lightsaber became a blinding rod. A two-handed upward swing launched from between his legs caught Venamis off guard. The blade didn’t go deep enough to puncture the Bith’s lung but scorched him from chest to chin. As his large, cleft head snapped backward in retreat, Plagueis brought his lightsaber straight down, tearing Venamis’s weapon from his gloved hand and nearly taking off his long fingers, as well.
With a gesture of his other hand, Venamis called for his lightsaber, but Plagueis was a split second quicker, and the hilt shot into his own right hand. Sensing a storm of Force lightning building in the Bith, he crossed the two crimson blades in front of him and said: “Yield!”
Venamis froze, allowing the nascent storm to die away, and dropped to his knees in surrender as Sojourn’s risen primary blazed at his back through the trees.
“I submit, Darth Plagueis. I accept that I must apprentice myself to you.”
Plagueis deactivated Venamis’s blade and hooked it to his belt. “You presume too much, Venamis. Around you I would always have to watch my back.”

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plaguies and Sidious defeat an army of hundreds of the most lethal Kursid warriors.

The location of the planet known to the Sith as Kursid had been expunged from the Republic records in distant times, and for the past six hundred years had been reserved for use as a place of spectacle. Masters and apprentices of the Bane lineage had visited with enough regularity that a cult had come into being in that part of the world based on the periodic return of the sky visitors. The Sith hadn't bothered to investigate what Kursid's indigenous humanoids thought about the visits—whether in their belief systems the Sith were regarded as the equivalent of deities or demons—since it was unlikely that the primitives had yet so much as named their world. However, visiting as apprentice and—more often than not—as Master, each Sith Lord had remarked on the slow advancement of Kursid's civilization. How, on the early visits, the primitives had defended themselves with wooden war clubs and smooth rocks hurled from slings. Two hundred years later, many of the small settlements had grown to become cities or ceremonial centers built of a crude sort, and magical guardian symbols had been emblazoned on the sloping sides of defensive walls. At some point previous to Darth Tenebrous's visit as an apprentice, replicas of the Sith ships had been constructed in the center of the arid plateau that served as a battleground, and enormous totemic figures—visible only from above—had been outlined by removing tens of thousands of fists-sized volcanic stones that covered the ground. On Plagueis's first visit, some fifty years earlier, the warriors he and Tenebrous had faced had been armed with longbows and metal-tipped lances.
That the Sith had never demanded anything other than battle hadn't kept the primitives from attempting to adopt a policy of appeasement, leaving at the ships' perpetual landing site foodstuffs, sacrificial victims, and works of what they considered art, forged of materials they held precious or sacred. But the Sith had simply ignored the offerings, waiting instead on the stony plain for the primitives to deploy their warriors, as the primitives did now with Plagueis and Sidious waiting. Announcing their arrival with low runs over the city, they had set the ship down and waited for six days, while the mournful calls of breath-driven horns had disturbed the dry silences, and groups of primitives had flocked in to gather on the hillsides that overlooked the battleground.
"Do you recall what Darth Bane said regarding the killing of innocents?" Plagueis had asked.
"Our mission," Sidious paraphrased, "is not to bring death on all those unfit to live. All we do must serve our true purpose—the preservation of our Order and the survival of the Sith. We must work to grow our power, and to accomplish that we will need to interact with individuals of many species across many worlds. Eventually word of our existence will reach the ears of the Jedi."
To refrain from senseless killing, they wielded force pikes rather than lightsabers. Meter-long melee weapons used by the Echani and carried by the Senate Guard, the pikes were equipped with stun-module tips capable of delivering a shock that could overwhelm the nervous systems of most sentients, without causing permanent damage.
"The next few hours will test the limits of your agility, speed, and accuracy," Plagueis said, as several hundred of the biggest, bravest, and most skilled warriors—their bodies daubed in pigments derived from plants, clay, and soil—began to separate themselves from the crowds. "But this is more than some simple exercise in our rise to ultimate power, and therefore servants of the dark side of the Force. Centuries from now, advanced by the Sith, they might confront us with projectile weapons or energy beams. But then we will have evolved, as well, perhaps past the need for this rite, and we will come instead to honor rather than engage them in battle. Through power we gain victory, and through victory our chains are broken. But power is only a means to an end."
To the clamorous beating of drums and the wailing of the onlookers, the warriors brandished their weapons, raised a deafening war cry, and attacked. A nod from Plagueis, and the two Sith sped across the plain to meet them, flying among them like wraiths, evading arrows, gleaming spear tips, and blows from battle-axes, going one against one, two, or three, but felling opponent after opponent with taps from the force pikes, until among the hundreds of jerking, twitching bodies sprawled on the rough ground, only one was left standing. That was when Plagueis tossed aside the stun pike and ignited his crimson blade, and a collective lament rose from the crowds on the hillsides.
"Execute one, terrify one thousand," he said.
Hurling the warrior to the ground with a Force push, he used the lightsaber to deftly open the primitive's chest cavity; then he reached a hand inside and extracted his still beating heart.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis




Intelligence/Prep

As a Muun, Plagueis is acclimated toward calculating potential benefits and profits from situations, people, and the Force.

Plagueis considered his long-standing fascination with the organelles to be as natural as had been Tenebrous’s fixation on shaping the future. Where Bith intelligence was grounded in mathematics and computation, Muun intelligence was driven by a will to profit. As a Muun, Plagueis viewed his allegiance to the Force as an investment that could, with proper effort, be maximized to yield great returns. True, too, to Muun psychology and tradition, he had through the decades hoarded his successes, and never once taken Tenebrous into his confidence.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis inherits the covert work of centuries of Banite Sith and continues their line, discreetly gathering wealth and resources and influencing events on a galactic scale from his financial organization Damask Holdings.

In addition to being widely respected as a savant engineer and starship designer, Rugess Nome headed a shadowy organization that over the decades had gathered intelligence on the dealings of nearly every criminal, smuggler, pirate, and potential terrorist who had left a mark on the galaxy. With young Hego masquerading as Nome’s accountant, the two secret Sith had traveled widely, often conspiring with the galaxy’s most notorious beings, and facilitating anarchy whenever possible.
We Sith are an unseen opposition, Tenebrous had told his young apprentice. A phantom menace. Where the Sith once wore armor, we now wear cloaks. But the Force works through us all the more powerfully in our invisibility. For the present, the more covert we remain, the more influence we can have. Our revenge will be achieved not through subjugation but by contagion.
As Tenebrous explained it, the Jedi had emerged strong from the war of a millennium earlier, and while Darth Bane and subsequent Sith Lords had done their best to disrupt the reborn Republic, they labored at a disadvantage. So eventually it was decided that the Sith should hide in plain sight, amassing wealth and knowledge, and securing contacts and alliances with groups that would one day form the basis of a galaxywide opposition to both the Republic and the revered Order that served it. By all accounts those early centuries had been challenging, watching the Jedi return to their eminent position. But the Sith had had the luxury of studying the Order from afar without the Jedi ever being aware that they had adversaries.

A nod to the planet that had birthed it, the moon was known as Sojourn, a name whispered by those who knew it slightly, and even by those who had visited repeatedly over the centuries. The system could be found in the registries, but only if one knew where to look, and how to decipher the data that revealed its location.
Here, once every standard year, Damask and the dozen Muuns who made up Damask Holdings hosted a gathering of influential beings from across the galaxy. Their names might be known to a few, but they were largely invisible to the masses and could move among them unrecognized, though they were responsible—in no small measure—for events that shaped galactic history. They were conveyed to Sojourn in secret, aboard ships designed by Rugess Nome and owned by Hego Damask. None came without an invitation, for to do so was to risk immediate destruction. What they shared, to a being, was Damask’s belief that financial profit mattered more than notoriety, politics, or vulgar morality.
Founded generations earlier by members of the InterGalactic Banking Clan, Sojourn had begun as a place of relaxation for the clan’s wealthiest clientele. A perquisite for those of exalted privilege. Later, under the management of the elder Damask—Hego’s biological father—on his retirement from chairmanship of the IBC, the moon had become something else: a place where only the most important players were brought together to exchange ideas. It was on Sojourn that the galactic credit standard had been established; the chancellorship of Eixes Valorum first proposed; the makeup of the Trade Federation Directorate reorganized. Then, under Hego Damask, Sojourn became something else again. No longer a resort or think tank, but an experiment in bolder thinking, in social alchemy. A place to plot and strategize and wrench the course of galactic history from the hands of happenstance. Where once Iotran Brandsmen had provided security, Damask’s contingent of silver-suited Echani Sun Guards now held sway. At great expense, scarlet-wood greel tree saplings had been smuggled from Pii III and planted in Sojourn’s modified soil. The forests had been stocked with cloned game and exotic creatures; the ancient fort transformed into a kind of lodge, with Damask’s very important guests residing in purposefully crude shelters, with names like Nest, Cave, Hideaway, and Escarpment. All to encourage a like-mindedness that would end in partnerships of an unusual sort.

Kilometers from where the quadruped hunt had commenced, Plagueis and Sidious sat under the enormous canopy of a tree whose trunk was wide enough to engulf a landspeeder, and whose thick branches were burdened with flowering parasitic plants. Breathing hard and drenched in sweat, they rested in silence as clouds of eager insects gathered around them. The pulse-beats of the Muun’s trio of hearts were visible beneath his translucent skin, and his clear eyes tracked the slaloming movements of the escaping herd.
“Few of my people are aware of just how wealthy I am,” he said at last, “since most of my riches derive from activities that have nothing to do with the ordinary business of finance. For many years my peers wondered why I chose to remain unwed, and ultimately reached the conclusion that I was in essence married to my work, without realizing how right they were. Except that my real bride is the dark side of the Force. What the ancients called Bogan, as separate from Ashla."

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


On Aborah, Plagueis tours 11-4D through his library and laboratory, the former of which contains countless informational repositories and texts and is one of the greatest libraries in the galaxy and the latter of which contains numerous creatures and forms of equipment to carry out experiments, and tasks 11-4D with recording all of the information, a process which could take years to complete.

More remote than some, Aborah, which had been the province of the Damask clan for several generations, was otherwise typical of the dormant smokers whose thickly forested conical peaks poked from the calm waters of the Western Sea. A maze of interconnected lava tubes ran deep into the mountain island; waterfalls plunged from the sheer heights; and incense trees scented the salty air of the lowland valleys. Conveyed by speeder to Aborah’s north tower complex, Plagueis escorted 11-4D on a tour of the corridors and caverns that constituted his place of sacrosanct solitude.
Motioning to the many droids that were on hand to welcome the pair to Aborah, Plagueis said: “You will come to find yourself at home here, as I have.”
“I’m certain I will, Magister Damask,” 11-4D said, its photoreceptors registering a dozen different types of droids in a single glance. Memo droids, GNK power droids, even a prototype Ubrikkian surgical droid.
“In time we’ll see to having your original appendages restored so that you can earn your keep.”
“I look forward to it, Magister.”
The tour began in the outermost rooms, which were appointed with furnishings and objects of art of the highest quality, gathered from all sectors of the galaxy. But Plagueis was neither as acquisitive as a Neimoidian nor as ostentatious as a Hutt; and so the ornamented chambers quickly gave way to data-gathering rooms crowded with audio-vid receivers and HoloNet projectors; and then to galleries filled to overflowing with ancient documents and tomes, recorded on media ranging from tree trunk parchment through flimsiplast to storage crystal and holocron. The Muuns were said to abhor literature and to loathe keeping records of anything other than loan notices, actuarial tables, and legal writs, and yet Plagueis was guardian of the one of the finest libraries to be found anywhere outside Obroa-skai or the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Here, neatly arranged and cataloged and stored in climate-controlled cases, was a collection of treatises and commentaries accumulated over centuries by the Sith and their often unwitting agents. Ancient histories of the Rakata and the Vjun; texts devoted to the Followers of Palawa, the Chatos Academy, and the Order of Dai Bendu; archives that had once belonged to House Malreaux; annals of the Sorcerers of Tund and of Queen Amanoa of Onderon; biological studies of the ysalimiri and vornskrs of Myrkr, and of the taozin of Va’art. Certain long-lived species, like the Wookiees, Hutts, Falleen, and Toydarians, were afforded galleries of their own.
Deeper in the mountain were laboratories where Plagueis’s real work took place. Confined to cages, stasis fields, bioreactors, and bacta tanks were life-forms brought to Muunilinst from across the galaxy—many from the galaxy’s most remote worlds. Some were creatures of instinct, and others were semisentient. Some were immediately recognizable to 11-4D; others resembled creatures concocted from borrowed parts. Some were newly birthed or hatched, and some looked as if they were being kept at death’s door. More than a few were the subjects of ongoing experiments in what seemed to be vivisection or interbreeding, and others were clearly in suspended animation. OneOne-FourDee noted that many of the animals wore remotes that linked them to biometric monitoring machines, while others were in the direct care of specialist droids. Elsewhere in the hollow of the mountain were sealed enclosures warmed by artificial light, aswirl with mixtures of rarefied gases and luxuriant with flora. And deeper still were test centers crammed with complex machines and glass-fronted cooling units devoted to the storage of chemical compounds, alkaloids derived from both plants and animals, blood and tissue samples, and bodily organs from a host of species.
Plagueis instructed 11-4D to wander about the galleries and laboratories on his own, and then report back to him.
Hours later the droid returned to say: “I recognize that you are involved in research related to species durability and hybridization. But I must confess to being unfamiliar with many of the examples of fauna and flora you have amassed, and few of the arcane documents in your library. Is the data available for upload?”
“Some portion of it,” Plagueis said. “The remainder will have to be scanned.”
“Then the task will require standard years, Magister.”
“I’m aware of that. While there is some urgency, we are in no rush.”
“I understand, sir. Is there specific data you wish me to assimilate first?”
From the breast pocket of his cloak, Plagueis withdrew a storage crystal. “Start with this. It is a history of the Sith.”

A standard month after the events on Coruscant, Plagueis summoned Sidious to Muunilinst. Sidious had visited the High Port skyhook but had never been invited downside, and now he found himself soaring over one of the planet’s unspoiled blue oceans in a stylish airspeeder piloted by two Sun Guards. As the speeder approached Aborah, he settled deeply into the Force and was rewarded with a vision of the mountain island as a transcendent vortex of dark energy unlike anything he had ever experienced. It was something he would have expected to encounter only on Korriban or some other Sith world.
The droid 11-4D—fully repaired—was waiting for him on the landing zone and led him inside, leaving the guards to wait with the airspeeder.
“You appear to be in much better condition than when I last saw you, droid,” Sidious remarked as a turbolift dropped them deep inside the complex.
“Yes, Senator Palpatine, Aborah is a restorative place.”
“And Magister Damask?”
“I leave it to you to judge for yourself, sir.”
Exiting the turbolift, the first thing to catch Sidious’s eye was the library: rack after rack of texts, scrolls, disks, and holocrons—all the data he had been craving since his apprenticeship began. He ran his hands lovingly over the shelves but barely had time to revel in his excitement when 11-4D ushered him onto a descending ramp that led into what might have been a state-of-the-art medical research facility.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis

From the high-backed chair that was his seat of power, Sidious watched Darth Vader turn and march from the throne room, long black cloak whooshing, black helmet burnished by the lights, anger palpable.
Atop a pedestal alongside the chair sat the holocrons Sidious had asked his apprentice to search out and retrieve from the Jedi archives room. Pyramidal in shape, as opposed to the geodesic Jedi version, the holocrons were repositories of recorded knowledge, accessible only to those who were highly evolved in the use of the Force. Arcane writing inscribed on the holocrons Vader had fetched told Sidious that they had been recorded by Sith during the era of Darth Bane, some one thousand standard years earlier. Sidious didn't have to imagine the content of the devices, because his own Master, Darth Plagueis, had once allowed him access to the actual holocrons. The ones stored in the Temple archives room were nothing more than clever forgeries—Sith disinformation of a sort.
--Taken from Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader


He can identify myriads of different types of energy weapons.

On Hypori they were the prey, standing back-to-back in their black zeyd-cloth hooded robes at the center of concentric rings of droids, retrofitted by Baktoid Armor to function as combat automata. Two hundred programmed assailants—bipedal, treaded, some levitated by antigrav generators—armed with a variety of weapons, ranging from hand blasters to short-barreled burst-rifles. Plagueis hadn't allowed his young apprentice to wield a lightsaber until a few years earlier, but Sidious was brandishing one now, self-constructed of phrik alloy and aurodium, and powered by a synthetic crystal. Made for delicate, long-fingered hands—as much a work of art as a weapon—the lightsaber thrummed as he waved the blade from side to side in front of him.
"Every weapon, manufactured by whatever species, has its own properties and peculiarities," Plagueis was saying, his own blade angled toward the ferrocrete floor of the battledome's fabricated cityscape, as if to light a fuse. "Range, penetrating power, refresh rate... In some instances your life might depend on your ability to focus on the weapon rather than the wielder. You must train yourself to identify a weapon instantly—whether it's a product of BlasTech or Merr-Sonn, Tenloss or Prax—so that you will know where to position yourself, and the several ways to best deflect a well-aimed bolt."

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


He invents a breathing apparatus to sustain himself following his injuries.

Just arrived on the Hunters’ Moon, Sidious studied Plagueis as the Sith Lord and his droid, 11-4D, viewed a holorecording of a black-robed Zabrak assassin making short work of combat automata in his home on Coruscant, some hovering, some advancing on two legs, others on treads, and all firing blasters.
Twenty years had added a slight stoop to the Muun’s posture and veins that stood out under his thinning white skin. He wore a dark green utility suit that hugged his delicate frame, a green cloak that fell from his bony shoulders to the fort’s stone floor, and a headpiece that hewed to his large cranium. A triangular breath mask covered his ruined, prognathus lower jaw, his mouth, part of his long neck, and what remained of the craggy nose he’d had before the surprise attack in the Fobosi. A device of his own invention, the alloy mask featured two vertical slits and a pair of thin, stiff conduits that linked it to a transpirator affixed to his upper chest, beneath an armored torso harness. He had learned to ingest and imbibe through feeding tubes, and through his nose.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis


Plagueis writes in his journal his discoveries and tests regarding midi-chlorians, analyzing both scientific and mystical aspects of midi-chlorians and the Force.

The Science of Creating Life
“What is the Force? The Jedi say it is created by life. But I say the Force creates life. It is a simple deduction—an obvious conclusion when supported by structured experimentation. Yet consider this: the galaxy’s leading scientific minds are largely ignorant of the Force, and the galaxy’s most skilled Force-users reject science. The latter are caught up in romantic mysticism, convinced they have been called by a higher power. The former have no excuse.
Thus, I will be the first to pursue this line of inquiry. A scientific understanding of the Force is not the same as the memorization of incantations. Science seeks to understand the principle behind a reaction, not merely how to replicate it—particularly when the formulas for the reactions are bloated with centuries of empty ornamentation.
To study alchemy, one must strip away its rhyming phrases and its perverse obsession with blood sacrifice. To study a shamanistic talisman, one must look beyond the works of invocation. When a talisman unleashes its power, what is the true trigger? The words? The speaker’s tone. His mental state? If a talisman’s power resides inside the gem, what will happen when sufficient mass is lost? I the ratio consistent for similar gems and similar talismans?
The Sith of old never asked these questions, for tradition and obedience extinguished their spark for curiosity. And these questions are much more than ide speculation. My science will remove everything superfluous. In this way, the true nature of the fundamental elements that the Jedi and the Sith wield so casually will be revealed.
So it must be that I am the first. I will change it all. The Sith wallowed in ritual even during our centuries under the Rule of Two, playing dress-up in frightening costumes and posturing for our followers. I will burn away the colorful wrappings and study the skeletal structure that reveals the architecture of reality.
My ultimate goal is the secret of life—that life that gives us consciousness, for without consciousness each of us is nothing. Through science, I will create new life and sustain my own. There is no reason why Darth Plagueis could not live forever.”

Influencing the Midi-Chlorians
“The Force is found throughout the universe, not only in living things. Everything in existence that draws upon various aspects of the energy we call the Force may be classified into three categories.
The aperion includes and unites all matter, giving it shape and cohesion. Aspects of the aperion include gravity and electromagnetism—though the term encompasses everything in boh space and tie. Many of the abilities understood as belonging to the Unifying Force are tied to the aperion.
The anima gives life—but not thought—to animals, plants, and other living beings. Midi-chlorians are responsible for inducing and sustaining anima in almost all species. Many of the Living Force abilities are tied to the anima.
The pneuma is the expression of conscious thought. Thinking, self-aware minds contribute to the collective pneuma, which is accessed by many naturally telepathic species, as well as by the various mind tricks of the Jedi and the Sith.
These fundamental forces would exist even without midi-chlorians However, midi-chlorians are the beneficiaries of an unusually strong connection to all forms of physical and psychic energy. Because the midi-chlorians inhabit living cells, the host organism is able to draw upon this connection. Midi-chlorians are endosymbionts. They die when their host dies, and no host can live if completely purged of midi-chlorians.
The visible biology of the cell and its midi-chlorians is a product of the invisible interactions of the aperion, anima, and pneuma.
All living things, regardless of their planet of origin, appear to possess midi-chlorians or complementary biological strucutres. The reasons for this isomorphism are unknown. But the results of my experiments into abiogenesis have shifted my present focus significantly. Of considerable interest is the fact that, while most cellular organelles generate chemical energy, midi-chlorians generate Force energy. They also appear to possess a single unified consciousness linked via the pneuma and can be influenced by the host’s mental state. In particular, negative emotions such as the loss of hope can induce cellular necrosis.
Typical blood concentration is around 2,500 midi-chlorians per cell. Cutting this concentration in half will usually result in death. I conclude that Force energy is required for life and that midi-chlorians are its biological vector.
Jedi and Sith have high midi-chlorian counts at the moments of their births. Breeding between two Force-sensitive parents is an option, as the pairings generally result in Force-sensitive offspring. On the other hand, genetic defects have been a concern since the inbreeding among the royals of Vjun during their mad chase for extraordinary powers. A simple blood transfusion is the obvious answer, but I have found that the subject’s native midi-chlorians will reject the influx of foreign cells.”

Perpetural Life
“The solution, therefore, is not to introduce new midi-chlorians but to impose one’s will on the midi-chlorians already present in the subject. This can be done through the energy of the pneuma. Just as a warrior in peak condition can lift a heavy weight, so can someone with a sharpened mental focus and an affinity for the Force achieve a measurable effect on living cells.
I begin with experiments on scurries and other small creatures. I used my will, amplified through my body’s own midi-chlorians, to override the lesser concentrated midi-chlorian voices in the test subjects. This proved more challenging than I predicted. Because midi-chlorians are linked by a universal mind, the ones in my own cells seemed to resist this imposition upon their fellows. But eventually I succeeded, first with small creatures, then with slaves purchased from the Hutts. I forced the midi-chlorians to override their natural life cycles. What I discovered is that these midi-chlorians would not die. Instead, they drew upon sustaining Force energy, which acted on a microscopic level to halt tissue decay in their host, putting an end to aging and disease.”

Concentrating the Force
“My experiments proved midi-chlorians could be controlled. If this is true, then could they not also be induced to create life at the molecular level? Midi-chlorians in the cells of the mother could, in theory, be persuaded o craft a zygote.
For consistency in my test subjects, I obtained hundreds of identical humanoids, each with consistent midi-chlorian level. After much experimentation, I succeeded in prodding the midi-chlorians to replicate themselves through asexual fission. Though in most cases, this process increased the numbers uncontrollably and killed the host.
But I believe that by using this method I can trick midi-chlorians into creating a zygote. Then it would simply be a matter of growing the subject under normal biological conditions. Such a subject could, of course, take years to hit the development milestone of a typical humanoid, but he could have a midi-chlorian count as high as 20,000 per cell. That is more than any Jedi or Sith in recorded history. Although entirely theoretical, such an achievement is intriguing.
If a new life form could be created where none existed before, the living could sustain their bodies indefinitely. Science has led to these conclusions, yet these events must be guarded with utmost care. For now, it remains purely theoretical.”

--Taken from Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side
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Boba Fett vs Darth Vader: What really happened?

This is an irritating topic. Similar to Mace vs Palpatine, I just grow tired of refuting this and will do so here instead. Users frequently claim that Boba has held his own against or, in some cases, defeated Vader. The former is partially true in a certain context; the latter is simply inaccurate. This claim reminds me of the monotonous, false declarations that Batman has beaten Superman, despite the fact that this has never happened. Generally speaking, people who mention this have never read the stories that feature this match up but have instead given cursory views to out of context or ambiguously canon scans floating around. Let me say this: It is true that Boba and Vader have fought one another. Somehow, people ascertain that piece of information and champion it as one of Boba's chief accomplishments without crediting any mention to contextual detail or story canonicity. With that said, let's address the misconception.


There are two consistently listed fights between Boba and Vader, but only one is canon. The canon one, I will cover secondly. The first, the fight that is not definitively canon, is from Tales #11 in the short story Prey. In this story, Grand Moff Tarkin hires Boba to capture Han Solo, but Vader wants the involvement of Imperial forces to advertise a more intimidating message as opposed to deploying a bounty hunter. So while Boba is in pursuit of Han, Vader chases after him as well. Boba, Vader, and Han all meet in a cantina, and when Vader arrives, he intends to kill Han immediately. However, Boba wants the bounty for himself and instead challenges Vader while Han escapes. This is where the fight starts.

Now, let's cover the fight as it transpires. First, Boba fires his pistols at Vader a few times, with Vader subsequently repelling the shots with his lightsaber. When Vader downs Boba, he prepares to throw a downward strike only for his blade to be parried by a lightsaber that Boba ignites. Boba boasts about wielding a lightsaber, and then the two duel, if you can even call it that. All that happens for a couple pages is Vader swinging his lightsaber while Boba's remains seemingly stationary. He is never shown swinging it back at Vader to counterattack. He simply backs out of the cantina, achieving nothing, while Vader presses him back, and then Vader disarms Boba. This really is not much of a fight. How is it interpreted though? People claim Boba has dueled Vader and made the forgone conclusion that this supports the notion of him contending with Vader. Why? Boba literally did nothing here. Vader deflects his shots, he knocks Boba to the ground, Boba draws a lightsaber, Vader forces him back, Boba never hits Vader, and Vader disarms him. How is this even a duel? If this is a duel, this is a pathetically one-sided one. More than that, this story is from Tales, and it has never been brought into continuity. Therefore, even if this story did depict Boba engaging Vader on anything even remotely resembling equal terms (which it didn't), it lacks anything more than S-Canonicity anyway; so the fight has no bearing on anything.


Now for the canon fight. This is from Boba Fett: Enemy of the Empire #4. This fight has far more situational elements in it. First, let's discuss Vader's goal. Vader and other Imperial personnel fly to Vestar so they can gain hold of a chest that carries in it the severed head of a soothsayer, the queen of the Icarri Selestrine. Vader is aware of Selestrine's precognitive visions and has plans for its use in overthrowing the Emperor. Boba is in the Icarri town working on a bounty when he learns of Selestrine's powers also. To uphold the bounty, he resolves to keep the chest. When Vader comes into the area, he orders Fett to deliver it to him, which leads to a fight ensuing between the two.

Vader states at the very beginning that he is after the chest with Selestrine inside it. Boba is adamant about withholding it and shoots at Vader unsuccessfully (he probably meant this as more a distraction than a real attack; Boba is hardly ignorant of Vader's power) and flies away in attempt to retreat. He throws a grenade at Vader that projects a colossal amount of smoke to keep Vader misled while he heads for his speeder, but when Boba lands at the speeder, Vader is already there. So Vader cuts the speed in half. Since Boba is unwilling to release the chest, he begins shooting at Vader again, and, as before, nothing comes of it. Vader reflects his bolts, one of which strikes Boba. Now, this really is where the fight actually takes place. Initially, Boba is just fleeing, not fighting. Vader gives mild chase but is fairly overconfident in his chances against Boba. The instant Boba is out of options for escaping after Vader dismantles his speeder, that is the part where they actually begin to fight, and it proceeds poorly for Boba. Vader has him dropped in a matter of panels without even directly attacking Boba. Boba fires off multiple forms of projectiles to no effect while Vader evades and blocks the attacks, yet Vader still briefly downs Boba by redirecting one of his blaster bolts back toward him. Boba is not incapacitated to be sure, but the ease of Vader's dominance in this scene is telling, because, again, this is the real fight. However, when Boba is next to the cliff, Vader halts his advance out of concern for the chest Boba carries should it fall over the edge. While Boba is trying to regain his composure, Vader elects a "safer" tactic by manipulating his mind instead of barraging him physically. But when Boba falls over the edge in an apparently planned maneuver, he catches Vader off guard when the latter fears the condition of Selestrine. When Vader looks over the edge, Boba lands a blaster bolt on Vader's forehead. Following this, Boba proclaims himself the victor, but it takes little time for Vader to recover and decides to use Choke on Boba to subdue him (why he neglected this option in the first place is anyone's guess). To save himself, Boba kicks the chest off the cliff, which prompts Vader to release his hold on him and retrieve it. As a result, Boba escapes.

This is the battle between Vader and Boba that people consider so indicative of Boba's abilities? There are a mess of issues to recognize here. Boba had an item that Vader wanted which stopped Vader from finishing Boba in the middle of the fight and caused Vader to let Boba go at the end of the fight; Boba fled originally and only fought Vader when he had no other choice; Vader very casually handled Boba twice in this, once when Boba unleashes a variety of weaponry on him, all of which fails, and once when he just TK'd Boba; and the only singular blow that Boba ever manages to connect on Vader, out of all of the seemingly dozens of projectiles he launches, had to be a surprise shot just to tag Vader (a shot which ignores Vader's Force senses, but we'll let that go). Please, let me ask sincerely: How is this an impressive combat feat for Boba? All it did was show Vader's superiority without him having to even overwhelmingly beat Boba, and this was in Boba's own title. Let's be honest with ourselves: Boba lasted in this fight because he had a plot device. Really, let's just call it what it is. It was a plot device, a possession that Vader craved that obstructed him from utilizing the full measure of his abilities against Boba.

Now having said that, does that mean I see nothing impressive for Boba here? No. I find his adaptive tactics impressive enough. They were brief but still useful. I find his exploitation of Vader's attitude toward him and his mentality toward the chest to gain leverage impressive. Boba may have lost the chest, but he managed to use it to escape Vader. But this is all I can credit him for. Boba never beat Vader, not in a way that was meaningful at least. He knocked him to the ground with a surprise shot to the head, but Vader had Boba on the ground more than once without many people claiming Vader conclusively won. It would be a stretch to even say Boba held his own against Vader here. He fled, was caught, attacked, was dropped, landed a surprise attack, was dropped again, and was let go. If people want to elucidate on this event as a demonstration of Boba's strategic affinity, there is nothing wrong with that. But the problem is that this is usually mentioned as a combat feat to further an argument for Boba defeating an unrelated character in a battle thread in spite of the fact that this fight necessitated a myriad of circumstantial factors for Boba to survive. To disregard those circumstances is to be disingenuous. There is no other way to put it. That out of the way, am I saying that Vader would stomp Boba in every encounter with no substantial opposition whatsoever? Not necessarily. Vader knows and at some length even respects Boba; so odds are, he would restrain his peak power against him. And under that scenario, Boba could probably hold out for a period before losing. Could Vader well stomp Boba? I see no reason why not. He certainly has the raw power output to do so, but again, I doubt he would very often, or at least not unprovoked. Are there no situations, no matter how strenuous or complicated, under which Boba could beat Vader? I wouldn't take it that far. Given the proper setup, Boba could probably win, but the setup would have to be creative to be viable. But at the very least, there are situations wherein Boba could present a substantive danger to Vader.

In conclusion, yes, Boba has fought Vader. Is it impressive? Yes. Does it hold water in a battle thread against a character who is not Vader with setups that are not equivalent to this one? No.


Addendum: There is a page at the end of Enemy of the Empire #4 where the narration attempts to lend some minuscule level of credence to Boba's capacity to beat Vader. It mentions that while Vader was telekinetically pulling the chest up to himself after Boba kicked it off the cliff, Boba could have shot at Vader and killed him then. People repeatedly isolate this as a means of relegating the fight to Boba's favor. This is, for self-evident reasons, flawed. If Boba has to shoot Vader in the back while Vader is preoccupied with another task just to win, that should tell you something about Boba's chances, in the same vein that if Boba needs a collection of specific factors to balance the fight that should tell you something about his chances as well. Moreover, who is to say that would have killed Vader? Vader has survived blaster bolt wounds on several occasions, one of them being this same issue. If the comic intended it to mean that Vader would fall into the lava pit, that might be more plausible, but this then resorts to Boba winning by a BFR. And even then, what prevents Vader from levitating himself down or back up? What prevents Vader from sensing Boba's incoming shot through the Force and responding in kind? What prevents Vader from rendering himself immovable to ensure that he never falls over the cliff face? All of these are powers within Vader's arsenal. So if you feel the need to bring up that scan in the near future to "substantiate" anything about Boba's threat level, don't. It's a fairly desperate point to make.
Start the Conversation

Posted by Canon

First and foremost, let me identify what this is for. On my brief time posting on another forum, there were users who would substantiate a point that has been addressed and proven in EU continuity repeatedly but is still somehow question by users. Whenever this would happen, instead of simply typing out a comprehensive reply over and over, they would just copy/paste a selection of quotes from various sources that evidences their intended point with the quoted text being mentioned as "Posted by Canon." To that effect, I have brought that here (with my own set of quotes, not a steal of theirs even though I am brutally stealing their idea), because some questions are not a matter of debate but instead of canon fact. With that in mind, there are a few facts I would rather not waste time repeating over and over with drawn out responses that I have to type out on the fly in every single instance. So I will simply provide my set of quoted criteria here, list it as "quoted by canon," and copy/paste it in a thread whenever needed. Note: These sections will be added to over time as more and more sources include the same information. 


1. Luke Skywalker possesses among the most intrinsic potential of any Jedi, the most accomplished power of any Jedi, the most intrinsic lightsaber aptitude of any Jedi, and the most accomplished lightsaber skill of any Jedi.

Posted by Canon:

He's not Satan, he just goes down to the corner and gets Satan's cigarettes.
You got it. And when he finds out Luke is his son, his first impulse is to figure out a way of getting him to join him to kill the Emperor. That's what Siths do! He tries it with anybody he thinks might be more powerful, which is what the Emperor was looking for in the first place: somebody who would be more powerful than he was and could help him rule the universe. But Obi-Wan screwed that up by cutting of his arms and legs and burning him up. From then on, he wasn't as strong as the Emperor—he was like Darth Maul or Count Dooku. He wasn't what he was supposed to become. But the son could become that.

--Taken from Rolling Stone #975

And the Emperor was right. Luke had much power in him. It was raw, unchanneled and untrained, but it was vast. His potential was larger than the Emperor's, larger than Vader's.

--Taken from Shadows of the Empire
 

The Force was powerful; Vader thought the dark side even more so, but he had never been able to use it to heal his badly burned body to the extent that he wished. That he was alive at all was something of a miracle, but he had somehow failed to master the energies needed for complete regeneration. He believed it was possible; that with sufficient meditation and training, he would someday be able to rebuild himself into the man he once had been. Physically, at least.
He would never go back to what he had been mentally. Weak, foolish, idealistic. Anakin had been much like Luke Skywalker was now. Mere...potential. Yes, the Force was strong in Luke, perhaps stronger than it had been in Anakin. But the boy needed to embrace the dark side, to learn where the real power was, to achieve his true promise. If he did not, the Emperor would destroy Luke. Vader did not want that.

--Taken from Shadows of the Empire
 

Luke paused, for he saw something else, as well; something he hadn’t seen before in the Emperor. Fear. 
Luke saw fear in the Emperor—fear of Luke. Fear of Luke’s power, fear that this power could be turned on him—on the Emperor—in the same way Vader had turned it on Obi-Wan Kenobi. Luke saw this fear in the Emperor—and he knew, now, the odds had shifted slightly. He had glimpsed the Emperor’s nakedest self.

Vader watched Luke. His boy was powerful, stronger than he’d imagined. And still pliable. Not lost yet—either to the sickening, weakly side of the Force, that had to beg for everything it received; or to the Emperor, who feared Luke with reason. There was yet time to take Luke for his own—to retake him. To join with him in dark majesty. To rule the galaxy together. It would only take patience and a little wizardry, to show Luke the exquisite satisfactions of the dark way and to pry him from the Emperor’s terrified clutch. Vader knew Luke had seen it too—the Emperor’s fear. He was a clever boy, young Luke. Vader smile grimly to himself. He was his father’s son.

--Taken from Return of the Jedi
 

A body more powerful in the Force than Vader, potentially more powerful even than Palpatine. The body of a true hero, beloved by all right-thinking citizens in the galaxy as the very symbol of truth and justice...
He would not simply turn Luke Skywalker to the service of the Dark. Why should he? Luke Skywalker served the Dark already, without ever guessing; he had powers of destruction that humbled even the Death Star. No: Cronal would become Luke Skywalker, and serve the Dark himself.

--Taken from Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor

Luke looked over at us from the small kitchenette and gave us a smile. "Wedge, good to see you again. And you as well, Captain Horn. Can I offer you something to drink?"
"Caf, if you have it." Wedge hid a yawn with the back of his right hand. "You keep it dark enough in here for me to drop off right now."
"Caf it shall be, then." The Jedi Master looked at me and I felt electricity run through his blue-eyed gaze. When we had met before I had felt power in him, but now, after his experiences with the Emperor Reborn, his power had been redoubled.
--Taken from I, Jedi

Brakiss tracked Luke four ways: with the surveillance equipment he had installed all over Telti; with the computer system; with a group of specially designed gladiator droids that silently flanked Luke; and with the Force. His Force sense was the most reliable. Luke's presence felt as if someone had tossed a boulder into the calm pond of Brakiss's world. Although Brakiss had known Luke was coming, he still wasn't prepared for the strength of the disturbance.

--Taken from The New Rebellion

Even Luke's strength in the Force cannot help. The most powerful Jedi Master in the galaxy can only stand by and watch his wife die.

--Taken from The New Jedi Order Sourcebook

By the time of the Battle of Endor, Luke Skywalker has studied some lightsaber technique from Obi-Wan's journal and greatly advanced his abilities. Without a Master, such advancement would be nearly impossible for most, but Skywalker's unparalleled aptitude makes him a match for Darth Vader in their fateful duel onboard the Second Death Star.

But Skywalker's skill at blaster deflection is highly refined, and his lightsaber technique is so superb that he is able to duel the Dark Lord on even footing—and finally able to defeat a man who is a powerful living product of the ancient Jedi sword traditions from time immemorial. Such an achievement with little formal training is a testament to Skywalker's innate abilities and instinctive skill.

--Taken from Insider #62: Fightsaber: Jedi Lightsaber Combat
         

2. Yoda is the most powerful Jedi to exist up to his time, is the most skilled duelist of his time, and is possibly the most skilled swordmaster the Jedi Order ever produced up to his time.


Posted by Canon:

Inside the spacious interior of the Galactic Senate chamber, Yoda challenged the Emperor. The two engaged in a spectacular duel—a contest between the most powerful practitioners of the Force’s light and dark sides.

--Taken from The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia

This truth: that he, the avatar of light, Supreme Master of the Jedi Order, the fiercest, most implacable, most devastatingly powerful foe the darkness had ever known...

--Taken from Revenge of the Sith

Feats:
  • Destroying droid C-9979 landing vessels
  • Causing an avalanche
  • Perceiving events and eventualities throughout the galaxy
  • Altering the tides of battles by influencing armies and fleets
  • Absorbing and redirecting Force Lightning
  • Projecting Force Light
  • Rendering himself immovable against forces moving ships
  • Fighting faster than Anakin or an augmented Count Dooku

To the uninitiated, lightsaber combat can seem like a confusing blur of swipes and blade clashes, but on close examination, the secrets of the Jedi Knights become clear. To understand the combat of these warriors, we must delve into the sacred history of the fabled Seven Forms of Jedi lightsaber combat and look at how these have played out in the Star Wars saga. Only then can we understand the extraordinary combat moves of Yoda, perhaps the greatest lightsaber master the Jedi Order has ever seen.

--Taken from Insider #62: Fightsaber: Jedi Lightsaber Combat

With a stooped, small appearance, Yoda may not look like a warrior, but his skills with a lightsaber were unequaled.

--Taken from Lightsabers: A Guide to Weapons of the Force

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m2yIAxeBHA&feature=player_embedded 

"We've not seen Mace fight yet, and we know that he's second only to Yoda."


http://web.archive.org/web/20051125042817/http://www.starwars.com/episode-ii/bts/production/news20000711b.html  

"Mace Windu's fighting abilities are second only to Yoda."


Though it was true that he had slowed slightly in the years that Mace Windu had known him, Yoda's skill with a lightsaber was still second to none on the council.

--Taken from Darth Maul Shadow Hunter

Master Windu was also known within the Order for his unusual fighting style, one that he developed after studying the dueling styles of various lightsaber masters. His attacks consisted of relentless, unpredictable blows, like shots from an autoblaster. Master Windu himself remained perfectly balanced and centered. In the history of the Jedi Order, only two opponents ever overcame him in battle. One was Master Yoda, who some said was the Order's true master of lightsaber combat. The other was former Master Dooku, whose own fighting style was archaic, yet stunningly effective.

--Taken from the Power of the Jedi Sourcebook

Feats:
  • Defeating Mace Windu in lightsaber combat
  • Defeating Count Dooku in lightsaber combat and on another occasion defeating Count Dooku while the latter augmented his powers with ambient Force energies on Vjun
  • Fighting as an equal with Darth Sidious in lightsaber combat


3. Darth Sidious is the most powerful Sith Lord to ever exist. 

Posted by Canon:

Vader imagined the power that could be his if he crushed Palpatine and established his own rule over the Empire. But first, he would need his own apprentice. By himself, he could not hope to defeat the most powerful Sith Lord the galaxy had ever known.

--Taken from Vader: The Ultimate Guide

Yoda went after Palpatine in the empty Senate chamber, but could not defeat the most powerful Sith Lord in history.

--Taken from The New Essential Chronology

Beyond the vision of the Jedi Knights, somewhere within the darkness, the greatest master of evil ever to use Sith power bides his time. As his strength grows, his plans begin to shape the course of the galaxy, and his snares await the unsuspecting.

--Taken from The Complete Visual Dictionary

When Yoda crosses sabers with the movie's arch-villain, he doesn't launch into a pinwheeling display of acrobatics, as he did against Count Dooku in Episode II. Instead, Yoda faces the dark side's fury, channeled by the most powerful Sith Lord in history. "Rob Coleman wanted Yoda to feel the power of his enemy," says Wheless, "like a force he's never dealt with before."

--Taken from Insider #86: Yoda's Right Arm

The Sith have waited millennium for the birth of one who is powerful enough to return them from hiding. Darth Sidious is that one—the Sith's revenge on the Jedi order for having nearly eradicated the practitioners of the dark side of the Force.

--Taken from The Complete Visual Dictionary
 

The Sith Order, in hiding for a millennium, had awaited the birth of one who was powerful enough to return the Order to prominence. Darth Sidious was the fulfillment of that prophecy, capable of exacting the Sith's revenge on the Jedi for having nearly eradicated the practitioners of the dark side of the Force.

--Taken from The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia

Darth Sidious proved to be the grim culmination of a thousand years of Sith philosophy and teachings.

--Taken from Jedi vs Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force

When the Sith finally emerged from a thousand years of watching and waiting, they numbered—in accordance with the tradition set down by Darth Bane—only two. The most powerful of these was Darth Sidious, an ice-cold, diabolically calculating genius equipped with the strength of the dark side of the Force, as well as an enormous wealth of Sith artifacts, equipment, and knowledge.

--Taken from The Dark Side Sourcebook

In truth, Palpatine was well versed in the ways of the Force, having been apprentice to Darth Plagueis the Wise, a Sith Lord who was a master of arcane and unnatural knowledge. In true Sith tradition, Palpatine murdered his Master upon receiving the skill and ability to do so.

--Taken from The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia

Sidious served for many decades as the apprentice of Darth Plagueis, learning diligently at the feet of his Master. Once he possessed all of Plagueis' secrets, he retired him.

--Taken from Heritage of the Sith

Unknown to the Rebels, the Emperor had already laid the groundwork for the perpetual rule of his New Order. He had turned a Jedi into his new dark apprentice, the terrifying Darth Vader. Vader himself trained apprentices. And the Emperor created a corps of loyal, Force-skilled minions to maintain his rule. Most powerful of all, of course, was the Emperor himself.

--Taken from The Dark Side Sourcebook

Inside the spacious interior of the Galactic Senate chamber, Yoda challenged the Emperor. The two engaged in a spectacular duel—a contest between the most powerful practitioners of the Force’s light and dark sides.

--Taken from The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia

It quickly became clear to Luke that this decrepit and seemingly defenseless old man was masterfully adept in the ways of the Dark Side of the Force. Indeed, as Vader had warned, the Emperor had become the Dark Side's most powerful expression.

--Taken from the Dark Empire endnotes

Even Ulic Qel-Droma would be envious of Palpatine. He had succeeded where all others had failed in taming the Dark Side.

--Taken from Dark Empire Sourcebook

Sidious knew that his own powers had increased tenfold over the decades, but he couldn’t be certain he had learned all of Plagueis’s secrets—“his sorcerer’s ways,” as the Sun Guards referred to them—including the ability to prevent beings from dying.

--Taken from Darth Plagueis

A tremor took hold of the planet.
Sprung from death, it unleashed itself in a powerful wave, at once burrowing deep into the world’s core and radiating through its saccharine atmosphere to shake the stars themselves. At the quake’s epicenter stood Sidious, one elegant hand vised on the burnished sill of an expansive translucency, a vessel filled suddenly to bursting, the Force so strong within him that he feared he might disappear into it, never to return. But the moment didn’t constitute an ending so much as a true beginning, long overdue; it was less a transformation than an intensification—a gravitic shift.
A welter of voices, near and far, present and from eons past, drowned his thoughts. Raised in praise, the voices proclaimed his reign and cheered the inauguration of a new order. Yellow eyes lifted to the night sky, he saw the trembling stars flare, and in the depth of his being he felt the power of the dark side anoint him.
Slowly, almost reluctantly, he came back to himself, his gaze settling on his manicured hands. Returned to the present, he took note of his rapid breathing, while behind him the room labored to restore order. Air scrubbers hummed—costly wall tapestries undulating in the summoned breeze. Prized carpets sealed their fibers against the spread of spilled fluids. The droid shuffled in obvious confliction. Sidious pivoted to take in the disarray: antique furniture overturned; framed artwork askew. As if a whirlwind had swept through. And facedown on the floor lay a statue of Yanjon, one of four law-giving sages of Dwartii.
A piece Sidious had secretly coveted.
Also sprawled there, Plagueis: his slender limbs splayed and elongated head turned to one side. Dressed in finery, as for a night on the town.
And now dead.
Or was he?
Uncertainty rippled through Sidious, rage returning to his eyes. A tremor of his own making, or one of forewarning? Was it possible that the wily Muun had deceived him? Had Plagueis unlocked the key to immortality, and survived after all? Never mind that it would constitute a petty move for one so wise—for one who had professed to place the Grand Plan above all else. Had Plagueis become ensnared in a self-spun web of jealousy and possessiveness, victim of his own engineering, his own foibles?
If he hadn’t been concerned for his own safety, Sidious might have pitied him. Wary of approaching the corpse of his former Master, he called on the Force to roll the aged Muun over onto his back. From that angle Plagueis looked almost as he had when Sidious first met him, decades earlier: smooth, hairless cranium; humped nose, with its bridge flattened as if from a shock-ball blow and its sharp tip pressed almost to his upper lip; jutting lower jaw; sunken eyes still brimming with menace—a physical characteristic rarely encountered in a Muun. But then Plagueis had never been an ordinary Muun, nor an ordinary being of any sort.
Sidious took care, still reaching out with the Force. On closer inspection, he saw that Plagueis’s already cyanotic flesh was smoothing out, his features relaxing.
Faintly aware of the whir of air scrubbers and sounds of the outside world infiltrating the luxurious suite, he continued the vigil; then, in relief, he pulled himself up to his full height and let out his breath. This was no Sith trick. Not an instance of feigning death, but one of succumbing to its cold embrace. The being who had guided him to power was gone.
Wry amusement narrowed his eyes.
The Muun might have lived another hundred years unchanged. He might have lived forever had he succeeded fully in his quest. But in the end—though he could save others from death—he had failed to save himself.
A sense of supreme accomplishment puffed Sidious’s chest, and his thoughts unreeled.
Well, then, that wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought it might be...
Rarely did events play out as imagined, in any case. The order of future events was transient. In the same way that the past was reconfigured by selective memory, future events, too, were moving targets. One could only act on instinct, grab hold of an intuited perfect moment, and spring into action. One heartbeat late and the universe would have recomposed itself, no imposition of will sufficient to forestall the currents. One could only observe and react. Surprise was the element absent from any periodic table. A keystone element; a missing ingredient. The means by which the Force amused itself. A reminder to all sentient beings that some secrets could never be unlocked.
Confident that the will of the dark side had been done, he returned to the suite’s window wall. Two beings in a galaxy of countless trillions, but what had transpired in the suite would affect the lives of all of them. Already the galaxy had been shaped by the birth of one, and henceforth would be reshaped by the death of the other. But had the change been felt and recognized elsewhere? Were his sworn enemies aware that the Force had shifted irrevocably? Would it be enough to rouse them from self-righteousness? He hoped not. For now the work of vengeance could begin in earnest.
His eyes sought and found an ascending constellation of stars, one of power and consequence new to the sky, though soon to be overwhelmed by dawn’s first light. Low in the sky over the flatlands, visible only to those who knew where and how to look, it ushered in a bold future. To some the stars and planets might seem to be moving as ever, destined to align in configurations calculated long before their fiery births. But in fact the heavens had been perturbed, tugged by dark matter into novel alignments. In his mouth, Sidious tasted the tang of blood; in his chest, he felt the monster rising, emerging from shadowy depths and contorting his aspect into something fearsome just short of revealing itself to the world.
The dark side had made him its property, and now he made the dark side his.
Breathless, not from exertion but from the sudden inspiration of power, he let go of the sill and allowed the monster to writhe through his body like an unbroken beast of range or prairie.
Had the Force ever been so strong in anyone?
Sidious had never learned how Plagueis’s own Master had met his end. Had he died at Plagueis’s hand? Had Plagueis, too, experienced a similar exultation on becoming a sole Sith Lord? Had the beast of the end time risen then to peek at the world it was to inhabit, knowing its release was imminent?

--Taken from Darth Plagueis

Resurrected in a youthful clone body, Palpatine does not reveal himself immediately. Studying the dark side of the Force to become more powerful, his education results in three manifestos: The Book of Anger, The Weakness of Inferiors, and The Creation of Monsters.

--Taken from The Ultimate Visual Guide

Palpatine knew precisely why the Empire couldn’t last without his dread power: he had designed it that way. No one ever suspected how much he relied on the Dark Side of the Force. He shaped those of his government by using the Force against them. He used it to control his fleets and to drive his soldiers on to victory. He used it to destroy his enemies from a distance and learn of conspiracies against him. Without it, there was no way the Empire could endure, as he had designed it. The Dark Side flowed through him like some primordial ichor and was the key to all his power.
Soon he was ready to strike. Fully healed and in greater control of the Dark Side than ever, he finally acted to end the Mutiny.

--Taken from Dark Empire Sourcebook

The feeling had begun as a faint stirring in the Force, like the tiniest ripple of something moving slowly through deep water, far away but drawing steadily closer. It intensified, until it felt like the Force itself was roiling, heaving like the sea in the grip of an enormous storm.
“I sense a presence,” Maul warned Savage. “A presence I haven’t felt since...”
And then Maul knew.
“Master,” he said, leaning forward on the throne.
The commandos guarding the royal chamber reached for their throats. As Maul watched, an unseen forced lifted them high in the air, then slammed them to the floor, where they lay motionless in their red-and-black armor. The doors opened, then closed behind a figure in dark robes. A deep cowl hid most of the face, leaving only a pale chin and a downturned mouth visible. To most eyes the man in those simple robes of rough cloth was unremarkable, just another being making his way in the universe. But to those who could feel the Force he was anything but ordinary. To them, he was a dark sun blazing with power that was simultaneously hypnotizing and terrifying to behold.
Darth Sidious, the reigning Dark Lord of the Sith, had come to Mandalore.
Savage stared at the new arrival in astonishment, transfixed by the sight.

--Taken from Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy

Now the scene below subtly altered, though to the physical eye there was no change. Powered by the dark side, Dooku's perception took the measure of those below him with exhilarating precision.
Kenobi was luminous, a transparent being, a window onto a sunlit meadow of the Force.
Skywalker was a storm cloud, flickering with dangerous lightning, building the rotation that threatens a tornado.
And then there was Palpatine, of course: he was beyond power. He showed nothing of what might be within. Though seen with the eyes of the dark side itself, Palpatine was an event horizon. Beneath his entirely ordinary surface was absolute, perfect nothingness. Darkness beyond darkness.
A black hole of the Force.
--Taken from Revenge of the Sith

The key to Luke's turning is the moment when he and Leia realize the Emperor is no longer defined by his physical form, but has become a chaotic nexus of dark energies that swell and burst open the fabric of space, tearing apart everything in the vicinity, human and machine.

--Taken from the Dark Empire endnotes

Any unusual localization, or vergence, of dark side Force energy. These strange locales emanated the dark side of the Force, and were considered focal points of power for dark side users. As such, they were often guarded by Jedi Knights to prevent their discovery and exploitation. Known dark side nexuses included the twisted tree-cave on Dagobah, Halagad Ventor's hermitage on Trinta, and a "stain" of dark side energy that hovered over Endor following the defeat of the Emperor.

--Taken from The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia

Plagueis made a soothing gesture and explained in great detail what had taken place. Concluding, he said, "He threatened, too, to place you out of reach."
All the while Plagueis spoke, Palpatine was storming through circles on the narrow path, shaking his head in anger and balling his fists. "He can't do this!" he snarled. He hasn't the right! I won't allow it!" 
Palpatine's fury buffeted Plagueis. Blossoms growing along the sides of the pathway folded in on themselves, and their pollinators began to buzz in agitation. FourDee reacted, as well, wobbling on its feet, as if in the grip of a powerful electromagnet. Had this human truly been born of flesh-and-blood parents? Plagueis asked himself. When, in fact, he seemed sprung from nature itself. Was the Force so strong in him that it had concealed 
itself?

--Taken from Darth Plagueis

Outside, the wind picked up another notch, shrieking and groaning among the eleven chimneys as if to announce the arrival of a hideous guest. Dooku's comm console chimed. He glanced over, expecting the daily report from General Grievous, or perhaps a message from Asajj Ventress. He reached over to open the channel, ecognized the digital signature of the incoming transmission, jabbed the channel open, and snapped to his feet. "You called, my Master?" 
The hologrammic projector on his desk sprang to life, and the wavering form of Darth Sidious regarded him. As always the picture was oozy and unclear, as if light itself were uneasy in the presence of the Lord of the Sith. Dark robes, purple shadows—a patch of skin, pale and mottled under his hooded cloak like a fungus growing under a rotten log. From under heavy lids the Master's eyes, snake-cold and serpent-wise, regarded him. 
"What would you have of me, Master?" 
"From you? Everything, of course." Darth Sidious sounded amused. "There was a time when I wasn't sure if you would be able to overcome that...independent streak of yours. After all, you were born to one of the wealthiest families in the galaxy, with gifts and abilities far, far greater than any amount of wealth could bestow. Your understanding is deep; your will, adamant. Is it any wonder you should be proud? Why, how could it be otherwise?" 
Dooku said, "I have always served you well and faithfully, my Master." 
"You have. But you must admit, your spirit was not made for fidelity. After all, a man who will not bow to the Jedi Council, or even Master Yoda...I wondered if perhaps loyalty was too mean, too confining a thing to ask from so great a being as yourself." 
Dooku tried to smile. "The war progresses well. Our plans are on schedule. I have dealt out your deaths, your schemes, your betrayals. I have paid for your war with my time, my riches, my friends, and my honor." 
"Holding nothing back?" Sidious asked lightly. 
"
Nothing. I swear it." 
"Excellent," Darth Sidious said. "Yoda came to the Chancellor's office this morning. He is going on a very special mission. Top secret." He laughed, a harsh sound like the bark of a crow. The wind rose again, shrieking around the mansion like a creature in torment. "When he arrives, Dooku...see that you treat him 
as he deserves." 
Darth Sidious laughed. Dooku wanted to laugh along, but couldn't quite manage it before his Master cut the connection and disappeared. 
 
Dooku paced his office. With the end of Sidious' call, the storm had slackened, and the shrieking wind outside now only sobbed quietly under the gables of Château Malreaux. 

--Taken from Yoda: Dark Rendezvous

"But I was also overwhelmed by the knowledge that Vader was not only Luke's father, but mine, too. My memories raced to my first encounter with Vader. It was during my first trip to Coruscant, when I'd accompanied my father—that is, Bail Organa—to a reception for the Emperor. In hindsight, I'm surprised I was allowed to go, as it exposed me to both the Emperor and Vader. Granted, I'd never demonstrated any Force powers at that point, so perhaps Bail Organa thought it was relatively safe. I never knew anyone who guarded his secrets as well as Bail Organa.
The reception was at the Imperial Palace. As things turned out, it seems neither Sith Lord sensed anything about my true identity, for if they had, surely they would have done something. That's not to say their powers were weak. I'd meant to confront Palpatine and tell him what I thought of his xenophobic Empire, but as he approached me in the reception line, I was struck numb with fear. I remember thinking it was as if he were pitch-black inside. Vader loomed behind him like a malevolent shadow, and there was no doubt in my mind that if I had found the courage to speak my mind to the Emperor, Vader would have killed me on the spot."

--Taken from Jedi vs Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force

Palpatine has spent decades studying the most arcane and esoteric Jedi disciplines. It is believed that he has mastered nearly all the known powers, previously unknown powers, and devises new ones at his pleasure.

--Taken from Dark Empire Sourcebook 

Feats:
  • Creating Force Storms capable of destroying fleets of ships and devastating the surfaces of planets
  • Surviving as a spirit whenever his body is killed and traveling as a spirit across lightyears of space
  • Making the planet Byss a dark side nexus
  • Siphoning the life energies of the nearly 20 billion inhabitants on Byss
  • Telepathically subjugating the wills of nearly 20 billion beings on Byss, erasing the memories of millions on Coruscant, and inducing fear into thousands of Jedi across the galaxy
  • Projecting Force Lightning capable of scorching Sithspawn to ash, burning people to skeletons, and contorting lightsaber blades
  • Causing the Force to become imbalanced to blind the Jedi's perceptions
  • Hiding his Force sensitivity from the most powerful Jedi in the Order
  • Perceiving events and eventualities throughout the galaxy
  • Altering the tides of battles by influencing armies and fleets
  • Controlling midi-chlorians to sustain life
  • Moving his lightsaber too fast to be seen by Jedi who can react to lightning bolts and ships flying at sublight speeds
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My Respect Threads

It should be no secret that I enjoy making respect threads for EU characters. Just to organize the ones I have, I will create a threefold list here: Respect threads I have completed, respect threads I have in progress, and respect threads I plan to make in the foreseeable future. These lists of course will be updated as time goes on.
 
Completed: 

 
In progress:  
 
To be created: 
  • Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader
  • Anakin Solo
  • Blackhole
  • Corran Horn
  • Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus
  • Darth Bane
  • Darth Maul
  • Darth Tenebrous
  • General Grievous
  • Jacen Solo
  • Kit Fisto
  • Kyle Katarn
  • Mace Windu
  • Naga Sadow
  • Nomi Sunrider
  • Quinlan Vos
  • Streen
  • Thon
  • Tott Doneeta
  • Ulic Qel-Droma
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