"You may not remember, Lord Vader, but you have encountered them, before."
"The One's?" replied the sandy haired young man in the pilot's seat.
"Yes. They wiped your memory, showed you a future that was to be, but ironically was not to be, because of the actions of one of their own."
"Abeloth. The Mother."
"Exactly, Lord Vader. Our friends in the Lost Tribe wish to control her, so that they may bring the galaxy under their heel. The fools. A One cannot be controlled, they can only be killed."
"Master, I thought that the One's are immortal?"
Sidious smiled. "Physical immortality is a myth, Lord Vader. The body fails, but the spirit remains. Abeloth is both spirit and physical. Once she appears in her true form, not an avatar, she can be killed. I had plans to do this, but the idiots on Kesh thought it would be wise to disturb her before that time, and now everything is nonsense. They are here in an attempt to take over the galaxy now, so that they may kill her before she awakes."
"My Lord, how is it possible to travel through time? Is this a power that can be learned?"
Sidious slowly turned his head to young Lord Vader. "Not from the Sith."
He turned back to stare out the viewport, and the motley sky of hyperspace streaking by. "Though perhaps someday I'll teach you about flow walking. They have employed a highly advanced form of that particular technique."
"One day, Lord Vader. One day."
Deep in space, in a dark cluster of the galaxy known as the Maw, Sarasu Taalon stood by himself on a vacant landing platform. He had been waiting for this day for many months. The one known as Palpatine was on his way, and he was bringing a friend with him.
"My Lord," a shaky voice said from behind him. "What are your orders?"
Taalon spun on his heel and regarded the young Sith lieutenant with disdain. He was actually shaking. Sarasu supposed he could understand why, to an extent. His face was permanently deformed, something not even the most advanced bacta treatment could reverse. His eyes were sunken, and were as black as the void of space itself, save for the very center, which glowed a sickly yellow. His teeth had begun to grow sharper, and at times it seemed as though his mouth was split open wider than normal.
"The Sith of Bane are on their way, now. I can sense them. Order all sabers to take up concealment positions in the main square. Each squad of sabers should have a Lord with them. We will ambush them, surround them, and overwhelm them with our numbers."
The young saber gulped. "Expectation of casualties, My Lord?"
Taalon grinned. "Oh, nearly all of you. You will give me the time I need to catch them off guard."
The slightest sense of hesitation came through the Force from the young saber, and Taalon's grin turned into a scowl.
In less than a second, Taalon had activated his lightsaber and butchered the Sith, leaving him in eight pieces on the floor.
Taalon leaned down and placed his hand in the blood that was quickly pooling up. Leaning his face close, he opened his mouth and a long, forked tongue that wasn't truly his own snaked out and gingerly tasted the blood. Goosebumps appeared on the non-scarred areas of the High Lord's skin, and he let out a sigh that was more akin to a rusty door squeaking on it's hinges.
A Star Destroyer hurtled through hyperspace, the kilometer of death bristling with weapons and crewed by only the most skilled technicians and engineers.
Darth Caedus, Dark Lord of the Sith, stood on the bridge, hands clasped behind his back, hidden by his long cloak, eerily reminiscent of his grandfather's.
A vision of the past, and of the future, all wrapped into one jumbled mess, had inspired him to flow walk into the future for the first time. He had seen Uncle Luke, aged but still as fit as ever, in a ferocious duel with a purple skinned Sith. Luke had been winning, though with extreme difficulty, when the Sith seemed to vanish into thin air, along with the crew of Sith warriors with him.
He followed them, able to focus on their signal in the Force, and discovered that through ancient Sith sorcery, they had combined the ability to flow walk with alchemy, and opened a rift in time itself.
They had traveled to the past.
Now Caedus knew it was up to him to go back in time. He had seen another future, one in which he did not act, and it was far bleaker than anything he could have imagined. Using some Sith sorcery of his own, he had managed to open the same rift in time. He was currently streaking through hyperspace, approximately one year after the great Jedi purge.
Upon emerging in this time, he immediately could feel their presence in the Force. So many incredibly powerful Force users, all of the dark side.
This was going to be a blood bath.
Taalon watched as the small, Y-shaped shuttle descended upon the Maw, coming to rest upon the very landing pad on which he had been standing. The power that was contained within that small shuttle made the remaining hairs on his body stand on end, and goosebumps abounded.
Also, a slight feeling of dread. Two occupants?
He could detect Palpatine, of course. He had a stench in the Force like that of a cavern full of corpses. But there was another...one less powerful than Palpatine, but with the potential to far exceed him. His presence in the Force felt so familiar, but he couldn't quite place it...
Taalon's brow's furrowed, and his skin flashed different shades of violet. His body was transforming at a more rapid pace, these days. Sometimes he could control it, sometimes he couldn't. In the past, he had prided himself on his appearance, but he no longer cared for such things. No, now he was brimming with power, overflowing. He had always been strong in the Force, exceptionally strong, but this...this was something else.
He was becoming a god.
Sidious and Vader. Master and Apprentice. Vader in his early twenties walked next to his old master, who's spirit inhabited a clone body of approximately thirty years of age. Both bristling with power.
As they approached the courtyard, the Lost Tribe Sith came out of hiding, thirty in all. Some powerful, some not so powerful.
Vader and Sidious exchanged wicked grins. The yellow eyes of the Sith burned even more brightly now than they ever had.
They slowly pulled out their lightsabers. The sweet, sickly stench of fear emanated within the Force. A large, Keshiri male walked forward. He was easily two and a half meters tall, rivaling the height of most Wookies. He wore his head shaved on the sides, with the top portion long, pulled back into a braid. A large scar covered the area where his left eye would be.
The Force was strong with him.
"High Lord Taalon has no time for you!" the large man roared.
Sidious feigned yawning, and rolled his eyes at Vader, whom was wearing an arrogant smirk.
"You mock me?!" The large man reached over to the Sith standing closest to him, a female with a completely shaved head. Grabbing her head with his enormous palm, he squeezed with all his might, and her head popped like an overripe fruit that had been laying in the twin suns of Tatooine.
"Shall I dispose of him, Master?" asked Vader.
"No, I'll handle this beast," replied Sidious.
Faster than anyone, including Anakin, could perceive, Sidious dashed forward and plunged his hand straight into the Sith's chest cavity, secured his heart, and pulled it out, holding it in front of the behemoth's face.
The large man fell to his knees, and then his face.
Sidious cackled like a mad-man, and drew his lightsaber.
"This is where the fun begins," said Vader.
The slaughter that was to follow was beyond anything that Taalon had ever seen, looking from afar. He remembered the Jedi Temple, where he butchered the Jedi Council, and nearly lost his life to the little green one, but this was astounding.
Many of these Sith warriors were so powerful, that they would have rivaled the green one. The first to fall, Saber Jerden Balen, was as powerful as the green one had been. Palpatine had butchered him in seconds.
Sidious was waving his blade through the Sith, cutting through them like he was a farmer harvesting grain.
The younger man, the one whom Taalon was able to identify as a Skywalker, was cutting through nearly as quickly. Force blasts sent two Sabers into the blade of Sidious.
Sidious extinguished his lightsaber and ran at a trio of large Sith, almost too fast for Taalon to follow. He began to tear them apart with his bare hands, bathing himself in blood.
The other, the apprentice, held two Sith in the air with the Force, slowly choking them, while easily fending off the attacks of three Keshiri Sith all around him.
Clenching his left hand, the necks of the two Sith in the air snapped. The apprentice proceed to clean up the trio within seconds.
Taalon couldn't believe his eyes. He knew that his warriors would fall, but he did not anticipate so quickly, nor that his enemies would remain unscathed.
Thirty Sabers of the Lost Tribe of the Sith had been butchered in less than two minutes. And the worst part was that the duo seemed to have been having fun slaying his finest.
"Very well," the mutilated High Lord said to himself.
Taalon descended the stairs from the room that he had been watching the battle from. Palpatine and his apprentice were marching vigorously towards him, covered in the blood of the Lost Tribe.
The duo stopped walking as Taalon emerged, seemingly floating as he walked, so graceful was he. About twenty meters apart, Taalon stopped and drew his lightsaber.
"I underestimated you. Tell me, how did you manage to survive? I saw your body fall to pieces. Did you use essence transfer, into a clone body? Ah, judging by the way you narrowed your brow, that must be it."
"Ah, you thought I wouldn't know about that, right? You see, I've studied your history, in the brief time that I've had. Your order spent a millennia trying to recover the secrets of the ancient Sith. Our order, my order, has held onto those secrets for five thousands years, and we have perfected them. You are a pretender."
"And it appears that you are one of three Sith standing in this courtyard," stated Vader, flatly.
Sidious tipped his head slightly and smirked. "And I believe that we have already had the discussion that there can be only two," he sneered.
Taalon smiled slightly, and lowered his voice to a whisper. "Two Sith, but only one god."
Screaming, Taalon shot forth purple energy from his palms, slamming into Vader and Sidious, sending them flying across the courtyard.
Sidious blinked, shaking his head at what had just happened.
Taalon rushed towards the Banite Sith, crimson lightsaber in one hand and what appeared to be a whip-like form of Force energy in another hand. His mouth was wide open...impossibly wide. A slender, forked tongue hung from his mouth, and his eyes were black as space, save for the bright pin pricks of light in the center.
Sidious quickly sprang back to his feet, as did young Vader. Raising his hands high, Sidious extended forth a powerful burst of Force lightning at the approaching Taalon, whom caught the energy on his blade.
Still, he advanced.
Whipping the purple energy toward Sidious, Vader intervened and caught the energy on his lightsaber, but was astounded when it wrapped around his blade and held fast. Eyes wide, he looked up at Taalon. One quick jerk, and Vader's lightsaber was ripped from his hand and sent flying far away. The young Sith sent a powerful telekinetic blast at Taalon, the Keshiri Sith dodged it, all while still keeping Sidious's lightning at bay.
"I believe we must change tactics, Lord Vader," Sidious said in a strained voice. The lightning ceased, and his lightsaber ignited. Blindingly fast, Sidious rushed Taalon and began a furious onslaught, striking low, striking high, cartwheeling to the left and back swinging at Taalon's knees. Cartwheeling to the right, spinning as he delivered a slash to Taalon's shoulders.
Vader watched in awe, and partially in terror. He knew that one day his master may tire of him, and would then dispose of him, and there was nothing he would be able to do. Sidious was young again, and his power would most likely only grow in the coming decades.
Taalon was on the defensive, barely dodging death with each strike. Sidious felt a rush of power like never before. There was no Force user in the history of the galaxy that could compare to him. He could feel how powerful Taalon had become, but he knew...he just knew that he had the upper hand.
Engaged in a blade lock, Taalon and Sidious locked eyes as well. The Sith were so different, but yet, so incredibly evenly matched.
"Congratulations, Palpatine! How does it feel to challenge a god?!"
Taalon was being forced onto his knees, and their faces were so close that they could smell each other's breath.
In a flash, Taalon darted his forked tongue out, slicing into Sidious's right eye, sending him stumbling backward. Sidious did not scream, as he had endured far worse tortures under Plagueis.
Still, losing an eye was a bit of a problem.
The blade came down across Sidious's neck faster than he could react.
And met the red blade of Lord Vader, whom had managed to recover his lightsaber in time to save his master.
A quick Force blast sent Taalon skidding back, but did little more than annoy him.
"Master, your eye," Vader started to say, but Sidious cut him off.
"I'm a master of midi-chlorian manipulation, and I have a hundred clone bodies, waiting in reserve. I'll get a new one."
Together, the culmination of the Banite Lineage of Sith moved on Taalon. Combined, they struck at the High Lord over a hundred times in just seconds, the Keshiri Sith retreating as he deflected.
Anakin jumped in the air and brought his blade down in the classic Falling Avalanche attack of his beloved Djem So, and Taalon blocked. Instantaneously, Sidious came in low, and sliced through both of Taalon's arms at the elbow, spun in a circle, and then blasted his enemy with telekinesis.
Taalon screamed as he flew back, hitting a steel beam so hard that it actually bowed slightly from the impact. Landing in a heap, he at first stared in horror at his stumps, but a wicked grin flashed across his face. He closed his bleak eyes, and fell into the Force. Brand new arms grew from the stumps, and he levitated himself the ground.
Vader and Sidious could not believe their eyes.
"Are you that good at manipulating the midi-chlorians, master?" Vader asked, voice dripping with sarcasm.
"Mind your tongue, boy, or I'll remove it myself."
"Look at you, bickering like children! Bend the knee, and I will spare your lives. We can rule this galaxy together! The three of us will kill Abeloth, and be gods!"
Sidious bowed his head in feigned resignation, and took several steps back, leaving Vader to stand against Taalon alone. Bending down, he clasped his hands across his knees and closed his eyes.
Anger coursed through Vader's body, feelings of betrayal directed towards his master. However, within seconds, he realized what was happening.
Power flooded his body like he had never known. Sidious was an expert in, well, everything. Battle meditation was another trick in a sleeve filled to the brim.
Vader started at Taalon with a fury unlike anything he had ever felt. His blade was a crimson fan, and Taalon was bathed in deadly light.
Vader slashed off Taalons right arm, and in retaliation the Keshiri Sith hit Anakin with a powerful roundhouse kick to the head, sending him stumbling back, but not enough to disrupt his focus. Sidious's battle meditation was the most incredible feeling he had ever known. Vader came back at Taalon again, with a thrust that Taalon avoided, but not the downstrike that would follow. His left leg was severed right above the knee, and blood splattered all over the face of the younger Sith. Taalon fell to his back, cackling with the sound of a thousand voices, some male, some female.
The pin points of light in his eyes began to glow a little brighter, as a new arm and a new leg burst forth from the bloody stumps, which then became tentacles. A multitude of tentacles. All lashing out at young Vader, trying to capture the Sith in their deadly grip. Each tentacle was covered in tiny spikes, best for latching deep into the flesh of their victim.
Lord Vader ducked, and leaped! He turned, spinning and slashing. The grace of a dancer, the speed of which no mortal creature could possibly comprehend, he slashed. Severed tentacles littered the ground around him, some still twitching.
One tentacle wrapped around his leg, sinking it's spikes deep, shredding muscle and scratching bone. Vader screamed and cut himself free, but the distraction was enough, as four more tentacles wrapped around him, trapping his arms to his body.
Sighing, Darth Sidious rose to his feet, ceasing his battle meditation. Young Vader had become so powerful, even more powerful than Sidious, for a moment, but he had wasted his opportunity. He never launched a Force attack that could have put distance between himself and the monstrosity before them.
Sidious extended his hands and blasted Taalon with Force lightning, the Keshiri Sith screaching with the sound of a thousand wounded gulls. The tentacles relaxed their grip, and Vader fell free, battered and bloody, but alive.
Now both drew their blades and advanced on High Lord Taalon. They hacked through the tentacles, slicing them faster than Taalon could grow them, finally reaching the creature that he had become. Vader swung his saber from the left, Sidious from the right, planning on cutting Taalon into three large pieces.
With a scream, Taalon blasted energy outward, sending the two powerful Sith sprawling once again.
"He's not immortal, Lord Vader. He can be killed, it's just difficult. We must change our strategy again."
Raising his arms, the entire building to their left rose in sync, metal groaning and screaching as it was ripped from the duracrete to which it had been fixed to. It was easily the size of a Corellian Corvette, and it became a missile, hurled with deadly accuracy by Sidious. Taalon held his now deformed, grotesque limbs upward, and with the Force, caught the thousand ton building with ease. With a shout of glee, Taalon returned the structure back to Sidious and Vader. This time it was Vader who caught the building. He grunted a bit with the effort, but nevertheless maintained his grip on it.
He made a spinning motion with his hands, and the building started to rotate, faster and faster, until it was nothing more than a gray blur.
"HA! Beautiful, Lord Vader! Now, add this!"
Sidious infused the spinning object with another blast of Force lightning, only the goal was not to destroy, but to imbue.
"Now, Lord Vader!"
Vader launched the building back at Taalon, this time the electricity whipping from the building and lashing at Taalon, disrupting his concentration and preventing him from latching on with the Force.
The building exploded with the Force of a dozen proton torpedos. Sidious and Anakin went to a knee, crossing their forearms in front of them, combining their energy into one large Force barrier.
The blast washed over them, and the barrier held. The Banite Sith remained unharmed.
Lowering the barrier, Sidious walked forward first, confidently, lightsaber lit and held to his side. His left hand formed complex, seemingly unnatural shapes, and a green glow formed around his fist. Gently raising his hand, he summoned forth smoke-like tendrils from beneath their feet, born of the dark side itself.
Extending his fingers, the tendrils quickly snaked their way towards Taalon, whom was struggling to rise. He was burned, badly, and was missing yet another arm, his left, but it had yet to grow back. The tendrils raced to Taalon, the end goal to envelope the High Lord and disentegrate his body, being consumed by pure dark side energy.
To Sidious's surprise, instead of the tendrils devouring Taalon's body, the High Lord leaned down and opened his mouth impossibly wide, and began to suck in the tendrils, the pin points of light in his eyes now glowing like twin suns. Almost instantly, his arm grew back and his burns began to fade. He was feeding off of Sidious's dark side energy, becoming stronger than before.
Shaking his head, Sidious reached out once again and seized Taalon in the Force, lifting him off the ground as the High Lord thrashed about, panicking at this sudden development.
Far above the surface of the Maw, in the void of space, what appeared to be a cloud of swirling gas, began to take shape. Sidious had done more than just amplify Lord Vader's powers during his battle meditation.
The anomaly began to move closer to the Maw as it grew larger. A passing freighter, roughly ten kilometers from the void, was pulled into the darkness and lost forever.
The Star Destroyer emerged from Hyperspace over the area known as the Maw. Alarms began to sound immediately as what appeared to be a wormhole, or even a black hole, was in their viewport.
"That wasn't on the charts, sir! We know every black hole in this area, and that one did not exist, in this time or any other!"
Caedus whirled on the lieutenant standing behind him. "Are you afraid?" asked Caedus.
"Yes sir," the young navigation officer replied.
"Of the black hole or me?"
"Of you, sir."
"There's hope for you, yet. Prepare my shuttle. I have a mission on the surface."
"But sir, the black hole will devour your ship!"
Caedus stared blankly at the wall for a moment. "I'll have help. Now, prepare my ship or I'll have your head."
Caedus didn't bother to wait for the officer to reply, bumping into her and knocking her off the bridge into the technician pit below as he stormed out of the bridge and to the nearest turbolift.
Moments later, Caedus was streaking through space in his personal TIE-advanced, eerily reminiscent of his grandfather's. He wondered if his grandfather was out there, right now, flying a ship such as this, hunting the last remaining Jedi.
Caedus ship shook, and alarms blared. The black hole, or whatever it was, began to pull him in. He began to count backwards from ten. Nine...eight...if his vision was correct...six...any second now...four...three...two...one...
The shaking stopped, and Caedus looked to his left. An X-Wing carrying Grandmaster Luke Skywalker was beside him. Luke was holding his hands out, negating the effect of the black hole.
Caedus's comm system beeped, and he pressed the button to accept.
Caedus said nothing as the pair streaked toward the Maw, in what was sure to be the strangest encounter that either could possibly imagine.
Sidious was straining to help young Vader contain Taalon in a Force grip. The power was overwhelming, mesmerizing. Taalon was twisting and turning like a trapped animal. His tongue was even lashing out at this point, cutting deep into the duracrete around the feet of Sidious and Vader.
Tentacles were reaching out to the pair of Sith, but Vader and Sidious continued to slice them away, doing everything in their power to crush the High Lord, as energy attacks did nothing more than make the creature stronger.
The moment came. Taalon spat out a glob of black, tar like material, and it landed on Vader's face, covering half of it. The young Sith screamed and fell back, desperately clawing at his face. Sidious was now holding Taalon on his own, and he could contain him no longer.
Taalon broke free, landing on the ground on all four's, sharp, forked tongue hanging loosely from his fanged mouth. He leaned his head back, and then forward again, opening his mouth so wide that it seemed he would swallow himself.
The most repulsive, blood curdling shriek that had ever been heard resounded through the installation. Immediately, massive cracks formed in the duracrete. Buildings made of meter thick durasteel began to fold in on themselves.
Sidious was forced to his knees, and then to the ground in the fetal position. He couldn't fathom how this had happened! He was supposed to be the most powerful being in galactic history, and yet, here he was, losing against a monstrosity that fancied itself a god.
As he lay on the ground, he observed two pairs of boots walking forward. Somehow, he managed to raise his head up to get a better look. So did Taalon, as the shrieking stopped immediately.
Sidious reached out with the Force, sensing who these two newcomers were.
Lord Vader's offspring. In shock, Sidious turned to look at the younger Sith, who was just now pulling the tar-like substance, and bits of his flesh, from his face.
All from the future. Every one of them. And this Skywalker, the older of the two, was incredibly strong. Maybe even stronger than Sidious himself. The other was easily as strong as Lord Vader.
Slowly rising to his feet, Sidious murmed to Vader, "It appears as if we have salvation, Lord Vader."
Taalon twitched rapidly, spikes growing from his shoulders and knees, blade-like extensions shooting off from his wrists like attachments on a gauntlet. He stood upright, seeming to grow in height. For a man who once prided himself on his beauty, there was truly nothing beautiful about him. He was a nightmare to behold.
Across the courtyard, walking side by side, Grandmaster Luke Skywalker and Darth Caedus, Lord of the Sith strode forth, lightsabers in their hands, but not ignited. Taalon had all but forgotten about Sidious and Vader, and was focused intently on the new duo approaching. Luke Skywalker had been the reason that he traveled back in time.
Luke Skywalker would have prevented him from enslaving Abeloth and ruling the galaxy. Now, he was a god, and Luke Skywalker was once again going to meddle in his affairs.
Taalon began to lunge forward to Luke and Caedus, but suddenly halted. The lights in his eyes began to dim, and he swayed from side to side.
A beam of red broke through the front of Taalon's chest. Lord Vader had jumped on the back of the beast, and stabbed him, struggling to break through Taalon's flesh, but managing to pierce the High Lord's heart.
With a smile, Sidious casually somersaulted forward, swiping Taalon's monstrous head off in one swift motion.
The creature's body fell, at last. The distraction provided by the arriving Luke and Caedus had been exactly what was needed.
"It appears we are not in need of your help after all, Jedi," Sidious said flatly.
"We did not come to help you, my Lord, but to kill you," Luke said firmly.
"Is that so?"
Caedus stepped forward. "We will not allow our future to cease, just because you have created a new past."
Luke regarded Caedus. The poor boy didn't know that the future really wasn't all that bright for him. Shaking his head, Luke turned back to Sidious and Vader.
"Shall we begin?"