It was dark, here. Not just the absence of light, but dark. This place was strong with the dark side of the Force. It still echoed with the screams of the dying, the moans of those who had accepted their fate, and the begging of those who had not. There had been a slaughter here. Men, women, children.
Maul savored it like a fine wine.
He felt invincible, every step imbued with the power of the dark side. He trembled, as a rocket ready to explode. And he had located his target.
Seated atop a slab of stone, legs crossed, Darth Bane meditated, waiting for his next challenge.
"I know you are here, Sithari. Your power is like a beacon. There is no use in hiding."
Bane silently rose to his feet. "You are brave, to challenge me. Why?"
Maul stopped walking, grasping his lightsaber with one hand, pulling it free.
"You have the power of eternal life. My master wishes for me to bring him the secret, or your head. Which shall it be? Personally, I prefer the latter."
Bane sighed. "Your powers are no match for mine. If you wish to die, so be it."
Bane's lightsaber burst forth with brilliant red fire, illuminating the cave. "Ah, a Zabrak. I killed one of your kind once, you know. Tough creatures, you are."
Maul grinned a feral grin and ignited one end of his saberstaff.
With blinding speed, he charged towards Bane, high strikes to Bane's left and right shoulders, each met by Bane's blade. Low strikes, left and right, to the knee's, also blocked.
Maul retreated for but a moment, and then came crashing down at Bane, engaging in a bladelock. Maul could smell the dark side on this man. He had known only two other beings with such a presence in the Force.
Bane, smirking, took advantage of Maul's lapse, and delivered a powerful kick to the stomach. Maul, gasping, stumbled backwards, but held his guard. "Pathetic," he said as he spit out a bit of blood.
Bane said nothing as he took his chance to press Maul. Starting slow, with heavy Form V chops, blows meant to test the durability of an opponents joints. Maul held strong against the Djem So master.
So this is how it shall be, then. A dance between two masters. Maul felt the thrill of battle rising. He finally faced a real challenge!
Bane's strikes gradually became weaker, but their speed intensified. So much so, that he was delivering five strikes per second, pushing Maul's defense to the absolute limit.
"Juyo is a fantastic form for a whirling dervish such as yourself, but you have no defense," remarked Bane, feeling the anxiety rise in Maul, before being quickly hidden. Maul growled. Bane's blade was coming from every direction at once. He was more often dodging the strikes than meeting them with his own lightsaber.
Maul could sense that Bane was becoming confident in his victory. Too confident. The time was now!
Maul ducked under a slash meant to take his head off his shoulders, and drove his horns directly into Bane's abdomen, then withdrew and rolled backwards to avoid the downward slash meant to cut him in half.
The horns were not long enough to kill Bane, but they had done their job. Maul could feel the hatred rising in Bane. They stood apart, panting, taking a moment to consider the next move, regarding each other only by the light of their sabers.
"You are a worthy opponent. You could be my apprentice."
"I will never betray my master."
And the fight was on. Maul sprang forward, turning in the air, giving the appearance of using his momentum to add to the impact of the blade. Bane fell for it, and braced himself, ready to engage in a brief blade lock and then sweep his saber down and cut off Maul's hands.
The second blade of the saber staff burst into life, and Maul could feel the shock from Bane resonate in the Force. He savored it once again.
The secondary blade came through and severed Bane's left arm at the elbow, the primary blade ready to cut down and through Bane's knees. Fortunately for Bane, he rolled to his right, avoiding the blow that would surely doom him.
Bane backed against a cave wall, but he did not rest upon it, even though he was losing much blood. No, this wound had given him fresh pain to draw from, and his power was swelling. Maul came back on the offense, hammering at Bane's one handed defense, leaving scars on the cave wall behind him. Bane knew what would happen. The Force had shown him.
Two forty five degree slashes with each end of the lightsaber. Maul lunged forward to smash the hilt of the saber into Bane's jaw. Bane dropped his lightsaber, reached forward, and grab the middle of the hilt, holding Maul in place. Snarling, Maul attempted to wrench the lightsaber free of Bane's iron grip, but was unable to do so. In addition to being strong in the Force, Bane was just a strong individual.
Putting the Force into his grip, Bane squeezed hard, and the metal gave way, the blade's sputtered, and then died. The cave was total darkness, and Maul did not realize Bane was reaching for him.
Powerful fingers grasped around his throat, lifting him off the ground. The universe seemed to explode in Maul's head as it slammed into the cave wall. Maul felt warmth, and smiled, realizing it was his own blood pouring down his face.
His head snapped back as Bane kicked him in the jaw, sending teeth flying.
"Fool. It didn't have to be this way."
Bane picked up his lightsaber, ignited it, and surveyed the mess of Maul's face. He reached back and pretended to strike, relishing the moment that Maul would flinch, but he did not.
"No? No. I have a better way."
Bane dropped his saber again, and extended his hand, smiling as the Force lightning poured over Maul, delighting in the screams that echoed throughout the cavern as Maul was slowly burnt to a crisp.