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Darth Tenebrous Respect Thread - Updated

Introduction

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Darth Tenebrous is often viewed as too obscure or a featless character to use in versus threads. This Respect Thread is designed to change the views of the naysayers. I hope it accomplishes its intended purpose and many realize just how monstrously formidable Tenebrous actually is.

Special thanks to @shootingnova for allowing me to use the material of his old Darth Tenebrous Respect Thread for this, updated version. More thanks to him for helping me out with this one, and also special thanks to @i_like_swords for contributing to the making of this as well.

For easy navigation, press Ctrl + F on your keyboard for a search to pop up, to which you can type specific words or sentences for them to be highlighted. Unfortunately, this only works - to my knowledge - on the desktop version, so mobile users will have to get by without this feature.

Before we begin, here is some awesome music for you to listen to while reading:

Without further ado, respect Darth Tenebrous, the master and teacher of Darth Plagueis, and one of the most powerful Sith Lords of all.

Overall Force Power and Knowledge

Each member of the Order of the Sith Lords grew more powerful than their predecessor. Tenebrous, as a member of this line, is more powerful than all previous members of Bane's lineage.

"When the apprentice becomes more powerful than the Master, he destroys his Master and chooses an apprentice of his own." - Sith Wars
"Never again would there be more than two Sith Lords at one time, but members of the order continued expanding their dark powers without the knowledge of the Jedi, waiting for the opportunity to seize control of the galaxy." - The Official Star Wars Fact File #1

"As they gained knowledge of the dark side of the Force, their powers increased with each generation." - Episode 1: The Phantom Menace Scrapbook

"For a thousand years, we continued to follow Bane's Rule of Two, existing in the shadows, biding our time, growing in power, feeding our hatred." - Insider 88

"Ultimately, Bane's plan produced more powerful Sith Lords with each generation." - Force and Destiny
Darth Bane, Book of the Sith

"That it is why we must seek out radical separatist groups, identify the ones that have the potential to become true threats, then encourage them to strike before they are ready. We must exploit them, playing them off against the Republic. We must let our enemies weaken one another while we stay hidden and grow strong."

Darth Bane: Rule of Two

--Darth Bane

Of all the Sith Masters, only Bane had understood the inescapable futility of this cycle. And only he had been strong enough to break it. Under his leadership the Sith had been reborn. Now they numbered only two - one Master and one apprentice; one to embody the power of the dark side, the other to crave it.

Thus would the Sith line always flow from the strongest, the one most worthy. Bane's Rule of Two ensured that the power of both Master and apprentice would grow from generation to generation until the Sith were finally able to exterminate the Jedi and usher in a new galactic age.

That was why Bane had chosen Zannah as his apprentice: she had the potential to one day surpass even his own abilities. On that day she would usurp him as the Dark Lord of the Sith and choose an apprentice of her own. Bane would die, but the Sith would live on.

Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil

"The Jedi believe the Sith are extinct," she began. "But you can plainly see by my presence that the Jedi are wrong. The Sith still exist, but now we number only two: one Master, and one apprentice. One to embody the power of the dark side, the other to crave it."

"So you want to increase your numbers," Set reasoned. "You're seeking recruits to join your cause and rebuild the Sith armies."

"That is the path to failure," Zannah replied. "The history of the Sith has proven that in greater numbers the Sith will always turn their hatred against one another. It is inevitable; it is the way of the dark side.

"The only way we can survive is by following the Rule of Two. Our numbers can never grow beyond this. The Master will train his apprentice in the ways of the Sith, until one day she must challenge him. If she proves unworthy, the Master will destroy her and choose a new apprentice. If she proves the stronger, the Master will fall and she will become the new Dark Lord of the Sith, and choose an apprentice of her own."

Set felt like things were becoming clearer now. "You are the apprentice. You think it's time to challenge your Master. And you want me to help you defeat him."

"No!" she snapped, causing Set to flinch in his bed. "That is the old way. Lesser followers would unite their inferior skills to bring down a strong leader, weakening the Order. This goes against everything the Rule of Two stands for.

"If I am to become the Dark Lord of the Sith, I must prove myself by facing my Master alone. If I am unworthy, then I will fall - but the Order will remain strong under his leadership.

"Do you understand?"

Set understood all too well. "The Rule of Two guarantees that each Master will be more powerful than the one who came before. It culls the weak." Good for the Sith as a whole, but not so great if you're the one getting culled.

Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil

"With patience and cunning, we are laying the seeds of our ultimate victory. Generation after generation our power and influence will grow until one day we will destroy the Jedi, and the Sith will rule the galaxy."

Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil

--Darth Zannah

The missions to Lianna, Saleucami, and Abraxin were still fresh in his thoughts. On a philosophical level he understood why the generations of Sith Lords that had preceded him had trained apprentices, to whom they had bequeathed their knowledge of the dark side of the Force in anticipation of an eventual challenge for superiority.

Darth Plagueis

"How often you said that the old order of Bane had ended with the death of your Master. An apprentice no longer needs to be stronger, you told me, merely more clever. The era of keeping score, suspicion and betrayal was over. Strength lies not in the flesh but in the Force."

Darth Plagueis

--Darth Sidious

He sometimes wondered: Was he a level behind? Two levels behind? Such questions were precisely what had driven generations of Sith apprentices ultimately to challenge their Masters. The uncertainty about who was the more powerful. The need to test themselves, to face the definitive trial.

Darth Plagueis

The Banite line contained 30 individuals as of Darth Plagueis' time. This means 28 Sith before Tenebrous.

“Descended from Darth Bane, we are the select few who refuse to be carried by the Force and who carry it instead-thirty in a millennium rather than the tens of thousands fit to be Jedi.”

Darth Plagueis

--Darth Plagueis

Notable individuals from the Banite line before Tenebrous include Darth Bane, Darth Zannah, Darth Cognus, Darth Vectivus, Darth Gravid, Darth Gean, Darth Ramage, and Darth Tenebrous’ Master.

The task before him was at once invigorating and daunting, and in the eye of that cycloning storm he could hear the faraway voices of all those who had laid the groundwork of the Sith imperative - the Grand Plan; those who had enlivened the hurricane with their breath and lives: Darths Bane and Zannah, and on down through the generations that had included Cognus, Vectivus, Ramage, and Tenebrous.

Darth Plagueis

Upon the death of the master, Darth Bane's original power is transferred to the apprentice.

"Bane's power has been passed down for a thousand years. I vow to be its last recipient." - Darth Sidious, Book of the Sith

Even from a distance, she had sensed an incredible burst of power-the same power she had sensed in Bane himself. She didn’t know how it was possible, but it almost seemed as if the Dark Lord’s life energy had burst free of his physical form in one glorious instant, releasing itself upon the material world. Then, as suddenly as she had sensed the presence, it was gone, vanishing like an animal gone to ground.

Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil

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.

[…]

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.

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.

[…]

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?

Darth Plagueis

Contrary to the opinions of some, the Banites’ generational power increase did not stop at Darth Gravid’s rampage. His apprentice Darth Gean still overpowered his Force barriers and defeated him with her bare hands despite her being far his inferior in Force knowledge, proving that the Banite Sith did not stop growing after Darth Gravid.

Barricaded within the walls of a bastion he and his Twi’lek apprentice, Gean, had constructed on Jaguada, he had attempted as much, and was thought to have destroyed more than half the repository of artifacts before Gean, demonstrating consummate will and courage, had managed to penetrate the Force fields Gravid had raised around their stronghold and intercede, killing her Master with her bare hands, though at the cost of her arm, shoulder, and the entire left side of her face and chest.

[...]

“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?”

Darth Plagueis

While merely an apprentice, Tenebrous found the Force studies imposed on him by his Master simplistic and went far beyond them.

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.

The Tenebrous Way

They would have included the entire Banite archives, given how they are passed from master to apprentice. The archives were the representation of the accumulated knowledge of the Banite Sith.

"Darth Bane's Rule of Two was a keystone of the Sith Order for centuries. The Battle of Ruusan, nearly a millenium ago, would have ended the Sith Order had Darth Bane not reconstituted it as a diarchy operating from the shadows. His writings became a part of the Sith Archives passed down from master to apprentice for generations."

[...]

"Under the tutelage of Darth Plagueis I inherited the Sith Archives - more than a thousand years' worth of teachings passed in secret from master to apprentice."

Book of the Sith

--Darth Sidious

For a millennium, the Sith maintained the order in secrecy, passing down their evil heritage. As they gained knowledge of the dark side of the Force, their powers increased with each generation.

Episode 1: The Phantom Menace Scrapbook

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.

Darth Plagueis

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.”

[...]

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.

Darth Plagueis

Darth Bane had already amassed more knowledge than anyone before him. The Banite Sith's continued gathering of knowledge even beyond this would make Tenebrous the most knowledgeable Sith Lord in history up to that point.

"Darth Bane had gained more knowledge and mastery of Sith techniques than anyone before him." - The Official Star Wars Fact File 22

Abilities described within the Banite Archives included Alter Environment, Force Flight, Invisibility, Teleportation, Time Manipulation, planetary devastation, Pyrokinesis, Stasis Field, Resurrect Dead, Force Illusions, Summon Demon, among others.

He had read the histories of the great Sith Lords; many were filled with feats almost too incredible to be believed. Yet even if these accounts were true, even if some of his predecessors had had the ability to use the dark side to destroy entire worlds or make a sun go nova, Bane still felt that his power measured up to the described abilities of many of those who had successfully created Holocrons of their own.

Darth Bane: Rule of Two

If one accepted the tales handed down in accounts and holocrons, the ancient Sith had known how to accomplish this. But had Sith like Naga Sadow and Exar Kun genuinely been more powerful, or had they benefited from the fact that the dark side had been more prominent in those bygone eras? Some commentators claimed that the ability to survive death had been limited to those with a talent for sorcery and alchemy, and that the use of such practices actually predated the arrival of the Dark Jedi exiles on Korriban. But sorcery had been employed less to extend life than to create illusions, fashion beasts, and resurrect the dead. Powerful adepts were said to have been able to saturate the atmosphere of planets with dark side energy, compel stars to explode, or induce paralysis in crowds, as Exar Kun apparently did to select members of the Republic Senate. Other adepts used sorcery merely as a means to better understand ancient Sith spells and sigils.

[...]

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.

Darth Plagueis

Book of the Sith

Tenebrous continued to grow in power for more than a century after his apprenticeship had ended.

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 exterminated his doddering Master with his customary efficiency, and had embarked immediately on a decades-spanning quest for an apprentice of his own.

The Tenebrous Way

Plagueis weathered the gentle rebuke. He had been apprenticed to Tenebrous for as many years as the average human might live, and still Tenebrous never failed to find fault when he could.

[…]

Plagueis rocked his head. "Governments rise and fall."

"You have a better idea of how to govern the galaxy?"

Plagueis allowed a laugh. "I'm just an old Muun who wouldn't know about that."

Seeing through him, Palpatine snorted. "Just how old are you?"

"In human years I would be well over one hundred."

Darth Plagueis

Tenebrous barely trained his apprentice, indicating his own command of the Force was far superior to Darth Plagueis’ at the time of his death.

Instead of actually training his doltish apprentice, Tenebrous had flattered Plagueis' mysticism while pricking his insecurities, sending him off on one useless, doomed-to-fail mission after another.

[...]

Hmm - perhaps he should have invested some time in actually training the foolish Muun.

The Tenebrous Way

This is supported by Tenebrous viewing Plagueis’ power in the Force as pitiful compared to his own at the time of his death.

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.

The Tenebrous Way

Note: Plagueis at this point was capable of causing global weather and tectonic phenomena on Naboo with his personal power in the Force.

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.

Darth Plagueis

One could, of course, merely dismiss this as an example of the pathetic fallacy - that is when a story element is personified or its emotional underpinnings reflected in nature - exemplifying the first meeting of the two most powerful Dark Lords in galactic history, but that is simply not logical. Rivers and waterfalls do not simply freeze on their own on a mediterranean planet, nor does one naturally encounter three-meter-deep snow in such a temperate environment, and especially planet cores do not refrigerate randomly.

Naboo's surface consists of swampy lakes, rolling plains and green hills.

[...]

Climate: Temperate

[…]

Terrain: Hills, Plains, Swamps, Urban

Databank (2008): Naboo

The planet is a world of peculiar geology. It lacks a molten core, instead processing a honeycombed interior surging with luminous local plasma. Wide, shallow seas (the domain of sando aqua monsters and other giants) and soggy swamps separate flat plains of nola grass and scattered points of elevation, including the Gallo Mountains.

The Essential Atlas

Plagueis was the cause - it is the only logical explanation for such anomalous weather and geographical events. The snow and the frost would most likely be the result of planetary cryokinesis, and the earthquakes that shook the planet underwater, over land and caused the mountains themselves to tremble could be telekinetic in origin. Thus, the feat does also reflect on Plagueis’ gargantuan levels of magnitude with telekinesis and is an indicator of Tenebrous’ power as well.

Tenebrous was by far the most powerful being whose death Plagueis had the privilege of observing.

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.

The Tenebrous Way

Tenebrous possessed virtually unlimited willpower, which was noted to be the key to Force power by both his apprentice Plagueis, and by Darth Wyyrlok III in the future.

Were Tenebrous the sort of individual who could experience pity, he supposed he might feel some for his apprentice. Crippled by dread, Plagueis would never know the freedom of an unbounded will that was the true legacy of the Banite Sith.

The Tenebrous Way

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.

Darth Plagueis

Darth Wyyrlok believes that it is willpower that gives the Sith their strength. By sheer force of will, a Sith can achieve almost anything, and Darth Wyyrlok displays this in everything he does.

Legacy Era Campaign Guide

Legacy 27: Into the Core

Tenebrous defies the will of the Force with his act of manipulating midi-chlorians, preventing them from being subsumed into the Cosmic Force after death, and severing them from the Force’s sovereignty entirely.

Amidst the billions upon billions of individual midi-chlorian deaths in Tenebrous' cells were a tiny fraction of midi-chlorians that were not dying.

That would not die so long as they inhabited a living host. These especially tenacious midi-chlorians - Tenebrous had privately labeled them with the jesting sobriquet maxi-chlorians - had been altered. Improved. It would not be an overstatement, in Tenebrous' opinion, to use the word perfected. These maxi-chlorians would indeed migrate, but not into the Force.

They would migrate into Plagueis.

To detect this infinitesimal percentage would require the precision of a Bith; it was far beyond his apprentice's limited perceptions - and indeed, Tenebrous had gone to considerable trouble to ensure it would always remain so.

Instead of actually training his doltish apprentice, Tenebrous had flattered Plagueis' mysticism while pricking his insecurities, sending him off on one useless, doomed-to-fail mission after another. In turn, Tenebrous had invested every available second of the freedom this afforded into designing, creating, and deploying the one weapon that Plagueis would never suspect.

Could never suspect. His own prejudices about the Force ensured Plagueis wouldn't believe such a thing was possible.

Tenebrous created a retrovirus that could infect midi-chlorians.

Midi-chlorians were, after all, merely symbiotic organelles that contribute to the organic processes of the living cells they inhabit. Due to their role in Force interactions, altering them was singularly challenging - they had an unsettling tendency to spontaneously express unexpected and unfortunate side effects - but by applying the full analytic prowess of his vast Bith brain and the preternatural power of his Bith senses to detect and resolve sub-microscopic structure, he eventually succeeded in creating a retrovirus that would transform normal midi-chlorians into long-lived maxi-chlorians.

The Tenebrous Way

Note: To successfully manipulate midi-chlorians for them to do the user’s bidding, one must have enough will and strength in the Force to override the Force’s control of them and replace it with one’s own. Midi-chlorians are the Force’s “proxy army”; they execute the Force’s will and allow the Force to be sensed and used by mortals, in addition to being the basis for the Living Force and life in the galaxy. Thus, for Tenebrous to be able to manipulate them, he’d require the willpower to substitute the will of the Force, so that instead of executing the Force’s will, the midi-chlorians would instead execute Tenebrous’ will, and that is exactly what he did.

”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 began with experiments on scurriers and other small creatures. I used my will, amplified through my body’s own midi-chlorians, to override the lesser concentrated midi-chlorian voices of 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 seem to resist this imposition upon their fellows. But eventually I succeeded, first with small creatures, then with slaves purchased from the Hutts. I forced midi-chlorians to override their natural life cycles.”

Book of the Sith

--Darth Plagueis

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.

[...]

Only the Sith understood that sentient life was on the verge of a transformative leap; that through the manipulation of midi-chlorians—or the overthrow of the Forceful group that supervised them—the divide between organic life and the Force could be bridged, and death could be erased from the continuum.

[...]

“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.”

Darth Plagueis

Note: Darth Plagueis was unable to achieve the same effect, describing the merging of midi-chlorians with the Cosmic Force at the moment of death as "inexorable." He then likened trying to prevent this to "using a sponge to dam a raging river."

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.

Darth Plagueis

Decades later, Plagueis was still unable to achieve what Tenebrous did, and only after unbalancing the Force on a galactic scale with the aid of Sidious and being amped voraciously as a result, did he manage to keep Venamis' midi-chlorians trapped in the physical world, stealing them from the Force's sovereignty and become their new master, like Tenebrous had done.

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.

Darth Plagueis

Given how what Tenebrous did was only gained by Plagueis after such a major boost in power, it would indicate Tenebrous was vastly more powerful than Plagueis up until that point. In fact, it could be argued that since Sidious and Plagueis are able to merge into a "discorporate and [...] single entity" that even their combined power wasn't enough to manipulate midi-chlorians, as they had to unbalance the Force first before Plagueis was able to resurrect Venamis. By this logic, Tenebrous would then be able to replicate the unbalancing feat and suffuse the galaxy with the dark side on his own.

Tenebrous’ connection to and power in the Force multiplies to a level he hadn’t previously believed possible upon shedding his corporeal form.

Now, dead at last, he could begin to enjoy the fruits of his lifelong labor. In the Force, he could feel that his body had already suffered irreversible brain-death, yet his consciousness remained, fully aware, fully functional, and connected to the Force in a manner more intimate than he had ever believed possible. Freed now of the crude biological processes that mark the passage of time, Tenebrous found he could perceive the measured tick of each individual nanosecond while simultaneously comprehending the entire sweep of galactic eons.

[...]

With all his multiplied power, he yanked his maxi-chlorians back out from Plagueis' body in a spray of Force energy from his eyes, his mouth, the wound and every other cell.

The Tenebrous Way

Known Force Powers

Force Sense

Tenebrous sensed his death at Plagueis’ hands before they came to Bal’demnic.

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.

[...]

And in that instant Plagueis perceived the danger Tenebrous had foreseen earlier: his death.

His death at Plagueis's hands.

[...]

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."

Tenebrous coughed spittle and blood. "Then for the last time, I call you apprentice. And I applaud your skillful use of surprise and misdirection. Perhaps I was wrong to think you had no stomach for it."

"The dark side guided me, Tenebrous. You sensed it, but your lack of faith in me clouded your thoughts."

The Bith's head bobbed in agreement. "Even before we came to Bal'demnic."

"And yet we came."

"Because we were fated to."

Darth Plagueis

Tenebrous can magnify his night vision with the Force.

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.

Darth Plagueis

Tenebrous can perceive each of his midi-chlorians individually.

His Force-perception was even more acute than the magnifying powers of his enormous eyes; in the Force, he could feel each individual midi-chlorian wink out in turn, a spreading wave of darkness, like stars eclipsed by the silhouette of an approaching ship.

The Tenebrous Way

Note: There are billions upon billions of midi-chlorians in Tenebrous' body.

Amidst the billions upon billions of individual midi-chlorian deaths in Tenebrous' cells were a tiny fraction of midi-chlorians that were not dying.

The Tenebrous Way

Note: It took Plagueis years of experimentation and meditation to be able to perceive the actions of midi-chlorians.

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.

Darth Plagueis

Tenebrous senses Plagueis perceiving his midi-chlorians through the Force.

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. Tenebrous had spent decades making sure that Plagueis would be unable to resist doing exactly that.

The Tenebrous Way

Upon his physical senses disappearing, he finds his Force perceptions heightened and can observe Plagueis with even greater clarity than before.

Now that his body's physical senses had altogether perished, Tenebrous found his perception of 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's 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.

The Tenebrous Way

Tenebrous views Plagueis’ Force sense as clumsy in comparison to his own.

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's death.

The Tenebrous Way

Tenebrous feels his body has suffered brain death, and can comprehend individual nanoseconds and entire galactic eons.

Now, dead at last, he could begin to enjoy the fruits of his lifelong labor. In the Force, he could feel that his body had already suffered irreversible brain-death, yet his consciousness remained, fully aware, fully functional, and connected to the Force in a manner more intimate than he had ever believed possible. Freed now of the crude biological processes that mark the passage of time, Tenebrous found he could perceive the measured tick of each individual nanosecond while simultaneously comprehending the entire sweep of galactic eons.

The Tenebrous Way

Tenebrous gains access to Plagueis’ Force senses and can literally feel all that his apprentice feels.

Driven by the dark side-powered will of the Sith Master, the retrovirus propagated with incredible speed. As it carried his consciousness throughout his apprentice's body, Tenebrous found himself becoming pleasurably aware the he was gaining access to Plagueis' sensorium. He could literally feel what Plagueis felt, both the coldly clinical satisfaction at having successfully engineered Tenebrous' murder.... and the Force-perception that let Plagueis monitor the last vanishing remnants of Tenebrous' uninfected midi-chlorians.

Full access to his apprentice's Force-perceptions! Delightful. Better than Tenebrous had allowed himself to hope.

The Tenebrous Way

Tenebrous senses Plagueis’ connection to the Force is more profound that he had originally believed.

Hmm - perhaps he should have invested some time in actually training the foolish Muun. Tapping Plagueis' Force powers would be more entertaining if they weren't so stunted from disuse. And yet....

As he continued to explore, Tenebrous gradually became aware of the full range of his apprentice's connection to the Force, which was considerably deeper, broader, and more powerful than Tenebrous had ever suspected. He reflected, with a twinge of uncomfortable premonition, that perhaps Plagueis had been right when he contended that Tenebrous had always underestimated him.

The Tenebrous Way

Tenebrous foresees Plagueis’ demise at Sidious’ hands.

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 visible only as a smear of darkness....

A shadow!

For an instant, Tenebrous felt the death anguish of Plagueis.... and felt the searing agony Plagueis felt.... at his failure to have ever created the Force-user Tenebrous was to become! He would allow his own apprentice to kill him too soon....

This could not be. It could not be contemplated, much less allowed to come to pass. Fury competed with panic as Tenebrous threw his mind at the future, seeking to understand how it was Plagueis could be so complacent, so foolish....

So blind.

The Tenebrous Way

Tenebrous senses his remains.

The only trace of organic life Tenebrous could sense were some ancient mummified remains....

Of a Bith.

How long had he been here? How long would it take for every trace of Plagueis to vanish? Those remains were years old - decades, perhaps centuries old.

The Tenebrous Way

Telekinesis

Tenebrous holds the weight of numerous rock slabs and stalactites alongside Plagueis. More and more layers of stone continue to peel off an fall, yet Tenebrous holds them all until Plagueis double-crosses and murders 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.

Darth Plagueis

Note: The caverns they were in were the size of cathedrals.

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.

Darth Plagueis

Telepathy

Tenebrous shields his thoughts and emotions from Plagueis:

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.

Darth Plagueis

Force lightning

Tenebrous shoots lightning bolts down a borehole, with the lightning being active long after he harnessed his power.

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.

Darth Plagueis

Force barrier

Tenebrous contains a gas explosion powerful enough to shake caverns the size of cathedrals and knock Plagueis to the ground. He then endures the final flames with a passive barrier while simultaneously holding enormous slabs of rock in place with telekinesis.

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.

The gas explosion caught up with them just as they were entering the light-filled cavity at the top of the escarpment. From deep in the tunnel resounded a squealing electronic wail, and at the same time, almost as if the cave system were gasping for breath, a searing wind tore down from a perforation in the grotto's arched ceiling through which the ship had entered. A muffled but ground-heaving detonation followed; then a roiling fireball that was the labyrinth's scorching exhalation. Whirling to the tunnel they had just exited and managing somehow to remain on his feet, Tenebrous conjured a Force shield with his waving arms that met the fireball and contained it, thousands of flaming hawk-bats spiraling within the tumult like windblown embers.

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.

Darth Plagueis

Crucitorn

Tenebrous is immune to the pain caused by a pierced lung and shattered bones.

His hands pawed at the stones, removing some of the crushing weight. But Tenebrous's single lung was pierced, and blood gurgled in his throat. Ragged tears in the sleeves of the envirosuit revealed esoteric body markings and tattoos.

Darth Plagueis

So, even as he lay gasping around the icy barbs that pierced his lung, Tenebrous smiled. Even with the jerking and convulsing in his body's last reflexive rebellion against the fall of eternal night, even as organ systems shut down one by one to maintain the last shreds of light and life within the vast intricacies of his brain - massive beyond even those of other Biths, a people justly legendary for their intellectual prowess - Tenebrous found himself particularly enjoying the incremental disappearance of his own midi-chlorians.

[...]

His vision dimmed. His hearing became a rush of wind like static on an electrovoder - and then silence. The sole sensation registered by his quivering flesh was the rip of shattered bone and slow suffocation choking his consciousness, as his shredded lung could supply only a fraction of the oxygen required by his massive brain.

It hardly mattered. Shielded from suffering by his command of the Force, Tenebrous observed the death agony of his physical form with appropriately Bithan dispassion.

The Tenebrous Way

Sith Alchemy

Tenebrous used Alchemy to generate new neurons in his brain, increasing his intellect.

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.

The Tenebrous Way

In case anyone doubts this is Sith Alchemy, it has been used elsewhere by far lesser Force users than Tenebrous to create intelligent entities too.

Legend says that Adepts of the Dark Side have even succeeded in spawning living monstrosities - beasts and intelligent entities, some unspeakably ugly, some full of malevolent charm and symmetry, all utterly permeated by the power of the dark side.

Dark Empire Endnotes

Essence Transfer/Incorporeal Existence

Tenebrous remarks that his own consciousness is his most potent weapon.

With the patient, painstaking attention to the slightest, most insignificant detail that was his hallmark, Tenebrous had encoded his custom retrovirus with his most potent weapon: his own consciousness.

The Tenebrous Way

Tenebrous would have possessed Anakin Skywalker, had he been given the chance.

And - by the application of his own suitably subtle variation of the ancient Sith brute-force essence transfer - Tenebrous could ensure that his own consciousness would be present at the creation of this being, this savior, this Chosen One. And, at the moment of creation - long before the Chosen One could hope to resist - Tenebrous would seize it. Would become it.

With this single stroke, decades after his body's death, he would become the most powerful Force-user in the history of the galaxy.

The Tenebrous Way

Tenebrous imprinted his own consciousness into his maxi-chlorians.

Tenebrous created a retrovirus that could infect midi-chlorians.

Midi-chlorians were, after all, merely symbiotic organelles that contribute to the organic processes of the living cells they inhabit. Due to their role in Force interactions, altering them was singularly challenging - they had an unsettling tendency to spontaneously express unexpected and unfortunate side effects - but by applying the full analytic prowess of his vast Bith brain and the preternatural power of his Bith senses to detect and resolve sub-microscopic structure, he eventually succeeded in creating a retrovirus that would transform normal midi-chlorians into long-lived maxi-chlorians.

But that was only the beginning.

With the patient, painstaking attention to the slightest, most insignificant detail that was his hallmark, Tenebrous had encoded his custom retrovirus with his most potent weapon: his own consciousness.

The Tenebrous Way

Tenebrous is freed of the biological restrictions that mark the passage of time upon shedding his corporeal form, multiplying his connection to and power in the Force to levels beyond what he previously believed possible, and enabling him to simultaneously count individual nanoseconds while comprehending the sweep of entire galactic eons.

Now, dead at last, he could begin to enjoy the fruits of his lifelong labor. In the Force, he could feel that his body had already suffered irreversible brain-death, yet his consciousness remained, fully aware, fully functional, and connected to the Force in a manner more intimate than he had ever believed possible. Freed now of the crude biological processes that mark the passage of time, Tenebrous found he could perceive the measured tick of each individual nanosecond while simultaneously comprehending the entire sweep of galactic eons.

[...]

With all his multiplied power, he yanked his maxi-chlorians back out from Plagueis' body in a spray of Force energy from his eyes, his mouth, the wound and every other cell.

The Tenebrous Way

Tenebrous invades’ Plagueis’ being, gaining access to his Force perceptions.

Beside Tenebrous' corpse, as Plagueis carefully observed the vanishing of Tenebrous' midi-chlorians, maxi-chlorians were being subtly and invisibly carried across the intervening space to settle in Plagueis' eyes and mouth, on his skin and into an open wound on his back, where they entered the apprentice's bloodstream and slipped into his cells, releasing their viral cargo of Tenebrous' mind.

Perfect. And what made it even more perfect was that his apprentice would never comprehend the ironic pun of the name Tenebrous had given him: Plagueis.

The diseased one.

Driven by the dark side-powered will of the Sith Master, the retrovirus propagated with incredible speed. As it carried his consciousness throughout his apprentice's body, Tenebrous found himself becoming pleasurably aware the he was gaining access to Plagueis' sensorium. He could literally feel what Plagueis felt, both the coldly clinical satisfaction at having successfully engineered Tenebrous' murder.... and the Force-perception that let Plagueis monitor the last vanishing remnants of Tenebrous' uninfected midi-chlorians.

The Tenebrous Way

Tenebrous takes his consciousness out of Plagueis’ body.

Now wholly giving himself over to panic, Tenebrous turned his will upon undoing the damage he had done. With all his multiplied power, he yanked his maxi-chlorians back out from Plagueis' body in a spray of Force energy from his eyes, his mouth, the wound and every other cell.

The Tenebrous Way

Midi-chlorian manipulation

Tenebrous and his Master spent years developing a virus that would cut the Jedi off from the Force, although it ended in failure.

But his apprentice carried the imperative forward, and each successive Sith Lord improved on it, Tenebrous and his Master most of all, though they wasted years attempting to create a targeted virus that could be deployed against the Jedi, separating them from the Force.

Darth Plagueis

Tenebrous, decades later however, succeeded on his own, creating a retrovirus that could infect midi-chlorians into maxi-chlorians. These maxi-chlorians would not merge into the Force upon death, and severed Tenebrous’ connection to the Force. This suggests Tenebrous had surpassed the combined power and mastery of his Master and his apprentice self.

As though midi-chlorians somehow embodied the principle of life itself, they vanished as life fled. Plagueis had more than once speculated that they somehow migrated from dying cells and returned to rejoin the Force from which they had sprung - more evidence of the apprentice's muddy thinking and pathetically romanticized mysticism, but no matter. The delusion of the student had proven an inspiration to the teacher, and the concept of midi-chlorian migration - flawed though it was - became the key to Tenebrous’ master stroke.

Amidst the billions upon billions of individual midi-chlorian deaths in Tenebrous' cells were a tiny fraction of midi-chlorians that were not dying.

That would not die so long as they inhabited a living host. These especially tenacious midi-chlorians - Tenebrous had privately labeled them with the jesting sobriquet maxi-chlorians - had been altered. Improved. It would not be an overstatement, in Tenebrous' opinion, to use the word perfected. These maxi-chlorians would indeed migrate, but not into the Force.

They would migrate into Plagueis.

To detect this infinitesimal percentage would require the precision of a Bith; it was far beyond his apprentice's limited perceptions - and indeed, Tenebrous had gone to considerable trouble to ensure it would always remain so.

Instead of actually training his doltish apprentice, Tenebrous had flattered Plagueis' mysticism while pricking his insecurities, sending him off on one useless, doomed-to-fail mission after another. In turn, Tenebrous had invested every available second of the freedom this afforded into designing, creating, and deploying the one weapon that Plagueis would never suspect.

Could never suspect. His own prejudices about the Force ensured Plagueis wouldn't believe such a thing was possible.

Tenebrous created a retrovirus that could infect midi-chlorians.

Midi-chlorians were, after all, merely symbiotic organelles that contribute to the organic processes of the living cells they inhabit. Due to their role in Force interactions, altering them was singularly challenging - they had an unsettling tendency to spontaneously express unexpected and unfortunate side effects - but by applying the full analytic prowess of his vast Bith brain and the preternatural power of his Bith senses to detect and resolve sub-microscopic structure, he eventually succeeded in creating a retrovirus that would transform normal midi-chlorians into long-lived maxi-chlorians.

But that was only the beginning.

With the patient, painstaking attention to the slightest, most insignificant detail that was his hallmark, Tenebrous had encoded his custom retrovirus with his most potent weapon: his own consciousness.

Once completed, Tenebrous had released the virus into his own bloodstream. It had spread throughout his body, infecting midi-chlorians in every one of his cells with gratifying alacrity. Not all his midi-chlorians, though, as the infected maxi-chlorians no longer fully functioned; to infect them all would have cut off his own connection to the Force. A partial severance of this connection was a necessary sacrifice, however, and through an extended process of trial and error, he was able to fine-tune the effect and confine it to the one sector of his Force powers he no longer needed - his ability to sense the motion of the future.

Of what possible use was the ability to see a future he already knew?

The Tenebrous Way

The same retrovirus, driven by Tenebrous’ will, infected Plagueis and hampered his ability to detect the future.

Beside Tenebrous' corpse, as Plagueis carefully observed the vanishing of Tenebrous' midi-chlorians, maxi-chlorians were being subtly and invisibly carried across the intervening space to settle in Plagueis' eyes and mouth, on his skin and into an open wound on his back, where they entered the apprentice's bloodstream and slipped into his cells, releasing their viral cargo of Tenebrous' mind.

Perfect. And what made it even more perfect was that his apprentice would never comprehend the ironic pun of the name Tenebrous had given him: Plagueis.

The diseased one.

Driven by the dark side-powered will of the Sith Master, the retrovirus propagated with incredible speed. As it carried his consciousness throughout his apprentice's body, Tenebrous found himself becoming pleasurably aware the he was gaining access to Plagueis' sensorium. He could literally feel what Plagueis felt, both the coldly clinical satisfaction at having successfully engineered Tenebrous' murder.... and the Force-perception that let Plagueis monitor the last vanishing remnants of Tenebrous' uninfected midi-chlorians.

Full access to his apprentice's Force-perceptions! Delightful. Better than Tenebrous had allowed himself to hope. Hmm - perhaps he should have invested some time in actually training the foolish Muun. Tapping Plagueis' Force powers would be more entertaining if they weren't so stunted from disuse. And yet....

As he continued to explore, Tenebrous gradually became aware of the full range of his apprentice's connection to the Force, which was considerably deeper, broader, and more powerful than Tenebrous had ever suspected. He reflected, with a twinge of uncomfortable premonition, that perhaps Plagueis had been right when he contended that Tenebrous had always underestimated him.

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 visible only as a smear of darkness....

A shadow!

For an instant, Tenebrous felt the death anguish of Plagueis.... and felt the searing agony Plagueis felt.... at his failure to have ever created the Force-user Tenebrous was to become! He would allow his own apprentice to kill him too soon....

This could not be. It could not be contemplated, much less allowed to come to pass. Fury competed with panic as Tenebrous threw his mind at the future, seeking to understand how it was Plagueis could be so complacent, so foolish....

So blind.

The searing truth was driven home by the gathering darkness that clouded his borrowed foresight. Soon all he could see of the future was a hazy smear of shadow.... as the retrovirus he had become infected Plagueis' every cell. The retrovirus he had allowed to sacrifice his ability to gaze forward in time.... and had thus robbed his apprentice of his power to sense the future.

The Tenebrous Way

The retrovirus then mutated on its own, warping space-time to trap Tenebrous in a time loop of endlessly reliving his death.

The searing truth was driven home by the gathering darkness that clouded his borrowed foresight. Soon all he could see of the future was a hazy smear of shadow.... as the retrovirus he had become infected Plagueis' every cell. The retrovirus he had allowed to sacrifice his ability to gaze forward in time.... and had thus robbed his apprentice of his power to sense the future.

Which would seal his own doom as well.

His single-minded pursuit of eternal life and supreme power had accomplished only this. He would be destroyed by his own triumph.

Now wholly giving himself over to panic, Tenebrous turned his will upon undoing the damage he had done. With all his multiplied power, he yanked his maxi-chlorians back out from Plagueis' body in a spray of Force energy from his eyes, his mouth, the wound and every other cell. He had to think - he had to find a way out - or perhaps he didn't. Perhaps there wasn’t one.

Perhaps the best he could hope for was the slow, inevitable extinction of his consciousness as his maxi-chlorians too faded and winked out. Then, at least, he would no longer have to squirm in the agony of his self-inflicted defeat....

If his maxi-chlorians were going to fade.

Because it dawned on him that he wasn't sure exactly how long the process should take, but he certainly didn't seem to be losing consciousness. He reached out with the Force - perhaps he could sense something. Anything. Or even contact Plagueis, somehow make his presence known, as his apprentice would never allow him to survive, no matter how reduced his powers might be....

But Plagueis wasn't here. Not only had Plagueis somehow vanished, Tenebrous could sense no trace of him ever having been here at all.... what was happening? How could this be?

The only trace of organic life Tenebrous could sense were some ancient mummified remains....

Of a Bith.

How long had he been here? How long would it take for every trace of Plagueis to vanish? Those remains were years old - decades, perhaps centuries old.

Tenebrous wondered, with dawning horror, if his retrovirus might have somehow mutated, if its effects on the maxi-chlorians might go somehow deeper than excision of foresight?

What if his eternal life would be.... this?

Or worse: what if his foresight hadn't been eliminated, but had been somehow twisted in upon itself? What if his remains were ancient because this was the thousandth time he had relived his death and the shattering revelation of his life-long self-deception.... what if this was the millionth time he'd relived it?

The billionth?

Then he knew, and at that moment he wished he still had a mouth, because he really, really needed to scream.

Dying, Tenebrous observed with mild surprise, was turning out to be not only pleasant, but wholly wonderful; had he ever suspected how much he'd enjoy the process, he wouldn't have wasted all these decades waiting for his foolish apprentice Plagueis to do him in....

The Tenebrous Way

Physical and Martial Capabilities

The Banite Sith had been honing their skills for centuries. Tenebrous, as a member of the lineage, would have thus been more skilled than his predecessors with a blade.

"A Sith apprentice must grow in strength and skill until he or she can surpass the Master. Anything else is regression" - Darth Bane, Book of the Sith

"The Sith are fierce warriors who wield great power. They have been in hiding for centuries, honing their skills and biding their time." - Mysteries of the Jedi

Tenebrous has no need to use Force precognition due to being able to calculate the future with just his sheer brain power.

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 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.

[...]

Once completed, Tenebrous had released the virus into his own bloodstream. It had spread throughout his body, infecting midi-chlorians in every one of his cells with gratifying alacrity. Not all his midi-chlorians, though, as the infected maxi-chlorians no longer fully functioned; to infect them all would have cut off his own connection to the Force. A partial severance of this connection was a necessary sacrifice, however, and through an extended process of trial and error, he was able to fine-tune the effect and confine it to the one sector of his Force powers he no longer needed - his ability to sense the motion of the future.

Of what possible use was the ability to see a future he already knew?

The Tenebrous Way

Tenebrous defeated his Master, a being vastly more powerful than the likes of Darth Bane or Darth Zannah, in single combat:

He had exterminated his doddering Master with his customary efficiency, and had embarked immediately on a decades-spanning quest for an apprentice of his own.

The Tenebrous Way

"How often you said that the old order of Bane had ended with the death of your Master. An apprentice no longer needs to be stronger, you told me, merely more clever. The era of keeping score, suspicion and betrayal was over. Strength lies not in the flesh but in the Force."

Darth Plagueis

--Darth Sidious

He sometimes wondered: Was he a level behind? Two levels behind? Such questions were precisely what had driven generations of Sith apprentices ultimately to challenge their Masters. The uncertainty about who was the more powerful. The need to test themselves, to face the definitive trial.

Darth Plagueis

Tenebrous defeated an army of Kursid warriors a thousand strong two times, first alongside his Master and then with his apprentice Plagueis.

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.

Darth Plagueis

Even when over a century old, Tenebrous was in robust health, despite Bith’s not usually living past 85.

A Bith, Tenebrous was as tall as Plagueis and nearly as cadaverously thin. To human eyes, his bilious complexion might have made him appear as haggard as the pallid Muun, but in fact both beings were in robust health.

Darth Plagueis
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Tenebrous never slept, indicating great stamina.

He chased sleep, but it eluded him, and he deplored the fact that he still had need for it. Tenebrous had never slept, but then few Bith did.

Darth Plagueis

Tenebrous was a lightsaber combat enthusiast, indicating he ascribed value to developing his dueling skills.

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.

Darth Plagueis

Tenebrous barely trained his apprentice, indicating his lightsaber skill was far superior to Darth Plagueis’.

Instead of actually training his doltish apprentice, Tenebrous had flattered Plagueis' mysticism while pricking his insecurities, sending him off on one useless, doomed-to-fail mission after another.

[...]

Hmm - perhaps he should have invested some time in actually training the foolish Muun.

The Tenebrous Way

This is supported by Tenebrous viewing Plagueis’ physical capabilities as pitiful compared to his own at the time of his death.

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.

The Tenebrous Way

Tenebrous views Plagueis’ physical and Force capabilities as pitiful in comparison to his own, indicating he eclipsed his apprentice in many areas of Force augmentation.

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.

The Tenebrous Way

Note: Plagueis at this point was capable of kicking a Zabrak so hard he flew across the cabin and had his spine snap, his pulmonary arteries burst and his chest cavity crushed.

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, 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.

[...]

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.

Darth Plagueis

Tenebrous runs fast enough to knock Plagueis over, and the latter has to draw deeply on the Force to merely keep up.

Nearly knocked over by the swiftness of Tenebrous's departure, Plagueis had to call deeply on the Force merely to keep up.

Darth Plagueis

Note: Plagueis at this point was capable of moving faster than a droid who is fast enough to calculate and react to the trajectories of blaster bolts can perceive.

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.

Darth Plagueis

Tenebrous rivaled Plagueis in agility.

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.

Darth Plagueis

Plagueis conceded Tenebrous would have been able to kill him had it come to personal combat.

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.

Darth Plagueis

Darth Venamis likewise concluded it impossible for someone of Plagueis’ caliber to defeat Tenebrous in battle.

“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.”

Darth Plagueis

Before anyone questions these claims, Tenebrous had planned his own death to occur and intentionally let Plagueis kill his physical body.

Dying, Tenebrous observed with mild surprise, was turning out to be not only pleasant, but wholly wonderful; had he ever suspected how much he'd enjoy the process, he wouldn't have wasted all these decades waiting for his foolish apprentice Plagueis to do him in.

So, even as he lay gasping around the icy barbs that pierced his lung, Tenebrous smiled. Even with the jerking and convulsing in his body's last reflexive rebellion against the fall of eternal night, even as organ systems shut down one by one to maintain the last shreds of light and life within the vast intricacies of his brain - massive beyond even those of other Biths, a people justly legendary for their intellectual prowess - Tenebrous found himself particularly enjoying the incremental disappearance of his own midi-chlorians.

His Force-perception was even more acute than the magnifying powers of his enormous eyes; in the Force, he could feel each individual midi-chlorian wink out in turn, a spreading wave of darkness, like stars eclipsed by the silhouette of an approaching ship.

Or falling through the event horizon of a black hole.

Ah, darkness. Darkness at last. The darkness he had dreamed of. The darkness he had planned for. The darkness that was his one true love. The darkness he had taken as his name.

Was he not Darth Tenebrous?

His vision dimmed. His hearing became a rush of wind like static on an electrovoder - and then silence. The sole sensation registered by his quivering flesh was the rip of shattered bone and slow suffocation choking his consciousness, as his shredded lung could supply only a fraction of the oxygen required by his massive brain.

It hardly mattered. 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 Plaugueis' 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. Tenebrous had spent decades making sure that Plagueis would be unable to resist doing exactly that.

Everything was proceeding according to plan.

The Tenebrous Way

Tenebrous trained Venamis in multiple lightsaber forms - including Plagueis’ own - and how to seamlessly mix and match them ambidextrously mid-combat. Venamis then went on to give a serious challenge to Plagueis in lightsaber combat, indicating Tenebrous could accomplish the same.

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.

Darth Plagueis

Thank You For Reading!

May the darkness of Sheev be with you!
May the darkness of Sheev be with you!

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