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Old 05-06-2008, 12:58 AM   #1
Tysyacha
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[SW Prequel Fic] I, Vader: Part II

"Anakin? You know what your destiny must be. Yield and embrace it."

Palpatine was right. How could I not, after being so complicit in the murder of Master Mace Windu? There was a blood-red point beyond which no one could return, no one could repent for what they'd done--or still had yet to do.

It hadn't begun with the nightmares, this darkness and decline. Nor with the sunlit wedding on Naboo, although Padme and I had both succumbed to our passion. It was on the mission to rescue Palpatine and confront Count Dooku, I believe, that had set me on my path to the Dark Side. Yes--I remember it clearly now--two shimmering blades placed taut against a Sith Lord's neck...

*******************************************

"Kill him, Anakin. Do it."

"I shouldn't. I can't. It's not the Jedi way." I paused. "You know the Code. A Jedi never kills a helpless prisoner, nor one who has surrendered willingly."

"Has he surrendered? As far as I know, Count Dooku has not said so yet."

"Do you surrender, Sith Lord, in the name of the Jedi Order and the Force?"

Count Dooku said nothing. I could see the hot rage seething in his eyes, feel the hatred rolling off of his sweat-soaked body. Yet there was something behind it, something more...Beneath hatred lay great fear. What could Dooku have to be afraid of, besides my possibly slaying him? I had fought him once before, and he was not afraid to die. I wished Count Dooku would say one word, any word, to reveal the hidden terror in his heart. Alas, it was not to be. Dooku waited, kneeling tensely, to see what I would do. What would the Chancellor do? He as well as I could make the first move, but we both were still. Dooku was testing me, yet why did I feel more afraid of Palpatine's eyes?

"You see? He says nothing. Do what you must, Jedi, and end this charade."

Without taking my two blades from either side of Dooku's neck, I turned my head to face Palpatine. "It would be a charade if I killed him, Chancellor."

"Why? Because you cannot bear to slaughter an opponent in cold blood? Good. You are crawling your way towards the truth; let me make your journey faster. Count Dooku is a Sith Lord. He means nothing but evil toward you and this galaxy. He would turn the Republic into a bastion of darkness, a tool of tyranny for a thousand years. Why shouldn't you kill him now? He severed your arm. Not only that, but he certainly meant a bloody death for you back on Geonosis, chained in the arena for screaming spectators to see. Padme was there, your love and Queen, and your master Obi-Wan. If you can't kill a Sith, then what kind of Jedi are you? You were meant to protect."

"Protect whom? I'll take him into custody and let the Senate decide his fate."

"It's corrupted; it won't do its duty, and that is why it must become yours. Dooku is too dangerous to be kept alive. If you won't kill him, all is lost."

"All?"

"Padme, your love, your training. The galaxy itself. All the Core Worlds, the Mid Rim and Outer Rim. If Dooku lives, everything must--and will--die."

The truth sliced clearly through me, like a saber blade. Of course the Chancellor was right. How could I be so blind as not to see the logic in his words? The Republic was not what I once knew, true, but if Dooku survived, he would turn everything to his own ends. Perhaps me, if he didn't kill me.

So I slew him. I took the two blades I held and made them become one.

******************************************

"It started with Dooku. Shall it end with me? If you strike me down, your journey to the Dark Side will be complete! Your hatred consumes you. Let it go, and let humility take its place. Wisdom only comes with such a thing."

"You don't believe in it. Humility is a thing for the Jedi, not the Sith."

"Oh, how wrong you are. How wrong, and how utterly arrogant! Do you know that as soon as I take control of the Galactic Senate, I'll have you imprisoned and executed for treason? That's what I most certainly could do. Of course, I won't. Not if you keep listening...and keep learning."

Cold shivers ran through me. Had I slipped beyond the point of no return?
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