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Luke Skywalker: Darkest Truth


Luke Skywalker: Darkest Truth

It was a chilly day on Naboo – unseasonably so. Yes, it was autumn, but the icy gusts made it feel more like winter. Shriveled leaves and broken twigs danced and swirled in the breeze around Theed’s many impressive palaces and monuments. In the gentle golden glow of the evening twilight, the ancient structures looked absolutely mesmerizing, but Luke Skywalker wasn’t interested in visiting any of them. No, he was here for just one reason.

Perched on a rocky cliff side along a waterfall far below the busting city, the old Jedi’s frayed robes glistened with droplets of mist. It was important for him to keep a low profile, not because he was unwelcome there – he was revered among the locals. He just didn’t need a visit by Grand Master Skywalker overshadowing Luke’s personal quest this evening.

A whistle and a beep from atop his X-Wing caught Luke’s attention.

“No R2, stay with the ship.” He let out a troubled sigh; “I have to do this myself. There’s something I must know.”

Luke bowed his head in thought for a moment. He pulled the hood of his cloak over his graying hairline and turned back to R2 with a solemn look upon his weary face; “I won’t be long.”

With that, the old wizard turned and started up an ancient pathway carved into the cliff. A worried whine from R2 called after him, and then he was gone.

Winding and crumbling though the steps were, the physical journey didn’t challenge him much. Yes, his knee ached a little every fourth step, yes he had to catch his breath a little more often than he used to, but the real challenge for Luke Skywalker that evening was posed to his heart.

“A challenge lifelong it is not to bend fear into anger,” Yoda’s ghostly form once told him.

Luke had learned over the years to admit it to himself when fear crept upon him, and part of him was indeed afraid of what he was about to find. Why had Obi-wan warned him not to come here? What dark secret laid long buried here, waiting to be revealed? As he reached the peak of the trail, he knew he was about to find out.

Behind a thin veil of half-dead shrubs and tangled brush, Luke could make out the dark mass of a structure looming in the distance. Making his way down a cobblestone trail, his destination finally emerged from the shadows.

At first Luke could only see a granite dome peaking above the tree line. With each step he took, the old building seemed to rise from its long forgotten resting place. As it shrugged off its cloak of overgrowth, the granite facade of a mausoleum greeted its welcome guest – probably its only visitor in decades. Layers of moss and algae caked the marble steps, and a web of vines embraced the building’s freckled granite facade. The wooden door was probably hand-carved at one time, but had been split, cracked, and faded by the sun over the years. The heavy brass handles, long neglected by the Empire, were blackened with age and rust. Four stone columns marked the entrance to the mausoleum and Luke climbed the steps between the middle two towards the doorway.

The old Jedi paused outside the door – his gloved hand hovering mere centimeters from the antique wooden plank.

In his many travels throughout the galaxy, he’d met many strange and interesting characters who’d shared the secrets of the Force with him. Among them was a wryly old Kiffar with a tattooed face who claimed to have been a Jedi once. That wasn’t really surprising, many swindlers made such claims, but he told the most fantastic stories – turning to the Dark Side and then back to the Light, going undercover, and even winning the heart of a mysterious Sith assassin. The man’s boastful personality left Luke more than a little skeptical that he could ever have been a solemn guardian of peace and justice like Obi-wan or Yoda, but one of his crazy claims did catch Luke’s attention. The man was able to feel not only an object’s past, but also the trials and tribulations of its owners – and even the object’s own destiny – just by touching it. It was incredible! Luke had experienced micro-moments of this, but only after deep meditation. To this crazy old man it was like a second nature! With his thirst for knowledge, Luke decided he had to learn as much as he could about this new ability, and so he committed himself to practicing whenever he could. He admittedly still wasn’t very good at it, but once in a while he could grasp the spiritual essence of an object or place.

Luke slowed his breathing, felt his pulse fall into sync with the wind, and the tide, and the movement of the stars. He inhaled Naboo’s crisp air, felt its life swirl in his being, kept it within him only a moment, and then returned his breath to nature. He could feel every stone of the crypt, every bud of moss that caked it’s steps, and every root and vine that embraced it’s walls… but that was all. As hard as he tried – and he truly did invest himself in the task – he just couldn’t connect with the tomb. Maybe he was in the wrong place?

Luke took a step back, raised his gloved hand, and with the Force as his ally, he gently parted the tangled vines above the doorway. He didn’t even need to read the name. He knew it in his bones.


Not her birth name, he knew that. She was born Padmé Nabirre, but he’d expected to find Amidala. It was her ruling name from when she’d faced down the Trade Federation – and unknowingly, Darth Sidious – as the planet’s Queen. The people loved her for it, which must have been why they’d engraved her ruling name on her crypt – even though that honor was usually reserved only for sitting royalty.

He was in the right place.

Luke wondered for a moment if his failure to connect with the tomb was the universe reminding him of Old Ben’s warning, if perhaps the Force itself was willing him to turn back? No, he couldn’t turn back now. He had to know the truth within.

Luke carefully opened the old door, and when he did, he was greeted by Padme herself in beautiful blue dress and ornately spun hairpiece. Obviously crafted with genuine care, the stained glass silhouette glistened in the amber light of the autumn eve. The image was truly stunning, and it was remarkably true to her beauty – at least from what Luke could tell from the old Holovids he’d dug up of her speeches to the Senate during the Clone Wars. Here she was depicted in some sort of deep blue gown with a purple shroud, which at first he thought was perhaps her wedding dress, but then realized it was more likely her burial gown.

The only other decor in the modest space were two flowerpots placed upon shoulder-height podiums and filled with bouquets of flowers that had perished long ago.

Fashioned from a single block of stone and embossed with the stylized emblem of Naboo,, the coffin held the center of the room as the only solemn reminder of the tombs intended purpose.

A dusty cobweb trembled as Luke lifted his left hand to hover above the coffin.

“Try not… do or do not!” Yoda’s voice echoed in his head. “There is no try.”

Luke’s favored right hand – a claw of iron cloaked in thick leather – hung useless by his side beneath his cape. This time Luke reached forward with his own flesh. His fingertips landed on the cool stone and he reached deep inside himself. Luke freed his mind of expectation, of desire, of fear, of anticipation, and of determination. He fully allowed his mind to let go of his conscious self. He could feel an object within the coffin – not a person, or a garment, and not quite a piece of jewelry. It was solid, organic, and quite old. It wasn’t stone, nor bone, nor bark… it was an ornament of some kind, and it was very dear to her.

Luke could feel his subconscious self submerging in the tide of the Force. At first he only saw Naboo; the luminous life it boasted. Then autumn overcame it and brought death and decay, as it did that very day. Luke could feel that this death would in turn feed new life. The warmth of the sunlight, the cold chill of the ocean, the peace in nature, and the violence of destruction – and between it all: balance. As he attuned himself to the rhythm of the Force – to the ebb and flow of the energy field around him – as he connected the essence of his being with the harmony of the space around him, he could feel his connection to tomb growing. Expanding. Swirling. Engulfing.

With a powerful gust of wind, the old cobwebs around the casket dissolved, the tomb’s dust coating evaporated, and the withered bouquets sprung back to life.


He snapped his eyes open. He’d never heard a voice so beautiful – and sad. Desperate and struggling, yet somehow… hopeful? It was somehow familiar, even though he’d heard it only in old recordings and in his dreams. It was Padmé!

“Mother?” Luke’s own voice echoed through the tomb’s empty air.

Only he wasn’t in the tomb anymore. Instead, Luke found himself in some sort of hospital or sick bay. Bright and modern, it was absolutely sterile.

“Medically, she’s completely healthy…” the harsh, artificial voice of a droid proclaimed its analysis. “For reasons we can’t explain, we are losing her.”

That’s when he saw her upon the operating table. Drenched in sweat, hair thrown in disarray, and throat swollen with some sort of wound, Padme looked as if the life was about to abandon her.

“She’s dying?” asked a male voice. Another familiar voice. Obi-wan’s voice.

And indeed Old Ben stood mere feet away, only… he wasn’t old. Luke guessed he was probably in his late-30’s with bright copper hair that betrayed his age only in the thin streaks of silver along his temples. His tunic, burned with ash and soot, looked as though he’d just fought his way out of an inferno.

“We don’t know why,” the droid replied helplessly. “She has lost the will to live.”

A bolt of thunder struck the room and a sadistic cackle haunted the medical bay. Suddenly Luke was engulfed by a sense of extreme desperation. Not a struggle against hunger, or cold, or disease – no a different kind of desperate struggle. An intense drive to dominate the forces of nature and change the future. A desire to alter destiny. Luke wasn’t himself tempted by this feeling, but it saturated the air around him like a mist of black ink coating everything. The room was shrouded in darkness and Luke could feel the life being choked out of Padme by something… some horrible deathly grip. Some creature of darkness that was… also familiar.

“You have great wisdom, Anakin.  Know the power of the Dark Side… the power to save Padmé.”

A slithering mass of smoke and shadow coalesced around Luke. Forever shifting, changing, morphing, and contorting until a final shape emerged – an ink-black serpent if Luke had ever seen one. Shriveled, sickly, and embittered, it hissed and screeched viciously at anything and everything in sight. And the eyes. The eyes were not those of a serpent, nor any reptile Luke had ever seen. But he did recognize them; he’d seen the piercing flecks of bloodshot gold many times in his nightmares… and aboard the Death Star. They stared at Padmé now with the same wicked malice he’d seen in them back then. The nerve endings in his fingers and toes still numbed from time to time – permanent damage from the Force lightning that had ravaged his body that day. Now they went numb again.

Padmé melted away into another form – a charred, dismembered corpse took her place upon the operating table. Caked in a crusted mixture of ash and dried blood, the corpse shrieked to life and threw up its right arm up in pure agony. This was not a limb of seared flesh, but a mechanical arm not unlike his own. It clawed desperately at its surroundings, bellowing in pain.

“He’s still alive…“ came a shrill whisper from the shadows.

This mutilated figure, too, was familiar. Was this his own future? Was that his own metal arm clawing in agony? No, it was not his. It was his father’s. This was the moment Anakin Skywalker died – the moment Vader was born.

“Obi-wan…” Padme’s voice called again, “is Anakin alright?”

Padmé’s form coalesced once more, crying now. She, too, was in intense pain.

“Don’t give up Padme!” Obi-wan called to her.

Luke could feel the life draining from her now. At the same time, he could feel Vader’s might swelling around him. The weaker Padme got, the stronger Vader became, and all the while that horrible cackle – Darth Sidious’s cackle – haunted the scene.

“Luke…” his heart broke as his mother struggled to say his name, “…Leia.”

For an instant Luke could feel a spark of hope – no two! This was the moment of his birth!

“Death feeds new life…” he muttered to himself as he processed the life cycle before him – the Will of the Force made manifest before his eyes.

When Vader reappeared, he was clad in his black robe and gleaming obsidian armor. Only his face remained exposed, and as a swirl of black smoke wrapped itself around Vader’s seared head, Luke heard Padme’s voice once more.

“Obi-wan… there’s good in him,” her voice was muffled and feint, though her conviction in her words still shined through. “I know… I know… there’s… still…”

And then the darkness finally claimed her.

The smoke around Vader’s head dissipated, revealing that hateful gargoyle mask that Luke had burned on Endor. As Padme’s head rolled lifelessly to one side, the control panel on Vader’s chest flickered to life and a the menacing suit took its first terrifying breath.

Finally, after all these years, Luke finally understood why he felt the good in Vader. The life that was stolen from Padme carried with it a fiery charge that Luke knew well – hope. Once implanted within him, Vader was powerless to rid himself of it. Luke knew that’s why Vader couldn’t execute him on Bespin. That’s why Vader couldn’t watch Sidious torture him on the Death Star. That shred of Padmé, that spark of life that had been stolen from her to sustain him, it burned deep beneath Vader’s armor and kept Anakin Skywalker’s soul alive. Though she likely never knew it, with her dying breath Padmé managed to bring their children into the universe and preserve her husband’s tortured soul at the same time.

That’s when Luke finally understood that by stealing Padme’s life force to save Vader, Darth Sidious had unknowingly preserved Anakin Skywalker forever and sown the seeds of his own destruction. It was the kind of justice only the Force could provide.

At last he understood the darkness that consumed Anakin. A desperate desire to save the one he loved, coupled with the impossible pressure of the prophecy upon his shoulders. It was a lethal elixir, one Sidious had seen and exploited expertly. The Dark Lord found a troubled young man with a touch of darkness in him and manipulated him into destroying everything he loved until there was nothing left of his original self.

And now Luke sensed that same darkness growing in his nephew. Young Ben Solo had that mighty Skywalker blood in him and had no idea how to control it. The boy was incredibly strong in the force, and desperate to prove himself to his parents, but he was also reckless, headstrong, and at times arrogant.

Everything changed the day the truth of Vader’s identity – and Luke and Leia’s parentage – was unexpectedly revealed to the entire New Republic as a political move by a rival. Suddenly his famous Skywalker name and Leia’s political achievements were forever branded with Vader’s sins. The entire galaxy was shocked and horrified, and young Ben was no different. The youth had become increasingly isolated after that. Luke had always wanted to be there with Han and Leia to explain the terrible truth to Ben together, but they never got the chance. They just couldn’t figure out how to tell him that his grandfather was the most notorious mass murderer in galactic history, but died bringing balance to Force. That Ben was descended from Anakin Skywalker, the mighty ‘Hero Without Fear’ who saved the Republic during the Clone Wars, then obliterated an entire planet to prove the Empire’s might. That within him flowed the blood of Darth Vader, who tortured his daughter, dismembered his son, killed his mentor, exterminated the Jedi, and destroyed the Sith Order. It had taken Luke most of his life to comprehend his father’s confusing legacy and tragic destiny; how could he possibly explain it to a troubled young man?

Ben used to look up to the achievements of Anakin and Luke, but in recent months he’d developed a disturbing fascination with Vader’s notorious abilities. Luke also noticed him drawing more and more on his aggression in their sparring sessions. Something had to be done, or else this boy would end up scarred and broken like his grandfather. He would destroy the Jedi, the New Republic, and everything that Luke loved, just as Vader had.

In that moment Luke decided that he had to confront Ben. He could still stop this from happening – he could still save his family and the galaxy from Vader’s shadow! He couldn’t let these visions become real…

Through the stained glass window, Luke watched as Naboo’s sun sank below the horizon, and the peaceful world was shrouded in darkness.

The gravity of the past and the burden of future now weighing fully upon him, Luke turned from the coffin and headed for the entrance. He took a final glance back at the old tomb – at the darkest truth buried within. As his leather glove wiped one last tear from his eye, Luke turned and closed the heavy wooden door to the crypt behind him; forever sealing the truth within its walls – and, along with it, his own fate.



Epilogue: Tremors in the Force

As the last ray of golden evening light winked out, Padme’s illuminated portrait slipped back into darkness – but only for a moment. A sapphire glow, shimmering and glistening in the dark void, coalesced in the tomb. A form took shape. Robust and proud, the spirit wore the signature robes and tunic of a Jedi Knight. A messy mop of untamed locks veiled his handsome face, and he held his chiseled chin heigh with pride – and a touch of arrogance.

It had been a long time since his last visit. Too long.

The spirit’s gaze fell upon the Naboo crest carved atop the coffin, and his head bowed in sorrow. The shimmering form placed his glowing hand upon the stone surface before him; the granite slab was still warm from Luke’s touch. A torrent of horror, admiration, sorrow, and pride all flowed through his shimmering form at once. He could see and sense all that was to come: a raging hated that echoed his own, a throbbing love that would shake the universe, the pure anguish of loss and regret, and a ray of hope to light the way – they all awaited the Galaxy.

The shimmering form could see something else as well; Master Skywalker’s choice was made. The future was in his hands now, and unbeknownst to the Grand Master, many trials, challenges, and failures lay ahead along the unexpected destiny that awaited him.

The ghostly figure tilted his head toward the old wooden door where Luke had departed only moments earlier.

“May the Force be with you.”

And then he was gone.


Boba Fett: A Righteous Kill (FANFIC)


        The Jedi were gone. There were still rumors of course; whispers echoing from the farthest corners of the Galaxy of a few disgraced fugitives who managed to survive the Emperor’s purge. Stories cropped up every now and then of a crazy old wizard living in some desolate desert hut in the Outer Rim, or an ancient warrior hiding in a remote swamp on some god-forsaken backwater world, but the tales were nothing more than myths. The Emperor had ordered it, Darth Vader had commanded it, and Boba Fett had finished the job. Now the Jedi were nothing more than figments of folklore; fading echoes of hope in an otherwise hopeless galaxy. Finally, for the first time in a thousand generations, people had to see the galaxy the way it was – the way Boba Fett saw it – as a dark place to carve out a lonely, bitter survival.

        But this target wasn’t a Jedi. There was a time when Boba’s prey had been one of the finest duelists in the Jedi Order, but if the rumors were true, then in the decade and a half since Order 66, the honorable warrior had decayed into a creature of darkness; a being filled with anger, hate, and suffering, and so the young bounty hunter found it fitting that his hunt brought him to the doorstep of another creature of suffering.

        Over two meters tall, humanoid in form, with flowing black robes trailing from his armored figure and a face forever masked by an angular metal breathing screen, the Dark Lord of the Sith was an awesome, threatening shape as he strode through the corridors of the Star Destroyer Devastator. With his obsidian skull-like mask, which more resembled a scowling gargoyle than a man’s face, and a temper known throughout the galaxy, Darth Vader haunted the battleship like a fearsome, brooding shadow. Heavy black cape gently draped around his polished boots, and gloved hands resting on his utility belt, the Dark Lord stood absolutely motionless by the command deck’s viewport. A frequent pose, the vigilant, demonic statue observed the construction of a colossal dagger-shaped warship, the skeletal frame of which dwarfed Vader’s current flagship. As Boba Fett marched to the viewport, he could hear Darth Vader’s rasping, artificial breathing echo through the command bridge like a whispered warning to those who might approach him.

         “As a reward for your loyalty to the Empire, the information you requested has been prepared,” the Dark Lord rumbled through his deep baritone voice synthesizer without turning his attention from the window.

        “The complete file recovered from the Jedi archives. You will know more about him than he ever knew about himself.”

         A ghostly mechanical breath echoed through the Sith Lord’s gleaming armor as his masked gaze continued to roam the void before him.

        “But first…” Vader turned to face the young bounty hunter, “I want to know why you desire it.”

          Boba stared at the Dark Lord in silence. What did it matter to Vader why he wanted the file? It was a personal matter, not a job. Boba had requested Jedi files before in his hunts and Vader had never asked why. After concluding it wasn’t the Sith Lord’s concern, he decided to keep his answer brief.

        “I have a score to settle.”

        “I am aware of your past encounters…” Vader’s forced breaths pumped and hissed through the stale air for a moment as his nightmare-touched mask leveled its usual cryptic, hateful glare. “…but you are hunting a dead man.”

        “Perhaps,” Boba replied with a slight nod, “perhaps not.”

        Silence, save Darth Vader’s signature breathing, overtook the corridor. The gargoyle-like mask tilted its gaze away from Boba, apparently in thought, and for a moment, the bounty hunter was sure the Dark Lord was going to revoke his offer.

        Vader whipped his focus back to Boba; “the Empire has no interest in chasing ghosts. You may use this information as you please…”

Vader extended a single gloved hand from beneath his cloak and offered a data cube. As Boba took the cube, the black gloved hand twisted into a pointed warning, “but do not expect a reward.”

        “Understood,” the younger man replied.

        As he turned to head back to his ship, Boba could feel Vader’s piercing gaze follow him across the command bridge. The Dark Lord was something of an enigma to Boba Fett. He appeared seemingly out of nowhere the night before Palpatine founded the Empire, yet it was clear that he was well versed in the history of the Jedi, the Clone Wars, the Separatists, the Republic, and the Empire. It was as if he’d lived through it all in another life. He knew how to command legions of men, yet Boba could find no record of anyone named “Vader” leading forces for either the Separatists or the Republic prior to Order 66. It was as if he had just appeared with all his vast knowledge, lethal skills, and infamous temper overnight. What kind of gruesome injuries could he have endured that forced him to rely on such extensive cybernetics? Was there any human part of him left?

        One day he would unravel the mysterious identity of the man buried beneath that gleaming black armor, but Boba had other priorities at the moment. It was time to hunt.


        As Slave I drifted in its orbit around Al’Har I, Boba could feel the hot touch of rage boiling in both his young body and his bitter soul. Even without being sensitive to the Force, the young Mandalorian warrior could feel the raw fury in his bones as he closed in on his target. Maybe it was all in his head; his body’s way of digesting decades of bitter rage, or some side effect of the cloning process that brought him into being, or maybe it was just a delusion, but whatever it was he felt, it drove him, and it led him to Al’Har I.

        Through the curved transparisteel of the cockpit, Al’Har I was a wall of mountain-punched clouds before him. It looked almost close enough to touch. As his ship floated around the planet, he couldn’t help but think that it was almost too easy. So many wanted men fled back to their homeworlds when they were in danger; it was predictable. One might even call it instinctual. It made them feel safe. While he exploited the behavioral pattern, it wasn’t something he could identity with. Kamino had merely been his place of birth, a point of origin and a training ground. Slave I was the only home he’d ever known.

        As predictable as it was though, it was more than logic and reasoning that brought Boba to Al’Har I. According to his information broker, an eccentric and reclusive arachnoid, there was a rumor circulating; a sort of local legend swirling around a hermit called “Lor Pelek,” which Boba learned means “jungle master” in the local Korun language. The spider-like broker claimed the term referred to an old folk myth of a shaman of both great power and great peril; a wizard, demon, and healer who lived deep in the jungle and drew on the “Pelekotan,” or “jungle mind,” to wield magical strength. Many men had used the title throughout the centuries, but recently the locals bestowed the legendary title upon a reclusive hermit who roamed the mountains around the planetary capital of Pelek Baw.

        The broker’s intel was reputed to be quite accurate, but it wasn’t just the tale of a recluse that piqued Boba’s interest, for he knew such tales were quite common among superstitious cultures. What really grabbed the bounty hunter’s attention was an official Imperial report claiming that this recluse slaughtered an entire legion of stormtroopers with a lightsaber. Hailed as a local hero by anti-imperial natives, his treasonous rampage inspired protests and a regional revolt that challenged the Empire’s grip on the primitive jungle world.

        Boba turned his attention to Slave I’s dashboard where mountains of data, harvested from the local government’s primitive communication systems, were streaming through the ship’s computers. The archaic technology employed by the impoverished puppet regime made it easy for him to hack their unsecured servers and siphon out as much information as he wanted without anyone detecting a breach. News reports, police frequencies, militia transmissions, and even official government correspondence all flowed straight onto the screen before him. As the data flowed in, Slave I automatically filtered and translated the results that were most promising based on a list of keywords he had selected. All Boba had to do was pick through the results for signs of his prey.

        As he did so, Boba also setup a background program to scan the jungle around Pelek Baw for energy emissions signatures. Slave I’s sensors searched for any unusual flares of energy, and then filtered the results based on energy spectrums released by lightsabers. It was a trick he’d picked up during his time hunting Jedi with the Confederacy during the Clone Wars. It wasn’t a quick process, and it essentially required him to wait around for the weapon to be ignited, but if the lightsaber was flicked on for even an instant, Slave I would lock onto it.

        These methods were time consuming, but the son of Jango had learned from an early age that patience could be his greatest ally. The greatest predators in the galaxy spent long swaths of time watching, stalking, and tracking their prey. Every being, no matter how careful, would inevitably slip and make a mistake at some point, and Boba knew that if he was patient enough, and perceptive enough, he would be there to catch it.

        Boba knew this would not be an easy hunt; Al’Har I provided some truly challenging terrain. The majority of the planet was covered in toxic gasses, and life could only survive on the mountainous plateaus that rose above the cloud cover. One plateau near Pelek Baw, on the Korrunal Highland, was of particular interest to Boba. After reviewing the file from the Jedi Temple, the young bounty hunter realized that the stormtrooper massacre occurred on the same plateau where his Jedi target’s ancestral tribe originated. That couldn’t be coincidence, and it certainly narrowed the search area. Now all Boba had to do was figure out where on the plateau the hermit, now called Lor Pelek, was hiding. With its blood-thirsty predators, acid rain, metal and silicon-eating fungus, and poisonous jungles filled with tribes of deadly Force-sensitive native warriors, Al’Har I would not be easy to navigate. Hostile as the jungle world was though, it was the Lor Pelek’s home, and so Boba Fett would make it his tomb.

Part III

        Broken twigs, shredded leaves, and splinters of bark whizzed through the air as the brewing storm tore its way through Al’Har I’s barren northern forest. The cool, dry season always gave birth to terrible bouts of nature’s wrath, but this storm was particularly fierce. With winds that could overpower most speeders, the brewing tempest was the fiercest Al’Har I had seen in decades, maybe even centuries.

        Through the chaos lumbered a single, dark shadow. Few creatures dared to venture from their dwellings during such a ferocious storm, but the Lor Pelek was no ordinary creature. Over two meters tall with broad, powerful shoulders and a physique that boasted the kind of strength that could rival a Wookie, the Lor Pelek was easily the deadliest man on Al’Har I.

        Sharp gusts of icy wind whipped through the mighty shaman’s robes as if the fabrics that clothed him were nothing more than withered leaves, but he knew he had to push onwards. It had been nearly three standard weeks since he’d had a sip of water, and he knew that if he didn’t find an oasis soon, he’d never survive the dry season.

        The iron fingertips of the shaman’s mechanical hand, cold and unfeeling as the frozen breeze they weathered, clutched the frayed cuff of his sleeve and pulled his cloak up past his knotted beard to shield his lightning-seared face. Shards of razor-sharp bark pelting his shivering body, the old man knew he wouldn’t survive much longer in such terrible weather, and so the Lor Pelek was almost ready to turn around.

        The old man felt their presence echo through the Force around him before he saw them. Squinting his single remaining eye, the Lor Pelek scanned the chaotic tempest around him and counted seven wild Akk dogs circling him; a whole pack of hungry predators. As a youth, he’d studied the ancient Korun art of bonding with the ferocious creatures once they’d been domesticated, but these beasts were not the loyal hounds he’d trained with. These Akk’s were wild and likely starving for fresh meat.

        Allowing his cloak to fall from his grip, the Lor Pelek reached his iron claw deep within his robes and withdrew from its shredded folds a metal cylinder no wider than his three largest fingers and no longer than his forearm. A relic from a prior life, the device was forged of metal and crystal a long time ago, back when he was a young man, during a more… civilized age. He knew he shouldn’t use it; that doing so could attract unwanted attention, but this was a matter of life and death. Besides, no one else was around to witness it. With rumbling growls and rolling thunder pounding through his skull, the Lor Pelek closed his single remaining eye and summoned the living Force. Debris from the brewing tempest swirling around his robed figure, the old hermit knew this was the only way. His metal fingertip found a well-worn switch on the neck of the device, and a shrill cry of raw energy cut through the air as he ignited his weapon.


Part IV

It had been years since Boba Fett had used light wave emissions tracking to hunt a Jedi. It had earned him quite a few credits from the Confederacy’s coffers. From Count Dooku’s coffers. He remembered how he had hated that cruel old man, but Dooku was gone now, killed by the famous Jedi Anakin Skywalker during the last days of the war. Boba had encountered Skywalker a few times during the war. Tried to kill him once or twice too. They called him the “Hero Without Fear.” Now he was just another ghost from the past, forgotten by the Galaxy at large along with most of the Jedi.

Vader paid handsomely for the remaining Jedi. Actually, he paid well for any poor soul who incurred his dark wrath, but especially Jedi, and so Vader was one of Boba Fett’s most frequent and valued clients. The Dark Lord’s insatiable passion for hunting the disgraced peacekeepers made Boba wonder what kind of history he had with them. Had they taken a loved one from him, as they had done to Boba Fett himself? Or had he been one of them long ago? Or maybe…

        A tiny red bulb flickered on, immediately catching Boba Fett’s eye, and a slight ping from the energy scanner indicated that a faint burst within the target emissions range had been detected. A mighty storm was raging through the area where the energy flare had been emitted, making it impossible to pinpoint its exact location, but it was about seven clicks north-east of Pelek Baw, along the edge of a large plateau. A chill shivered down Boba Fett’s spine; the Lor Pelek had just made his mistake.

        Toggling through Slave I’s various mapping tools, the young hunter selected the ship’s topographical scanner and began scanning the region for any features that might resemble either a man-made structure or a natural geological feature that could serve as a dwelling. While his search yielded no traces of any artificial structures, he did notice one feature that looked promising. A long thin line depicting a sharp depression, or dip in the ground that trailed out from the edge of the raised plateau; a riverbed, or at least the remains of one. If the river began at the plateau’s sharp cliff face, then there had probably been a waterfall there at some point, and that meant there were probably caverns where the falling water carved passages through the rock.

        Reclusive, uncharted, and undesirable; the perfect hiding place for a fugitive.

        Boba Fett downloaded the map and the coordinates into his helmet’s HUD display, and then rose to his feet. His mind racing, Boba climbed down into Slave I’s cargo hold to prepare his gear.

        Grabbing hold of a metal barrel in Slave I’s cargo hold, Boba pried the container open and plunged his bare hand into its golden contents. The various metal-eating and silicate-eating fungi that populated Al’Har I’s atmosphere forced the young bounty hunter to coat all of his inorganic equipment in Portaak amber. The sticky sap smelled vile, almost medicinal, but from what Boba had read about Al’Har I’s fungi problem, it was the only known substance that could protect metal objects.

        Smearing the golden-brown sap onto his gauntlets, Boba was surprised to find that it actually didn’t stick to his hand, only to the metal it was being used to protect. Boba coated his helmet, gauntlets, and shin guards in the portaak amber, but not his torso armor.

        Boba pulled a heavy metal case off of one of the storage shelves that lined the walls, laid it on the floor, and popped it open. Insulated by an expensive foam casing was a crude looking chest plate. With its irregular shape and bumpy texture, flaking layers, and bands of tan, pink and purple pigmentation, the armored plate more resembled a giant bruised thumbnail rather than the protective scale of the wild beast from which it came. Indeed the plate itself was fashioned from a giant scale harvested during the Clone Wars from last Zillo Beast of Malastare. It was said that a single scale from the enormous monster was strong enough to deflect a lightsaber, and so when Boba Fett found body armor forged from the creature’s unique scale, he decided it would be the perfect protection for his trip to Al’Har I. Boba slipped the crudely carved plate over his head and tightened the leather straps. It’s rough shape fit awkwardly on his torso, but it was definitely sturdy. Hopefully it would be worth the small fortune he’d paid for it.

After some consideration, Boba decided that he would leave his new EE-3 Carbine rifle aboard Slave I. This was partially because he didn’t want it to get corroded by the fungus, but more importantly, he realized that if this Lor Pelek really was a Jedi, then energy weapons were a bad idea. Boba knew from experience that lightsabers could easily deflect blaster bolts back at the person who fired them, which made them very risky. ACP, or Accelerated Charged Particles, and other projectile weapons were the smarter choice; even the hot plasma blade of a lightsaber couldn’t deflect a chunk of lead. Jedi couldn’t deflect fire either, and incendiary weapons were among Boba’s favorite, but his flame thrower relied on a silicon-based compound for the fuel pouch and fuel line hose, so he’d have to leave it behind. Boba also knew from experience that sonic detonators, of which he’d bought three, were highly effective at disrupting a Jedi’s concentration.

        No concentration means no Force powers.

        Boba picked up his old ACP rifle. The cold cast-iron frame was heavy but durable; ugly yet powerful. Truth be told, he really disdained the cumbersome relic, but he’d used it before and he’d use it again. Boba slung the rifle over his shoulder, strapped his leather utility belt around his waist, then clipped a smoke grenade and his three sonic detonators to his belt.

        Effective as those armaments were though, Boba Fett’s most effective weapon was neither a gun, nor a grenade. The most powerful – and most expensive – tool in his arsenal was actually a tiny glass vile. Costing nearly half of his last bounty, the transparent container was filled with the only substance in the galaxy that could truly level the playing field; the blood of an obscure tree lizard. How exactly it worked, Boba wasn’t quite sure, but he knew that it was supposedly debilitatingly painful for Jedi or Sith to touch the liquid. Pouring some of the substance into three Kaminoan Sabre Darts, Boba loaded the poisoned darts into his gauntlet-mounted Velocity-7 dart shooter and then placed the glass vial in one of the leather pouches on his belt.

        The bounty hunter decided he should probably bring other non-metallic weapons in case his rifle got corroded by fungi. Searching Slave I’s cargo hold for any non-alloy weapons, he found a dagger with a crystalline blade, which he sheathed and strapped to his calf. He also dug up an old and tattered teal poncho that had belonged to Jango.

        As he unrolled the poncho, he felt a heavy object fall on his foot, and when he looked down, a sleek silver pistol sat at his toes. Reaching for the weapon, he instantly recognized it. It had belonged to Jango. Thinking back to the day his father died, Boba faintly recalled rolling the pistol into the cloth. Since he didn’t have a non-energy-based sidearm, Boba decided he’d bring the pistol along as a backup. The young hunter clipped a holster under his arm and slipped the poncho over his head. He then coated the pistol in amber and stashed it in the holster.

        Everything else in the cargo hold was metal though, so he’d have to acquire or forge anything else he might need once he reached the surface.

        Climbing back up to the cockpit, Boba programmed a set of landing coordinates that would leave him near the ruined imperial camp on the outskirts of Pelek Baw. Slave I’s durasteel plating would be vulnerable to Al’Har I’s airborne fungi, so Boba would have to quickly disembark from the vessel, and then remotely send it back into orbit where the freezing, unforgiving void of space would destroy the fungal spores.

        Once he’d set the ship down, Boba gathered up his gear, hustled off the landing ramp, and then sent Slave I back into orbit.



        Al’Har I’s turquoise sky began to melt into a deep amber as Boba Fett began his climb into the mountains. Though it was known as a humid jungle world, the temperature on Al’Har I could fall to be quite cool at night during the planet’s crisp autumn, and as Boba started his trek through the foliage, he found the sharp nip of the evening breeze whip his back.

        The hike was neither short nor easy. The ground was covered in downed trees, broken sticks, large swaths of bark, and other debris from the terrible storm had ravaged the area the night before. The jagged edges of his chest plate, chipped, flaked, and scratched against his shoulders and neck.

        As he hiked, Boba reviewed the topographical map he’d downloaded to his helmet. The digital marker he’d set for himself marked a clearing at the edge of the plateau, at the bottom of the cliff face. Besides its isolation, Boba realized the hypothetical cave made sense, for the Lor Pelek’s lair was located right in the middle of an old battlefield, one with a particular connection to the past.

        A war zone from a planetary civil war that raged as a proxy war during the Clone Wars, Al’Har I still bore the scars of a bloody conflict. If Boba was right about his target’s identity, then this Lor Pelek’s entire tribe was nearly exterminated during that war, and the hunter found it suiting that his most hated prey, the last of his tribe, would die in this place as well. Broken and alone, among the charred bones of his extinct clan, the exiled Jedi would finally pay for his crimes.

        Al’Har I’s moon belt was high in the night sky by the time Boba reached his target coordinates. Quietly stalking through the trees, he could see a small clearing ahead. A tall cliff face with a single dark cave loomed at the far side of the clearing. The cavern was exactly where he’d expected it to be, and sets of faded footprints told the young hunter he’d finally found his target. Treading lightly through the dew-tipped grass, Boba neared the entrance to the cave.

        Through his deathly visor, he scanned the cave thrice over, first with his night vision, then in thermal vision, and lastly he scanned for bio-signatures. Nothing. As far as his sensors could detect, the cave was empty. Could he have been mistaken? He took a few steps closer to the mouth of the cave. His predatory instincts were rarely ever wrong, but like any fallible creature, Boba knew he wasn’t immune to mistakes…

        A barrage of crackling sapphire lightning bolts burst from the cave’s entrance, and before he could even process what had occurred, Boba felt his spine slam against the tree behind him. His skeleton screaming in white-hot agony, the Mandalorian ground his teeth and let out a sharp grunt. Black smoke and the stench of charred circuits stung Boba’s nostrils and he realized his helmet’s computerized systems were down; fried to a crisp by the Force lightning. After manually flipping his helmet’s vent open, the bounty hunter rolled to take cover behind a nearby rock, drew his rifle, aimed into the cave, and caught his breath, waiting for a lightsaber to scream to life and light up the forest.

        But the bounty hunter’s patience was met only with the still silence of the chilly night air. Despite this, he did not move a single muscle, not a twitch. For a long moment, he didn’t even breathe.

        A short hiss and a sharp crack shattered the silence as a shard of pure amethyst sliced through the fog.

        A twitch of his finger and a hail of metal slugs burst from Boba’s rifle. Compared to the sharp crack of his carbine, the repetitive banging of the ACP rifle boomed through his skull like a war drum. When the spinning violet blade swiftly cut the slugs out of the air, Boba rolled over his shoulder and ducked behind a tree. The bounty hunter then lobbed a smoke grenade at the Jedi, and when puffs of chalky smoke engulfed his prey, he unleashed a second hail of lead.

        For a moment, all was still. Boba squinted to see if he could make out a body, but as the smoke drifted gently in the night breeze, there was no trace of the Jedi.

        The ground thundered and dirt flew through the air as a mass of flesh and plasma crashed down next to the Mandalorian. Before his lethal reflexes could snap his rifle up to fire, a jet of purple light sliced through the air and lashed Boba across his belly. The lightsaber burned a hole through the poncho but bounced off the Zillo scale armor as if it were a ray shield. It felt as if he’d been hit by an air speeder, and Boba was almost certain the blow had broken at least two of his ribs, maybe three, but the crude armor held. As he struggled to feet, Boba felt a sharp pain knife through his right lung and diagram as he tried to draw a breath, and before he could catch his breath he felt his boots leave the ground.

        The one called Lor Pelek stood shrouded in shadow with only an outstretched claw of iron, clenched in a raised fist, illuminated in the moonlight. As Boba struggled in the shaman’s invisible grip, the Lor Pelek took a heavy step toward his captured prey. As he leaned into the moonlight, and a band of silver light illuminated his weathered features, Boba Fett could see the same broken soul that had haunted his adolescent nightmares. The Lor Pelek’s battered cloak, knotted beard, and crinkled white hair drifted in the gentle wind as he marched closer to his captured opponent. In his lightning-singed face, with its heavy makeshift leather eyepatch and flared nostrils, Boba found a man charged with a beastial ferocity.

        “YOU!” The exile bellowed, his single remaining eye, glazed with the fog of cataracts, quivered with madness. “I should have known you’d come for me!”

        “You’ve had this coming for a long time, Windu.” Boba replied sharply.

        “I cut your father down and now I’ll do the same to you!” Windu roared, his voice raw and hoarse as if it had been used for nothing but bellows of sheer rage since the day he retreated from the Galaxy.

        With each word the shaman blared, an invisible fist tightened its grip on Boba’s throat. The young bounty hunter could feel his consciousness draining. Though he was almost certain it would be futile, Boba tried to raise his rifle. In the half an instant it took his killer instincts to turn a thought into an action, Boba found his skeleton screaming in immeasurable pain. Bolts of energy ripped through the air and engulfed his body in pure white-hot agony.

        “I don’t think so,” Windu taunted, shaking his head.

        Boba realized he couldn’t move his limbs. When he tried to fire his rifle, the weapon plunged it’s barrel towards the ground and roared to life; emptying its entire magazine into the ground beneath him at a rate twice as fast as it was designed to fire. When it’s barrel fell quiet again, the weapon tore itself from his grip and darted off into the darkness. Boba’s hands were forced up beside his head, and his gauntlets crumpled around his wrists like scrap metal.

        “You come to MY planet, shoot up MY jungle, and you think you’re getting away that easy?”

           Windu took a step closer to his prey and his clenched fist eased into a weary point, with his pointer and middle fingers drifting towards Boba’s chest.

“I… I sense something… A presence I haven’t felt since…”

The two fingertips poked through the charred slash mark in Boba’s poncho left by Windu’s lightsaber. Boba felt the clumsy metal digits jab at his chest plate and the old man’s face twisted in confusion – or maybe it was confliction? Boba wasn’t sure.

          “Huh, interesting. Very clever,” the hermit grumbled as his iron-tipped fingers scratched against the rough surface of the armored plate.

        The invisible force that held him suspended wrenched Boba’s right arm down behind his back. Out of nowhere, thick bands of vine or some other fibrous material wrapped themselves first around his abdomen, then around his right wrist. A moment later, Boba’s other hand was forced behind his waist as well where it was similarly restrained. As he struggled against the binding fibers, the bounty hunter felt like captured game. A set of invisible hands wound the restraints in a tight bind, so that no matter how hard he tried, Boba couldn’t budge his arms.

        “Don’t worry, I’m not gonna kill you,” Windu marched closer to his suspended foe and tilted his head to one side. As he did so, the milky glaze of his thick cataract sharpened and crystallized into a razor-sharp amber iris that pierced straight through Boba’s visor, “not yet.”

        Satisfied that his prey was captured, the Lor Pelek let out a sigh and lowered his hand, sending Boba crashing to the ground.

        “You’re coming with me.”


Part VI

        Boba Fett knocked the back of his helmet against the rock wall behind him.

        How did I end up here?

        Beaten, bound, dragged through the dirt, and stripped of his rifle and dagger; hardly the ending he’s envisioned for his hunt for Windu. The scaly armor plate that had just saved his young life had scratched and scraped his shoulders and neckline raw. As he sat captive in the cave that served as the Lor Pelek’s jungle hermitage, Boba Fett could feel the hot touch of rage swelling in his chest. For a full decade and a half, the son of Jango had wanted only one thing in life; to kill Mace Windu. Now, as his most hated prey wandered around searching the sky for magical signs like a lunatic only a few paces away, Boba Fett found himself powerless to slay him.

        “I almost can’t believe you found me,” Windu muttered more to himself than to his captive.

        “Reality doesn’t care if you believe it.”

        Windu shot Boba a glare of pure contempt and then returned his attention to the sky.

        “How’d you do it?” the old man croaked without turning to face his captive.

        “The lightsaber, “the younger man said with a nod towards the device, “it gives off-“

        “-an energy signature,” Windu cut in. “Yeah, I knew I shouldn’ta used the thing.”

        The Jedi shook his wrinkled head in disappointment, then turned his attention back to his prey.

        “Well, you got perfect timing,” the old man taunted, his lip curling in a satisfied smirk as he gazed up at the night sky.

        “Oh really?” Boba asked sarcastically, “so why haven’t you killed me yet?”

        The old man froze for a moment and then turned to level another disgusted, hateful glare at his prey.

        “The time isn’t right yet!” Windu sneered with a sort of righteous indignation, as if it was incomprehensible and almost offensive to him that Boba didn’t understand the blatant truth revealed in the celestial bodies above. Baggy eyelids quivering around his fog-coated eye, which crystallized once more into a golden orb and bulged so far out of its socket that Boba worried it might pop out of his head, the psychotic look in Windu’s gaze showed he was clearly detached from reality.

        Seeing the former Jedi master in his current state of near madness reminded Boba of a note he found in the Jedi file written by Windu himself the last time he visited Al’Har I during the Clone Wars.

        “Vaapad is a path that leads through the penumbra of the Dark Side. Here in the jungle, that shadow fringe is unexpectedly shallow. Full night is only step away. I must be very, very careful here.”

        The old shaman was clearly not a Sith like Dooku or Vader, but Boba Fett could tell there was an aura of darkness following Windu. It reminded him of a note that Windu recorded about his clan brother.

        “I don’t see Vastor as evil. Not as a truly bad man. Yes, he radiates darkness – but so do all the Korunnai… His is the darkness of the jungle, not the darkness of the Sith.”

        The crazed recluse wandered back over to the mouth of the cave again and glanced up at the sea of diamonds that lit up the night. For a moment, the shaman seemed lost in the starry abyss, his trembling head tilted to allow his monovision gaze to analyze the constellations above. Boba took the opportunity while his captor was distracted to see if he could break free. He still had Jango’s pistol hidden in the holster under his poncho, but he couldn’t reach it with his hands bound behind his back. He knew the vibroblades in his gauntlets could slice right through the hemp restraints, but he was wedged against the cave wall in such a way that his hands were pinned and he couldn’t reach the button on his wrists. For the time being, Boba Fett was stuck.

        Once the Lor Pelek was satisfied with whatever delusions he found in the stars, he hung his head, took a deep breath, then marched back to Boba. Crouching in front of his bound foe, the shaman leaned in close.

        “We’re gonna let the stars decide your fate,” he said with a convinced nod.

        The stars? Boba didn’t know how to respond to such lunacy.

        “You know, I warned you long ago,” Windu shook his head disapprovingly, “I told you to get over it years ago, but I guess you couldn’t.”

        “Justice must be served,” Boba replied bitterly.

        “Justice, huh?” Windu scoffed, “what you want isn’t justice, it’s revenge. Yeah, I killed your father, but there was nothing unjust about it. I didn’t murder him in his sleep, I defeated him on the battlefield. It was an honorable death; a better end than what you’ve got coming.”

        “Everyone dies, Windu. It’s the final and only lasting Justice, and I swear by the soul I don’t have, I am going to kill you.”

        The shaman wandered back over to look at the sky again. He was clearly expecting something to happen. “You know what, I think it’s just about time.”

        Windu turned back to Boba and raised his mechanical fist into the air. An invisible hand wrapped itself around the bounty hunter and shoved him to his feet.

        “Let’s go, Fett.”

        As they marched into the clearing outside the cave, Windu’s foggy eye swiveled wildly in its baggy socket; nervously scanning the surrounding foliage like a paranoid spice dealer.

        “I know you’re out there!” the Lor Pelek called out to the empty darkness, “Come out and face me!”

        “It’s just you and me out here,” Boba said as he grabbed ahold of one of his gauntlets and ran his finger along the slit designed for his vibroblades. He knew he could easily break free if he got the mechanism working, but Windu’s crushing Force attack had severely damaged the gauntlets.

        “NO!” the shaman bellowed, “I FEEL HIM!”

        “Who?” Boba asked in an attempt to push the senile old man further into his delusion to buy himself more time.

        Windu lowered his voice to a hoarse whisper; “Darkness…Evil… Fear incarnate.”

        The durasteel vibroblades shrieked through Boba’s damaged gauntlets and sliced through the hemp restraints. As his arms burst free, Boba Fett lunged at Windu.

        But the Jedi Master, deranged though he was, moved quickly as ever. His amethyst blade screamed to life and Windu whirled to face his attacker.

        Closing the distance between them before Windu had the chance to strike, Boba’s blades ripped through the shaman’s robes and sliced deep into his belly. The wounded warrior swung his mighty saber but Boba managed to leap aside and deliver a powerful blow to back of Windu’s knee, which sent him to a kneel. A quick arc of the purple blade proved too slow, and Boba rolled over his shoulder out of the saber’s range. Leveling his gauntlet with Windu’s neck, Boba was about to launch a payload of blood poison into Windu’s throat when an invisible force of nature slammed into his elbow sending the dart shooting into the dirt. The shaman the. raised his metal hand to lift Boba high into the air.

        “No, no, NO!” Windu rose to his feet. “NOT YET!” He barked before turning towards the jungle. “I know you’re out there! You need to see this!”

        As an invisible hand around his throat grew tighter, the bounty hunter’s every nerve began to scream with pain, and Boba Fett was certain he was going to die.

        “Take back your pawn and face me, coward!” Windu barked at the empty night.

        Windu’s ramblings faded into incoherent mumbling as an empty ringing filled Boba’s ears. Death’s grip, cold and black as the void of space, began to strangle his senses. This was the end; Boba Fett was going to die a harsh and merciless death at the hands of Mace Windu, like his father before him.

        A shadow lunged from the darkness. A screech cut through the air, a blazing streak of bloody flames sliced through the night, and a deafening crash of hate and fire rang through the jungle.

        Windu’s crushing grip on Boba broke instantly and the bounty hunter slammed to the ground. As he wiped the dirt from his visor, he heard a rasping growl echo through the crisp night air. No, not a growl, a breath; a ghostly mechanical breath.

        “We meet again,” blared a synthetic baritone voice. Boba knew that voice…

        Rolling over, Boba realized that the sea of glassy shards that had illuminated the night sky were replaced by a fleet of pale durasteel wedges hovering in the atmosphere.

        Windu’s weathered face twisted with confusion at the sight of the deathly skull mask and gleaming obsidian armor, but after a moment his nostrils flared wide, and his single golden eye widened in its scarred and wrinkled socket. The demonic tower of hate that emerged from the shadows was a menacing sight to behold, but Windu’s reaction was not that of a fearful man, it was a look of horror and recognition.

        “You’re not…” the old shaman’s cheek twitched as he struggled to recover a memory,”…by the Force…” Windu’s bearded jaw flexed, his eye narrowing “what have you become?”

        In that instant, the young hunter realized why Vader had questioned his interest in Windu’s file; the Dark Lord had his own vendetta to settle with Mace Windu. They must have known each other somehow. The two warriors circled each other; deadly blades of fire pointed at one another.

        “You remember a dead man,” Vader blared. The Dark Lord tightened his grip on his weapon; his infamous blade forged of blood and flames. “…and now your time has come!”

        Vader spun his crimson torch and brought it down like an executioner’s vibro axe over Windu’s scarred forehead. The old man blocked, whirled, and spun on his heel, but his stamina was not what it once was. As the Dark Lord hammered away at his prey, the aged Jedi found himself struggling to keep up with the robotic reflexes and hateful fury of his opponent. Their sabers clashes hard, vaporizing their air between them in a contest of will and might.

        “Last we met, you would not grant me the rank of master.” A rasping breath, filled with as much hate as mechanical strain, pumped through the space between them.

“Tell me…” the Dark Lord leaned in, his crimson saber grinding against Windu’s amethyst blade, “…who’s the master now?”

        Windu’s eye widened, his jaw parted, and his shoulders stiffened – and Boba Fett saw his opportunity.

        Rising to his feet, Boba snapped his dart shooter up to eye-level and fired. There was empty click, a short snap, then a dart fell out of the barrel and dropped to the floor. Boba realized the dart-shooter must have been damaged. He whipped his father’s pistol out of the holster beneath his poncho, took aim at his most hated prey, and fired off three shots. The Jedi whirled and spun his blade with impressive speed for a man of his age and cut the bolts right out of the air. A moment later, Vader’s blade came down towards Windu again, and the Jedi turned, blocked, and launched a counter attack. It was a perfect opportunity for Boba Fett.

The young hunter raised his damaged gauntlet, then fired off his smart-cable at his distracted opponent. The metal wire wrapped itself around the Jedi’s shoulders, elbows, legs, and torso, and Windu dropped his weapon.


“This one’s mine,” Boba called to Vader as he yanked the cable with all his might and sent Windu stumbling to the ground. “You wanted every last Jedi dead; that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”


Effortlessly waving a single gloved hand through the air, Vader sent the bounty hunter tumbling aside. The metal cable snapped, whipped backwards, and then lashed Boba Fett across his belly.


       “I am altering our arrangement,” the Sith Lord hissed, “the Empire will compensate you for locating Windu, but I will destroy this one myself.”


“I’m not hunting him for you!” Boba protested as he struggled to his feet, “this is personal!”


“Indeed it is.”


Another wave of Vader’s gloved hand and Fett flew backwards. He felt his body slam against something hard, followed by a sharp pain in the back of his skull, and then his world faded to black.




 The cool trickle of fresh blood dripping down his back sent a chill shivering down Boba’s spine and pulled him back to consciousness. His eyes snapped open like a pair of jack-knives and as he rolled to his feet, Boba quickly surveyed his surroundings. Vader and Windu were gone. The area outside the cave was littered with craters, broken sticks, cracked rocks and other debris, but as far as Boba could see, there was no trace of either the Sith Lord or the old shaman.


As his focus sharpened, he noticed a trail of blood leading into the cave. Boba assumed it had to be Windu’s, probably from the belly wound, since he doubted a mechanical monstrosity like Darth Vader could bleed.


      Boba had no idea how long he’d been unconscious for, but the blood was fresh, and it was his only chance to recapture his prey. Taking one last glance around, Boba picked up his pistol, leveled it with the cave’s gaping mouth, and carefully made his way inside.


Boba Fett was a man of many travels. He’d hunted prey from one side of the galaxy to the other, but he’d never seen anything quite like what he found inside of that cave. Trinkets of bone, feathers, plants, carved stones, and other tokens of a shaman, littered the floor. As he waded deep into his prey’s abode he found the nightmares of a tormented soul scrawled in bloody charcoal and scratched into the stone all across the walls. Words, phrases, figures and drawings; all narrations of suffering covered every corner and crevice of the makeshift dwelling. Years of guilt and misery clearly took a heavy toll on Windu’s mind. Boba Fett hadn’t noticed any of it when he was in the cave earlier. He had literally knocked his head against a road map of his enemy’s psyche but was too angry to notice, and it made him realize how much his blind rage had clouded his sharp senses.

         Boba recognized the closest word scrawled across the stone wall; “Vastor.” Windu’s file mentioned a mute clan brother called Kar Vastor; an insurrectionist whom Windu subdued during the Clone Wars, and the only other known member of Ghôsh Windu. Other than the report in Windu’s Jedi file, information on Vastor was scarce and inconsistent at best. Some sources report he died of disease, while others stated that he was locked away in prison after his confrontation with Windu. For all intents and purposes, he was gone along with the rest of the tribe.

        Farther along the wall was a phrase; “UNLIMITED POWER!”

        Out of character for a Jedi. Boba thought to himself, Goes to show how far he’s fallen.

        “Defend your blood.” Probably another reference to Vastor, the hunter guessed.

               “Haruun Kal is Darkness!” While the Galaxy called the God-forsaken jungle world Al’Har I, Boba had read that Haruun Kal was the name used by locals.

        There were a series of incoherent ramblings; things like “I AM Vaapad now!” words like “Juyo”and “Dôshalo” that Boba didn’t recognize, and phrases that made no sense. “He WAS too old,” was scratched deep into the stone along with “the prophecy was MISREAD!” Most of what he read made no sense to the Mandalorian, but a familiar name caught the bounty hunter’s eye.

          “Skywalker was NOT the Chosen One!”

Anakin Skywalker?  Boba remembered seeing the Jedi smashing through battle droids in the Geonosis Arena. He was one of the prisoners who was supposed to die that day, and he became a prominent commander in the Republic’s army during the war.

        “Second Pillar: stand by your Ghôsh… the Jedi were my Ghôsh.”

        The ramblings suddenly clicked in Boba’s mind as he remembered a note he found while flipping through Windu’s file. It was written by the Korun Jedi himself, and must have been collected by Yoda, or another council member, and included in the record.

        “The Korun culture is based on a simple premise, what they call the Four Pillars: Honor, Duty, Family, Herd.
The First Pillar is Honor, your obligation to yourself. Act with integrity. Speak the truth. Fight without fear. Love without reservation.
Greater than this is the Second Pillar, Duty, your obligation to others. Do your job. Work hard. Obey the elders. Stand by your Ghôsh.
Greater still is the Third Pillar, Family. Care for your parents. Love your spouse. Teach your children. Defend your blood.
Greatest of all is the Fourth Pillar, Herd, for it is on the grasser herds that the life of the Ghôsh depends. Your family is more important than your duty; your duty outweighs your honor. But nothing is more important than your herd. If the well-being of the herd requires the sacrifice of your honor, you do it. If it requires that you shirk your duty, you do it. Whatever it takes. Even your family.
Yoda once observed that – though I left Haruun Kal as an infant, and returned only once, as a youth, to train in the Koran Force-bond with the great akks – he thinks I have the Four Pillars in my veins along with my Korun blood. He said that Honor and Duty are as natural to me as breathing, and that the only real difference my Jedi training has made is that the Jedi have become my Family, and the Republic itself is my Herd.”

        A sharp chill shivered down the Mandalorian’s spine as the true nature of Windu’s fall suddenly became clear to Boba Boba. The young bounty hunter had read a blurb in the file about Windu’s innate ability to find weaknesses, or shatterpoints, in anything he turned his mind to. It was part of his Korun instincts. Ironically, Boba realized, it were those same Korun instincts that formed the Jedi’s own shatterpoint. Those tenets of the Korun culture, moral and righteous as they were, ultimately were the source of Mace Windu’s downfall. As Windu wrote in his note, the Jedi were his Family and the Republic was his Herd, and when he chose not to kill Count Dooku on the balcony that day on Geonosis, he failed everyone he loved. Hundreds of his friends died because of his choice that day, and the wrath of that guilt emerged the night he tried to arrest the Chancellor. The darkness within him washed over him in a murderous wave, and he was ready to assassinate Palpatine. He was ready to commit murder that night, to sacrifice anything to redeem his failure on Geonosis, and his willingness to forsake his Jedi vow was ultimately his downfall.

        Wading through the darkness, Boba found himself squinting into an abyss, but the bounty hunter was more than just a sum of his tools. As he groped his way through the cage, relying only on his senses and his instincts to illuminate his path, he realized that it’s the user that gives a tool its utility, that it’s the hunter that gives his weapons their lethal value, not the other way around. A lack of tools wouldn’t have stopped Jango, and despite his birth on Kamino, Boba Fett was a Mandalorian by trade and training, just as his father had been. The younger Boba had the instincts of a true predator, and the bloody trail staining the dirt floor told him his prey was ahead.

        Like any creature not native to the night, Boba’s first instinct was fear, but as he stumbled through the cave’s broken rocks and cracked walls, he realized fear, anger, and other instinctual emotions would only get him killed. As a young man, he’d let his emotions get the better of him, and his grieving anger had helped him survive the Clone Wars, but if he wanted more than just survival, if he truly wanted to slay the murderous Jedi, Boba Fett had to be sharper, colder, stronger, and smarter than he’d ever been. Smarter than Jango had ever been.

        Though it boiled deep within him, Boba couldn’t let himself be ruled by hate. Not that there was anything wrong with it, but anger and hate were Vader’s way, and Boba Fett knew he couldn’t beat the Sith Lord at his own game. No, the bounty hunter knew that if he wanted to beat Vader to the kill, he had to be smart. Relying on emotion would get him nowhere.

        A breath to quell his rage and focus his senses, and Boba Fett pushed on. His cool head restored, the young hunter became acutely aware of his surroundings. A faint magenta light flickered through cave, dancing like a candle in the wind, and he realized there must be a second entrance.


        The night air flickered with shadows, sparks, and flashes of blue and white lightning bolts. Raising his crimson blade, Darth Vader deflected the attack, sending shards of energy scattering into the brush.

        “Where did we fail you?” Windu asked, his hoarse voice saturated with disgust. “Obi-wan taught you the right way, I know he did. How did you turn into this?”

        “Do not lecture me about the virtue of the Jedi while the Dark Side’s power flows freely from your own fingertips!” the gargoyle mask hissed back, “Your philosophies and lies no longer confuse me, old man!”

        His face twisting with bitter offense, Windu released another barrage of lightning. Crackling like shards of ice, the daggers of energy bounced off Vader’s blade and darted off into the night.

        “The fool you knew died with the thousands of other Jedi you failed to save. The Masters, the Knights, the Padawans… even the younglings… I killed them all. All of your friends, all of your mentors, and all of your students. Every single one of them…”

        Marching forward, the Sith Lord raised a gloved hand from his weapon and summoned the might of the Force to slam Windu against a tree. As his opponent crashed into the massive trunk, Vader raised his blade high, then lunged at the Jedi.

        But the Korun warrior would not be subdued so easily. Falling to a bended knee, he shook off the pain and hurled himself at his dark foe; their deadly blades crashing together in a magnificent fountain of sparks like two terrible bolts of lightning on a stormy night. Torches of fire arcing and crashing, slashing and grinding, spinning and stabbing, the two titans lashed at each other relentlessly. Trees were smashed, sparks flew, and shrubs were set ablaze to create an inferno around them that lit up the jungle.

Though he skillfully deflected the Dark Lord’s ferocious attacks, it was clear even to an outsider like Boba Fett that Mace Windu was only fighting defensively. His amethyst blade sliced, blocked, and parried with impressive speed and power, but for reasons Boba couldn’t fathom, it never attacked. It was as if the old shaman was just fending Vader off to buy time, but for what?

        “There’s a reason we never made you a master!” Windu called as he pressed his flaming blade against Vader’s, “Yeah, you were skilled, powerful, even honorable at one point, but you were arrogant… thought you were invincible. You never knew your limits!”  

        A piercing shriek, followed by a deep mechanical grinding cut through the air, as if durasteel cogs were pressing together under immeasurable strain and pressure. There was a sharp snap, like an old rusted gear cracking in half and popping out of place, and Darth Vader’s right arm dropped to his side where it hung limp, as if his elbow had shattered. With all the men he’d killed, all the bones and limbs he’d blasted, broken, and smashed, Boba Fett had never heard a human body – or any organic body – make a sound like that.  

        “What’s the matter, you seem to be having trouble?” Windu taunted, “Guess you didn’t know about the fungus… Huh? Yeah, it’s some nasty stuff. The air here’s filled the stuff. Feeds on anything made of metal or silicon. I suppose you could say my planet doesn’t like you any more than I do!”

        Releasing a thundering growl, Vader’s rage only grew worse. With only his left hand remaining to hold up his weapon to block Windu’s blade, the Dark Lord dug his mud-encrusted boots into the ground and drove his full might, and the full weight of his armored body, toward his enemy.

        Windu’s hand was quick. Dropping from the hilt of his weapon, his iron claw swung by his belt, and then as his torso turned and pivoted, it shot up to grab Vader’s left forearm. Digging his durasteel fingertips into Vader’s wrist, Windu crushed the bionic limb like a metal can. Sparks flew and shrapnel tore through the air as the Jedi then ripped a chunk of the Sith Lord’s robotic wrist off. As his hand twitched, Vader’s saber hit the dirt. A well-placed kick to the chest panel knocked the Dark Lord backwards sending the various flashing lights on his chest into a flickering frenzy. As Vader stumbled and readjusted the panel, Windu did not miss the opportunity.

The exile hooked his weapon to his belt, then lifted his withered old hand as if he were about to give final rites to a dying man. Instead of absolving guilt, Windu released a surge of power unlike anything Boba Fett had ever seen.

        Darth Vader summoned his weapon. The metal hilt shot through the air like a blaster bolt, but his damaged mechanical limbs were too slow to whip the weapon into action.

        Springing through the night like a wave of vicious serpents, the lightning tore into Vader’s body just as the Dark Lord’s weapon screamed to life. The cyborg released a cry of raw agony as the lightning ripped through him, and his saber fell to the ground once more. Bones flashed, and beams of metal glowed red hot beneath the black armor as the Dark Lord writhed with pain. With each flash of light, Vader stumbled, twitched, and shook as if his soul had been dealt a mortal wound. A final loud bang from deep within the Sith Lord’s chest ripped through the crisp night air and his chest panel flickered off. Windu lowered his hand, and Darth Vader fell to a single knee. A trembling arm steadying him on each side, the broken Sith coughed, choked.

        “It’s over!” Windu cried triumphantly, “you have LOST!”

        After a moment of belabored breaths, Darth Vader struggled to his feet.

“Do not test the power of the Darkness!” Vader blared through his suit’s broken vocalizer as he stumbled toward his enemy.

        The Sith Lord barely made it a few steps before falling to a bended knee once more. His armored figure shook and he started coughing harder, and then finally let out a shallow, broken wheeze.

        The shaman shook his head in solemn disapproval and grabbed his lightsaber from his hip.

        In the name of the Republic that you betrayed… by Right of the Council that you destroyed… and by the Will of the Force that you’ve forsaken… I sentence you to Death.”

His tattered cloak flowing in the night breeze, Mace Windu ignited the weapon and raised the blade high. With the hilt beside his ear, he took one last look at his dark foe.

        “The Prophecy said you were Chosen…” Windu shook his head in clear disappointment. “Some savior you turned out to be.”

Chosen? The word struck a chord in Boba’s memory.

        The Lor Pelek pivoted his powerful body and swung the amethyst blade with all his might.  

        Vader’s mangled hand rose up into the air like a resurrected corpse, and his would-be executioner froze mid-swing. Suddenly, the ground began to rumble as though a whole stampede of wild beasts was approaching, thick tree trunks burst apart as if hit by phantom mortar rounds, and stones ripped through the air like blaster fire.

        “That suit of yours won’t last much longer!” Windu barked at his foe.

        “The Dark Side WILL sustain me long enough to destroy you!” Vader bellowed as his hand, twitching and convulsing, rose higher into the air.

        “I wouldn’t count on it, An-.”

        The Jedi’s golden eye bulged, his jaw tightened and his throat grew tense. Blood spraying from his quivering lips, Windu’s bearded neck began quivering as if it were locked within Vader’s gloved grip.

        “There is only VADER now!” the Dark Lord growled, the full might of his rage thundering through the night. “The last memory of that foolish boy dies with you!”

        Though he coughed and choked, Windu’s blade pressed ever closer to his kneeling foe. As the purple saber pressed ever closer to the Dark Lord’s face, it sliced the tip off Vader’s gloved fingers. As thunder shook the night, the searing violet light burned only a finger’s width away from Vader’s mask. The closer Windu pushed the saber towards Vader’s face, the tighter the Dark Lord squeezed the invisible bind around Windu’s throat.

        The flames of Windu’s blade, a perfect blend of garnet and sapphire, licked Vader’s mask, and the shiny black finish above the right eye melted into a glowing slit of molten orange. Windu’s weapon cut into the Sith Lord’s masked face and Boba Fett swore the contest was over. If the Jedi could muster only the slightest bit more power, Darth Vader, the Emperor’s iron fist, would be cut in half.

        Boba knew this was his chance. The young hunter reached beneath his cloak and withdrew his father’s pistol. The hot touch of rage pulsing through his senses told him to open fire, but his logical mind knew better. The two titans were face to face, only a palm’s width apart; the slightest error and the bounty hunter would accidentally strike down his best client. Raising Jango’s pistol to eye level, Boba Fett took aim, but with the storm of debris hurtling through the air, the Mandalorian couldn’t get a clear shot at Windu’s head. If he hit Windu without killing him, Vader’s hateful power would instantly break the shaman’s neck. He had to find a way to non-lethally neutralize both of them, and he had to do it fast, or else his one and only chance at vengeance would be lost forever.



        An ear-shattering boom, loud as the guns on a the Empire’s mightiest warship, echoed through the night. As the smoke cleared, Boba saw to his satisfaction that the sonic detonators had disoriented the Jedi Master and the Sith Lord alike. Windu’s saber spun from his grip, his hands bolted to cover his ears, and he fell to his knees beside Vader. Vader’s twitching hand collapsed to the floor and his head dropped to a lifeless bow. Supported only by his mask’s physical inability to slump past his chest plate, Vader looked more like deactivated battle droid than a fearsome Sith warrior.

From the inferno, a Mandalorian emerged. Puffs of ink-black smoke trailing off his singed poncho, Boba Fett crept from the flickering shadows. Pistol held high, the bounty hunter marched up to his prey and leveled his weapon with the Lor Pelek’s head.

        “Say hello to my Father for me.”

        But the flash that lit up the grisly scene was not a scarlet energy bolt, it was a hail of sapphire.

        “Tell him yourself!” Windu cried defiantly as a surge of power ripped through Boba’s body.

        As the crackling lightning ravaged Boba’s entire being, he managed to fire off a single scarlet dagger of light into Windu’s abdomen. But even the blaster bolt that burned through the shaman’s torso didn’t stop the barrage of electricity, and Boba fell to the ground; his pistol fell from his hand and slid off into the darkness.

        Waves of searing lightning tearing through him, Boba found himself merely a hand’s length from his prey. With each surge of energy, Boba could feel his muscles spasm, cramp, quiver and convulse. His limbs flailed, every last nerve within him screamed, and he could feel his whole body writhing in impossible agony. He could feel his gauntlets and shin guards burn red hot against his skin, the fumes of his own singed flesh and hair choked his senses, and he could see his helmet’s visor crack like a piece of cheap glass.

        The pain was blinding, the crackling deafening, and the searing heat that melted his skin was beyond crippling, but the son of Jango could not give up. As wave after wave of paralyzing electricity ripped through his writhing corpse, all he could think about was how after so many years, Mace Windu was finally within reach. He was close. He was so close.

        Fighting through the electrical torture, Boba grabbed the vial of animal blood from his belt. He barely felt the shattered glass slice through his glove as he crushed the vial in his hand, before he blindly swung his arm and felt the shards of glass connect with Windu’s flesh.

        Boba Fett had no idea how much of the animal blood was left in the broken container, but the instant he felt the top of his hand collide with the shaman’s knotty beard and calloused flesh, the searing torture stopped. The crackling of the lightning was replaced with a blood-curling scream, and when Boba opened his eyes, he saw the shaman was writhing in pain; hands clenched around his bleeding throat and his open jaw blaring a mighty burst of raw agony. Boba knew the blow to Windu’s throat definitely wasn’t deep enough to be a mortal wound, so the blood poison must be working. The bounty hunter still had no idea what exactly a ysalamiri was, or why its blood was so harmful to Jedi, but in that moment he didn’t care.

        Flipping himself over on top of his prey, the young hunter locked his legs around his writhing foe’s torso. As his aching lungs struggled to draw a breath, Boba crossed his arms at the elbow, and then slammed his fists down next Windu’s head. The crossed blades of both gauntlets cut into the shaman’s neck as Boba Fett leaned in close to Windu’s face.

        Mace Windu raised his mechanical hand to Boba Fett’s throat. His pointed metal finger tips clawed a hole in Boba’s neck guard, but he was too slow. Just as the iron digits scratched into his flash, Boba pushed his gauntlets deep into the Jedi’s throat. A muffled, gurgled cry echoed through his helmet and a geyser of blood sprayed across his cracked visor, but Boba didn’t relent. Pumping into his wrists every ounce of vengeful power his exhausted body could muster, Boba Fett didn’t relax until the hollow crack of a broken vertebrae told him that Mace Windu’s head was severed from his body; until it rolled in the dirt as Jango’s had. Then, only then, did the legendary predator rise, and as would come to be his trademark, Boba Fett was the last one standing.



        Baptized in blood, anointed in sweat, and tried in pure agony, Fett rose to his feet. Absorbing the gravity of what he’d just done, Fett felt invisible as he marched over to the broken cyborg.

        There was a time when it was unthinkable to Boba Fett that anyone could break the fearsome Dark Lord of the Sith, but as he sat slumped in his battered suit, belabored wheezes hissing through his broken armor like a midnight breeze whistling through a tomb, the weary hunter found himself wondering if Darth Vader would live to see sunrise.

        Boba Fett could have killed Vader that night. He could have blasted him to bits or left the Dark Lord to die in the jungle alongside Windu; abandoned him as fodder for the mold and bacteria to eat his suit while he helplessly suffocated. The impulsive rage that characterized his youth still demanded it. Angry and bitter though he was at the way the imperial commander had used him to further his own vengeful agenda, he knew that letting one of his most profitable clients die was not good business. Daybreak was near, and they still had to make it out of the jungle. The locals might come looking for shaman, and Fett wasn’t exactly itching for another fight right away. As he thought about it, it occurred to him that with his helmet fried and his gauntlet’s crushed, he couldn’t even contact Slave I. Suppressing his anger, he realized he needed Vader almost as much as Vader needed him.

        There were no sparks or flames coming from the suit, and the lights that usually blinked on Vader’s chest and belt were dark, leading Fett to conclude that the power source had been damaged or disconnected somewhere beneath the heavy armor. The suit was clearly deteriorating, but if they could get it started, they might still have enough time to get off-world before it completely fell apart.

        “How do I restart this thing?”

        Vader did not respond for a moment; only his shallow wheezing indicated he was still alive.

         “The main power source is damaged,” Vader managed between gasps, “there is an auxiliary power unit on my belt. Remove the cables. Connect them to the chest plate. Then turn it on.”

        Approaching the immobile Sith Lord felt like Fett was approaching a cornered animal, one that might lash out at any moment. Setting up the cables felt like he was mending a wounded beast. Once Fett had done as Vader instructed, he took a step back.  “Is it working?”

        Again the Dark Lord did not respond.

        A high pitched ringing emanated from the suit, but Vader remained motionless. A series of ruby-red sparks crackled along the chest plate. The cyborg jolted, let out a grunt, and then the lights on his chest panel and belt flickered back to life.

        A ghostly mechanical breath haunted the night air.

        Once he’d caught his breath, Lord Vader reached for his weapon, grabbed it in his trembling mutilated claw of a hand, and clipped it to his belt. The Dark Lord then placed both hands on his bended knee and pushed himself to his feet; his tattered black cape draping itself over his shoulders and around his beaten body as a shadow might cloak a demon in a nightmare.

        “Windu was right. I got that suit working but it won’t last much longer down here. We should go,” Fett warned, “the locals may come looking for him.”

        “Those savages no longer pose a threat,” Vader replied abruptly as he pushed a button on his belt.

        “Why is that?”

        Vader did not respond. Instead his hateful mask merely leveled it’s usual deathly glare at the bounty hunter. Moments later, a sharp whine shattered the silence between them and a blinding white glow of artificial origin washed over the two men. The signature theatrics of an Imperial landing shuttle didn’t intimidate Fett, but he knew something was wrong when Vader raised his maimed hand into the air and the craft halted its descent.

        “There will be no record of this.” Vader declared, his mask’s chiseled features still drilling the Mandalorian. “Windu died long ago, along with the rest of the Jedi; along with Kit Fisto, Zabrak Kolar…” Vader’s baritone voice trailed off for a moment as if he were embroiled in some powerful, and perhaps conflicting thought. “…and Anakin Skywalker.”

        The specific, isolated mention of Skywalker caught Fett’s attention. Anakin Skywalker hadn’t died on Coruscant with Zabrak Kolar, Imperial records stated his remains were found on Mustafar. Mustafar; a volatile volcanic world. Vader had once summoned Fett to a castle of his on Mustafar. The odd set of coincidences struck him and Fett began to wonder if the night’s events had finally revealed the Dark Lord’s true identity. That word… “Chosen.” Windu had used it describe both Skywalker and Vader. The scribblings in the cave, the familiarity with Windu, the intimate knowledge of the Jedi, the leadership experience, the immense physical power… A thousand parcels of thought connected in his psyche and Fett felt a powerful bind clamp around his throat and wrists unlike anything he’d ever felt before. Though Vader remained completely still, with his gloved hands buried beneath his shredded cloak, a deep rumbling, like a bout of rolling thunder, filled the air.

        “There will never be any mention of what occurred here tonight, bounty hunter,” the Dark Lord hissed threateningly. “No record of the old bat’s rambling lies… and no reward.”

        Fett looked around to see an army of Darth Vader’s porcelain-clad pawns emerging from the surrounding shrubs. The burns, scratches and smoke residue on their armor made clear why he needn’t worry about the locals. Vader was obviously determined to ensure that whatever dark truths Windu may have retained within his crazed mind would go with him to his grave.

        “There’s nothing to say,” the bounty hunter replied.

        The mild strangulation continued as the scowling gargoyle mask silently drilled Fett with the it’s stoic glare. It was as if Darth Vader were reading his mind and deciding whether or not to telepathically snap his neck. For an agonizing moment, Fett stared back into the dark abyss entombed within that deathly mask, and it was in that instant, as he locked gazes with galaxy’s most feared executioner, that Boba Fett finally understood that Darth Vader was an angry, broken man driven only by unfathomable fear and a bottomless reservoir of self-loathing. That’s what made him most dangerous. It wasn’t the lightsaber or the Force powers, it was that bitter, hateful will to destroy that made Darth Vader absolutely lethal. As he held the shuttle suspended above them at the expense of his own physical condition, the Dark Lord made it clear that it was he alone who held the power of life and death in his unfeeling hands, and that he would wield that power against absolutely anyone – including himself – if it meant keeping his hideous past guarded.

        A gust of chilly autumn wind raced through the brush causing the shuttle suspended above to bob and bounce in its delicate hover. As Vader’s shredded cape billowed beneath the shuttle’s thrusters and the entirety of his figure was illuminated in the landing lights, the full extent of the Dark Lord’s robotic enhancements lay exposed. Torn fabrics revealed battered durasteel limbs, shredded wires protruded instead of severed veins, and blackened burn marks took the place of bloodstains. Whatever shreds remained of Vader’s organic form were well concealed; sustained by powerful machines and driven by an even more powerful self-loathing. Nothing that challenged him or resisted his will could ever thrive. That’s when Boba Fett decided he didn’t want to know any more about Darth Vader’s past. Maybe Vader really was Skywalker, or maybe Windu really was just a crazy old man, either way, Boba Fett now understood that digging into the Dark Lord’s past would be a fatal endeavor.

        “Good,” Vader’s grip on Fett’s neck relaxed, as if some dark sorcery had allowed him to read the final conclusion in Fett’s mind. Vader signaled to the shuttle to land and started towards it. Then, just as he approached the ramp, he paused and tilted his helmet back towards Fett.

        “It would be unfortunate if I had to recruit a new bounty hunter.”


FAN THEORY: Captain Towani?

Could it be that the young girl known as Cindel Towani, first seen in the film Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, eventually became the fearsome Stormtrooper Commander Captain Phasma?

Cindel Towani

While “Caravan of Courage” is now considered part of the non-canon Legends, we know that Lucasfilm is still drawing on concepts from the old expanded universe, so could the character of Cindel Towani have been re-worked into the new canon? And if so, how could she have ended up as a Stormtrooper?

Caravan of Courgae poster

Let’s begin with the single most obvious fact; Cindel and Phasma share the same demographic profile as they are both human females with light complexions and blond hair.

We see in Return of the Jedi that despite their small stature, the Ewoks are deadly warriors who know how survive in the jungle and are formidable enough to defeat an entire Legion of the Galactic Empire’s fiercest troops.

Ewok warrior known as Wicket

Therefore, a childhood spent learning to survive among the fierce Ewok tribes would perfectly prepare Cindel to become a fearsome warrior like Captain Phasma.

Wicket and Cindel

Captain Phasma was a Stormtrooper in the First Order, and while the Old Republic and the early Galactic Empire relied on the Clone Army, the First Order did not, as Kylo Ren sarcastically tells General Hux; “Maybe Supreme Leader should consider using a Clone Army.”

Kylo Ren and General Hux discuss the First Order’s troops

To fill their ranks, the First Order systematically abducted children to conscript into Stormtroopers. We know this because Finn specifically tells Rey that he was taken from his family at a young age.

Finn was abducted and conscripted at a young age to be a stormtrooper

Lastly, Cindel Towani and Captain Phasma would be about the same age. According to Star Wars: Behind the Magic, Cindel was born in 2BBY, or two years before the Battle of Yavin.

Star Wars: Behind the Magic cover

This means that she would have been 6 years old during the events of Return of the Jedi, making her about 36 years old during the events in The Force Awakens. While we don’t know how old Captain Phasma is, Gwendoline Christie, who portrayed Phasma in the film, is 37, meaning that if Phasma is the same age as Gwendoline Christie, then Cindel and Phasma would be just about the same age. Finn, who served under Phasma, was born 7 after the Battle of Endor, meaning that she would be would be about 13 years older than the men she was commanding.

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Captain Phasma reprimands Finn for removing his helmet

This age fits perfectly with what we know about Phasma’s position in the First Order, as she is old enough to be in a position of relative authority, yet young enough to still engage in battlefield combat.

Captain Phasma during the Battle of Jakku

Cindels’s fate has never been explored, and Phasma’s origins remain a mystery, so it’s impossible to know for sure whether or not Cindel really did become the First Order’s highest-ranking Stormtrooper, so I ask you, was Phasma really Captain Towani?

FAN THEORY: Katsumoto: Mentor of the demon?

           Is it possible that Katsumoto, the Samurai leader who was killed spearheading a rebellion in The Last Samurai, eventually became the mentor of Ra’s al-Ghul?

Katsumoto leads his army in The Last Samurai (2003)

Could he have survived his supposed death to become not only a decoy for Ducard, but also The Sensei; the master instructor of the League of Shadows?
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For those who are not familiar with the character of The Sensei, he is Ra’s al-Ghul’s second-in command, and he is the grand master who trains  all members of the League. Just like Ra’s, the Sensei is extremely old, and uses the Lazarus Pit to keep himself alive.

Screen Shot 2015-12-27 at 4.26.14 PM          With this in mind, let’s begin with the single most obvious fact; Katsumoto and Ra’s decoy share the same physical and demographic profile, as they are both Japanese men of average build and above average hight. But that profile is shared by many Japanese men, so let’s review what we know about Katsumoto himself.
At the end of The Last Samurai, we see Katsumoto sustain multiple gunshot wounds before impaling himself through the stomach with his own sword.
Screen Shot 2015-12-27 at 4.29.26 PM          There is no mention of his burial or the fate of his body. Could this be because there was no funeral? Instead of being buried, could the legendary samurai have been resurrected?
Ironically, the evidence actually lies in the clashing personalities of Katsumoto and the Sensei.

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Katsumoto was an honorable warrior who shows respect to his fallen enemies, while The Sensei practices a harsh and deadly form of justice.

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Katsumoto addresses his captive and The Sensei prepares a branding Iron

             In order for Katsumoto to have gone from a humble Samurai warrior to being the ruthless Sensei, he must have undergone a severe personality shift. This happens to be the signature side effect of the Lazarus Pit.

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The Lazarus Pit, as seen in Arrow

          We know from the Batman Begins novel that The Pit’s magical waters can restore a person’s health, and even bring them back from the dead, but the price paid is a damaged soul. One passage in particular tells us this.

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Batman Begins (2005) Novelization, pg. 42

           If Katsumoto really was resurrected in the Lazarus Pit, it only makes sense that his personality would change drastically. By the time we meet The Sensei in Batman Begins, he is already a ruthless assassin instructor, so we don’t know who might have saved him, but with his legendary skills as a samurai warrior, it’s easy to see how Ra’s himself might have resurrected Katsumoto. Katsumoto was once chosen to train the Emperor of Japan, so he would have been a valuable asset to Ra’s al-Ghul.
As the leader of a rebel faction, Katsumoto was also experienced in leading a movement for justice outside of the law. His famous Samurai rebellion would have also given him the leadership experience needed to train and command legions of assassins.
We can find further proof of Katsumoto’s teachings in Ra’s methods. Katsumoto’s attacks on Japan’s railroads were a form of economic terrorism, just like the attack Ra’s first attack on Gotham. When Ra’s al-Ghul confronts Bruce Wayne in Wayne Manor in Batman Begins, he hells his former student; “over the ages our weapons have evolved. With Gotham we tried a new one; economics.”

Ra’s al-Ghul confronts Bruce Wayne in Wayne Manor

We can also see that Ra’s al-Ghul probably learned the value of theatricality and deception from Katsumoto, who uses theatrics to intimidate the enemy before the battle even starts.

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Katsumoto uses theatricality to intimidate his enemy

          This is a lesson he could very well have taught to Ra’s al-Ghul, who in turn, taught Bruce Wanye that “theatricality and deception are powerful agents.”

Ra’s al-Ghul teaches Bruce Wayne the value of theatricality and deception 

A closer look at Katsumoto’s rebellion and the League’s mission will reveal another key clue. Katsumoto was a man of simple means who despised luxury and led a rebellion to fend off what he saw as the West’s corrupting influence on Imperial Japan.


Katsumoto rebelled against Westernization, and when his Samurai Army was smashed by an American-led modern Japanese army, Ra’s al-Ghul’s League of Shadows would have proved the perfect instrument for him not only to resume his crusade, but to bring it to a global level. The Sensei’s hatred for Gotham is well known, and he revealed his distain when he told told Bruce Wayne that “Gotham MUST be destroyed!” and with Gotham being America’s greatest city, as it is described in the Dark Knight Rises, it would make the perfect target for an anti-western Katsumoto spearheading the League.
So let’s review the facts; Katsumoto suffered grievous wounds on the battlefield in 1877 with the fate of his body remaining unknown.

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Katsumoto dies on the battlefield in 1877

            A very similar-looking, aging instructor of the league, who appears to have endured the mind-warping effects of the Lazarus Pit, appears in the early 2000’s. As an expert swordsman, Katsumoto had the skills to train Ducard. Katsumoto was also a seasoned battlefield commander with a history of operating outside the law and a flare for theatricality, and perhaps most importantly, he shared a hatred of western decadence that made the League target Gotham in 2005.
We never found out what ultimately happened to Katsumoto’s body, and we don’t know if Ra’s’ decoy was in indeed the Sensei, so it’s impossible to know for sure whether or not Katsumoto was indeed reborn as The Sensei, so I ask you; did Katsumoto become the Mentor of the Demon?

FAN THEORY: Supreme Leader Plagueis? 


        Is it possible that Supreme Leader Snoke is really Darth Plagueis the Wise, the Sith Lord who trained Palpatine?

Darth Plagueis Trains Palpatine

            Let’s begin with the single most obvious fact; Snoke and Plagueis share a similar physical profile, as they are both tall and lanky figures that are extremely old. Andy Serkis, who voiced Snoke in the Force Awakens, describes him as “over seven feet tall.”

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In the novel Star Wars: Darth Plagueis, which is now considered part of the non-canon Legends, Darth Plagueis was a Muun, or a tall humanoid species with elongated features, and Snoke’s appearance in The Force Awakens resembles this profile.   

(Snoke’s Hologram)        (Muun member of the Banking Clan)

While we don’t actually see Snoke use any powers in The Force Awakens, we know he trained Kylo Ren in the ways of the Dark Side of the force, and The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary described him as “a mysterious figure steeped in dark side knowledge who commands the First Order from a distance.”

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          Darth Plagueis, along with Palpatine, was responsible for creating Anakin Skywalker, so if Plagueis were choosing a new apprentice to build the First Order with him, it would only be logical for him to seek out Anakin’s descendant. This is precisely what Snoke did. In The force Awakens (2015) we learn from Han and Leia that Kylo Ren was once Ben Solo, their son, and a protege of Luke Skywalker, before Snoke seduced him to the Dark Side.

          While talking to Han Solo, Kylo Ren specifically declares that Snoke is “wise,” and while that on it’s own may not seem significant, let’s keep in mind that Plagueis was remembered as “Darth Plagueis The Wise.”

          If we listen carefully, we will also realize that the theme playing during the Darth Plagueis tale in Revenge of the Sith is very similar to Snoke’s theme in The Force Awakens.

          While recounting the tale, Palpatine himself tells us that Plagueis died long ago “his apprentice killed him in his sleep,” so how could he have survived to become Snoke? The answer lies in another tempting offer Palpatine made to Anakin; “To cheat death is a power only one has achieved.”

          In The Phantom Menace, Palpatine is already the reigning Lord of the Sith, so if Plagueis did survive his apprentice’s attempt to kill him, where was he for the last 60 years? And why didn’t Palpatine hunt him down? It turns out, that’s exactly what Palpatine did. In Star Wars: Aftermath, we learn that Palpatine sent imperial scouts to search for what he told his officers was the source of the Dark Side. The passage reads;

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          If we think hard about it, it makes perfect sense for Palpatine to bend the truth about what he was sending his scouts out to search for because if he admitted that he failed to kill his master and that a being ore powerful than him existed, his officers would lose confidence in him.

          Lastly, Snoke bears the deep facial scaring we would expect to see Plagueis have if he did indeed survive Palpatine’s attempt to assassinate him.


          Darth Plagueis’ fate remains a mystery, and Snoke’s origins have yet to be revealed, so its impossible to know for sure whether or not Plagueis really did survive to lead the First Order, so I ask you, is Snoke really Supreme Leader Plagueis?

Casting Gotham City’s “Gentleman Of Crime”

One of Batman’s most iconic villains is Oswald Cobblepot AKA “The Penguin.” Unlike the Dark Knight’s arch-nemesis The Joker, Penguin’s breed of evil stems not from insanity, but from his embitterment at being rejected by not only the upscale aristocracy he was born into, but by Gotham society as a whole – including his own parents.

Penguin's parents decide to abandon him
Penguin’s parents decide to abandon him

In most incarnations, Oswald Cobblepot suffers from profound physical birth defects that make him literally resemble a penguin, and while’s he’s very intelligent, he lacks any superpowers or supernatural abilities.

Robin Lord Taylor as Penguin
Robin Lord Taylor as Penguin

Cobblepot’s crimes usually involve heists or other forms of theft, and he is known as the “Gentleman of Crime” because he performs his crimes in impeccable attire, usually a tuxedo and top hat.

Penguin's signature attire
Penguin wearing his signature top hat

The Penguin also often sports a monocle, and his weapon of choice is a trick umbrella that usually contains either a hidden blade or a disguised machine gun.

The Penguin wielding a sword umbrella

       Alongside The Joker, The Penguin is one of Batman’s most famous villains, so he would be a natural choice for an adversary in DC’s new cinematic universe. The question remains though; of the Penguin were to appear in the DCU, perhaps in the rumored film The Batman (2018), who should play him?

Here are our top three choices:

Choice #3 Kelsey Grammer

Kelsey Grammer
Kelsey Grammer

       In Batman Returns (1992), we saw a version of Oswald Cobblepot with political ambitions, albeit they were more of a theatrical distraction for his master plan. Nevertheless, Penguin is a figure who craves power, and Kelsey Grammer recently demonstrated his ability to portray a crooked and power-hungry mayor during his two-season tenure as Chicago Mayor Tom Kane in Boss (2011-2012).

Ruthless, manipulative, and downright corrupt, Tom Kane shared many of the Penguin’s signature traits.

Kelsey Grammer as Penguin
Kelsey Grammer as Penguin

       Grammer’s Penguin would be a character similar to the version seen in Batman: Earth One, in which Cobblepot became Gotham’s corrupt Mayor.

Mayor Cobblepot in Batman: Earth One
Mayor Cobblepot in Batman: Earth One

       Grammer might have a harder time pulling off the quirkier side of the character though, which brings us to our second candidate.

Choice #2 Toby Jones

Toby Jones
Toby Jones

        The Penguin is known for being one of Batman’s quirkier foes. He waddles around, has flipper-like hands, and eats raw fish; not the most menacing combination of traits. What makes him fearsome is that despite his irregular appearance and strange behavior, he is extremely capable and dangerous. In some ways, he can be a little bit of a wolf disguised as a lamb… or in this case, a chubby flightless bird. This personality is somewhat similar to the character Jones played in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Dr. Zola.

Toby Jones as Dr. Zola
Toby Jones as Dr. Zola

No one fears Dr. Zola because of his looks; he’s a quirky little man with a big head and a funny German accent. Zola becomes a credible threat though when we see what kind of devices his mind can create. This is not to say that the Penguin could ever be a mad scientist, but rather that Jones could bring a sense of menace to a villain who, on the outside, might appear too awkward to pose a real threat. Toby Jones is of course tied to the MCU, so his involvement would likely be near impossible, but his take on the character would be interesting to say the least.

Toby Jones as Penguin
Toby Jones as Penguin

Choice #1 Tom Wilkenson

Tom Wilkinson
Tom Wilkinson

        In most incarnations, Penguin is associated with the mob. Whether he was trained by them, negotiated his way into their ranks, or launched a hostile takeover of their assets, Penguin is strongly linked to organized crime. This is an aspect of the character that Tom Wilkinson would be familiar with given his renowned portrayal of mafia boss Carmine Falcone in Batman Begins (2005).

Tom Wilkinson as Carmine Falcone
Tom Wilkinson as Carmine Falcone

       With Wilkinson, we’d probably be getting a Penguin that is less… odd than Danny DeVito’s character. If played by Wilkinson, we’d probably see an incarnation resembling the Penguin we see in the Arkham series.

Penguin in Batman: Arkham City
Penguin in Batman: Arkham City

        Ben Afleck’s Bruce Wayne is in his mid 50’s, so it would be appropriate to have Wilkinson, who’s 67, playing this older villain since Penguin is supposed to be significantly older than Bruce Wayne. This would also mean that Wilkinson’s Penguin would have already gained complete control of the underworld and would be ready to hurl the full might of his criminal Empire at Affleck’s grizzled and experienced Batman.

Tom Wilkinson as Penguin
Tom Wilkinson as Penguin

So those are our thoughts, what do you think? Do you have another actor in mind to play the Gentleman of Crime? Let us know in the comments!

Tales of Damaged Souls: The Mythology of the Horcrux

One of the signature objects of the Harry Potter series is the Horcrux; magical items used by Lord Voldemort to hide portions of his soul to allow him to return to life if his body was destroyed.

Lord Voldemort
Lord Voldemort

      The word Horcrux may be derived from a combination of the French words “dehors,” meaning “outside,” and “crux,” meaning “soul.” In essence, the term would translate to “outside soul.”

      Alternatively, the word Horcrux may be also a combination of  “hor” or “hore,” an old/middle-English word meaning “dirt, evil, impurity,” and “crux” or “crúce,” an old English word meaning “container, pitcher(ful), jar”. This translation would mean “evil container,” or “container of evil.”

      Voldemort’s plan ultimately fails, as Harry, Ron, Hermione, and others, are able to destroy his Horcruxes, but did you know that the idea has actually been around for thousands of years? Not only is it an ancient concept, but the famous folklorist Sir James Frazer actually documented and analyzed a wide variety of stories about splitting and protecting portions of one’s soul from all over the world in his renowned work The Golden Bough.

As an introduction to the topic, Frazer writes “…In the opinion of primitive people, the soul may temporarily absent itself from the body without causing death. Such temporary absences of the soul are often believed to involve considerable risk, since the wandering soul is liable to a variety of mishaps at the hands of enemies, and so forth. But there is another aspect to this power of disengaging the soul from the body. If only the safety of the soul can be ensured during its absence, there is no reason why the soul should not continue absent for an indefinite time; indeed a man may, on a pure calculation of personal safety, desire that his soul should never return to his body…. Accordingly, in such circumstances, primitive man takes his soul out of his body and deposits it for security in some snug spot, intending to replace it in his body when the danger is past. Or if he should discover some place of absolute security, he may be content to leave his soul there permanently. The advantage of this is that, so long as the soul remains unharmed in the place where he has deposited it, the man himself is immortal; nothing can kill his body, since his life is not in it.”

      Frazer then provides some examples of this;

“A very common form of it is this: A warlock, giant, or other fairyland being is invulnerable and immortal because he keeps his soul hidden far away in some secret place; but a fair princess, whom he holds enthralled in his enchanted castle, wiles his secret from him and reveals it to the hero, who seeks out the warlock’s soul, heart, life, or death (as it is variously called), and by destroying it, simultaneously kills the warlock… Amongst peoples of the Teutonic stock stories of the external soul are not wanting. In a tale told by the Saxons of Transylvania it is said that a young man shot at a witch again and again. The bullets went clean through her but did her no harm, and she only laughed and mocked at him. “Silly earthworm,” she cried, “shoot as much as you like. It does me no harm. For know that my life resides not in me but far, far away. In a mountain is a pond, on the pond swims a duck, in the duck is an egg, in the egg burns a light, that light is my life. If you could put out that light, my life would be at an end. But that can never, never be.” However, the young man got hold of the egg, smashed it, and put out the light, and with it the witch’s life went out also. In a German story a cannibal called Body without Soul or Soulless keeps his soul in a box, which stands on a rock in the middle of the Red Sea. A soldier gets possession of the box and goes with it to Soulless, who begs the soldier to give him back his soul. But the soldier opens the box, takes out the soul, and flings it backward over his head. At the same moment the cannibal drops dead to the ground.”

Frazer even tells of stories in which the characters devise vessels for their souls that are quite similar to those employed by Tom Riddle.

Tom Marvolo Riddle, AKA Lord Voldemort
Tom Marvolo Riddle, AKA Lord Voldemort

“In a Tartar poem two youths cut open the body of an old witch and tear out her bowels, but all to no purpose, she still lives. On being asked where her soul is, she answers that it is in the middle of her shoe-sole in the form of a seven-headed speckled snake. So one of the youths slices her shoe-sole with his sword, takes out the speckled snake, and cuts off its seven heads. Then the witch dies.”

      This tale bears a strong resemblance to how Voldemort used his serpent Nagini as one of his Horcruxes, not only because a snake is used as a storage place for the soul, but also its method of destruction. Just as one of the youths in the story decapitated the Witch’s snake, Neville Longbottom killed Nagini by beheadings the serpent with Godric Gryffindor’s Sword.

The snake Nagini, Voldemort’s final Horcrux

Frazer also mentions another story that bears a striking similarity to another one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes.

“In another Tartar poem a hero called Kök Chan deposits with a maiden a golden ring, in which is half his strength. Afterwards when Kök Chan is wrestling long with a hero and cannot kill him, a woman drops into his mouth the ring which contains half his strength. Thus inspired with fresh force he slays his enemy.”

The ring in this tale is reminiscent of Marvolo Gaunt’s ring, which was worn by Tom Riddle during his youth and was used to make his second Horcrux. The tale’s ending differs from Voldemort’s story, for while the gold ring allowed Kök Chan to retain his strength, Albus Dumbledore destroyed Marvolo’s ring with Gryffindor’s sword before Voldemort could use it as a source of resurrection.

Voldemort’s third Horcrux, Marvolo Gaunt’s ring

      Another similarity to one of Riddle’s Horcruxes can be found in an Alaskan story Frazer recorded.

“Similarly among the Esquimaux of Alaska, when a child is sick, the medicine-man will sometimes extract its soul from its body and place it for safe-keeping in an amulet, which for further security he deposits in his own medicine-bag. It seems probable that many amulets have been similarly regarded as soul-boxes, that is, as safes in which the souls of the owners are kept for greater security.”

Unlike Tom Riddle, the “medicine-man” in this tale is not trying to attain immortality, rather he is trying to stave off death for medical reasons, but he uses an amulet to store the soul of the sick children. This is similar to Voldemort’s usage of Salazar Slytherine’s locket as his third Horcrux.

Salazar Slytherin’s Locket

      The similarities don’t end with the soul-bearing vessels themselves though, Frazer noted many stories where the soul-containing objects where located in very obscure and/or perilous places, and had to be used or destroyed in very specific ways.

      In the first “Teutonic” story mentioned, the Witch cries “In a mountain is a pond, on the pond swims a duck, in the duck is an egg, in the egg burns a light, that light is my life.”

This bears a strong similarity the remote and perilous location where Voldemort hid Salazar Slytherin’s Locket. Voldemort hid the locket in a basin filled with a poisonous potion located on an island in the middle of a lake filled with Inferi, or evil walking corpses. The lake itself was inside a cave, which was located by a sea shore.

The cave where Voldemort hid Slytherin's Locket
The cave where Voldemort hid Salazar Slytherin’s Locket

      Similarly, Frazer also recorded;

“In a modern Roman version of “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” the magician tells the princess, whom he holds captive in a floating rock in mid-ocean, that he will never die. The princess reports this to the prince her husband, who has come to rescue her. The prince replies, “It is impossible but that there should be some one thing or other that is fatal to him; ask him what that one fatal thing is.” So the princess asked the magician, and he told her that in the wood was a hydra with seven heads; in the middle head of the hydra was a leveret, in the head of the leveret was a bird, in the bird’s head was a precious stone.”

      This is reminiscent of how Voldemort hid is first Horcrux, Tom Riddle’s Diary, in the Chamber of Secrets.

The Chamber of Secrets
The Chamber of Secrets

Deep below Hogwarts castle, the Horcrux would be guarded not by a seven-headed serpent, but by the fearsome Basilisk.

The Basilisk
The Basilisk

      The tale also details exactly how the item is to be disarmed, or its power neutralized, so that it could not be used to preserve its owner’s life.

“If this stone were put under his pillow he would die. The prince procured the stone, and the princess laid it under the magician’s pillow. No sooner did the enchanter lay his head on the pillow than he gave three terrible yells, turned himself round and round three times, and died.”

This is very similar to the way Voldemort’s Horcruxes could only be destroyed with special items. Tom Riddle’s Diary and Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup were destroyed with the venom of a Basilisk’s fang.

Harry Potter destroy’s Tom Riddle’s Diary with a Basilisk Fang

Meanwhile, Salazar Slytherin’s Locket, Marvolo Gaunt’s Ring, and the Snake Nagini, were all destroyed with the Sword of Godric Gryffindor.

Neville Longbottom decapitates Nagini with the Sword of Griffyndor
Neville Longbottom decapitates Nagini with the Sword of Griyffindor

      This is not to say that J.K. Rowling necessarily drew on these specific stories for inspiration, in fact she probably never heard of these obscure folk tales, but in this comparison we can see that the ideas she wrote about touched on an age-old human struggle – the craving for immortality, or to postpone death – that has been recorded throughout time and across the globe. Lord Voldemort, and indeed many villain across the spectrums of literature, go through this struggle, and indeed one of the things that makes them villains is that they don’t appreciate the beauty of life. Both the ease with which Voldemort destroys life, and his craving to artificially extend it, demonstrates that he truly doesn’t appreciate that beauty is not derived from the number of years a person, or the amount of power and wealth amassed in one’s life, but rather that beauty can only be seen in the temporary and fragile nature of life itself. While JK Rowling probably never read any of the stories collected by Frazer, we can clearly see that she crafted Voldemort and his Horcruxes as an example of what man becomes when he looses sight of life’s fragile beauty, and allows him to serve as an icon of how villains destroy the delicate beauty in life by artificially trying to extend it.

       Anyway, we hope you enjoyed our work! Have any suggestions or request? Send us an email at or message us on Facebook! As always, we appreciate your support, so please keep an eye out for more commentary, art and media from our team!

– Nerd Vault

FAN THEORY: Padme’s Murder?

Could it be that the famous senator from Naboo was really murdered? Is it possible that she didn’t simply die in childbirth as we’ve been led to believe, but was actually assassinated by one of her oldest and closest advisors?

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Queen Amidala meets with an advisor in The Phantom Menace (1999)

Let’s begin with the most basic and obvious fact; no medical reason was ever given for her death. If the medical knowledge existed to rebuild Darth Vader’s incinerated body, then the medical technology to deliver babies must have been available as well. Instead of giving a real medical diagnosis of Padme’s condition, the medical droid that treated her simply stated that it couldn’t identify why she was dying.

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“For reasons we can’t explain, we are losing her… we don’t know why, she has lost the will to live.”

This is a clear sign that dark forces were at work, forces beyond the medical droid’s ability to detect or treat. If we can accept this as fact, then we have to ask ourselves; what really killed her? And who was truly responsible for her death? It turns out, the answer has been lurking before us all along. One person had not only ample motive, but also the ability to end Padme’s life.

Senator Sheev Palpatine of Naboo

           Sheev Palpatine as one of Padme’s oldest advisors, and he was one of the few people who knew she was secretly married to the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, who had recently become Palpatine’s Sith apprentice Darth Vader. This meant that Padme was partially distracting Vader from completing his master’s dark goals.


With Padme gone, Vader would turn both his focus and his hatred toward hunting down Palpatine’s enemies. But more importantly, by making Anakin believe he’d killed his own wife, Palpatine would be galvanizing not only Vader’s hatred toward the Jedi, but his hatred toward himself as well. We know this is true because we see a sinister grin slide across Palpatine’s face when he informs a distraught Vader about his pregnant wife’s death.

Palpatine’s sinister grin

Additionally, Palpatine knew, as Obi-wan did, that if Padme gave birth to Vader’s child, Vader could have a reason turned back to the Light Side. Killing Padme and her unborn child eliminated them as threats to Vader.

Obi-wan knew Luke was the key to turning Vader against the Emperor

Sheev Palpatine also had a political motive for assassinating Padme. A moral and righteous Senator from Naboo, Padme was a strong believer in democracy. When Palpatine declared himself Galactic Emperor, Padme became a founding member of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, an organization dedicated to overthrowing Palpatine’s Empire, so killing her would strike a blow against Palpatine’ political enemies as well.

Padme and others form the foundation of the Rebel Alliance

The proof is stacking up, and it’s looking more and more likely that Sheev Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious, really was responsible for Padme’s death, but in order to prove conclusively that he really did murder her, we need to ask ourselves how he could have ended her life from half a galaxy away?
Legend has it that Palpatine helped create Anakin Skywalker by using the Dark Side to reach through the Force and influence midi-chlorians, so we know that he knew how to use the Dark Side to influence whether a person lived or died, and when Vader sustains grievous wounds on Mustafar, Palpatine keeps his apprentice alive by performing a simple gesture – he places his hand on Vader’s seared head.

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Palpatine heals Vader on Mustafar

If we think hard about it, we will realize that this is the exact same gesture Obi-wan made to heal Luke Skywalker

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Obi-wan heals Luke on Tatooine

The clever observer will realize that Palpatine was doing this at the exact time that Padme’s life began to slip away.
It suddenly becomes clear that the Sith Lord wasn’t merely comforting his wounded apprentice; he was literally draining the life from Padme and transferring it to Vader. This means that, in a way, Palpatine was actually telling the truth when he says that Vader killed Padme. So what he told Vader was true, from a certain point of view. Vader lived because Padme’s died, and Palpatine made it happen.

Padme dies while Anakin heals- cropped
Padme’s life drains while Palpatine keeps Vader alive

So let’s review the facts. The medical droids could not explain Padme’s death, indicating that supernatural forces were at work. Killing Padme helped Palpatine turn his apprentice to the Dark Side, and eliminated her as a political threat to his reign as Galactic Emperor. Lastly, Palpatine is rumored to be able to influence a person’s life force, and we even see him use his Sith training to draw on the dark side of the Force to artificially keep Vader alive as Padme died.
This was a Conspiracy; a dark plot shrouded in secrecy and deceit; a meticulously planned assassination to end kind and moral senator’s life, to help an evil tyrant rise to power. The Dark Side of the Force surrounds both Palpatine’s rise, and Padme’s demise, so its nearly impossible to know for sure how exactly she died, so I ask you, was this Padme’s Murder?

Vader and Gilgamesh: All that Pulses is Not Life

Since the earliest times, man has been endlessly vexed upon contemplating his own inevitable passing and has obsessed over the possibility of miraculously escaping death, with many famous tales being spun throughout the course of human history depicting this mortal struggle. Two famous characters, the titular Gilgamesh of the ancient Sumerian “Epic of Gilgamesh,” and Anakin Skywalker of George Lucas’ Star Wars saga, clearly display how this struggle is just as present in modern times as it was in days of old. Both of these characters started out as fearless warriors who fought their battles with no regard for their own lives, but after experiencing the tragic loss of a loved one, they turned their impressive skills towards finding the key to eternal life. Ultimately, both heroes will learn to accept their mortality, but one will take the long and painful road of denial and resistance, while the other will accept his worldly fate and enjoy his limited days in the mortal realm. The stories of Anakin and Gilgamesh depict two paths man may take in dealing not only with their mortal fate, but also with the broader issue of the inevitability of change, of which death is only one.
Gilgamesh was a demigod who ruled as king of the strong-walled city of Uruk. Rivaled only by his beloved Enkidu, Gilgamesh was considered the greatest warrior that had ever lived. To call Gilgamesh and Enkidu “friends” would be a grotesque understatement that would fail to do justice to their relationship, for Enkidu was specifically designed by the gods of Sumeria to compliment Gilgamesh in every way. Thus, the two shared a relationship that perhaps surpasses even brotherhood in its closeness. Together, Gilgamesh and Enkidu embarked on a crusade to eliminate evil from the realm by killing the giant Humanba in the cedar forests of Lebanon. Gilgamesh, arrogantly ignoring the notion that death could easily bring an end to his days, fought with no regard for his own life. That attitude would change however, when Enkidu fell terribly ill and died, and Gilgamesh was confronted for the first time with the notion of his own mortality (World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics).
Much like Gilgamesh, Anakin Skywalker was the most powerful warrior in his realm. Anakin was a Jedi Knight, a sort of warrior-monk that vows to adhere to a code of honor that includes celibacy. Disobeying his Jedi vow, Anakin fell in love with a childhood friend of his named Padme, and the two married in secret, but despite this, he continued with his Jedi training. His miraculous birth resulting from an immaculate conception made it so that Anakin could harness the powers of universe, or “the Force,” to enhance his natural abilities and from a young age, Anakin had always dreamt of becoming “the most powerful Jedi ever.” As he grew older, his skills developed to be superior even to those of his mentors (Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace). During the many wars that plagued his galaxy, Anakin fought valiantly and developed a reputation for brave, though often heedless, behavior, and performing near-miraculous feats on the battlefield with no regard for his, earning him the title “the hero without fear.” Much like Gilgamesh, Anakin would be awakened from his arrogant sense of invulnerability by the grim touch of Tragedy when his mother is murdered (Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones).
As strong as King Gilgamesh was, Enkidu’s death severely wounded him, for it was as if a part of himself had died along with his compatriot, and for the first time, mighty King of Uruk came face to face with the hand of Death. Gilgamesh Witnessing his comrade’s demise shocked Gilgamesh into realizing his own mortality and he set out on a mythical journey to the ends of the earth. The King of Uruk was headed to Mount Mashu, where he sought to locate a legendary sage named Utanapishtim. Also called the “Faraway,” Utanapishim was the only mortal in the Sumerian Pantheon who had ever been granted immortality by the gods, and thus Gilgamesh sought him out in hopes that he may learn the path to immortality as well (World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics).
Though he was incredibly famous for his fighting abilities, and his childhood aspiration seemed to have come true, Anakin became extremely distressed when he began to suffer terrible dreams foretelling the death of his mother. Despite killing untold numbers of enemies on the battlefield, it was only upon his mother’s gruesome murder at the hands of nomadic barbarians that Anakin finally came to understand the gravity of death. Enraged, the young Jedi slaughtered the entire tribe of barbarians as his heart plunged into anguish. He then began having further visions foretelling the death of his wife as well. Just as Gilgamesh had suffered the tragedy of losing his beloved Enkidu, Anakin felt the breath of Death run down his neck with the loss of his mother and it would catapult him into a realm of fear and he embarked on a quest to learn the secrets to evading death. Haunted by that tragic loss and the visions threatening his wife, Anakin now feared losing his beloved Padme to Death’s grip as well. The young Jedi couldn’t turn to his Jedi mentors for guidance, for his marriage violated the Jedi Code that he’d sworn to live by, and thus he sought guidance from a master of the Dark Side of the Force called Sidious. Essentially making a “pact with the Devil,” Anakin agreed to betray everyone he knew and loved and in exchange, Sidious would teach him to wield power over life and death. Complying with his dark master’s demands, Anakin led a slaughter against the Jedi order and rechristened himself Darth Vader (Star Wars: The Dark Lord Trilogy).
After an incredible journey during which he climbed mountains, waded through a cave of pure darkness, and crossed the River of Death, Gilgamesh finally managed to locate Utanapishtim. When he arrived, The Faraway related to the king that he was granted immortality because he was a survivor of the Great Flood who had been granted immortality for saving humanity, and he decided to test Gilgamesh to determine if he was worthy of this gift as well. Utanapishtim instructed Gilgamesh to keep himself awake for seven days and seven nights, and if he could do so, he would gain the gift of endless life. Despite his best efforts, Gilgamesh failed this test and thus the Faraway decreed that he would not live forever among the gods. Instead, Utanapishtim taught King Gilgamesh to enjoy the life he had, and from this mentor, Gilgamesh came to see that he was gifted with so many fantastic abilities with which to enjoy his days. “The power to be unsurpassed in might they have granted you,” the Faraway told him. “The power to be skilled in wrestling they have granted you. The power to be skilled with the sword, the dagger, the bow and the axe they have granted you. [] The power to be unrivaled in heroism they have granted you.[]The power to teach your people and lead them to wisdom they have granted you.” With this counsel, Utanapishtim then bestowed upon Gilgamesh one final gift; a plant granting unending youth. Though it would not keep him from dying, this gift would allow him enjoy the days he had. Though Gilgamesh eventually lost the plant to a thieving serpent, he did not lose the gift of the Faraway’s advice, and he was able to enjoy the remainder of his days content in understanding and accepting the limits of his mortality (World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics).
                Vader, however, was not so wise. Ultimately, Vader not only killed his own wife in his quest to save her, but suffered mortal wounds when he tried to kill his best friend. Only then did he gain the power over death that he sought so desperately. Vader’s new master, Sidious, used the Dark Side of the Force to keep him alive long enough to be fitted with a mechanical suit which artificially supplied Vader with life. Essentially living in a walking coffin, Vader’s heart beat as if he were living, but the enjoyment of live eluded him as he struggled with his choice of artificial life and the costs of that choice for dacades. It was only when Sidious tried to kill Vader’s son, Luke, with barrages of deadly Force Lighting, that the disgraced Jedi finally came to understand that perhaps an artificial life of pain and suffering was worse than natural fatality. Conquering his fear of death and surmounting the temptations he’d succumbed to as Vader, Anakin intervened in Sidious’ attempt to kill Luke, knowing that the electrical charges that would strike him would destroy the life-support systems in his suit that kept him alive. It took nearly thirty years, but by sacrificing himself to kill Sidious and saving his son, Anakin finally came to terms with his mortality. He came to understand that he was afforded certain strengths and skills in his life, and that he should spend the last of his days enjoying them rather than fretting over his inescapable fate (The Star Wars Trilogy).
Since I was a child, the story of Anakin’s struggled have entranced me. In his desperate quests to save first his mother, then his wife, and then himself, Anakin’s duels with the inevitable embody the sense of denial, or rejection of inevitability that we all struggle with as humans. When he states his fear of change, Anakin’s mother counsels him; “but you cannot stop the change, no more than you can stop the suns from setting.”
This same struggle is what I find captivating about Gilgamesh’s epic journey. It’s not just the inevitability of death that he and Anakin are fighting, but also the inescapable nature of so many sad events that affect the world we live in and the struggle to come to terms with the fact that there are things in this life that are beyond our control. Relatives with terminal illnesses, friends who move away from us, getting laid off from a job, and the eventual death of loved ones; these are a few examples of inevitable changes that occur throughout our lives and they’re circumstances that as human we must face in life. For me, Anakin’s struggles have acted as a warning against taking extreme actions to stop the inevitable while Gilgamesh serves as the example of how to accept the inevitable aspects of life and the boundaries of a mortal existence. From these two characters, one ancient and one modern, we can clearly see how this theme is not only a topic of modern literature, but a premise as old as man himself. Hopefully from their examples, we can learn to be more accepting of the aspects of life that are beyond our control and learn to enjoy the life we have in peace.

Works Cited

  1. Rosenberg, Donna. “Gilgamesh.” 1999. World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics. Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Pub. Group, 1999. 26-57. Print.
  2. Luceno, James, George Lucas, James Luceno, Matthew Woodring. Stover, and James Luceno. Star Wars: The Dark Lord Trilogy. New York: Del Rey, 2008. Print.
  3. Brooks, Terry, and George Lucas. Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace. New York: Ballantine Pub. Group, 2000. Print.
  1. Lucas, George, Donald F. Glut, and James Kahn. The Star Wars Trilogy. New York: Lucas, 2012. Print.
  1. Wrede, Patricia C., George Lucas, and Jonathan Hales. Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones. New York: Scholastic, 2002. Print.
  1. The Epic of Gilgamesh on Immortality and Its Ramificationscom. 12 2006. 2006. 12 2006 <;. (Consulted for some thematic concepts)

*A note to reader: for the purpose of citation, I listed the novelizations of the Star Wars films, which I own copies of and have read, as the sources for those stories.

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