|The Artifact and the Living
Author: PlaidButterfly PM
While meditating on historical events, Darth Vader receives a visit from the unbidden spirit of Revan. The Revanchist's interest in meddling in current affairs does not stop there... post-ESBRated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural - Darth Vader - Chapters: 5 - Words: 5,370 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 16 - Follows: 7 - Updated: 09-10-11 - Published: 03-19-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5829048
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The empty hood nodded before turning smoothly in a way that did not quite make sense, around like something mechanical instead of something human. There was a soft glint of moonlight before it seemed to fill the silvery inside of the mask as it was offered out to Leia.
A certain hunger glinted in her dark eyes. Luke immediately sucked in a startled breath through his teeth. The energy of the Force swirling around was intoxicating, enough that he was momentarily at a loss for words. It was all too heavy - too much to take in - but he was sure that she saw his begging look. Don't... please, don't -
But the mask was in her hands. Gently, she put it on, where it seemed so very out of place on her delicate face. The shadows lashed out, sticking to her, smothering her. Immediately Luke reached out, but the shadows were sticky like tar; they stung his fingertips and he jerked his hand back. Leia struggled for a moment before the blackness knit into some solid form - softly polished leather and dull, glinting steel paired with the sinuous curves of silk. She gasped for a few moments before her breaths became remarkably even and calm.
"Your lightsaber." Her voice was sharp and cold as she held her hand out.
Immediately, she lashed out, pushing him against the wall, her arm against his throat. He gagged, too startled to resist. "You will refer to me by name, boy, or not at all. Your lightsaber. I need it."
"Leia, I -" He grimaced, gagging as she pushed harder against him. This time her free hand took his lightsaber by force, snatching it from the bedside table.
"Amateurish," she said, letting the lightsaber's blade snap out. "And an awful, gaudy color. The only proper color for a lightsaber's blade is the color of what it brings - blood. Remember that, whelp." She let him go, and he gasped, clutching at his throat as she stretched her hand out and flexed her fingers. "Not a terrible body to receive. I'll do one favor for you. But follow me, boy, and you'll know what it is to meet a Sith."
The next morning Han was at the doorstep - still frozen in carbonite. Luke spent a solid half-hour pacing and trying to figure out how to explain to him what happened, but no words seemed adequate.
The Rebellion fractured immediately - the vast majority going with Revan. Whether it was a true transformation or a clever stunt on Leia's part, it didn't truly matter. She was still charismatic, ambitious, and she promised the progress so many of them seemed to feel was lacking. Within a month, Revan's forces had swelled impossibly. There were murmurs of witchcraft and the arcane, of some well-hidden secret that would turn the tide... of a glorious new future, powered by a miraculous Star Forge.
As she grew bolder, Luke seemed to grow quieter. Another lightsaber was constructed, in due time. Han complained bitterly to all who would hear but only let Luke and Chewie see how very hurt he was. Yet they persisted, as they always did.
It was a carefully planned ambush: with Revan's forces taking care of most of the Imperial forces, Luke was free to have the confrontation with Vader that both of them knew was inevitable. As the Empire crumbled around them, Vader's resolve was weakening. Luke's words seemed to make sense as he pleaded with his father to walk the path of redemption.
And then Revan arrived.
They had been slowly circling one another, lightsabers lit but not joined. Revan's laugh - so like Leia's, but harsher, as if all the worst of her were condensed - interrupted them as she slowly walked down the steps into the wide chamber where they fought.
"Leia?" Luke seemed startled, and immediately, he gave a gagging choke.
As Luke's legs dangled in the air, Vader charged forward. Revan didn't seem to much mind. "If you can't say my name properly, boy, you won't speak at all," she snarled. Luke gave a cry as he was flung against the wall. "As for you..."
Revan's lightsaber met Vader's with a shrill scream. "I've been waiting for this," Revan said smugly.
"How dare you interfere..."
"Listen to you!" She laughed, easily batting away each stroke of the blade with her own. "Puffed-up, self-righteous... A pathetic cripple!" Vader's steady breathing rung out, but as he started to speak, she cut him off once more. "And you call yourself Sith!" Her lightsaber strokes were coming much harder now, vicious and demanding: he could barely keep up. "What have you done to be called Darth? Been a terrible father? Scared a few children? Have you conquered worlds? Have you made the universe tremble?" Her voice rose to a feverishly high pitch. "You are nothing! Nothing but a damn pretender! I did not conquer everything so petulantchildrencould play at beingSith!"
Their lightsabers screamed against one another, and she forced him out of a block, the stroke hard enough to make him stumble back. This time she caught him off-guard, and he cried out in pain as a glancing blow hit across his chest. Her laughter was manic and unhinged as she stalked closer to him. "It's your end, Malak. You should have known better. I always... always... WIN!" As she spoke she lifted him up through the force before tossing him hard against the opposite wall.
And she continued to laugh, even as she paced forward like a cat playing with a bird, swatting back and forth but unwilling to put it out of its misery. "I'm going to enjoy this. Don't think you'll die quickly, Malak..."
A blaster bolt rang out over her shoulder, striking the wall, and she quickly whirled. Han was there, blaster raised. But he could see just enough of Leia's eyes through the mask that his hand trembled, and he couldn't bring himself to pull the trigger again.
Instead, she laughed, tone hysterical in a way that suggested she had truly gone insane. "How nice of you to join us, Carth. Why don't you start crying," she snarled. "Poor pitiful Onasi. Betrayed by everyone. Loved by no-one. Go on, start bawling, like you always do..." But her breaths were becoming deeper, as if struggling against something.
Luke gasped, finally dragging himself up. "Leia - please -"
"Shut up, Mission - Jolee -" She swooned a moment, voice raising in fury. "Whoever you are!" Luke gagged before she flung him against the wall with more brutal force. The impact of his head against the plastisteel left a starburst of blood behind, with a tail dragging down to the floor.
As Luke's eyes remained open but unfocused, Vader raised his head, his wheezing having grown more desperate and sickly. "Luke?" He gasped out, tone begging in paternal worry. "Luke, please..."
She was unsteady on her feet as she staggered towards Han. Her laugh was a little weaker, now. "Go ahead, Onasi... Why don't you... why..." She panted before giving a half-scream of rage, dropping her lightsaber to clutch at her head. Fury became pain as she desperately clawed at her hood, and then finally at the mask. Fabric became sticky, tar-like, and clingy; the more she fought the more it seemed to try and smother her. The shadows stretched like taffy as she pulled at the mask. The darkness was strung along behind it, and finally, with a fleshy snap, she managed to pull it away.
And Leia gave a desperate gasp, her face again bare to the world.
She flung the mask away from her, and the blackness slithered out behind it in long tendrils before simmering around it. Each breath became deeper before Leia finally let a desperate sob spill out of her. As she clutched at her own shoulders, doubling over, Han let his blaster drop.
It was obvious, now, that Revan was dead, and fury was thoroughly replaced by anguish.