Maul launched himself at Vader, who used to force to stop him in midair.
The double bladed lightsaber deactivated itself and clanged onto the concrete floor.
With a clench of his fist, maul's body crumpled like wrinkled up with a sickening squelch, earning screams from the zabrak.
Vader then slammed maul's body at a nearby stone wall, with a loud crunch.
As the dathomian slid down the wall, the imperial lord waltzed toward him, with his lightsaber ignited at his side.
"You cannot escape from the dark side."
The armored sith stated, raising his weapon, ready to strike down his opponent.
"Anytime now, young one!" Mail muttered under his breath.
"You believe the boy can save you. How far have you fallen, oh Maul, son of dathomir, to depend on a mere padawan."
A boom from the top of the temple shifted Vader's attention.
The dathomian beamed.
Vader turned to face maul again.
"You mean... my apprentice."
Another boom occurred, followed by a blinding flash of light.
"Ahh... so it begins." The dathomian grinned.
Violet lightning crashed around them like threads of energy, trapping them both in a web of fire.
"What sorcery is this?"
Vader asked himself in bewilderment.
Maul willed his saber toward him with the force, rearming himself.
"My apprentice is currently activating this temple, or more accurately, this battlestation!"
Maul laughed, pointing at the top with his vermillion blade.
"...which I will then use to destroy all my enemies!"
"The child has unlocked the secret of this temple. There is no way he could have accomplished this. No Jedi can ever access information from the dark side." Vader shielded himself from a nearby blast of lightning before facing maul again.
Behind his dark helmet, former Jedi knight, anakin skywalker sneered.
"No matter. The power within will soon serve that of the emperor."
He readied his scarlet sword, preparing for another round with the nightbrother.
A whirring sound caught the attention of both sith.
"Ahhh... the Calvary has arrived." Maul chuckled.
The grey Jedi, standing in an elevator, finally made their grand entrance.
Ahsoka and kanan's sabers whizzed to life, illuminating the darkness around them.
"Where's Ezra?!" Kanan hollered, realizing that the blue haired teenager wasn't with the zabrak.
"I've sent him somewhere safe. The top of the temple, gaining the knowledge we seek." Tha dathomian scolded.
"Go to him." Ahsoka encouraged, readying her silver blades with her signature reverse grip.
"We can take him ourselves."
Kanan nodded, allowing Ahsoka to step out of the lift and onto the platform, before continuing his climb to the top alone.
Surrounded by both former Jedi and sith, Vader seethed.
He faced the togruta, deactivating his saber.
Maul contemplated striking then and there, but was too curious to see how the interaction between master and pupil would take place.
He was sure Ahsoka suspected, and he was more so in deducing that Vader remembers his past connections to the grey Jedi.
Ironic. Now, they were on opposing sides. The thought tickled him as he observed intently.
"We need not be adversaries. The emperor will show you mercy once you reveal where the remaining Jedi can be found." Vader commanded.
"There are no more Jedi. You and your inquisitors have seen to that." Ahsoka snorted back in disgust.
"Then perhaps the boy will reveal what you will not. Once I kill the both of you, I will pay him a visit myself."
"He is far more powerful than you realize, Jedi pretender!" Maul scolded back.
Ahsoka gasped, and a breath escaped from Vader.
"You have no idea what you are dealing with, nightbrother. I am what your master chose over you."
Vader tried to change the subject.
"True. But I have accomplished one thing that you could only dream of. To see through the lies of Sidious, which you obviously could not, leading to the demise of all you love." Maul retorted back with a smirk.
"You thought that the SKY was your limit, you tried to fly when you could only WALK. What did that bring you? A mutilated body? A place as palpatine's errand boy even when you know full well that he is responsible for your failure? For the death of your once proud self and a kin you loved so greatly that it became your downfall?"
Maul soaked the moment for all it was worth, making sure he emphasized the subtle hints of "sky", "walking" and linking the words of "and a kin".
"I was beginning to think I knew who you were, behind that mask."
Ahsoka shouted at Vader, her grip tightening on her saber hilts in disbelief.
"But it's impossible. My master would never be as vile as you."
Vader breathed heavily again.
A short pause in his reply all but strengthened the Torgruta's desire for answers.
Those agonizing seconds. To be left on tenderhooks. To have the last glimmers of hope extinguished in her heart.
"Anakin skywalker was weak."
Vader tossed his cloak arrogantly.
"I destroyed him."
Ahsoka closed her eyes tightly at the confession, tears threatening to fall.
Maul senses her grief.
"Then I will avenge his death," she finally answered.
"Revenge is not the Jedi way." The Sith Lord replied.
"I'm no jedi," the female force user reaffirmed, spinning her pearl-white swords in her hand and pointing them at the enemy.
Maul, from the other side of the platform, took this as his que as well. He readied his saber staff, pointing it at Vader.
The cyborg, surrounded by assailants, instinctively activated his rapier, preparing for battle.
"So be it."
Ahsoka rushed at the dark lord, slicing twice with her twin blades, which were parried effortlessly.
Maul then made his move, throwing his double bladed weapon at Vader, which was also deflected with ease.
As the staff returned to the dathomian's hand he leapt up and slashed downward at the armored enforcer, who dodged it with surprising speed.
As maul's unique weapon made contact with the ground where Vader originally stood, Sidious's right hand seized the moment, grabbing maul's arm and tossing him toward asohka.
The togruta, having noticed the incoming projectile, instinctively jumped over the dathomian's body, resuming her assault.
However, Vader was more than able to anticipate Asohka's attacks, managing to dodge one blade aimed for his neck, and block the other with his own vermillion edge.
As the former padawan jumped around the battlefield with lightning quick speed, managing to score a few hits on Vader's thick armor before fatigue settled in due to her strenuous style of jar'kai, her sabers suddenly retracted forcibly, followed by a crushing sensation at her wrists.
The torgruta's weapons were stripped from her hands, and her arms became locked together telekinetically, as if the tightest restraints were placed on her, causing her to grunt in pain.
With the sith lord's power of force domination, her sabers flew toward his hand, confiscating them, and she was launched into the air with the force.
"Your tactics betray you tano. I know young skywalker's tactics."
Asohka landed on the ground painfully, as Vader continued to approach.
"Your master fought bravely. If you did not leave the order like a coward and in his time of need, he would have survived."
Ashoka moaned weakly, reaching out to Vader with an outstretched hand.
The armored sith stepped hardly onto her palm, grinding it beneath her feet, remaining unaffected by his victim's screams of agony.
"You were selfish."
Asohka has heard those words before.
"No..." she whispered weakly.
"You abandoned him."
"You failed him!"
"Did you know what he has become?!"
Asohka screamed again.
Her cry of anguish enough to curdle blood.
Vader was visibly shaken by his padawan's sadness, before he was unexpectedly dragged backwards with the force.
Before he could even react, he felt a sudden surge of pain in the left side of his face, causing him to release a strained cry and to fall his knees.
All he could see was red.
Then his vision cleared
Then red again.
It was... distorted.
He could see his surroundings, both in the cold, crimson hue that his helmet lens provided... but also to clarity of color- one only possible with his own eyes.
Pieces of his mask fell off the left side of his helmet, the onyx shards singed with the burn of maul's lightsaber.
Both filters of his environment irritated his vision, clouding and confusing, like the whirlwind of emotions swirling within him.
Light and dark, fighting for dominance.
It was then, when he heard Asohka's sobbing did he suddenly feel pity.
Maul was helping her off the platform and toward the elevator while he was distracted.
He felt pain.
He called, without thinking.
The metallic grating of his damaged suit was still present.
Yet he could hear his own voice.
Charred and mutilated by the fires of mustafar, but still distinct.
He beckoned again.
It was a cry for help.
The woman paused and turned around.
It was full of understanding, sorrow.
To tell him that she knows.
"Come back to us! Obi Wan, Padme and I... we loved you!" She hollered.
Something broke inside Vader when he heard that.
Obi wan and padme.
"And Anakin loved you." Vader remarked, pointing his finger at her.
"All of you... but you didn't love him enough to save him."
"I won't leave you! Not this time!" The tears in her eyes finally freeing themselves.
"What are you doing?! Don't be a fool!" Maul reprimanded, attempting to retrain Asohka from wrenching herself free and going to Vader.
Vader's eyes widened.
Not this time, she said.
Memories flooded back to him.
I'd never let anyone hurt you Asohka, never!
Ice cold shards pierced his heart, as his mouth opened.
He never thought he would ever say this to one of the most important people in his life.
And yet, it wouldn't be anything new.
Vader rasped, before finally speaking, almost choking on his words.
"Then you will die"
The scarlet glow from his saber illuminated his face, reflecting of his ember pupils.