Author's Note: First of all, this is my first Star Wars fic, so there are bound to be mistakes. I do understand that some stuff is different, such as lightsaber wounds, that I have perhaps documented incorrectly, but I did what I did on purpose to fit the story ;) Also, realize some chapters are shorter than others only because I didn't think they fit anywhere else. I tried very hard to keep Darth Maul in character, and did as much research on him as I could--including reading the two books based on him, but I will admit ahead of time there might be flaws in that as well. Only useful and gentle critisms allowed, but if you don't like it, don't bother reading it. This is fanfiction, remember, and I'm able to do what I want. Also, I had abondoned this for nearly a month, so I warn you if something is found that is inconsistant with the rest of the story XD...sorry :)

Disclaimer: I own nothing...George Lucas is the brilliant mind behind Darth Maul, Darth Sidious, the Jedi and so forth--I take claim to one or two characters here and there...but they can't match up to the sheer wonder George Lucas brings out in his movies.

Alright...enough of my useless babble...onward!


Stray

I.

Excitement and rage combined to create a power that was so intoxicating it was almost too much; almost. Nothing else mattered, nothing else was there; it was all about the present, the here-and-now, and he was going to live every moment in high glory and bask in the upcoming success. This was the moment he had been waiting for his whole life, the one thing he had been training for endlessly. He was so into it he lost track of how it started exactly, but that didn't matter now. Nothing did as he swung around his double-ended lightsaber, the harsh red-glow clashing against the opposing blue and green ones that attacked.

Darth Maul, a man of his mid-twenties, knew this was the best he'd ever be in his life and he was proving himself against not one, but two Jedi. It had been a constant thought of taking one single Jedi, no matter which one and striking he or she down with the power he had always dreamed would be his. Now was this chance; the moment had come and it would only intensify as he backed into an unknown-room with a large metal pit in the center. The Jedi he was going at now was the elder of the two, the other having been stopped by a barrier at the entrance of the room for a short while.

It didn't matter either way. Maul knew he could take them both at the same time—he had been for at least five minutes until they were each separated by the laser barrier-walls in the hall. He could sense the Jedi was tiring, though. His reflexes were slower and he gripped his lightsaber tightly with both hands, sweat forming on every angle of his face. Maul smiled widely to himself as he danced his lightsaber against that of his opponent. The Jedi paused as he came down with a fierce swing, but Maul counter-attacked it, using one end of his weapon to push the Jedi away. The attack was finished, his goal was met in an instant; the other end of his lightsaber rose up in a flash, giving the Jedi no time to react in his tiring state, leaving him vulnerable to the laser-stick of the red lightsaber to push through his mid-section.

Maul pulled it out after a short second, his smirk almost invisible amongst the red and black tattoos that elegantly covered his face. His yellow eyes looked over his prey, now lying on the ground helplessly, struggling to take his last breaths. In the background Maul heard a sharp cry, the other Jedi yelling, "No!" as his master fell. In time, the boy would meet the same fate.

Maul turned, his strong, booted feet carrying him left to right in an impatient pace as he waited for the restriction to remove itself and let the younger Jedi come at him with all the anger and hatred he had for the Sith Lord. The slaughter of the first Jedi temporarily settled in the back of his mind as he focused on the other in front of him. He sneered with mottled teeth, his heart rate only quickening one-step above normal pace with the wait for what was to come. He knew his master, Darth Sidious, would only have praise for him this time—and it would not go unnoticed like so many instances in the past. This time it was Jedi; this time it actually meant something to the entire galaxy. The Sith would rise again and the Jedi would crumble. And this is what Maul had waited for since he was a small boy.

His black-gloved hand gripped the center of his dual-bladed lightsaber when he felt that the barrier was about to give. The moment the signal was given and the force-field was released, the Jedi lashed out in a rage of fury, hatred and anger for his fallen master. Maul could only grin ear to ear as he twisted back and forth, catching every strike the Jedi made. He swung hard, but the boy jumped clear and brought his weapon down, but not before Maul had a chance to raise one end of his own and stop the blow. With every electric strike Maul knew that he was facing a well trained Jedi apprentice…but still he was the better warrior. After all, the power of the dark side of the Force was with him and gave him more power than this pathetic Padawan learner could imagine.

Maul should've seen it coming. He should've known that making a horizontal swing at shoulder level would give the Jedi a perfect attack, and the brat used it to his advantage. In a flash the blue glow of the Jedi's lightsaber sliced through the near-center of Maul's own, severing it into two almost-equal halves. Just as he dropped the lesser of the two, he felt a foot connect with his chest and he was tossed backward. Losing his footing, he slipped and fell flat on his back.

The Jedi came around to make a hopeful final blow, but Maul quickly lunged to his feet in a heartbeat and did a double-twirl to avoid any further attack before he could regain his setting. He was back at the red barrier trapping them into the room once again, the Jedi eyeing him, summing him up. Maul growled softly, baring his naturally colored teeth. The Jedi came at him again and he avoided a near swipe at his arm. The boy was being careless, and at this point Maul could carry the battle on as long as he wanted to play around. But he had better things to do, such as capture the Queen of his present location, Naboo and get off this planet once and for all.

He allowed the Jedi to push him almost to the point where one more step he'd back in the red laser-inflicted, transparent wall of the hall barrier. Then he concentrated quickly, lowered his weapon and brought the other hand to summon the power of the Force to throw the Jedi back. He rolled in a back-wards summersault and slipped of the edge and down into the center pit. Maul smirked and casually walked over, lightsaber still activated and ready to cut the boy down—he knew he was still hanging on somewhere near the top.

The Jedi's lightsaber sat on the floor only inches away from the edge; without a second though Maul kicked it over and let it descend into the blackness below the Jedi's uselessly hanging feet. The boy hung on to a little knob that extended from the round wall about a meter from where he stood looking down on him. This was it, the boy's final moment. Instead of making an immediate attempt to finish the Jedi off, Maul waited in order to let the Jedi suffer and think about his failure to strike down the Sith Lord.

Even after an intense battle with two Jedi, Maul had no feeling of fatigue or that his body was sweating in any place under his heavy, black clothing. There were a few extremely minor scratches, but that was expected in any lightsaber duel. He felt a cool breeze coming from somewhere above sweeping over his bald, black and red colored head. He paced for a moment and tried to make up his mind on just how to destroy the Jedi hanging literally at his feet. He could toss down his lightsaber, but that would risk losing the weapon. He could use the Force, but that would be much too easy.

So instead, he tried to see just how well the Jedi could hold onto that little knob. Swinging his arm widely, his lightsaber scratched the edge of the hole, sparks flying, and the sound of the electric beam filling the room as it swept over the metal rim. He did it again, and surprisingly the Jedi still held on.

But then he noticed something. The boy had a plan…he was thinking up something. Maul furrowed his brow, his nose wrinkling as he stared down at the Jedi that looked off to the side. What the hell is he thinking…Maul questioned to himself as he—

He barely had a second to let the thought register. Before he could blink, before he could take in a breath or let his heart take one more beat, the Jedi used the Force to throw himself up and over Maul, the lightsaber of the other fallen Jedi flying into his hands and activating.

Maul turned around just in time to see the Jedi land on his feet. He was caught completely off guard, allowing the Jedi to toss up his weapon and cut into the left of Maul's abdomen. He could barely get his right arm to come down and stop the Jedi from finishing the job, but he couldn't stop a second, smaller gash to his upper bicep. Maul took a step back; two wounds of that intensity made him lose all concentration. The Jedi came for one more swing, and whether it was a mistake or not, Maul unconsciously took one more step back; his foot tripped over the edge of the well and he started to tumble back. He felt one more scrap at his right thigh as he fell down, the image of the Jedi getting smaller as he descended the narrow, vertical tunnel.

Quickly deactivating his lightsaber before he killed himself, Maul used the Force to throw himself against the circular wall, his hand and weapon trying desperately to catch something that would stop him from gravity's will. He knew the gloves didn't allow him to do anything but continue to slide, but the edge of the lightsaber caught bits of metal from the wall and slowed him down only a fraction of the original speed. He tried to look around, but his side hurt so much he didn't know how much longer he could attempt to stop fate from taking over.

Then, as if luck turned back in his favor, he saw a little further down and to the side a closed large door. He repelled himself back, using good arm and leg, and narrowly grabbed hold of the three-inch ledge at the foot of the door. He took in deep, ragged breaths; blood steadily dripped down his body inside his tunic, soaking through the fabrics easily. Normally a lightsaber scratch would burn and singe the flesh to the point where blood couldn't escape; however, throwing himself against the wall was just enough to tear the deep wound open again before it had a chance to settle. His arm screamed at him, but he quickly put the pain out of his mind as he tried to figure out a way to get out of the mess he was in.

This was not how things were supposed to end; he was supposed to triumph over the Jedi, not let a weak Padawan learner get the better of him and make him fall off the edge of a hole. He cursed to himself in his native Zabrakian language as he tried to pull himself up, bearing most of the weight on his good arm. But that was countered from the pain on the same side and he had no choice but to let himself hang helplessly again.

There was no way he could get out of this and he knew it. The control panel for the door was on the inside and no use of the Force could get it to open the door. He looked over his shoulder; he could sense the bottom of this thing was not much father. If he was lucky, he might be able to survive the blow of hitting it. The only thing he could do, that would hopefully work, was dig the lightsaber into the side of the wall and keep him from gaining too much speed again. It was a long-shot…but it was his only shot.

Darth Maul took in a deep breath, and for the first time in his life he wasn't sure about his actions. He didn't know if he could do this in his current physical situation—maybe before yes, but now it was sketchy.

Without thinking upon it anymore, he let go, activated the lightsaber and tried desperately to plunge it into the side of the wall. It wouldn't catch or sink in far enough to the job he had hoped it would. Instead all it did was make more sparks, the light blinding him and forcing him to tightly shut his eyes. The only chance he had was what he did before—search out for something to grab onto, but this time without the lightsaber. He let go of the silver handle after turning it off and tried to grab at the wall for any hopes of something jutting out like the Jedi was fortunate to have.

There had been something, something sharp that ripped his glove down the center, but it hadn't been enough to grab and hold him. He could see the bottom coming fast and he prepared himself for the harsh impact that was soon to come. Even with the help of the Force, his rate of speed and the height of descent would still be tough. Then he had a quick idea that would hopefully break the fall…at least a little. With his right hand covering what it could over the deep gash in his side, he used is left hand to summon the Force and jump off the wall in front of him. The Force pushed him back in the wall, knocking the wind out of him harshly, and then he hit bottom with his feet. His knees instantly gave in and he fell forward, head knocking against the hard, smooth surface of the flooring.

He felt as if a few of the ten short horns on his head were pushed over on his skull, even if that wasn't possible without breaking, but the feeling was all the same. An alarm was going off somewhere in the distance; soldiers would come soon and he didn't want to get caught, even if they were droids…even the ones that fought on the same side he did. He knew that if he was found and taken back to his master he could surely be killed. Not yet, he told himself. He refused to die because his master was unhappy with him; and after that battle with the Jedi, only furiousness would occupy his master's mind.

Maul forced his weary body to sit up. Blood was smeared on the shiny floor where his head had been; he must have hit it hard enough to make it bleed. His side, though, was what was killing him in the figurative and probably literal sense. He made the demand to his body to get up, struggling to keep what balance he had left as he got to his feet. His whole torso wasn't allowing him to stand up straight, but what was worse that his wounded leg wouldn't allow much weight to be thrown on it. He hobbled to the nearest exit, an open door that lay only a few meters away. He had landed in some storage room that shared occupancy with a trash compactor. The room was dark and hot, which at the moment made things a little harder to deal with. His lightsaber lay in front of him and he picked it up slowly, trying not to let himself fall over as he bent down to get it. Hooking it back onto its place on his belt, he limped forward once again.

Once through the door, Maul found himself in very unfamiliar territory. He needed to find the hanger and get a ship to transport himself off the planet. The walls became his support, his good arm holding him up as his other hand held his side. His glove was soaked through with his blood now; all wounds yelled from the open cuts and the burns from the lightsaber. He didn't know if his body would allow him to get to the hanger….He mentally yelled at himself to stop thinking such thoughts. He would get off the planet.

Down the hall a little further revealed an elevator, something he was more than happy to stumble upon. His hand bashed against the button and the door slide open in a flash. He practically fell inside and allowed the door to close him in. His tired yellow eyes looked over the control panel. His fingers pushed against an upper-level switch and he felt the lift pull up and defy gravity to bring him to a higher floor.

The door opened to reveal a brightly light and elaborately decorated hall. He knew this level—it had been the one he had gone through to meet up with the Jedi in the first place. He couldn't thank his lucky stars enough that he didn't have to try every level until he found the right one. He hurried out, hearing the alarm better than ever and laser shots coming from somewhere in the opposite hall.

Darth Maul found and open door and gimped through it, but before he could sense any presence, he felt something sharp and cold pierce the side of his neck. He growled and yanked out the miniature syringe that had been shot at him; it dripped with a clear fluid and he quickly looked around for whoever shot it at him. He was sure it was filled with some sort of poison, but hopefully he pulled it out in time.

On top of a ledge stood a guard holding a small pistol-blaster, probably the weapon used to shoot the poison dart. Maul summoned whatever strength it took to throw his hand up and use the Force to pull the man down. The human fell with a cracking and slumping sound on the hard tiled floor, a small pool of blood circling around his head where it had cracked open. Maul wondered why the Theed Palace on Naboo would have a guard shooting darts, but it didn't matter.

As he turned a corner, a protocol droid bumped into him and he quickly threw it down in defense. It begged with him to spare it, its soft, artificial voice making him realize that it was of no threat.

"Lead me to hanger 3," he said in short breathes. He wondered if the feeling of his body weakening was a result of the poison.

The droid quickly got to its feet and wordlessly started down the hall. By the time he saw the hanger's entrance come into view he was more than glad he ordered the droid to take him there; the halls were starting to look the same to him and he couldn't make out any signs with his blurring vision. He figured he suffered a concussion when he hit the floor of the storage room.

"Here it is, sir, hanger 3," the droid said happily, using its stiff hand to point the way through the opening door that it had switched on.

Maul said nothing as he passed, but didn't resist the small surge of energy in his arm to use the Force to drive the droid into the wall, breaking its back and have it tumble to the floor in a puff of smoke.

His ship, the Sith Infiltrator was still where he had left it. He hadn't reached it a moment too soon. His legs were at the point where they refused to carry him as he hobbled up the ramp. He twisted around and batted against the wall in a huff of air, his lungs gasping for breath and his mind telling him he needed to rest. His bloodied hand reached up from his sagging form and hit the control the close the ramp. All he needed to do was get it into auto pilot and fly him out of there.

The cockpit wasn't too far from the entrance, it being a small ship. He fell into the pilot's seat and waited a moment as he eyes tried to focus on the control panels in front of him. Maul had trained himself since he was a child to ignore any pain, and instead to use it as a tool to make him stronger. Discipline had always been an initiative. But this time was different. He was starting to lose it. It might be the effects of the poison starting its process through his blood stream. Quickly, he hit on the turbines, the thrusters, and everything else that his hand could reach. The engines roared and the craft shook for a split second as it lifted itself into the air. He reached up and hit the pad to bring the landing gear up and immediately put the spacecraft into auto pilot.

The last thing he remembered seeing was the atmosphere turning into the darkness of space, the light from the planet fading away and leaving him in the blackness of the solar system.