Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by George Lucas. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Oh, look, a rewrite. How unprecedented. Don't worry, I'm absolutely continuing with this story. I just thought a bit of a rewrite was in order. You know, get things flowing more easily. Also I wrote myself in a corner, oops. Here's the new Prologue. I'm a lot happier with it, and I hope you, my lovely readers, will be as well! Stay tuned for fixed/edited chapters popping up in future.
– Prologue –
Anakin Skywalker was dead.
There were days, the galaxy murmured, that were darker than the blackest night. It is said that when a Jedi goes to war, both the brightest lights and the darkest shadows are cast; hope and despair. Anakin Skywalker was one such Jedi – he was a shining beacon in a galaxy that suffered. He brought hope where there was none, light where there was darkness, warmth where there was coldness. On the eve of his death, thousands of civilians flooded the streets of Coruscant holding candles in honour of their fallen hero. From the highest windows, looking down, it looked like a sea of golden hope.
Heroes died, but what they stood for was immortal. Even so, the HoloNet News called Skywalker's death the greatest tragedy to befall the Republic since its formation.
It was also the most contrived.
THE HERO WITH NO FEAR HAS FALLEN IN BATTLE!
It was all very dramatic and frankly a bit ridiculous, Sidious thought as he turned away from the office window, growing bored of the 'sea of golden hope'. He sat down at his desk and pressed the tips of his fingers together, leaning back into his chair.
It wasn't as though the boy's death was worth the hysterics of the Republic. It had actually been embarrassingly anticlimactic, what with the boy's last words being, "Aim for the left wing, Arto– OHKRIFF I'M HITARRRGHH –!"
There had been no body to recover, and the only thing left of General Skywalker's fighter pilot was the black box which the Jedi quickly whisked away, leaving the Republic in mourning.
All things considered, the boy's untimely passing was terribly unfortunate for Sidious, since he had been the Chosen One and all. Anakin's death messed up his plans dreadfully which was just plain rude of him, even in death. All those years of meticulous manipulations, carefully emphasised words, and establishing himself as the single person Anakin could trust… years of grooming Anakin into one day becoming the perfect apprentice… he had to get himself killed in a space battle. A space battle, and not even a very important one. So close to the end of the Clone Wars, too: just when everything was finally coming together.
GENERAL SKYWALKER IS DEAD!
Such a waste. Such loss of potential.
Palpatine deferred a supposedly important call; no doubt it was the HoloNet, once again trying to reach him so that he could make a statement on Anakin's death. Let the Republic think he was in mourning as well, Sidious thought, switching off his office commlink for the night. He would very much have liked to turn off his private commlink as well, but Sith Lords, unlike Chancellors, never stopped working. Dooku apparently decided this hour was an appropriate one to bother his Master. Sidious did not consider himself a rude man, and answered the call. It was a holoimage that came through, and Dooku's blue wavering image stood before him.
"Be quick, Darth Tyranus."
"Master." Dooku's holoimage bowed. "I take it you have heard the news of Skywalker's passing."
"Chancellor Palpatine was one of the first to hear of it." A thought occurred to Sidious. "Did you have something to do with it, my apprentice?"
"I regret I did not," Dooku said. "He appears to have done it for me."
No doubt Dooku thought that funny, for he hid a smirk. Sidious did not care much for Dooku's humour. Between them, another HoloNet headline appeared. Dooku, who no doubt was keeping an eye on the HoloNet as well, looked at it with vague interest.
SKYWALKER KILLED IN ACTION; KENOBI ON HIS OWN!
"Finally," Dooku murmured. Palpatine despised that murmur; it was as though Dooku merely enjoyed listening to the sound of his own voice, thinking it low and cultured. And perhaps it was; the trouble was that Dooku used it all the time. It became incessantly irritating very quickly. "I was beginning to wonder when Skywalker would wipe himself from the war board. He was as troublesome as he was boorish."
"You underestimated him, Tyranus," Sidious said. Annoyed thoughts to the contrary, Anakin Skywalker had always been very capable. More than capable; he had been beautiful. A vergence in the Force, and the person who would have one day succeeded in bringing Dooku to his mercy. A warrior with few equals.
Dooku did not look like he agreed. That arrogance would have been his downfall, Sidious thought, and entertained the idea of his current apprentice on his knees before Anakin's fury.
"With your permission, Master," Dooku said, "I would like to… return my focus to Kenobi for the time being."
"You still wish to turn him to our side, Tyranus?"
"I have hopes yet, my Lord."
Enjoy your little pet project, then, Sidious thought, and dismissed Dooku. It would keep the Count occupied if nothing else, and Sidious needed Dooku out of the way if he was to start the search for a new apprentice. Anakin had set the standard high – where Sidious would find another specimen at Anakin's level he had no idea. This did not mean Sidious was without a plan, for the Dark Lord of the Sith was never without a plan. There were possibilities: keep Dooku but dispose of him soon; perhaps set his sights on the fiery Togruta girl Anakin had trained briefly, or even another Zabrak. There was some promise in the Veran woman, though she lacked the necessary midichlorian count to be of proper use.
KENOBI ON HIS OWN, Sidious read again, and turned it off.