The meditation chamber was silent, oppressively so, save for the sound of his own manipulated and mechanical breathing. Perhaps, years later, he would find it an easy tempo to set the meditation to, like the ticking of a metronome. But his wounds were still relatively fresh. And more importantly, Darth Vader was still learning what it meant to be Sith.
The lesson for the day was of one of the greatest names in either history – the Revanchist. The Emperor had made some vague comment and left Vader to comb through the (now unrestricted to him) full Jedi archives. Over three thousand years of corruption, editing, and revision, it was hard work to tease the basic story out of the old files. It did not help, he supposed, that all that remained of Darth Revan was the Mandalorian mask.
Truthfully, the fact that one of the greatest Sith – or Jedi – of history had been boiled down to a flat mask made him a little sick. Even with the helmet off, in the meditation chamber, the idea that a life could be only remembered in a durasteel caricature was something that made cold rage and fear shoot through his veins. He knew it was a story meant to soothe him: Darth Revan had found the dark side for the same reason, and had ultimately succeeded in saving the Republic from the Mandalorian threat, if not far more. But the ice-hot rage curled in his throat, seething, making his fists clench, as he read Bastila Shan's fractured and piecemeal account as it survived.
Where had Obi-Wan been, he wondered, when in the same situation Shan had so easily and deftly found a solution? He was supposed to be the Chosen One – surely, more important than just a miscreant war-hero. But Obi-Wan had gone to no such lengths to give him a way out. There was no forced amnesia and cover-story. There was not even the offer of a coup de grace.
So his mind was full of needling, bristling hate, rising from his gut and spreading throughout the room like choking smoke, at what he saw as Obi-Wan's laziness when such feats had been done by mere young novices like Shan.
It was so pervasive that he did not notice the figure before him until he opened his eyes, fifteen minutes later. The startled cry he gave was audible, even around the snarling, mechanical breathing. His hands gripped his chair tightly.
The Force signature alone told him that the illusion was unreal. But something about it was oddly manicured, too perfect that it became surreal. The black of the robes was too black, smooth and shining as polished marble, but falling in soft folds as if some sculptor had poured it out in a column. Even the armored gloves gleamed a little too brightly. But the mask, underneath the hood, was familiar – battle-scared and worn...
Before he had a chance to speak, the figure raised a hand. The movement was almost birdlike, surreal, not seeming quite human. And then Revan spoke, even if Vader didn't think speaking was quite the right word for it.
The words seemed to hang in the air like a banner. There were voices, certainly – too many of them. He couldn't pick them all out: a middle-aged woman's, a young man's – a rough and grating elderly tone mingled with the honey-tongued clarion call of a child – multitudes upon multitudes, speaking legion. It made Vader press himself back into his seat, disgusted: is this what happened to a spirit become one with the Force, left alone for long enough to forget itself?
I have answers for you.
The bitter rage rose in him, to the point where he could almost taste it on his lips. How dare this outdated, mess of a spirit bother him? It was almost an irrational anger, and so he tried to bite it back, but Vader's answer still came out sardonic and half-snarling. "I wasn't aware I was asking any questions."
The gloved hand jerked up, fingers playing in the air a moment as if the question Vader had asked was still hanging in the air and could be pulled out and unfurled like a magician with colorful handkerchiefs hidden up his sleeve. You ask more than you know. I can see them. The revulsion made Vader press back against his chair again. Is this what one of the greatest names in history was reduced to? Insane, echoing babble? But I have answers: I have the most important answer.
"I suppose this is when you taunt me with your supposed knowledge of it," Vader said dryly, trying to remain impassive, unimpressed. But as the black robes fluttered, a knot of impressed fear wove around his throat, making him clench harder at his chair.
If anything, something behind the mask seemed amused at this.
The armored glove gleamed as Revan raised it, as if calling for the attention of a rowdy group of students. It was almost a melodramatic gesture, yet at the same time, perfectly appropriate – elegant and sweeping – as Revan reached back, into the hood. And the multitudes of voices that wove into one solid, eerie statement spoke again, bold, painted in broad brush-strokes:
The first step is taking off the mask.
With great effort, Revan bowed, making sure that the hood of the robes obscured nearly everything. Vader could see, underneath the too-perfect inky-black robes, subtle muscles straining as the armored fingers stretched to pull something away. There was a struggle, only for a moment, before it fell away. As if it were an offering to some arcane and ancient god, Revan held the mask, cradling it, before abruptly standing tall once more and jerking away the mask's support.
The black and red Mandalorian mask fell to the floor, shattering with a crash.
There was nothing where it had been – just a void – air and silence, and the smooth concave surface of the inside of the black silk hood, shining and nascent like the inside of an egg. Even as the image floated into his dreams later, he could not find words to fully describe it. Something in it was so terrible and so profound both at once that he gave a startled cry, shying away like a scared child.
And the many multitudes that formed one voice burst into laughter – not cruel or mocking, but so horrifyingly genuine that Vader never forgot it, like so many bells ringing on so many planets to greet so many feast-days.
And then Revan was gone, and Vader was alone once more.
Author's Notes: This was my attempt to have my cake and eat it too in terms of honoring the myriad different versions of Revan that are possible in KOTOR, as well as some interaction between the movies and the KOTOR games/mythos. I am not sure if it really works, but after some peach schnapps, I can tell you this: it seemed like a good idea at the time!