One was a Jedi Knight, a hero, clothed in brown and sand coloured robes, wise, kind, just and true. He was handsome enough, with long black hair and a scar on his forehead from when a Dark Lord from another universe had tried – and failed – to kill him. He had fought injustice in one form or another for twenty years. He walked with a calm gait, and had a serene smile upon his face. His name was Harry Potter.
The other wore darker brown robes. His hair was long and red and streaked with aged blonde, his face was haggard and he looked like a walking corpse, gaunt and pale. He had been known by three names. Castor Troy. Castorabusallio Voraainsar. Darth Mortis. Today, he was Castor Voraainsar.
The two were in a lift heading to meet the Dark Lord Darth Sidious, who Castor had told Harry was the orchestrator of the plot to destroy the Jedi. Sidious was powerful. Only these two – Castor, who knew his ways, and Harry, the greatest survivor of the Jedi yet known – could hope to defeat him.
It had been several weeks since Castor had last been known as Darth Mortis, Death incarnate. Several weeks spent fixing Hogwarts, ordering his Clones to switch allegiance away from the Empire, and trying to rebuild trust.
And now, he and his friend were here to destroy the Sith and restore the Senate and the Republic.
Castor did not know if they would succeed.
Luna sensed him before she saw him, but she knew who he was. The signature in the Force was unmistakeable, a beacon of light – except it was now a tainted light, dirty and blood stained, dents in the glass and flickering slightly.
The metaphor died.
Mace Windu's purple sabre ignited, and then so too did Hermione's and Ron's. Luna ignited her own blade with reluctance – she knew quite well that it would be a somewhat one sided fight. He was more powerful than any of the, even in this state.
A rhythmic, heavy, mechanised breathing reached their ears, a mechanical lung that would never stop, would never slow, would never quiet down. Heavy footfalls clunked in their direction.
And then, out he stepped.
Emperor Palpatine was sat behind a desk. It was such an odd image for a Sith Lord and Emperor of the galaxy that Harry almost laughed.
"Darth Mortis," Palpaine said, conversationally. "How nice to see you. You seem somewhat different than the last time we met, but I suppose I should have expected it."
"Hello Chancellor Palpatine," Harry said, bowing with a faint smile. "Or is it Emperor now? I don't suppose it matters, one title is much the same as another."
"And Jedi Potter," Palpatine nodded at Harry. "I suppose you're right about the titles, but I think Emperor has more of a ring to it."
Castor ignited the red blade that had been Mortis's. Palpatine looked at it.
"Am I to take it that you're threatening me?" he asked, a dangerous undertone to his voice.
"Promise," Harry said, conversationally. "Not a threat. I'm truly sorry to cut your reign short," he added, igniting the green sabre that was his trademark and settling into Soresu stance, "but oh well. Better to have ruled and lost than to have never ruled at all."
Castor settled into his half Vaapad, half Ataru opening.
"Your evil will end today," he said, his voice deep and grim.
Palpatine laughed, an altogether unpleasant sound, and stood up, before igniting his own blade.
"Your death promises to be most agonising," he said.
"Let's see what you're made of," Harry said, the smile dropping.
A moments pause.
Then the storm.
His face was like a demon's. There he stood, seven feet tall, monstrous to behold, powerful and inviolate. A red blade ignited in his hand. The hythmic mechanical lung pumping life through scorched veins.
"You should not have come here," he said shortly. "It will make your deaths most painful…"
The voice tailed off as Darth Vader registered Mace Windu. Windu was standing in pure Vaapad pose, poised to strike in a moment.
"Master Windu," Vader noted. "You survived."
"Surprised?" Windu asked.
"Somewhat," Vader admitted, "but it matters not. Your death will come, one way or another."
He said nothing more, but angled his blade to guard. Mace didn't move, and the others circled Vader cautiously.
"Ron," Hermione said, "take his left. Ginny with me. Luna, you and Mace take his front. We strike as one."
Vader watched them move, and smiled painfully within his mask. This would be all too easy.
He fought with Ataru, Harry noted in the first few seconds. His blade was designed to be one handed, he noted in the next few. After a couple of exchanges, he added to his mental tally the extreme speed at which Palpatine moved. After that, the strength of his strikes was noted. The cunning movements, that left one open more than once.
Castor was a blur, moving like lightning, hitting out, and Harry knew that if his friend had not been with him, Harry would have been dead. His role in this duel had bee merely to defend himself while Palpatine struck out at him.
Why am I even here? He asked himself. I'm no match for Palpatine. No match for his power.
He dodged and stepped back, watching as Castor and Palpatine started moving as one, like a dance. People often commented that Jedi fought like they were choreographed. That they moved like dancers.
They moved like that because the Force tod them, in short, don't move there, no not that way either, no, no, yes THERE!
Sometimes, the Force's own guidance left Jedi spinning their sabre's without actually making contact for whole seconds.
This was lasting minutes, the two trying to find their opening.
They found it, and contacted.
They flew apart.
Harry didn't see that, because in the minute that they had danced, he had shouted out to Castor, an incoherent yell…
Darth Vader chided himself for underestimating these Jedi. They were more skilled than he had expected – but that just meant he had to do what, once, he had found simple.
To channel his iron will through the Force.
He snarled inwardly – it had become harder, since he had been encased in this armour, to do this, but here he had no choice.
He brought his will to bear, and then, with a push, he unleashed a shockwave of Force power. Mace Windu was thrown backwards into the traitor Clones – the traitor Clones who had, wisely, hung back from the battle. The brown haired girl and the red haired man were both knocked to the floor, and the blonde Jedi – who had been closest to Vader – bore the brunt of his fury, flying over the edge of the platform and out of sight.
Only the red haired girl stood her ground, her will brought to bear against his.
"Back down, girl," Vader commanded.
The girl smiled.
"Not a chance in hell," she replied, assuming a battle stance.
Harry was gone, that was the first thing he noticed when he and his former Master and mortal foe stopped moving. He looked at the space where his best friend should have been fighting for him, with him, like they always did, and felt shock.
Where could he be?
And then the Force, as it never had in all the years he had been lost, spoke to him clearly and certainly, and it told him that he had been abandoned for Harry's love. That Harry had made a choice – a choice that Castor could not blame, though it had doomed their attempt to destroy Sidious.
Castor snarled and looked Sidious right in the eye. The Dark Lord cut a small, hunched, but triumphant figure.
"There will be a reckoning, Palpatine," he promised with a snarl. "And I will destroy you."
And he left quickly, running to Harry's aid.