He engages the stealth field and the Scimitar, floating already unnoticed in the planet's ring, becomes just one more patch of black space not filled by asteroids.
Sidious shows him holos of the Jedi, of their fighting skills, of their infighting, when he is very young; when it is clear that they are stronger than him.
He thinks that maybe he remembers his earliest years, when he researches Zabrak culture and education and martial arts, but he also knows he might simply be confusing knowledge and memory.
The cold metal floor smacks against his palms and Sidious is hitting him with fists of Force that will leave purple bruises on his sides and he surges up with burning leg-muscles and fights back.
The Padawan runs so purposefully toward the Master, lightsaber pinwheeling and legs pumping, calculating (as Maul must also) the distance through the energy-gates already closing in his mind, and Maul thinks that the older human must be a decent Master, since his apprentice is drawn to him like a compass to north.
The explosion that tears the building apart and sends wracking winds washing across Maul's face is barely noticeable to him compared to the little candle of the Jedi's life going out.
He knows that hyperspace defies physics and that all direction is relative, but whenever he looks out of the viewports at that swirling tunnel he thinks that it is pointing forward, a trajectory to his destination as clear as the inked lines from his wrist to his fingertips.
The first time he fights a living being with a lightsaber, the lack of blood from its wounds is strangely nauseating.
Darth Sidious had designed Maul like an artist, creating a character that looked like the demons of many mythologies; but he had also done so in the manner of a parody; one day the Jedi would remember Maul and think of how obvious it was that he was a distraction, how stupid they had been not to realize that the greatest evil more often looked good.
He licks the wine from his lips and feels warmth pool in the hollow of his throat.
Pulled up against the underside of the primitive wooden platform-houses on Dorvalla, Maul thinks that he rarely enjoys anything more than the feeling of being inches from his target in the dark and them not having any idea that he's there.
Sidious says, "If I asked you turn to the light, my apprentice, what would be your response?"
Sidious believes that it is easier to kill someone whom you are afraid of.
When Obi-Wan returns to the Temple with –he does not even want to think about it—the body of Qui-Gon on a floating stretcher behind him, his friend Asha comes to meet him with tears in her eyes and a fast, scaling melody humming behind her lips, as if she knows that the turmoil he felt in the fight has not yet left him.
He peels bloody velvet from the hooked bone of his emerging cranial horns and feels the soft stuff between his fingers before casting it away.
"My page," Sidious-as-Palpatine introduces young Maul to a senator, laying a hand on his shoulder.
"I wanted to be a Jedi once," says the Black Sun vigo, and Maul thinks of how silly it is to wish to be anything you are not; the Force either promises one a life with it or it does not.
He dreams that he is fighting and wakes to find that Sidious has caught in his claws the hand Maul flung out to strike him with.
The power does not go out often on Coruscant, but when one grid falters and Maul is left crouching in the dark, he wonders whether far away in his towers Sidious is on the same grid, blinking into the same darkness.
There is one delicious moment in every fight where Maul leans back into a flip or roll or the impact of a strike and breathes out through his teeth and thinks, feels, knows, that he is good at this.
He stands in one of the pods of the senate amphitheatre and hears Mas Amedda speak beautiful useless words that do not move the senators to any emotion apparent to the Force.
Many philosophers had argued that life was a journey, and he agreed—because every fight was one too, an emotional distance covered, a straight line tangled and jagged but covering oh so much space if stretched out.
Unlike most of his challenges, they start slow with the Force lightning; it will kill him otherwise.
When Eeth Koth heard that the Sith on Naboo was a Zabrak wielding the lightsaber version of a zhaboka, he thought sadly that such ancestral strength was an easy thing for the Sith to teach, and that it was sad it had been so used.
He closes his eyes as the little cats-claw tattooing needle pierces beside them.
Maul walked along the frozen pipes that fed water to Coruscant's lived-in areas from its poles, and wondered at how empty the Force felt here even on such a crowded planet.
He cannot pinpoint a time when he turned to the dark side, and so it is in ways stronger and in ways weaker in him than if he had made a conscious decision.
Obi-Wan Kenobi's last thought, as he sees the red glint of Vader's eyes and feels the saber hum, is not of the past, but of the future; Luke will survive, and it will never matter that this is the last time—oh, but not the first, he can barely remember the first—that Obi-Wan prepared himself to die on the edge of a 'saber.
Sidious shows him how to hold the double-bladed lightsaber, and Maul's first few swings are strong but incorrect as he smiles at the beauty of it, and it surprises him when the correct sequences feel the least natural, although after so much practice that changes and he feels so in control.
One of the few female Zabraks he came into contact with was a senator he met on one of his travels with Sidious, and the paleness of her skin between her horns made him wonder whether she'd dyed her skin in an attempt to look more human.
The Zabraks can be distilled down into ink and martial arts and adaptability and progress, and so when Drell Kahmf , coroner assigned to Theed Palace in the aftermath of the battle, extracts what he can of the Sith Lord's history from bone and gear and skin, he realizes that here is the epitome of his people.
Later, that one slack look haunts Obi-Wan with how unprepared his opponent was for death.
He finds, when he returns to Iridonia, that is a world of peaceful people; although there are the fighters and the zhaboka-dancers there are also artists and families, and he is proud that he is not simply a product of his world.
The feathers are not a tradition of "his" people, the Zabraks, but he finds some meditative pleasure in them, in unbraiding them from one of the exotic weapons he was given (always he is pleased when there is a gift, always inspired) and seeing how the knots work by tying them again.
In an idle dreaming moment Darth Vader remembers the saber-visions from the cave on Ilum, remembers a Sith-who-was-not-Sidious telling him that the dark side was the Master he truly needed and wanted (he is not sure which is more frightening or more true).
He may be an idiot signifying nothing, but he can tell a good tale of sound and fury.
He tells Sidious, "If you asked me to turn to the light side I would turn."
He heard on the holonet that two distant galaxies were colliding—no, had collided thousands of years ago, although only now was the light reaching eyes he knew—and he took the Scimitar up out of Coruscant's cloud to watch it.
Force-users have gone mad looking into his soul; he supposes that he is either immune or has gone mad long ago, to be able to do so at his leisure.
The taozin, invisible in the Force, taught him the power of the blind.
One of the few times he sees Sidious falter is when the Sith Lord pauses for just a second to think how to adapt a lightsaber technique for the left hand.
He asks Sidious what words mean whenever he can, because after Sidious returns from his trips outside the Works he is always more talkative; language must then be essential out in the world.
When he fights the machine-man the wyrd-witches have prepared him for he does not remember who he is truly, what is his name or his purpose, but as they fight he remembers again—finds all he ever was in leaping over his opponent's slow strides and in taunting him.
The first thing Sidious uses to motivate him with is revenge, but the second is I will replace you with another apprentice if you fail, and Maul's greatest dream combines the two and replaces them with success—being Sidious's Chosen One to bring the Jedi down.
Galen Marek thought he knew PROXY, but the droid is right, as it transforms into another phantom—he has never seen this training module before.
He falls and falls and falls—and lands, slap of bootsoles against dirt, with a sense of dejah vu like he has felt this particular sort of vertigo before—all shades and tastes of vertigo.
"When I was young and I couldn't sleep," Sidious whispered to the child-Maul lying bruised and exhausted on the pallet, "they would take me out for a drive, and the highways would do the work."
Maul looks into the eyes of the Jedi and it is so easy for him to fall into the fear of them he once felt; it was not the fear that that drove him to perfect his martial skill—the joy of it drove that—but that gives him all the more reason to destroy them, that they might not destroy him.
Sidious is pleased that there is in Maul no recognition of what light really means.
He sprints across a rooftop, jumps, falls in quick, controlled succession from one ladder-rung of a radio spire to another, traveling the highways of Coruscant's ruins, and he keeps his eyes on the figure beside him—now Sidious, now Obi-Wan, now a slim cloaked form with no identity at all—
Author's Note. This challenge—from prompts on Livejournal- was started in April of 2009 and yes has taken me this long to complete. Therefore, it may be significant to note that some of the earlier sentences, especially Hero and Silk , have been integral to my characterization of Maul in the intervening time.
If any of these ideas are contradicted by the upcoming Clone Wars episodes, well frak that I was here first.