Through hate, I will conquer death.
It was dark, down here. So cold, and so dark. He could feel the darkness leaching into his bones, even more so than the cold, and somewhere far off, water dripped tauntingly.
He didn't want it to end this way. He didn't want it to end at all. He'd never given much thought to it ending, really. When you were a farmboy on a backwater agriworld and complained every day that you were going to die of boredom, it was a threat you never actually intended to act on.
But he wasn't going to die of boredom—he was going to die slowly and agonizingly with the relentless pain of a broken leg adding injury to insult. The boulder still lay on his crushed thigh, and because of the narrowness of the tunnel that he had burrowed himself into, he was unable to maneuver his arms around to push it off. Even so, he did not know if he would be able to crawl backward, nor what other obstacles might await him in the wake of the cave-in.
So there was a reason the elders had always told his generation to never play in the caves, he admitted to himself begrudgingly. That didn't make this any less fair. He was young; there was still so much he wanted to see and do and experience. Regrets now plagued him like gnats swarming in his brain. And to submit to the insufferable humility of dying unnoticed by the rest of the galaxy—no one would care. Yes, his family and peers would have their season of mourning, but in the long run, in the annals of history echoing through millennia, no one would know that there was once a boy-man, tall and brawny with skin the color of bronze and eyes like deep soil, who laughed deeply and thought quickly and got into fights easily and then one day he wasn't. Eventually his flesh would rot and the planet would shift and bury his bones away in its great cyclic dance of tectonics. It frightened him to realize how little he really mattered. Frightened him, and angered him.
But what chilled him more was the prospect of his impending demise. When he had first felt the rock crumble around him, he exhausted his strength in yelling, but to no avail. He was too far in and too far away for anyone to be able to hear him. Yes, they would notice he was missing, but by the time they found him it would be too late. If, indeed, they could even reach him. And it was well past the time when night would have fallen, and it was cold. Oh, so cold.
Death, the great unknown. He was about to embark on a journey from which none had ever returned. If it indeed was a journey. Perhaps it was just an oblivious destination. All the religions he had ever heard of raced through his head as he attempted to grasp comfort and knowledge from them, but they fell away in the face of fear. This was not a path he was prepared to walk. He wanted to continue living. He refused to die.
At that moment, as he raged out against death, something awakened in him. He could feel the fury surging through his frame, and he fed on it, becoming more and more angry at everything—at the cave, at the boulder, at his leg for inconveniencing him. His hands gripped the smooth stone and began to crack it.
He extended his anger further. His family had failed him. He had no true friends. The girls in town thought he was a brute. He wanted to make them all sorry for slighting him. He could feel the wrath building up until it filled his lungs and came out as a beastly roar that echoed through the tunnel and caused his ears to ring. And it felt good. He continued to scream rage, this newfound power fueling him, causing him to ignore his aching body and raw throat. His skin rippled, and with a snort he clenched the stone underneath him, the rock crumbling like sand in his grip. Twisting, writhing, he tore at his tomb, ripping away limestone like chunks of raw meat, soft and pliable in his hands. His broken leg no longer bothered him; his thoughts were focused purely on survival, and he noticed that the more he let his injury gall him, the more he felt the power flow.
It took him the better part of an hour to claw his way back to the surface and let his tongue taste the long-missed sweetness of fresh air, and nearly until dawn to drag himself to the nearest home. All the while, he subsisted on this new source of strength he had found, drawing from his rage and hate. And pain. He embraced the pain, used it to goad himself, to keep focused. It began to show its use to him. When he was found by fellow farmers and his leg set and treated with kolto, he found himself missing his agony. Healing took away the only thing that motivated him.
Everyone wanted to know what had happened to him in the cave that night, but he refused to discuss it with them, simpleminded as they were. It was his secret to know, and his alone. They could not possibly appreciate the power he wielded. But he continued to exercise it in solitude, throwing himself into danger so that he might call upon his pain to save him.
It was not long after that, that the Sith found him.
He killed two of them easily, with his bare hands; the inner fire they possessed compared to his was like the fist of a child against a stone wall and they crumpled before him; he gloated over their weakness. Their band had come to the planet to pillage its resources, and his hamlet was in flames, but all he cared was that worthy adversaries had finally come to him. Now, he could test his mettle and prove that he was strong enough to live when others could not.
The remainder of the group ceased provoking him, but his disappointment turned to excitement when they extended an offer to him to join them in their conquest of the galaxy. He had finally found like-minded beings, it seemed, and he was being given the chance to hone his skills on a scale he had often dreamed about.
And so, he accepted.
It is said that Sith never meet their end peacefully; he was not going to be the exception to that rule. Locked in combat with a master Jedi, a single misstep, a lapse in calculation, and he felt pain beyond anything he had previously known, and his vision grew dim.
But he refused to leave. He had overcome death before—he would do it again. Once more, he breathed the hatred, let it consume him with its companion pain. As his heart shuddered its last beat and his cells screamed out for life in a cry suddenly cut silent, he rose, a wicked grin on his face, and hewed down his foe. He was no longer alive, but neither was he lifeless.
He was Darth Sion, the Lord of Pain. And he held dominion over death.