The Cradle Will Fall

Chapter Four: A Shadow is Born

41.9 years BBY

Darth Sidious sat in a low risen chair overlooking the arena he had constructed in the underbelly of Coruscant, watching as his apprentice slaughtered the packs of ravenous Malias, spit flying with each shout of rage, the glow of his golden eyes the only constant source of light in the dark cavern.

It had been less than a quarter hour since the tirade had begun, but already the wails of agony were coming to an end. Sidious waited until the last beast was beheaded before he stood to say:

"Well done, Lord Maul. Perhaps, in time, you will be able to perform this task with enough speed that your master would not be at risk of being lulled to sleep."

Through the shadows the figure of the young Zabrak knelt amongst the gore. "I apologize for the delay, Master," he said. "If only I had my lightsaber, the deed would be effortless."

Sidious rose and glided to the spiraling stone steps that led down to the pit. "Arrogance is a disease, much like any other, my very young apprentice. Your weapon makes you more powerful, is that what you believe?"

Maul made to speak, but Sidious silenced him with a raised hand.

"A crimson blade is nothing more than a symbolic tool- an instrument, a convenience, when you are short of time. A Sith's real power comes from within. Use the Force as a servant, a master, a mother, and an executioner- for in all these ways it has a potential to service you. Feed on your anger, your hate, and transform these passions into power, combine this power with your command of the Force and, in so doing, pave your way to victory."

Sidious stopped in front of his still kneeling apprentice. "Or, if you are too weak to desire victory, take your weapon," Sidious said, bringing forth the blade from within his robes. "Use it to 'brush aside' your next task."

Sidious dropped the saber and looked on as his apprentice remained motionless, refusing to acknowledge the object of his shame, even as it rolled to a stop, tapping the toe of his boot.

"Pick it up."

Maul tensed. "I do not want it."

"Oh? Has the all powerful Lord of the Sith had a change of heart?"

Maul did not move. "Yes, Master."

"But it would make the task so much easier. It requires so little effort."

"I do not wish to be weak."

Sidious inclined his head. "I feel it is far too late to prevent it."

Maul flinched, but otherwise said nothing. Sidious was about to demand that move on to the next task when he was struck breathless by such a powerful blow from the Dark Side and such a harsh tug on his conscience that held an urgency that was so uncharacteristic of his master that, for a moment, Sidious closed off their connection fearing that the unthinkable had happened and someone had broken through his guard.

He was faintly aware of Maul jumping to his feet and coming to his aid just as the edges around Sidious's vision tinted over red. Slowly, he regained his ability to take in air and, in that moment, a wave of understanding washed over him and in that instant he knew that the time had come.

He reopened himself to the Force, knowing that Plagueis would be awaiting his arrival. Sidious closed his eyes and focuses solely on the task of regulating his heart beat and the steady intake of air.

"Master," Maul inquired, and Sidious slowly turned to face him. "Are you alright?"

Sidious blinked, nodded, and lowered his cowl. "It appears that I will be leaving you ahead of schedule."

At this, Maul's indifference faltered. "But I thought that Palpatine was to remain at the senate for the extent of the Mandalorian debate."

"Obviously, plans have changed. Sidious is needed elsewhere."

Maul bowed. "When are you to leave?"

The Dark Lord shuddered as another tremor of the Force overtook him. When he felt that the chill had passed, he crossed his arms over his chest and sighed.

"Immediately."

*x*X*x*X*x*

The flight from Coruscant to Sojourn had never seemed so brief and, once he arrived, Plagueis met him outside the bay doors, wasting no time in how they should proceed.

"Welcome, Lord Sidious," Plagueis said, and Sidious fell into place alongside him.

"Where is the child," Sidious asked and, for a moment, he thought he saw the Munn cringe.

"Inside with the woman; she is awaiting your command."

"My command?"

"I did not misspeak, Sidious. Mother and child are ready to leave on your word. The woman is not so naive as to deny you as the father."

"Master, shouldn't you would be the one to do it," Sidious said, uneasy.

"Me?" Plagueis could have laughed. "And what do you think the boy would think the first time he looked into a mirror? No, it is not possible."

Sidious inclined his head.

A sound came from Plagueis's transpirator that could have been a sigh. "The boy is human, Sidious." He paused. "So, it stands to reason that his father would be human too."

Sidious smirked, "And what will you be? Merely some stand-in-uncle, always present at holidays or other random functions?"

"I will be nothing."

Sidious blinked. "I'm sorry?"

"Until the time is right, it will be as if I never existed. The boy is not to know that his master is apprenticed to another. In his eyes, Sidious, you will be a mentor, a master, and a father." Plagueis rose to his feet and placed a hand on the human's shoulder. "Teach him, subdue him, and make him believe you love him. Then, and only then, will he be committed enough to our cause to further the plan."

"Love him, master," Sidious said, hesitantly. "Do you wish to weaken him?"

Plagueis cocked his head. "In a sense; this boy will become more powerful than either of us, Lord Sidious. There is a reason why we Sith do not train our apprentices from birth. We, unlike the Jedi, encourage the basic instincts of life. Fear, Anger, Lust, and yes, even Love are all weapons to be used at our disposal."

"I understand."

"I know." A moment of silence passed between them before Plagueis pointed to the medical bay and said, "Just through those doors, Lord Sidious, sits a slave woman with the future of the galaxy swaddled in her arms."

"It sounds so magnificent when put that way."

Plagueis nodded once. "Go now, Sidious, your son is waiting."


Author's Note:

Okay, so, the creatures in this (Malias) are actually legit creatures of the SW universe- ferocious creatures with blue-gray fur and triple rows of teeth. I felt like using those specific monsters because ONE my name is Malia =^.^= and TWO since tomorrow (October 9th) is my birthday, it is like a little present to myself.

I apologize for the briefness of this chapter and the length of time from my last update. My life has been insanely busy and I just now forced a bit of free time on myself. I hope you enjoyed yourself either way, and I promise, it will not be as long until the next time!

Feel free to leave a review, it would be the BEST birthday present of all!