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Master Azronger
Master Azronger
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Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling Empty Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling

March 6th 2023, 11:00 pm
Message reputation : 100% (2 votes)
This is a formal discussion thread between myself and @DarthAnt66, primarily, although other users may provide their two cents as well on the condition they have something meaningful to say. The topic is in the title: Ant thinks Banite scaling has run its course while I believe it still holds true. If an official resolution isn't reached, at least the most prominent evidence and arguments will be out there, and the readers can then decide for themselves which position they find more palatable.

LFL policy has been agreed to by both parties, although variance in its interpretation and implementation may occur, and such disagreements are dealt on a case-by-case basis (cf. the law is a codified set of strictures but we still have lawyers and law professors debate its exact meaning).

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Master Azronger
Master Azronger
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Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling Empty Re: Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling

March 19th 2023, 8:42 am
Message reputation : 100% (2 votes)
PRO-BANITE SCALING EVIDENCE

PARAMETERS

As per our agreement, and because this is the existing status quo, I'll first list all the evidence pointing to the veracity of Banite scaling. I'll begin by analyzing the primary narrative sources - the Darth Bane trilogy by Drew Karpyshyn, the Darth Plagueis novel by James Luceno, and Book of Sith by Daniel Wallace -, which I personally grant the most weight; then I'll move onto secondary sources which commentate on those primary sources, such as sourcebook quotes and web articles; and lastly I'll delve into authorial intent, which by my estimation is the least valuable of the three layers but still worthy of consideration.

Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling Banite_scaling_evidence_hierarchy

The reasoning behind my hierarchy of evidence is rooted in the LFL policy we have agreed upon for the duration of this discussion. As explained in your Canon and Considerations blog, the LFL temple consists of five pillars determining the worth of a source or a claim. Visibility and officiality are the main ones elevating narrative books over sourcebooks: the Darth Bane trilogy is among the most recognized EU works ever, up there with the likes of the Thrawn trilogy, Dark Empire, and The Old Republic; and the Darth Plagueis novel is so widely known even Ian McDiarmid himself own a copy [1], and George Lucas was heavily involved in its creation, bypassing the usual editorial levels, and in a sense making the book quasi-G-canon the same way the Revenge of the Sith novelization is [2]. I would also nominate clarity, with a small, personal addendum, as an additional reason to view the novels more highly: each source that comments on an existing source is another person's reading, and therefore a distortion, even if in only a small way, of that original source. You can liken it to the accuracy between a historical document versus actually being there in person to witness the events, which occasionally results in cases of broken telephone, creating the mistakes we frequently see in secondary sources. In that respect, original narrative sources (i.e. the stories themselves) should axiomatically be higher than secondary sources like reference books and such.

Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling ArdWXAX

LFL has also decreed author commentary is superseded by the published material, hence why authorial intent ranks last for me. Leland Chee says he does not have any notes on authors' intent [3]; Sue Rostoni clarifies "anything authors speculate about, or anyone else for that matter, is not canon until it is in print" [4]; and even the most lenient answer by Pablo Hidalgo states "A storyteller's intent should be considered, but people change their minds all the time, so the text itself is the most solid thing to go off." [5] And while Matt Martin didn't work on Legends, he echoes the same sentiment in saying "You shouldn't take anything anyone says on social media as gospel", that "No random statements by creators are canon in and of themselves" "so nothing is 'true' until it's told in official storytelling," and that "the facts are in the publishing itself." [6][7] However, Leland Chee has stated an author's thoughts on a subject they wrote about are "as official as it's going to get" insofar as no published material comments on it. [8]

THE STORIES THEMSELVES

THE NARRATIVE

The Rule of Two is an invention of Darth Bane's, inspired by his experiences as an iconoclastic apprentice in the Brotherhood of Darkness, his studies into ancient Sith history, and the wisdom contained within Darth Revan's Holocron. The dark side by its nature is individualistic and leads to the aggrandizement of the self at the exclusion of everyone else. This causes one to desire domination and power over others, but those other adherents of the dark side are of the same mindset, and thus competition ensues. If a single Sith Lord is significantly more powerful than the rest, it often results in their minions forming alliances to depose their Master. In such occurrences, the survivors will then squabble amongst themselves for the position of the new Sith ruler, and whoever receives it will be weaker than the original Dark Lord, and will likewise be vulnerable to being betrayed the same way by a coterie of lesser Sith. The cycle would repeat, producing weaker Dark Lords with each generation.

Lord Kaan's solution to make all Sith Masters equal in status is flawed, because it represses the inherent competitive quality of the dark side, and discourages the unambitious members of the Brotherhood of Darkness from rising to individual greatness. The Sith must have a Dark Lord, but no single Dark Lord is all-powerful and will eventually die (safe to say Bane does not know about Vitiate). As such, the Dark Lord needs an apprentice, but only one in order to prevent many from joining forces. One Master, one apprentice; one to embody the power, the other to crave it. The Rule of Two.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Path of Destruction wrote:Bane was sitting cross-legged on the stone floor of the central chamber on the Rakatan Temple's uppermost floor. He was meditating on Revan's words as he had often done between the Holocron's lessons. Now that the artifact was gone, it was even more important to contemplate what he had learned about the nature of the dark side . . . and the path it would lead him down.

By its very nature, the dark side invites rivalry and strife. This is the greatest strength of the Sith: it culls the weak from our order.

The constant battling of the Sith since the beginning of recorded history served a necessary purpose: it kept the power of the dark side concentrated in a few powerful individuals. The Brotherhood had changed all that. There were now a hundred or more Dark Lords following Kaan, but most were weak and inferior. The Sith numbers were greater than they had ever been, yet they were still losing the war against the Jedi.

The power of the dark side cannot be dispersed among the masses. It must be concentrated in the few who are worthy of the honor.

The strength of numbers was a trap . . . one that had snared all the great Sith Lords who had come before. Naga Sadow, Exar Kun, Darth Revan: each had been powerful. Each had drawn disciples in, teaching them the ways of the dark side. Each had assembled an army of followers and unleashed them against the Jedi. Yet in each and every case the servants of light had prevailed.

The Jedi would always remain united in their cause. The Sith would always be brought low by infighting and betrayals. The very traits that drove them to individual greatness and glory-the unrelenting ambition, the insatiable hunger for power-would ultimately doom them as a whole. This was the inescapable paradox of the Sith.

Kaan had tried to solve the problem by making everyone equal in the Brotherhood. But his solution was flawed. It showed no understanding of the real problem. No understanding of the true nature of the dark side. The Sith must be ruled by a single leader: the very embodiment of the strength and power of the dark side.

If all are equal, then none is strong. Yet whoever rose from the swollen and bloated ranks of the Sith to claim the mantle of Dark Lord would never be able to hold it. In time the apprentices will unite their strength and overthrow the Master. It is inevitable. Together the weak would overwhelm the strong in a gross perversion of the natural order.

But there was another solution. A way to break the endless cycle dragging the Sith down. Bane understood that now. At first he had thought the answer might be to replace the order of the Sith with a single, all-powerful Dark Lord. No other Masters. No apprentices. Just one vessel to contain all the knowledge and power of the dark side. But he had quickly dismissed the idea.

Eventually even a Dark Lord would wither and die; all the knowledge of the Sith would be lost. If the leader grows weak, another must rise to seize the mantle. One alone would never work. But if the Sith numbered exactly two . .

Minions and servants could be drawn in to the service of the dark side by the temptation of power. They could be given small tastes of what it offered, as an owner might share morsels from the table with his faithful curs. In the end, however, there could be only one true Sith Master. And to serve this Master, there could be only one true apprentice.

Two there should be; no more, no less. One to embody the power, the other to crave it. The Rule of Two.

This was the knowledge that would lead the dark side into a new age. A revelation that would bring an end to the infighting that had defined the order for a thousand generations. The Sith would be reborn, the new ways would be swept away-and Bane would be the one to do it.

But first he would have to destroy the Brotherhood. Kaan, Qordis-all who had studied with him on Korriban, all the Masters on Ruusan-had to be purged until he alone remained.

Darth Bane, Lord of the Sith. The title was his by right; there was no other strong enough in the dark side to challenge him. The only question that remained was who was worthy of being his apprentice. And how he would eliminate the others.

Much like how energy cannot be created or destroyed, merely transmuted into different forms, the dark side is not fire; it is venom. If there are too many concurrent practitioners, its power will be spread amongst them and diluted, whereas if its devotees are few, the dark side will be potently concentrated in them. The more Sith there are, the weaker they will be on average, but if their numbers are sufficiently culled, the dark side will grant far more power to the survivors in response. This is the cosmic principle driving Banite scaling: they are "building an arsenal of dark side potency" that will grow generation after generation until one single Sith Lord is able to exact the Sith's revenge on the Jedi and the Republic.

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Star Wars: Darth Bane - Path of Destruction wrote:Kaan, Githany, and the rest of the Dark Lords had gathered atop a barren plateau overlooking the vast forests where Hoth and his army were hiding. They had come on their fliers: short-range, single-person, airborne vehicles front-mounted with heavy blaster guns. The fliers were parked at the edge of the plateau, fifty meters away from where the Sith sat in a loose circle. The ritual had begun.

They were communing with the Force, all of them slipping into a meditative trance as one. Their minds drifted deeper and deeper into the well of power contained within each individual, drawing on their strength and combining it through a single conduit. Bane stood in the center of the circle, urging them on.

"Touch the dark side. The dark side is one. Indivisible."

The night sky filled with dark clouds and a fierce wind swirled across the plateau, tearing at the cloaks and capes of the Sith. The air shook with the thunder and crackle of a mounting electrical storm. Bolts of blue-white lightning arced through the air, and the temperature suddenly dropped.

"Give yourself over to the dark side. Let it surround you. Engulf you. Devour you."

The Brotherhood slipped deeper into the collective trance, barely even aware of the storm now raging about their physical selves. Bane stood at the eye of the storm, drawing the bolts of lightning into himself, feeding on them. He felt his strength surge as he channeled and focused the dark side from the others.

This is how it should be! All the power of the Brotherhood in one body! The only way to unleash the full potential of the dark side!

"Do you feel invincible? Invulnerable? Immortal?"

He had to shout to be heard above the howling wind and thunder. A web of lightning spiraled out from his body, connecting him to each of the other Sith. He shivered then suddenly went stiff, arms spread out at his sides. Slowly, his rigid body began to rise into the air.

"Can you feel it?" he screamed, feeling as if the raw power of the Force roaring through him might rip his very flesh asunder. "Are you ready to kill a world?"

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Path of Destruction wrote:Many kilometers in the opposite direction, Darth Bane also felt the reverberations of the blast. He sensed the wave of dark side energy pass over him, strong enough to leave him shivering even at this distance. Once it was gone he reached out with the Force to seek out any who might have escaped. As he expected, he felt nothing. They were all gone: Kaan, Kopecz, Githany ... all of them.

The Brotherhood of Darkness had been purged. As far as the Jedi knew, the Sith were now extinct. Bane intended to keep it that way.

He was the only Dark Lord of the Sith, the last of his kind. The burden of rebuilding the order would fall to him. But this time he would do it right. Instead of many there would be only two: one Master and one apprentice. One to embody the power, and one to crave it.

To survive, the Sith had to vanish, becoming creatures of myth, legend, and nightmares. Hidden from the eyes of the Jedi, they could seek out the lost secrets of the dark side until its full power was theirs to command. Only then - once victory over their enemies was certain - would they tear aside the veil of shadows and reveal themselves.

The path ahead would be long and difficult. It might take years or decades before they could strike at the light once more. Perhaps even centuries. But Bane was patient; he understood what was to come and what must be done. Though he himself might not live to see the triumph of the dark side, those who followed him would carry on his legacy. Someday in the distant future, the Republic would fall and the Jedi would perish, and the entire galaxy would bow down to a Dark Lord of the Sith. It was inevitable; it was the way of the dark side.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:The Sith had existed in one form or another for thousands of years. Throughout their existence they had waged an endless war against the Jedi:and one another. Time and time again the followers of the dark side had been thwarted by their own rivalries and internal power struggles.

A common theme resonated across the long history of the Sith Order. Any great leader would inevitably be overthrown by an alliance of his or her followers. Lacking a strong leader the lesser Sith would quickly turn against one another, further weakening the Order.

Of all the Sith Masters, only Bane had understood the inescapable futility of this cycle. And only he had been strong enough to break it. Under his leadership the Sith had been reborn. Now they numbered only two - one Master and one apprentice; one to embody the power of the dark side, the other to crave it.

Thus would the Sith line always flow from the strongest, the one most worthy. Bane's Rule of Two ensured that the power of both Master and apprentice would grow from generation to generation until the Sith were finally able to exterminate the Jedi and usher in a new galactic age.

That was why Bane had chosen Zannah as his apprentice: she had the potential to one day surpass even his own abilities. On that day she would usurp him as the Dark Lord of the Sith and choose an apprentice of her own. Bane would die, but the Sith would live on.

Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling Image

Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling Image

Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling Image

Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling Image

However, the Sith are not hapless pawns of destiny; the dark side is about the individual bending the Force to their will and forging their own path. As such, the apprentice must still prove themselves worthy of the title of Sith Master before they can claim it. A duel to the death must commence - a definitive rite of passage to mark the moment the apprentice has surpassed the Master and the dark side has taken another step in its incremental ascent to supremacy. Such a system would ensure each subsequent Sith Lord would be more powerful than their predecessors.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Rule of Two wrote:"You have the potential to surpass me," he continued. "If you achieve your potential I will cease to be of use to you. You will need to find new sources of knowledge. You will have to seek out a new apprentice so that you may pass on the secrets of the Sith Order to another.

"When your power eclipses mine I will become expendable. This is the Rule of Two: one Master and one apprentice. When you are ready to claim the mantle of Dark Lord as your own, you must do so by eliminating me.

"The confrontation is inevitable," he concluded. "It is the only way the Sith can survive. It is the way of the dark side."

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Rule of Two wrote:"You still have much to teach me " Zannah reminded him. "I will continue to study at your feet, Master. I will learn from your wisdom. I will discover your secrets, unlocking them one by one until everything you know - all your knowledge and all your power - is mine. And once you are no longer of use to me, I will destroy you."

Bane raised an eyebrow at her words, and she could tell he approved. Her ambition was good; it would give her power. Her talents and abilities would continue to grow. In time, she would challenge her Master for the right to rule, and only the stronger would survive. It was inevitable. It was the way of the Sith.

"One day I will surpass you," Zannah warned him. "And on that day I will kill you, Lord Bane. But that day is not today."

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:"My name is Darth Zannah," she explained, "and I am looking for an apprentice."

On one level, Set was even more confused than before. But part of his mind-the part that had kept him one step ahead of the Jedi for the past ten years-seized on her words. Now you know what she wants. Figure out a way to use it.

"Why are you looking for an apprentice?" he asked carefully, wary of enraging her with his lack of understanding.

"The Jedi believe the Sith are extinct," she began. "But you can plainly see by my presence that the Jedi are wrong. The Sith still exist, but now we number only two: one Master, and one apprentice. One to embody the power of the dark side, the other to crave it."

"So you want to increase your numbers," Set reasoned. "You're seeking recruits to join your cause and rebuild the Sith armies."

"That is the path to failure," Zannah replied. "The history of the Sith has proven that in greater numbers the Sith will always turn their hatred against one another. It is inevitable; it is the way of the dark side.

"The only way we can survive is by following the Rule of Two. Our numbers can never grow beyond this. The Master will train his apprentice in the ways of the Sith, until one day she must challenge him. If she proves unworthy, the Master will destroy her and choose a new apprentice. If she proves the stronger, the Master will fall and she will become the new Dark Lord of the Sith, and choose an apprentice of her own."

Set felt like things were becoming clearer now. "You are the apprentice. You think it's time to challenge your Master. And you want me to help you defeat him."

"No!" she snapped, causing Set to flinch in his bed. "That is the old way. Lesser followers would unite their inferior skills to bring down a strong leader, weakening the Order. This goes against everything the Rule of Two stands for.

"If I am to become the Dark Lord of the Sith, I must prove myself by facing my Master alone. If I am unworthy, then I will fall - but the Order will remain strong under his leadership.

"Do you understand?"

Set understood all too well. "The Rule of Two guarantees that each Master will be more powerful than the one who came before. It culls the weak." Good for the Sith as a whole, but not so great if you're the one getting culled.

Zannah may have been willing to sacrifice herself for the greater good of the Sith Order, but Set wasn't ready to do the same. Of course, he was smart enough not to say so out loud.

Instead, he asked, "What made you choose me?"

"I have been seeking an apprentice for some time now," Zannah explained. "When I stumbled across your path on Doan, I knew it was more than mere chance.

"You are strong in the Force, and you have rejected the Jedi and their teachings. You are intelligent and resourceful. But your potential is unfulfilled. You have not dedicated yourself to the dark side. In your quest for the talismans of the ancient Sith you are like a child playing with his toys.

"You have no thoughts of the future. No ambition. No plan. No vision. That will change if you agree to be my apprentice. Join me and I will show you your destiny."

"My destiny?"

"For thousands of years the Jedi and Sith have waged an endless war against each other. The Jedi believe the war is over. They think the Sith are gone. But we still exist in the shadows, planning our revenge.

"With patience and cunning, we are laying the seeds of our ultimate victory. Generation after generation our power and influence will grow until one day we will destroy the Jedi, and the Sith will rule the galaxy."

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:"You are unworthy of becoming the Master, Zannah. That was why I went to Prakith."

"No," Zannah said, her voice calm and cold. "You won't turn this back on me. You said you were training me so that I would one day succeed you. You said it was my destiny to become the Master.

"Now you want to live forever. You want to cling to the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith and deny me what is mine!"

"That mantle must be earned," Bane countered. "You wanted to wait, to take it by default."

"You taught me patience," she reminded him. "You taught me to bide my time."

"Not in this!" Bane shouted. "Only the strongest has the right to rule the Sith! The title of Dark Lord must be seized, wrenched from the all-powerful grasp of the Master!"

"That is why I am here," Zannah said with a grim smile. "I have found an apprentice of my own. I am ready to embrace my destiny."

Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling Image

Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling Image

But does this come to pass? Darth Plagueis muses that "the Force, ever mindful of balance, provides beings strong in the dark side when light has ruled for too long," and that "the generations of Sith Lords that had preceded him had trained apprentices, to whom they had bequeathed their knowledge of the dark side of the Force in anticipation of an eventual challenge for superiority," and believes that Darth Tenebrous's death signaled the end of Bane's dictum in that "an apprentice no longer needs to be stronger, merely more clever" - the implication here, of course, is that Tenebrous is the first Banite Master to die through trickery rather than greater power on his apprentice's part. Darth Sidious likewise muses that generations of Sith apprentices had challenged their Masters in order to cement their superiority, states that Bane's writings have been a keystone of the Sith for centuries and "became part of the Sith Archives passed down from Master to apprentice for generations," and comments that "Bane's power has been passed down for a thousand years" in the context of "a battle to the death."

A comparison of Bane's personal library to that of the Sith Archives of Plagueis's time also reveals an enormous increase in knowledge over the centuries, especially seeing as Bane's writings and Holocron - containing all his knowledge - survive Darth Gravid's purge, as we see it in Darth Krayt's possession two hundred years later. Moreover, “real knowledge” was passed from Master to pupil in unrecorded training sessions, and the teachings of holocrons were deemed secondary. Thus, it is likely the Banites had become so advanced that the teachings of the ancient Dark Lords became superfluous to their power; complimentary but ultimately unnecessary. So yes, the Banites did become more powerful with each subsequent generation, starting from Bane and ending with Sidious.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:A few dozen strides brought him to the small annex at the rear of the estate. The door was locked, sealed by a coded security system. Punching in the digits, he gently pushed the door open and stepped into the building that served as his private library.

The interior consisted of a single square room, five meters on each side, lit only by a single soft light hanging from the ceiling. The walls were lined by shelves overflowing with the scrolls, tomes, and manuscripts he had assembled over the years: the teachings of the ancient Sith. In the center of the room stood a large podium and a small pedestal. On the pedestal rested the Dark Lord's greatest treasure: his Holocron.

A four-sided crystal pyramid small enough to be held in the palm, the Holocron contained the sum of all Bane's knowledge and understanding. Everything he had learned about the ways of the dark side - all his teachings, all his philosophies - had been transferred into the Holocron, recorded for all eternity. It was his legacy, a way to share an entire lifetime of wisdom with those who would follow him in the line of Sith Masters.

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis wrote:The tour began in the outermost rooms, which were appointed with furnishings and objects of art of the highest quality, gathered from all sectors of the galaxy. But Plagueis was neither as acquisitive as a Neimoidian nor as ostentatious as a Hutt; and so the ornamented chambers quickly gave way to data-gathering rooms crowded with audio-vid receivers and HoloNet projectors; and then to galleries filled to overflowing with ancient documents and tomes, recorded on media ranging from tree trunk parchment through flimsiplast to storage crystal and holocron. The Muuns were said to abhor literature and to loathe keeping records of anything other than loan notices, actuarial tables, and legal writs, and yet Plagueis was guardian of the one of the finest libraries to be found anywhere outside Obroa-skai or the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Here, neatly arranged and cataloged and stored in climate-controlled cases, was a collection of treatises and commentaries accumulated over centuries by the Sith and their often unwitting agents. Ancient histories of the Rakata and the Vjun; texts devoted to the Followers of Palawa, the Chatos Academy, and the Order of Dai Bendu; archives that had once belonged to House Malreaux; annals of the Sorcerers of Tund and of Queen Amanoa of Onderon; biological studies of the ysalimiri and vornskrs of Myrkr, and of the taozin of Va'art. Certain long-lived species, like the Wookiees, Hutts, Falleen, and Toydarians, were afforded galleries of their own.

Deeper in the mountain were laboratories where Plagueis's real work took place. Confined to cages, stasis fields, bioreactors, and bacta tanks were life-forms brought to Muunilinst from across the galaxy-many from the galaxy's most remote worlds. Some were creatures of instinct, and others were semisentient. Some were immediately recognizable to 11-4D; others resembled creatures concocted from borrowed parts. Some were newly birthed or hatched, and some looked as if they were being kept at death's door. More than a few were the subjects of ongoing experiments in what seemed to be vivisection or interbreeding, and others were clearly in suspended animation. OneOne-FourDee noted that many of the animals wore remotes that linked them to biometric monitoring machines, while others were in the direct care of specialist droids. Elsewhere in the hollow of the mountain were sealed enclosures warmed by artificial light, aswirl with mixtures of rarefied gases and luxuriant with flora. And deeper still were test centers crammed with complex machines and glass-fronted cooling units devoted to the storage of chemical compounds, alkaloids derived from both plants and animals, blood and tissue samples, and bodily organs from a host of species.

Plagueis instructed 11-4D to wander about the galleries and laboratories on his own, and then report back to him.

Hours later the droid returned to say: "I recognize that you are involved in research related to species durability and hybridization. But I must confess to being unfamiliar with many of the examples of fauna and flora you have amassed, and few of the arcane documents in your library. Is the data available for upload?"

"Some portion of it," Plagueis said. "The remainder will have to be scanned."

"Then the task will require standard years, Magister."

"I'm aware of that. While there is some urgency, we are in no rush."

"I understand, sir. Is there specific data you wish me to assimilate first?"

From the breast pocket of his cloak, Plagueis withdrew a storage crystal. "Start with this. It is a history of the Sith."

OneOne-FourDee took a moment to search its memory. "I have multiple listings under that heading. One defines the Sith as an ancient sect devoted to the study of the Force. Similar to the Jedi, but guided by different principles."

"That's close enough for now," Plagueis said.

"Magister Damask, if I may be so bold as to inquire: what is our eventual goal?"

"The goal is to extend my life indefinitely. To conquer death."

The droid fixed Plagueis in its photoreceptors. "I have access to data on alleged 'elixirs of life' and 'fountains of youth,' Magister. But all living things ultimately die, do they not?"

"At present, OneOne-FourDee."

The droid thought harder about it. "I have experience in organ replacement surgery, telomere genotherapy, and carbonite suspension. But nothing beyond that."

Plagueis's smooth upper lip curled. "Then you've merely scratched the surface."

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis wrote:Sadly he could glean only so much from the texts, crystals, and holocrons stored in the library. Crucial knowledge had been lost during the brief mastery of Darth Gravid, and many of the most important elements of Sith training since had been passed from Masters to apprentices in sessions that had been left unrecorded.

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis wrote:Darth Plagueis gazed at him. “You are impatient. You see no value in learning about weapons or explosives, Force suggestion or the healing arts. You hunger for power of the sort you imagine is to be found on Korriban, Dromund Kaas, Zigoola. Then let me tell you what you’ll encounter in those reliquaries: Jedi, treasure hunters, and legends. Of course there are tombs in the Valley of the Dark Lords, but they have been plundered and now draw only tourists. On Dxun, Yavin Four, Ziost, the same is true. If it’s history that has caught your fancy, I can show you a hundred worlds on which esoteric Sith symbols have been woven covertly into architecture and culture, and I can bore you for years with tales of the exploits of Freedon Nadd, Belia Darzu, Darth Zannah, who is alleged to have infiltrated the Jedi Temple, and of starships imbued with Sith consciousness. Is that your wish, Sidious, to become an academic?”

“I wish only to learn, Master.”

“And so you will. But not from spurious sources. We are not some cult like the Tetsu’s Sorcerers of Tund. Descended from Darth Bane, we are the select few who refuse to be carried by the Force and who carry it instead—thirty in a millennium rather than the tens of thousands fit to be Jedi. Any Sith can feign compassion and self-righteousness and master the Jedi arts, but only one in a thousand Jedi could ever become a Sith, for the dark side is only for those who value self-determinism over all else that existence offers. Only once in these past thousand years has a Sith Lord strayed into the light, and one day I will tell you that tale. But for now, take to heart the fact that Bane’s Rule of Two was at the start our saving grace, putting an end to the internecine strife that allowed the Jedi Order to gain the upper hand. Part of our ongoing task will be to hunt down and eliminate any Sith pretenders who pose a threat to our ultimate goals.”

Sidious remained silent for a long moment. “Am I to be equally distrustful of the lessons contained in Sith Holocrons?”

“Not distrustful,” Plagueis said gravely. “But holocrons contain knowledge specific and idiosyncratic to each Sith who constructed them. Real knowledge is passed by Master to apprentice in sessions such as this, where nothing is codified or recorded—diluted—and thus it cannot be forgotten. There will come a time when you may wish to consult the holocrons of past Masters, but until then you would do better not to be influenced by them. You must discover the dark side in your own way, and perfect your power in your own fashion. All I can do in the meantime is help to keep you from losing your way while we hide in plain sight from the prying eyes of our enemies.”

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis wrote:"The Force provides, Sidious," Plagueis said after a moment. "As nature provides more male beings in the aftermath of war, the Force, ever mindful of balance, provides beings strong in the dark side when light has ruled for too long. This Zabrak bodes well."

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis wrote:The missions to Lianna, Saleucami, and Abraxin were still fresh in his thoughts. On a philosophical level he understood why the generations of Sith Lords that had preceded him had trained apprentices, to whom they had bequeathed their knowledge of the dark side of the Force in anticipation of an eventual challenge for superiority. But with the Grand Plan culminating, it made no sense to challenge or kill beings of equal power unless they posed a threat to Plagueis's personal destiny. The Sith line would continue through him or not at all. Thus the need for a partner rather than an underling; a cohort to help put into play the final stages of the imperative. It had long been his belief that the dark side would provide that one when the time was right.

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis wrote:Sidious knew that his own powers had increased tenfold over the decades, but he couldn't be certain he had learned all of Plagueis's secrets - "his sorcerer's ways," as the Sun Guards referred to them - including the ability to prevent beings from dying. He sometimes wondered: Was he a level behind? Two levels behind? Such questions were precisely what had driven generations of Sith apprentices ultimately to challenge their Masters. The uncertainty about who was the more powerful. The need to test themselves, to face the definitive trial. The temptation to take the mantle by force, to put one's own spin on the power of the dark side - as Darth Gravid had attempted, only to set the Sith back countless years...

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis wrote:Sidious's eyes bored into the Muun's.

"How often you said that the old order of Bane had ended with the death of your Master. An apprentice no longer needs to be stronger, you told me, merely more clever. The era of keeping score, suspicion, and betrayal was over. Strength is not in the flesh but in the Force."

Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling Image

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Last edited by Master Azronger on March 19th 2023, 8:45 am; edited 1 time in total

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Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling Empty Re: Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling

March 19th 2023, 8:43 am
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THE PROBABILITY

You might point out it is very improbable that 30 consecutively more powerful Sith Lords would be born when the starting point is Darth Bane. However, the concentrated cosmic dark side which the Sith are constantly promulgating and attempting to bend to their will would help facilitate this, lessening the improbability. Moreover, each on-page instance we have of the apprentice transcending the Master increases the odds of the baseline probability of it happening every time (which the rest of my case endeavors to establish), and therefore decreases the accuracy of the supposition (because that's what it is without hard evidence) that the line failed at some point before Darth Sidious. Let's now look at these individual instances, starting with Darths Bane and Zannah.

The Darth Bane trilogy uses untrained feats to denote the depth of Force-sensitivity. As Dessel being the apprentice on Korriban to manifest Force abilities untrained is a sign he is the most innately gifted among them, so too would Rain and the Huntress's logically be an indicator they are more innately gifted than Dessel. Up until the age of 23, Dessel's feats have been flashes of precognition in brawls and games of sabacc, causing his father's heart to burst after wishing it intensely, and sniping multiple enemies in a few seconds while blinded; by contrast, ten-year-old Rain is able to conjure a Force shield powerful enough to survive the Brotherhood of Darkness's firestorm ritual that killed thousands of Jedi and Sith, self-levitate, and snap the necks of two Jedi with a thought, and disintegrate her cousin's hand with a thought. Zannah also does go on duel Bane to the death and defeat him, proving herself the stronger.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Path of Destruction wrote:He alone, of all the apprentices at the Academy, had been able to manifest the power of the dark side without any training at all. He'd used it so often he'd come to take it for granted. It had given him advantages over his opponents in cards and brawling. In war it had warned him of danger and brought him victory in otherwise impossible circumstances.

And he'd done it all on instinct, with no training, without even any conscious idea of what he was doing. Now, for the first time, he was being taught to truly use his abilities. He didn't have to worry about any of the other students ... if anything, they should be worrying about him. When he completed his training, none of the others would be his equal.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Path of Destruction wrote:Knowing it was hopeless, Des stopped struggling after a few seconds. But he wasn't going to cower and cry. Not this time. "If you're going to beat me tonight," he said, "remember that it might be the last time, old man. You better make it a good one."

Hurst did. He lit into his son with the savage fury of a bitter, hopeless man. He broke his nose; he blackened both his eyes. He knocked out two of his teeth, split his lip, and cracked his ribs. But throughout it all Des never said a word, and he didn't shed a single tear.

That night, as Des lay in his bed too bruised and swollen to sleep, a single thought kept running through his mind, drowning out the loud drunken snores of Hurst passed out in the corner.

I hope you die. I hope you die. I hope you die.

He'd never hated his father as much as he did at that moment. He envisioned a giant hand squeezing his father's cruel heart.

I hope you die. I hope you die. I hope you die.

The words rolled over and over, an endless mantra, as if he could make them come true through sheer force of will.

I hope you die. I hope you die. I hope you die.

The tears he'd held back during the brutal thrashing finally came, hot drops streaming down his purple, swollen face.

I hope you die. I hope you die. I hope you--

Bane woke with a start, his heart pounding and his body bathed in terror sweat as he thrashed against the covers tangled around his legs. For a brief second he thought he was back on Apatros in the cramped room filled with Hurst and the overwhelming stench of booze. Then he realized where he was, and the nightmare began to fade. A horrible realization swept in to take its place.

Hurst had died that night. The authorities had ruled it a natural death. A heart attack, brought on by a combination of too much alcohol, a life working the mines, and the overexertion of nearly beating his own son to death with his bare hands. They never suspected the real cause. Neither had Bane. Not until now.

Trembling slightly; he rolled over, exhausted but knowing sleep wouldn't come again this night.

Fohargh wasn't the first person he had murdered with the Force. He probably wouldn't be the last. Bane was smart enough to understand that.

Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling K0FMy2qDwPolzt_kE1YdnRqHoMuIpnlUQMXw3fRVD4hLlNXIHckjEuKLoI7GOgIMH1AcX79L3-OL=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzExMS4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling A_bb4jUWHrUihHL3ahtiS6GfZ-89FMhkDivigrUHyJSm7BOjMMG5DFtP5mztcbS5EdDoL2gje3Yg=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzExMS4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling JpPMJkq484fsMstDx9fFuYBI3FNCtC7lyHsWnDmeX5qQE6CeERbMhtAk1MmE2coZsYtAAEsIu9uc=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzExMS4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling YbY9QsI1jHuCwi8o9-HaQA-OZBG-ZqmG8x9ZjSdavFi886KxQDUlcN2RcSh8EYHCKRelhvlLk3bF=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzExMS4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2

Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling Image

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:Bane stopped and turned back toward her. "Have you seen what will happen between me and my apprentice?"

"Ever since I came to this world to meet the princess I have dreamed of you both," Cognus admitted. "But the meaning is unclear."

"Tell me what you've seen," Bane ordered.

"The details are always changing. Different locations, different worlds, different times of the day or night. At times I see her dead at your feet, other times she is the victor. I have tried to make sense of it, but there are too many contradictions."

"The future of the Sith is precariously balanced between Zannah and myself," Bane explained. "Whoever survives our confrontation will control the destiny of the Sith, but our strength is too evenly matched for you to foresee the outcome."

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:From a safe distance, the Iktotchi had watched the two figures from her dreams wage battle. She was an impartial observer, having no preference as to which one would emerge victorious. She only wanted to serve whoever proved the stronger.

The conflict had been brief but intense: she had marveled at the speed of their blades, their movements so fast she could barely follow the action. She had felt the awesome power of the Force unleashed through bursts of lightning and the sinister tendrils that crawled up from the ground. She shivered in anticipation with the knowledge that she, too, could one day learn to wield such power.

She had seen Bane knock the woman to the ground and slap her weapon away, only to have his arm hewn off by the touch of one of the black tentacles. And then there had been a flash so bright she had been forced to close her eyes and look away.

When she looked back Bane was gone, his body reduced to a pile of ash. The blond woman still lay on the ground, dazed but alive. The deadly tendrils were nowhere to be seen.

Cautiously she approached the scene. Bane's severed arm lay on the ground, but the rest of his body had been consumed by the crimson flare. In the instant before she had looked away, however, she had felt something.

Even from a distance, she had sensed an incredible burst of power - the same power she had sensed in Bane himself. She didn't know how it was possible, but it almost seemed as if the Dark Lord's life energy had burst free of his physical form in one glorious instant, releasing itself upon the material world. Then, as suddenly as she had sensed the presence, it was gone, vanishing like an animal gone to ground.

Crazy as it might seem, there was only one place she could imagine it could have gone.

The woman on the ground shifted, her eyes fluttering open as she rose slowly to her feet. She moved awkwardly and couldn't seem to stand up straight, as if she was unfamiliar with how her own limbs and muscles worked - though this could simply have been the result of exhaustion from the battle.

She shook her blond head from side to side, and the motion seemed to restore some sense of her equilibrium. Standing straight and tall, she turned and fixed the Iktotchi with a cold stare.

Knowing how insane her words would sound, Cognus hesitated before asking, "Lord Bane?"

"Bane is gone," the woman replied, her voice confident and strong. "I am Darth Zannah, Dark Lord of the Sith and your new Master."

Next, the untrained Huntress is able to blunt other Force-users' connections to the Force to the point she is able to kill a trained Jedi Knight as well as threaten a wearied Darth Bane himself in combat. She also possess instinctive psychometry and farsight, able to divine the past of an object or a place even thousands of years across time, and scry the locations of others through dreams. She has no formal training whatsoever, thus being incapable of rudimentary skills like sensing another's presence in combat, but she is able to do all of the aforementioned through pure instinct and raw power. While there's no explicit confirmation Cognus's potential is higher than Zannah's, it's certainly higher than Bane's, which does heighten the probability of successive increases, especially seeing as she is confident she will one day be able to match either of the two whilst observing their duel, and she does kill Zannah in combat.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:A disturbance in the Force, Medd thought, his hand dropping to the lightsaber on his belt. "Somebody's coming."

"Impossible. The sentries at the tunnel outside would have-- ungh!" Gelba's words were cut off by the unmistakable sound of a blaster's retort. She staggered back and fell to the ground, a smoking hole in her chest. With cries of alarm the other miners scattered, scrambling for cover behind the rock formations that filled the cavern. Two of them didn't make it, felled by deadly accurate shots that took them right between the shoulder blades.

Medd held his ground, igniting his lightsaber and peering into the shadows that lined the walls of the cave. Unable to pierce the darkness with his eyes, he opened himself to the Force - and staggered back as if he had been punched in the stomach.

Normally, the Force washed over him like a warm bath of white light, strengthening him, centering him. This time, however, it struck him like a frozen fist in the gut.

Another blaster bolt whistled by his ear. Dropping to his knees, Medd crawled to cover behind the nearest rock formation, bewildered and confused. As a Jedi, he had trained his entire life to transform himself into a servant of the Force. He had learned to let the light side flow through him, empowering him, enhancing his physical senses, guiding his thoughts and actions. Now the very source of his power had seemingly betrayed him.

He could hear blaster bolts ricocheting throughout the chamber as the miners returned fire against their unseen opponent, but he shut out the sounds of battle. He didn't understand what had happened to him; he only knew he had to find some way to fight it.

Panting, the Jedi silently recited the first lines of the Jedi Code, struggling to regain his composure. There is no emotion; there is peace. The mantra of his Order allowed him to bring his breathing under control. A few seconds later he felt composed enough to reach out carefully to try to touch the Force once more.

Instead of peace and serenity, he felt only anger and hatred. Instinctively, his mind recoiled, and Medd realized what had happened. Somehow the power he was drawing on had been tainted by the dark side, corrupted and poisoned.

He still couldn't explain it, but now he at least knew how to try to resist the effects. Blocking out his fear, the Jedi allowed the Force to flow through him once more in the faintest, guarded trickle. As he did so, he focused his mind on cleansing it of the impurities that had overwhelmed his senses. Slowly, he felt the power of the light side washing over him - though it was far less than what he was used to.

Stepping out from behind the rocks, he called out in a loud voice, "Show yourself!"

A blaster bolt ripped from the darkness toward him. At the last second he deflected it with his lightsaber, sending it off harmlessly into the corner - a technique he had mastered years ago while still a Padawan.

Too close, he thought to himself. You're slow, hesitant. Trust in the Force.

The power of the Force enveloped him, but something about it still felt wrong. Its strength flickered and ebbed, like a static-filled transmission. Something - or someone - was disrupting his ability to focus. A dark veil had fallen across his consciousness, interfering with his ability to draw upon the Force. For a Jedi there was nothing more terrifying, but Medd had no intention of retreating.

"Leave the miners alone," he called out, his voice betraying none of the uncertainty he felt. "Show yourself and face me!"

From the far corner of the room a young Iktotchi woman stepped forth, holding a blaster pistol in each hand. She was clad in a simple black cloak, but she had thrown her hood back to reveal the downward-curving horns that protruded from the sides of her head and tapered to a sharp point just above her shoulders. Her reddish skin was accentuated by black tattoos on her chin - four sharp, thin lines extending like fangs from her lower lip.

"The miners are dead," she told him. There was something cruel in her voice, as if she was taunting him with the knowledge.

Gingerly using the Force to extend his awareness, Medd realized it was true. As if peering through an obscuring haze, he could just manage to see the bodies of the miners strewn about the chamber, each branded by a lethal shot to the head or chest. In the few seconds it had taken him to collect himself, she had slain them all.

"You're an assassin," he surmised. "Sent by the royal family to kill the rebel leaders."

She tilted her head in acknowledgment, and opened her mouth as if she was about to speak. Then, without warning, she fired another round of blaster bolts at him.

The ruse nearly worked. With the Force flowing through him he should have sensed her deception long before she acted, but whatever power was obscuring his ability to touch the light side had left him vulnerable.

Instead of trying to deflect the bolts a second time, Medd threw himself to the side, landing hard on the ground.

You're as clumsy as a youngling, he chided himself as he scrambled back to his feet.

Unwilling to expose himself to another barrage, he thrust out his free hand, palm facing out. Using the Force, he yanked the weapons from his enemy's grasp. The effort sent a searing bolt of pain through the entire length of his head, causing him to wince and take a half step back. But the blasters sailed through the air and landed harmlessly on the ground beside him.

To his surprise, the assassin seemed unconcerned. Could she sense his fear and uncertainty? The Iktotchi were known to have limited precognitive abilities; it was said they could use the Force to see glimpses of the future. Some even claimed they were telepathic. Was it possible she was somehow using her abilities to disrupt his connection to the Force? "If you surrender, I will promise you a fair trial," Medd told her, trying to project an image of absolute confidence and self-assurance.

She smiled at him, revealing sharp, pointed teeth. "There will be no trial."

The Iktotchi threw herself into a back handspring, her robe fluttering as she flipped out of view behind the cover of a thick stone outcropping. At the same instant, one of the blasters at Medd's feet beeped sharply.

The Jedi had thought he had disarmed his foe, but instead he had fallen into her well-laid trap. He had just enough time to register that the power cell had been set to overload before it detonated. With his last thought he tried to call upon the Force to shield him from the blast, but he was unable to pierce the debilitating fog that clouded his mind. He felt nothing but fear, anger, and hatred.

As the explosion ended his life, Medd finally understood the true horror of the dark side.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:Thousands of years ago Ambria had been a world of verdant forests, brimming with life and the power of the Force. But the lush vegetation had been devastated when a Sith sorceress tried - and failed - to bend the entire planet to her will through a powerful ritual. Unable to control the violent energies of the dark side, she was destroyed by her own spell - as was the landscape of the entire planet.

For centuries the corruption of the failed ritual influenced all life on Ambria, transforming the once beautiful world into a nightmare of stunted, poisonous vegetation and twisted, mutated beasts. Eventually the dark side energies released by the Sith sorceress were trapped in a great lake near the planet's equator by a Jedi Master named Thon, but the damage was too widespread for the world to ever be completely healed.

The Iktotchi knew all this not because she had studied the planet's history, however. Her connection to the Force allowed her to see things; it gave her glimpses of the past, present, and even possible futures. The ability was common to all Iktotchi in varying degrees, but the Huntress's talent went far beyond that of the rest of her species. Most Iktotchi would get nothing more than a subtle sense of danger when an impending threat was coming, or a general feeling of whether a new acquaintance might be friend or foe. On occasion they would be granted precognitive dreams, but even these were little more than random images that meant little without content.

With her, however, it was different. Over the years she had developed her skills so that she could control and direct the visions that flashed through her mind. When she concentrated on a specific person or place, she would get a rush of visual and emotional stimuli that she could often assemble into something useful and coherent.

She had meditated for several hours in preparation for her journey to Ambria, calling on the Force while thinking about her destination. In return, she had witnessed scenes plucked from the planet's history: the Sith sorceress as she was consumed by her failed spell; the Jedi Master's struggle to trap the dark side in Lake Natth.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:"If he still lives, I will find him," the Huntress assured her. She knew she would dream about the Sith Lord tonight, and for many nights to come. Her sleep would be filled with pictures and images from his daily life. She would see how many suns rose in the sky each morning on whatever world he called home; she would see their color and their size. Whatever moons and stars marked the night sky would be revealed to her. Familiar landmarks would bubble up from her sleeping subconscious night after night. She would cross-reference these with a database containing descriptions of all the systems and worlds in the known galaxy, narrowing her search down until she had his exact location.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:They were inside the mansion of Sepp Omek, though the Huntress doubted that was the man's real name. Not that it mattered. She hadn't needed a name to track him here to the estate on Ciutric IV. The Sith Lord had covered his tracks well, hiding his true identity behind layers of middle-beings and go-betweens and making it virtually impossible for anyone to connect him to the events on Ambria through normal methods. But all his careful preparations couldn't guard against the Iktotchi's unique powers. Guided by the images in her dreams and her infallible instincts the Huntress had found her quarry, as she always did.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:When Bane returned to Ciutric, he was surprised to find Zannah's ship still gone, but he was grateful that she wouldn't be waiting for him back at the mansion. He was in no shape to do battle with her now; he was even too tired to come up with a lie to explain his absence without raising her suspicions. Yet as his airspeeder approached his mansion on the horizon, he knew that even if Zannah had been waiting for him, his journey would still have been worthwhile. Andeddu's knowledge was his now; over the past few days his brain had processed the raw information he had stolen to the point of full comprehension. He fully understood the ritual of essence transfer; he had learned the techniques that would allow him to move his consciousness from his own failing body into another. He just needed to select an appropriate victim.

Finding a new body to inhabit was the most difficult part of the ritual. He needed someone physically strong enough to withstand the massive quantities of dark side energy he would call on over the coming years, but at the same time he needed someone mentally vulnerable enough for him to overpower their will. The best candidate would be an engineered clone body, an empty shell with no thoughts or identity of its own. But creating a suitable clone could take years, and Bane wasn't convinced he had that much time left.

He would have to try to possess the body of a living victim... a very dangerous course of action. He would only have one chance: no matter the outcome, his own body would be destroyed in the process. And if his target possessed a will strong enough to resist his assault, the attempt would fail, banishing his spirit to the void for all eternity.

He brought the airspeeder in for a landing and climbed from the vehicle, pausing only to grab his travel pack - a simple duffel bag with the Holocron tucked safely away inside. With slow, heavy steps he approached the front door of the mansion.

Has to be someone young. Under thirty.

He opened the door and stepped inside, letting it swing shut behind him.

Naive and inexperienced. Maybe-

He froze. Someone else was in the mansion. He could feel the intruders everywhere: hiding around corners in the hallways, crouched on the stairs, ducking behind the furniture, perched on the balcony above.

All this flashed through Bane's mind in less than a tenth of a second-just enough time for it to register before the sonic detonators on either side of him went off.

Their earsplitting shriek staggered Bane, causing him to stumble forward into the room and away from the door and possible escape. His hands instinctively flew up and clutched at his ears, his travel pack dropping to the floor. And then the enemy fell upon him.

They poured out like a swarm of insects, bursting into view from every side. Four soldiers armed with stun rifles sent a barrage of bolts raining down from the balcony; Bane-still reeling from the sonic detonators-barely had enough time throw up a protective barrier to shield him from the assault.

As he did so, he felt something fighting him. Some power was trying to block his ability to call upon the Force to shield himself. It wasn't strong enough to stop him, but it did hinder his efforts just enough so that a flicker of energy passed through the barrier.

His muscles seized as he was hit; his back arched and his arms and head were thrown back. Every nerve in Bane's body lit up as if it were on fire. The pain lasted only an instant, but it was enough to knock him to the floor in a crumpled heap.

He didn't stay down, however. He sprang back to his feet, simultaneously drawing his lightsaber with his right hand as he sent a blast of lightning out from the fingertips of his left. The violet bolts should have incinerated all four of his targets on the balcony, yet again the strange power interfering with his ability to draw upon the Force hindered his efforts.

Three of the victims were electrocuted, dying before they even had a chance to scream. The fourth, however, managed to throw herself back from the balcony's edge, evading the deadly attack.

Bane never got a chance to finish her off. A pair of soldiers emerged from a hallway on the left, and three more appeared from the hall on the right. They opened fire with tangle guns, sending out long streams of sticky, synthetic webbing.

The soldiers were smart; they coordinated their efforts. Two fired at his feet, looking to glue him to the floor. The others aimed for the chest and torso, looking to pin his arms to his sides with the viscous strings. But Bane wasn't about to let himself become immobilized.

Leaping up, he grabbed onto the chandelier hanging from the ceiling, holding himself with his free hand. Swinging his legs to build momentum, he launched himself up over the railing and onto the balcony, giving him the advantage of higher ground.

He came down with a heavy thud, the inexplicable power that still impeded his connection to the Force robbing him of a graceful landing. The bodies of the three dead soldiers were scattered about him. To his right were the stairs leading back down to the foyer; straight ahead was a long hall leading to another wing of the mansion.

A female Iktotchi stood at the far end of the hall, a long, thin knife held in each hand. She grinned at Bane, and in that moment he knew who was interfering with his ability to use the Force.

She broke into a run, charging down the hall toward him. Bane dropped into a fighting crouch to meet her attack, knowing her knives were no match for his lightsaber. It was only then that he noticed the flash grenades lying by the dead bodies at his feet.

They exploded with a burst of intense light and chemical smoke that blinded Bane. Disoriented, he fell back against the balcony's railing. An instant later he felt the sole of the Iktotchi's boots strike him hard in the chest, sending him tumbling backward over the banister to the marble floor four meters below.

He hit the ground hard enough to knock the breath from his body, leaving him gasping for air. The impact jarred his lightsaber from his grip, sending it skittering across the floor. An instant later his prone form was enveloped by the webbing from the tangle guns, pinning him to the ground.

Blind and immobilized, Darth Bane's fury saved him. Years of training allowed him to focus all his pain and rage in one single instant, drawing on it so he could unleash the full power of the dark side. Once again he felt the Iktotchi's barrier opposing his efforts, but this time he tore through it like it wasn't even there.

For a moment it was as if the world around him was frozen in place. Though his eyes were still suffering the effects of the flash grenade, the Force rushing through his body gave him an otherworldly awareness of his surroundings-the scene was burned into his brain in exquisite detail.

The soldiers were scattered about the foyer, scrambling to take up new positions in preparation for the next stage of the battle. They were well trained, but he could still sense their fear: they knew the fight was far from over. The Iktotchi had leapt over the railing in pursuit of him. She hung poised in the air above him, her twin blades held out to the either side as she braced for landing. Bane could even see himself lying on the floor, buried beneath a thick, wet blanket of rapidly drying chemical adhesive.

The frozen tableau lasted only a fraction of an instant, but it told the Dark Lord everything he needed to know. And then the instant was gone, and everything became a blur of motion again.

The Iktotchi landed just as Bane unleashed a wave of crackling electricity that burned away the webbing of the tangle guns. She dropped to one knee and tried to stab her knives into him as he lay on the floor, but through the Force Bane saw her coming. He managed to roll aside, escaping with only a long, deep cut along one of his forearms as he scrambled back to his feet.

In response to his call, his lightsaber flew up from the floor and into his waiting hand, but the Iktotchi was already retreating. Now that he was no longer helpless, she was eager to fall back and let others step in.

Several more flash grenades exploded around him, but Bane was unaffected; he was no longer relying on his physical sight to guide him. Fresh streams of webbing arced across the room toward him, but this time he incinerated them while they were still in the air. Half a dozen concussion grenades tossed in from every side clattered on the floor at his feet. As they exploded, Bane simply enveloped himself in the Force, creating a protective cocoon that absorbed the impact and left him standing completely unharmed.

Two men popped up from behind a nearby couch and fired at him from point-blank range with their stun guns. Bane slapped the incoming bolts away with his lightsaber, then thrust out a hand to send the couch slamming straight back into the wall, crushing the men who had been using it for cover.

Then he was on the move, bearing down on two of the soldiers carrying tangle guns. He sliced them both in half horizontally with a single blow from his lightsaber, carving a perfect line just above their belts. Another volley of stun bolts came too late to save them; Bane was already gone.

A single flip and he was back on the balcony again, face-to-face with the Iktotchi.

"You can't escape," he told her.

"I wasn't trying to," she hissed back at him, lunging forward with her knives.

She was quicker than Bane expected, coming in low and fast. He didn't have time to simply chop her down; instead he had to spin out of the way.

He tried to take one of her arms with his lightsaber on a counterthrust as she slipped past, but the Iktotchi anticipated his move and managed to contort her body so that his blade caught nothing but air.

They had switched positions from their first engagement; she was now the one standing with her back to the balcony railing. Bane thrust out with the Force, the impact sending her hurtling backward over the railing as her kick had done to him less than a minute earlier.

Somehow the Iktotchi managed to turn in the air so that she landed on her feet. Because of this, she was able to spring to safety when Bane sent a blast of lightning hurtling down toward her. Instead of her charred corpse, it left only a smoking circle on the floor.

Soldiers were firing their stun guns at him again from the stairwell. Bane didn't even bother to strike back at them; he simply dodged their attack by vaulting over the railing and dropping back down to the floor below. The soldiers were nothing to him; it was the Iktotchi he was interested in now. She was the only opponent who posed any real threat. Eliminate her and he could deal with the soldiers at his leisure.

He landed on the floor in a crouch, absorbing the impact. And then everything went black.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:She was stalking him slowly, cautiously creeping around the tail end of the ship. And in that moment Set realized his opponent had no formal training in the ways of the Force. She was operating on instinct. She had never been taught the most basic skills - like how to sense the location of opponents even when they were out of sight.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:She had told him her name was the Huntress, and that she had spent the past five years as a freelance assassin, honing her ability to identify and exploit weakness in her targets. It was hard to argue with the results; in her brief encounters with Bane she had already demonstrated both notable ambition and incredible potential. Her achievements were even more impressive when one considered that she had never been given any formal training in the ways of the Force. Everything she did came from natural ability. Pure instinct. Raw power.

Her ability to disrupt the Force in others only gave further testament to her strength. She had never been trained in this rare and difficult technique; she simply unleashed it against her enemies through sheer force of will: crude but effective.

However, it was her other talent that truly intrigued the Dark Lord.

"How did you track me to Ciutric?" he asked as the shuttle dropped down toward the planet's desert surface.

"My visions," the Huntress explained. "If I concentrate, they allow me to see images: people, places. Sometimes I catch glimpses of the future, though they do not always come true."

"The future is never static," Bane told her. "It is constantly shaped by the Force:and those with the power to control the Force."

"Sometimes I also see visions of the past. Memories of what was. I saw you here on Ambria. With a young blond woman."

"My apprentice."

"She still lives?"

"For now."

On the horizon they could see the first light of Ambria's sun stretching out toward them. As the bright yellow beams fell across the nose of the shuttle, Bane couldn't help but wonder how far the Iktotchi's abilities could extend if she was given proper instruction and guidance.

He had the wisdom to interpret events and foresee their most likely outcome, but he rarely experienced true visions of the future. He was able to manipulate the galaxy around him, driving it inexorably toward a time in which all bowed down to the Sith, but it was a struggle to keep everything on course. His long-term plans to wipe out the Jedi and rule the galaxy were in a constant state of flux, reacting to unexpected and completely unforeseeable events that altered the social and political landscape.

Each time this happened, Bane had to retreat and regroup until he was able to evaluate and properly react to the changesĀ¬. But if the Huntress could learn to properly harness her power, the Sith would no longer be limited only to reacting. They could anticipate and predict these random changes, preparing for them long before they happened.

And there was an even greater possibility. Bane knew fate was not preordained. There were many possible futures, and the Force allowed her to see only examples of what might be. If she could learn to sort through her visions, separating out the various divergent time lines, was it possible she could actually control them, too? Could she one day have the power to alter the future simply by thinking about it? Could she use the power of the Force to shape the very fabric of existence and make her chosen visions become reality?

Following up, we have the case of Darths Gravid and Gean. Despite not having finished her training and more than half of the Banites’ accumulated knowledge not being known to her as has not been taught to her by her Master and is destroyed in his rampage, Gean nonetheless penetrates the Force barrier Gravid has raised around their fortress and bests him with her bare hands. To demonstrate the gap, comparing between this and to Darths Bane and Zannah can be made: Bane was a fully-fledged Sith Master, Zannah was disproportionately lacking in offensive martial ability, and their knowledge was practically equal, yet "without his lightsaber he had virtually no hope of defeating her." In short, Gean had unfinished training and less than half of Gravid's knowledge, while Bane had completed training and possibly maximized potential, all of Zannah's knowledge except for select esoteric sorcery techniques which she eschewed to even use, and the luxury of a less skilled dueling as an opponent whose style was ill-suited for aggression, and his odds of beating Zannah unarmed were far lower than Gean's for beating Gravid unarmed. Furthermore, Gravid’s stewardship of the Sith order is described as “brief,” indicating it was significantly shorter than average (933 years / 30 Sith ≈ 31 years/Sith), and Gean herself was "young" at the time of the duel, which means she must have surpassed him unfathomably quickly. Lastly, Darth Plagueis muses Gean was not weakened by her physical injuries from the duel, so the Banite line would have continued uninterrupted in terms of Force power.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:Bane had been unarmed when he took on these foes. It was possible he had found and reclaimed his lightsaber since then. But if he hadn't - if he was wandering the halls of the prison without it - he was vulnerable. As powerful as Bane was, Zannah believed she was his equal. And without his lightsaber he had virtually no hope of defeating her.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:"Do you really believe you can defeat me?"

Bane let his right hand drop to his hip, feinting as if he was preparing to draw his lightsaber. His only chance to survive was to somehow trick her into backing down.

Zannah's eyes flickered, drawn by the subtle motion. He kept his hand open, his massive palm completely covering the place where she would normally be able to see the hilt of his lightsaber clipped to his belt. With his mind he tried to project an image of his hook-handled weapon resting just beneath his empty fingers.

His apprentice didn't move. She stayed in her defensive stance, her brow furrowing as she weighed her chances. Then her gaze fell on Bane's left hand, quivering ever so slightly with one of the uncontrollable tremors.

"You allowed yourself to be captured by mercenaries," she said, slowly twirling her weapon and taking a confident step forward.

Bane held his ground, clenching the fingers of his left hand so that they dug into the palm, stilling the tremor.

"You couldn't bring yourself to kill the woman who stood in your way."

She took another step toward him, casually tossing her lightsaber from one hand to the other. Had Bane been armed, it would have been the perfect opening to launch a sudden attack.

When he failed to do so, she tilted her head back and laughed.

"You even let yourself get trapped in these halls without your lightsaber."

She took another step forward and Bane responded by taking several steps back.

The double-bladed lightsaber began to pick up speed, slicing the air in quick, circular patterns.

She had one final thing to say before she launched herself at him.

"Your time is over, Bane."

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:Zannah wasn't used to being the aggressor. In all the times she and Bane had sparred he had been the one pressing the action. Her lightsaber style was built on a foundation of parries and counterstrikes, hiding behind her virtually impenetrable defense while waiting for her opponent to make a mistake.

This confrontation was completely different. Yet even though Bane had no lightsaber, that didn't mean he was helpless. Zannah knew she couldn't simply rush in: despite his bulk, Bane was incredibly quick and agile. He had also learned close-quarters pit-fighting tactics during his days as a miner and soldier. She had to be wary of letting him get close enough to grapple her; she couldn't let him get the opportunity to use his size and strength against her.

There was also his incredible command of the Force to contend with. Simple tactics like pushing an opponent from across the room were impractical against any foe with proper training. Both she and Bane knew how to surround themselves with an invisible field of energy that absorbed or repelled the most basic tricks taught to any Jedi or Sith. But Bane could unleash devastating bolts of dark side lightning from his hands almost at will.

As long as she was careful, she was able to avoid them or intercept them with her lightsaber. This caution, however, allowed her Master to keep her off balance just enough to stay alive.

The pair were entwined in an intricate dance. She swept in low, spinning and twirling her lightsaber. He leapt up high, planting his feet on the wall at his side and pushing off hard, sending himself into a tumbling roll just beyond the reach of her blade's arc.

Back on his feet, he sprang backward as Zannah stabbed her blade straight forward, keeping just out of range. She pursued him down the length of the hall, jabbing and thrusting her weapon and sending the Dark Lord into a full retreat. Bane fought back with short, concentrated bursts of lightning, aiming at her boots to disrupt her footwork and keep her off balance.

Zannah took quick stuttering steps to avoid the attack and keep him from gaining a reprieve. Bane feinted as if he was going to fall back to the right, then lunged forward, flipping over her head and reaching down with a huge hand to seize her wrist.

She ducked out of the way, lashing out with a kick as he landed behind her. Bane spun, grabbed her ankle, and wrenched the boot to the side, trying to snap the bone. Zannah rolled with the violent motion, her entire body spinning along a horizontal plane. At the same time she brought her lightsaber back up over her shoulder to slice Bane's arm off at the elbow, but caught only air as he released his hold and fell back once more.

She had him cornered against the wall with nowhere to go. As she moved in for the kill another burst of lightning came toward her. She caught it with her lightsaber, but the impact drove her backward a step, giving Bane just enough room to duck down beneath her coup de grace and scramble clear of the wall. They had switched positions, each facing the opposite way as they began the dance yet again. The ebb and flow of their battle fell into a rhythm of feints and counters, their dance keeping time to the clanging alarms as she forced him back up the hall she had chased him down only moments before.

Zannah suspected if their positions were reversed, Bane might have ended the confrontation already. Yet she knew her victory was inevitable. Her Master was in an impossible situation. He needed to do everything exactly right just to keep her at bay for another pass. He had no margin for error, and even the Dark Lord of the Sith couldn't sustain perfection forever. The only way she could lose would be to make a careless mistake.

The best Bane could hope for was to try to frustrate her with his elusiveness. But Zannah understood patience. She had waited twenty years for this moment, and she was content to play their battle out as long as necessary.

They reached the end of the hall, and Zannah thought she had Bane trapped. This time she used her lightsaber to slap aside the violet bolts of lightning rather than trying to absorb them and stumbling back. Bane still had one more trick up his sleeve, however.

She was less than a meter away, her blade already slashing in for the killing blow, when she felt all the hair on the back of her neck rise. A shimmering purple cocoon of dark side energy enveloped Bane, a fragile shell holding back a storm of pure power.

She tried to pull back but it was too late. As her blade bit into the cocoon the energy was released in a sudden burst that sent both of them flying backward. Bane slammed hard into the wall against his back and crumpled to the ground. Zannah was tossed ten meters farther, landing hard on the stone floor.

They rose to their feet at the same time, neither seriously injured. But yet again Bane had managed to thwart her attack and work himself out of a corner.

Zannah merely shrugged and began another slow, relentless advance. She paused for a moment when the sound of the alarms changed.

She knew almost instantly what had happened. They had only a few minutes to escape before the explosions buried them alive.

There were two options: break off the battle and run for the ship, or throw caution to the wind and take one last reckless charge at her Master. She couldn't let Bane get away. She had to end this now!

As she gathered herself to charge, Bane fired off another bolt of lightning. She ducked to the side and it whizzed past her ear, striking the wall and sending up a shower of dust and stone flecks.

Despite missing her the first time, Bane followed it up with another blast on the exact same trajectory. Turning her head to follow the course of the misguided bolt, Zannah saw where the first had hit the wall. The stone had been disintegrated in a fist-sized hole, revealing something that looked like bright red plastic beneath it.

She recognized it as the casing of a demolition charge just in time to throw herself backward, using the Force to shield herself from the worst of the explosion. She was thrown clear as the entire wall blew out, sending huge chunks of stone spewing into the passage. The ceiling was shredded, tearing loose massive blocks that tumbled to the ground.

Choking on the cloud of dust and smoke, Zannah picked herself up. The passage in front of her was completely blocked by rubble and debris from the blast. She could feel Bane on the other side of the rocks; he had survived the blast, just as she had. But now they were separated by tons of impassable stone.

She walked slowly over to the collapsed section of the hallway and placed a hand on the edge of one of the massive stones blocking her way. Even using the Force, it would take hours to clear a path. There was no way to deny the truth: she had him, and she had let him get away.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:The words Bane had thrown at her when she accused him of violating the Rule of Two still rang in her mind.

I waited years for you to challenge me. But you were content to toil in my shadow.

Was he right? Was it possible that on some level she was afraid of taking on the responsibility of Sith Master? No. She had tried to kill him.

Tried and failed, even though Bane didn't have his lightsaber. Was it possible she hadn't really been trying to beat him? Had some small part of her subconscious mind held her back just enough so that Bane could survive until he saw his chance to escape?

No. That's what he wants me to think.

Bane's words had been a ploy. He was trying to undermine her confidence, looking for any edge that would let him survive. But he was wrong. Zannah had truly wanted to kill him in the halls of the dungeon. And yet somehow he still managed to live.

Zannah was forced to admit that there was another, even more disturbing, possibility. Was Bane simply stronger than her? If she couldn't defeat him when he was unarmed, what chance would she have once he reclaimed his lightsaber?

No. That didn't make sense, either. Bane may have escaped with his life, but her Master did not win that battle. Her lightsaber had given her a huge advantage; it had forced Bane to be on the defensive. So why hadn't she been able to finish him?

She had obviously made a tactical error. But what was it?

The question gnawed at her as she sat back in her seat and crossed her arms, the nav computer still awaiting its next destination. She bit down on her lip, concentrating. The answer was there; she just had to figure it out.

In her mind she replayed the scenario, analyzing it over and over again. She had been patient, careful. Because of this her Master had been able to keep her at bay despite her advantage. But if she had been more aggressive during the duel, she would have opened herself up to a potentially lethal counterattack.

Was that the answer? Did she have to risk defeat to claim victory?

Zannah shook her head. That wasn't it. Bane had taught her that risk should always be minimized. Gambles relied on luck. Take enough chances and sooner or later luck will turn against you, even with the Force on your side.

And then it came to her. She had tried to defeat him using brute force; she had fought the battle on his terms.

She would never be Bane's equal in physical strength. He would always be superior to her in martial skill. So why had she tried to defeat him in lightsaber combat, when her true talents lay elsewhere?

She had fallen into his trap. He had pretended to have a weapon, knowing she would see through his bluff. Bane had wanted her to focus on his missing lightsaber above all else. He was goading her into battle.

Using her lightsaber to defeat an unarmed opponent was the simplest, most obvious path to victory... one Bane had expertly led her down. But the most obvious path was rarely the best one.

Bane didn't fear her blades. There was only one thing she possessed that he was wary of: Sith sorcery. Zannah could do things with the Force that Bane couldn't even attempt. She could attack the minds of her opponents, turning their own thoughts and dreams against them.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Rule of Two wrote:Zannah was still staring up at him, barely able to contain the flood of questions she had about what he had discovered inside the pages of the treasure she had found. Her expression of expectant curiosity turned to disappointment when he slid the manuscript into the folds of his clothes without offering any explanation. In time Bane would share all his knowledge, present and future, with her. But until he had a chance to explore Nadd's tomb himself, he was reluctant to tell anyone - even his apprentice - of its existence.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:"I know you went to Prakith. I know you went after Andeddu's Holocron. I know you were searching for the secret of eternal life."

"I did that out of necessity. I taught you everything I knew about the dark side. I waited years for you to challenge me. But you were content to toil in my shadow, to remain an apprentice until the ravages of age robbed me of my power."

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:"You knew I still had things to teach you," Bane recalled. "You swore you would not kill me until you had learned all my secrets."

"That day is here," Zannah informed him, igniting the twin blades of her lightsaber.

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis wrote:A human Sith Lord whose short reign had elapsed some five centuries earlier, Gravid had been persuaded to believe that total commitment to the dark side would sentence the Sith Order to eventual defeat, and so had sought to introduce Jedi selflessness and compassion into his teachings and practice, forgetting that there can be no return to the light for an adept who has entered the dark wood; that the dark side will not surrender one to whom, by mutual agreement, it has staked a claim. Driven increasingly mad by his attempts to straddle the two realms, Gravid became convinced that the only way to safeguard the future of the Sith was to hide or destroy the lore that had been amassed through the generations—the texts, holocrons, and treatises—so that the Sith could fashion a new beginning for themselves that would guarantee success. Barricaded within the walls of a bastion he and his Twi’lek apprentice, Gean, had constructed on Jaguada, he had attempted as much, and was thought to have destroyed more than half the repository of artifacts before Gean, demonstrating consummate will and courage, had managed to penetrate the Force fields Gravid had raised around their stronghold and intercede, killing her Master with her bare hands, though at the cost of her arm, shoulder, and the entire left side of her face and chest.

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis wrote:Sadly he could glean only so much from the texts, crystals, and holocrons stored in the library. Crucial knowledge had been lost during the brief mastery of Darth Gravid, and many of the most important elements of Sith training since had been passed from Masters to apprentices in sessions that had been left unrecorded. More to the point, Darth Tenebrous had had very little to say regarding death.

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis wrote:“Your thoughts betray you,” Plagueis said. “Do you think that Malak’s powers were weakened by Revan’s lightsaber? Bane by being encrusted in orbalisks? Do you think Gravid’s young apprentice was hindered by the prosthesis she was forced to wear after fighting him?”

Then, the case of Darth Tenebrous and his Master. When the former is a mere apprentice, he goes ”far beyond the simplistic Force studies imposed on him by his Master” and dispatches him in a duel ”with his customary efficiency.” Although Tenebrous describes him as "doddering," I wouldn't take that as a serious indicator his combat ability had been diminished by old age, considering Tenebrous is wont to levy insults and belittling comments toward anyone not himself, and many top-tier elderly Sith Lords such as Darths Malgus, Tyranus, and Sidious don't suffer much or at all from their advanced age; heck, Tenebrous himself is "robust health" in his 160's despite Biths usually not living longer than 85. Even if you believe Tenebrous's Master was past his prime at the time of his death, Tenebrous nonetheless far exceeded his Master's lessons as a student and had well over a century to grow from there, making it quite likely he bridged the gap on the off-chance there even was one.

Star Wars Insider #130: \"The Tenebrous Way wrote:More than a century before, when Tenebrous had been but a Sith apprentice himself, the magnificent computational power of his Bith brain had led him far beyond the simplistic Force studies imposed on him by his Master. He had always been far too intelligent to be seduced by the traditional Sith metaphysical twaddle of dark destiny and the witless fantasy of endless war against the equally witless Jedi Order. Soon he had confirmed to his own satisfaction that the dark side of the Force, far from being some malevolent mystic sentience bent on spreading suffering throughout the Galaxy, was in truth merely an energy source, and a tool with which he could impose his will upon reality. It was a sort of natural amplifier he could use to multiply the effectiveness of his many useful abilities.

Star Wars Insider #130: \"The Tenebrous Way wrote:Once his analysis had been parsed to its nth degree, polished into a gem perfect beyond the possibility of flaw, Tenebrous had devoted every second of every day of his life to fulfilling his plan. Nothing would be left to chance. He had exterminated his doddering Master with his customary efficiency, and had embarked immediately on a decades-spanning quest for an apprentice of his own. And not just an apprentice, but the apprentice: one possessed of a very specific combination of particular skills - primarily surrounding the direct perception and manipulation of midi-chlorian activity - but also a range of weaknesses, from short-sighted concern with personal profit to an unconquerable dread of the unknown realms beyond the walls of death.

Star Wars Insider #130: \"The Tenebrous Way wrote:Dying, Tenebrous observed with mild surprise, was turning out to be not only pleasant, but wholly wonderful; had he ever suspected how much he'd enjoy the process, he wouldn't have wasted all these decades waiting for his foolish apprentice Plagueis to do him in.

Star Wars Insider #130: \"The Tenebrous Way wrote:Foolish, pathetic Plagueis.... Tenebrous' Muun apprentice would never comprehend his own limitations. These limitations were only peripherally due to the unfortunate tendency of Muuns, as a species, to measure every interaction as a transaction to be manipulated for maximum profit. No, Plagueis' real weakness was fear. Fear so deep and all-pervasive that the fool did not even register it as emotion-again and again I across the decades of his apprenticeship, Plagueis had insisted that his fear was not fear at all, instead claiming it to be merely rational prudence. But Tenebrous knew the truth. Had always known it. Tenebrous had chosen his apprentice specifically because of it.

Plagueis was afraid to die.

Were Tenebrous the sort of individual who could experience pity, he supposed he might feel some for his apprentice. Crippled by dread, Plagueis would never know the freedom of an unbounded will that was the true legacy of the Banite Sith. And were Tenebrous the sort of individual to be fair-minded about such things, he would have accepted much of the blame for Plagueis' incapacity. As both pity and fairness were entirely alien to his nature, though, Tenebrous instead pleasurably recalled the relentless needling of his apprentice across their long, long years together. He had pricked constantly at Plagueis' sore spot, to make certain it could never heal.

Not even animals fear death, Plagueis. The lowliest beast in existence exhibits more "rational prudence" than you ever have. They fear only pain and injury. Bright lights and loud noises. You are less than a beast. You fear a mere concept - and one you do not even understand.

Star Wars Insider #130: \"The Tenebrous Way wrote:Instead of actually training his doltish apprentice, Tenebrous had flattered Plagueis' mysticism while pricking his insecurities, sending him off on one useless, doomed-to-fail mission after another. In turn, Tenebrous had invested every available second of the freedom this afforded into designing, creating, and deploying the one weapon that Plagueis would never suspect.

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis wrote:“Darth Bane’s early years,” Plagueis said through his transpirator mask. “Carrying on the ancestral business, as it were.”

Behind the faceplate of his own mask, Tenebrous’s puckered lips twitched in disapproval. The breathing device looked absurdly small on his outsized cleft head, and the convexity of the mask made the flat disks of his lidless eyes look like close-set holes in his pinched face.

“Bane’s seminal years,” he corrected.

Plagueis weathered the gentle rebuke. He had been apprenticed to Tenebrous for as many years as the average human might live, and still Tenebrous never failed to find fault when he could.

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis wrote:A Bith, Tenebrous was as tall as Plagueis and nearly as cadaverously thin. To human eyes, his bilious complexion might have made him appear as haggard as the pallid Muun, but in fact both beings were in robust health. Though they conversed in Basic, each was fluent in the other’s native language.

Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling 6248529-1440592115-62478

I would go over the successive increases from Tenebrous to Plagueis to Sidious as well, but you are already familiar with those, I'd wager. To reiterate, every single example of on-page back-to-back Banite Master and student relationships until Sidious ends with the latter surpassing the former, and each such example adds to the baseline probability of Banite scaling being valid - we have no on-page evidence of the line failing at any point prior to Sidious, and once it reached that point the Grand Plan had already been fulfilled.

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Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling Empty Re: Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling

March 19th 2023, 8:43 am

LICENSED COMMENTARY ON THE STORIES

[1] Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Scrapbook - The Ultimate Insider's Guide to the Movie by Ryder Windham, May 1st 1999: "As they gained knowledge of the dark side of the Force, their powers increased with each generation." Self-explanatory: each Banite Sith Lord is stronger than the last by virtue of acquiring more knowledge of the dark side.

[2a] Star Wars: The Dark Side Sourcebook by Bill Slavicsek and J.D. Wiker, August 2nd 2001: "For a character to become a Sith Lord when there are already two Sith, one of them must expire. An ambitious character engineers this turn of events. The customary Sith method is to vanquish a Sith acolyte, Sith warrior, or a Sith Lord in combat." When two Sith exist and a third character seeks to become Sith, one of the existing Sith, whether it's the apprentice or the Master, must perish, and the "customary" (i.e. "according to the customs or usual practices associated with a particular society, place, or set of circumstances"; synonymous with "usual," "traditional," "normal," "conventional," "familiar," "prevailing," "routine," "ordinary," "common," etc.) method for this is a duel to the death. It's more common that Banite Sith resolve disputes of succession and replacement through violence than deception, which usually necessitates the winning party being more powerful.

[2b] Star Wars: The Dark Side Sourcebook by Bill Slavicsek and J.D. Wiker, August 2nd 2001: "While both of these could be Sith Lords, neither could take on an apprentice until the other was dead. Sometimes this resulted in vicious battles between master and student. But more commonly, a Sith Master would pass on all he knew before expiring, leaving his former apprentice to take on an apprentice of his own, and thus continue the tradition of the Sith." This quote suggests battles between Banites were rare, but it nonetheless states it is usual for a Master to pass on all they know before their demise, which would result in massive net gains in knowledge over time.

[3] The Official Star Wars Fact File #1 by DeAgostini, December 27th 2001: "Never again would there be more than two Sith Lords at a time, but members of the order continued expanding their dark powers without the knowledge of the Jedi, waiting for the opportunity to seize control of the galaxy." The description of their powers as dark leads me to believe it refers to Force power (how is political power dark?). And while it doesn't outright state each Sith became stronger than the last, it definitely reads like the trend was net increases over the millennium.

[4] starwars.com Databank: Sith Vengeance by starwars.com, July 29th 2005: "Over a millennium woven with shadowy conspiracy, their dark powers grew, teetering the Force into imbalance." The context here is political, but once again I'd find it very strange if "dark powers" was used to describe their political station; in fact I'd find it even more bizarre in the context of Star Wars than real life (which would already be weird in itself) since the Sith are endowed with actual, tangible dark powers deriving from "the dark side of the Force" - that is obviously what the reader's mind is going to be drawn to first. How dark side powers are relevant in a political context is explained by the fact that the state mundane world is merely a reflection of the Force and its most prominent users, and they both feed into each other. This is seen in a Lucas-centric source with the Ones of Mortis affecting the fate of the galaxy through their interpersonal conflict; in movie-centric novels such as Darth Plagueis, Labyrinth of Evil, and Revenge of the Sith; and even in something as distant from the movies as Knights of the Old Republic II.

[5] Star Wars Insider #88: "Heritage of the Sith" by Drew Karpyshyn, June 13th 2006: "The Rule of Two was the salvation. Never again would the Sith be weakened by rival Masters battling for control. Never again would a group of lesser students combine their strength to overthrow a more powerful Master, for there could only be one apprentice. For a thousand years we continued to follow Bane's Rule of Two, existing in the shadows, biding our time, growing in power, feeding our hatred. Darth Sidious proved to be the splendid culmination of a thousand years of Sith philosophy and teachings." This quote explicitly declares two students never joined forces to illegitimately oust a Master; the Banite line grew in power uninterrupted for a thousand years and climaxed with Sidious. Very direct.

[6] Star Wars: Mysteries of the Jedi by Elizabeth Dowsett and Shari Last, February 21st 2011: "They have been in hiding for centuries, honing their skills and biding their time." The context here is the Sith's ability in battle, so them honing their skills for centuries should be a fairly straightforward endorsement that over time there would be a noticeable disparity between the early and the late Banites.

[7] Star Wars: The Phantom Menace - The Expanded Visual Dictionary by David West Reynolds and Jason Fry, January 16th 2012: "An apprentice serves his or her Master with absolute obedience, learning physical and mental discipline until powerful enough to one day claim the top spot and choose a new apprentice." If the requirement for claiming the top spot is power achievable through sufficient physical and mental discipline, and Maul is used an example of someone extremely promising in that respect, then the quote is evidently suggesting that the Banites often fought to the death in matters of succession and the subsequent Sith would have had to have been more capable in battle than the previous one. The quote even contrasts the Banites' method of waiting until one is ready with the ancient Sith's "constant" bickering, and the header is "Swords of the Sith" - everything in the paragraph is about fighting.

[8] Star Wars: Beware the Sith by Shari Last, February 20th 2012: "When the apprentice grows more powerful than his Master, he is to destroy him and choose an apprentice of his own." Admittedly one of the weaker quotes since it merely states the mandate of the Rule of Two, not that it actually came to pass, and even points out a flaw in the system. I still thought it worth including to get all possible evidence out in the open.

[9] Star Wars: Sith Wars by Lisa Stock, Julia March, Pamela Afram, Hannah Dolan, and Garima Sharma, December 12th 2013: "When the apprentice becomes more powerful than the Master, he destroys his Master and chooses an apprentice of his own." Another one of the weaker quotes as it doesn't necessitate the apprentice surpasses the Master every time, merely that it did happen, but probably more often than not as it'd be strange to include this line if it was in actuality a rarer occurrence than the apprentice failing. It should still reinforce the idea that the late Banites are more powerful than the early Banites.

[10a][10b] The Official Star Wars Fact File #14 (relaunched) by DeAgostini, April 9th 2014: "One final tradition was established by Bane and Darth Zannah. Early in her training, Darth Bane informed Zannah she would one day become powerful enough to destroy him and take his place as Dark Lord of the Sith. This was indeed what came to pass on the planet Ambria, where Bane and Zannah duelled. Bane's body was destroyed, and his spirit driven into oblivion by his former apprentice." The duel between Master and student once the latter has become strong enough to usurp the mantle of Dark Lord by force became a "tradition" (i.e. "the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way") following Bane and Zannah's confrontation. Quite straightforward. I'd like to also note the differentiation between Bane's combat abilities and holistic greatness: the same article calls Sidious "the greatest Sith Lord since Darth Bane," meaning Bane was greater than any of successors until possibly Sidious, but it also states his immediate successor, Zannah, eclipsed his power and defeated him in battle.

[11a][11b] The Official Star Wars Fact File #64 (relaunched) by DeAgostini, April 15th 2015: "Having once told Zannah that she would overthrow him, Darth Bane nonetheless fought to the death when the moment came: on Ambria, Bane sought to destroy his former apprentice, but she was too strong for him. Zannah defeated Bane's physical and spirit forms to become Sith Lord." This quote isn't here to support Banite scaling in the complete sense, but rather to further preemptively debunk the idea DeAgostini believes Bane to be the most powerful Sith Lord until Sidious. They state Zannah was "too strong" for Bane and "beat him into submission" by virtue of having "grown stronger in the dark side than Bane realised" (despite Dynasty of Evil, which the text is based on, having Bane believe Zannah is his equal before they fight), with Bane "sensing his defeat" and attempting essence transfer, but Zannah "emerged triumphant" after having "matched wills" with Bane. The first page saying Bane had grown weaker refers to his physical condition, as the sentence mentions his age and that is what Dynasty of Evil states, and not his Force power, which wouldn't make sense anyway (how would his dark side abilities decline "after years of using the dark side"?).

THE WRITERS' INTENT FOR THE STORIES

DREW KARPYSHYN

Drew Karpyshyn is the foremost author for Darth Bane, having written the novel trilogy that became the primary basis which all subsequent narrative and reference material would draw from when talking about Bane. He has described as Bane as an "all-powerful Sith," "one of the most powerful Sith Lords who ever lived," and "one of the most powerful individuals in the universe;" and has compared him on numerous times to Revan, whose video game he was lead writer for and whose novel he was the sole writer for, and to Darth Vader, whom he considers his favorite Star Wars movie character and the greatest Star Wars villain of all time.

In spite of that, Karpyshyn has expressed his sentiment on the success of Bane's Rule of Two. While writing Path of Destruction, he emphasizes in an interview what he thinks is an often-overlooked aspect of the Rule of Two: the "belief in the power of the Force and its ability to enhance the power of the individual." He says that "if you are worthy of being a Sith Master you have to believe you are strong enough to shape your destiny through the dark side so that there are no accidents." He concludes by saying "the fact that this philosophy kept the Sith line alive for over a thousand years is a pretty strong argument that there is some merit to it." [1] So does Karpyshyn envision the Banite lineage starting off strong with Bane, and then devolving into a concatenation of weaklings? Evidently not. We can also cross-reference it with the "Heritage of the Sith" article he wrote for Insider #88 around the same time [2]; yes, it's technically an in-universe source from the limited perspective of a dark side cultist or some close equivalent, but the interview is a clear indicator he means for his words to ring true: a Sith Master was never again dogpiled by multiple apprentices, and the line's power grew for a thousand years, culminating in Darth Sidious.

Now, both of these datapoints predate the latter two novels in the trilogy, but that's only relevant if you believe Karpyshyn's intent changed, and I see nothing indicating that. In a blog post on his personal website following the release of Dynasty of Evil, he stated he "wanted to provide a definitive answer" as to who won between Bane and Zannah, explaining that "Bane WANTED a stronger successor to overthrow him," and that clarifying that "Zannah won." [3] In the same post he also says he attempts to be explicit about his authorial intent; essentially, we can make fairly reliable inferences from his novels which quite plainly point to the validity of the Rule of Two and its efficacy in producing stronger Sith each generation. A few years after the end of the trilogy, Karpyshyn also gave his opinion on Sidious, saying that even in the movies he has "world-destroying abilities and is "pretty powerful, too" in comparison to Vitiate, whom Karpyshyn wrote as far stronger than Bane and has a hard time seeing any Star Wars villain eclipse in power. [4] This view on Sidious is consistent with the idea that the Banites grew in strength over the millennium - Bane being the starting point of a line that takes a thousand years to build up to a god in Sidious is not mutually exclusive with Bane being a monster in his own right.

DANIEL WALLACE

Next, we have Daniel Wallace - the author of Book of Sith and many, many other Star Wars books that are responsible for much of modern continuity [5] - likewise praising Bane yet endorsing Banite scaling. He "decided Bane was the best voice" for the section regarding lightsaber and Force combat (despite having a section on Darth Malgus in the book as well), but also agrees with Bane that the cosmic dark side is a limited quantity in a way that the two extant Sith embody "the greatest Force concentration achievable" at any one time, and this concentration of two allows the dark side to climb in strength until the movies. This means, in Wallace's words, that "the Sith are actually GROWING their dark-side power with each successive generation" as a result of "lodging themselves within the psychic fabric of the universe, and after a thousand years have accumulated enough dark side karma to birth a monster like Palpatine," whom Wallace calls "the most powerful dark lord in history" [6] - a view he endorsed at least up until 2018 [7].The recurring idea between these authors and their works seems indeed to be that Bane is extremely powerful in his own right and one of the strongest Sith ever, but that doesn't preclude there being more powerful Sith - even dozens - that consecutively come after him, culminating in the strongest one of not just that lineage but of Sith history as a whole.

CONCLUSION / PROPOSAL

This is all the evidence for Banite scaling I could think of. Even though I know you disagree, I hope I've at least done an adequate job of presenting my position in a way that you understand why I and many others believe and have believed in the veracity of Banite scaling for years, and that there is a legitimate discussion to be had here.

It's obvious pretty much every source and author has the utmost respect for Bane, and that the idea he loses to the average prequel-era Jedi Knight or even more prominent characters like Qui-Gon Jinn or TPM Darth Maul would not be reflected in writing if Bane were to appear in a PT story. However, a high ranking of Bane in other eras doesn't have to be in conflict with Banite scaling: the easy solution - and my proposed one - is to simply narrow the gaps between generations. Each Sith wouldn't have to be "more powerful" than the last in the rigid sense in which we usually use the word in this hobby, but instead they could have unique talents that enable them to triumph over their Masters. Bane himself even makes a point of this in Rule of Two: his power manifests in his overbearing physical might, and his tremendous elemental and telekinetic strength, while Zannah is a Sith sorceress whose prowess with with the blade is comparatively lacking, and who cannot even summon Force lightning, but is capable of twisting the minds of her victims and bending the fabric of reality. Dynasty of Evil depicts Darth Cognus as a burgeoning Sith assassin who can blunt the Force connection of her adversaries through sheer will, artificially weakening them and making them easier to kill, as well as with a remarkable gift for psychometry and farseeing, peering thousands of years into the past and future with extreme clarity. Later works show Darth Vectivus pioneered the extremely esoteric ability of Force phantoms, with even relative neophytes who learned the technique being capable of conjuring hundreds at a time; Darth Ramage experimented with arcane substances like pyronium and bota, and was a master of time manipulation, which he could use in combat; Darth Tenebrous's Master was able to cause a rend in the light side bubble fashioned by the Jedi Order and allow the dark side to seep through for the first time in eight centuries, and attempted to concoct a necrovirus to separate the Jedi from the Force; Darth Tenebrous believed in combining Bith science with dark side practices, having bioengineered immortal midi-chlorians he dubbed maxi-chlorians that didn't meld back into the Cosmic Force when the host body died but lingered perennially, and encoded his own consciousness into them in an attempt to one day infect and hijack the body of the Chosen One, and he was also a preternaturally gifted mathematician to the point he deemed Force-based precognition and farsight superfluous in the face of his ability to calculate the future; and Darths Plagueis and Sidious you are most familiar with already.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Rule of Two wrote:"The Force manifests itself in many different ways," Darth Bane told her. "Every individual has strengths and weaknesses-talents they excel at and others that are more difficult."

The twelve-year-old Zannah nodded. Several months before, Bane had unlocked a new data bank of information in Freedon Nadd's Holocron. Though he wouldn't tell her what he had uncovered, he had added a new element to her training shortly after his discovery. Every two or three days he would put her through a series of rigorous tests and challenges designed to evaluate her command of different aspects of the Force.

Until today he had refused to discuss the results of his experiments with her, and Zannah was beginning to fear she had somehow failed him.

"Some possess raw elemental power; they can unleash storms of lightning from their fingertips, or move mountains with their mere thoughts. Others are more gifted in the subtle intricacies of the Force, blessed with the ability to affect the minds of friend and foe alike through the arts of persuasion or battle meditation."

He paused and fixed her with a long stare, as if considering whether to say more.

"A rare few have a natural affinity for the dark side itself. They can delve into the depths of the Force and summon arcane energies to twist and warp the world around them. They can invoke the ancient rituals of the Sith; they can conjure power and unleash terrible spells and dark magics."

"Is that my gift?" Zannah asked, barely able to contain her excitement. "Am I a Sith sorcerer?"

"You have the potential," Bane told her. From inside his robes he produced a thin leather-bound manuscript. "Hidden deep inside the Holocron, I discovered a list of powerful spells. I transcribed them into this tome. They will help you focus and channel your power for maximum effect... but only if you study them carefully."

"I will, Master" Zannah promised, her eyes gleaming as she reached out to take the book from his hands.

"My ability to guide and teach you in the ways of sorcery are limited," Bane warned her. "My talents lie in another direction. To unleash your full potential you will have to do much of the study and research on your own. It will be... perilous."

The thought of exploring the dark and dangerous secrets of Sith sorcery alone filled her with dread, but the chance to achieve a power beyond the abilities of her Master to comprehend was a temptation she could not resist.

"I will not disappoint you, Master" she vowed, clutching the tome tightly against her chest.

"And if you ever try to use one of your spells against me" Bane added as a final caution, "I will destroy you."

This line of reasoning was partially spawned from recent discussions on Discord. The topic of Darth Malak vs. Exar Kun got me thinking: although Malak may have greater native power through his domination of and the benefits reaped from the Star Forge, Kun is possessed of amulets that multiply his rage hundred-thousand-fold and double their energy output with each pulsation, is seemingly immune to pain, has cortosis-weave armor that is not only lightsaber-resistant but outright short-circuits lightsabers on contact, and wields a totally unique one-handed, double-bladed lightsaber that very few opponents would know how to deal with. Moreover, ILS proffered the idea that most Star Wars characters seem to fall into archetypes that most authors appear to, at least subconsciously, consider far more than the technical minutiae - Darth Malak and Exar Kun are both the reigning Dark Lords of the Sith of their respective time periods; it's doubtful anybody would care about an obscure Wizards of the Coast article even if they knew of its existence. And although we obviously can't ignore those details like authors can, it still seems to be wiser to group characters into broad aesthetic tiers and judge the winner off of their idiosyncrasies rather than linear power scaling.

Of course, insurmountable power-based gaps do exist: Revan is invariably superior to Darth Malak, Arcann is invariably superior to pre-growth Outlander, and Anakin Skywalker is invariably superior to Count Dooku. For Banite scaling, the vast majority of the source material (as far as I can tell anyway) supports the notion that their general power level independent of specific techniques did rise over time, at the very least, on average. What I mean is, if we grouped together the line's early members (e.g. Bane, Zannah, Cognus), middle members (e.g. Gravid, Gean), late members (e.g. Ramage, Tenebrous's Master, Tenebrous), and final members (e.g. Plagueis, Sidious) we might not perceive significant power differences within those groups, but we would see noticeable disparities between said groups. I don't for a second buy the idea that Bane was already approaching Sidious's level - that would go against much of the narrative I have outlined above, and it's probabilistically far less feasible for there to be half a dozen or more near-Sidious-tier dark siders being born consecutively than it is for there to be two dozen Maul-or-Dooku-tier dark siders being born consecutively. Not to mention putting Bane near Sidious is quite baseless anyway; there are no reliable quotes for it, no obvious feats like Vitiate has with Ziost, and all in all to me the only justification for it seems to be "eyeballing it." Then again, you appear to have a much different conception of ROTS Sidious than I do in that you seem to think anyone in a certain class (e.g. Malak, Kun, Dooku, Malgus) can knock on his door, whereas I maintain Dooku would get eviscerated in ten seconds or less, and Maul would be lucky to last three.

But all that's just my opening thoughts. You'll of course post your counter-evidence, and then we can get to the meat of things.

Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling Sheev_smile

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Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling Empty Re: Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling

March 19th 2023, 7:20 pm
Good job. Very well written.
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Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling Empty Re: Assessing the validity of the Rule of Two and Banite scaling

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