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Master Azronger
Master Azronger
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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Empty My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda

April 30th 2023, 6:58 pm
Message reputation : 100% (2 votes)

INTRODUCTION

A short time ago I asked on Discord why people hold Darth Caedus so damn high, and I complained that there's never been big NJO blogs clearly displaying all the pertinent wank for that era like there have been for PT, TOR, Legacy and so on, yet people hold NJO characters, Caedus especially, on a level I find to be completely unreasonable given the comparative lack of arguments and debates for those placements. I have personally not read Legacy of the Force, and in general I know very little about the post-ROTJ time period outside of Legacy, so all I'm asking for is solid proof presented in its appropriate context in a manner scrutable for an NJO layman. Essentially, I should not have to have intimate knowledge of LOTF for me to understand why Caedus is Yoda- or Luke-level if the arguments are robust enough.

It just so happened that in the meanwhile @EmperorCaedus was working on a Caedus blog, which he has now released. Sadly, I was unconvinced. It's entirely possible that Caedus has more going for him than what was written in the blog, but based on that content as well as my limited knowledge outside of it, I find it more likely for Caedus to be Maul- or Dooku-level at the absolute maximum. Many people asked me to clarify my pessimistic thoughts, so here we go. While I will be responding to several points raised in EC's blog, I will also be making some of my own points for why I'm doubtful regarding a Yoda-level placement for Caedus, much less Luke-level. Anyone is welcome to pitch in to the discussion with their own thoughts, and I'm open to being swayed - I just want hard evidence.

DARTH CAEDUS'S POWER GROWTH

The first thing EC argues is that "Darth Caedus receives massive growth leading into Invincible," and he cites Caedus's inner monologue from the start of the novel that shutting out his emotional pain has made him weak, and that embracing said pain is the way of the Sith to gain more power, so from now on that is what Caedus will be doing: letting himself suffer freely and drawing strength from it. The missing step here is anger: pain doesn't fuel a Sith's power by itself; it needs to be transformed into rage, which is where the power stems from. This is what that looks like in the context of dead loved ones:

Star Wars: The Old Republic - Deceived wrote:Thinking of Eleena blew oxygen on the embers of his anger. In life, Eleena had been his weakness, a tool to be exploited by rivals. In death, she had become his strength, her memory the lens of his rage.

He resided in the calm eye of a storm of hate. Power churned around him, within him. He did not feel as if he were drawing on the Force, using it. He felt as if he were the Force, as if he had merged with it.

He had evolved. Nothing split his loyalties any longer. He served the Force and only the Force, and his understanding of it increased daily.

The growing power whirling around him, leaking through the lid of his control, made the suppression of his Force signature impossible. All at once he lowered all of the mental barriers, let the full force of his power roil around him.

Darth Malgus's rage is so all-consuming his relationship with the Force "evolves" to another level entirely, "and his understanding of it increases daily." At the beginning of Deceived Malgus is a loose rival to Lord Adraas and briefly crosses blades with him. After Malgus's evolution, however, Adraas lasts only two lightsaber strikes from having his bones broken from a kick; with telekinesis, he gets ragdolled, and with lightning, burned to a crisp; any offensive of his own is  ineffectual and useless; and the text even states he is no match for Malgus.

Star Wars: The Old Republic - Deceived wrote:Adraas ignored the question. “Do you care for her, Malgus? Love her?”

“She is a servant and you are a fool,” Malgus said, his anger rising. “She satisfies my needs when I require it. Nothing more.”

Adraas smiled as if he’d scored a point. “She is your slave, then? A mongrel harlot who satisfies you because she must?”

The smoldering heat of Malgus’s brewing anger ignited into open flame. Snarling, he leapt from his chair, activated his lightsaber, and unleashed an overhand strike to split Adraas’s head in two.

But Adraas, anticipating Malgus’s attack, bounded to his feet, activated his own lightsaber, and parried the blow. The two men pressed their blades against the other before Angral’s desk, energy sizzling, sparks flying.

Malgus tested Adraas’s strength.

“You have been hiding your power,” he said.

“No,” Adraas answered. “You are just too blind to see the things before your eyes.”

Malgus summoned a reserve of strength and pushed Adraas back a stride. They regarded each other with hate in their eyes.

“That will be all,” Angral said, standing.

Neither Malgus nor Adraas took his eyes from the other and neither deactivated his blade.

“That will be all,” Angral said.

As one, both men backed off another step. Adraas deactivated his lightsaber, then Malgus.

Star Wars: The Old Republic - Deceived wrote:Adraas scoffed. “I have hidden my true power from you, Malgus. It is you who will not leave here.”

“Then show me your power,” Malgus said, sneering.

Adraas snarled and held forth his left hand. Force lightning crackled from his fingertips, filled the space between them.

Malgus interposed his lightsaber, drew the lightning to it, and started walking toward Adraas. The power swirled around the red blade, sizzling, crackling, pushed against Malgus, but he strode through it. The skin of his hands blistered but Malgus endured the pain, paid it as the price of his cause.

As he walked, he spun his blade in an arc above his head, gathering the lightning, then flung it back at Adraas. It slammed into his chest, lifted him bodily from the ground, and threw him hard against the far well.

“Is that your power?” Malgus asked, still advancing, cloaked in rage. “That is what you wished to show me?”

Adraas climbed to his feet, his armor charred and smoking. A snarl split his face.

Malgus picked up his pace, turned the walk into a charge. His boots thumped off the wood floor of the hall. He did not bother with finesse. He vented his rage in a continuous roar as he unleashed a furious series of blows: an overhand slash that Adraas parried; a low stab that Adraas barely sidestepped; a side kick that connected to Adraas’s side, broke ribs, and flung Adraas fully across the narrow axis of the hall. He crashed into a column and the impact split it as would lightning a tree.

Adraas growled as he climbed to his feet. Power gathered around him, a black storm of energy, and he leapt at Malgus, his blade held high.

Malgus sneered, gestured, seized Adraas in his power, and pulled him from the air at the apex of his leap.

Adraas hit the ground in a heap, his breath coming in wheezes. He climbed to all fours, then to his feet, favoring his side, his blade held limply before him.

“You hid nothing from me,” Malgus said, and the power in his voice caused Adraas to wince. “You are a fool, Adraas. Your skill is in politics, in currying favor with your betters. Your understanding of the Force is nothing compared to mine.”

Adraas snarled, started to charge toward Malgus, a last-ditch attempt to salvage his dignity if not his life.

Malgus held forth his hand and the rage within him manifested in blue veins of lightning that discharged from his fingertips and slammed into Adraas. The power stopped Adraas’s charge cold, blew his lightsaber from his hand, caught him up in a cage of burning lightning. He screamed, squirming in frustration and pain.

“End it, Malgus! End it!”

Malgus unclenched his fingers and released the lightning. Adraas fell to the ground, his flesh smoking, the skin of his once handsome face blistered and peeling. Again he rose to all fours and looked up at Malgus.

“Angral will avenge me.”

“Angral will suspect what has happened here,” Malgus said, and strode toward him. “But he will never know, not for certain, not until it is too late.”

“Too late for what?” Adraas asked.

Malgus did not answer.

“You are mad,” Adraas said, and leapt to his feet and charged. He pulled his lightsaber to his fist and activated it. The attack took Malgus momentarily by surprise.

Adraas loosed a flurry of strikes, his blade a humming, red blur as he spun, stabbed, slashed, and cut. Malgus backed off a single step, another, then held his ground, his own blade an answer to all of Adraas’s attacks. Adraas shouted as he attacked, the sound that of desperation, filled with the knowledge that he was no match for Malgus.

Finally Malgus answered with an attack of his own, forcing Adraas back with the power and speed of his blows. When he had Adraas backed up against the wall, he crosscut for his head. Adraas ducked under and Malgus cut a column in two. As the huge upper piece of the column crashed to the floor and the balcony lurched above them, Adraas fell to one knee and stabbed at Malgus’s chest. Malgus spun out of the way and rode the spin into a chop that severed Adraas’s arm at the elbow. Adraas screamed and clutched his arm at the bicep while his forearm fell to the floor along with the column.

Malgus had taught the lesson he’d come to teach.

He deactivated his lightsaber, held up his left hand, and made a pincer of his fingers.

Adraas tried to use his own power to defend himself but Malgus pushed through it and took telekinetic hold of Adraas’s throat.

Adraas gagged, the capillaries in his wide eyes beginning to pop. Malgus’s power lifted Adraas from the floor, his legs kicking, gasping.

Malgus stood directly before Adraas, his hate the vise closing on Adraas’s trachea.

“You and Angral caused this, Adraas. And the Emperor. There can be no peace with the Jedi, no truce.” He clenched his fist. “There can be no peace, at all. Not ever.”

Adraas’s only answer was continued gagging.

Seeing him there, hanging, near death, Malgus thought of Eleena, of Adraas’s description of her. He released Adraas from the clutch of his Force choke.

Adraas hit the ground on his back, gasping. Malgus had a knee on his chest and both his hands on his throat before Adraas could recover. He would kill Adraas with his bare hands.

“Look me in the eyes,” he said, and made Adraas look at him. “In the eyes!”

Adraas’s eyes showed petechial hemorrhaging but Malgus knew he was coherent.

“You called her a mongrel,” Malgus said. He removed his gauntlets, took Adraas by the throat, and began to squeeze. “To my face you called her that. Her.”

Adraas blinked, his eyes watering. His mouth opened and closed but no sound emerged.

“You are the mongrel, Adraas.” Malgus bent low, nose-to-nose. “Angral’s mongrel and you and those like you have mongrelized the purity of the Empire with your pollution, trading strength for a wretched peace.”

Adraas’s trachea collapsed in Malgus’s grip. There was no final cough or gag. Adraas died in silence.

Malgus rose and stood over Adraas’s body. He pulled on his gloves, adjusted his armor, his cloak, and walked out of the manse.

The contrast between Malgus's ordinary anger and the rage he feels when Aryn Leneer threatens Eleena Daru's life is seen when his Force lightning is powered through in their first fight whereas in their second in completely overwhelms Leneer; his physical strikes are substantially mightier as well. This is a distinctly lesser amplification than what I cited above, but it's still enough for Malgus to emphatically trounce someone who was previously his equal. Both fights can be found in full in my Darth Malgus Respect Thread.

Star Wars: The Old Republic - Deceived wrote:She took the hilt of Master Zallow’s lightsaber in her off hand, crouched, and bounded into a leap toward him. He watched her come and at the apex of the leap’s arc, he thrust his left hand at her, roaring, and veins of Force lightning squirmed toward her.

Ready for it, she activated Master Zallow’s lightsaber, used it to form an X with her own, and intercepted the lightning on the two blades.

His power met her will. The lightning twisted around the glowing blades. The force of it stopped her downward descent and held her aloft in the air for a moment, suspended on a column built of the dark side.

And then she overcame it. The lightning dissipated to nothingness and she, unharmed by it, fell straight down, landing on her feet atop a shifting pile of rubble and deactivating Master Zallow’s blade.

Star Wars: The Old Republic - Deceived wrote:Again she felt the odd sense of sympathy or pity adulterating the otherwise pure hate flowing from Malgus. His eyes went to Eleena, her body crumpled on the landing pad’s floor.

As Aryn prepared to leap at Malgus, he held forth a hand, almost casually, and lightning sizzled through the space between them. Aryn interposed her lightsabers, but the power in the lightning exceeded anything she had felt from Malgus before. It blasted through her defenses and both lightsabers flew from her hands. The lightning seized her, lifted her up, and threw her from the top of the shuttle.

As she flew toward the deck, she smelled burning flesh, heard screaming, realized that it was her flesh, her screams. She hit the ground hard and her head bounced off the ground. Sparks erupted in her brain, pain, and everything went dark.

Another example is Anakin Skywalker vs. Count Dooku. At the start the fight is competitive: Anakin's tremendous strength drives Dooku back but the Count can clearly compete, kicking Anakin several meters back into a wall and disabling Obi-Wan simultaneously. But once Anakin, for the first time in his life, taps into his darkest memories - the abuse and abasement he suffered as child slave, and the torturous death of his mother whom he was too late in his arms - and channels them into the fight instead of allowing them to smolder in his head, "Dooku's decades of combat experience," "mastery of swordplay," and "knowledge of the Force" become "irrelevant," "useless," and "a joke." He loses in 12 seconds.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda FaroffNeedyArrowworm-size_restricted

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith novelization wrote:Dooku's decades of combat experience are irrelevant. His mastery of swordplay is useless. His vast wealth, his political influence, impeccable breeding, immaculate manners, exquisite taste - the pursuits and points of pride to which he has devoted so much of his time and attention over the long, long years of his life - are now chains hung upon his spirit, bending his neck before the ax.

Even his knowledge of the Force has become a joke.

It is this knowledge that shows him his death, makes him handle it, turn it this way and that in his mind, examine it in detail like a black gemstone so cold it burns. Dooku's elegant farce has degenerated into bathetic melodrama, and not one shed tear will mark the passing of its hero.

But for Anakin, in the fight there is only terror, and rage.

Only he stands between death and the two men he loves best in all the world, and he can no longer afford to hold anything back. That imaginary dead-star dragon tries its best to freeze away his strength, to whisper him that Dooku has beaten him before, that Dooku has all the power of the darkness, to remind him how Dooku took his hand, how Dooku could strike down even Obi-Wan himself seemingly without effort and now Anakin is all alone and he will never be a match for any Lord of the Sith-But Palpatine's words rage is your weapon have given Anakin permission to unseal the shielding around his furnace heart, and all his fears and all his doubts shrivel in its flame.

When Count Dooku flies at him, blade flashing, Watto's fist cracks out from Anakin's childhood to knock the Sith Lord tumbling back.

When with all the power that the dark side can draw from throughout the universe, Dooku hurls a jagged fragment of the durasteel table, Shmi Skywalker's gentle murmur I knew you would come for me, Anakin smashes it aside.

His head has been filled with the smoke from his smothered heart for far too long; it has been the thunder that darkens his mind. On Aargonar, on Jabiim, in the Tusken camp on Tatooine, that smoke had clouded his mind, had blinded him and left him flailing in the dark, a mindless machine of slaughter; but here now, within this ship, this microscopic cell of life in the infinite sterile desert of space, his firewalls have opened so that the terror and the rage are out there, in the fight instead of in his head, and Anakin's mind is clear as a crystal bell.

Is there anything like for Caedus in Invincible? Genuine question. In the monologue EC cites from the start of the novel, as well as throughout it, Caedus makes a point of restraining his anger, keeping it controlled under a clenched fist so as to not let it rule and bring him to misjudgment. But if he is to draw power from his emotional pain like he vows to, the time and place to do that would be when he is fighting for his life against other Force-users, and yet in neither of his fights with Jaina Solo is there a description remotely akin to Malgus's or Anakin's. Caedus uses anger and the pain from his wounds like a typical Sith, but nothing there indicates to me he is operating as a total ragelord that would obliterate all previous conceptions of himself.

EC likewise cites Palpatine's musings from Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader that if his apprentice were to be shaken out of his despair and come to terms with all his choices and disappointments, the prospect of a fire rekindled in Vader would be perilous to the Emperor, and then EC compares this to Caedus's own shift in mindset in what I interpret as an attempt to quantify Caedus's supposed enhancement. I find this to be a bit disingenuous because Vader achieves this too, but it's obviously not an instant leap from barely above the average Jedi Master to rivalling the most powerful Sith Lord in history; at the end of the novel it's made clear Vader's climb to the realm of his Master is going to take time and learning of new Sith techniques. The transformation underwent by him and also apparently by Caedus is not one of immediate, humongous improvement, but rather the obviation of shackles, allowing for growth in the future. Since Caedus did not have, I'm guessing, more than a few weeks before his death, I see no reason not to treat his power levels in Revelation and Invincible as effectively interchangeable unless evidence is presented to the contrary.

Star Wars: Dark Lord - The Rise of the Darth Vader wrote:Sidious was pleased. Vader had done well. He had sensed the change in him, even in the brief conversation they had had following the events on Kashyyyk. Now that Vader had begun to tap deeply into the power of the dark side, his true apprenticeship could begin. The Jedi were incidental to him. He was covetous of the power Sidious wielded, and believed that one day they would be equals.

You must begin by gaining power over yourself; then another; then a group, an order, a world, a species, a group of species... finally, the galaxy itself.

Sidious could still hear Darth Plagueis lecturing him.

Envy, hatred, betrayal... They were essential to mastering the dark side, but only as a means of distancing oneself from all common notions of morality in the interest of a higher goal. Only when Sidious had understood this fully had he acted on it, killing his Master while he slept.

Unlike Plagueis, Sidious knew better than to sleep.

More important, by the time Vader was capable of becoming a risk to his Mastery, Sidious would be fully conversant with the secrets Plagueis had spent a lifetime seeking - the power of life over death. There would be no need to fear Vader. No real reason to have an apprentice, except to honor the tradition Darth Bane had resurrected a millennium earlier.

The ancient Sith had been utter fools to believe that power could be shared by thousands.

The power of the dark side should be shared only by two; one to embody it, the other to crave it.

Vader's transformation meant that Sidious, too, was able to focus once more on important matters. With Vader in his place, Sidious could now devote himself to intensifying his authority over the Senate and the outlying star systems, and to rooting out and vanquishing any who posed a threat to the Empire.

He had brought peace to the galaxy. Now he meant to rule it as he saw fit - with a hand as strong and durable as one of Vader's prostheses. Crushing any opponents who rose up. Instilling fear in any who thought to obstruct or thwart him.

Vader would prove to be a powerful apprentice, at least until a more suitable one was found.

Star Wars: Dark Lord - The Rise of the Darth Vader wrote:Anakin was gone; a memory so deeply buried he might have dreamed rather than lived it. The Force as Anakin knew it was interred with him, and inseparable from him.

Just as Sidious promised, he was now married to the order of the Sith, and needed no other companion than the dark side of the Force. He embraced all that he had done to bring balance to the Force, by dismantling the corrupt Republic and toppling the Jedi, and he reveled in his power. It could all be his, anything he wished. He needed only the determination to take it, at whatever cost to those who stood in his way.

But...

He was also married to Sidious, who doled out precious bits of Sith technique as if merely lending them - just enough to increase his apprentice's power, without making him supremely powerful.

There would come a day, however, when they would be equals.

He scanned the stars, looking forward to a time when he could find an apprentice of his own and, together with that one, topple Darth Sidious from his throne.

It gave him something to live for.
Master Azronger
Master Azronger
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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Empty Re: My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda

April 30th 2023, 6:59 pm
This leads me on another path of inquiry: how powerful are Caedus's opponents? My knowledge is limited, as I've said, so I'm relying mostly on general impressions I've seen throughout my time in the community - with the exception of Aurra Sing, whom I know has lost to 17-year-old Padawan A'Sharad Hett and Aayla Secura, and been manhandled by 19 BBY Darth Vader in hand-to-hand combat and with telekinesis with utter impunity. I won't bother with detailed analyses as Jacen Solo's performance in Tempest clearly parallels those of Hett and Secura far more than that of Vader. His fight with Mara Jade Skywalker in Sacrifice is also an "an exhausting, no-limits display of acrobatics and Force power," yet said displays from both sides are far inferior to those of Darth Malgus from Hope, as well as 19 BBY Vader's without his respirator - again, no need for proper analyses when the feats-comparisons are self-evident. Caedus later struggles with a strike team comprising of Kyle Katarn, Valin Horn, Thann Mithric, and Kolir Hu'lya in Fury; and in the same novel he admits that he would have "difficulty" defeating Saba Sebatyne.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda LOTF_length

Per The Essential Reader's Companion, the whole of Legacy of the Force takes place over the course of just one year. I do get that Caedus grows more powerful over the course of his Sith career, especially from the murder of his aunt, and I understand that he is a gifted third generation Skywalker, but we're still talking about just one year. Anakin Skywalker's ascent from Attack of the Clones to Revenge of the Sith is three years, the Hero of Tython's journey from Act I to the beginning of Knights of the Fallen Empire is six years, and Jacen's own sabbatical to master "a hundred different ways of harnessing the Force," "every arcane school of Force philosophy," "all the knowledge of generations," "the most arcane Force techniques in the galaxy," "skills that no other Jedi had known for centuries, if ever," "perfecting his use of the Force" took five years only to get him to a point where he would be slugging it out with the likes of Sing and Jade; by the same token, in spite of his legendary bloodline, all of Jacen's 15+ years of training and experiences in the four-year-long Yuuzhan Vong War left him "a decent lightsaber master and sai acrobat, but nowhere near as skilled as Luke, Kyp, Mara, Corran - or Anakin." Given every precedent that Jacen's growth rate is not any faster, and is in all likelihood much slower, than those of top-tier prodigies, the notion that he goes from being competitive with Sing and Jade to Yoda-level, much less Luke-level, in one year or less is... questionable to me. Equally so is the idea he reaches that realm in merely two books from being competitive with Katarn and Sebatyne in Fury - my rough gauge is that the two are high-end Council members, and thus equate to maybe Kit Fisto, Plo Koon, or Asajj Ventress, although if someone wants to argue they are more akin to Obi-Wan Kenobi or Mace Windu, I am open to that but consequently in sore need of evidence as usual. Then again, it's also possible that Caedus's opponents are beneath high PT Council-level as I will elucidate later in this post.

DARTH CAEDUS'S FIGHTS

(1) Jacen Solo vs. Aurra Sing:

https://imgur.com/a/QN4Lrqe

https://imgur.com/a/Ia7hSTv

Star Wars: Coruscant Nights II - Street of Shadows wrote:“So it’s respect you want, is it?” He took a step forward and she tensed, both hands clenching slowly. “I thought it was only a sum of credits. Money is easily given, Sing. It is nothing more than chaff. Respect—respect cannot be given. It must be earned.”

She came straight at him.

It took only a few steps. A little of the Force perfectly in tune with bands of lithe muscle. In a second one out-thrust fist would be in his face and she would see what that composite armor was made of. She knew of no one who had ever seen what lay beneath that mask. She intended to be the first.

Her fist never made contact. Raising his right hand and bringing it around in a swift arc, Vader blocked the blow and sent the body behind it flying across the room. As she flew, a startled but still wholly self-aware Sing tucked and rolled. She hit the opposite wall hard, bounced off, landed on her feet, and immediately came at him again.

“The reflexes of an animal,” Vader murmured. His lightsaber hung at his waist. He ignored it, his fingers going nowhere near the weapon. “That’s what the Empire needs: a few more well-trained, domesticated animals.”

“Domesticated? I’ll show you who’s domesticated!” She leapt high, kicking out, and in midthrust somehow bent sideways to kick harder with her other leg.

In a movement preternaturally fast, but which somehow looked almost languid, Vader ducked, reached up, and with one gloved hand lightly tapped her in the middle of her back. A serious thrust catching her in that position could have broken her spine. The Dark Lord’s touch was more of a caress. He was letting her know what he could have done.

Landing in a crouch, a feral expression on her face, she raced at him again, low this time. Her speed was startling: a droid would have been hard-pressed to match her acceleration. She dropped low to the floor and swung her right leg around in a powerful circle sweep. Her intent was to take his legs out from under him.

She might as well have been trying to cut down a bronzewood tree. At the last instant the Dark Lord thrust both hands downward toward the spinning bounty hunter. A profound surge in the Force rippled through the room. Guards posted at a distance in the hallway nearby were nearly knocked off their feet by it. But the strength of the emanation had not been directed at them.

Casually, as if inspecting a new exhibit that had been donated to the Imperial Museum, Vader walked around the now motionless figure on the floor. Aurra Sing lay on her back, unable to move. It was as if a giant weight pressed her down. Seething in impotent rage, she watched the Dark Lord pass through her field of vision and beyond.

She felt, rather than saw, him make a negligent gesture, and she could move again. Sing reached up with one hand to clutch at her throat. Momentarily stilled, the fury that had boiled up within her began to return. She rose to her feet.

Without even looking in her direction, Vader waved diffidently at his visitor. “Enough, assassin. You repeat the fatal error of one who knows but a tiny bit of the dark side.”

Holding herself back with an effort, she stood panting and glaring at him. “And what might that be?”

“You don’t know how to control it. You let it control you. This is the difference between mentor and student. You make good use of what access you do have to the Force, but I fear you will never master it.”

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Tempest wrote:But their contact was shattered by the intrusion of a cold presence, gleefully pouring its murderous intent into the Force. Allana reeled back in shock and vanished, leaving Jacen alone with the assassin’s presence. Then the humming of the lightsaber suddenly assumed a higher pitch, and a loud clang sounded as a freshly cut panel of security door fell to the floor.

In the next instant a brilliant orange flash lit the corridor ahead, accompanied by the crashing whumpff of a concussion grenade—launched, no doubt, by Allana’s Defender Droid, DeDe. Jacen paused a moment to be sure there would not be another grenade, then rounded the corner when he began to hear the shrieking of DeDe’s blaster cannon.

The corridor ahead was so filled with smoke and blasterfire that it looked like the inside of a thunderstorm. Sing was a pale ghost in a red bodysuit, battling through the hole she had cut in Jacen’s door, surrounding herself in crimson snakes of light as she used her lightsaber to bat aside DeDe’s attacks.

Jacen drew his sidearm and fired on the run, hoping to blast the assassin in the back while she was too overwhelmed to defend herself. Sing dropped into a forward roll and vanished through the door. An instant later her lightsaber whined half a dozen times, and DeDe’s blaster cannon fell silent.

Aurra Sing was alone in Jacen’s stateroom—and with her Force abilities, it would take her only a second to find his daughter. He stopped a few paces from the door and reached out to the assassin in the Force.

Wait.

Jacen spoke the word with his mind instead of his mouth. At the same time, he was expanding his Force presence into Sing’s mind, opening himself fully to the Force and using its power to push himself deeper into her mind, to crush her own presence and force it deep down into the bottom of her being.

“Wait,” he repeated.

Sing fought back, trying to push him from her mind, but Jacen had taken her by surprise. He had the power of his anger and his fear and his hatred behind him, and she simply was not strong enough.

Jacen started forward again, then dropped his blaster pistol and retrieved his comlink.

“Double-Ex, open—”

The doors to his stateroom slid open, grating loudly as the damaged area scraped past the jambs. Jacen stepped into the foyer of his suite, where beads of molten durasteel were still popping and hissing on the stone decking. To his right, the walls above the galley and dining area were pocked with scorch marks. Allana’s Defender Droid lay to his left, a heap of severed limbs and smoking circuits scattered along the edge of a sunken conversation area.

Sing stood with her back to Jacen, about five paces beyond the droid, on the other side of a smoldering couch. In one hand, she held her still-ignited lightsaber. In the other was a class-C thermal detonator with a disintegration radius large enough to kill herself, Jacen, Allana, and probably half the personnel on the decks directly above and below.

As Jacen started toward her, she looked over her shoulder with an expression in her pale eyes that seemed equal parts hatred and awe.

“Don’t ever touch me like that again.”

Jacen did not reply. Sing was still struggling to free herself of his domination, and all his concentration was focused on keeping the pressure on until he drew close enough to strike.

Sing flashed him a cold smile. “But then, I don’t think you’ll have the chance.”

Her thumb twitched.

The activation light on the thermal detonator began to blink, and that was enough to shatter Jacen’s concentration. He felt Sing slip free, and suddenly he was completely outside her mind, watching in horror as she pitched the detonator toward the refresher where Allana was hiding.

Jacen’s heart dropped through the bottom of his stomach. His arm shot out without conscious thought, and the detonator floated into his hand almost before he realized he had summoned it.

Sing was already whirling, leaping toward him with her crimson blade coming around at neck height. Jacen brought his lightsaber up automatically and blocked, then pulled the detonator’s thumb slide back.

He never saw whether the activation light darkened. Suddenly Sing’s knee was sinking into his stomach, driving the breath from his lungs and sending him tumbling over a couch. The detonator clattered to the floor somewhere in the galley. He came down on a beverage table, smashing it apart, then Sing was over him, her crimson blade arcing down.

Jacen whipped his lightsaber around to block, catching her blade about halfway up the shaft and filling the air with a sizzling shower of sparks. Sing grabbed her hilt with both hands and began to push, slowly driving the tip of her lightsaber down toward his eye.

The glow was as blinding as the heat was searing, and Jacen’s vision blossomed into a fiery red blur. He brought his free hand up to brace his weapon arm and tried not to worry about whether his eyeball would melt, not daring to turn his head or even look away for fear that he would slip.

Sing kicked him in the side. The tip of a small, wedgeshaped blade scraped against his ribs and sent a blazing bolt of pain shooting into his body.

“Never—” She kicked him again, sending another bolt of pain deep into his stomach. “—violate—”

She kicked again.

“—my—” Another kick, more pain. “—mind!”

Sing kicked again, this time catching him near a kidney. A wave of fiery anguish rolled through his body, stealing his breath, so hot he could not even scream. The pain would have paralyzed anyone else, left him on the floor praying to die before he drew his next breath.

But pain was an old friend of Jacen’s. He had learned to embrace it during his imprisonment among the Yuuzhan Vong, and now it no longer troubled him. Now it served him.

He turned the palm of his bracing hand toward Sing and pushed with the Force.

The move did not surprise her as much as he had hoped. As she flew away, Sing rolled the tip of her blade over his, and his lightsaber went flying. He held his Force shove until he heard her thud into the wall opposite, then sprang to his feet.

A fiery blur continued to blind one eye, and his sight in the other was still splashed with crimson blotches. But he could see clearly enough to be worried. Sing had landed near the refresher where Allana was hiding—close enough to fulfill her contract, if she was willing to risk Jacen attacking her from behind.

Jacen did not give her that chance. He opened himself fully to his fear and anger, using the power of his emotions to bring the Force flooding into him, and his body began to crackle and burn with dark energy. He raised his arms in Sing’s direction, hands held level and fingers splayed wide.

That was when the door to the refresher hissed open, and a pair of small gray eyes peered out. They were wide open and locked on Jacen with an expression that might have been awe or fear or both.

“No, Allana!” Jacen could not bring himself to release the Force lightning while she was watching; even if Tenel Ka had not yet taught her that the dark side was evil, his own childhood training remained strongly enough ingrained that he did not want his daughter to see him using it. “Close the …”

Jacen had to let the order trail off when Sing took advantage of his hesitation to leap at him. Allana screamed from inside the refresher, then Sing was three paces away, lightsaber coming in for a midbody strike. Jacen lifted one foot as though to pivot away, and Sing took the bait and stopped, dropping one leg back as she continued her swing.

Instead of spinning past as he feinted, Jacen cartwheeled over her blade and came down on the other side. Sing reversed her attack so fast he barely had time to grab her wrist, much less turn her own weapon against her as he had intended.

So Jacen kicked her in the knee as hard as he could.

The joint dislocated with a sickening pop, and Sing collapsed to the floor shrieking. But she did not release her lightsaber. She did not even stop fighting, rolling into him in an effort to break his grasp and slash him open. Jacen started to pivot out of the way, intending to bring her arm around for a clean break behind her back.

But Allana suddenly appeared on the other side of Sing, charging forward with her dark brows lowered and what looked like a small recording rod clutched in her hands.

“Allana, no!”

Allana kept coming.

Determined to keep Sing from striking out at his daughter with any of her weapons, Jacen Force-leapt backward, dragging the assassin away from his daughter. Allana took two more steps and raised the silver rod over her head … then dived.

Sing raised her uninjured leg, cocking her foot to kick Allana with the stubby knife in the toe of her boot.

Jacen screamed and whipped Sing’s arm around, twisting her away from his daughter. Her lightsaber flashed by so close he nearly lost an ear, but the assassin’s legs spun around with her body, and the kick-knife flashed past half a meter above Allana’s head.

Allana landed on Sing’s other leg and jammed the silver rod into her injured knee. The hiss of an autoinjector sounded from its tip, and Sing cried out in astonishment.

“You little shrew!”

Sing drew her leg back again to kick … then let it drop to the floor. Her eyes widened in anger—or perhaps it was fear. She craned her neck around, staring at Allana, and began to convulse. Jacen quickly pulled Sing’s lightsaber from her unresisting hand, then held the still-ignited tip to the assassin’s neck.

“Allana, what—”

“She’ll be awright, Jacen.” Allana sat up and straddled the assassin’s leg, no longer afraid—if she ever had been. “It was just my safety stick.”

“Okay.” Jacen was too numb and relieved to ask more—or to chastise Allana for not staying in the refresher. He simply waved her off Sing’s legs. “Get off. She could still be dangerous.”

“That’s not what Doctor Meala says.” Despite her protest, Allana climbed off Sing’s legs. “She says the bad person won’t be dangerous again until someone gives her the antidope.”

(2) Jacen Solo vs. Mara Jade Skywalker:

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

https://imgur.com/a/2C3MJRB

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmyF5ge6SQU

Star Wars Insider #124: \"The Old Republic - The Third Lesson" wrote:A haze of smoke hung in the air, the black residuum of the Imperial fleet's pre-landing bombardment of Alderaan. Rage burned in Malgus, its seed grown from the word he kept hearing over Imperial communication channels: Retreat.

The Empire had lost Alderaan. Hours before Malgus had walked its surface as a conqueror, but now...

Now signal fires dotted its surface, rallying points for the Republic forces.

A counterattack was coming. Reports indicated a Republic fleet en route to Alderaan.

Retreat.

Retreat.

He clenched his fists so hard it made his fingers ache. His breathing sounded like a rasp over wood. His skin stung from burns. A Republic commando had exploded a grenade in his face, and combat with a Jedi witch had damaged his lungs. Lacerations and contusions made a grim mosaic on his flesh.

But he felt no pain. He felt only anger.

Hate.

A sense of frustration that made him want to shout.

His personal shuttle roared low over the scorched landscape. Below him, buildings and bodies smoldered in the ruins of an Alderaani town. Around him, Imperial ships prowled the sky, flying escort. He tried to unknot his fists, failed. He wanted...

The presence of a light-side Force user bumped up against his Force sensitivity, a sudden flare in his perception. He tooked down and out the viewport. He saw nothing but charred ruins, rubbled buildings, burnt out vehicles. He pinched the comlink he wore.

"Turn us around. "

"My lord?" asked his pilot.

"Come about, cut speed to one quarter, and reduce altitude by one hundred meters. "

"Yes, my lord. "

As the shuttle wheeled around and slowed, Malgus overrode the safeties and lowered the landing ramp. Wind whipped into the cabin, carrying the smell of a charred planet, a planet Malgus had intended to kill, but instead had only wounded.

Someone had to pay for that.

He took the hilt of his lightsaber in hand and sank into the Force. The burned-out buildings below stuck out of the scorched earth like rotted teeth, crooked and black.

"Slower, " he said to the pilot.

He reached out through the Force, probing for the light-side presence he had felt.

At first there was nothing, and he wondered if he had been mistaken, or if the light-side user had perceived Malgus and suppressed his power. But then...

There.

He felt it as an irritation behind his eyes, an itch only violence could scratch. He shed his cloak and stepped to the edge of the landing ramp. The wind pulled at him. Anger swelled in him, buoyed him up. The Force anchored him in place. He pinched his comlink again.

"Hover above the ruins until I return. "

"Return, my lord? Where are you going? You're seriously wounded. "

Malgus deactivated the comlink and leapt off the ramp into the open air. He ignited his blade as the ground rushed up to meet him. Using the Force to cushion the impact, he hit the ground in a crouch.

He stood in the center of a street pockmarked with craters and littered with broken glass and overturned speeders. An aircar burned 10 meters from him, vomiting gouts of black smoke into the sky. Somewhere, a wind bell chimed furiously in the gusts.

"I'm here, Jedi!" Malgus shouted, his voice booming over the ruins.

Behind him, he heard the hum of an activating lightsaber, then another.

He turned to see a male Zabrak, a Jedi, emerge from one of the burned-out buildings that lined the street. The blue line of a lightsaber glowed in each of his hands. He studied Malgus sidelong.

"Malgus, " the Jedi said.

Malgus did not know the Jedi's name and he did not care. The Zabrak was merely the focus of his anger, a convenient target for his rage.

Malgus fell into the Force, roared, and bounded down the street, his anger lending him speed.

The Jedi held his ground. At twenty meters, the Jedi raised his lightsabers aloft to either side and drew them both down with a flourish.

Too late the rumble of the falling buildings penetrated the haze of Malgus's anger. An avalanche of duracrete and transparisteel crashed down on him from either side of the street...

***

Malgus stood in a pocket under a mountain of rubble, legs bent, the power from his upraised hands preventing several tons of duracrete and steel from crushing him. Dust made his already troubled breathing more difficult. He coughed as the words of his father echoed in his mind.

He'd been sloppy, so lost in his need for revenge that he'd failed to properly evaluate the Jedi's power. He'd surrendered his reason to bloodlust. But no more. With an effort of will, he contained his anger, controlled it, made it a whetstone against which he sharpened his power. Using the Force, he blew the rubble up and away from him. It fell with a crash into the adjacent buildings. A Force-augmented leap carried him out and over the heap. The Jedi's eyes widened as Malgus hit the street. Malgus sneered and charged.

He closed the distance between them rapidly. The red line of Malgus's lightsaber moved so quickly it blurred into a red smear. The Jedi parried again and again, the sizzle of blade on blade resounding through the ruins. Malgus's onslaught - a blizzard of slashes, cuts, and stabs - allowed the Jedi no room for a counterattack. The Jedi retreated before the offensive, desperately intercepting Malgus's blows.

Malgus could have ended the Jedi in any of several ways, but he needed the satisfaction of a lightsaber kill.

***

Malgus’s lightsaber traced glittering red arcs through the air. He spun, slashed, stabbed, pushing the Jedi backwards. But always the Jedi parried. He seemed to be biding his time.

He was baiting him, Malgus realized. Feigning weakness.

Malgus relented in his attack, backed off a few steps, and reached out through the Force. Immediately he felt the faint, intentionally suppressed signature of another light-side user to his right. The Jedi’s ally was hidden in the rubble, moving closer.

Malgus loosed a furious series of overhand strikes that forced the Zabrak to retreat rapidly. Sidestepping a stab from the Jedi, Malgus rode his motion into a Force-augmented spinning side kick that hit the Jedi in the ribs and sent him cartwheeling into the wall of a nearby building. At the same time, he reached out with the Force for the hidden light-side user, brushed aside the resistance he felt, and pulled the Jedi out of hiding.

A human male in his twenties rose up out of ruins, dangling like a fish on the hook of Malgus’s power. His legs kicked futilely; the green blade of his lightsaber cut at empty air; he gagged as Malgus’s power squeezed shut his throat.

“Vorin!” shouted the Zabrak.

“So much for your ambush,” Malgus said, and closed his fist, crushing Vorin’s windpipe. He let the body fall to the charred earth. A flash of anger, quickly suppressed, shot from the Zabrak as he bounded over the rubble at Malgus. Malgus watched him come, his red blade held slack at his side.

At 10 meters, Malgus extended his free hand and loosed veins of blue Force lightning. They struck the charging Jedi: swept through his defenses, swirled around him, and began to burn flesh.

Shouting with pain, the Jedi leaned forward into the lightning - teeth bare, blue blades held before him - and staggered toward Malgus. Despite his burns, he came onward. One step, another, another, but he was failing, wilting in the heat of the lightning. Malgus channeled more power and the Jedi fell to his knees, screaming. The lightning spiraled around the Zabrak, blasting dark holes in his body. The lightsabers fell from his hands and he writhed in agony, screaming his pain into the sky.

Malgus ended his attack. The Jedi, ruined, fell to the ground and rolled over onto his back. His breathing sounded worse than Malgus’s.

Malgus strode to his side and stood over him.

He found that he admired the Jedi’s mettle.

He deactivated his lightsaber.

***

The Jedi, his face twisted with pain, stared up at Malgus. One of the horns on his head had cracked from the heat of the Force lightning. The Jedi’s eyes went to the deactivated lightsaber in Malgus’s fist and he cocked his head.

Malgus read the question in his eyes.

Mercy from a Sith?

Malgus smiled. He stepped forward, activated his blade, and stabbed the Jedi through the chest.

“Sleep,” he said.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Sacrifice wrote:There had to be something that changed the fabric of the galaxy-a tipping point. Meanwhile, Mara was challenging him, pinpointing herself in the tunnels that ran deep under the Kavan countryside, thinking she was still an A-list assassin and that she could take someone who had complete mastery of the Force.

She was a superb assassin, but her Force skills were crude compared to his. Once Jacen removed her, it would be easier to deal with Ben. And Luke . . . he'd cross that bridge when he had to.

Jacen checked his belt, pockets, and holster, and decided to oblige Mara. Lumiya and Ben seemed to be elsewhere having their own showdown. Now it all fitted. Lumiya had to be silenced for what she knew, and Ben would do it. It was tidy. It was a food chain.

Jacen loaded four poisoned darts into an adapted blaster and slipped the others into slots on his belt, wondering how he could think such things so calmly. He approached the tunnel mouth with slow care. While he could sense the layout, Mara had vanished from the Force again. There was about a meter of headroom as he edged carefully along the central tunnel, and he could see horizontal shafts at about hip height branching off. It had been built to drain storm water; in harsh winters, local Kavani had once made emergency homes down here.

Jacen stood and listened.

"Okay," he said. "I know you can hear me, Mara. You can still back out of this."

His voice echoed. There was no response, just as he expected, so he began walking deeper into the maze of drains, lightsaber in his right hand and blaster in the other. The only light around him now was a green haze from the glowing blade of energy.

"I could," he said quietly, "go back, block the entrance to this complex with flammable material, and set fire to it." She could hear him, all right: he could hear water dripping slowly deep in the tunnels. Sound was magnified, even if it was hard to pinpoint the origin. "And the fact that these tunnels have vents means the chimney effect would smoke you out, asphyxiate you, or barbecue you."

Silence.

He held his breath, listening.

Crack.

His right knee exploded with blinding pain as Mara cannoned out horizontally, Force-assisted, from a side conduit and caught his leg on the joint with her boots, ripping the tendons. As he lost his footing in the narrow passage, screaming, he found himself wedged for a second and groping for support. He lashed out with his lightsaber, shaving powdery brick from the wall. Mara dropped to the muddy floor to dodge the lightsaber, then sprang up and sprinted away down the tunnel.

It wasn't a good start. Jacen swore and made himself run after her, willing endorphins to numb his leg and telling himself that he knew she was setting up a trap. She wanted him confined, pinned down, penned.

If she thought tunnels would even the odds, she was wrong. He'd bury her here.

Mara found the perfect trap at the end of one of the culverts. She could hear Jacen's running footsteps and she had a good fifty meters on him.

From here, the vaulted ceiling became lower, and even Mara had to run at a crouch. It wasn't the place to swing a standard lightsaber. The tunnels were in poor condition, and the brick arches were starting to sag and collapse in places.

So he wouldn't oblige her by revealing his physical position in the Force. Fine. She spotted a rusty metal sheet about half a meter wide and laid it carefully across the tunnel floor, propped on stones so he'd tread on it and give her an audible warning when he reached that point. An intense Force shake of the brickwork and arches in front of and behind the metal plate weakened them, and then she stopped them from collapsing by Force pressure.

Hold 'em up. Wait for him to hit that plate . . .

Going after Jacen would never work. He could never be allowed to set the agenda. He could come after her.

Trap, immobilize, kill.

It wasn't pretty, and it wouldn't capture the public's imagination like a lightsaber display at the academy, but her training was in destruction. Jacen's was in deception.

She could hear him breathing, and the irregular vzzzm-vzzzm-vzzzm of his lightsaber as he stalked, jumping and turning to be sure she wasn't behind him. Then she could hear that he wasn't swinging the blade so much; the short staccato hums and buzzes told her he was running out of room.

She was trapped too, of course, unless she counted the ventilation shafts every fifty meters. But when she said she was leaving here over his dead body, she meant it.

She felt the beginning of a compassionate human thought about Leia, but killed it stone-dead. It would weaken her.

Jacen's boots crunched over bricks. He was impatient. She was in his way, holding him up when he wanted to get on with something.

Crunch . . . crunch . . . crunch.

If she'd timed it right, he was close to stepping on that rusty plate.

Clang. . .

The rumbling began. She brought down both sections of tunnel, before and behind, with a massive exertion in the Force that made her breathless. She didn't hear him call out. Even in the damp conditions, clouds of fine debris filled the air and made her choke.

Mara waited, one hand over her mouth and nose, shoto drawn, and listened in the Force.

There was whimpering and the chunk-chunk sound of the last falling bricks. She didn't expect that weight of debris from a low ceiling to cause impact injury, but to engulf and immobilize him. He wouldn't be dead-yet.

She waited in silence, a nonexistent presence herself, until she could hear no more movement.

Okay. Let's see what I have to do to end this.

An arm was all that protruded from the rubble. Through a fist-sized gap, she could see the wet, blinking glint of an eye and bloodstained face. A hand reached out to her, fingers splayed, bloody and shaking. Other people might have felt an urge to take that hand, the most distinctively human of things, but it was an old, tired Sith stunt, and she'd used it herself too many times.

She took her blaster and leveled it at the eye, one-handed, forefinger resting on the trigger. She had the shoto ready in case a coup de grace was called for.

She felt as detached and steady as she'd ever been as the Emperor's Hand.

"Tell my mom I'm sorry I failed her," Jacen whispered.

"She knows," Mara said, and squeezed the trigger.

They said that the human body was capable of extraordinary feats of strength when in extremis. For a Jedi, it was something else entirely.

Jacen Solo wasn't ready to die, not now, not so close to his ascendance, and not in a stinking drain like vermin.

He deflected the energy bolt with one last surge of the Force and sent the rubble erupting off his crushed and bleeding body like a detonation. Bricks hammered the walls and rained fragments, knocking Mara flat like a bomb blast. She made an animal noise that was more anger than pain and flailed for a moment as she tried to get up.

The effort froze Jacen for two vital seconds. But he knew if he didn't get up now and fight back, Mara would come in for the kill, again and again, until he was worn down and too weak to fend her off.

He scrambled to his feet, staggering more than standing, and suddenly understood.

It was Mara who had to die to fulfill his destiny.

Killing her was the test: the words of the prophecy were meaningless, and at a visceral level he knew that her death was the pivotal act. He didn't know how, and this wasn't the time to stop and think about it. He surrendered totally to instinct for the first time in ages. Whatever guided a Sith's hand had to guide him now.

But he was hurt, and badly.

Ben ... he didn't know where Ben fitted into this, but now he knew he did, as surely as he knew anything. Jacen didn't care, because he knew he had to kill Mara now and nothing else would make sense until he did that.

He fumbled for his lightsaber and thumbed it into life again. Mara was already back on her feet, coming at him with the shoto and vibroblade, brick dust and black-red blood snaking down her forehead from a scalp cut. She leapt at him with the shoto held left-handed, fencing-style, seared the angle of his cheekbone, and caught him under the tip of chin with the vibroblade as he jerked back.

She shouldn't have been able to get near him. He had total mastery, and she was just athletic and fast. He pushed back at her in the Force, sending her crashing against a wall with a loud grunt, but she kept coming at him, one-two, one-two with the shoto and the blade, and he was being driven back, his strength ebbing. He needed space to fight.

He drew his dart gun and fired one after the other, but Mara scattered all four needles in a blur of blue light. They fell to the ground. He turned and scrambled through the collapsed brick, using the Force to hurl debris up at her from the floor of the passage while she leapt from block to boulder to chunk of masonry, until she Force-leapt onto his back and brought him down.

They rolled. This wasn't a duel: it was a brawl. She thrust her vibroblade up under his chin and he jerked his head to one side, feeling the tip skate from his jaw to his hairline as it missed his jugular. He couldn't draw the weapons he needed. He was losing blood, losing strength, waning, flailing his lightsaber to fend her off. It was almost useless in such a close-quarters struggle. Mara, manic and panting, flicked the shoto to counter every desperate stabbing thrust.

"Ben . . . I'll see you dead first. . . before . . . you get . . . Ben."

Jacen was on the knife-edge between dying and killing. They grappled, Force-pushed, Force-crushed: he threw her back again, trying to Force-jolt her spine and paralyze her for a moment, but somehow she deflected it and bricks flew out of the wall as if someone had punched them through from the other side. She almost Force-snatched the lightsaber from his hand, but even with his injuries he hung on to it. He wouldn't die. He couldn't, not now.

"You can't beat me," he gasped. "It's not meant to be."

"Really?" Mara snarled. "I say it is."

Then she launched herself at him-unthinking, a wild woman, hair flying-and he Force-pushed to send her slamming against a pillar in midleap. But the battering he'd taken and the ferocity of her relentless attack had blinded him to danger from another quarter. As he lurched backward to avoid her, his legs went from under him and he stumbled into a gaping crack opened up by the subsidence. He fell badly: red-hot pain seared from ankle to knee. His lightsaber went flying. Pain could be ignored, but the moment it took him to get to his feet again was enough for Mara to right herself and come back at him with the shoto and plunge it into the soft tissue just under the end of his collarbone.

Lightsaber wounds hurt a lot more than he ever imagined. Jacen screamed. He summoned his own weapon back to his hand and Mara crashed into him, knocking him flat again and pinning him down. Her vibroblade stopped a hand span from his throat as he managed to grab her hair and drag her face nearer and nearer to his lightsaber. She struggled to pull back, hacking at him with the shoto but blocked by his dwindling Force power each time.

Her vibroblade grazed his neck. He fumbled in his belt for a dart. She jerked back with a massive effort, leaving him clutching a handful of red hair, and the only thing that crossed his mind as she arched her back and held her arms high to bring both shoto and vibroblade down into his chest was that she would never, ever harm Ben.

Jacen stared into her eyes and instantly created the illusion of Ben's face beneath her. She blinked.

It gave him the edge for that fraction of a moment. It was long enough to ram the poison dart into her leg with its protective plastoid cone still in place.

It was just a small needle, ten centimeters long. He stabbed her so hard that the sharp end punched through the cone and the fabric of her pants.

Mara gasped and looked down at her leg as if she was puzzled rather than hurt. The dart quivered as she moved, and then fell to the floor.

"Oh . . . it's done . . ." Jacen said. The shoto fell from her hand and she made a vague and uncontrolled pawing movement with the vibroblade. It caught him in the bicep, but there was no strength behind the blow, and she dropped the weapon. "I'm sorry, Mara. Had to be you. Thought it was Ben. But it's over now, it's over . . ."

"What have you done? What the stang have you done to me?" But she was already losing her balance as the poison paralyzed her, and she slumped to one side as he got to his feet, staring up at him more with shock than rage or fear.

"The prophecy." It didn't matter now: the toxin-complex, relatively painless-was circulating through her body. "Don't fight it. No healing trance. Just let go . . ."

Mara tried to get up but sank back to sit on her heels, with an expression as if she'd forgotten something and was trying to remember. She crumpled against the wall. Jacen had never felt such relief. It didn't have to be Allana, or Tenel Ka, or even Ben. It was over, all over.

"What?" Mara said. She tried to put her fingers to her lips, shaking, but her hand fell back to her lap. She looked at them as if expecting to see blood.

Jacen suppressed his instinct to help her. "It's my destiny, Mara-to be a Sith Lord, and bring order and justice. I had to kill you to do it. You're going to save so many people, Mara. You've saved Ben. You've saved Allana, too. It's not a waste, believe me."

"You're ... as vile as he was."

Jacen could hardly understand what she was saying. "Who?"

"Palpatine."

"It's not like that," he said. He had to make her see what was happening. It was important. He owed her that revelation. She'd made the sacrifice, although he was now starting to wonder what that meant for whatever love he had to give up. "It's not about ambition. It's about the galaxy, about peace. It's about building a different world."

She stared back at him, and now he could see-and feel-her disgust. He wasn't sure if it was aimed at him or at herself.

Jacen hurt. He was starting to feel the full extent of his injuries, and he needed to heal himself. He also needed to get out of this tunnel.

Mara was breathing heavily now, one hand slack in her lap but the other still clenching and unclenching as if trying to form a fist to give him one final punch. Her vivid green eyes were still bright with relentless purpose. He knew he would try to forget them every day of his life.

"You think . . . you've won," she said, slurred, but utterly lucid and unafraid. "But Luke will crush you . . . and I refuse ... to let you . . . destroy the future . . . for my Ben."

Jacen sat and waited, almost expecting a prophecy from her to help him make sense of what he'd done. But after a few moments, he felt the final discharge of elemental energy that every Force-user would notice and comprehend.

Ben was the last word she ever spoke.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image
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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Empty Re: My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda

April 30th 2023, 7:00 pm
(3) Darth Caedus vs. Katarn, Horn, Mithric, and Hu'lya.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Fury wrote:Finally he detected more than just telekinetic pushes; he felt presences as his enemies drew on Force abilities. He felt them rush toward him, caught sight of them as they entered the glow of lights from the front of the Senate Building - four Jedi, Master Kyle Katarn foremost among them.

Katarn ignited his lightsaber as he came to a stop a few meters away. "Care to surrender, Colonel Solo?"

"Not to a traitor." Caedus looked at the other three as their Force-augmented sprints came to an end, leaving them in a semicircle before him. Three Jedi Knights: the younger Horn, the Falleen Mithric, the Bothan Hu'lya. He resisted the urge to snort. Separately or collectively, these Jedi Knights were no match for him.

Katarn, though, was a threat. Still, the Jedi had only moments before GA reinforcements would arrive. Their attack was already a failure.

He sensed Katarn's attack, threw up his blade in a block so well practiced that his muscle memory could have performed it while he slept. With his free hand, he gestured at the Bothan Jedi. She was suddenly airborne, hurtling sideways to slam into the Falleen, knocking them both down.

Katarn's blade struck his, rebounded with a snap-hiss. and came around from the other side as the Jedi Master executed a lightning-fast spin. Caedus stepped back from it. not engaging the blade. He watched the blade flash harmlessly past him.

He stepped forward again into a side kick, aimed not at Katarn but at the onrushing Valin Horn. His boot heel caught the Jedi Knight on the point of his chin, knocking Horn backward off his feet. Two seconds had passed since the attack began.

* * *

Only Seha's head protruded from the pavement hatch as she watched her four companions assault Colonel Solo.

In one sense, it was a beautiful and brilliant thing to see. The five combatants moved as though they'd been choreographing this event for years and had planned, all along, that the two sides would somehow be even. Each time the lightsabers came together, the resulting flash of light, slightly greater than two glows by themselves, cast the five combatants into relief. Around them, blinded GAG troopers withdrew, finding one another by touch, keeping their blasters up and at the ready, waiting for the moment when their sight would return and allow them to open fire. Above, though at a distance from the Senate Building, the trails of airspeeder lights glimmered in their passage.

And Seha still had one task to perform.

In her free hand she held a patch of black cloth. It was square, five centimeters to a side, and very soft and pliant, despite the fact that its center layer consisted of circuitry embedded in a flexible polymer.

One side was covered by a transparent layer of flimsi. With her teeth, she worried an edge of the flimsi free, then pulled the whole layer off, dropping it into the access hole she occupied. The removal of the flimsi exposed a layer of adhesive.

With her own Force powers, so much less subtle than those of her allies, she sent the cloth patch flying, centimeters above ground level, toward the fight.

But she couldn't send it on to her target, not yet. Master Katarn had been clear about that. She had to wait until things were at their most chaotic, their most distracting.

So she guided the patch ever closer to the fight, but waited, waited...

* * *

Ten seconds.

Caedus rolled out of Katarn's kick to his head, catching a scrape along his cheek, and swung at the Master's leg, but Kolir's blade intercepted his before it bit into flesh. His strength batted her weapon away, but she had deflected his blow and spared Katarn an amputation.

They're coordinating. Good for them. Bad for me.

Caedus heard a siren - an oncoming GAG vehicle. No, two - maybe three.

He allowed himself a certain satisfaction at their speed of response. He hadn't expected anything of the sort for another half minute.

Then, from the corner of his eye, he saw the first oncoming vehicle, an aging Sentinel-class armored shuttle. It was yellow, with spots of rust. He could not make out its markings without looking at it, but he knew it was not in GAG or Alliance colors. Entering airspace above the plaza, it began a dangerously steep and fast repulsorlift descent. Behind it came three GAG airspeeders, one of them firing a top-mounted laser at the shuttle.

Ah. So they were not responding with brilliant speed to an alarm. They were chasing the Jedi escape vehicle. Caedus swung at Horn, a blow meant not to connect but to cause the young Jedi to flinch away into the path of the Falleen, which he did. While they were interfering with each other, Caedus gestured at the Bothan Jedi, hurling her toward Katarn.

Katarn hurled his lightsaber off to the side and caught Hu'lya with both hands, preventing her from falling, prepared to pull her out of harm's way if Caedus followed through.

Caedus did not. He kept his senses on Katarn's light-saber, and, when it vectored to fly toward him from the side, he negligently swatted it away with his own blade.

Fifteen seconds.

Caedus gave Katarn and Hu'lya a little smile. "You could save yourselves a lot of pain by telling me now where Luke has set up the new Jedi headquarters. I swear, when you are in my hands, you will answer that question."

The Bothan got her feet back under her and stood at the ready.

Katarn caught his returning lightsaber. "Meaning you will torture us to death. Are you listening to yourself, Jacen? Do you even know who you are anymore?"

"I do. It's you who have no idea who I am."

He felt Force energy growing within Mithric and Horn. He gestured, telekinetically yanking the Bothan forward, positioning her between him and them. He felt their Force exertion as it was suddenly cut off.

Katarn advanced, lightsaber at the ready. Caedus withdrew before him. With part of his awareness, he was keeping track of the four inbound vehicles, plotting their trajectories. . .

One of the GAG vehicles was circling ahead and to starboard of the descending shuttle. Its arc, intended to put it toward the bow of the shuttle so it could fire on the cockpit, would bring it near the combatants, just a few meters above them. The pilot's maneuver was smooth, the vehicle clearly under control. Caedus could see the Jedi barely registering its presence, since it did not figure into the combat.

Caedus reached out a hand as if intending to hurl Katarn away from him. The Master raised his own hand, a deflecting gesture. But Caedus exerted himself against the oncom-ing GAG speeder, yanking it down and toward all of them.

A moment's inattention or focus elsewhere. That's all it ever took. By the time Katarn felt the speeder coming toward him-spinning, its stern a mere two meters from his back-it was already too late for him to send a command even to Force-augmented nerves and muscles. His face changed with the awareness of danger.

Then the speeder's port quarter hit his back, hurling him forward to slam into Caedus. The speeder, continuing its out-of-control motion, slid through the location of the other Jedi, knocking Hu'lya to the permacrete, causing Horn and Mithric to leap to safety.

Katarn now stood so close to Caedus that every facial feature was visible, every scar and line in his weathered face, every hair on his brow, mustache, and beard.

Caedus felt a rush of satisfaction, enjoyment, as Katarn's expression turned from one of surprise to pain. Katarn looked down to see Caedus's lightsaber buried to its hilt in his chest.

A noise, something halfway between a groan and a death rattle, emerged from Katarn's lips. Smiling, Caedus yanked his lightsaber free and let the stricken Jedi Master fall face-first on the pavement.

***

Seha felt all breath leave her body, as though it had been her chest, not Katarn's, that had been pierced. Jacen Solo's exultation washed through the Force and over her like a wave at a beach, almost knocking her free from the rung she held.

No, no, no. ... The words rang in her head and were echoed by Mithric. The Falleen Jedi howled as he charged Solo, his anguish giving him speed and strength as he threw blow after blow at his enemy.

Things were at their most chaotic.

The words sprang up in her mind, incongruous, like golden flowers in a burned field - and her last task, the one Master Katarn had given her, was not accomplished.

She focused herself on the distant black patch. It was now only three meters from where Colonel Solo disinterestedly blocked Mithric's attacks.

Valin Horn was charging toward the combat. Kolir was up, too, but limping badly as she headed toward their enemy. The shuttle was just meters above the plaza, settling precisely into place so that its belly hatch was positioned exactly above the access hole through which Kolir had emerged. Laserfire from the GAG speeders was raking the shuttle's top armor to pieces.

Seha's vision blurred with tears. She dashed them away and flicked a hand at the distant patch. As Colonel Solo twirled, causing his cloak to flare up and away from him, the patch flew to its lower hem and merged with it.

Now the three Jedi Knights assailed Solo all-out, a fight they were doomed to lose. Seha could not save them. Her tasks were accomplished. She should leave before Colonel Solo detected her.

No, she couldn't. Not while a good man, a teacher, lay dead on the duracrete in an enemy capital. She reached out to Kyle Katarn.

His body jerked and he slid a meter toward her.

She poured more of herself, of her concentration, into her effort. Master Katarn's body began sliding again, continuously now, picking up speed as it scraped its way across the plaza.

One of the GAG troopers fired his blaster at Mithric. Kolir, hobbling, managed to get her lightsaber blade up and caught the bolt.

But it meant the troopers' vision was returning.

Seha saw the Jedi exchanging words. Valin spun away from the engagement with Jacen and moved toward the one sighted trooper. That man fired again and Valin deflected the bolt with his lightsaber - deflected it straight toward Jacen. The improvised attack evidently came as a surprise: The bolt grazed Jacen's right leg, sending him to his knee. Mithric redoubled his attack, hammering away at Jacen's defense like a toolsmith on a primitive world battering away at a stubborn harvester droid.

Kolir, bent over from distress more than pain, hesitated, then turned and moved at a fast hobble toward the shuttle.

Seha pulled one last time and Master Katarn, shoulders-first, slid into her grasp.

Katarn's eyes opened. His voice was little more than a wheeze. "Go ..."

"You're alive!"

"Explosives package. ... give me one. ... other one to block exit..."

Seha hauled him into the access hole, lowering him facedown, wincing as the movements made him gasp with pain. "I'll blow up our exit route, yes. We'll all get out."

"Girl, leave me ..."

She had to rely on her telekinetic power to lower him to the floor. Her skill was not the greatest. She lowered him four meters without incident, rotated him so that for the last portion of the descent he would be supine ... and then, not meaning to, she dropped him. He fell two meters and slammed down onto duracrete flooring. He grunted and his eyes closed.

Seha yanked the hatch shut. She took a few moments to patch one of her explosives charges into the holocam goggles she would be leaving behind. Then she scrambled down the ladder. "I'm going to get you out alive. Or we can blow up together."

* * *

Caedus hadn't felt the blaster bolt coming. His concentration was slipping.

And this madman of a Falleen Jedi was starting to beat down his parries. His strength was slipping.

He wasn't yet recovered from his duel with Luke. And now, as more of his troopers began firing, Horn began deflecting more bolts at him. The imprecise, barely aimed nature of the attacks worked in Horn's favor. The shots were unpredictable and Caedus had to divide his attention between a mad swordsman and a growing number of half-blind snipers.

But he was still the best lightsaber swordsman around - excepting possibly Luke, perhaps the best there ever had been.

Caedus waited until the timing was perfect, waited until an incoming bolt arrived at the same moment as one of Mithric's attacks so he could devote a single maneuver to both. He caught Mithric's blow toward the hilt of his lightsaber. He caught the bolt near the tip, deflecting it up and straight into Mithric's chest.

Mithric staggered back, the center of his chest blackened, as the smell of burned skin and meat filled the air. Caedus leapt up and executed a single, precise lateral blow.

Mithric's head fell from his shoulders. His body toppled down half a second later.

Caedus and Horn spun to face each other. An expression of sadness crossed Horn's face, but his dismay did not distract him. He caught three more blaster bolts with his lightsaber blade without looking at their firers.

Caedus gestured toward his troopers, signaling them to cease fire. They did; now the only ranged fire to be heard came from the speeders, still chewing the shuttle to pieces.

Caedus flexed his injured leg experimentally and decided it was not too bad. It would take his weight and allow him some footwork. He gestured toward Horn. "You going to try this alone?"

Horn shook his head.

Caedus smiled. "You're a fraction of the man your father is."

"Funny. That's what I was going to say to you." Horn seemed to blur as he dashed toward the shuttle, his sprinting speed augmented by the Force.

"Don't be an idiot! That thing will never take off again."

Caedus left off his harangue as Horn ran up the side ramp where the Bothan had disappeared moments before.

No matter. The shuttle would not take off; Horn or Hu'lya, or both, would be captured, and after a lengthy enough interrogation, Caedus would know where Luke and the Jedi were now hiding.

He bent over to pick up Mithric's head by its ponytail. The Falleen's eyes were still open, staring forward, eerily lifelike, but his skin color had gone to gray. Caedus dropped the head and looked around.

Where was Katarn?

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Unknown
My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Unknown

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

Here is where I'll make an exception on analysis, because I think this fight speaks to a broader point regarding Caedus's portrayal. In the conference where the strike team to hunt him down is decided, the proposal by Kyp Durron is that "the team will consist of one or two Masters, three or four Jedi Knights, and a native guide," with the plan being to utilize "coma gas and shock nets as the first wave, the Jedi making their direct assault immediately afterward." Katarn and Corran Horn seem to already be privy to the idea before Durron pitches it to Luke, and once Luke approves it and picks Katarn as the team leader, he leaves the details to them, resulting in Mithric, Hu'lya, and Valin Horn being selected as the combatants to assist Katarn. Noteworthy here is that all the Masters know that Caedus has fought Luke - I would presume anyway -, and even if they don't, Luke himself certainly knows Caedus's direct strength level first-hand yet gives the mission his greenlight and lets his subordinates do the planning.

In the actual fight it's apparent Caedus is individually far ahead of anyone, but their teamwork allows them to match him as equals: "They're coordinating. Good for them. Bad for me." Caedus also doesn't gain a notable advantage until he blindsides Katarn by hurling an approaching speeder at him, allowing him to stab him through the abdomen. Supplementary material reveals that dueling Katarn "taxed" Caedus until he pulled the speeder trick, although that is deducible from the primary material as well given "his concentration was slipping" and he fails to sense a deflected blaster bolt from Horn that nicks him in the leg, and Mithric "was starting to beat down his parries. His strength was slipping." He wins in the end, but it's evidently a close contest throughout, The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia even commenting "the rest of the Jedi managed to hold Jacen at bay," and he was no occupied he didn't notice Katarn's body being telekinetically extracted from the battlefield by Seha Dorvald. There is the factor of Caedus's remaining injuries from his fight with Luke in Inferno, but my impression of the text is that they only start to become relevant once Caedus has already incapacitated Katarn and is now struggling with the lesser adversaries. If someone corrects me by citing mentions of them from earlier in the novel, I'll amend my verdict, but for now it is what it is.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Fury wrote:Kyp threw a succession of fast blows at Luke's shoulders, occupying him while Cilghal recovered. "Actually, it's a plan for a mission against Jacen. A capture-or-neutralize," he said, his lightsaber flashing at Luke.

"Neutralize." Luke frowned. He circled Kyp, trying to put him in the middle of their three-way exchange, but Cilghal paced him so that Luke remained in the center. "Meaning 'kill.' "

Kyp nodded, not repentant. "This isn't a mission of assassination, Luke. But if the capture isn't clean, if the choice is to run away and leave him in charge of the Alliance or finish him then and there ..."

"Yeah." Luke felt Cilghal's approach behind him. He bent over backward, his lightsaber hand coming down on the landing pad surface to hold his upper body clear of it, and Cilghal's lightsaber passed through where his waist would have been. Luke instantly straightened, catching her hilt with his free hand, and stepped away, her lightsaber now in his grip. He twirled one blade at each Master. "Go on."

With an exasperated sigh, Cilghal stepped back and exerted herself toward Kyle. The man's lightsaber leapt free from his grip and flew to Cilghal's. Kyle offered no resistance. Cilghal caught it out of the air, called "Thank you," and dashed toward Corran.

Kyp looked dubiously at Luke's twin weapons and fell into a defensive posture. "The team will consist of one or two Masters, three or four Jedi Knights, and a native guide. They'll approach the Senate Building through the undercity." As Luke neared and began throwing probing attacks in quick succession, Kyp deflected them close to his body with equal speed and minimal movement. "When Jacen enters or leaves the building, they spring the trap. Coma gas and shock nets as the first wave, the Jedi making their direct assault immediately afterward." He stopped to stare intently at Luke.

Luke felt the attack - the Force, propelling numerous small objects at him. He jumped back and brought up both lightsabers as a shower of old nuts and bolts came at him with missile speed. It was like defending himself against Yuuzhan Vong thud bugs for the first time in years, but the old skill was undiminished - he calculated which objects had a chance of hitting him and incinerated only them with his blades, letting the others fly harmlessly past.

The trouble was, the ones that flew past soon curved around for another attack.

Meanwhile, Kyp continued, "We have a shuttle or other enclosed vehicle land for a quick extraction. But the trick is, it's an empty droid vehicle. Our group, with Jacen, their captive, actually reenters the undercity through a ground-side maintenance access hatch modified to serve as an exit. While the shuttle makes its escape run and draws off pursuit, our group goes back the way it came to the true departure point."

"Who's the team leader?"

Kyp shrugged. "Not determined yet."

Corran's and Kyle's voices rose simultaneously: "Me."

[...]

Alone, Luke stood away from the ill-balanced tool rack, closing his eyes, immersing himself in the Force ... looking for guidance.

His heart should have been the only guide he needed, with the Force offering the occasional nudge when things were unclear. But his heart had been burned beyond recognition when Mara had died, and what was left was in pieces, each piece suggesting a different course of action. Throw everything into the effort against Jacen. Hunt down Alema Rar and make her pay for killing Mara. The rot is too deep; the Jedi Order should withdraw and let the warring states fight their way to a finish; only then can rebuilding begin. This kill is mine. This kill is mine.

And the Force was silent. It seemed like forever since it had shown him any guidance about the bigger picture. All it offered him these days was guidance for immediate problems, the here and now. It had been that way since - for how long? Since Mara's death at least. It could have begun before then.

Perhaps he could no longer read the Force. Perhaps it chose not to speak to him anymore.

And if that was true, he could not remain the Grand Master of the Order. He would lead the Jedi into ruin.

"Grand Master?"

Luke opened his eyes. Kyp stood before him. Luke had neither heard nor felt him coming.

Luke forced his thoughts back to the present. "You've been putting together the plan for this mission."

"Yes."

"Why is there some doubt as to who is going to lead it?"

Kyp hesitated a moment. "Masters Horn and Katarn have volunteered. I am also willing to lead it. But I haven't assigned a mission leader yet. ... because I think you should lead it."

"Absolutely not."

"Please hear me out. There's worry in the Order. It comes from not knowing where we're going. The Jedi need you to show them. They need you to lead. A mission like this shows them your goals, your heart."

If I lead this mission, I will strike at Jacen with hatred. One of us will die, and Ben will follow our mutual example and be lost to the dark side. Luke did not need the Force to show him the future to know that this was true.

He thought about it a long moment. "Here's my decision. Master Katarn will lead this mission."

Kyp's face fell. "Yes, Grand Master."

"I'll leave it to the two of you to finalize details." The conference done, Luke turned back to face the sunlit Endor forest and the momentary peace it offered him.

This is not indicative of a Yoda- or Luke-level Sith Lord, unless someone can prove Katarn and company are infinitely greater than my characterization of them. We can turn to other strike teams and group fights to affirm the truth of this.

i. Exar Kun fights and kills Vodo-Siosk Baas, the "Mace Windu" of his era, while having the entire Galactic Senate frozen under a Sith spell.

https://imgur.com/a/ati2Asj

ii. Revan soloes the Korriban Sith Academy with its "hundreds of students receiving instruction from Sith Masters," among them Darth Sion. The slaughter is still remembered three thousand years later.

https://youtu.be/HXY3ulcQRV4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmqAinKLGiM

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Path of Destruction wrote:Before he had been buoyed by expectation. Now he was weighed down by the burden of failure. Qordis had been right: the ancient Dark Lords of Korriban were gone. Nearly three thousand years had passed between the time the Sith had been driven from Korriban by Revan, and the day Kaan's Brotherhood of Darkness officially reclaimed this world for the order. In that time the legacy of the original Sith had been completely wiped away.

iii. Darth Malak duels Revan while having Bastila Shan and Carth Onasi in stasis, and then telekinetically spins Revan around as well. He is able to completely immobilize Revan if he breaks his focus on Shan and Onasi. Note that Revan at this point can have soloed the Sith Academy given the player can do the planets in any order.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xc6eDFobJXg

iv. Kreia can seemingly hold three Jedi Council members at bay with telekinesis, and later one-shots them simultaneously with Force drain to the point it devours their Force connections altogether, leaving husks emptier than simply dead.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPVsGLsdGYU

v. Darth Traya one-shots seven (20 per the original script) elite Sith assassins called the Bladeborn by thinking about it.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords script wrote:{Gameplay Programmer: In the next scene, cut to a shot of Kreia from behind, with Dark Side assassins materializing behind her, whispering - there should be almost up to 20, enough to make the audience go, "oh crap."}

{Gameplay Programmer: Cut to a camera of Kreia's face, smiling. She does not turn around as the assassins advance.}

{Gameplay Programmer: Cut to black, play Kreia's stinger - I want this to be a "flash of black" like a quick cut in a movie.}

{Gameplay Programmer: Cut to a scene of Kreia still walking along the same path, but ALL the assassins are lying dead on the ground.}

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glP4GUxhcM4

vi. Massively pre-prime Darth Malgus and Ven Zallow during effortlessly butcher Jedi and Sith en masse during the Sacking of Coruscant. At one point Malgus kills three Jedi with a single stream of Force lightning, and at another he kills three more Jedi who attempt to swarm him in seconds. Meanwhile Ven Zallow instantly cuts down "the strongest Sith warriors" the Empire has to offer, and does so to two in the midst of his duel with Malgus.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Strong10

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGDBTDnW7d0

Star Wars: The Old Republic - Deceived wrote:The Sith and Jedi forces closed, Sith battle lust facing the calm of the Jedi, the floor of the Temple the arena where centuries of indeterminate strife would at last reach a conclusion. Those strong in the Force would survive and their understanding of the Force would evolve. Those weak in the Force would die.

Malgus sought Master Zallow but could not make him out from the crowd of faces, dust, flames, and glowing blades. So he chose a Jedi at random from the crowd, a human male with a blue blade and a short beard, and targeted him.

Waves of power distorted the air and dopplered sound as the Jedi and Sith forces crashed into one another and intermixed in a chaotic, roaring tangle of bodies, lightsabers, and shouts.

Malgus augmented his strength with the Force, took a two-handed grip on his blade, and unleashed an overhand slash designed to split the Jedi in half. The Jedi sidestepped the blow and crosscut with his blue blade at Malgus’s throat. Malgus got his blade up in time, parried, and slammed a kick into the Jedi’s mid-section. The blow folded the Jedi in half, sent him reeling backward five paces. Malgus leapt into the air, flipped, landed behind him, and drove his blade through the Jedi. Roaring with battle lust, Malgus sought another opponent.

A flash of lavender skin drew his gaze—Eleena. She ducked under a saber slash and dived to her side, firing half a dozen blaster shots as she did so. The Padawan who’d tried to kill her, a female Zabrak, the horns of her head gilt with colored pigments, deflected the shots as she closed in for another blow. Eleena flipped to her feet, still firing, but the Padawan deflected every shot and drew nearer.

Malgus drew on the Force and with a blast of power drove the Padawan across the hall and into one of the towering columns of stone, where she collapsed, blood leaking from her nose. Eleena continued firing, her eyes darting here and there over the battlefield as she sought targets.

The battle turned ever more chaotic. Jedi and Sith leapt, bounded, rolled, and flipped as red lines intersected with those of blue and green. Blasts of power sent bodies flying through the air, against walls, pulled loose rocks from the ceiling and sent them crashing into flesh. The hall was a cacophony of sound: shouts, screams, the hum of lightsabers, the intermittent sound of weapons-fire. Malgus walked in its midst, reveled in it.

He watched Lord Adraas leap into the middle of a squad of Republic soldiers and punctuate his landing with an explosion of Force energy that cast the soldiers away like dry leaves.

Malgus, not to be outdone, picked a Jedi Knight at random, a human female ten meters away, held forth his left hand, and discharged veins of blue lightning from his fingertips. The jagged lines of energy cut a swath through the battle, harvesting two Padawans as they went, until they caught up to the Jedi Knight and lifted her off her feet.

She screamed as the lightning ripped into her, her flesh made temporarily translucent from the dark power coursing through her. Malgus savored her pain as she died.

He caught Adraas eyeing him and gave him a mocking salute with his lightsaber.

The high-pitched sound of Eleena’s blasters drew his attention. She bounded past him and over the slain female Jedi Knight’s corpse, a lavender blur firing rapidly. Putting her back to a column, she crouched and sought targets for her blasters. She met his eyes, winked, and signaled behind him. He whirled to see a score or more Republic soldiers rushing into the hall from a side room, blaster rifles tracing hot lines through the battlefield. Eleena answered with shots of her own.

Before Malgus could dispatch the soldiers, the Mandalorian rose from somewhere behind them, her jetpack spitting fire, her head-to-toe silver-and-orange armor gleaming in the fire of the hall. Hovering in the air like an avenging spirit, she discharged two small missiles from wrist mounts. They struck the floor near the Republic soldiers and blossomed into flame. Bodies, shouts, and loose rock flew in all directions. Still hovering, she spun a circle in the air while flamethrowers mounted on her forearm engulfed another group of soldiers.

Malgus knew the battle had turned, that it soon would be over. He glanced around, still seeking Zallow, the only opponent in the field worthy of his attention.

Before he could locate the Jedi Master, three more Jedi swarmed him. He parried the chop of a human male, leapt over the low slash of an orange-skinned Togruta female, severed the hand of the third, a female human, disarming her, then grabbed her by the throat with his free hand and slammed her into the floor with his Force-enhanced strength.

“Alara!” said the human male.

Leaping high over the male’s cross-slash, Malgus landed behind the Togruta, who parried his lightsaber strike but could not defend herself against a Force blast that sent her skidding across the hall and into a pile of rubble.

Malgus roared, the lust for battle so pronounced that he would have killed his own warriors were there no Jedi left to slay. He wanted, needed, to kill another and to do so with his hands.

He ducked under a slash from the male, lunged forward, and took the Jedi by the throat. He lifted him from his feet and held him suspended in the air, gagging. The Jedi’s brown eyes showed no fear, but did show pain. Malgus roared, squeezed hard, then dropped the body and stood over it, blade at his side, breath coming hard. The battle still swirled around him and he stood in its center, the eye of the Sith storm.

Malgus finally spotted Master Zallow ten paces away, whirling, spinning, his green blade a blur of precision and speed. One Sith warrior fell to him, another. Lord Adraas landed before him, trying to take Malgus’s kill for himself. Adraas ducked low and slashed at Zallow’s knees. Zallow leapt over the blow and unleashed a blast of energy that sent Adraas skidding on his backside across the hall.

“He is mine!” Malgus shouted, charging through the battlefield. He repeated himself as he passed Adraas. “Zallow is mine!”

Zallow must have heard Malgus, for he turned, met his eyes. Eleena, too, must have heard Malgus’s shouting. She emerged from behind the column, deduced Malgus’s intent, and fired several shots at Zallow.

Zallow, his eyes on Malgus throughout, deflected the bolts with his blade and sent them back at Eleena. Two struck her, and as she collapsed Zallow used a Force blast to drive her body against a column.

Malgus halted in mid-stride, his rage temporarily abated. He turned and stared at Eleena’s fallen form for a long moment, her lavender body crumpled on the floor, her eyes closed, two black circles marring the smooth purple field of her flesh. She looked like a wilted flower.

Anger refilled him, overcame him. A shout of hate, raw and jagged, burst from his throat. Power went with it, shattering a nearby column and sending a rain of stone shards through the room.

He returned his gaze to Zallow and stalked toward him, his rage and power surging before him in a palpable wave. Another Jedi stepped in front of him, blue blade held high. Malgus barely saw him. He simply extended a hand, pushed through the Jedi’s insufficient defenses, seized his throat with the Force, and choked him to death. Tossing the body aside, he moved toward Zallow.

Zallow, for his part, moved toward Malgus. A Sith warrior bounded at Zallow from his left, but Zallow leapt over the Sith’s blade, spun, slashed, and cut down the Sith.

Zallow and Malgus closed. They halted at one meter, studied each other for a moment.

A human male Jedi Knight separated from the swirl of battle and stabbed at Malgus. Malgus sidestepped the blue line of the blade, punched the man in the stomach, doubling him over, and raised his own blade for a killing blow.

Zallow bounded forward and intercepted the downstroke. Zallow and Malgus stared into each other’s faces and the rest of the battle fell away.

There was only Malgus and his rage, and Zallow and his calm.

Their blades sizzling in opposition, each used the Force to press against the strength of the other, but neither had an obvious advantage. Malgus shouted rage into Zallow’s face. Only a furrowed brow and the tight line of his mouth betrayed the tension behind Zallow’s otherwise tranquil expression.

Feeding off the anger from Eleena, Malgus shoved Zallow away and unleashed an onslaught of overhand slashes and crosscuts. Zallow backed off, parrying, unable to respond with blows of his own. Malgus tried to split Zallow’s head but Zallow blocked again and again.

Malgus spun into a high, Force-augmented kick that hit Zallow in the chest and sent him flying backward ten meters. Zallow flipped and landed upright in a crouch near two of Malgus’s Sith warriors.

They lunged for him and Zallow parried one blow, leapt over the second, and spun a rapid circle, cutting down both Sith.

Malgus, burning with hate, flung his lightsaber at Zallow. He guided its trajectory with the Force, and it spun a sizzling path through the air at Zallow’s neck. But Zallow, riding the momentum of his attack on the second Sith, leapt into the air and over the blade.

While Zallow was still in the air, Malgus unleashed a blast of energy that caught the Jedi unprepared and sent him crashing downward into a pile of rubble. He lay there, prone.

Malgus did not hesitate. He mounted the column of his anger, shouting with hate, and leapt twenty meters into the air toward Zallow. Mid-jump, he used the Force to recall his blade to his hand, took a reverse two-handed grip, and prepared to pin Zallow to the Temple floor.

But Zallow rolled out of the way at the last moment and Malgus’s blade sank to the hilt in the stone of the Temple’s floor. Zallow leapt up and over Malgus, landed in a crouch, reactivated his lightsaber, and pelted across the floor back at Malgus.

Eschewing speed and grace for power, Zallow loosed a flurry of rapid strikes, slashes, and lunges. Malgus parried one blow after another but could not find an opening to mount his own counterattack. Lunging forward, Zallow slashed crosswise, Malgus parried, and Zallow slammed the hilt of his saber into the side of Malgus’s jaw.

A tooth dislodged and his respirator was knocked askew. Malgus tasted blood, but he was too deep in the Force for the blow to do real damage. He staggered backward a step, as if the blow had stunned him.

Seeing an opening, Zallow stepped forward and crosscut for Malgus’s throat.

As Malgus knew he would do.

Malgus turned his blade vertical to parry the blow and spun out of the blade lock. Reversing his lightsaber during the spin, he rode it into a stab that pierced Zallow’s abdomen and came out the other side.

Zallow’s expression fell. He hung there, impaled by the red line. He held Malgus’s eyes, and Malgus saw the flames of the burning Temple reflected in Zallow’s green irises.

“It is all going to burn,” Malgus said.

Zallow’s brow furrowed, perhaps with pain, perhaps with despair. Either way, Malgus enjoyed it. He waited for the light to disappear from Zallow’s eyes before jerking his blade free and allowing the body to fall to the floor.

vii. Vaylin dominates and is about to Force crush four Knights of Zakuul, armor and all, as a child. The Knights of Zakuul are superior to the average Jedi Knight and Sith Lord due to a different way of channeling the Force.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWFzfQs7vmk

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

viii. The strike team sent after the Sith Emperor consists of "the galaxy's most powerful Jedi," "the galaxy's greatest Jedi," "the strongest and most resolute Jedi in the Order," including the Hero of Tython. Vitiate "easily" defeats them "without a fight" by waving his hand and mindraping them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bq5X3F3g69c

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Unknown

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Unknown

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Unknown

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Unknown

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Unknown

ix. The only reason the sent only one guy after the Emperor the next time is because they deemed the entire Jedi Council might prove useless and just get mindraped on the spot. Lord Scourge also declined to assist the Hero for this same reason, and said none of his other allies should help with either. This is despite Vitiate being uniquely weakened and vulnerable.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Unknown

x. Darth Malgus contends with a four-person strike team consisting of the strongest Jedi in history up to that point or a top-tier Jedi Councillor, the Empire's Wrath or a top-tier Dark Councillor, and two elite gunslingers. A detailed analysis of the fight can be found in my Darth Malgus Respect Thread.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j02LqLq2gw

xi. The first strike team sent after Revan: the strongest Jedi in history up to that point, the Empire's Wrath, a top-tier Dark Councillor, a top-tier Jedi Councillor, and four elite gunslingers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfP3J-axWA0

xii. The second strike team sent after Revan: the Grand Master of the Jedi Order, the strongest Dark Councillor, another Sith Lord, and four elite gunslingers with one of them calling down orbital strikes on Revan during the fight. The team can also potentially include additional Republic soldiers, and one of the gunslingers can be replaced by the Hero of Tython, the Emperor's Wrath II, Darth Nox, or the Barsen'thor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaiYsIWHK_Y

xiii. Vaylin slaughters dozens of Knights of Zakuul and tears apart their shuttles and ships, seemingly doing most of the work without a lightsaber given the mangled shapes of the corpses, the bent armor, and, again, the destroyed ships, as well as the fact that she steals Senya's Force pike instead of using her own lightsaber.

swtor.com: \"A Mother's Hope" wrote:She took another step, then noticed something on the ground – a dark, misshapen shadow barely visible in the illumination of her glowing pike. She tilted her weapon downwards to reveal a severed arm at her feet. She recognized the metal gauntlet encasing it: she’d worn the same armor herself for decades. A few steps away she found the rest of the body lying face down, the remaining limbs twisted and contorted into unnatural positions.

Steeling herself against a mounting dread, she pressed on further. The second body was only a few meters away, but in the pitch-black surroundings she didn’t notice him until he was at her feet. Unlike the first victim, this one was on his back. In the dim glow of her weapon, she could clearly make out the grotesque expression of pure terror etched on his face.

Even though she didn’t recognize him, Senya felt a kinship with the fallen warrior. She had been a Knight of Zakuul herself; these were her brothers and sisters. She had trained with them, lived with them, fought with them.

Moving slowly, Senya paced off an ever widening circle in the darkness. Puddles of rhydonium dotted the ground, the tiny chrome pools reflecting and amplifying the glow of her lightsaber to reveal the broken bodies of several more fallen knights. She had come to their camp for help, knowing they wouldn’t turn away one of their own. Now they were dead, their bodies broken and scattered… and Senya knew it was her fault.

This wasn’t coincidence. Reaching out to the rogue knights had drawn Vaylin’s attention. Their blood was on her hands. But she didn’t have the luxury of guilt. Not if she wanted to save her son. It was time to go; there was nothing here for her now.

A soft splash from the darkness snapped her head around. She took a step towards the sound, extending the tip of the pike to investigate. In the soft illumination she saw something she recognized immediately: a hand-carved child’s toy, cast aside and abandoned in the dirt.

She braced herself as brisk footsteps approached. A familiar figure materialized from the darkness, her hands alight with crackling sparks of energy. Vaylin flared her fingers out, the sparks arcing from the tips to catch on the rhydonium pool at her feet, setting it ablaze. The fire spread quickly, leaping from puddle to puddle, crisscrossing the surrounding ground to carve out a blazing pattern that lit up the night.

With the rising flames, Senya finally witnessed the true carnage Vaylin had unleashed on the camp: dozens of Knights – bodies mutilated and mangled – had been tossed haphazardly amongst the scattered wreckage of ships and shuttles torn asunder. The full breadth of the slaughter sent a chill down her back; grim evidence of the horrors her daughter was capable of.

Senya raised her weapon, only to have it wrenched effortlessly from her hands by the Force. The pike sailed ten meters through the air and into Vaylin’s waiting grasp.

She could crush my skull in an instant, Senya realized. And I’d be powerless to stop her!

xiv. Vaylin can defeat a team of near-peak Outlander, Arcann, and Senya with only a handful of Skytrooper battle droids for aid. Valkorion's interference is the reason the Outlander survives Vaylin's final attack and triumphs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zy6tVhbCsZ4&t=760s

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Charle10

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Charles_Boyd_says_Vaylin_is_more_powerful_than_the_Outlander

xv. Valkorion can freeze a team of Vaylin, Arcann, and the Outlander, only losing because the Outlander invokes the rules of The Dark Side Sourcebook.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbTdLy3xO3E&t=645s

xvi. Darth Malgus contends with a team consisting of the Outlander and two other Jedi. The addition of Council member Gnost-Dural would only have fueled Malgus's rage and hindered the team more than helped. A detailed analysis can be found in my Darth Malgus Respect Thread.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBbHzuRXTPY

xvii. Tenebrae fights the Outlander, Vaylin, Revan, Arcann, Thexan, the Jedi Exile, Lord Scourge, Darth Marr, Satele Shan, Senya, Kira Carsen, and four Jedi. When he unleashes his true power he pins them all to the ground with a combination of telekinesis and telepathy. He only loses because the Force itself intervenes and manifests in the form of all of his victims across thousands of years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH-_lHFf9pI
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April 30th 2023, 7:01 pm
xviii. Darth Desolous claims the entire Jedi Council was needed to slay him. His surrounding hype lends some credence to this claim.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Wii, PSP, PS2 version) wrote:"A thousand Jedi died cursing Darth Desolous. Now you too will scream my name."

"I've killed generations of Jedi. What hope do you have?"

"It took the entire council to kill me, boy. You have no chance."

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Databank (Wii, PSP, PS2 version) wrote:Desolous' rampage led to the slaughter of nearly two thousand Jedi, but eventually he grew overconfident.

[...]

Desolous confronted a small force of Jedi on Yaga Minor, but these Knights were simply bait to draw the killer into a tactically disadvantageous position. When Desolous attacked, a large Jedi fleet appeared out of hyperspace, preventing Desolous' retreat. Outnumbered and outmatched, Desolous' army was destroyed and the Sith Lord was finally struck down.

xix. The first strike team sent after Darth Bane: a Jedi Weapon's Master (a martial rank higher than Battlemaster) who is said to have felled as many Sith on Ruusan as the thought bomb (2,000), two other Jedi Masters and Ruusan veterans, one of whom is a battle meditation specialist, and two Jedi Knights, one of whom was the Padawan of said Weapon's Master and is one of the greatest duelists in the galaxy in his own right. Although not all of them fight Bane at the same time, this is nonetheless the team assembled when news of a surviving Sith Lord eaches the Jedi's ear. I’ve underlined all the parts where Bane would have one-shot them instantly (or in general displays vast dominance and superiority) if they didn’t have the battle meditation amp or if they weren’t saved by each other.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Rule of Two wrote:The Justice Crusader, Master Raskta's ship, was easily the fastest vessel Johun had ever been on. A small, personal attack cruiser, she required a crew of four. Fortunately for Johun, there were four others with him on board, all of them clothed in the simple brown robes that marked them as members of the Jedi Order.

Master Raskta Lsu, an Echani, sat at the controls of her ship. She had the alabaster skin, pure white hair, and silver eyes common to all her species. She was almost as tall as Johun, with the muscles and physique one would expect in a species that valued physical combat as the highest form of art and personal expression. Named in honor of the legendary Echani warrior Raskta Fenni, acclaimed by many to be the greatest duelist of her time, Master Raskta had spent her life honing her martial skills so that she could one day equal, and even surpass, her namesake.

She had achieved the rare and prestigious rank of Jedi Weapons Master. Eschewing all other fields of study and forsaking the development of her other Force talents to focus exclusively on the lightsaber and combat, she had transformed herself into a living weapon.

Now tasked with training apprentices in the forms of lightsaber combat, Raskta had been part of the campaign on Ruusan. Wielding a blue-bladed lightsaber in each hand, and shunning any form of armor, she was a terrifying figure to behold on the battlefield. Johun vividly remembered her carving great swaths of destruction through the heart of the enemy ranks, leaving a litter of bodies in her wake. It was said that, by the end of the war, as many Sith Lords had fallen under her twin blades as had been killed by the thought bomb.

In the gunner's chair across from the pilot was Sarro Xaj, the human male who had served as Raskta's Padawan on Ruusan. A year older than Johun, Sarro had olive-brown skin and a single topknot of black hair. He was also the largest human Johun had ever encountered. Over two meters tall and 150 kilos of raw muscle, he could easily be mistaken for a hairless Wookiee rather than a man. Yet despite his mass, he was still quick enough to snatch a zess-fly out of the air. Elevated to the rank of Jedi Knight seven years before, Sarro had chosen to follow in his Master's path, focusing on mastering a massive double-bladed lightsaber measuring almost three meters in length. Johun imagined there were few beings in the galaxy who could stand up under the ferocious assault of his weapon's blue blades.

Handling the navigation in the back of the vessel was Master Worror, an Ithorian. His long, flat neck curved forward and up to a head shaped like the letter T, with his large, bulbous eyes on either end of the cross stroke. This odd appearance had led to his species being commonly called hammerheads by the ignorant and insensitive.

Master Worror's surname could only be pronounced by beings possessing the two mouths and four throats unique to Ithorian anatomy. Johun had heard tales of Ithorian Jedi channeling the Force to transform their multiple voices into a devastating sonic weapon.

Master Worror, however, was a healer by training, and his power lay in that direction.

He had been one of General Hoth's advisers on Ruusan, and a key to victory in many battles, even though he didn't even carry a light-saber. The Ithorian's role was not to engage the enemy but rather to provide support through both his healing abilities and the rare art of battle meditation. Although his talent was not strong enough to single-handedly alter the outcome of a large-scale conflict, in close quarters Worror could draw upon the Force to give strength to the bodies, minds, and spirits of those around him, enhancing the skills and abilities of his allies.

Located beside the navigator in the rear of the vessel, the fourth member of the crew, Master Farfalla, provided support for the pilot, gunner, and navigator. He called up astronav charts, engine readings, weapons status, scanner reports, and anything else the others needed to do their jobs.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Rule of Two wrote:It had been many years since Farfalla had fought while empowered by Worror's battle meditation. He had forgotten how much quicker and stronger the Ithorian's amazing talent made him feel. The Force flowed through him with greater power, filling him with its might. Yet even with their enhanced abilities, he wondered if they would survive the coming battle.

As they burst into the room a man who could only have been Darth Bane charged recklessly toward them. In any other instance the move would have spelled a quick end to the encounter, as Raskta raced ahead of Farfalla to carve the Sith to pieces.

Raska's blue blades flickered too quickly for the eye to see, neutralizing her enemy's initial, wild attack then landing half a dozen lethal blows to his chest and abdomen. But instead of toppling, the big man kept coming, never even breaking stride. He would have plowed straight into Raskta, trampling her under his heavy boots, had she not cartwheeled to the side at the last possible instant.

Bane never stopped, his momentum carrying him straight toward Farfalla. The Jedi Master had a moment to register the strange armor coat of hard, shiny shells he wore beneath his clothes. Then he, too, leapt to the side to avoid being crushed, surviving only because his reflexes were heightened by Worror's power.

Raskta was already back on her feet and flying through the air toward him. Bane spun and threw a wave of invisible dark side power at her. A Weapons Master was not skilled at defending against enemy Force attacks. The impact of the wave would have plastered her against the wall and crushed her had Farfalla not thrown up a shield to protect the Echani. Even so her muscular body was plucked from the air and hurtled backward, though she twisted and turned so she landed on her feet.

Farfalla saw the Sith Lord turn toward him, sensing the intervention that had saved Raskta's life. Bane unleashed a barrage of Sith lightning, gathering and releasing his power at the speed of thought. The Jedi threw up a Force barrier to shield himself, but the electricity tore right through it and arced toward him. Then suddenly Raskta was there to save his life, repaying a debt that was only a few seconds old as she threw herself in front of him. Fueled by Worror's battle meditation, she switched styles seamlessly, and her arms and blades became a blur as they carved figure eights in the air to catch and absorb the bolts of dark side energy.

Their enemy fell upon them again, following up the lightning with pure aggression. Raskta rushed ahead of Farfalla to meet this second charge. She crouched low, viciously slashing at his thighs and calves, attempting to leave their opponent crawling legless on the floor. Her blades carved through his boots and sliced wide gashes in his pants, only to reveal more of the chitinous shells.

Bane brought his lightsaber down at the Echani, who crossed her blades into an X, attempting to block and trap her opponent's weapon at the point of intersection. But the Sith's move was only a feint meant to distract her, and at the last instant he pulled his weapon back and swung an elbow around to catch her in the ribs. The contact lifted her off her feet and sent her sprawling. Then he was past her, and bearing down on Farfalla.

The Jedi Master dropped into an elegant defensive stance to meet the charge.

"The handle!" Raskta gasped as she scrambled to her feet.

The warning caused Farfalla to notice the hook-handled lightsaber of his enemy, and the unusual grip it required. This would alter the nature of his attacks, causing them to come in from odd and unfamiliar angles. In the regimented and hyperprecise world of Jedi-Sith lightsaber duels, it transformed his style into something unique and unexpected.

Valenthyne recognized, processed, and reacted to this information in a fraction of a second, allowing him to adjust his own weapon's course just enough to block a strike that otherwise would have slipped along the edge of his blade and taken his arm off at the elbow. Even so, the strength behind the attack tore Farfalla's golden blade from his grip, sending his lightsaber skittering across the floor. Unarmed and helpless before his enemy, he was saved by Raskta.

Knowing that her lightsabers couldn't penetrate Bane's armor, she slid in from behind and scissor-kicked his legs out from under him. He toppled over backward, turning his fall into a roll that ended with him back on his feet. However, the distraction allowed Farfalla to look over and reach out with the Force, calling his weapon back into his hand.

He spun back to the fight to see that the Echani Weapons Master had taken the offensive, sending quick flicks of her blue blades toward Bane's unprotected face - the only spot on his body seemingly not covered by the impenetrable shells. Remarkably, Bane was giving ground.

"Stay back!" she shouted at Farfalla. "You'll just get in the way."

Farfalla did as he was told, gathering the energies of the light side to throw up another protective Force barrier should Bane try to unleash his dark side powers against the Echani.

She seemed to be everywhere at once - in front of Bane, beside him, behind him, circling low, leaping to come in high, deflecting his blade with one of her own then stabbing three quick times in succession at his eyes. The big man's head ducked and bobbed, twisting and turning to avoid her blows as he tried to mount a counteroffensive.

Raskta's mastery of her blades was unparalleled, but even with her talents augmented by Worror's battle meditation she wasn't able to land a telling blow on such a small target through Bane's defenses. Still, the ferocity of her new strategy had turned the momentum in her favor ... or so Farfalla thought.

Bane continued his retreat, circling away from Raskta's blades, then suddenly turned and ran straight toward the unarmed Ithorian standing just inside the door of the room.

Battle meditation required Master Worror's complete focus; there was no chance for him to mount any type of defense. If Bane cut him down, the others would lose the only advantage that gave them any chance of surviving the encounter.

Farfalla released the power he'd been gathering in a single concentrated burst. Bane was suddenly encased in a shimmering stasis field of light-side energy, freezing him where he stood. But his command of the dark side was too powerful for it to hold him for more than a split second. The shimmering field exploded into fragments as the Dark Lord broke free, though the momentary delay had allowed the Echani to place herself between the Ithorian and the Sith.

Raskta's blades hummed and sang as she engaged him again, determined to keep him from reaching Master Worror at all costs.

He's too strong, Farfalla realized, even as he ran to help her. Both physically and in the power of the dark side. It's like trying to fight a force of nature.

"Johun! Sarro! We need reinforcements!"

[...]

Johun turned his head at the sound of Farfalla's voice.

"Go," Sarro shouted at him. "I can handle this one."

The young Jedi looked over to the far side of the room and instantly recognized what was happening. Master Worror was in danger; he had to be protected or his battle meditation - and any hope of victory - would be lost.

He leapt across the room, using the Force to propel him through the air so that he landed only a few meters from where Raskta was dueling Darth Bane, desperately trying to drive him back and away from where Master Worror stood but a meter or two behind her. He hesitated before attacking, noticing that the Sith Lord's skin was covered with a strange, crustaceous growth.

"Go for the face!" Farfalla shouted, arriving on the scene and throwing himself into the battle as Johun did the same.

Together the three of them held the Sith Lord at bay: Farfalla on the left flank, Johun on the right, and Raskta in the center. Between blocks and parries they cut and stabbed at his face, their combined efforts finally forcing their enemy into a defensive stance.

The young Jedi marveled at the speed and savagery of Raskta's blades. And while Johun's own clumsy efforts had actually seemed to impede Sarro when they fought side by side, Raskta appeared to thrive off his presence. When he went high, she went low. If he came from the left, she came from the right. It was partly a function of her choice of weapon: individually each of her lightsabers was more precise and accurate than Sarro's giant double blades. But it was more than that. Her reactions were so fast, her combat instincts so pure, that she was able to sense and anticipate what he was going to do even as it happened, then use his attacks to her own advantage.

On her opposite side Farfalla struck with clean, elegant blows, his form perfect as he harried Bane's right flank. Yet though they were able to hold their ground, they couldn't drive him back or defeat him.

They were at an impasse, none of their attacks able to connect with the one vulnerable part of Bane's anatomy. Then Johun caught a glimpse of white flesh peeking out from the seam between the Sith's armored gloves and the strange shells on his forearm. The gap was narrow, but it was large enough for a well-aimed blade to penetrate.

He slashed at his new target. Amplified by Worror's power, the Force flowed through him and guided his blade home. The contact wasn't perfect; his lightsaber glanced off the edge of the armored shells so that he only made shallow contact with the skin beneath. Instead of severing the hand, he merely sliced deep enough to sever nerves and tendons.

Bane bellowed in rage as his weapon slipped from his grasp, the wound leaving his fingers limp and powerless. But before Johun or any of the others had a chance to finish off their unarmed opponent, they were blown backward by an explosion of dark side energy, their enemy's power fueled by the sharp, sudden pain of his wound.

Lying on the ground ten meters away, Johun watched in helpless horror as the Dark Lord's lightsaber leapt from the floor and flew back into his hand. Amazingly, his fingers wrapped themselves around the hilt and reignited the crimson blade, his injuries somehow healing almost instantly.

There was no longer anyone standing between Bane and the Ithorian; like Johun, Farfalla and Raskta had both been thrown clear. The Sith Lord raised his blade to end Worror's life, and Johun thrust out with the Force.

He knew he wasn't strong enough to penetrate Bane's defenses, but the big man wasn't his target. Instead, the powerful push struck Worror, throwing him into the corner as the lightsaber strike that would have cut him in two swished harmlessly through the air.

Johun felt his strength and energy plummet, A wave of exhaustion and fatigue overwhelmed him, the beneficial effects of the battle meditation vanishing as Worror's concentration was broken. But the Jedi Master was still alive, and Farfalla and Raskta were back on their feet. If they could hold Bane off for just a few seconds, the Ithorian could resume his meditations and restore their advantage.

[...]

As he fell to the ground, Zannah turned her attention to Bane on the far side of the room. He was single-handedly battling three Jedi, slowly pushing them back toward where the Ithorian lay crumpled in a corner.

Gathering the dark side around her, Zannah created a concealing cloak to mask her power as she had done at the Jedi Temple. While she did so, she saw the Ithorian slowly rise to his feet and close his eyes in concentration. She felt the surge of light-side energy rolling across the room, as did Bane's opponents. Suddenly invigorated, they backed her Master up against a wall, concentrating their attacks on his face and the joints of his wrist where the orbalisks had left tiny gaps in his armor.

Zannah rushed to her Master's aid, coming up silently behind the Jedi. Her presence hidden by her spell of concealment, they never sensed her coming. She struck the Echani down first, thrusting her blade forward so that it pierced the Jedi's back and ran her through. The Echani cried out and slumped forward, dropping at Zannah's feet. The men on either side half turned toward her, momentarily forgetting the opponent directly in front of them. Bane took the opportunity to slice off the weapon hand of the man with the green lightsaber. He screamed and dropped to his knees, clutching his cauterized stump. The image pulled Zannah's mind back to the cave on Ruusan where she had taken her cousin's hand.

With a shake of her head, she dispelled the memory. Her distraction had given the young Jedi a chance to roll clear of the battle. Zannah hesitated, uncertain whether to finish him off or help her Master against the man he was still battling. The question became moot a moment later when Bane swatted the Jedi's golden lightsaber aside with his orbalisk-encrusted left forearm, then removed his foe's head from his body with his lightsaber.

xx. The second strike team sent after Darth Bane: fourteen Jedi, six Master and eight Knights. The team was assembled in response to the news that Bane had killed the previous strike team. The team's leader wasn't about to take any chances, partially due to that, but also partially due to his experiences on Ruusan.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Rule of Two wrote:The Light of Truth, one of the many Jedi cruisers that had been incorporated into the Republic fleet after the Ruusan Reformations, landed with a soft thump on Ambria's desolate surface.

"Be ready for anything," Master Tho'natu warned his team as they prepared to disembark.

Back before he achieved the rank of Master, the Twi'lek had served as a Jedi Knight in the Army of Light on Ruusan. He had been assigned to Farfalla's ship, luckily in time to avoid the effects of the thought bomb, but not before he'd had ample opportunity on Ruusan to witness first-hand the kind of atrocities the Sith were capable of. He wasn't about to take any chances here.

They'd been dispatched in response to a message drone that had arrived on Coruscant a few days before. The anonymous message inside had been cryptically short, and somewhat disquieting in its lack of detail. It contained only a set of landing coordinates and four brief lines of text.

A Sith Lord still lives. He killed five Jedi on Tython. He is now on Ambria, under the care of a healer named Caleb. He is badly injured and helpless.

Less than two weeks ago Master Farfalla and four companions had hastily taken off from Coruscant, leaving behind word they were heading to Tython in pursuit of a Dark Lord of the Sith. They hadn't been heard from since. The message drone offered a grim explanation of their fate, and it drew an immediate response from the Jedi Council.

They'd quickly assembled a team of fourteen Jedi, six Masters and eight Jedi Knights, and sent them to Ambria under Tho'natu's command to apprehend the man responsible for the massacre of Master Farfalla and his companions. The journey had been made with all possible haste, but now that they were here they intended to proceed with caution, wary of walking into a trap.

xxi. The first strike team sent after Volffe Karkko: four Jedi Council members. He manages to kill one of them before losing.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda UkZJYwLK5iOhRRWG0lsPwOD3y-X9J3LuVMrW31Fudf-L7yZ-DV7b18i_Hm2k-3_VUicpBWtJH5Dc=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzExMi4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Xgj6SAmyEsLn1GV8a4A4cGEmwHZpSu2yAY3qFxsd-pAORiXKJY8DZK87WMUJh4gMOpShnZYKsATd=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzExMi4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2

xxii. Darth Plagueis destroys 24 Jedi-killing Maladian assassins in a horrendous condition while unarmed. An analysis can be found in my debate with Ethan.

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis wrote:At the same instant Hill’s right knee touched the polished stone, a jangle of foreboding laddered up Plagueis’s spine. Turning ever so slightly, he saw that 11-4D had rotated its head toward him in a gesture Plagueis had come to associate with alarm. The dark side fell over him like a shroud, but instead of acting on impulse, he restrained himself, fearful of betraying his true nature prematurely. In that instant of hesitation, time came to a standstill, and several events happened at once.

The high official gave a downward tug to the pendant he had placed around Hill’s neck, and the old Muun’s head toppled from his shoulders and began to roll down the tipped stage. Blood geysered from Hill’s neck, and his body fell to one side with a thud and began to jerk back and forth as one after another of his hearts failed.

Yanking their hands from the roomy, opposite sleeves of their robes, the hooded members of the order made sidelong throwing motions, which sent dozens of decapitator disks screaming through the air. Muuns to both sides of Plagueis fell to their knees, their last breaths caught in their throats. A disk buried deep in his forehead, one of the Sun Guards twirled in front of Plagueis like a crazed marionette. Blood fountained, turning to mist. Struck in at least three places and leaking lubricant, 11-4D was trying to limp to Plagueis’s side when another disk whirled into its alloy body, touching off a storm of sparks and smoke.

Plagueis pressed his right hand to the right side of his neck to discover that a disk had made off with a considerable hunk of his jawbone and neck, and in its cruel passing had severed his trachea and several blood vessels. He cupped the Force against the injury to keep himself from lapsing into unconsciousness, but he fell to the floor regardless, with blood pumping onto the already slick stone circle. Around him, slanted in his faltering vision, the assassins had drawn vibroblades from the other sleeves of the robes and were beginning a methodical advance on the few Muuns who were still standing. A hail of bolts streaked from the blaster cradled in the arms of the remaining Sun Guard, sweeping half a dozen hooded beings off the rim of the circle, before he himself was butchered.

Tricked, Plagueis thought, as pained by the realization as he was by the wound. Outmaneuvered by a group of inferior beings who at least had had sense enough to place artfulness above arrogance.

[...]

Slumped on his right side, knees drawn up to his chest, eyes open but unmoving, Plagueis watched the second Echani succumb to multiple stabs from the assassins’ vibroblades. With blood welling out from under Plagueis’s cupped right hand and glistening in a pool on the floor beneath his neck, they had taken him for dead. But now they were moving from the body of one fallen Muun to the next, checking for signs of life and finishing what they had begun. A few had lowered their black hoods, revealing themselves to be Maladians—the same group Sidious had employed to deal with Vidar Kim.

For an instant he wondered if Sidious had secretly taken out a second contract, but he immediately dismissed the thought—born as it was of his not wanting to admit to himself that the Gran had bested him. He wondered if the Maladians had actually been bold enough to kill the prominent Canted Circle members they were impersonating. Unlikely, given that the assassins were known and respected for their professionalism. The members had probably been rendered unconscious by gas or some other means.

Not a meter away stood 11-4D, five decapitator disks protruding from his alloy body and telltale lights blinking, in the midst of a self-diagnosis routine. Having run himself through a similar test, Plagueis knew that he had lost a great deal of blood, and that one of his subsidiary hearts was in fibrillation. Sith techniques had helped him perform chemical cardioversions on his other two hearts, but one of them was working so hard to compensate that it, too, was in danger of becoming arrhythmic. Plagueis moved his eyes just enough to fix the locations of some of the two dozen assassins that had survived the Sun Guards’ counterattack; then he dug deep into the Force and catapulted himself to his feet.

The closest of the assassins swung to him with raised vibroblades and rushed forward, only to be flung backward off the canted stage and against the room’s curved walls. Others Plagueis felled with his hands by snapping necks and putting his fists through armored torsos. Spreading his arms wide, he clapped his hands together, turning every loose object in the vicinity into a deadly projectile. But the Maladians were far from run-of-the-mill murderers. Members of the cult had killed and wounded Jedi, and in response to confronting Force powers, they didn’t shrink or flee but simply changed tactics, moving with astounding agility to surround Plagueis and wait for openings.

The wait lasted only until Plagueis attempted to unleash lightning. His second subsidiary heart failed, paralyzing him with pain and nearly plunging him into unconsciousness. The assassins wasted not a moment, throwing themselves at him in groups, though in a vain attempt to penetrate the Force shield he raised. Again he rallied, this time with a ragged sound dredged from deep inside that erupted from him like a sonic weapon, shattering the eardrums of those within ten meters and compelling the rest to bring their hands to their ears.

In blinding motion his hands and feet smashed skulls and windpipes. He stopped once to conjure a Force wave that all but atomized the bodies of six Maladians. He spun through a turn, dragging the wave halfway around the room to kill half a dozen more. But even that wasn’t enough to deter his assailants. They flew against him again, making the most of his momentary weakness to open gashes on his arms and shoulders. Down on one knee, he levitated a Sun Guard blaster from the floor and called it toward him; but one of the assassins succeeded in altering its trajectory by hurling himself into the path of the airborne weapon.

With nothing more than the Force of his mind, Plagueis rattled the floor, knocking some of the assassins off their feet, but others rushed in to take their places, slashing at him with their vibroblades from every angle. He knew that he had life enough to conjure one final counteroffensive. He was a moment from loosing hell on the Maladians when he sensed Sidious enter the room.

Sidious and Sate Pestage, in whose hands a repeating blaster fashioned a hell of its own, a barrage of light that separated limbs from torsos, hooded heads from cloaked shoulders. Hurrying to Plagueis’s side, Sidious lifted him upright, and in unison they brought swift death to the rest.

xxiii. Yoda is able to dodge the attacks of three Jedi Council members without moving a meter from his starting position while unarmed.

Star Wars: Darth Maul - Shadow Hunter wrote:She had attended a lecture on battle techniques given by Master Yoda earlier this year, and the memory of it came back to her now.

Yoda had faced the assembled students and spoken, his thin reedy voice somehow carrying to the far corners of the lecture hall without benefit of amplifiers.

"Better than training, the Force is. More than experience or speed it gives."

And he had given a demonstration. Three members of the council - Plo Koon, Saesee Tiin, and Depa Billaba, excellent fighters all - had come forward and attacked him. Master Yoda had not been armed, and had not seemed to move more than a meter or so, his tread slow and measured. Nevertheless, none of the three had been able to lay a finger on him. The lesson had struck powerfully home: Knowledge of the Force was infinitely better than technique.

xxiv. Not a group fight but Darth Sidious can blitz Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace so hard that Maul cannot perceive his movements even in the Force, and a mere flinch would kill him while Sidious is tracing the outline of his body. This is obviously translatable to how Sidious would perform if Maul had three weaklings assisting him: they'd all die in one second.

Star Wars: Episode I Journal - Darth Maul wrote:Suddenly, my lightsaber is gone. It flies from my hand across the room. It lands in the hand of my Master.

I never see him enter. Not if he doesn't want me to.

The smile of triumph fades from my face.

"Do you think, " Lord Sidious says, walking toward me, "you can ever relax your guard?"

"No, Master. " What a clumsy, weak mistake. I should be prepared for him to enter at all times. How could I have forgotten that, even for a moment?

The lightsaber whirls in the air, twirling, held in my Master's hand. I can't track it, it moves so fast. But I know it's heading for me.

Lord Sidious moves faster than my eye can follow. I smell heat and smoke. The laser traces the outline of my body, my face, my hands. The buzz is loud in my ear. One flinch, one involuntary twitch of a muscle, and I am dead.

I do not flinch.

At last, Lord Sidious deactivates my weapon. He tosses it toward me. The sweat on my palm almost causes me to drop it.

"Do not let me see you relax your guard again, " my Master says. His eyes burn. "You are valuable, yes. But you are not indispensable, Lord Maul. I can do without you."

A flick of his robe, and he is gone.

xxv. The second strike team sent to take down Volffe Karkko: the Master of the Order and two other Council members as the vanguard, with "as many Jedi as possible" following them.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Volffe_Karkko_1

xxvi. General Grievous fights Ki-Adi-Mundi, Shaak Ti, Aayla Secura, K'Kruhk, and Tarr Seirr, killing Seirr, mortally wounding Ti, Secura, K'Kruhk, and defeating Mundi. His surviving adversaries only escape due to the intervention of a LAAT/i and a platoon of clone troopers. While the Jedi are exhausted, Grievous only wields two lightsabers instead of his customary four. He is also not Force-sensitive, making him vulnerable to its use.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIj7gIDFDe4

xxvii. Again not a teambusting feat, but Yoda effortlessly freezes Asajj Ventress in place and rips her weapons from her grasp, probably tearing through her telekinetic barriers in the process (cf. Senya concludes Vaylin can easily crush her skull from the fact that she's able to wrench her weapon from her).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnZaNNY_arU

xxviii. Darth Sidious casually defeats Darth Maul and Savage Opress. Dave Filoni states the purpose of the duel is to show that "no one can compete with this guy" and that "nobody was going to be able to touch him." At the start he pins the brothers to a wall but willingly lets them go, courting combat. And at the conclusion even ultra rage-amped Maul is done as soon as Sidious wills it by ramping up his output, in the show being overpowered from a position of disadvantage, and in the novelization being speedblitzed. Filoni elaborates that "he just puts his lightsabers away at the end of the fight and says, 'I'm done with this,' and goes in and mauls Maul, so to speak." It's heavily implied by the beginning of the duel as well as by Filoni that Sidious could have killed the brothers at any point of the fight with telekinesis without needing to draw his lightsabers at all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7hBZNsPnyg

https://imgur.com/a/cQhuKLF

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy wrote:The feeling had begun as a faint stirring in the Force, like the tiniest ripple of something moving slowly through deep water, far away but drawing steadily closer. It intensified, until it felt like the Force itself was roiling, heaving like the sea in the grip of an enormous storm.

“I sense a presence,” Maul warned Savage. “A presence I haven’t felt since...”

And then Maul knew.

“Master,” he said, leaning forward on the throne.

The commandos guarding the royal chamber reached for their throats. As Maul watched, an unseen forced lifted them high in the air, then slammed them to the floor, where they lay motionless in their red-and-black armor. The doors opened, then closed behind a figure in dark robes. A deep cowl hid most of the face, leaving only a pale chin and a downturned mouth visible. To most eyes the man in those simple robes of rough cloth was unremarkable, just another being making his way in the universe. But to those who could feel the Force he was anything but ordinary. To them, he was a dark sun blazing with power that was simultaneously hypnotizing and terrifying to behold.

Darth Sidious, the reigning Dark Lord of the Sith, had come to Mandalore.

Savage stared at the new arrival in astonishment, transfixed by the sight. Maul felt himself leap from the throne, mechanical legs clacking down the steps and toward his old Master. The motion was almost automatic, involuntary. Maul’s earliest memories were of that hooded figure—his tests, his teachings, and also his torments. He had been Maul’s father, his protector, his torturer. He had been everything.

Maul halted before Sidious and kneeled, bowing his head.

“Master,” he said simply.

Sidious stopped. For a moment all was silent.

“I am most impressed to see you have survived your injuries,” he said, the voice as rough and cracked as Maul remembered.

“I used your training, Master,” Maul said. “And I have built all of this in hopes of returning to your side.”

Sidious lifted his head slightly, and Maul saw his yellow eyes beneath the hood. They were as cold as space.

“How unfortunate that you are attempting to deceive me,” Sidious said.

“Master?” Maul asked.

“You have become a rival,” Sidious declared.

He raised his arms and both Maul and Savage flew through the air, smashing into the elegantly patterned walls of the royal chamber and crashing to the floor. Maul sprang to his feet and ignited his lightsaber. Savage did the same. The two Zabraks stared grimly at the hooded figure. Sidious retrieved a pair of elegant-looking lightsabers from within the depths of his robes and ignited them. The blades turned his pale face a hellish red.

Maul and Savage didn’t waste time seeking an advantageous position. They simply charged, blades shimmering, trying to overpower Sidious with the animal ferocity of their attack. Sidious caught their sabers on his, the weapons howling and crackling where they touched. Maul saw that Savage was startled by the seemingly frail man’s enormous strength. Maul stared at his Master’s face. He saw the strain as Sidious called upon the Force to keep the brothers at bay. But there was something else there, too—a terrible pleasure. Sidious began to grin.

The three-pronged duel between Sidious, and Maul and Savage had moved, like some deadly ballet, from the throne room to the steps of the palace. Sidious’s lightsabers twirled swiftly and elegantly, turning aside the furious blows Maul and Savage rained down upon him as the three Sith leapt and spun.

Maul had fought his Master many times, starting when he was little more than a child and continuing through his apprenticeship. His body bore innumerable scars from those duels—lessons in the peril of being too slow or two quick, too weak or too distracted. During Maul’s apprenticeship he had always known that Sidious had been willing to kill him. The Sith had not survived their centuries of exile by being sentimental, and a student who couldn’t stand against his Master in a mere training exercise was worse than useless—he was a waste of valuable resources better used elsewhere. But Maul had never faced his Master when he was actually trying to kill him.

Maul had grown more powerful since the last time he’d been in Sidious’s presence, before the Neimoidian invasion of Naboo had turned disastrous and Obi-Wan had bested him inside the Theed power core. His hermitage on Lotho Minor, his lessons on Unbara, his restoration by Mother Talzin, and his training of Savage had all strengthened him, made him a more worthy vessel for the dark side to fill with its power.

But strong as he had become, Maul found himself in awe of Sidious. The Sith Lord was astonishingly fast and efficient, and the Force flowed through him effortlessly. His sabers stabbed and slashed through the smallest hole in an opponent’s guard, his movements never carried him a millimeter out of position, and he could sense every attack Maul and Savage made before it developed.

Maul tried to slash past Sidious’s guard, only to find his Master had given ground, causing Maul to extend his arms too far and leave himself slightly unbalanced. It was the smallest stumble, easily corrected, but Sidious saw it—and pounced before Maul could draw himself back. Snarling, he reached out with the Force and slammed Maul against the wall, leaving him lying stunned in a heap.

Savage knew the dangers of facing the Sith Lord alone, and pressed his attack before Sidious draw his hand back from Force-shoving Maul into the wall. Teeth bared, Savage windmilled his double saber, hoping to disarm Sidious or force him to give ground. If he did, that would allow the yellow-and-black Zabrak to follow his initial attack with a lightning-quick thrust that would penetrate Sidious’s defenses and wound or even kill him.

Maul tried to shake off his attack, rocketing up from the floor. Sidious neatly side-stepped Savage’s assault, drawing back as the massive Zabrak raised his double-bladed saber high to try to pummel him with it. Savage didn’t think Sidious was fast enough to take advantage of the brief opening in his defenses, but he was wrong.

Sidious rammed one of his blades through Savage’s black armor, the glowing crimson tip of the saber appearing between his shoulder blades. Savage gasped, his saber tumbling from his grasp. Sidious yanked his weapon back and Savage seemed to hang suspended for a moment, as if he were being levitated by with the Force. Then he crashed to the ground.

Sidious stepped back as Maul rushed to his fallen brother’s side. A mist seemed to rise from Savage’s body, emerging from his wounds and then from his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. As Maul and Sidious watched, Savage’s horns shrank and the massive bands of muscle melted away from his chest and shoulders. The last misty remnants of Mother Talzin’s magic grew hazy and tattered, then dispersed and vanished, leaving the dying Savage lying in the shell of his now-oversized armor.

His eyes turned to Maul.

“Brother, I am an unworthy apprentice,” Savage said. “I am not like you. I never was.”

He took a last breath and lay still.

Maul looked up, saber in his grasp, and stared into Darth Sidious’s blazing eyes.

“Remember the first and only reality of the Sith,” Sidious said. “There can only be two, and you are no longer my apprentice. You have been replaced.”

Sidious raised his saber and flew at Maul, who parried desperately, his mechanical legs whirring as he sought to counter his former Master’s blows. Sidious’s sabers were a blur, a whirling cage of deadly plasma. Maul danced away from one blow, then reversed his movement to avoid another, and then there were too many to count, and then there were even more than that.

Maul’s saber spun out of his hand, bouncing away across the floor. Then Sidious seized his former apprentice with the Force, hurling him against the wall. Maul’s vision swam. He tried to get up, but realized he was already in the air, held aloft by the Force. Sidious slammed him into the floor. Then Maul was off the ground again, legs kicking for purchase in empty air. He could taste blood in his mouth. His head hit the wall with a sickening crunch.

A rhyme crept into his head, a nagging sing-song bit of poetry.

Far above, far above,

We don’t know where we’ll fall.

Far above, far above.

What once was great is rendered small.

Maul could no longer remember where he had heard it, or what it meant. He was broken, helpless, useless.

“No,” Maul heard himself gasp. “Have mercy. Please...”

“There is no mercy,” Sidious said.

Bolts of energy ripped out from the Sith Lord’s fingers, tendrils of brilliant blue and purple that danced across Maul’s tattooed skin and ripped through his muscles, his organs. His mechanical legs convulsed, shorting out.

“You belong to me,” Sidious said. “Your existence is now perfectly meaningless.”

He stretched out his fingers and the energy tore through Maul again. Sidious watched the lightning build in intensity, his eyes unblinking, his teeth gritted in a triumphant, terrible smile.

xxix. The strike team sent after Darth Sidious: Mace Windu, Kit Fisto, Saesee Tiin, and Agen Kolar. They are the "toughtest Jedi," "finest Jedi warriors," "the best in the Order" available on Coruscant at the time, and "four of the greatest swordsmen the Order has ever produced." Sidious kills three of them in seconds despite the presence of Windu.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4RQEEyTZWU

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda IMG_1749

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 0AF369A1-8219-484D-BDAC-8DA4EB966E24

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith novelization wrote:"I'm the chosen one. My place is there." His breathing roughened, and he looked as if he was getting even sicker. "I have to be there. That's the prophecy, isn't it? I have to be there-"

"Anakin, why? The Masters are the best of the Order. What can you possibly do?"

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith novelization wrote:Now Obi-Wan did face him. "Palpatine faced Mace and Agen and Kit and Saesee - four of the greatest swordsmen our Order has ever produced. By himself. Even both of us together wouldn't have a chance."

"True," Yoda said. "But both of us apart, a chance we might create . . ."

xxx. Darth Vader kills Cin Drallig, Whie Malreaux, and Bene in seconds. Drallig was the Jedi Temple's greatest defender, even above Councillor Shaak Ti, a Battlemaster and a lightsaber instructor who had taught thousands.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Anakin_vs_Drallig

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith novelization wrote:Stone-faced, Obi-Wan watched younglings run into the room, fleeing a storm of blasterfire; he watched Cin Drallig and a pair of teenage Padawans - was that Whie, the boy Yoda had brought to Vjun? - backing into the scene, blades whirling, cutting down the advancing clone troopers with deflected bolts. He watched a lightsaber blade flick into the shot, cutting down first one Padawan, then the other. He watched the brisk stride of a caped figure who hacked through Drallig's shoulder, then stood aside as the old Troll fell dying to let the rest of the clones blast the children to shreds.

xxxi. 19 BBY Darth Vader fights eight Jedi: one Council member, five other Masters, and two Knights. Given the timeline, Vader is in a horrendous mental state during this fight, yet he kills four of them before he is pummeled down by the remaining Masters. The short-circuiting of his lightsaber also contributed to his loss.

https://imgur.com/a/TPyIVZ9

xxxii. Darth Sidious kills three Jedi with one lightsaber swing.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Z7xakQ2-Cu0OX8K3SmfF_2GrEMgiy3Tv09XlRe5oqW2mTKEhi04Jqb18LaxIBJheMAi-4PjkIzoRKw=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzExMi4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda BHK3rMXmjbddLMyYDvy8NJasE1nwQ-NIXstbQ6mswUWByThJ8JOA0xJiX1dQkBlGMmEZIuF5k4OHng=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzExMi4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2

xxxiii. 18 BBY Darth Vader telekinetically one-shots three clones of Sa Cuis by ripping apart their Force shields and crushing their throats. He later does so to two other Cuis clones. Cuis was an Emperor's Hand, the same group Mara Jade belonged to. Curious to note is that "Two-Edged Sword" is written by Karen Traviss, the very author who wrote Sacrifice, and she definitely gave Mara and Jacen a shittier power ceiling in that book... A hint of intent, perhaps?

Star Wars Insider #85: Two-Edged Sword wrote:Vader felt a sense of focus from behind the hatch, and as seven minds seemed to sense the threat and reached out, Pepin cut the generator and the shuttle was plunged into darkness, except for the shimmering red blade of his lightsaber. He raised his left hand, knowing exactly where the weakest point of the hatch was, and sent a massive Force push that swept the two halves of the hatch doors apart. 

For a moment, frozen in time, Vader saw a forest of red lightsaber shafts exactly like his own. He punched a Force shockwave into the cockpit just as his field of vision erupted in hot yellow light and the loud whoomp of flame filled the ruptured compartment ahead of them, fire licking across bulkheads and darting into the cockpit hatchway. 

He could see inside now. He heard screams. Three lightsabers had disappeared, appearing to merge with the flames. Fierce gold reflections danced on white armor. But three shafts of energy continued to glow, and he could see three of Cuis’s clones enveloped in Force shields of their own, managing to hold off the flamethrower assault. 

The stormtrooper plates and bodysuit were fire-resistant, and Lekauf's men had overcome that hard-wired human terror of fire to walk through the inferno and continue to shoot jets of burning gas into the compartment before them. Vader could see three bodies on the floor, matte-black from charring, and three moving saber blades, but where was the fourth? 

He reached out with his mind, searching behind burning panels and control fascias. Another ball of fire rolled up to the deckhead from the muzzle of a flamethrower. Lekauf, tight at Vader’s side and without a respirator, coughed as acrid smoke billowed back. 

“Get clear,” said Vader, and stabbed his Force reach through the shield of the Cuis clones, seizing their throats and crushing them. One yielded and Vader moved in fast, taking three strides forward and slashing his saber down to fell the clone. 

Two were left, plus Sheyvan. He was still alive. Vader could feel him yet not see him. Lekauf’s men fired rapid bursts of flame at the last two Cuis clones standing, pinning them against the port bulkhead as Vader moved in and they struggled to maintain the protective bubble around them. Smoke rolled from every surface. The shuttle’s interior was made from fire-resistant materials, but the temperature in the confined space was now getting unbearable. 

Nele fired another burst of burning gas at the Dark Jedi. Then one of the Cuis clones made a massive effort and sent the ball of flame back at Vader.

Vader’s suit could withstand nearly every assault. But Lekauf, a man trained to react without pausing to debate, flung himself in front of him and took the brunt of the flame. He fell, gasping, as the clones closed in on the Dark Jedi and Vader burst apart their Force shields with pure focused rage.

Lightsabers winked out of existence.

xxxiv. Starkiller slaughters and pulverizes a dozen of his clones with a Force repulse. Galen Marek's clones "inherited his skills," "possess their genetic host's fighting skills, including incredible abilities with the Force," and "together they could easily have turned on their creator and overpowered him."

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7D89bxiAAg

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II novelization wrote:The Dark Lord was standing out of Starkiller’s reach. Instead of attacking, he gestured at the rows of cloning tanks beside him. Lights flickered on inside them, revealing row after row of identical forms. Clad in stripped-down version of his former training suit and attached via tubes to complex feeders and breathers, they hung weightlessly in transparent fluid, twitching occasionally in their sleep.

Starkiller felt a shock of recognition jolt through him. These weren’t stormtroopers. They were him. Incomplete, and oddly warped from true, but definitely him.

Vader gestured again, and the clones’ eyes opened.

In them Starkiller saw nothing but hatred, anger, confusion, betrayal, madness, and loss.

Their glass cages shattered. Amniotic fluid boiled away. They pulled free from their cables and tubes and, with motions faltering at first but quickly growing stronger, climbed free from the wreckage.

Starkiller stood his ground as a circle of failed clones formed around him.

Behind them Darth Vader nodded once. The clones came forward in one overwhelming rush.

***

STARKILLER FOUGHT AS he had never fought before. Clones—his clones, nightmarishly imperfect but powerful all the same—pressed in on all sides. Darth Vader’s vile conditioning had a profound hold on their immature psychologies. The desire to kill consumed their thoughts. It was all they radiated. Together they could easily have turned on their creator and overpowered him. Instead they were driven to destroy their own.

Not their own. Just him. Whether he was the original Starkiller, as Kota believed, or simply the best copy to date didn’t matter. He was their target, and they used every power they possessed to bring him down.

On Kashyyyk he had fought a vision of himself, and won.

On Dagobah, he had seen other versions of him, and spared them.

On Kamino, the choice was taken from him. He had to fight if he was to live, and he had to live in order to save Juno. Thought didn’t enter into it. The Force rushed through him, and his lightsabers moved as though of their own accord.

His clones screamed as he cut them down.

It quickly became apparent that the first to rush in were the wildest and weakest both. In their eagerness to do battle, they didn’t stop to plan their strategies. What they possessed in speed, they lacked in forethought. He was armed and they were not, so for being headstrong beyond all reason these brutish beings paid the ultimate price.

The next wave either learned from the fate of the first or had enough innate caution to stand back a moment and observe the way he fought. They came at him from all sides, using telekinesis to try to knock him off balance on the blood-slicked floor. He was too fast for them, leaping over their heads and attacking from behind, slashing at their overdeveloped shoulders and hunched backs without remorse.

Moving out of the center of the ring of converging clones brought him into contact with the third wave, the most cunning he had encountered so far. Long-armed and long-fingered, with blackened, blistering skin, these employed lightning when attacking him, and then by devious means. They would wait until he was distracted and attack him from behind, or come at him from three directions at once, or even use one of their fellow clones as an impromptu conductor. Deadly currents crackled and sparkled around him, kept barely at bay by the judicious application of a Force shield. Sometimes a lucky strike caused him pain, but he fought through it, found the source, and put the attack quickly to an end.

From above came the sound of lightsabers activating, and he braced himself for another, more dangerous onslaught. These, the most normal looking of all the clones, spun, slashed, hacked, and stabbed at him from all sides, one-handed, two-handed, with all possible variations of lightsaber combat styles. Red-eyed and hate-filled, they fought each other, too, and the ones who had come before. There were no allies, just a sea of individuals.

And yet … Confidence, determination, intelligence, and cunning—combined with physical strength and agility—the clones possessed every attribute he did, in greater or lesser degrees. He saw in their faces the same confusion he felt. They were all clones, so who was he to stand out from among them? What special qualities set him apart?

Who was Starkiller, in this mass of faces and bodies?

A desperate rage built up inside him. What if what he felt was nothing but a lingering imprint left behind by the first Starkiller? Did he cling to his feelings with all the more desperation because deep down he knew they were counterfeit? “The memories of a dead man,” Vader had called them, blaming them for the torment and confusion he had felt. “They will fade,” Vader had promised, but they had not. Did the other clones experience the same hopes and fears? Were their experiences any less worthy than his?

“Destroy what he created … hate what he loved … be strong …” That was the command Vader had given him, on threat of death. But who was the deliverer of that death? Wasn’t he the one delivering to the clones the very fate that he had feared? Had they all been given the same ultimatum?

“You will receive the same treatment as the others.”

Death by lightsaber, at his own hand. Perhaps this macabre free-for-all was Vader’s way of weeding out the imperfect stock. The last one left standing would be considered the perfect Starkiller, the one who would take his place at Vader’s side. Perhaps that was his plan.

“You have faced your final test,” Vader had told a victorious version of himself in the vision he had received on the Salvation. Maybe the vision he had received on Dagobah had warned him of a very real trial, not the metaphorical one he had imagined it to be.

The dark side awaited his call. But if this was his final test, then he would not fail. There was too much riding on it. If he gave in to temptation and became Darth Vader’s apprentice once more, then it was clear from the vision that Juno would die. She was the whole reason he had escaped, and then returned. He would not turn his back on that, even to survive.

He sought strength from within himself, and pushed outward with all his might. Clones went flying. The empty tubes from which they had emerged shattered into millions of pieces. Platforms buckled and fell with reverberant crashes. The interior of the cloning tower rang as though struck with a giant hammer. Every muscle in his body shook with the effort of it.

The echoes faded, and he felt a peculiar kind of quiet descend. The air was misted red, and every surface was slick with blood. He tasted it on his tongue and smelled it in his nose. His blood. A veritable ocean of it.

He maintained a defensive pose, breathing rhythmically and deeply, regaining his strength. The tips of his lightsabers shook. He had never felt so exhausted, at every level of his being. He felt simultaneously cleansed and poisoned.

Nothing moved. Slowly, incredulously, he began to believe that it was over.

They were all dead. He had destroyed every last one of them. He was the only one left—of the many Darth Vader had created to do his bidding.

xxxv. Luke Skywalker, "joined by only a handful of Jedi and two infantry units," fights against potentially over a thousand Yuuzhan Vong-controlled slaves and giant monsters. On the second page Luke is separated from all ground personnel and surrounded, and there are no aerial personnel seen either; occam's razor dictates everyone except for Luke has been killed. But Luke, of course, survives, meaning he likely defeats the rest of the army (probably hundreds) by himself.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda CaJ17QuDdihv19vMFcXcAvehloWPt3od8MsSooo_yU9zk-gV9rByCgjJO9tANJ4GrSQHBrZ1TR_g=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzExMi4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Vx8QYUNwCjznwIO2q-oF80AgNN_ZJVnkYpI-IHhxDboI4tUTtL1ZUxgs6l1Sc57h0nJ5uImdoluB=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzExMi4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2
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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Empty Re: My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda

April 30th 2023, 7:02 pm
xxxvi. Luke Skywalker, Jacen Solo, and Jaina Solo, joined in a battle meld, storm Shimrra's Citadel. They fight through six levels of Yuuzhan Vong warriors attacking "from above, below, and through the various access corridors, with Luke bearing the brunt of the attacks and annihilating everything in his path without effort or misstep. Arriving at Shimrra's lair, they are confronted with 15 Yuuzhan Vong slayers, the elite of the elite, two of them capable of stomping the Yuuzhan Vong Supreme Commander Chaan plus ten of his warriors. Luke kills 12, Jacen three, and Jaina zero. Luke then beheads the Supreme Overlord of the Yuuzhan Vong, Shimrra Jamaane.

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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Battle_meld

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Star Wars: The New Jedi Order - The Unifying Force wrote:When Shimrra swung about, Onimi bowed in mock gallantry. “Great Sky Lord, if the Jeedai Force is nothing more than enhanced ability, why have our shapers not created worthy opponents from the warrior caste?”

Shimrra frowned and aimed a finger at his familiar. “You spoil my surprise, Onimi. But so be it.” He turned to face the white-robed, tentacle-handed shapers. “Let us not keep our company in suspense. Display your handiwork.”

One of the spotlessly adorned shapers rose and hastened from the hall. Moments later, entering through both the priest and warrior portals, marched a group of ten males. Shorter even than Nas Choka, they carried restless amphistaffs and whetted coufees. Steng’s Talons sprouted from their robust bodies, which were smeared black with dried blood.

The ten were unlike the special breed of warriors known as hunters, who were privileged to sport the photosensitive mimetic cloak of Nuun, but something new and disconcerting, and the female seers were the first to voice their dismay.

“What desecration is this?”

“Armed as warriors, yet clothed as attendants to the gods!”

“What shaper is responsible?”

Onimi gamboled over to them and adopted a haughty posture.

“To prove the Force a farce indeed,
Shimrra’s will the shapers heed;
Birthing troops of mingled caste
Great Nas Choka they will outlast!”

One of the seers made a futile grab for Onimi while the others continued to shout dire warnings.

“No shaper other than myself is responsible,” Shimrra said, silencing them. “By my injunction do these warriors come to be. Our Jeedai. Charged with guarding the life of your Supreme Overlord, as well as with rooting out our enemies and exterminating them. At their disposal they will have coralskippers of unique design, with advanced weaponry and the ability to travel through darkspace unassisted.” Shimrra paused, then added: “They shall be called slayers, in honor of Yun-Yammka—lest he feel uncomfortable about mingling with priests.”

“They have the look of Shamed Ones!”

Shimrra whirled on the warrior who said it. “Shamed, you say? By my mandate were they created, Supreme Commander Chaan—by divine edict! If the gods had disapproved, would these warriors not bear the markings of pariahs?”

Supreme Commander Chaan stood his ground. “Shamed Ones shaped to resemble those who have been embraced by the gods, Great Lord. Concealing the deformities that would signal their unworthiness. Is it too much to ask that we be shown proof of their status?”

Shimrra grinned diabolically. “Cursed you are by your own request, Commander. Step forward with ten of your warriors and do your best against these.”

“Fearsome Shimrra—”

“Doubt flew from your mouth like a tsik vai, Commander! If too quickly, then retract your words, or do as I say and stand against these!”

Chaan snapped his fists to his shoulders and summoned ten warriors to their feet; coufees, shields, tridents, and amphistaffs woke to the challenge. At the same time, the warrior-priests spread out, but only two stepped forward.

“Two against eleven,” Chaan said in sudden consternation. “This is vulgar. Dishonor either way!”

Shimrra returned to his throne and sat. “Then we will be pleased to see you humble them, if only to demonstrate that our shapers have failed in their task. Carve them, Commander, as a dish fit for the gods!”

Chaan saluted crisply.

At his curt nod, the ten warriors attacked, two groups of four moving to outflank their opponents, and the remaining two rushing forward immediately to engage and distract. The reactions of the warrior-priests were almost too fast to follow. They turned slightly to the side, almost back to back, wielding weapons in both hands, meeting the frontal attack and the flanking attacks simultaneously.

The amphistaffs of the attackers struck seemingly unar-mored flesh without finding purchase. Coufees cut and sliced, and yet almost no blood flowed; what little did, congealed instantly. The melee weapons of the defenders were no less enhanced than were the small, muscular warrior-priests who wielded them. The specially bred amphistaffs snapped the heads off their lesser cousins, and stabbed with enough force to paralyze, even through armor. The slayers—Shimrra’s Jeedai—leapt to great heights, twisting in midflight and landing behind their attackers, then rushed in, arms windmilling in a blur, gouts of black blood flying in all directions. One by one and sliced to pieces, Chaan’s warriors dropped to the floor.

Silence gripped the hall as the elite of all castes watched with a mix of awe and dread. Shimrra was already powerful enough without this royal guard. Now he was no match for any domain that might think to thwart him.

The fight was over almost as quickly as it began, with the ten warriors—and Chaan—felled and bleeding, and the two warrior-priests unmoved by what they had done, their slender amphistaffs badged with blood.

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order - The Unifying Force wrote:It wasn’t until the eighth level that Luke and his niece and nephew met with resistance, but it was clear from the ferocity with which the warriors attacked—from above, below, and through the various access corridors—that the onslaught was likely to continue all the way to Shimrra’s lair, and probably inside it, as well. If the warriors constituted the first line of defense, it was difficult to imagine what might await them at the summit, assuming they could even make it that far.

In most places the stairway wasn’t wide enough for the two people to stand abreast, and in those stretches Luke had to face the brunt of the attacks. He was his own vortex, deflecting amphistaff strikes, whiplike lashes, and spurts of deadly venom; dodging or redirecting flights of thud bugs; parrying the thrusts of coufees, to sidestep, duck, maneuver his body in ways that seemed to defy gravity. Stunned or burned by Luke’s green blade, thud bugs were ricocheting from the walls and high ceiling, chipping away at the yorik coral surface. Dropped in their tracks, warriors sprawled with hands pressed to stumps of legs and opened foreheads, or with black blood welling where the lightsaber had found defenseless areas between living armor and tattooed flesh.

Jacen recalled watching his uncle on Belkadan, where the war had begun, wielding two lightsabers when he had come to Jacen’s rescue. But the rescue on Belkadan paled in comparison to the control Luke demonstrated now.

His single blade might as well have been ten, or twenty.

He took the steps at a lightning pace, burning his way through dilating membranes but in complete control of his momentum. Seen through the Force he was a maelstrom of luminous energy, a Force storm against which there was no shelter. And yet all his energy poured from a calm center; an eye. He made no missteps. None of his actions were interrupted by thought.

In fact, Luke didn’t seem to be there at all—physically or as an individual personality.

Jacen and Jaina were astounded—but they had little time to reflect. Their lightsabers were busy, as well, turning the blows Luke dodged, or defending assaults launched from below.

On the fourteenth level, where the Citadel’s exterior wings sprouted from the hull, they reached a fork in the stairway.

Luke swung to Jacen. “Which way?”

He wasn’t even breathing heavily.

Jacen extended his Vongsense. “The left passage leads to living quarters on the next level. The other, to some sort of dovin basal lift that accesses the summit.” He screwed his eyes shut. “Shimrra is there. He has guards with him—”

“Not enough.”

“—and another.”

Once more they began to race up the stairway, dropping then leaping over the bodies of wounded or dead warriors.

[...]

Jacen wasn’t surprised to find the antechamber unoccupied. “Shimrra’s expecting us,” he said.

Jaina tightened her ringed grip on the pommel of her light-saber.

“We should at least announce ourselves,” Luke said.

He aimed the tip of his lightsaber at the membrane. Jacen and Jaina brought their lightsabers close to his, and the three of them pushed the glowing blades through. A rancid smell permeated the antechamber, and the thick membrane began to melt. Finally the lock retracted with an audible pop!

Luke gestured for Jaina and Jacen to withdraw to either side of the opening, and not a second later a shower of thud bugs whizzed out into the antechamber, caroming off the walls, ceiling, and floor. The three Jedi raised their blades, deflecting some of the winged creatures back through the portal, stunning others, and killing the few that remained.

While Jaina was dispatching the last of them, Luke whirled and leapt through the opening. Landing in a crouch five meters from the membrane, he held the lightsaber in a one-handed grip extended to his right and slightly behind him. Jacen was the next through, assuming a bent-legged forward stance, with his blade held straight out in front of him. Then Jaina came through, moving swiftly but vigilantly to Luke’s left side, with her blade raised over her right shoulder.

Though the floor was level, the walls of Shimrra’s circular, high-ceilinged lair were curved. A simple throne occupied the center of a raised dais that was encircled by a shallow moat flowing with what might have been diluted Yuuzhan Vong blood. The far wall contained a much more elaborate entry portal, and to the right of the throne a stairway climbed into the summit of the Citadel, presumably to the command and control areas of the escape vessel itself.

Between the moat and the Jedi stood fifteen warriors of modest stature, arrayed in a semicircle and armed with hissing amphistaffs. They affected no armor, but their burnished and blood-smeared flesh looked as impenetrable as vonduun crab topshells.

Luke recognized them from Han and Leia’s description as examples of the specially engineered warriors they had faced on Caluula, and against whom even Kyp had failed. The slayers presented a daunting obstacle, but they were surpassed by the one they were deployed to protect.

When Luke had been brought before the Emperor, Palpatine’s visage had been familiar to him from images that had reached even remote Tatooine, and his inherent power was immediately evident. The Supreme Overlord, however, was a void Luke could not fathom. He wasn’t a shell of a human in a hooded cloak, more energy than flesh. Nor was his face that of a Sith Master, prematurely wizened by years of calling on dark power. Instead, Shimrra was very much alive, and all the more intimidating for it. In him was concentrated the combined strength of the Yuuzhan Vong species, and if he couldn’t be defeated, then all that Luke had done to reach this point would amount to nothing.

He was the largest Yuuzhan Vong Luke had ever seen, with lean limbs, a massive head, and an upper body so thoroughly branded and tattooed it was impossible to distinguish flesh from garment. Widely placed, his slightly slanted eyes gleamed in shifting colors. He wore a ceremonial cape made of tanned hide. Curled sedately around his left forearm was a thick-bodied amphistaff with an intricately patterned head. Only in his bemusement was Shimrra similar to the enemy Luke had confronted at Endor, on the incomplete Death Star. Much as the Emperor had trusted in the power of the dark side of the Force, the Supreme Overlord trusted entirely in the power of the gods. And similar to that pivotal moment in the Galactic Civil War, a battle was raging in the skies. But Shimrra’s lair permitted no view of the contest; only the muffled sounds of distant explosions infiltrated the sealed space.

If Luke was at all worried about Jaina and Jacen, if he had any regrets about having brought them to the very heart of the war, he kept his concerns so deeply to himself that they could not be felt by his charges, even through the Force. The strength of their meld was such that the three might have been sharing the same mind, and that mind was the Force itself.

Luke had no doubt that what they were doing was necessary, and in harmony with the will of the Force.

Shimrra’s warriors were no less committed to the moment. A threat to all the Yuuzhan Vong held sacred, the Jedi were driven by a dark and incomprehensible power that flew in opposition to the divine edicts of Yun-Yuuzhan and the other gods. No more than did those of the Jedi, the marked faces of the slayers displayed neither anger nor fear—only the full measure of their intent to protect their god-king at all costs.

“The Master and the twins,” Shimrra murmured from the throne, in passable Basic. “How long we have anticipated this meeting.”

“As we have,” Luke answered.

Shimrra beckoned with the fingers of his left hand. “Then come forward and show your respect, Master Jeedai.”

Luke stayed put—and yet something began to move him forward. Just short of the moat, and much to the amusement of the slayers, he dropped to his knees, and bent at the waist. His extended left arm shook as it fought to prevent him from pressing his face to the floor, and the lightsaber was nearly yanked from his grip.

It’s not Shimrra, Jacen said through the Force.

A dovin basal, Luke guessed.

He sensed Jacen abandon the meld momentarily, presumably to call on his Vongsense to disable the gravitic powers of the biot. Luke began to feel as if he were shedding weight by the second. Gradually, he raised his face to Shimrra, then—and as if defying gravity—he drew himself erect with a proud air.

Incredulity almost raised Shimrra out of his throne. For a split second his glowing eyes fell on Jacen, who by then had returned to the Force-meld.

Jaina and Jacen sidestepped away from Luke to create three separate fronts. Then Luke did something neither twin had ever seen him do. Shifting his stance, he called the lightsaber into his left hand. Abandoning form, he encouraged the warriors to attack him.

In swift response the fifteen divided themselves into three groups of four, four, and seven. The quartets began to square off with Luke and Jacen, while the larger group formed up opposite Jaina. Sensing that Luke and Jacen were the stronger fighters, the slayers had decided to reserve most of their might for the Jedi they perceived as being the weakest, guessing that Luke and Jacen would always go to Jaina’s aid before attempting to reach Shimrra.

No one moved.

Just when it seemed that the moment would be forever frozen in time, the slayers charged, some with amphistaffs stiffened, others unfurling them like whips, and still others prompting their weapons to spit venom. There were no attempts to engage Luke, Jacen, or Jaina in single combat for personal glory, as had happened on Yag’Dhul and other worlds. The war had gone on too long. All that mattered now was that the conflict be decided, and that there be winners and losers.

Luke’s lightsaber was a blur of pure energy as he parried a four-pronged attack. His blade found exposed flesh time and again, but the slayers sustained each searing blow without surrendering ground. The amphistaffs hammered at the light-saber with such force that flashes of blinding radiance filled the room, projecting giant silhouettes up along the curved walls. In an attempt to forge a united front, and despite battling warriors on three sides, Luke and Jaina began to move toward one another. For a moment, several slayers found themselves trapped between the two Jedi and the lashing movements of their comrades’ amphistaffs. Pierced simultaneously from either side, one warrior dropped to the floor; then a second.

Luke vaulted through a half-twisting front flip that landed him back to back with Jaina, killing a third warrior on the way down, with a strike to the top of the head. With some effort, Luke saw Jacen through the Force, pressed hard by the four slayers who had dedicated themselves to him. Again Luke leapt, swinging his blade through the air and cleaving the neck of the most formidable of the slayers attacking his nephew. Two slender amphistaffs shot for Luke’s legs, but he managed to jump over both, as if skipping rope, then decapitated the slower amphistaff before it could withdraw.

A coufee swooshed through the air millimeters from his right ear. Crouching, he extended one foot and pivoted on the other, knocking the feet out from under the knife wielder, then amputating the warrior’s left foot with a return swing of the lightsaber. Seeing an opening, Luke made a move for Shimrra—only to be dragged down by the dovin basal. Immediately, he rolled to one side, toppling two slayers and removing himself from the gravity field.

Jacen leapt to Jaina’s side of the bunker, and the two of them began working in concert to drive a trio of warriors back toward the moat that encircled Shimrra’s throne. One of the slayers nearly stumbled into the flow, but caught himself in time. Surging after him, Jacen swung his blade through a backhanded crosscut, which the warrior parried, then answered with a fast chop aimed at Jacen’s left knee. Jacen jumped straight up, but not quickly enough, and the amphistaff struck him on the ankle. Landing off balance, he staggered into the wall. Two warriors hurried after him, but made it only halfway when the entire bunker tipped to the right.

The unexpected movement sent everyone, slayers and Jedi alike, scurrying, sailing, and tumbling into the opposite wall. As if mounted on gimbals, the bunker tipped again, this time in the direction of the ruined osmotic membrane, bunching everyone against that wall.

Guessing that Shimrra was responsible, Luke spared a glance at the throne. The Supreme Overlord’s clawed hands were indeed in motion, but the expression on Shimrra’s face was one of benign bafflement.

The dhuryam, Jacen sent through the Force.

Luke understood.

The World Brain, joining the Shamed Ones in revolt, was causing the entire Citadel to shake, perhaps by rocking the cradle to which it was wed, or by some means beyond Luke’s imagining. Self-contained, the bunker was attempting to keep itself level. But cut off from the dhuryam, it couldn’t anticipate the Citadel’s behavior. Shimrra’s hand movements were just that—the idle flutters of a god-king who was forced to accept that he had lost his most powerful ally and weapon. Without the dhuryam’s cooperation, Coruscant could never be Yuuzhan’tar. Even if victorious in the war, the Yuuzhan Vong would have failed to re-create their ancestral home-world.

And yet there was a look in Shimrra’s blazing eyes that promised Luke he had not seen the last of the Supreme Overlord’s tricks. Shimrra was concealing something—a secret of such power that it enabled him to remain seated on his throne, even with his world teetering around him.

Luke noticed then, for the first time, that Shimrra wasn’t alone on the dais. Behind the throne crouched another Yuuzhan Vong, whose asymmetrically swollen head and downcast features identified him as a Shamed One. Aware that he had been glimpsed, the Shamed One withdrew into the shadow cast by the throne, as if in an attempt to make himself small and unnoticeable.

But Luke had no time to think further about Shimrra’s companion.

The bunker was suddenly in motion again.

***

Buried under half a dozen blood-smeared bodies when the bunker had shifted, Jaina used what little maneuvering space she had to avoid amphistaff fangs and venom, the serrated edges of coufees, and the sharpened teeth and hardened elbows and knees of warriors. Out of sheer desperation she tried to use the Force to throw everyone off her, and was bewildered when the crushing weight of the warriors abated—or at least until she realized that the sudden turnabout had nothing to do with the Force. Shimrra’s lair had simply tilted again, and now she and the same warriors were sent flying and tumbling toward the opposite wall.

Hurled headfirst for the curved expanse of yorik coral, she just managed to get her free hand out in front of her and brace for impact. Loud grunts escaped the warriors as everyone hit the wall midway to the arched ceiling, then slid in a jumble to the floor as the bunker attempted to right itself.

Backward-somersaulting from the heap, Jaina shot to her feet and was preparing to Force-leap toward Shimrra when the chamber canted again. This time she used the Force to hold herself to the floor as the half a dozen slayers went rushing past her out of control, some running faster than their legs could carry them, and others sliding on their bellies or backs. Loose amphistaffs tried to sidewind for the safety of the moat, but only a few made it, and the rest were flung hard into the wall. Once more the lair leveled out before tilting a full thirty degrees, and those warriors still on their feet launched themselves at Jaina, only to slip on whatever it was that had sloshed from the moat and was fast slicking the entire floor.

Close to the osmotic membrane, Luke and a sturdy warrior were in the midst of a fierce duel, their free hands clamped on the burned edges of the breach the lightsabers had opened. Though Jaina couldn’t see Jacen, she could perceive him behind her, and she could hear the burning hiss of his lightsaber as it connected with the slayers’ weapons and armored flesh. In the center of the bunker, giant Shimrra had left his throne and was tottering toward the moat, his powerful amphistaff unfurled and serving as a kind of walking stick. Also in motion was Shimrra’s companion, who was making steady if tortuous progress toward the curving stairway that climbed into the summit.

Jaina had first noticed him moments earlier when the bunker had shifted, somehow maintaining his balance despite his asymmetry. Unarmed, he had seemed intent on hiding himself. But it occurred to her now that the Shamed One might be heading for the summit to carry out one of Shimrra’s commands; so instead of reengaging any of the slayers, she set out after him, reaching the base of the stairway just as the Shamed One was disappearing around a curve above.

Pressing her back to the wall, she began to ascend a step at a time, her lightsaber ready in her left hand. She felt Luke and Jacen reaching out to her through the Force, somewhat baffled by her actions. But instinct compelled her to continue following Shimrra’s furtive partner.

Reaching the top stair, she saw that the next level was a vast ready room, similar to the organiform cabin spaces of the Yuuzhan Vong ship she had pirated from Myrkr. Half a dozen dilating hatches led to adjacent cabin spaces, and yet another stairway—more a ladder—climbed into what could only be the vessel’s cockpit. Jaina rushed to grab hold of the ladder as the bunker tilted. From below came the sounds of bodies being hurled first one way, then the other. In the midst of the swaying she heard the thrum of Luke’s and Jacen’s lightsabers, and the agonized cries of at least two slayers.

There was no sign of Shimrra’s companion in the ready room, and no dilating locks that might have been opened to access other areas of the sphere, so the misshapen figure had to have climbed into the cockpit.

Her instincts came alive even before she glanced up into the ladder well.

The Shamed One was already plummeting directly for her.

She raised her lightsaber over her head, but the Yuuzhan Vong managed to evade the blade and land feetfirst on her shoulders, driving her to the deck. Bent over her, he wrenched the lightsaber from her hands and tossed it aside. Then, grabbing her by the right ankle, he sent her sliding across the floor. She hit the wall solidly, but sprang to her feet. Shimrra’s companion was on her just as quickly, driving his fanglike tooth into her right arm as his powerful hands pressed her to the wall.

Even before he stepped back, she had lost feeling and movement in her arm, and now she could feel the numbness beginning to spread like a dark tide, coursing through her armpit into her upper chest, spreading across her chest and into her other arm, up into her neck and head, and down through her torso and legs. She became as pliable as soft leather. She remained alert but her lips and tongue couldn’t form words. Her eyelids fluttered, and sounds grew indistinct.

One thought kept repeating itself in her mind as she slipped into the blackest of voids.

Before he had dropped on her, she had sensed him through the Force!

***

Only the Force was keeping Jacen from succumbing to the pain—the Force and what he had learned from Vergere during the indeterminate amount of time she had kept him in the Embrace of Pain—breaking him. While under his mentor’s tutelage he had been able to go into himself to meet the pain on its own terms. Now he didn’t have that curious luxury, because he was having to call on all his abilities to keep from being killed.

If not for the swaying of the Citadel and the effects of its unpredictable oscillations of Shimrra’s coffer—his escape vessel—Jacen figured he would already be dead. That was the World Brain, having finally decided which side it was on. The trouble was, that decision mattered only to the reshaping of Coruscant and not to the Supreme Overlord, who was clearly able to control objects in his immediate environment without need of the dhuryam.

The slayers, for one thing.

Where initially they had been moving with individual vigilance and of their own accord, they were now moving as coralskippers did under the control of a battle coordinator. The change had come simultaneously with Shimrra’s rising from the throne, and the escape of his Shamed One companion, whom Jaina had pursued into the summit of the Citadel. Jacen knew that her exit had been prompted by something she had perceived through the Force, but he and Luke could have used her lightsaber now.

Three slayers had Jacen backed to the bunker’s outer wall. Even through his Vongsense he could not predict their actions, or where their thrashing and thrusting amphistaffs were going to strike next. He had managed to evade copious sprays of venom, but his torso had taken countless lashings; his limbs were bruised by the heads and coils of the serpentine weapons—though none had yet been successful in sinking fangs into him. His lightsaber had returned as many blows, but the slayers seemed to be largely immune to pain, if not indestructible.

A half dozen corpses were sprawled on the floor, sliding or rolling with each random cant of the Citadel. But more than the lightsaber, it was acrobatics that was keeping Jacen from being overwhelmed by the specially engineered warriors. Time and again last-moment leaps had carried him out of the range of their shapeshifting weapons, as the fight moved along the perimeter of the throne room. The gravity-tweaking dovin basal set in the base of the throne made it impossible for Jacen or his opponents to venture closer to the throne than the shallow moat that encircled it without being tugged violently to the yorik coral floor.

Jacen took advantage of the gravitic anomaly now, as one of the slayers lunged for him. He leapt high into the air, and the warrior flew under his feet, only to be pulled to the floor facefirst, so that by the time Jacen had twisted in the air and landed he was able to drive his blade into the small of the warrior’s back, almost pinioning him to the floor. The other two immediately rushed him from behind. Unleashing his amphistaff, one warrior managed to wind the weapon around Jacen’s legs, while the other swung his amphistaff at Jacen’s head. Ducking the swing, Jacen leapt again, taking the attenuated amphistaff with him. Yanked from the warrior’s grasp, the weapon unwound and dropped before it could strike.

Across the room Shimrra was moving stiffly toward Luke, who was being set upon by four warriors. The enormous Vong overlord stepped across the moat as if crossing a final line. Seemingly entranced—in sway of the Yuuzhan Vong gods—he fixed his glowing eye implants on his prey. He held the thick-bodied amphistaff diagonally in front of him, with his giant left hand closed around the middle of the weapon’s three-meter-long body.

Jacen sent a warning to his uncle through the Force, which Luke acknowledged—not only through the Force but also by spinning away from the warriors to provide himself with enough fighting room to confront Shimrra. Whirling through a cartwheel, Luke caught one of the warriors on the chin with the heels of his boots, unbalancing him enough so that Luke could get inside the arm that held the amphistaff and drive his lightsaber through the warrior’s neck. As he quickly withdrew the blade, a second warrior was ready to pounce; Luke stretched out his left hand and impaled the slayer through the right eye. At once the other two converged on him, battering him with their amphistaffs and coufees, opening ragged wounds in his upper arms and chest.

Abruptly, the Citadel rocked and the room tilted to the right. Luke dropped to one knee, holding his lightsaber arm up to protect his head, then dived, somersaulting on landing and spinning to his feet to face the warriors’ charge. His green blade moved up from the floor in a diagonal motion, cutting off the weapon arm of one of the warriors, then on the downswing grated across the abdomen of the second, leaving a sizzling burn in the slayer’s hardened flesh. Wincing, the warrior tried to take hold of the energy blade itself and fell forward on his knees. Luke pierced him through the chest, then pivoted on one foot to take on the others.

One of the warriors stalking Jacen abandoned him to engage Luke. Jacen moved against the others, the shorter of whom feigned a strike at Jacen’s right leg, then twirled the amphistaff in his hands and slammed the tail end of it into Jacen’s right cheek. Reeling from the blow, he staggered within range of the dovin basal, which dragged him to the floor on his back. The short warrior hurried in, his weapon striking at Jacen like a serpent, then stiffening, jabbed him hard in the left forearm, as if to stake the arm to the floor.

Jacen twisted out from under the attack, grasping that Luke had again been pressed to the wall. Having killed three of his assailants, he was facing only one opponent, but his energy was beginning to flag. It was not fatigue born of fear of going to the dark side, but simple exhaustion, and Shimrra was moving in. Eager to award the kill to the Supreme Overlord, the slayer closest to Luke turned and ran at Jacen with his amphistaff held overhead like an ax, intent on splitting open his victim’s forehead.

Jacen could feel Luke call deeply on the reservoir that was the Force.

From Luke’s left hand gathered a blinding tangle of energy manipulated into being by the raw power of the Force. As if hitting an invisible wall, the warrior stopped short, then spasmed as green sparks began to coruscate around him. Enveloped, he fell like a tree.

Still twisting and writhing away from the snapping amphistaff, Jacen used his Vongsense to dampen the effect of the dovin basal, allowing him to move out of its gravitic field and get to his feet. His short opponent howled in outrage and whipped the amphistaff. Jacen allowed it to coil around his body; then, as the warrior was reeling the weapon in, Jacen hurled his lightsaber deep into the slayer’s armpit.

The bunker inclined, sending Jacen directly toward Shimrra. Without thinking—and without his lightsaber—he lunged for the neck of the towering Yuuzhan Vong. But Shimrra perceived Jacen’s intent, and threw his mighty right arm behind him. Jacen was hit squarely in the center of the chest.

Dropping to the floor, he blacked out.

When he came to an instant later, he saw that Luke had obviously intercepted Shimrra’s follow-up blow. But now, monstrous in aspect and power, Shimrra hovered over Luke like a rancor. Luke’s lightsaber thrummed through the air, but Shimrra refused to be kept at bay. Luke tried to Force-leap out of reach, but the Supreme Overlord had him caged.

The master of defense is one who is never in the place that is attacked, Jacen recalled Vergere saying. Shimrra appeared to have learned the same lesson.

Lunging, the thick, three-meter-long amphistaff wound itself around Luke’s torso, pinning his right arm and light-saber hilt to his side, the green blade aimed at the floor. Just in time, Luke managed to get his left hand gripped on the snake’s uppermost coils and avert the head as it loosed volumes of venom at him. But Luke was rapidly being squeezed to death by the amphistaff. Feeling his uncle’s suffocation in his own crushed chest, Jacen summoned his strength and crawled frantically for his lightsaber. Calling it to his right hand, he sent it hurtling through the air at Shimrra’s head.

The Supreme Overlord raised his left hand in a parry; then, with Jacen’s lightsaber spinning off toward the throne, he reached into the folds of his hide cape—and extracted a lightsaber! With a flourish, he activated it. A violet blade shot forth with the familiar snap-hiss.

Jacen recognized it immediately.

Anakin’s lightsaber.

“Weapon of the Solo we killed at Myrkr,” Shimrra said, his eyes shifting through colors as the energy shaft thrummed. “Conveyed to Yuuzhan’tar by the traitor Vergere, wielded by the Jeedai Ganner against so many of my warriors, retrieved when he died and brought to me, and now yours to confront. So that you may know what my warriors experience at Zonama Sekot, forced to fight against other living vessels.”

Jacen was too stunned to respond; too disheartened to move.

Shimrra waved the blade close to Luke’s head.

Luke removed his left hand from the amphistaff’s throat to grab Shimrra’s right wrist. The serpentine weapon immediately stiffened and plunged itself into the left side of Luke’s chest.

Luke screamed in pain.

The Supreme Overlord reared back to gloat: “One thrust and the deed is done!”

Then all at once, Anakin’s lightsaber flew from Shimrra’s grip into Luke’s left hand.

Through his Vongsense, Jacen could feel Shimrra’s astonishment and dismay.

In a motion almost too swift for Jacen’s eyes to follow, Luke slit the throat of Shimrra’s amphistaff. As its coils began to relax, he sliced his own lighsaber blade upward, cutting the amphistaff’s body into segments. As a horrified Shimrra leaned forward, as if to vise his huge hands around Luke’s neck, Luke crossed the blades and shoved them upward toward Shimrra’s neck. The blades burned clean through. Shimrra’s decapitated head dropped to the floor with a loud thud! and his body crumbled.

Luke hauled himself out from under the Supreme Overlord’s body and collapsed against the wall.

“Jaina,” he said weakly. Swinging his left hand, he sent Anakin’s lightsaber in a high arc across the room.

Jacen scrambled to his feet and had just started for the lightsaber when the floor dropped to the right and he stumbled. Jacen regained his balance and leapt for the lightsaber, but it flew past him and rolled beyond his reach.

The vision! Jacen thought.

He looked at his uncle for confirmation.

“Leave it,” Luke said.

Lips compressed in determination, Jacen raised himself from the floor and raced for the stairway that curved up into the Citadel’s towerlike summit.

xxxvii. Darth Krayt kills four Imperial Knights in one comic panel (original)/page (flashback). The Imperial Knights are the Fel Empire's equivalent to Jedi Knights, but they uniquely specialize in and are "the masters of two unique lightsaber combat forms that place greater emphasis on teamwork than one's individual prowess," including a style that "emphasizes protecting one's allies to allow them to find openings in an opponent's defences." Their style also incorporates the use of cortosis gauntlets that short-out lightsaber blades for minutes on contact. These four Knights in particular were specifically picked to defend Roan Fel's body double, one of them being his cousin, and they were expected to win against who knows how many Sith, only "they did not count on Krayt's power." John Ostrander has stated the intent behind the feat is to show that Krayt is in Palpatine's class: "The point is NOT that they're bad; it's that Krayt is that good."

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 2MH4mv0PGbyWkYYlMMMxWMCkiftyGvB6KhsdvgEDKhazMG5Ex3E2_MgaG2qztDX85dbV2pCdBgNH=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzExMi4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1lvCfTWEkCGyL1Ez3NGWwO9iL36jRw6WkFRT59G3r89CV-KJny11sE5KcDN6Btp4wFvU82dBBVzM=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzExMi4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda UnknownMy Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Unknown

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image534

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

xxxviii. Kol Skywalker racks up piles and piles of Sith before going down. A detailed breakdown of this feat has been done by ILS on Discord, so I would just be parroting him.

https://discordapp.com/channels/820872085362049044/1040392241144922132/1041779721815457842

xxxix. Karness Muur blows away Darth Krayt, Azlyn Rae, Shado Vao, Darth Maladi, Ganner Krieg, and potentially everyone else who was in the vicinity, including Cade Skywalker (he is next seen on his knees, rising up), with a Force maelstrom. His lightning gives Rae injuries that necessitate her to wear a Vader-esque suit for the rest of her life.

https://imgur.com/a/KuJpg8I

xl. Antares Draco kills four or five Sith in one comic panel while surrounded.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda RcO2lBg9m60_Goo_lC4R_c_uU2CObsEtiw5tgt2DqGx7-a3QfDIgrKqHColedFz3fmssYdQNzjDP=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzExMi4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 0XFoQ055kz4fVBVrXI1XWLfSauh8Ut55WfkpwXFIbK0tAaaFj1GQXQGY_T8vl8wPY6O0OwRdP6AR=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzExMi4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2

xli. Cade Skywalker and Nat Skywalker defeat 11 Sith Troopers while surrounded and continue to kill more off-page. The Sith Troopers are possibly the strongest fodder unit in Star Wars, being culled from birth, indoctrinated, trained, and augmented to be "super Sith" of sorts. They have stomped and ragdolled ordinary Sith and Jedi.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

So as you can see, Caedus is not a special snowflake. The are more teambusting feats than there are letters in the alphabet, ranging from relative to incomprehensibly better, than Caedus's efforts against Katarn and three noobs, by people you'd expect to see in the realm of prime Luke Skywalker, or Yoda, or Count Dooku, or Darth Maul, or Asajj Ventress, or even lower. My point isn't that all those people are above Caedus, but if you take someone on the bottom end of the totem pole - Volffe Karkko, Antares Draco, 19 BBY Vader etc. - and scale from there, it becomes harder and harder for me to believe Caedus is knocking on Yoda's door. None of the datapoints are binding in themselves, but they all have to be taken into consideration and weighed, and each and every one of them diminishes the probability of a sterling position for Caedus.

At this point you will begin to hear the term "medium distortion" being thrown around a lot - but you have to ask yourself how much a character can be distorted before it starts to strain credulity. Vitiate would not be any less the existential threat he is if he were brought into a more "grounded" medium (even though The Old Republic generally does in fact strive to be in line with the films according to its writers); similarly, the films are the closest thing to the "true" medium that every Legacy of the Force writer has seen and they show Palpatine slaughtering three Council Masters in seconds despite the presence of Mace Windu, with George Lucas stipulating that "you have to be Mace or Yoda to compete with the Emperor" to justify why said Masters fall so quickly. By comparison, the in-universe assessment of Caedus's threat level by the NJO Council, born from decades of interaction and the fact that he has fought an emotionally compromised Luke, is "one or two Masters, three or four Jedi Knights" as well as some coma gas and stun nets being enough to apprehend him, with the Council ultimately settling on the conservative end of that estimate: one Master, three Knights, and no auxiliary gadgets. Why would the writers deliberately make Caedus weaker than they think he is in reality when they have a very clear frame of reference in the films? To use some examples, Jude Watson's novellas are extremely grounded across the board, very much akin to the films or Legacy of the Force, yet she still gives Palpatine what remains to this day perhaps the most dominant stomp feat in Star Wars in Episode I Journal: Darth Maul, and she writes Yoda and Dooku in Jedi Quest and Legacy of the Jedi as far, far, far more powerful than any other character in her books. Then when someone has an original character that they want to portray as being on the level of the movie top-tiers, they usually give them a feat or two to signal that to the audience, such as John Ostrander with Darth Krayt's butchery of four elite Imperial Knights, or all the stuff Vitiate does, or Darth Plagueis in his eponymous novel. Lucas in The Clone Wars does not shy away from showing Yoda and Palpatine's utter domination of lesser characters once again when he has them clown Ventress, and Maul and Opress, respectively, in a way Caedus does to nobody in Legacy of the Force.

Another term you will often see related to Caedus is "protagonist debuff" - in that he does not fall into the same archetype as Palpatine, Yoda, Tenebrae, or Krayt, and that each of those characters would be depicted bumbling around like Caedus if they were in the protagonist role and had a similar "debuff" applied to them. The foremost example cited of this phenomenon is Luke Skywalker - but the obvious problems with his case are that, unlike Caedus, he has an arsenal of godlike feats to contrast his poorer performances, and for those writers often invent some narrative contrivance to justify them. We also have instances of Plagueis, Sidious (Darth Plagueis), and Yoda (Yoda: Dark Rendezvous) in protagonist roles, and their portrayal is infinitely more favorable than Caedus's - the same often rings true for the likes of Darth Malgus, Darth Vader (cue the comparison under the pen of the same author from above), Darth Bane, Revan, Ulic Qel-Droma, and Cade Skywalker; for the likes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Maul, Mace Windu, and Anakin Skywalker, the portrayal ranges from comparable at the very worst to vastly higher at the very best, and astronomically higher for Anakin at his best. The preferential treatment Caedus gets from the versus community is in stark contrast to how other, stronger protagonists are endlessly scrutinized.

What the people who cry about Caedus's protagonist status tend to forget is that he is also the antagonist of the series, and is therefore meant to pose as a formidable obstacle to the real heroes of the story. If they wanted to, they could have written Mara's death scene in a way that would involve her fighting Jacen in more creative and indirect ways than sniping his knee, running away, and collapsing a tunnel on him - such as spamming explosives or even using her starfighter (cue Jaina's claim of Jacen being able to deflect turbolasers), or even having backup. It could have been entirely from Mara's point of view, with Jacen appearing as an inexorable force of nature that whittles down all her support and thwarts all her attempts to stop him one-by-one as it slowly dawns on her and the reader both that her death is inevitable. Instead they wrote Mara beating Jacen to an inch of his life before losing due to a cheap-shot illusion of her son and a paralyzing agent. If they wanted to, they could have written Caedus handling Katarn's strike team in a much more dominant fashion given they are going to lose in the story anyway, or had a much bigger and stronger team assault him and show him prevailing regardless. Instead they wrote Caedus barely defeating a single Council member and three morons, and had said two of morons pressure Caedus on their own with the pitiful excuse of convalescent injuries that aren't to my knowledge mentioned as a big deal anywhere, and even though he is supposed to be a Sith Lord who thrives on pain. The reason for all of this is, of course, that the true protagonist of Legacy of the Force is not Jacen, but Jaina, and thus the threat she faces is proportionally scaled to her own diminutive competence.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Invincible wrote:She paused and began to glance around the table at the other Masters, and Jaina knew that the Barabel was trying to decide whether any of the other Masters were better prepared than she was to hunt down a Sith Lord.

Before Saba could act, Jaina stepped to her uncle’s side. “Let me go.”

“You?” This came from the other end of the table, where Corran sat looking surprised and worried. “You’re only a Jedi Knight.”

“So is Jacen,” Jaina replied, relying on a technicality—but knowing that it would work in her favor if anybody tried to argue that a Jedi Knight wasn’t powerful enough to confront Caedus. “I know that you Masters—and several Jedi Knights—are more skilled in both Force and lightsaber than I am. But I’m his twin sister. I’ll have advantages no one else will.”

“What kind of advantages?” Kenth asked.

Relieved to discover that she was actually being taken seriously, Jaina turned to address the table—and tried not to look toward her parents, whom she could feel beaming fear and dismay into the Force like a nova ejecting its gas shell.

“First, I’ve been preparing with the Mandalorians,” she said. “He’ll expect me to fight like a Jedi, and I won’t.”

“It’ll take more than Fett tricks,” Corran said doubtfully. “Caedus has plenty of his own—and he won’t fight like a Jedi, either.”

“I know,” Jaina said. “But it will trouble him that it’s me coming after him. We know from debriefing Allana how misunderstood he feels, how betrayed he feels because we’ve all chosen to stand against him. It won’t protect me in a fight, but I can use it against him in other ways.”

“And he won’t use your feelings against you?” Kyp asked. “He’s your brother, and you still love him. I can feel that.”

“I still love him,” Jaina admitted. “But that won’t make me hesitate—not even for a nanosecond.”

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Fury wrote:"Not to a traitor." Caedus looked at the other three as their Force-augmented sprints came to an end, leaving them in a semicircle before him. Three Jedi Knights: the younger Horn, the Falleen Mithric, the Bothan Hu'lya. He resisted the urge to snort. Separately or collectively, these Jedi Knights were no match for him.

Katarn, though, was a threat. Still, the Jedi had only moments before GA reinforcements would arrive. Their attack was already a failure.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Fury wrote:They had to. Jacen could defeat his mother or Ben without trouble; Saba, with difficulty. Saba plus Luke would be impossible odds. One of the Masters had to fall if Caedus was to survive this day.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Invincible wrote:Caedus kept himself rooted to the deck, continuing to stare at his grown-up Allana until a piece of flimsiplast blew through the holograph. Then the white throne and the regal friends all faded away, and the face of his beautiful daughter twisted into the angry, hateful visage of his sister Jaina.

Get ready, Caedus, she was warning him. Here I come.

Caedus laughed. “I am ready, Jaina.” He turned his back on the vision, finally allowing Tahiri to pull him away. “And I’ve already won.”

“I’m sorry, my lord.” Tahiri continued to hold his arm, literally dragging him out the hatch at the rear of the salon. “I don’t understand.”

“Jaina is coming for me,” Caedus explained, still laughing. “Luke Skywalker couldn’t kill me. What does she expect to do?”

“I honestly don’t know,” Tahiri said. She sealed the hatch, and the whistle of escaping air grew inaudible. “But it wouldn’t do to get careless. You’re still recovering, and she’s—”

“Practically dead already,” Caedus said, starting toward the turbolift. “My sister is nothing to be concerned with. We’ve won. I’ve seen it."

This transcends mediums: it's an explicit plot point that Jaina Solo is less skilled with the Force and the lightsaber than members of the Jedi Council and even some Jedi Knights, and that Caedus laughs at the threat she poses compared to Katarn or Saba Sebatyne. Yet they still send her after Caedus, only with "five weeks of Mandalorian training," some Mandalorian goons for assistance, and an indeterminate amplification from Luke. Once that fails they send her again a week later, and this time all by herself with no amplifications. I'll leave Caedus's relation to Luke for later, but I do want to emphasize his final fight with Jaina, because it is just her that time. EC makes the point that "as of the end of Invincible, Luke is not expected to win against Caedus," yet Jaina is? The NJO Council has now three fights to draw solid data from: Caedus's duel with an emotionally compromised Luke in Inferno, his skirmish with Katarn's strike team in Fury, and his scrap with Luke-amped Jaina in Invincible - and their judgment is that Jaina does not need support given her unique fighting style and whatnot. Contrast this with Darth Bane, after whom the Council sends fourteen Jedi when they find out their first strike team failed; or Mace Windu's decision to go personally alongside two other Council Masters as the vanguard against Volffe Karkko, when he presumes Tholme, Quinlan Vos, and company are dead, and orders as many Jedi as possible to follow them. Nobody would think to send Ahsoka Tano after Sidious alone; there's a reason why simply being Dooku's Sith Master warrants the response of the four best Jedi available at the time and the Temple being put in lockdown - and three of said Jedi still get cut down in seconds. The juxtaposition in portrayal is very obvious: if someone like Darth Malak was in Legacy of the Force, he would be just as much of a threat as Caedus, but if Sidious or Vitiate were in Legacy of the Force, they would be depicted as gods (cf. Krayt in Apocalypse, also by Troy Denning). The reality is that while Caedus is appropriately a mountain for Jaina, the underdog protagonist who might not even crack the era's top ten, he is more of a hill for the Master side characters, Mara, Kyle, and Saba.
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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Empty Re: My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda

April 30th 2023, 7:02 pm
(4) Darth Caedus vs. Jaina Solo.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Invincible wrote:“It’s worth a try, but they won’t obey.” Caedus came to the door and, lacking a second hand to reach for the control pad, stopped to finish his order. “Have my StealthX prepped for immediate …”

He let the sentence trail off as the door opened on its own, revealing a dark-uniformed woman with an athletic build and brown, furious eyes.

“Jaina?”

A lightsaber snap-hissed to life, and suddenly Caedus felt as though he were going to vomit fire.

The invisible fist of a Force blast slammed Jaina in the chest and sent her flying back, her breath groaning from her lungs and her lightsaber hissing free of Caedus’s stomach. From the fight on Nickel One, she had learned the dangers of letting her head snap back on impact. She tucked her chin, then fought to hold it there as she struck the durasteel wall on the far side of the corridor.

Jaina almost wished that she had been knocked unconscious. Stinging needle-thrusts of pain zippered down her spine as her vertebrae rocked beneath the impact, and the synthmesh supporting her half-healed ribs came apart in a single agonizing pop. She dropped to the floor, fighting to keep her pain from carrying her down into numb oblivion, gazing back to where she had surprised Caedus … where Caedus still stood in the doorway, his mouth gaping in surprise, with a thumb-sized scorch hole just below his ribs. But he was still standing.

Jaina’s pain-clouded mind did not understand how he could take a lightsaber through the gut and do that. Why didn’t Caedus just lie down and die like most people? Didn’t he understand she was trying to do him a favor?

Apparently not, because as soon as she began to gasp for breath, his hand shot up, the fingers splayed and pointed in her direction. Jaina barely brought her lightsaber around in time to absorb the forks of blue lightning that came dancing toward her chest.

Then Caedus stepped forward, the Force lightning still shooting from his fingertips. Jaina could not believe what she was seeing. With that wound, he was coming after her. She feinted an attempt to roll to her knees. When Caedus shifted the lightning to block her, she brought her free hand up and gestured toward his shoulder, using the Force to hurl him back through the door. A loud, thudding crash sounded from deep in the shadows, and the voice of an annoyed droid began to complain about the mess.

Jaina was instantly on her feet, springing through the door. But Caedus was just as quick, forgoing his Force lightning in favor of his lightsaber. She saw a fan of crimson light arcing toward her out of the dark side of the pit and spun toward it, blocking and kicking in the same move. Caedus grunted as her boot caught him somewhere above the waist, but behind his crimson blade, he was no more than a gray blur, and it was impossible to tell where the kick had landed.

A black boot heel came shooting under Jaina’s guard, driving hard into her sore ribs. She stifled a cry and circled into the shadows, trying to acclimate her eyes to the darkness because it was impossible to sense Caedus in the Force. He fought to keep his advantage, dancing back and forth behind his crimson blade, anticipating her every move—and making her pay for each step with a painful kick or elbow strike.

Knowing that sooner or later one of Caedus’s blows could be fatal, Jaina risked a quick look around, searching for something she could Force-hurl. The dark side of the pit was black; she could see nothing in there. And the bright side of the pit was so glaring that she could see only the white, glaring mouth of the fusion incinerator and the conveyor belt that fed it.

Caedus made her pay for the survey in blood, landing a pommel across her cheek that split the flesh and smashed the bone. Jaina countered with a driving knee to the thigh, then a downward slash that Caedus barely turned in time to save his hand.

A flimsiplast crate emerged from the conveyor belt chute beside them. It wasn’t much—certainly not heavy enough to do damage—but it was all Jaina had. She gave a little ground, allowing Caedus to force her toward the door so she could let the crate move past him and bring it flying into him from behind.

Then the dark shape of the pit droid came clanking out of the shadows. “Excuse me, please,” it said. “I must inspect—”

That was as much as it said before Jaina grasped it in the Force and drew it, stumbling, into Caedus’s flank.

The droid was more than heavy enough to send Caedus staggering. He whirled instantly, bringing his blade around at shoulder height. By then Jaina had slipped into the shadows and was lunging forward, her shoulders back but her boot heel driving in under his lightsaber.

Once again, Caedus anticipated her. He spun around, leaning away to protect his vulnerable midsection and bringing his leg up to counterkick. Jaina Force-launched herself into him anyway, whipping her lightsaber around in a down guard to keep his blade at bay. His counterkick landed first, driving into her stomach with a deep sharp ache. Her stomp caught him on the hip and sent him falling onto the conveyor belt.

The flimsicrate burst at the seams as Caedus’s shoulder and head came down on top of it. Jaina leapt in to press the attack—and was stunned by how quickly he popped back up. There were more than a dozen used syringes hanging from his shoulder and face. He barely seemed to notice. Letting his lightsaber deactivate and drop to the floor, he reached toward her, making a twisting motion with his hand.

Jaina felt her chin twisting around and went with it, using the Force to accelerate her whole body into a spin, still leaping toward Caedus, bringing her lightsaber around in a clearing arc. She felt the blade meet metal, and the droid’s ebony head popped into the air. Then she was on Caedus, slashing at his head with her lightsaber, bringing her boot toe up under his chin when he grew predictable and ducked.

The kick snapped Caedus’s head back and sent him tumbling over the conveyor belt. Thinking she had just won the advantage, Jaina dropped her free hand toward the lightsaber he had let fall—then barely saved her arm when the crimson blade snap-hissed to life and went spinning past.

Caedus’s hand shot up on the other side of the conveyor belt and caught the hilt; then the rest of his body slowly rose into view. His flesh was bulging around the scorch hole in his abdomen, and there were half a dozen syringes planted in his face almost to the barrels. He was in obvious pain—and he was feeding on it. His eyes were bulging and maniacal, his nostrils red and flaring, his lips drawn back so far it almost appeared that he didn’t have any.

Jaina brought her lightsaber to high guard and braced her feet, ready for Caedus’s attack.

Instead, he deactivated his blade.

“Jaina, listen to me.” There was a throaty, gurgling quality to Caedus’s voice, and it seemed obvious that the only thing keeping him on his feet was Force energy—a lot of it. “You need to get out of my way. I’m trying to save Tenel Ka and Allana.”

“Sure you are,” Jaina scoffed. As she spoke, she extended her Force awareness in all directions, trying to figure out why Caedus was stalling when his body was running out of time. “Just like you saved Isolder.”

“Isolder would have made the same choice. In fact, he did.” Caedus clipped his lightsaber to his belt, a trust-building gesture that might have had some meaning, had he not been a lying Sith murderer. “Jaina, we don’t have time for this.”

“So die already.”

Jaina launched herself into a Force flip, tumbling over the conveyor belt head-down so that she could strike before Caedus had time to unclip and ignite his lightsaber.

Caedus didn’t even try. He simply glanced toward the open mouth of the fusion incinerator. In the next instant Jaina felt herself rushing toward its searing heat, and it took all her Force strength to pull herself aside the half meter that saved her life.

But the durasteel into which she slammed was still scorching, and the pain of impact was nothing compared to the sizzling shock of merely contacting the furnace exterior. She dropped to the floor screaming in rage and anguish, her nostrils filled with the stench of singed hair and charred skin, the black GAG utilities still burning on her back.

Then Jaina opened herself fully to the Force, drawing it in through the power of her emotions—not through her anger or pain, as a Sith might, but through her love of what her brother had been … the teenage jokester who could always find hope in a desperate situation, the questioning warrior who had bested the Yuuzhan Vong warmaster in personal combat, the reluctant champion who had shown a galaxy the way to compassionate victory.

The Force came pouring in from all sides, saturating Jaina and devouring her, filling her with a roaring maelstrom of power, carrying away her pain and leaving in its place the strength not only to survive, but to rise and fight.

Caedus was already on the far side of the conveyor belt, pulling the syringes from his face and shoulder while he staggered toward the exit. Jaina used the Force to depress the control pad, and the door closed in his face.

Caedus whirled with fury in his eyes, but Jaina was already bounding over the conveyor belt, her hair still trailing smoke. He splayed his fingers and sprayed Force lightning at her. Jaina caught it on her lightsaber and whirled past, bringing her blade down where Caedus had been an instant before and leaving a long gouge in the door.

Caedus’s blade snapped to life beside her, a crimson fan whirling toward her shoulders. She dropped to her haunches and used her free arm to block the Force-driven snap-kick she knew he would launch at her throat.

Ankle met arm with a sharp crack. What looked like an extra joint appeared in the middle of her forearm, then her wrist flopped over Caedus’s leg, a useless throbbing thing no longer under her control.

It didn’t matter. Jaina was a dead woman if she didn’t win this—maybe even if she did win. She whipped her lightsaber around in a high block and deflected the reverse slash Caedus was bringing down toward her neck.

Then she dived forward, whipping her violet lightsaber at his other foot. Caedus sprang away backward, trying to draw both feet out of harm’s way at once, and countered by flipping his own weapon around, bringing it up beneath her belly.

Neither blade cut deep, but both did damage. Jaina felt a searing pain across her abdomen, then felt a terrible uncoiling inside her as something she didn’t want to think about bulged into the void left by the slashed muscle.

Jaina’s blade tapped Caedus behind the boot, touching just long enough to sever the crucial tendon running up the back of the ankle. He landed in an awkward stagger, nearly falling as his foot flapped and flopped without any control.

Jaina came to a knee facing him and knew Caedus was about to die. He had one arm and one good leg, and they were not even on the same side of the body. He could not pivot and he could not retreat. All she needed was to get past his lightsaber and attack the armless side of his body—before she collapsed herself, or he recovered enough to kill her with one last Force blast.

Jaina sprang.

Caedus tried to turn to meet her, but only staggered, his lightsaber falling to his side as though it were a cane. It wasn’t, of course, and his momentum kept him stumbling back toward the bright side of the pit, his eyes filled with rage and exhaustion and despair.

Jaina feinted at his head, then began to whirl toward his armless side, bringing her lightsaber around in a flat, high slash that he could not hope to block. It was a sure kill, one that would land even if she died first—which she thought she might, since the attack would leave her completely open to an avenging counterstrike.

But Caedus seemed to know that Jaina had already killed him, and whatever he had in mind, it was not vengeance. When her blade came around, his lightsaber was still hanging at his side. He was staring up toward the ceiling, his gaze fixed somewhere far beyond the murk overhead, and the only attempt he made to save himself was to take one step back into the light spilling from the furnace.

It would not be enough, Jaina knew. She closed her eyes and felt the lightsaber sink in, felt it slicing through his ribs into his chest. And Jaina felt something in the Force, too—something that made her pulse stop and her chest sink and her blood freeze in her veins. Her brother was reaching out to Tenel Ka, screaming at her through the Force, warning her there was danger, urging her to take Allana and …

Then the blade reached Caedus’s heart, and he dropped at her feet, and Jaina felt nothing at all.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

The most relevant question here is how strong Jaina is in the context to other eras, because Caedus taking a lightsaber to the gut makes the fight nearly evenly matched as he is burning tons of Force energy to keep himself standing, which allows Jaina to "wear Caedus down." I've never seen a single impressive feat, accolade (aside from the questionable one in Fate of the Jedi that doesn't factor in here), or scaling chain for Jaina; my understanding is that it is literally a meme in the community that she sucks, and given her inferiority to not only the NJO Council but other unnamed Jedi Knights at this time, I have no reason to disbelieve that notion. Does she have a single feat that puts her above, say, Quinlan Vos beating K'Kruhk? Does she have a single accolade that is as good as what Ma'kis'shaalas has? Are we dealing with the Barriss Offee of the New Jedi Order here? All very genuine questions, because that seems to be the level Caedus sinks to when he takes lightsaber through the stomach.

I've seen some talk of "oneness Jaina" surrounding this fight, but I'm confused as to how that is meant to uplift Caedus's standing. Jaina only immerses herself in the Force fully towards the very end of the fight, and that amp is not stacked on top of fresh, baseline Jaina, but a Jaina who has her spine and "half-healed ribs" nearly broken before the fight even properly begins, and whom the text implies is not even able to stand up due to the pain she is in: "She dropped to the floor screaming in rage and anguish, her nostrils filled with the stench of singed hair and charred skin, the black GAG utilities still burning on her back. Then she opened herself fully to the Force [...] filling her with a roaring maelstrom of power, carrying away her pain and leaving in its place the strength not only to survive, but to rise and fight." Before that Caedus was duking it out extensively with only a normal, still-recuperating Jaina, and he only trades a handful of moves with oneness Jaina before the tendon in his leg is severed and he is killed.

i. Let's now look at Maul in The Phantom Menace. He is literally bisected - a far worse wound than simply taking a lightsaber through the abdomen - yet has the "rage" and "knowledge of the dark side" to keep himself alive even whilst bumping against the walls of the chute and falls face-first into corrosive acid (or some kind of waste from plasma given it's a plasma reactor shaft). His legs catch fire and melt, but Maul Force shields his torso and clings to life while he is sucked into an acid tube and chills in there until he is dropped off on another planet (hours? days?). He then retains enough power and precision to telekinetically throw and guide his lightsaber a fair distance to take out a junk crawler, and through sheer rage alone creates for himself new legs through telekinesis and possibly Sith alchemy of some sorts. He then holds his new legs together telekinetically, Darth Sion-style, for 12 years even though he is deranged and obviously not in full control of his powers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=Q7H_Zpigqvg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=E1bpARPB3h0&t=10m10s

https://imgur.com/a/pXyCcZc

There is his feat in Death Sentence, too, where he takes lightsaber through the lower torso, similar to Caedus. He then severs Dray's hands, runs and climbs five meters onto the exit level, and collapses a fairly sizeable portion of the ceiling. He keeps on running for through the desert before collapsing - the exact distance is not given, but it must have been pretty far considering the environment looks completely different to the outside of the facility for miles and miles (more details in the imgur link) - and he lives long enough for the natives to save and nurture him back to health. It ought to be noted that his new legs aren't cybernetic; they're part of his "living" form, having been fashioned from spirit ichor by Mother Talzin and designed to "make his body whole" and "restore his former powers." When cut off, Maul screams in pain and "bleeds" with the leg seemingly dissolving, not to mention Death Sentence itself treats the hole in his metal part as a "wound."

https://imgur.com/a/qZ52F9I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE_CVWMWK74&t=360s

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Rnlj-lWfXDvkomC1TGGM8KlZUFvgwfoFdfWGGJBnCnjyM9513Cmc_91cXdhsaJvZ8AE-I4hDXxuZ=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzEwOC4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda IMG_9664

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

Could Maul take a saber through the gut and fight Barriss Offee-level Jaina? I certainly think so. The Phantom Menace and Death Sentence are both pre-prime Maul; following his resuscitation he grows at a rate that leaves Savage Opress "in awe" and "in amazement," with Opress himself growing "stronger and stronger as each day passes." He becomes "more powerful" in "speed, strength, skill," and transforms into "a more worthy vessel for the dark side to fill with its power." The difference can be inferred from his respective fights with Sidious, wherein Maul believes his Master is trying to kill him on Mandalore; while false, it does show that from Maul's perspective Sidious was fighting harder than he ever had before, which - if you want to go there - would include the time he blitzed him circa The Phantom Menace as cited in the Darth Caedus vs. Kyle Katarn's strike team analysis. Even if you don't think TPM Maul can replicate Caedus's performance against Jaina, prime TCW/SOD Maul surely can.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asuxMyZp1Y8

https://imgur.com/a/7wiDOlP

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Maul_strength

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 4133538-5323680599-Ekran

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy wrote:"So it is time for a lesson," Maul said calmly.

Savage's saber howled as he flung himself at his brother in a brutal attack. The assault would have ended with most opponents cut in two and lying on the deck in lifeless halves. But Darth Maul was not most opponents. He parried Savage's slash effortlessly, their red saber blades sparking and chattering where they came in contact with each other. Then Maul twitched his wrists and spun Savage's saber out of his hands. A moment later Savage was lying on the deck, pinned by Maul's metal foot.

"You have grown so powerful," Savage said in amazement, staring up at his brother.

Maul paused for a moment, wondering if that were true. He let the memories come flooding back.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy wrote:And now Kenobi would pay - Kenobi, and then so many others. Savage was right. Maul's power was growing, because he had a purpose again, and a vision.

Maul kept his clawed foot on Savage's chest for another moment, to make sure both of them understood who was the Master and who was the apprentice. Then he shut off his saber and stepped away from his fallen brother.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy wrote:Obi-Wan didn't know where the Sith had spent the long years since he'd tumbled down the shaft of the Theed generator core, and he couldn't imagine what Maul had been doing. But whatever it was, Maul was stronger with the Force than he'd been-stronger, but also colder and more determined. It was the other Zabrak - Mother Talzin's creature Savage - who fought with animal rage.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy wrote:Maul had fought his Master many times, starting when he was little more than a child and continuing through his apprenticeship. His body bore innumerable scars from those duels—lessons in the peril of being too slow or two quick, too weak or too distracted. During Maul’s apprenticeship he had always known that Sidious had been willing to kill him. The Sith had not survived their centuries of exile by being sentimental, and a student who couldn’t stand against his Master in a mere training exercise was worse than useless—he was a waste of valuable resources better used elsewhere. But Maul had never faced his Master when he was actually trying to kill him.

Maul had grown more powerful since the last time he’d been in Sidious’s presence, before the Neimoidian invasion of Naboo had turned disastrous and Obi-Wan had bested him inside the Theed power core. His hermitage on Lotho Minor, his lessons on Umbara, his restoration by Mother Talzin, and his training of Savage had all strengthened him, made him a more worthy vessel for the dark side to fill with its power.

ii. Next we have Darth Bane. He is encrusted with two orbalisks, feeling "the most potent pain he'd felt in his life" from "a thousand tiny teeth burrowing into the thick meat of his back, followed by the searing pain of the acid secretion melting his flesh" and "the burning acid and tiny teeth digging through clothes, skin, and even his thick pectoral muscles to fasten directly to his breastbone." The orbalisks are Force-sensitive parasites which attach to a host and inject poison that is "generally fatal to host organism," and "if multiple orbalisks attach to the same host, and they include a mated pair, they will produce two more orbalisks every four days, which will also inject their poison into the host - and breed, even as the original pair continues breeding." Although The Dark Side Sourcebook states an orbalisk "injects its poison into the victim once per day," Rule of Two retcons this by stating "they pumped a constant stream of chemicals into his body. The alien fluids burned like acid as they were absorbed into his circulatory system; it felt as if every drop of blood were boiling," with initially "the pain of the poison the creature injected was so great that Bane tried to slice off his own flesh," although eventually the sensation only becomes "a dull throbbing just above the level of subconscious awareness" as Bane "masters" the "hundreds" of orbalisks that come to cover his body. As a sidenote, "a single full-grown orbalisk weighs 1 kilogram," so Bane would have been casually chugging around a suit of armor wearing hundreds of kilos while effortlessly enduring their lethal, excruciating poison in his bloodstream for ten years straight without a nanosecond of respite.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Rule of Two wrote:Suddenly realizing he was in grave danger, Bane made a lunge for the Holocron. As his hand closed around it, the colony of crustaceans broke free en masse and cascaded down on him in a chitinous swarm. With one hand clutching the Holocron, he swiped at them with his lightsaber and deflected others with the power of the Force. But there were too many to keep them all at bay; it was like trying to ward off raindrops in a storm.

One struck him on the shoulder and latched on, instantly burning through his armor and clothing with an acidic secretion before fastening itself to his skin. Bane felt a thousand tiny teeth burrowing into the thick meat of his back, followed by the searing pain of the acid secretion melting his flesh.

He screamed and slammed his back up against the wall hoping to jar the creature loose, but it held fast. As he struggled to dislodge it, a second struck him square in the chest. He screamed again as the burning acid and tiny teeth dug through clothes, skin, and even his thick pectoral muscles to fasten directly to his breastbone.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Rule of Two wrote:Thanks to the Holocron he had discovered in Nadd's tomb, Bane now knew that the strange crustaceans that had attached themselves to him were called orbalisks. He had also discovered, through his own trial and error, that they could not be removed.

In the moments after his escape from the orbalisk chamber, he'd tried prying the one on his chest loose with the hunting knife from his boot, to no avail. Failing that, he had tried to dig it out by carving away the surrounding flesh. He'd drawn the knife across his chest in a long, straight line, feeling the agony of the blade slicing deep enough to cut through skin and muscle. And then he'd watched in amazement as the wound healed itself almost instantly, the creature having somehow caused his tissue to regenerate.

Bane had tried the Force next, probing deep inside to better understand what was happening to him. He could sense the creatures feeding on his power, gorging themselves on the dark side energies coursing through every fiber and cell of his being. But though they were parasites, they were also giving something back. As they fed, they pumped a constant stream of chemicals into his body. The alien fluids burned like acid as they were absorbed into his circulatory system; it felt as if every drop of blood were boiling ... but the benefits were too powerful to be ignored. In addition to his miraculous healing abilities, he felt stronger than he ever had. His senses were keener, his reflexes quicker. And on his chest and back where the creatures had latched on, their virtually impenetrable shells would serve as armor plates capable of withstanding even a direct strike from a lightsaber.

The relationship, he had finally realized, was symbiotic-as long as he could endure the constant searing pain of the alien fluids being absorbed and metabolized in his bloodstream. A small price to pay,

Bane had decided before turning his attention to the Holocron. Sitting cross-legged on the hard floor of the antechamber inside Nadd's crypt, he reached out tentatively with the dark side and brushed his hand against the small, crystal pyramid. Responding to his caress, it began to glow.

For the next four days and nights he lost himself in the secrets of the ancient artifact. As he suspected, it had been created by Freedon Nadd. Bane delved into the Holocron's secrets with the aid of the gatekeeper: a miniature hologrammic projection of the long-dead Sith Master responsible for its creation. The gatekeeper guided and directed his studies, serving as a virtual mentor to those who sought out Nadd's lost secrets inside the sinister pyramid.

Though Nadd had been human, his avatar was the image of a man who had succumbed to the physical corruption that sometimes affected those who delved too deeply into the power of the dark side. His skin was pallid, the flesh withered and sunken, and his eyes were glowing yellow orbs devoid of iris or pupil. Despite this, he still appeared as a formidable warrior: broad-shouldered, clad in heavy battle armor and the helm that had doubled as his crown when he had proclaimed himself king over the nearby world of Onderon.

Through the gatekeeper, Bane learned of the Dark Master's experiments with the orbalisks, and his only partly successful efforts to control their power. He discovered not only what they were called, but also all the details of their ecology. Some of the information merely confirmed what he already knew: once attached to a host the orbalisks could not be removed. But he also learned that, in addition to boosting a host's physical abilities, it was possible to tap into the parasites' ability to feed on the dark side to greatly increase one's own command of the Force.

However, Nadd's research also warned of several dangerous side effects of infestation that went beyond the constant physical pain.

Should one of the organisms somehow be killed, it would release rapidly increasing levels of toxins, killing its host in a matter of days. The orbalisks would also grow over time, slowly spreading until they covered his entire body from head to toe. Fortunately, along with this disturbing revelation, Bane discovered blueprints for a special helmet and face guard designed to keep the parasites from growing over his eyes, nose, and mouth while he slept.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Rule of Two wrote:Because of the orbalisks that encased his body, he was used to living in constant pain. It was always there, a dull throbbing just above the level of subconscious awareness. Normally he could shut it out, bearing the torments of his infestation with no visible effects. However, if he wasn't careful - if he pushed himself top far - the physical demands could overwhelm him. The tremor had been a warning, the first sign that he was reaching the edges of his endurance.

[...]

Three days of constantly drawing upon the Force without food or respite had left him exhausted in body, mind, and spirit. He was particularly vulnerable to the orbalisks in this state. Normally they fed off the dark side energies that naturally flowed through him, but the creation of the Holocron demanded that he channel all his power directly into his work. The parasites were slowly starving, and in response they were flooding his bloodstream with chemicals and hormones intended to drive him into a mindless fury so they could gorge themselves on the dark side as he unleashed his rage.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Rule of Two wrote:She saw Bane seated on the far side of the camp, his back to her as he stared out to the horizon, meditating on his failure. He turned to face her as she approached, rising up to his full two-meter height so that he towered above her. His clothes had been torn and burned away, revealing the full scope of the orbalisk infestation. Hundreds of the creatures clung to him; except for his face and hands, his body was now completely covered. He looked as if he were wearing a suit of armor fashioned from the hard, oblong shells of dead crustaceans. Yet she knew that beneath the shells, the parasites were still alive, feeding on him.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Unknown

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Unknown
My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Unknown

During the duel on Tython, Bane's Force lightning is turned on him by Jedi Master Worror Dowmat, enveloping him and eventually plunging him into unconsicousness. The lightning is so intense that "Several of the parasites on his chest and stomach hadn't survived, their brown shells turned black and brittle by the lightning's electrical charge." Essentially, Bane’s lightning is powerful enough to reduce lightsaber-resistant orbalisk shells "brittle," and Bane himself endures that same lightning ultimately better than the orbalisks do in spite of the lightning "cooking his flesh from the inside," "frying innards," "and throwing his muscles into an endless series of violent seizures that threatened to rip his body apart," indicating that Bane's sheer willpower must have held his body together through the ordeal. On top of that, Bane is simultaneously experiencing thousands of tiny teeth" "sawing away at subcutaneous tissue, chewing through muscles, tendons, and even bone." What’s incredible is that "Bane had stayed conscious through the torture of the electricity cooking him alive and the agony of the teeth burrowing into his flesh," only blacking out upon experiencing "the indescribable pain from the chemicals released by the exploding orbalisks dissolving his body on a cellular level."

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Rule of Two wrote:Zannah felt the gathering dark side power of her Master, but in the instant before he unleashed the storm of deadly purple lightning, the Ithorian reached up from the floor and clutched him by his ankle. A shimmering blue globe surrounded them both as the mortally wounded Jedi released his own power in his final, dying act.

Instead of arcing across the room to destroy the one-armed Jedi, the lightning that flew from Bane's fingers reflected off the inside of the shimmering blue globe encasing him. The bolts ricocheted around wildly inside the globe, creating a storm of energy so intense that Zannah had to shield her eyes and look away. She heard Bane's scream rising above the sharp crackle of electricity, and when she looked back she saw the globe vanish and her Master fall to the ground in a charred and smoking heap.

She started to run to him, then saw that the sole surviving Jedi was crawling toward where his lightsaber had fallen on the ground, determined to fight on despite the loss of his hand.

Her face frozen in a mask of rage and hatred, she stepped forward and spun her lightsaber above her head. He looked at her with pleading eyes, but her only response was to bring her blade crashing down, ending his life.

***

When Zannah first reached Bane's side, she was sure her Master was dead. The lightning had reduced his clothes to ash, and his gloves and boots had melted away. The flesh of his face and hands was charred and burned, covered with blisters that oozed a runny yellow pus. Several of the parasites on his chest and stomach hadn't survived, their brown shells turned black and brittle by the lightning's electrical charge. Wisps of still-smoldering smoke crept out from beneath their shells, bringing with it a sickly stench that made Zannah's stomach churn.

Then she saw Bane's chest rise and fall, his breaths so shallow and faint she had almost missed them. He must have slipped into unconsciousness as his body went into shock from the unbearable pain. She paused, half expecting to see his seared skin and tissue begin to regenerate, but his injuries exceeded even the ability of the orbalisks to heal him, and nothing happened.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Rule of Two wrote:He recognized the voice of his apprentice, and his mind slowly began to reassemble the pieces of what had happened. He remembered the battle with the Jedi on Tython; he remembered unleashing a storm of Force lightning at the last of his foes. He remembered the kriffing shield the Ithorian Master had thrown up around him. After that, all his memories were of unbearable pain.

Somehow the Jedi's barrier had trapped Bane inside the center of the dark side storm. The electricity had enveloped him, millions of volts arcing through his body, cooking his flesh from the inside and throwing his muscles into an endless series of violent seizures that threatened to rip his body apart.

The energy had coursed through the orbalisks embedded in his skin, too. The creatures absorbed the power, hungrily devouring it until they became so engorged that the soft, pliant flesh of their underbellies had began to swell. Squeezed ever tighter against the unyielding chitin of their own exterior shells, they'd begun to burrow deeper into Bane. He remembered screaming as thousands of tiny teeth started sawing away at subcutaneous tissue, chewing through muscles, tendons, and even bone.

But burrowing deeper hadn't stopped the creatures from feasting on the electricity coursing through Bane's frying innards. They'd continued to expand until they had begun to pop, rupturing like overfilled balloons pinched beneath the hard shells.

Bane had stayed conscious through the torture of the electricity cooking him alive and the agony of the teeth burrowing into his flesh. But the indescribable pain from the chemicals released by the exploding orbalisks dissolving his body on a cellular level finally caused him to black out … only to wake up here.

Ten years later, after growing in power and knowledge of the dark, Bane experiences the sensation of Darth Zannah’s dark side tendrils, which cause pain "unlike anything Bane had ever experienced before," with the text even expressly comparing it to the aforementioned feat of being electrocuted by his own lightning. The pain of the tendrils goes "far beyond any mere physical sensation" and "clawed at the core of his spirit," meaning the tendrils are concurrently a physical attack as well as a spiritual attack directly at his very soul that transcend any and all physical agony that is possible to experience for anyone into an altogether a higher dimension of suffering. Despite this, unlike with the lightning feat above, Bane stays conscious and almost immediately manages to dodge the next tendril. Later on in the fight Bane gets hit by the tendrils even more severely: if a "mere touch of the dark side tendril was unlike anything Bane had experienced before" despite the damage being "far from life threatening," one can only imagine how much greater the pain of losing an entire limb to the tendrils would be. That is exactly what happens to Bane, and not only does he stay conscious, he retains enough willpower to attempt essence transfer - a technique with a baseline control and sense difficulty of heroic control in the D6 rules - on Zannah, forcing her into "a battle of wills" where "for a moment they seemed to be evenly matched, neither gaining nor giving ground" until Bane expires.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:Bane saw the strange black mist crawling across the dirt and knew this was no illusion. Somehow Zannah had given substance and corporeality to the dark side, transforming it into half a dozen shadowy, serpent-like minions rising up from the ground.

Suddenly the tendrils flew at him. He slashed out with his lightsaber to chop the closest one in half, but the blade simply passed through the black mist with no effect. Bane threw himself to the side, but the tip of the tentacle still brushed against his left shoulder.

The material of his clothes melted away as if it had been splashed with acid. A chunk of flesh beneath simply dissolved, and Bane screamed in agony.

Once, orbalisks had fused themselves to his body with a burning chemical compound so intense it had nearly driven him mad. Ten years ago they had been removed when Bane's flesh had been literally cooked by a concentrated blast of his own violet lightning. During her interrogation, Serra had pumped him full of a drug that had felt like it was eating him alive from the inside. But the excruciating pain he felt from the mere touch of the dark side tendril was unlike anything Bane had ever experienced before.

The damage was far from life threatening, but it nearly sent Bane into shock. He fell hard to the ground, his jaw slack and his eyes rolling back into his head. His mind was reeling from the brief contact. The pain radiated through every nerve in his body, but what he felt went far beyond any mere physical sensation. It was not the raw heat of the dark side but rather the empty chill of the void itself spreading through him. It touched every synapse in his mind, it clawed at the core of his spirit. In that instant he tasted utter annihilation, and felt the true horror of absolute nothingness.

Somehow he managed to stay conscious, and when the next tentacle coiled in he was able to scramble to his feet and roll out of the way.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Dynasty of Evil wrote:With his foe unarmed and helpless at his feet Bane brought his arm down for the coup de grace, only to have it intercepted mid-swing by one of the dark side tendrils. It wrapped itself around the elbow. Skin, muscle, sinew and bone dissolved instantaneously, severing the limb.

His disembodied forearm and fist tumbled harmlessly to the ground, his lightsaber flicking off as the hilt slid from his suddenly nerveless fingers. The Dark Lord didn't scream this time; the pain was so intense it left him mute as he collapsed to the ground.

Everything went black. Blind and alone, he felt the void closing in. In desperation he reached out with his left hand, clutching Zannah's wrist as she lay on the ground beside him. With his last act, he summoned all his remaining power and invoked the ritual of essence transfer.

Working at the speed of thought, his mind tapped into the currents of the Force, seizing on the power of the dark side, spinning, shaping, and twisting it into the intricate patterns he had ripped from Andeddu's Holocron.

The cold darkness swallowing him up vanished, replaced by a searing burst of crimson light as the power of the ritual was unleashed. Bane was aware of his flesh being utterly consumed by the unimaginable heat, reduced to ashes in a thousandth of a second. But he was no longer a part of his own body. His spirit had discarded it like an old shell in favor of a new one.

Bane was suddenly fully aware of his physical surroundings. He could see with Zannah's eyes, he could hear with her ears. He could feel the intense heat of the ritual's crimson glow through her skin. But Zannah was still there, too. She sensed his assault; he could feel her terror and confusion as if they were his own. And when she screamed in horror he screamed with her.

The black tendrils vanished as her concentration was shattered, disappearing like smoke on the wind. Instinctively, she fought to repel the invader. Bane could feel her pushing him away, rejecting him, trying to drive him out even as he relentlessly tried to force his way in and snuff out her existence.

It became a battle of wills, their two identities locked together inside Zannah's mind, grappling for possession of her body. They teetered on the precipice of the void, Bane seeking to obliterate all trace of her identity while she sought to cast him down into the blackness.

For a moment they seemed to be evenly matched, neither gaining nor giving ground. And then suddenly it was over.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

Could Bane take a saber through the gut and fight Barriss Offee-level Jaina? I certainly think so. The punishment he takes in Rule of Two is probably worse than being speared through the stomach; even if not, it should still very much be comparable, and Bane's Dynasty of Evil iteration scales over that by far. He is able to withstand more intense pain than what Caedus ever endures, have his spirit attacked as well as his body, and retain his combat awareness, and after being subjected to even more intense pain than that he can attempt a high-level Force technique against an equally powerful Force-user without instantly failing.
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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Empty Re: My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda

April 30th 2023, 7:03 pm
iii. Mace Windu has a nearly identical feat to Caedus's in that he takes a lightsaber through the abdomen and fights Depa Billaba with that wound. The differences are that, in comparison to Jaina, Billaba is "one of the youngest ever to be named to the Council," "a brilliant warrior" by Yoda's reckoning, and circa The Phantom Menace "showed me blade work that surpassed my own" by Windu's estimation; Windu is emotionally vulnerable from having to fight "the woman who should have been his daughter," he refuses to offensively retaliate altogether by only defending, he cannot draw on his pain for power like a Sith can, he declines the call of Vaapad to harness the darkness within and around him, he is distracted by sensing the battle being waged around him while fighting, including the presumed death of his friend Nick Rostu; and Billaba is getting stronger as the altercation drags on as the life energy of the dying Akk Guards flows into her through the shamanism of Kar Vastor instead of departing into the Force, whereas Windu's Force reserves are depleting. Even after succeeding in his plan to halt the battling outside, and thus disrupting the flow of the dark side that was fueling Billaba's madness, he has enough strength to rise up from the floor and stand up to Vastor, outmaneuvering him and placing him under arrest. Though weary, he does not collapse even after the adrenaline of battle has receded.

Star Wars: Shatterpoint wrote:You are not yet my kill.

"No? Whose kill am I, then?"

The answer to his question was a lightsaber's emitter jammed against his belly.

Mace had time to think blankly: Oh. Not dead. Faking.

"Depa-?"

She screamed as she triggered her blade. And kept screaming as its green fire chewed a tunnel through Mace's guts and speared out his back. His hand seized hers instinctively, locking her blade against his body so that she could not kill him by slashing it free. His own blade ignited-

But he could not strike her. Even now. Not here, so close he could kiss her instead; not while her scream spiraled up into a shriek; not while he had to look into her wide staring eyes and see no hate or rage but only stark agony.

He was going to have to do this the hard way.

He struck downward into the pit beside them, his blade slicing out a lopsided ellipse of armor plate that dropped into darkness below and clanged to an unseen floor.

"Geptun!" he roared. "NOW!"

Flashes of battle: - shadows fleeing the bunker as swarms of screaming electric blue blaster bolts rebounding off walls shoot them to rags-- a flood of troopers spreading into a wave through the doorway, weapons gouting lightning-colored energy, Geptun in the middle of them, head down and running, datapad cradled like a baby in his arms-- a buzzing shield of silver flame that sliced through a blaster rifle so that it exploded and took with it the trooper's hands - These images burned in Mace's brain as he fought for his life against the woman who should have been his daughter.

He brought his blade back up from the pit and turned his wrist on the forehand so that his recovery stroke took her in the temple with his lightsaber's butt. Her fingers slipped off the blade's activation plate and it shrank back down through his body. She howled and punched his eyesocket with her free hand, but Mace got his foot wedged between them and he shoved her away with a powerful thrust.

At the same instant both of them backflipped into the air, landing on their feet poised in perfect mirror images, their blades whipping in identically curving slashes almost too fast to see.

Blaster bolts howled around them. The air crackled with streaks and splatters of energy. Their blades flickered and whipped and no bolt touched their flesh.

Their eyes never left each other's.

Something had torn in his guts when he did the backflip. Smoke trickled upward from the hole in his belly. He could smell it, but he felt no pain. Not yet. His blade whirred through the air.

Hers whirred faster. She advanced.

The slashes never stopped. They would never stop. They flowed one into the next with liquid precision.

This constant near-invisible weave of lethal energy is the ready-stance of Vaapad.

"Depa," Mace said desperately. "I don't want to fight you. Depa, please-"

She sprang at him, screaming without words; he couldn't know if she'd heard him. He couldn't know if language still had meaning for her.

Then she was on him. His whole world turned to green fire.

***

Twenty-four troopers entered the bunker in a wedge around Colonel Geptun.

Nick Rostu kept his back against the wall while he watched them die.

Akk Guards leaped over and past them, and with every leap another clone fell. The clones never stopped, never faltered, firing blaster carbines from the hip, forcing their way forward over the bodies of their comrades.

And it wasn't only clones who died.

The Force nudged Nick, and he swung a pistol and fired without thinking.

A leaping Akk Guard whirled and the slug banged sparks off his shield, but in the instant his attention was diverted he fell against the muzzle of a trooper's DC-15 and blue energy exploded out his back.

This Akk Guard had been a man Nick knew, as he knew them all. This one's name had been Prouk. He'd liked to gamble, and he once lost sixty credits to Nick on a bet, and he'd paid it.

Another nudge from the Force and another shot took out the knee of an Akk Guard. He crumpled on top of a dying trooper, who still had enough life left in him to hold down the trigger of his carbine and blow the akk to rags.

This was the Guard whose nose Mace had broken. His name was Thaffal.

Nick was waiting for his next shot when a massive shadow rose up right in front of him; intent on the Force, Nick hadn't seen him coming. He said, "Whoops."

This one's name was Iolu. He had saved Nick's life during a fire-fight, once. A long time ago.

"Hello, Nick," lolu said, and drove his shield's sizzling edge toward Nick's neck.

***

Depa's blade was everywhere.

Mace backpedaled, parrying frantically, absorbing the shock of her attacks with bent arms and a two-handed grip. He was taller than she, with more reach and weight, and vastly more muscle in his upper body, but she drove him backward as though he were a child. Green flame struck through his guard, and only a frantic jerk of his head turned what would have been a brain-burning thrust into a line of char along his cheekbone.

Still he did not strike back.

"I will not kill you," he said. "Death is not the answer to your pain."

Her reply was a scream louder and more savage and an onslaught to match.

She broke through his guard again and scorched his wrist. Another stroke burned a slice through his pants leg just above the knee.

Power roared around her, a rising storm of darkness.

Mace got it now: as each Akk Guard died, his share of pelekotan backflowed through the bonds Vaster had forged among them.

She was getting stronger.

And with each stroke of her blade, he could feel himself slipping into the shadows. He had to. She was too strong, too fast, too everything. The only way he could survive was to give more of himself to Vaapad. To give all of himself.

To sink into pelekotan's dream.

He felt it: he had reached his own shatterpoint. And he was breaking.

[...]

Through the trace of Force connection he had with Nick, Mace felt the young Korun collapse. Something broke inside his head, and all his own wounds crashed upon him.

Every cut and bruise, every cracked bone and sprained joint, the man-bite on his shoulder and the hole through his guts: all of them blossomed into silent screams.

His lightsaber went heavy, and his arms went slow. She burned a stripe across his chest, and he staggered.

His fighting spirit wasn't destroyed. It wasn't even far away. He could feel where it had gone. He could reach out and touch it.

It was waiting for him in the dark.

[...]

In the Force, Mace felt Geptun's despair. It felt like a gift.

Another man might even have smiled.

He took one last look at the darkness that called to him - Darkness within mirroring darkness without - And turned away.

He let his blade vanish. His arms dropped to his sides.

Depa moved in for the kill.

Mace backed away.

She leaped for him, slashing, and he slipped aside. She pressed her attack and he retreated, over bodies and through blaster-riddled wreckage of console banks, until he came hard up against a console that still had power: indicator lights flashed like droid eyes in the gloom.

The blade of green fire whirled up, poised, and struck.

He let himself collapse.

He fell to the floor at her feet, and instead of cleaving his skull, her blade slashed the console behind him in half.

Cables spat blue sparks across the burned gap.

This was the console that controlled the spaceport's signal-jamming equipment.

Down in the transceiver chamber, Geptun stared at his datapad's screen with astonished reverence, conscious of having been unexpectedly granted undeserved grace.

It read: COMMAND EXECUTED.

In the skies over Pelek Baw, as the snowcap on Grandfather's Shoulder kindled with the first red rays of dawn, droid starfighters disengaged from clone-piloted ships and streaked back into the depths of space.

In the command bunker, the swirl of dark power crested, paused, and began to recede.

Mace lay on the floor. He didn't think he could get up. Depa stared down at him, her face lit jungle-green by the glow of her blade, and a single needle of light seemed to pierce the dark madness in her eyes. "Oh, Mace..."

Her voice was a moan of astonished pain. Her blade vanished, and her arms fell limp and helpless to her sides. "Mace, I'm sorry- I'm so sorry..."

He managed to lift a hand to reach up to her.

"Depa-"

"Mace, I'm sorry," she repeated, and brought her lightsaber up to put its emitter to her own temple. "We shouldn't have come."

"Depa, no!"

Mace found he did have the strength to rise, to stand, even to leap for her, but he was exhausted, and wounded, and far, far too slow. She squeezed the activator plate.

A single sharp report-like a handclap-rang out behind him, and a spark flew from the metal of her blade as it was smacked spinning from her hand.

It twisted lazily through the air and clattered among the wreckage. She blinked dizzily, as though she couldn't quite understand why she was still alive, then crumpled to the floor. Mace turned toward where the sound had come from. Sitting next to the corpse of a dead Akk Guard, his back propped against the wall, one hand pressed to his chest to hold closed a horrible wound, Nick Rostu grinned past the smoking barrel of the pistol in his other hand. "Told you..."

"Nick-"

"Told you I can shoot..." he said. His fingers opened and the gun fell to the floor; his hand dropped on top of it and his eyes drifted shut.

"Nick, I-"

The young Korun was beyond hearing. Mace said softly, "Thank you."

He swayed. He had to put out a hand to the wrecked comm console to steady himself.

The bunker had once again gone quiet and dark and full of death. Quiet except for a low growl.

The growl came from a black shape that rose like corpse-fungus from among the bodies.

So, doshalo. Here we are. For the last time.

"Perhaps."

The shape smoked with power. More power than Mace had ever felt.

And he was so tired. So hurt. The lightsaber wound in his belly radiated pain that scraped away his strength.

The shadow beckoned. Come on, then: jungle rules.

"On the contrary," Mace said slowly. "Jedi rules."

What are Jedi rules?

"You don't need to know," Mace told him. "You're not a Jedi."

Vibroshields whined to life. I am waiting for you, Jedi of the Windu.

Mace extended a hand, and his lightsaber found it.

He stood, waiting.

You fear to attack me.

"Jedi do not fear," Mace said. "And we do not attack. As long as you stand in peace, so do I. You have just learned two of the Jedi rules. For what little good they will do you. You haven't been paying very close attention, Kar. And it's too late to start now. It's over."

Nothing is over! NOTHING. Not while we both live.

"This is another Jedi rule." Mace took a couple of steps to one side, to find a space of floor where he didn't have to fear tripping over a body. "If you fight a Jedi, you've already lost."

The dark shape came closer. Fine words from a man I've beaten before.

"The starfighters have been ordered off. The city will stand. They've surrendered to the Republic. We have no reason to fight."

Men like us are our own reason.

Mace shook his head. "This isn't a big dog thing. If I must, I will hurt you. Badly."

You can't bluff me.

"No, but I can kill you. Though I would rather not."

More Jedi rules?

Mace sagged. "Do you have a move to make? I'm too tired for this."

Sleep when you're dead, Vastor snarled, and leaped.

Ultrachrome flashed. Mace could have met him, blade to shields, but instead he slipped aside.

He had no intention of fighting this man. Not here and now. Not anywhere.

Not ever.

Vastor was younger, stronger, faster, and immensely more powerful, and he wielded weapons that could not be harmed by the Jedi blade. Mace couldn't win such a battle on his best day, and this day was far from his best: he was exhausted, badly wounded, and heartsick.

But the fact that his lightsaber couldn't hurt those shields didn't make them invulnerable.

As Vastor gathered himself to spring again, Mace reached into the Force.

The vibroshield stuck into the wall above Nick's head squealed against the bunker's armor as it came to life and pulled itself free and streaked like a missile toward Vastor's back.

Vastor's incredible reflexes whirled him, and those same reflexes snapped his shields in front of his chest in plenty of time to block-

But they didn't actually block anything...

There was a reason why, when Vastor's shields met to make that metallic howl, he always brought them together back-to-back, instead of edge-to-edge.

The flying shield's vibrating edge sheared through both Vastor's shields, through both his wrists, and buried itself in the bone of his chest, stopping less than a centimeter short of his heart.

Vastor blinked astonishment at Mace as though the Jedi Master had betrayed him.

Mace said, "You were warned."

Vastor's head shook weakly, suddenly palsied. He dropped to his knees.

You've killed me.

He sounded like he couldn't make himself believe it.

"No," Mace said. "That's another of the Jedi rules. Killing you is not the answer for your crimes. You're going back to Coruscant. You're going to stand trial."

Vastor swayed. His gaze went blank and blind.

"Kar Vastor," said Mace Windu, "you are under arrest."

Vastor pitched forward. Mace caught him and turned him face-up before lowering the unconscious lor pelek to the floor.

Then he pulled himself back to his feet, leaning on the console.

His vision grayed and lost focus; for a moment he wasn't sure where he was. This might have been Palpatine's office. Or the interrogation room at the Ministry of Justice. The Intel station, or the dead room at the Lorshan Pass.

Perhaps even the Jedi Temple... but the Jedi Temple wouldn't ever smell like this.

Would it?

"Master Windu?"

He remembered the voice, and it brought him back to the command bunker.

"Is it over?" Geptun called tentatively from the transceiver chamber. He sounded very old, and more than a little lost. "Can I come out now?"

Mace looked down at Kar Vastor, and the spreading pool of blood in which he lay. He looked at the scattered corpses of clone troopers and militia techs. He looked at Nick Rostu, crumpled against the wall.

"Master Windu?" Geptun's head appeared slowly over the rim of the hole in the floor. "Did we win?"

Mace looked at the sad, shrunken form of Depa Billaba, and thought about his victory conditions.

"I seem to be," Mace Windu said slowly, "the last one standing."

It was the only answer he had.

Star Wars: Shatterpoint wrote:"Cling to the past, a Jedi cannot," Yoda interrupted sternly. His green stare reminded Mace not to speak of the shadow that had darkened Jedi perception of the Force. This was not discussed outside the Temple. Not even here. "Member of the Jedi Council, she is. Powerful Jedi. Brilliant warrior-"

"She'd better be." Mace tried to smile. "I trained her."

Star Wars: Shatterpoint wrote:Depa Billaba came into my life by accident: one of those joyous coincidences that are sometimes the gift of the galaxy. I found her after I fought and killed the pirates who had murdered her parents; these pirates had kidnapped their victims' lovely infant daughter. I never learned what they wanted to do with her. Or to her. I refuse to speculate.

An advantage of Jedi mental discipline: I can stop myself from imagining such things.

She grew to girlhood in the Temple, and to womanhood as my Padawan. The proudest moment of my life was the day I stood and directed the Jedi Council to welcome its newest member.

She is one of the youngest Jedi ever to be named to the Council. On the day of her elevation, Yoda suggested that it was my teaching that had brought her so far while still so young.
He said this, I think, more from courtesy than from honesty; she came so far while still so young because she is who she is. My teaching had little to do with it. I have never met anyone like her.

Depa is more than a friend to me. She's one of those dangerous attachments. She is the daughter I will never have.

All the Jedi discipline in the galaxy cannot entirely overpower the human heart.

Star Wars: Shatterpoint wrote:I had come to Nar Shaddaa to track down exotic-animal smugglers who had sold attack-trained akk dogs to the Red laro terrorists of Lannik - and Depa had followed me to the Smugglers' Moon because she had suspected I might need her help. How right she was: even together, we barely survived. It was a terrible fight, against mutated giant akks for the amusement of the Circus Horrificus patrons-

But remembering it in the jungle, I found that my eyes filled with tears.

On that day in Nar Shaddaa, she showed me blade work that surpassed my own; she had continued to grow and study and progress in Vaapad as well as the Force.

She made me so very proud...

It had been years since she had passed her Trials of Knighthood; she had long been a Jedi Master, and a member of the Council; but for that one day, we had again been Mace and Depa, Master and Padawan, pitting the lethal efficiency of Vaapad against the worst the galaxy could throw at us. We fought as we had so many times: a perfectly integrated unit, augmenting each other's strengths, countering each other's weaknesses, and on that day it seemed we should have never done anything else. As Jedi Knights, we were unbeatable. As Masters, members of the Council-

Could Windu take a saber through the gut and fight Barriss Offee-level Jaina? I certainly think so. His feat does not just parallel Caedus's; it's demonstrably better. Keep in mind Shatterpoint is in the purview of the Attack of the Clones meta where Anakin's applicable but uncontrolled Force power is enough to let him challenge Dooku through a flash of brilliance, Dooku is a near-equal of Yoda, and Sidious is an unknown quantity. Within that framework, Vastor "has power on the scale of Master Yoda, or young Anakin Skywalker," making him "stronger, faster, and immensely more powerful" than Windu, who "couldn't win such a battle on his best day." Even with the release of Revenge of the Sith, Windu struggles with General Grievous wielding just two sabers in Labyrinth of Evil and admits that Obi-Wan Kenobi has better odds against him in the Revenge of the Sith novelization, written by the same author as Shatterpoint, Matthew Stover. In a post-ROTS world Windu has a second brief but grueling match with Asajj Ventress, a short but evidently close bout with Maul alongside Aayla Secura in Son of Dathomir where he arguably performs worse than the Zabrak, and an extremely unpropitious standing next to Dooku via their respective comparisons to Mother Talzin in The Clone Wars and Son of Dathomir. It's therefore apparent that even though the overall meta changed with the release of Revenge of the Sith, Windu's grossly inferior position next to Dooku was retained outside of one circumstantial fight against Sidious, and debatably compounded.

Star Wars: Shatterpoint wrote:Mace opened himself to the Force. He could hear Yoda's voice: Size matters not - which, Mace had always privately considered, was more true for Yoda than it was for any of his students. Yoda would probably just reach out, lift the steamcrawler from the gully, and ca sually float it up the mountain to the outpost while croaking some enigmatic maxim about how Even a volcano is as nothing, compared to the power of the Force...

Mace was much less confident in his own raw power.

Star Wars: Shatterpoint wrote:She took my hand to steady me as I stepped into the howdah, and she made room for me on the chaise. "I have to hand it to you, Mace," she said with a softly ironic smile. "You still take a beating as well as any man in the galaxy."

Nick's eyes bulged as though his head might explode. "I knew it!" He shook a fiercely triumphant fist in my face. "I knew it. I knew you could take him!"

I told him to keep it down, because Vastor and the Akk Guards were still moving through the trees nearby, and I had no idea how sharp Vastor's ears might be. I didn't tell him to shut up altogether because it wouldn't have done any good.

"I've got you figured. You hear me? I've got your Jedi butt scanned to the twelfth decimal point! I shoulda known you were gonna dive when you started in on Kar like that - you were spinning him up to make the confrontation more personal, like. The more you insulted him, the less he was gonna worry about taking anything out on me. And you kept on taunting him so that booting your Jedi can into next week felt so good that he basically forgave you for letting those Balawai go!"

I told him he was half wrong.

"Which half?"

Depa answered for me. "The part about letting Kar win."

She knows me so well.

"You mean he really beat you?" Nick couldn't seem to believe it. "He really, really beat you?"

"We share a bond in the Force now, Nick. Did feel like I threw the fight?"

He shook his head. "It felt like you were a smazzo drummer's trap skin."

"As you said earlier: Vastor is a difficult man to lie to. He would have known if I was holding back. Then the beating would have been much worse, and he might very well have killed me. What I did was pick a fight I knew I couldn't win."

"Couldn't?"

"Vastor is... very powerful. Half my age and twice my size. Training and experience can compensate only up to a point. And he is naturally ferocious in a way that no Jedi can duplicate."

Star Wars: Shatterpoint wrote:"I thought you guys were all about going with the flow and using your instincts and stuff..."

"The difference," I said, "lies in the instincts themselves. It is possible for an untrained Force-user to wield as much power as the greatest of Jedi - look at Kar. But untrained, the instincts he falls back on are those granted him by nature. It is another of the central paradoxes of the Jedi: the 'instincts' we use are not instinctive at all.

"They are the product of training so intense that they replace our natural ones. That's why Jedi must begin at such an early age. To replace our natural instincts - territoriality, selfishness, anger, fear, and the like - with the Jedi 'instincts' of service, serenity, selflessness, and compassion. The oldest child ever accepted for training was nine - and there was much debate over that. A debate that has continued, I might add, for more than ten years.

Star Wars: Shatterpoint wrote:Kar simply squatted beside the two, humming tunelessly under his breath, while a Korun I did not recognize injected them with the antidote.

Vastor's humming deepened, and found a pulsing rhythm like the slow beat of a human heart. He extended his hands, and closed his eyes, and hummed, and I could feel motion in the Force, a swirl of power very unlike any I've felt from a Jedi healer - or anyone else, for that matter.

A streak of red painted itself along their spines, and a moment later this red suddenly blossomed into the glistening wetness of fresh blood oozing through their skin - and details, I suppose, are unnecessary.

Suffice it to say that Kar had somehow used the Force - used pelekotan - to persuade the fever wasp larvae that they were in the wrong place to hatch: using the same animal tropism that draws them from the site of the wasp sting to cluster along the victim's central nervous system, Kar induced them to migrate out of Besh and Chalk entirely.

And such was his power that the entire wriggling mass of them - nearly a kilo all told - squirmed its way straight into the tyruun blaze, where the larvae popped while they roasted with a stench like burning hair.

In the midst of this extraordinary display, Depa leaned close to me and whispered, "Don't you ever wonder if we might be wrong?"

I didn't understand what she was talking about, and she waved her fine-boned hand vaguely toward Vastor. "Such power - and such control - and never a day of training. Because what he does is natural: as natural as the jungle itself. We Jedi train our entire lives: to control our natural emotions, to overcome our natural desires. We give up so much for our power. And what Jedi could have done this?"

I could not answer; Vastor has power on the scale of Master Yoda, or young Anakin Skywalker. And I had no desire to debate with Depa on Jedi tradition, and the necessary distinction between dark and light.

https://imgur.com/a/LgS0J0i

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image
My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image
My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image
My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCh_RvWOZmk

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda N5zatGgH4uwmychqLxejHCMe0tk2Zbs4aVI_Yujs5v3YgmOdY7R-hZl7lJmVPuWMTnIyQH750O0LK3qpnW5FK7WOBey4QVux5CrmETbkEZeWjF8T8WzdWFk6eE9c8vNyNb4mbyPYDQ=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzExMi4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda UF5vO7fllZIHogz6rMRMOGXmaPgIOZNew1hNjxlUcA1VMfSqwDkAhaBCatm3JSq3hEKkR31-t7_3_7MA_UmdUJ_TwXSd4VsTt8VD2aVE9OvpCfohlqN25w8QzXtgJzoM8bZdfNM9Kw=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzExMi4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2

Star Wars: Labyrinth of Evil wrote:Without pausing, Grievous drew two lightsabers from inside his billowing cloak. By the time they were ignited, Mace was already on and all over the cyborg, batting away at the two blades, swinging low at Grievous's artificial legs, thrusting at his skeletal face.

The lightsabers thrummed and hissed, meeting one another in bursts of dazzling light. In a corner of Mace's mind he wondered to which Jedi Grievous's blades had belonged. Just as the Force was keeping Mace from being blown from the mag-lev's roof, magnetism of some sort was keeping the general fastened in place. For the cyborg, though, the coherence hindered as much as it helped, whereas Mace never remained in one place for very long. Again and again the three blades joined, in snarling attacks and parries.

As Mace already knew from Ki-Adi-Mundi and Shaak Ti, Grievous was well trained in the Jedi arts. He could recognize the hand of Dooku in the general's training and technique. His strikes were as forceful as any Mace had ever had to counter, and his speed was astonishing.

But he didn't know Vaapad - the technique of dark flirtation in which Mace excelled.

To the rear of the car, where Grievous's pair of MagnaGuards had made the mistake of pitting themselves against Kit Fisto, the Nautolan's blade was a cyclone of blazing blue light. Resistant to the energy outpourings of a lightsaber, the phrik alloy staffs were potent weapons, but like any weapon they needed to find their target, and Kit simply wasn't allowing that. In moves a Twi'lek dancer might envy, he spun around the guards, claiming a limb from both with each rotation: left legs, right arms, right legs...

The speed of the train saw to the rest, ultimately whisking the droids into the canyon like insects blown from the windscreen of a speeder bike.

The loss of his confederates was noted by whatever computers were slaved to Grievous's organic brain, but the loss neither distracted nor slowed him. His sole setting was attack. Successful at analyzing Mace's lightsaber style, those same computers suggested that Grievous alter his stance and posture, along with the angle of his parries, ripostes, and thrusts.

The result wasn't Vaapad, but it was close enough, and Mace wasn't interested in prolonging the contest any longer than necessary.

Crouching low, he angled the blade downward and slashed, guiding it through the roof of the car, perpendicular to Grievous's stalwart advance. Mace saw by the surprised look in the cyborg's reptilian eyes that, for all his strength, dexterity, and resolve, the living part of him wasn't always in perfect sync with his alloy servos. Clearly, Grievous - onetime courageous commander of sentient troops - realized what Mace had done and wanted to sidestep, where General Grievous - current commander of droids and other war machines - wanted nothing more than to impale Mace with lunging thrusts of the paired blades.

Slipping into the gap made by Mace's saber, Grievous's left talon lost magnetic purchase on the roof, and the general faltered. Mace came out of his crouch prepared to drive his sword into Grievous's guts, but some last-instant firing of the general's cybersynapses compelled the cyborg's torso through a swift half twist that would have sent Mace's head hurtling into the canyon had the maneuver prevailed. Instead Mace leapt backward, out of the range of the slicing blades, and Force-pushed outward, just at the instant of Grievous's single misstep.

Off the side of the car the general went, twisting and turning as he fell, Mace trying to track the general's contorted plunge, but unsuccessfully.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith novelization wrote:Before Obi-Wan had left Coruscant, Mace Windu had told him of facing Grievous in single combat atop a mag-lev train during the general's daring raid to capture Palpatine. Mace had told him how the computers slaved to Grievous's brain had apparently analyzed even Mace's unconventionally lethal Vaapad and had been able to respond in kind after a single exchange.

"He must have been trained by Count Dooku," Mace had said, "so you can expect Makashi as well; given the number of Jedi he has fought and slain, you must expect that he can attack in any style, or all of them. In fact, Obi-Wan, I believe that of all living Jedi, you have the best chance to defeat him."

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Unknown

iv. Darth Sion is "perhaps the most rage-filled Sith Lord yet encountered in Star Wars lore," "a true, immortal manifestation of the Dark Side of the Force" who "channels his own anger through the Force to keep himself alive even though he should be dead. Thanks to his intense anger and pain, he literally holds his decaying body together through the dark side of the Force," "telekinesis," "sheer will and hatred." Sion is often dismissed in versus discussions due to domination by Darth Traya, repeated defeats by the Jedi Exile, and a dearth of digestible feats - except people fail to consider what the kind of quasi-immortality Sion has mastered would demand of a Force-user: Caedus falls to the level of Jaina from simple impalement, and the injuries Sion has sustained over decades are obviously worse yet he has soldiered through "death" after "death." I wouldn't be surprised at all if he is actually more powerful than Caedus; the effort to keep his "undead body" together merely prevents him from channeling that power into combative uses, making him appear less imposing than he is in reality. And while it's implied by Traya and Sion himself that he requires a potent dark side nexus such as Korriban or Malachor V to fully exploit his talent, he would still need to possess astounding baseline power to succeed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSL6_PkTwD0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N-e62uQSxQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JksPZIEd-UA

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Sion_Lord_of_Pain

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

Could Sion take a saber through the gut and fight Barriss Offee-level Jaina? I certainly think so. I doubt a saber through the gut would slow him down very much, and he is still combatively the third strongest Sith Lord in Knights of the Old Republic II, behind only Darths Nihilus and Traya, and "unbeatable" to someone of mid-late-game Exile's strength level. Yet, of course, Sion was but a "marauder" first serving under Exar Kun, and later under Darths Revan and Malak.

v. What about Sion's Master, Darth Traya? She admittedly isn't as powerful or resilient as Caedus or the four previous names, given she collapses to the ground after stabbing herself through the abdomen and takes a while to gather the strength and will to stand up and walk away. But keep in mind where she stands in the hierarchy: although mid-late game Exile drifts into unconsciousness from the pain (she doesn't receive the physical injuries but feels the sensations through the Force bond with Kreia), by the end of the game she is "a powerhouse of destruction," able to "single-handedly" run the gauntlet of the storm beasts on the surface of Malachor V, the Trayus Academy's "legion of elite Sith, the Sith's strongest guardians," including Darth Sion four times in a row, before finally besting Traya on "a colossal geyser of dark side energy." Then scale Malak and Revan from this with the former's domination of the Star Forge and all the stuff the latter does, and it gets harder and harder to picture Caedus stacking up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3zbQxvJaxA&t=590s

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image
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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Empty Re: My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda

April 30th 2023, 7:04 pm

DARTH CAEDUS'S COSMIC INSIGNIFICANCE

Before I get into the final section of my grievances with Caedus wank, I wish to highlight his lack of immediate cosmic impact by juxtaposing him with other figures of power. Over the years I've heard mumblings about Caedus changing the Current or something that leads to the unchaining of Abeloth, but no one has been able explain to me what that really means. Does Caedus do this actively in Legacy of the Force, the same way that Plagueis and Sidious impose their wills on the Force? Or was the idea conceived of for Fate of the Jedi as an indirect byproduct of his actions? Perhaps there is more to Caedus in this department than I'm giving him credit for, but from where I'm sitting he hasn't arrived at the threshold of the big boys and girls where their sheer presence in the Force contorts its fabric, with the contrast of their absence being immediately felt or observed.

(1) Tenebrae weighs down the Force with his existence for centuries. People born during his lifetime never realize they have been living with sunglasses on until Tenebrae's final spiritual imprint is extinguished.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Valkforcequote

(2) Vaylin drives her armies with her baleful presence in the Force. When she is killed, all of her ships retreat and her troops on Odessen surrender en masse. I've always seen this as a deliberate nod to Palpatine in Return of the Jedi, although I don't think of it as active mental domination or battle meditation; rather to me it sounds like her will, fury, and determination are passively seeping into the tapestry of the dark side. Kar Vastor does something similar in Shatterpoint to influence the Korunnai and Depa Billaba, although less directly than Vaylin, and Knights of the Old Republic II is also big on echoes in the Force. Empress Vaylin herself is one giant echo that overshadows the wills of her subjects and twists them into extensions of her own.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iM5S5730f3I&t=100s

(3) Darths Plagueis and Sidious conjoin their spirits in intense, months-long meditation to "challenge the Force for sovereignty and suffuse the galaxy with the power of the dark side," resulting in "not a mere paradigm shift, but a tangible alteration that could be felt by anyone strong in the Force," "as if some deity had been tipped from its throne." After this Plagueis hacks the fundamental building blocks of the living Force to answer to his whims and commands them to repeatedly kill and revive Darth Venamis, and months of experimentation allow him to reverse aging. He then attempts "an even more unthinkable act: to bring into being a creation of his own" by stretching his essence across the galaxy "to inform every being of his existence, and impact all of them," indirectly resulting in the creation of Anakin Skywalker by way of divine intervention. "Two standard decades to day-and-night experimentation with midi-chlorian manipulation" allow him to "master the equally powerful energies of order and disorder, creation and entropy, life and death." Plagueis's death creates a tremor that radiates throughout the galaxy "to shake the stars the themselves" and "reshapes" them in a way comparable to the birth of Anakin Skywalker: "To some the stars and planets might seem to be moving as ever, destined to align in configurations calculated long before their fiery births. But in fact the heavens had been perturbed, tugged by dark matter into novel alignments."

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis wrote:The question of whether he and Sidious had discovered something new or rediscovered something ancient was beside the point. All that mattered was that, almost a decade earlier, they had succeeded in willing the Force to shift and tip irrevocably to the dark side. Not a mere paradigm shift, but a tangible alteration that could be felt by anyone strong in the Force, and whether or not trained in the Sith or Jedi arts.

The shift had been the outcome of months of intense meditation, during which Plagueis and Sidious had sought to challenge the Force for sovereignty and suffuse the galaxy with the power of the dark side. Brazen and shameless, and at their own mortal peril, they had waged etheric war, anticipating that their own midi-chlorians, the Force's proxy army, might marshal to boil their blood or stop the beating of their hearts. Risen out of themselves, discorporate and as a single entity, they had brought the power of their will to bear, asserting their sovereignty over the Force. No counterforce had risen against them. In what amounted to a state of rapture they knew that the Force had yielded, as if some deity had been tipped from its throne. On the fulcrum they had fashioned, the light side had dipped and the dark side had ascended.

On the same day they had allowed Venamis to die.

Then, by manipulating the Bith's midi-chlorians, which should have been inert and unresponsive, Plagueis had resurrected him. The enormity of the event had stunned Sidious into silence and overwhelmed and addled 11-4D's processors, but Plagueis had carried on without assistance, again and again allowing Venamis to die and be returned to life, until the Bith's organs had given out and Plagueis had finally granted him everlasting death.

But having gained the power to keep another alive hadn't been enough for him. And so after Sidious had returned to Coruscant, he had devoted himself to internalizing that ability, by manipulating the midi-chlorians that animated him. For several months he made no progress, but ultimately he began to perceive a measured change. The scars that had grown over his wounds had abruptly begun to soften and fade, and he had begun to breathe more freely than he had in twenty years. He began to sense that not only were his damaged tissues healing, but his entire body was rejuvenating itself. Beneath the transpirator, areas of his skin were smooth and youthful, and he knew that eventually he would cease to age altogether.

Drunk on newfound power, then, he had attempted an even more unthinkable act: to bring into being a creation of his own. Not merely the impregnation of some hapless, mindless creature, but the birth of a Forceful being. The ability to dominate death had been a step in the right direction, but it wasn't equivalent to pure creation. And so he had stretched out - indeed, as if invisible, transubstantiated - to inform every being of his existence, and impact all of them: Muunoid or insectoid, secure or dispossessed, free or enslaved. A warrior waving a banner in triumph on a battlefield. A ghost infiltrating a dream.

But ultimately to no end.

The Force grew silent, as if in flight from him, and many of the animals in his laboratory succumbed to horrifying diseases.

Regardless, eight long years later, Plagueis remained convinced that he was on the verge of absolute success. The evidence was in his own increased midi-chlorian count; and in the power he sensed in Sidious when he had finally returned to Sojourn. The dark side of the Force was theirs to command, and in partnership they would someday be able to keep each other alive, and to rule the galaxy for as long as they saw fit.

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis wrote:Seen through the Force, he was a nuclear oval of mottled light, a rotating orb of terrifying energy. If the Maladian attack had weakened him physically, it had also helped to shape his etheric body into a vessel sufficiently strong to contain the full power of the dark side. Determined never again to be caught off guard, he had trained himself to go without sleep, and had devoted two standard decades to day-and-night experimentation with midi-chlorian manipulation and attempts to wrest a few last secrets from the Force, so that he - and presumably his human apprentice - might live forever. His inward turn had enabled him to master the equally powerful energies of order and disorder, creation and entropy, life and death.

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis wrote:A tremor took hold of the planet.

Sprung from death, it unleashed itself in a powerful wave, at once burrowing deep into the world's core and radiating through its saccharine atmosphere to shake the stars themselves. At the quake's epicenter stood Sidious, one elegant hand vised on the burnished sill of an expansive translucency, a vessel filled suddenly to bursting, the Force so strong within him that he feared he might disappear into it, never to return. But the moment didn't constitute an ending so much as a true beginning, long overdue; it was less a transformation than an intensification - a gravitic shift.

A welter of voices, near and far, present and from eons past, drowned his thoughts. Raised in praise, the voices proclaimed his reign and cheered the inauguration of a new order. Yellow eyes lifted to the night sky, he saw the trembling stars flare, and in the depth of his being he felt the power of the dark side anoint him.

[...]

Confident that the will of the dark side had been done, he returned to the suite's window wall.

Two beings in a galaxy of countless trillions, but what had transpired in the suite would affect the lives of all of them. Already the galaxy had been shaped by the birth of one, and henceforth would be reshaped by the death of the other. But had the change been felt and recognized elsewhere? Were his sworn enemies aware that the Force had shifted irrevocably? Would it be enough to rouse them from self-righteousness? He hoped not. For now the work of vengeance could begin in earnest.

His eyes sought and found an ascending constellation of stars, one of power and consequence new to the sky, though soon to be overwhelmed by dawn's first light. Low in the sky over the flatlands, visible only to those who knew where and how to look, it ushered in a bold future. To some the stars and planets might seem to be moving as ever, destined to align in configurations calculated long before their fiery births. But in fact the heavens had been perturbed, tugged by dark matter into novel alignments. In his mouth, Sidious tasted the tang of blood; in his chest, he felt the monster rising, emerging from shadowy depths and contorting his aspect into something fearsome just short of revealing itself to the world.

(4) Darth Sidious participates with Plagueis in the "etheric war" against the Force, grows stronger to the point where he can sink deeper into the dark side instantly by calling on his ordinary abilities such as Force lightning, and following Plagueis's murder incarnates himself into the galactic darkness as a quasi-omniscient observer. His presence in the Force clouds the Jedi's foresight to an unprecedented degree, and he precipitates the shroud through a combination of his own power and political strife as time goes by, draining light from the galaxy. This is just prequel-era Sidious; I don't need to go into detail regarding his Original Trilogy and Dark Empire iterations to make my point.

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis wrote:The question lingered for only a moment, then Sidious unleashed another tangle of lightning, drawing more deeply on the dark side than he ever had.

Star Wars: Cloak of Deception wrote:"We must heed the will of the Force in this matter," Windu said. "We must be open to ways to counter the treacherous vortex into wh the Republic has been drawn. Perhaps we can help Valorum get wind of events before his enemies have an opportunity to stack those events against him."

"He senses perilous times ahead," Adi said.

"As if some darkness has been awakened, intent on spreading itself across the galaxy." Yaddle broke the long silence.

"Tipping the balance is." Yoda looked at her.

"Tipping, yes. But from troubled times to untroubled, or from bad times to worse?" Windu steepled his fingers in front of his face. "And what unknown hand is doing the tipping?"

***

Darth Sidious visited Nute Gunray and his advisers by hologram, on the bridge of the Trade Federation freighter Saak'ak, known, in Basic, as the Profiteer.

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones script wrote:YODA: Masking the future, is this disturbance in the Force.

MACE WINDU: The propecy is coming true, the Dark Side is growing.

YODA: And only those who have turned to the Dark Side can sense the possibilities of the future. Only going through the Dark Side can we see....

[...]

OBI-WAN: Has Master Yoda gained any insight into whether or not this war will come about?

MACE WINDU: Probing the Dark Side is a dangerous process. He could be in seclusion for days... May the force be with you....

[...]

INT. JEDI TEMPLE, YODA'S QUARTERS - LATE AFTERNOON: YODA sits with his eyes closed, meditating. Silence.

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones novelization wrote:"Why couldn't we see this attack on the Senator?" Mace pondered, shaking his head. "This should have been no surprise to the wary, and easy for us to predict."

"Masking the future is this disturbance in the Force," Yoda replied.

The diminutive Jedi seemed tired. Mace understood well the source of that weariness. "The prophecy is coming true. The dark side is growing."

"And only those who have turned to the dark side can sense the possibilities of the future," Yoda said. "Only by probing the dark side can we see."

Mace spent a moment digesting that remark, for what Yoda referred to was no small thing. Not at all. Journeys to the edges of the dark side were not to be taken lightly. Even more dire, the fact that Master Yoda believed that the disturbance all the Jedi had sensed in the Force was so entrenched in the dark side was truly foreboding.

"It's been ten years and the Sith still have not shown themselves," Mace remarked, daring to say it aloud. The Jedi didn't like to even mention the Sith, their direst of enemies. Many times in the past, the Jedi had dared hope that the Sith had been eradicated, their foul stench cleansed from the galaxy, and so they all would have liked to deny the existence of the mysterious dark Force-users.

But they could not. There could be no doubt and no denying that the being who had slain Qui-Gon Jinn those ten years before on Naboo was a Sith Lord.

"Do you think the Sith are behind this present disturbance?" Mace dared to ask.

"Out there, they are," Yoda said with resignation. "A certainty that is."

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Wild Space wrote:For a moment Mace said nothing. Then he lifted his gaze. “Don’t you find it alarming that Obi-Wan wasn’t able to sense trouble  before the explosions? When was the last time you can remember a Jedi blindly walking into something like that? You can’t. It doesn’t happen, Yoda. Not without interference. Whoever this Darth Sidious is, whatever mask he wears to walk among us, his influence is growing. The confusion of the dark side is growing. It’s spreading like poison. Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of our best. If he can’t see clearly …”

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Wild Space wrote:Yoda nodded, as the weight of the hazy future tried to crush him. “Even with the Chosen One, the Force may never be rebalanced,” he finished heavily. “Remember what I have said I do, Master Windu. Very well. Your advice I will take. Seek for Obi-Wan in the Force, I will, and hope his way home to us he can safely find.”

Star Wars: Clone Wars Gambit - Stealth wrote:He wished he could see the outcome of this battle. He wished he could sense what would happen next. But even out here, so far from Coruscant and the Outer Rim Sieges, the dark side smothered his feeling for the future; torqued and twisted the light side, rendering it opaque. He was so much more sensitive to it now. Another legacy of Zigoola. Which he supposed was a good thing, even though it made him feel ill. He felt a constant hum of nausea, malignantly whispering.

Star Wars: Clone Wars Gambit - Stealth wrote:Profoundly unsettled, he stared at Yoda. “What have you seen, Master? I’ve tried to read the Force, tried to look ahead, but—”

“Never before so clouded has the future been,” said Yoda grimly. “Never so oppressive the dark side. Struggle to see ahead I do. Your fault it is not.”

Star Wars: Clone Wars Gambit - Stealth wrote:Closing his eyes he sought clarity from the Force, sought to find a path through the clouding dark side—but the future eluded him. Any sense of how this situation might play out shifted and taunted, dancing just out of reach. He felt a dangerous shiver of fear. Never, never, not in nine hundred years, had his abilities been so compromised. The dark side had rendered him virtually deaf, blind, and voiceless.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith novelization wrote:Dooku could not argue. Not only had the Dark Lord introduced Dooku to realms of power beyond his most spectacular fantasies, but Sidious was also a political manipulator so subtle that his abilities might be considered to dwarf even the power of the dark side itself. It was said that whenever the Force closes a hatch, it opens a viewport . . . and every viewport that had so much as cracked in this past thirteen standard years had found a Dark Lord of the Sith already at the rim, peering in, calculating how best to slip through.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith novelization wrote:Depowered lampdisks were rings of ghostly gray floating in the gloom. The shimmering jewelscape of Coruscant haloed the knife-edged shadow of the chair.

This was the office of the Chancellor.

Within the chair's shadow sat another shadow: deeper, darker, formless and impenetrable, an abyssal umbra so profound that it drained light from the room around it.

And from the city. And the planet.

And the galaxy.

The shadow waited. It had told the boy it would. It was looking forward to keeping its word.

For a change.

***

The Coruscant nightfall was spreading through the galaxy.

The darkness in the Force was no hindrance to the shadow in the Chancellor's office; it was the darkness. Wherever darkness dwelled, the shadow could send perception.

In the night, the shadow felt the boy's anguish, and it was good. The shadow felt the grim determination of four Jedi Masters approaching by air. This, too, was good.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Unknown

(5) Sarasu Taalon, after bathing in the Pool of Knowledge, begins to shift the balance of the Force towards the dark side by his mere existence.

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi - Vortex wrote:Luke set the thermal detonator aside and aimed his long blaster at the lead figure, then peered through the sniperscope at the purple visage that probably belonged to Sarasu Taalon. He could not be certain because the slender face had grown gaunt and twisted, with brows that hooked sharply upward at the outer ends and cheekbones that protruded so prominently they looked like knuckles. The lips had grown bloated and cracked, and the mouth seemed twisted into a permanent grimace of pain.

But it was the eyes that troubled Luke most. They had turned as dark as wells, and shining up from the bottom were a pair of tiny light points, as bright and silver as stars.

Luke's stomach grew cold and heavy. He pulled away from the sniperscope and gazed down at the two beings with his naked eye, trying to decide whether they might not be a Fallanassi illusion after all. Living beings simply did not change into other kinds of beings. True, there ware any number of medical conditions that might cause someone's bones to grow knobby, or his lips to swell. A wasting disease or prolonged bout of hunger might cause a face to grow gaunt and eyebrows to take a different shape. There were even conditions and parasites that could turn hair into something that looked more like worms.

But those eyes ... eyes simply did not turn into pinpoints of silver light.

Luke peered into the sniperscope again and found himself looking into a slightly less grotesque version of the face he had glimpsed a moment before. The cheeks were no longer quite so knobby, the lips merely swollen and cracked. And the eyes, he saw now had merely changed color. The irises and sclera had turned as black as the pupils, creating the appearance of emptiness where there was simply darkness.

But the silver pinpoints remained.

Had they flickered or shifted as Taalon moved his head, they might have been no more than reflections of the Pydyrian sun. But they remained steady, shining out from the darkness of the High Lord's soul, and Luke knew why the Force was so full of portent that morning, why he could feel the Balance shifting toward shadow.

Taalon had been in the Pool of Knowledge, and that changed everything.

(6) Darth Krayt bends the Force to his will, causing the influence of the dark side to wax "stronger than ever" and to "reach peaks unseen except during the grimmest times in galactic history." He sinks his psychic fangs into the minds of those attuned to the dark side, being a perpetual presence gnawing at the back of their consciousness even if they're not directly serving him, such as Cade Skywalker. ILS has done as good a job as I ever could of covering this part, so with his permission I've copy-pasted his argument from the debate where he ripped KingofBlades a new asshole (at least unless he replies, if he ever does): Krayt's death causes his presence to vanish, but once he is reborn simply reaching out into the cosmic dark side makes the galaxy feel "a hundred times" darker from what it already was, and the "millions" of Sith Troopers are all attuned to and driven by his will as extensions of it. The dark side "lives and manifests itself" through Krayt.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda KVbE13M

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda RwyQGMk

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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Sith_t26

ILS wrote:
  • Krayt states: "I have been through death and conquered it. I have returned with my power multiplied. The dark side of the Force lives and manifests itself through me! I reach into the dark side now and send ripples through it to all who serve it -- know that I live!"
  • This power multiplication and embodiment of the dark side is substantiated in many ways: first, it's stated that "Throughout the dark side, the Force of Darth Krayt's will -- alive, dominant, and seductive -- is felt in the minds of the Sith from Korriban... to Mustafar... to Coruscant... and all planets in between. The sense of his presence invigorates and brings a fierce joy to the Sith." These are the Sith who "serve" the dark side which "lives and manifests itself" through Krayt. To invigorate means "To impart vigor, strength, or vitality to; animate." Krayt, quite literally, makes the Sith stronger by his presence in and by sending "ripples through" the dark side. Conversely, the dark side makes Krayt stronger, as is stated in Legacy #22: "The fear all around us. It feeds the dark side. I feel it flow into me, giving me strength."
  • Moreover, bonds within the Force can be drawn on as a source of strength, as established when Wolf encouraged Cade to draw on his bonds within the Force as a source of power: "No. You must use the Light side, Cade." "Not... strong... enough! More power in the dark side!" "That is a lie. Trust the bonds you once felt within the Force when you were my apprentice. The bonds you shared with your father, who walked firmly in the Light. They are still strong in you! The Force brought me here to this place, light years from where I was, to be here with you at this moment -- how can you not trust in the power of the Light Side above the dark? How can you not trust in the power of the Force?" An identifier of a strong Force Bond is the ability to sense when the other party has died: "I would have felt his death in the Force. When he just pulled me back from death's edge, it strengthened the bonds we share as Master and Padawan. He's alive. I know it." Krayt has a Force Bond with the dark side itself and any who "serve" it, which is proven by the fact when Krayt dies everyone who has a connection to the dark side immediately senses it. Antares Draco, a non-Sith, sensed when Krayt "rippled" through the dark side upon his return: "No... no! He's dead!" "Ha! You feel it also! The mind of Lord Krayt reverberating through the dark side! Final proof, Antares! The dark side exists in you!" He then sensed a "dark shudder in the Force" as Krayt died: "Wait, my liege! Wait! Did you feel it?! A dark shudder in the Force! Krayt is dead!" The Sith Trooper's sensed Krayt's death and tried to "follow him into the abyss." In contrast, those without a connection to the dark side, such as the Jedi, cannot sense Krayt's death. K'Kruhk relies on "reports" that Krayt is dead, and Shado Vao only hears about Krayt's death after a Sith Trooper announces it: "Lord Krayt is dead! Long live the Sith--" "Krayt is... dead?!" Shado later asked for confirmation if he really died: "You're certain Krayt was dead?"  The multiplication of the dark side's power and the number of Force Bonds available to "serve" Krayt is proven by the Sith Troopers. The Sith Troopers are more "powerful" than the One Sith, are "undefeatable," and are "culled from those strongest in the Force shortly after their birth." With them becoming active within the dark side, they would make it stronger and thus feed Krayt's power.
  • The extent of the dark side multiplication is revealed by writer Jan Duursema, who states that upon Krayt's return "whatever was corrupted by the Sith being in power is corrupted a hundred times more. Visually, I want to present places like Coruscant as having been influenced by this dark side corruption, a tarnished jewel at the center of galactic power. It feels more like Korriban now than Coruscant. The entire galaxy has become a dark and wary place like every being is holding their breath to see what will happen next." This is not just Jan's opinion, but a clarification and insight into what is depicted in Legacy: War #1, where it's stated: "Coruscant. Eight years ago it was the jewel of the galaxy. Now, Krayt's dragon ships hang in the polluted sky, casting predatory shadows of war. Coruscant's citizens have forfeited their souls." To pollute means: "To render impure or morally harmful; corrupt." To forfeit means: "To lose or give up (something)" or "To subject to seizure as a forfeit." The soul is the "part of humans regarded as immaterial, immortal, separable from the body at death, capable of moral judgment, and susceptible to happiness or misery in a future state." In other words, simply by arriving on Coruscant, Krayt and his Sith Troopers morally corrupted the entire planet and its trillions-strong population to the dark side, making Coruscant "feel more like Korriban" due to "the influence of dark side corruption" as well as darkening "the entire galaxy."
  • Krayt states: "I have become so much more than you can know, traitor."
  • Legacy War #1 states: "What no one knows is that Darth Krayt is returning better than before, with a new army of unquestionably obedient Sith Troopers..."
  • Krayt states: "Death is not an ending, boy -- but it is a passageway to something greater."
  • Krayt states: "You fled our last fight -- and I am so much more now than I was then."
  • Insider 121 states: "Speaking of Krayt, his surprise resurrection freed him from his reliance on the Yuuzhan Vong biotechnology that allowed the Clone Wars veteran-then known as A'Sharad Hett-to sustain his ancient body. The new Krayt is old but even stronger than before..." and "In Legacy: War we see Krayt free of the Vong parasites and at the most powerful he's ever been." and "It's as if the Yuuzhan Vong biots were dampening his power." "He is a being who has defeated age and disease. He has cheated death and believes himself to be immortal. He is the Krayt who would have been, had the Yuuzhan Vong not experimented on him."


We do have an amusing feat for Caedus to contrast the aforementioned, though. In Revelation, Caedus harnesses his anger to telepathically reach out to his "hundred of more or commanders" to "imbue them all with a little more aggression, a little less willingness to play by the rules of engagement." This creates a feedback loop where "the adrenaline and pure white rage looping back to him from the individual commanders made his throat tighten. It was almost like a back-pressure effect, that the passion for the battle that he was channeling into them gained power and momentum, and syphoned back into him as a changed and magnified thing that he felt he had to vent from his chest or scream. He was out of breath. [...] He had to get this energy out of him. It was a weight crushing his chest. [...] Caedus made an effort to sound detached and normal. It was hard to keep his voice steady. [...] His lungs demanded air. The cumulative effect of his commanders’ heart-pounding aggression needed out now."

Caedus is overwhelmed in both mind and body from feasting on the rage of about a hundred people. I'm quite confident I could find a slew of instances from other Sith Lords with similar but laughably better feats, yet the real hilarity is still to follow: "He could no longer pick out the individual crew and their stations around him in the Anakin Solo, just a complex tapestry of emotions, and that was the state of near blindness that he needed to push his way into the minds of strangers many kilometers away on the planet beneath." Caedus needs fashion a dark side feedback loop with his subordinates and amp himself to the point where he is nearly blinded by battle fury in order to have the focus and energy to zero in on a "control room team" on the planet below and "flood the operators’ minds with an urge to get the ships to safety as soon as possible, all kinds of worries and concerns about family members who might be on board, a burning sense of saving people, of pulling out all the stops," which leaves him "drifting in that fog of minds, drowning in their panic and urgency," and he is a fraction too late" in pulling his mind back to himself when his ship fires on the city and "a moment of pure animal terror that took his breath away. He jerked alert in his seat, wanting to complete a scream that wasn’t his," and he is left with a sentimental echo of his daughter and the son of his ship captain "from being in the minds of people who feared the worst for their own loved ones." All in all, the feat leaves him so "drained" that he wonders "if he could even move" and "for a moment he couldn’t even grip the arms of his seat."

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Revelation wrote:Nevil’s voice was unnaturally calm, as it always was. But despite shields, the turbolaser volleys that struck the Anakin Solo were enough to shake the bridge and fill the viewscreen with brilliant, blinding, white-gold light.

Caedus took it in his stride. This was meant to be, to put him in the right frame of mind to win. The bridge around him distorted a little and the colors seemed to leach out, but he recognized his anger and grabbed the reins to make it serve him. Unlike the bloodfin’s unlucky rider, he wouldn’t fall and be devoured by it.

He reached out to his commanders and imbued them all with a little more aggression, a little less willingness to play by the rules of engagement.

Nevil, looking at Caedus’s face, seemed frozen to the spot. Ah, my eyes have changed. They’d have to get used to that. The vague sensation of ships streaking in hyperspace had gone now.

“Captain,” Caedus said, “at least we know where they are. And why I didn’t sense that they were waiting for us.”

[...]

“Cha,” he said, “I know you’re busy, but have you actually listened to this? The Fourth Fleet elements inside the cordon?”

There were too many ships for her to even begin to monitor voice traffic from individual captains. “No, should I?”

“Yes. It’s … odd.”

Makin didn’t usually talk like that. He was precise and specific. Niathal almost dismissed it, but relented and listened in on the same comm channels.

The mood and tone in the command center of a warship, even in a tight spot, was a lot quieter and more focused than holodramas depicted. Under fire, it was intense, and voices did get raised, but what she heard was not typical of her navy.

One captain was urging cannon teams to blow the Fondorians apart in extremely graphic and profane terms. She winced. “Who’s that?”

“Tarpilan.”

“Is he drunk?” Jun Tarpilan? Never. She didn’t even realize he knew words like that. He was old school, very formal. “That can’t be him.”

“Work through them all. They’re all doing it. It’s like they’ve all gone collectively mad—well, more like they’ve all had a few ales too many and they want to take on the galaxy. And I don’t mean incompetent, either.”

Niathal was starting to worry. The more she listened, the worse it got. Commanders she’d known for years—human, Mon Cal, Sullustan, all species—seemed to have taken on more reckless and aggressive personas. It was no time to dissect this with Makin, but she thought of the things Luke Skywalker had told her about Jacen dabbling in the darker side of the Force. Jedi could carry off some extraordinary sensory manipulation; she would have bet her pension that Jacen could, too.

“I’d use the phrase fighting mad,” she said.

[...]

The Anakin Solo was in a hurry, and plowed between two orbitals on a direct course for Oridin.

A wave of fighters broke from an attack on the cruiser Armistice—pounding away with turbolasers at a yard that was venting gases into the atmosphere—and headed for the destroyer. Balls of white flame flared and died in the viewscreen, gone in an instant, and Caedus couldn’t tell—with his eyes, at least—if they were fighters exploding or strikes on vessels.

He didn’t need the tracking screen to feel the ships. He was fully battle-aware now, sharing his channeled anger to embolden the commanders in his fleet, and able to shut out anything that was irrelevant to the situation at hand. If Luke tried any more stunts with illusions, he wouldn’t get far.

The adrenaline and pure white rage looping back to him from the individual commanders made his throat tighten. It was almost like a back-pressure effect, that the passion for the battle that he was channeling into them gained power and momentum, and syphoned back into him as a changed and magnified thing that he felt he had to vent from his chest or scream.

He was out of breath. He hoped nobody noticed. It might have looked as if he were panicking.

“Sir …” Nevil seemed to be agitated by the battle link. He looked as if he was trying to shake it off, like someone fighting to stay awake. If he’d only given in to it, he would have felt much better, like the others Caedus could hear—could feel—totally caught up in combat. “Sir, I’d appreciate it if you’d share your plans for breaching Fondor’s shield, because with the power we’ve got available, we’re going to be hammering away for hours to weaken it. Can I suggest we divert Dewback to help us out?”

“It won’t be necessary,” Caedus said. He had to get this energy out of him. It was a weight crushing his chest. “Alternative power source, you might say. I’m going to get them to drop the shield. Stand by concussion missiles.”

“I see.” Nevil’s tone said that he wanted to take this on faith, but he was struggling. “Is this like …”

“Captain, I know you’re troubled by what you saw happen with Tebut, and … I regret my behavior, but I’m learning to use combat powers way beyond those of the Jedi, and I wasn’t fully in control of them then. I am now. Keep monitoring the shield, and as soon as you see it drop, set ten concussion missiles to airburst over Oridin and two over the shield generator plant.” Caedus made an effort to sound detached and normal. It was hard to keep his voice steady. “Don’t fear me.”

“Very well, sir.”

Nevil said it in as matter-of-fact a tone as if his commander had asked for a cup of caf at an inconvenient moment. Caedus sat down in one of the command seats and watched the disk of Fondor gradually filling the viewscreen until it had no sharply contrasted frame of black space left.

His lungs demanded air. The cumulative effect of his commanders’ heart-pounding aggression needed out now. He could no longer pick out the individual crew and their stations around him in the Anakin Solo, just a complex tapestry of emotions, and that was the state of near blindness that he needed to push his way into the minds of strangers many kilometers away on the planet beneath.

The dam burst in him, but it found a river channel.

Caedus saw what the Fondorians operating the shield facility might see; he had no idea what the actual location looked like, but he didn’t need to waste his strength projecting his consciousness to actually observe. Any imagined scene would do to focus him as the torrent of anger and raw nerves of a hundred or more commanders poured back through him. He pictured the shield generator plant, the control room, imagining it much as any other power plant in the industrialized galaxy: a wall covered in readouts and status lights, and rows of consoles around him where other workers kept an eye on the integrity of the shield and ensured that a constant power level fed it. There would be a message system, possibly an illuminated board updating staff on the security alert level, too. The exact details didn’t matter, he knew, as long as he could imagine enough about what was happening in their minds to be able to latch on to some breeze of a thought in the Force, and slip into their world.

It was like listening for a particular noise or vibration when tuning a speeder drive. He always knew which sounds were normal, and which—however faint, however close to the threshold of his hearing—shouldn’t have been there and indicated a problem. Once he heard that sound, it was the only one he could hear, blanking out all others.

Caedus dropped into that white noise of the feelings and thoughts of billions on Fondor, and heard the one repeating note out of kilter with the rest. He focused. In seconds, it filled his head to the exclusion of all else.

He was aware of solid, real beings moving around him on the ship, but he was now more aware of the shield generator facility five kilometers east of Oridin and the minds of the control room team.

There were more of them than usual, he could feel that. There was a sense of having strangers around, as if they’d called in extra staff and were running emergency operations, which fitted a facility that probably ran on standby with droids and a caretaker crew most of the time.

The fleet needs to shelter.

Caedus concentrated on projecting an impression that the GA Fleet and its allies had been driven off, and now ships needed to return to base under the protection of the shield. There was urgency in it, because many of the vessels were damaged and needed to land before atmosphere vented or hulls gave way.

Open up. Let us in.

He flooded the operators’ minds with an urge to get the ships to safety as soon as possible, all kinds of worries and concerns about family members who might be on board, a burning sense of saving people, of pulling out all the stops …

Now. Drop the shields, we’re going to crash, let us through, for pity’s sake help us—

“Shields down!” It wasn’t Nevil’s voice, but that of the weapons officer. Caedus was still drifting in that fog of minds, drowning in their panic and urgency, and not here with the ship that was going to unleash their worst nightmare. “Conc section, fire when ready—”

Caedus tried to snap back at the moment the airburst sent a blinding, searing shock wave across the packed city, but he was a fraction too late, and he caught a moment of pure animal terror that took his breath away. He jerked alert in his seat, wanting to complete a scream that wasn’t his. He caught it in time. If he’d screamed—well, the crew thought he was crazy anyway.

On the monitor, he could see a fireball spreading and debris billowing up into the atmosphere on a plume of rolling smoke. Now he needed other GA vessels to turn toward the planet and press home their advantage. He wondered if he could even move. He was drained, and for a moment he couldn’t even grip the arms of his seat.

“Sir …”

Caedus looked up into Nevil’s face, suddenly reminded that the Quarren once had a son, but Caedus had forgotten his name. And I had a daughter. She’s lost to me now. It was a sentimental thought totally at odds with being a living weapon. He suspected it was an echo from being in the minds of people who feared the worst for their own loved ones.

“Sir, Admiral Niathal is on the comm.”

“Tell her to wait. We need to hit Fondor hard now, before their fleet closes in on us.”

The colors were coming back. The bridge looked familiar again.

Caedus’s head was clearing, and he could see the overlay in his mind again, the biggest cities on the planet and the infrastructure that he would need to cripple to bring Fondor to its knees. It was like being in a pleasant trance; not fully in the present, but aware, and unwilling to snap out of it because it felt so still and perfect—as if everything in the galaxy suddenly made sense and had an answer. He was vaguely aware that the captain had darted away. He was probably stalling Niathal from another comm position so he could gripe about Caedus unheard. No matter. He could gripe all he wished.

“Take us in,” Caedus said to the helm officer. “Close as you can.”

Far from Caedus being with the big leages, without amping himself to the point of nearly bursting and being utterly drained, he cannot even accomplish a telepathy feat we'd expect to be performed casually by the likes of Sith initiate Exar Kun. You can cry "mediums!" all you want but every piece of evidence like this is nonetheless something to be put on the table and weighed. Not to say he is sub-Kun on this alone, but if Caedus has no better feats to juxtapose this with across his nearly 20 novella appearances, nearly 20 comic appearances, and nearly 50 novel appearances then his value in my eyes is doubly diminished.
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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Empty Re: My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda

April 30th 2023, 7:05 pm

DARTH CAEDUS VS. LUKE SKYWALKER

Finally, I come to the most controversial subject surrounding the placement of Darth Caedus: his standing next to Luke Skywalker. In this section I will go over each datapoint and explain whether I see merit in them, and to conclude I'll tally together everything that endorses Caedus with a My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1289255181 and everything that repudiates him with a My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1419419311 to determine which side is better supported by the material.

(1) Starting with The New Jedi Order, in The Unifying Force Onimi references a conversation Vergere has with Nom Anor that Jacen Solo is the most dangerous Jedi of all. I've seen this used as binding proof that Jacen is stronger or better in a fight than Luke, but simply looking at the original conversation in Traitor reveals its true context.

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order - Traitor wrote:Nom Anor hurled his sacworm across the chamber. It splattered against the wall, then slid to the floor, where it gave out a tiny whistling sigh, and died. Instantly Nom Anor mastered himself again, wiping his lipless mouth with the back of his wrist.

“So it is over,” he muttered darkly. “We have failed. You have failed,” he amended, wondering if he could get far enough away in his coralcraft to escape Tsavong Lah’s anger at this new disaster, wondering if he could give himself up to the New Republic, if there was any way he could persuade the surviving Jedi not to slay him on sight. He still knew many secrets, valuable secrets …

Vergere interrupted his speculation. “Executor, let me go to him.”

“Absolutely not. I can’t have you running around in the middle of the tizo’pil Yun’tchilat, you foolish creature. Don’t you remember that our Solo Project is secret? How secret will it be after you run through the Nursery trying to save his useless skin?”

“Hardly useless, Executor. As I said before, his education has proceeded very well indeed. Though I admit it could be going better right now.”

“Could be better?” Nom Anor flicked his wrist at the viewspider’s optical sac, where the dim silhouette of Jacen Solo armed himself. “He has learned nothing! He is about to throw his life away in a futile battle. Over mere slaves! He is as weak as any other Jedi—weaker!”

“He is not a Jedi,” Vergere replied imperturbably. “And it is not his life that concerns me.”

“Are you mad?” Nom Anor stomped furiously around the viewspider, which danced nervously to keep its delicate feet out from under the executor’s human-style boots. “He cannot possibly win such a battle! How can he expect to fight two squads? Even if he goes back to hiding in the grove—”

“Winning,” Vergere said, her crest fanning a solemn blasterbore gray, “is not the same as fighting. Watch.”

The shadow suddenly vanished, and the image within the optical sac shifted and flickered liquidly as the viewspider sought new visual sources. “What’s happening?” Nom Anor demanded uselessly. “Does he flee? Is he running away like the broken Jedi brat he has always been?”

“Executor.” Her fingers wrapped his elbow, astonishingly strong. “Jacen Solo no longer has the Force, but that is not his only weapon. He is a warrior born: eldest son and heir to a long line of a warriors. He has trained since birth in the combat arts. He has been tested and tried, bloodied in battle, and he—”

“He’s nothing but a boy.” Nom Anor stared at her. “Have you lost your wits? I know this boy. Humans do not honor warrior lineage. His means nothing. He is nothing.”

Vergere spoke without the faintest hint of irony. “I tell you this: though neither he nor they yet know it, he is the greatest of all the Jedi. Jacen Solo is the living Jedi dream. Even without the Force, he is more dangerous than you can possibly imagine. You must let me go to him. He must be stopped.”

“Stopped from what? Soiling his robeskin as he runs away?”

“Stopped from destroying the tizo’pil Yun’tchilat. Stopped, very likely, from destroying the seedship itself.”

Nom Anor’s mouth came open, but from it came only a fading hiss. The calm certainty in Vergere’s eye silenced him as effectively as a punch in the throat. He couldn’t seem to get his breath. “Destroy the ship?” he was finally able to gasp.

“Don’t you understand, Executor? He isn’t running away.”

She gestured at the viewspider’s sac, where it had recovered enough image to show a lone shape sprinting headlong to meet the oncoming thunderclouds of warrior squads.

Vergere said, “He’s attacking.”

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order - The Unifying Force wrote:"Vergere told Nom Anor that you are the most dangerous Jeedai of all," Onimi said. "And well you should be, since you carry Yun-Shuno within you-the betrayer of all I have sought to create. But soon, when I have killed you, you will be my passage to godhood. All you hold dear will have been destroyed. The species that gave you its blood and died to bring you worshipers. Most of all, the living world you returned from the Unknown Regions. Even now it anticipates its own death. It gasps for breath. Can you feel it? Our vessels are plunging through the shields you tried to create, coming closer and closer to the surface. The consciousness of that world is crying out that you have failed to protect it!

Vergere says that Jacen is the "he is the greatest of all the Jedi" and "more dangerous than you can possibly imagine" without the Force, so does this mean non-Force-sensitive Jacen is stronger than Luke? Obviously not. Vergere states "Jacen Solo no longer has the Force, but that is not his only weapon," and that his superlative greatness is not something "neither he nor they yet know of." To conclude from this that Jacen is the most powerful  Jedi or most capable fighter and can beat up Luke is blatantly asinine. Moreover, let's take a look at what Vergere is actually speaking of:

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order - Traitor wrote:Jacen Solo sprints into battle.

As he runs, he makes an image in his mind. The amphistaff he carries matches itself to this image, coiling more than half its length around his forearm. An internal pulse from its linked chain of power glands generates an energy field that rigidifies its semicrystalline cell structure, locking it in that form: a meter of it extends from his right fist, tipped with a double-handspan blade. The same field that rigidifies the amphistaff extends a fractional millimeter beyond the blade, giving it an edge no thicker than an atomic diameter.

So it is that when one of the unarmed warriors springs to bar Jacen’s path, hands wide to grapple, the blade passes with only a whisper of resistance through flesh and bone. One arm spirals lazily through the air, showering droplets of blood; one leg topples sideways, twitching in the grass. Jacen does not even break stride.

The remaining two unarmored warriors decide they should leave him to their better-equipped comrades.

Thud bugs hum through the air around him, but the eyespots of the amphistaffs wrapped around Jacen’s body are infrared—and motion-sensitive; he is able to integrate their empathic reactions into a full-surround field of perception that is not dissimilar to the Force itself—and he has trained for years to avoid weapons that he can only barely perceive. The greensward blossoms with scarlet detonations as he dodges, dives and rolls, comes to his feet, and keeps running.

Dozens more thud bugs curve toward him, homing like concussion missiles as he sprints straight at the oncoming squads of heavily armed warriors. The nearest warrior thrusts his amphistaff at Jacen like a force pike. Jacen dives beneath its point, rolling forward on his shoulder, stabbing upward; his blade enters the warrior’s body at the joining of pelvis and thigh. The pursuing thud bugs denotate massively, scattering warriors like toy soldiers swiped away by the invisible hand of a giant child as Jacen’s momentum completes the roll, bringing him to one knee and driving the blade upward through the warrior’s groin and entrails and chest.

Only energy fields like its own can withstand the amphistaff’s edge; the shells of vonduun crabs are intricately structured crystal, reinforced by a field generated by power glands very similar to those of the amphistaff itself. But that field protects only the shell; beneath their shells, vonduun crabs are soft, and when Jacen’s blade slices through the crab’s field-nerve cable from the inside, the armor might as well be made of bantha butter.

A multiple blast bug detonation slaps the warrior forward, and Jacen’s blade shears through spine and armor alike to burst from the warrior’s back in a fountain of gore—and slices as well through the warrior’s blast bug bandolier. As Jacen rolls backward with the concussion and kicks free of the shuddering corpse, he grabs the severed bandolier. An instant later, he is up again, running, staggering, stumbling, deafened and half stunned by the explosions. Behind him, the warrior squads scramble and regroup. Jacen ignores them.

All his attention, all his concentration, all his will, is focused on the blast bug bandolier in his hand.

The bandolier is bleeding from its severed ends; dying, its sole wish is to release its children—the blast bugs locked in its linked belt of hexagonal germination chambers—so that they might fulfill their explosive destiny. Jacen can keenly feel its desire. In the emotional language of his empathic talent, he promises the ultimate satisfaction of this desire, if the bandolier will only wait for his signal.

Ahead, the remaining two squads draw themselves into a tight wedge, its point toward Jacen, its broad base covering the bacta-tank-sized tub that holds the shreeyam’tiz. As more blast bugs hum toward him from all directions, Jacen heaves the bandolier overhand like a proton grenade; it twists lazily, high through the stark noon.

With his empathic talent, he projects a pulse-hammer thrill of anticipation teetering over the brink to fulfillment, a shuddering surge of adrenaline that would roughly translate as—

Now!

The bandolier flares into a starshell over the base of the wedge at the same time as the blast bugs targeted on Jacen arrive in a thundering swarm, striking him and the ground and the warriors nearby indiscriminately, concussion bursts battering them all helplessly this way and that, ending with Jacen finally blown off his feet into a high spinning arc through the air.

As the inside-out world wheels around him in a darkening blood-tinged whirl, Jacen has time to feel the agony from his slave seed-web suddenly ease and to push an exhausted empathic invitation down through the slave seed. All right, my friend. Now it’s your turn.

The blood-tinged darkness swallows him before he hits the ground.

* * *

“There, you see?” Nom Anor nodded contemptuously toward the suddenly vivid image in the viewspider’s optical sac, showing Jacen lying unconscious, bleeding on the blast-shredded Nursery turf, still within his improvised armor of amphistaffs. “Your ‘greatest of all the Jedi’ has succeeded in killing a mere two or three warriors. A useless, weak fool—”

“You are not paying attention,” Vergere chimed. “I ask you again: let me go to him before we are all lost.”

“Don’t be absurd. There cannot possibly be any danger. We’ll watch the end of this little farce in full color. He is unconscious; the warriors will restrain him and deliver him as ordered.”

Vergere’s lips curved upward like a human’s smile, and she opened her hands toward the sharp, detailed image, which showed Jacen stirring, shaking his head, struggling to rise. “Then why are they not doing so already?”

Nom Anor frowned. “I—I am not sure—”

“Perhaps the warriors have more pressing matters to attend to.”

“More pressing,” he said heavily, “than following my orders?”

“Executor, Executor,” she chided. “You see, but you do not see.”

In the viewspider’s image sac, the quality of light had changed: the Nursery’s stark blue-white noon now took on highlights of red, gold, yellow that danced and flickered and played over Jacen’s hair and face and his tattered, blood-soaked robeskin. Nom Anor frowned at this, uncomprehending, until a thick twist of black, greasy-looking smoke drifted through the image.

The new colors came from fire.

His frown darkened into a scowl; his anger and disgust curdled into a ball of ice in his stomach. “What is going on?” he demanded. “Vergere, tell me what is happening in there!”

Now in the image sac, two crab-armored warriors staggered into view, scorched, bleeding from multiple wounds. One passed too close to Jacen’s back, and one of the amphistaffs braided around the human’s torso lashed out convulsively, spearing the warrior through the side of the knee. The other warrior kept running headlong, fleeing without a backward glance, and Nom Anor soon discovered what the warrior fled from: a limping, snarling, shouting mob, bearing a variety of improvised weapons, from spade rays to malledillos to writhing wild amphistaffs as much a danger to their wielder as to an enemy, which descended upon the hamstrung warrior to beat and chop him to death with savage triumph.

“Those are slaves …” Nom Anor breathed. “How can slaves have gotten so far out of control?”

Vergere’s crest shifted to a brilliant orange, rippled with green. “Answer me this, Nom Anor: why is the viewspider’s image so suddenly clear?”

He stared, drop-jawed and panting.

“The warriors were never his target,” she said as though offering a hint to a puzzled child.

Finally, belatedly, he understood. The ball of ice inside his stomach sent freezing waves out to his fingertips. “He has killed the shreeyam’tiz!”

“Yes.”

“How could he—why didn’t you—he, I mean, you—”

“You will recall that I warned you.”

“You—Vergere, you—I thought you were—”

Her black, fathomless eyes held his. “Have you not yet learned, Executor,” she said expressionlessly, “that everything I tell you is the truth?”

* * *

The tizo’pil Yun’tchilat dissolved in slaughter.

Each dhuryam, severed from its telepathic links by the shreeyam’tiz, had been forced to wait, blind and deaf, sizzling in a rolling boil of stress hormones, burning with the desperate hope that the next sensation it would feel might be the awakening of sense and power and the pure clean knowledge that it, alone of all, had been chosen the pazhkic Yuuzhan’tar al’tirrna: the World Brain of God’s Crèche.

But each had been secretly consumed by deep, gnawing terror: that instead it would feel only a slice of unstoppable blade, delivering the devouring fire of amphistaff venom to rip it out of life and into the eternal suffering the Gods inflict upon the unworthy.

And so when the blast bug bandolier had burst, sending dozens of the explosive creatures rocketing into the tank that held the shreeyam’tiz—where the fluid bath that supported and nourished the shreeyam’tiz had multiplied their concussive force, sending an immense gout of fluid and blood and shredded flesh reaching for the fusion spark that was the Nursery’s sun—all but one of the dhuryams could not begin to guess what was going on.

All but one of the dhuryams were shocked, stunned, shattered to find their slave-based senses returning; all but one were more than shocked, more than stunned—minds blasted away by black panic—to find that their siblings had also recovered their senses and their slaves in a Nursery that echoed with explosions and reeked of fresh blood, filled with terrified, cowering shapers and heavily armed warriors shivering on the edge of combat frenzy.

The one dhuryam that knew what was going on was not shocked, or stunned, or panicked. It was simply desperate, and ruthless.

Dhuryams are fundamentally pragmatic creatures. They do not understand trust, and so have no concept of betrayal. This particular dhuryam, like all the others, had long been aware that its life hung upon the outcome of the tizo’pil Yun’tchilat, and that its chances were no better than those of each of its dozen siblings.

That is: twelve to one. Against.

None of the dhuryams had ever liked those odds; this one had decided to do something about it.

It had made a deal with Jacen Solo.

When the telepathic interference from the shreeyam’tiz had suddenly vanished, the dhuryam not only knew exactly what had happened, it knew who had done it and why.

And it knew what to do next.

While echoes of the blast bug bandolier still rang within the Nursery, the dhuryam sent its slaves scrambling away from the coraltree basals, scattering toward a number of ooglith hummocks. A touch upon the nerve plexus that serves—in the shaped oogliths known as masquers—as the release caused these wild oogliths to retract similarly … but what these wild oogliths had enclosed was not their usual hollow skeleton frames of stone.

These oogliths had been coaxed to conceal stacks of crude, improvised weapons.

Certain tools had been stockpiled surreptitiously over some few days, concealed in the ooglith hummocks nearest the coraltree basals: mostly broad-bladed spade rays, long and heavy for the breaking of the ground, and armored malledillos as tall as a warrior, dense and tough enough to shatter stone with every blow.

The oogliths had also concealed a number of sacworms, filled to bursting with sparkbee honey; sparkbees were the wild baseline from which thud bugs and blast bugs had been shaped, uncounted years ago. Each sacworm’s gut had also been injected with a tiny amount of a digestive enzyme from the stomachs of vonduun crabs. By swinging a spade ray like a catapult, a slave might hurl one of these sacworms a considerable distance.

Accuracy was not a consideration. The sacworms burst on impact, spraying gelatinous honey in every direction. The enzyme-activated sparkbee honey clung to whatever it struck; on contact with the Nursery’s air, it burst into flame.

In seconds, fire was everywhere.

Warriors roasting to death within their useless armor were unable to protect themselves, and even less able to defend the shapers they had escorted. The shapers, having no experience or training for warfare, could only scramble for the nearest breath vein. Many died: splashed with flame, or crushed by blows from malledillos, or hacked by spade rays swung like vibro-axes. On the surface of the hive-lake, burning sparkbee honey spread like oil.

And all but one of the dhuryams shared a single thought: to gather to itself the slaves who were its eyes and hands. They had to pack their slaves onto the hiveisland, to surround themselves with walls of flesh. None of them had any other hope of self-defense.

Except for one.

And so when all the slaves belonging to all the other dhuryams sprinted from throughout the Nursery, whipped onward by the coral seed-webs savaging their nerves, converging upon the hive-lake to drown the double ring of warrior-guards in waves of shuddering, clutching, bleeding bodies, the slaves belonging to one particular dhuryam did not.

Instead, they fanned out in teams of five. One team clustered around Jacen Solo, and waited while he dragged himself brokenly to his feet. Bleeding from a dozen wounds, he swayed as though faint or dizzy, then moved toward the lake with the five slaves around him. The other teams raced through the smoke and flames, skipping over corpses and slipping on spilled blood, until they reached the coraltree basals.

In seconds, the coraltree basals became towering columns of flame, fueled by sparkbee honey. The slaves did not wait to see if the flames would suffice, but went to work with spade rays and malledillos and captured amphistaffs, chopping and pounding and hacking each and every coraltree basal to death.

***

Nom Anor stared at the universe of bloody carnage within the viewspider’s sac with numb, uncomprehending horror.

“What—?” he murmured blankly. “What—?”

“Executor. We’re running out of time.”

“Time? What time? This—this disaster … We are dead, don’t you understand? Tsavong Lah will slaughter us.”

“Ever the optimist,” Vergere chirped. “You assume we’ll live out the hour.”

Nom Anor glared at her speechlessly.

Once again, that unexpectedly strong hand of hers clasped his arm. “Have the warriors outside this chamber escort me to the Nursery. And call your commander, if he still lives. I’ll need someone with enough authority to get me through the guards, onto the hive-island—if any of the hive guards live that long.”

“The hive-island?” Nom Anor blinked stupidly. He couldn’t get any of this to make sense. “What are you talking about?”

Vergere opened a hand at the viewspider’s optical sac. “Do you think he’s finished, Nom Anor? Does our avatar of the Twin seek only confusion and slaughter—or does he produce confusion and slaughter as a diversion?”

“Diversion? To accomplish what?” Then his good eye bulged wide—in the viewspider’s image sac he saw Jacen and the five slaves who accompanied him wade into the chest-deep murk of the hive-lake, hacking their way through the churning, struggling, bleeding tangle of slaves and warriors. One of Jacen’s companions fell, speared through the throat by a warrior’s amphistaff; another was dragged under the water by the clawing hands of unarmed slaves. The three remaining swung their spade rays wildly, trying not only to keep warriors and slaves at bay but also to splash a path through the flames that floated on the surface of the lake.

Jacen slogged grimly on, half swimming, without a glance at the slaves who defended him. Any warrior or attacking slave in his path fell to lightning slashes and stabs of the amphistaffs he wielded in both hands. He didn’t even bother to wipe from his eyes the blood that flowed from a deep scalp wound.

All he did was walk, and kill.

He turned toward the center of the lake. Toward the hive-island. And kept walking.

Nom Anor breathed, “The dhuryams …”

“They are the brains of this ship, Executor. He has already shredded the tizo’pil Yun’tchilat, and he cannot hope to escape. What other target is worthy of his life?”

“You sound like you’re proud of him!”

“More than proud,” she replied serenely. “He surpasses my fondest hope.”

“Without a World Brain to direct the separation and atmospheric insertion, the whole ship could be destroyed! He’ll kill himself along with everyone else!”

Vergere shrugged and folded her arms, smiling. “Wurth Skidder.”

Nom Anor’s stomach roiled until he tasted blood. The Jedi Skidder had given his life to kill a single yammosk—and the dhuryams were vastly more valuable. Beyond valuable. Indispensable. “He can’t,” Nom Anor panted desperately. “He can’t—the life-forms aboard this ship are irreplaceable—”

“Yes. All of them. Especially: he himself.”

“He couldn’t! I mean—could he? Would he?”

“Ah, Executor, what a happy place the universe would be if all our questions were so easily answered,” she chimed, opening her hands toward the viewspider’s image sac.

It showed Jacen Solo on the hive-island’s shore, driving one of his blades through the chest of a maddened shaper while with the other he opened what might have been either a slave or a masqued warrior from collarbone to groin. Two of his escort survived; they had turned just at the waterline, where their blurring swipes of spade rays could not quite hold back a mob of suicidally fierce slaves. The two gave ground, forced backward up the beach, while Jacen scrambled up onto the nearest of the huge dhuryam chambers of calcified coral.

He paused there, hesitating, standing atop the waxy hexagonal plug that sealed the birth chamber’s end, his amphistaffs raised, again swaying as though he might faint. Below, blunt edges of spade rays hacked into slave flesh, and Jacen flinched as though jolted by a near-miss blaster bolt, seemingly only now remembering where he was and what he had come here to do.

Then he drove his twin amphistaff blades downward through the plug.

“A less tractable question, as you see,” Vergere said, “is, Can we stop him?”

Nom Anor staggered, fingers working uselessly as though he thought he could reach through the viewspider’s image sac and grab Jacen’s throat. “Has he gone completely mad?”

Vergere’s only reply was a steadily expectant stare.

He covered his face with his hands. “Go,” he said, his voice weak, muffled. “Kill him if you must. Save the ship.”

She gave a sprightly bow. “At your command, Executor.”

He heard the hatch open, then close again, and instantly he dropped his hands. In his eyes shone the clear light of simple calculation. He stroked the villip, snapped orders, then let it fall. When he opened the hatch sphincter, a swift glance assured him the tubeway was empty.

Executor Nom Anor ran for his coralcraft as though pursued by krayt dragons.

He had not survived so much of this war by underestimating Jedi. Particularly the Solo family.

Jacen doesn't intend to fight the Vong warriors head-on, only treating the skirmish as a diversion from the slave revolt he wants to cause, which in itself is but a large diversion from his plan to kill the dhuryams. To quote Obi-Wan Kenobi, "A fight is never a goal in itself. Sometimes it is simply a distraction from the true goal, and best countered with a larger distraction." Jacen is dangerous and great in Vergere's mind not because he is an unparalleled lightsaber duelist or the strongest Force-wielder, but because of his ability to think outside the box and apply the lessons she's been teaching him. I'm going to rule a hard My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1419419311 on this one.

(2) Continuing, we have Jacen's musings in Traitor that if he follows the path of the pure warrior and embraces the dark side (using that term for clarity's sake here), "he could surpass any living Jedi, even Uncle Luke. Surpass even the Jedi Knights of old. He could be the greatest sword of the Force who had ever lived."

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order - Traitor wrote:The opportunity. Anakin's lightsaber. Anakin had made it. Anakin had used it. It had changed him, and he had transformed it. Its crystal was not like those of other lightsabers, but was a living Vonglife gem.

Part Jedi. Part Yuuzhan Vong, he thought. Almost like me. They were offering him Anakin's life: his spirit, his skill, his courage.

His violence. Jacen had first used a lightsaber in combat at the age of three. He was a natural. And now he could feel the Yuuzhan Vong. And the Force was with him. He could follow Anakin's path. He could be pure warrior. He could be even greater than his brother had been: with the dark power he could command, he could surpass any living Jedi, even Uncle Luke. Surpass even the Jedi Knights of old. He could be the greatest sword of the Force who had ever lived.

More: He could avenge his brother with the weapon his brother had forged.

I could pick that up, he thought, and kill them all. Is that who I am?

Is that who I want to be?

EC argues that "the passages from before are to show that the dark power being talked about about is not about a ‘what-if Jacen went dark’ scenario (I.e; Dooku’s estimation of Dark Yoda in Yoda: Dark Rendezvous), nor about some future dark power Jacen could one day wield - it’s talking about Jacen’s darkness during the novel and directly leading up to this point. This is also supported by the use of a lightsaber as symbolism, all Jacen needs to do is dawn the lightsaber and it all becomes his." EC later argues "Jacen’s dark power, which could make him the greatest sword of the Force who had ever lived, is then expanded upon by his use of the light side, which makes him far more powerful than he had dreamt of prior to its use."

I don't agree. I don't see how the preceding passages EC cites where Jacen gives into the dark side preclude his later thoughts about becoming the GOAT referring an indeterminate time in the future. The text reads "the dark power he could command," not "the dark power he commanded" - the language used is not at all as clear on immediacy as EC asserts; I would even say that taking it as referring to the future reads more naturally than taking it as referring to the present, at least it does to me. Then there's the fact that Jacen's feats with the dark side in Traitor, or in general as far as I know, are inferior to Luke's (and the vast majority of high-tier characters) by a colossal margin - the idea that tapping into the dark side and choosing the warrior's way makes him in the moment the strongest Force-wielder in history, and that in accepting Vergere's philosophy he transcends that hypothetical of the dark warrior, is not reinforced and is only contradicted by the rest of the lore. I'll give this one hard My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1419419311 as well.

(3) Next, we have the James Luceno interview quote from starwars.com where the interviewer mentions Jacen Solo's "link to the Force seems to grow even beyond Luke's."

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

Firstly, we don't know who the interviewer is, so it's unclear whether this is merely their opinion or impression, or if it's meant to be a more "official" take by starwars.com (official to the extent that any other power level accolade is; Lucasfilm doesn't track such quotes). Secondly, the word "seem" casts doubt on whether it is really the case or something that may appear to only be true on the surface but in actuality is not so. It might also possibly refer to Jacen's Vongsense - he's able to perceive a spectrum of the Force Luke is blind to - but though his link to the Force may be broader, it doesn't have to be deeper. Another option is that it's an allusion to Jacen's temporary attainment of perfect oneness given the interview and book were released on the same day (November 4th, 2003). In any case, the phrasing makes it ambiguous to discern its intended meaning, or whether it was even intended to be anything important rather than just a passing comment by the interviewer. I'm of the belief in these cases it's best to turn to the primary source material to appraise such claims, especially when this quote appears to directly reference it. Speaking of which:

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order - The Unifying Force wrote:Mara looked at him dubiously. “You’re thinking like a Jedi instead of an admiral or an elected official.” She blew out her breath. “All right. What’s your solution to ending this war?”

“I don’t know yet. I just know that Alpha Red isn’t the solution.”

Mara smiled at him and took his hand. “I happen to agree. But you are starting to sound a little like Vergere and Jacen.”

“Guilty as charged. But is that wrong?”

“Not in principle. Except that you’re probably more attuned to the Force than either of them.”

Luke made his lips a thin line. “I feel like I’m still in training for the trials. Every second of every day. It never ends, and I wouldn’t have it otherwise. My understanding of the Force continues to grow. I know I’m a Jedi Master, but I may not feel like a true Master until my dying breath. Besides, Jacen, Jaina, Tahiri, Ben … They’re the future of the Jedi. Everything we do now must be for them—to ensure that they carry on what began a thousand generations ago.”

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order - The Unifying Force wrote:What does the Force want for the Yuuzhan Vong?

The question echoed in Jacen’s mind long after he had returned to the hollow that had become his haunt on Zonama Sekot.

He drew his lightsaber from his cloth belt, activated the green blade, and waved it through the brisk air. Unnerved by the thrumming sound, birds perched in the surrounding boras took to the pale blue sky.

Jacen stood with his feet parallel, right foot forward, carrying his weight on the balls of his feet, then springing off his rear foot in attack. On the slope of the hill, he spread his feet wider, and angled them to one another. He swung the blade without ducking or flinching, bobbing or weaving, assuming an ideal attitude as he glided forward in uninterrupted motion, or took short steps with each foot to maintain his focus and equilibrium.

He held the pommel at middle guard, slightly in front of his stomach, with the tip angled up at thirty degrees, and worked through several velocity and dulon sequences. Then, lowering the tip as if to point at an opponent’s knees, he slashed diagonally upward. He raised the lightsaber over his head, handle pointed to his imaginary opponent’s eyes—critically angled for a Yuuzhan Vong—and slashed downward. Elbows pointed to the ground, he held the lightsaber upright, over his right shoulder and alongside his head, then spun through a series of jung attacks and jung ma parries. Finally he held the lightsaber low on his right side, with the blade pointing at the ground behind him, and performed a sweeping upward diagonal. Front-flipping high into the air to the edge of the pool, he threw himself through Force-assisted rolls and full-circle whirls, shooting to his feet to execute rotating side strokes and short twisting wrist snaps until his breath came fast and sweat dripped from his face.

Sensing, then, that someone was watching him, he deactivated the blade in sudden self-consciousness. He sighed and sat down. He was a decent lightsaber master and sai acrobat, but nowhere near as skilled as Luke, Kyp, Mara, Corran—or Anakin.

His heart just wasn’t in it.

Mara says that Luke is "probably more attuned to the Force" than Jacen, which by definition means it's more likely for Luke to be more powerful than for Jacen to be more powerful. While this is her opinion, do we have any reason from the primary source material to doubt it? If the interviewer quote is all there is to oppose it, I'd say that in itself casts more uncertainty on said quote - I'm of the belief that secondary and tertiary material ought to nearly always be interpreted in the context of the primary material without altering it too much or at all. And to clarify, this is before Jacen's famous conversation with Luke about embracing the Unifying Force and Luke's maelstrom on Shimrra's Citadel, so Mara is commenting on Luke before he cuts loose.

Luceno also writes Jacen to be "a decent lightsaber master and sai acrobat, but nowhere near as skilled as Luke, Kyp, Mara, Corran—or Anakin," which would be odd if his link to the Force in the sense we usually think of now rivaled or eclipsed his uncle's. The Force is the foremost determinant for who triumphs in a lightsaber duel: the stronger one's connection is, the greater their physical augmentation, precognition, and instincts will be. Luke himself is the most pertinent example of this: his innate potential enables him contend with Darth Vader and perform better than ANH Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Empire Strikes Back with only a short amount of training under Yoda, and equal him in Return of the Jedi. If Jacen were truly in Luke's class as of The New Jedi Order, he would be able to stomp Vader with a single swipe of his blade, yet he is far less skilled than even Kyp Durron, Mara Jade Skywalker, Corran Horn, and Anakin Solo - duelists I have no reason to believe are greater than, equal to, or even near Vader until proven to be so.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIefj6dOhnM&t=680s

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back script wrote:Luke is more cautious, controlling his anger. He begins to retreat as Vader goads him on. As Luke takes a defensive position, he realizes he has been foolhardy. A quick sword exchange and Luke forces Vader back. Another exchange and Vader retreats. Luke presses forward.

VADER: Only your hatred can destroy me.

Breathing hard, Luke jumps in the air, turning a somersault over Vader. He lands on the floor and slashes at Vader as the room continues to fill up with steam.

Vader retreats before Luke's skillful sword. Vader blocks the sword, but looses his balance and falls into the outer rim of pipes. The energy Luke has used to stop Vader has brought him to the point of collapse. Luke moves to the edge and looks down, but sees no sign of Vader. He then deactivates his sword, hooks it on his belt, and lowers himself into the pit.

Star Wars: Mighty Chronicles - The Empire Strikes Back wrote:Luke had learned much from Yoda, and his skill with the lightsaber was superb. He found himself defending Vader's blows, then attacking, putting the Dark Lord on the defensive. But the Dark Lord had experience. Calling on the dark side, Vader sent a metal pipe hurtling toward Luke. Luke dodged the first, but the second slammed into him. Another object flew past Luke, smashing through a window, and Luke was sucked after it into the massive shaft beyond.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back radio drama wrote:Darth Vader: "You have been learning. You’re young and quick. you offer me better sport than the old man, Obi-Wan."

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire wrote:When they fought, he had also tried to strike the boy down, but that had been merely a test. Had he been able to kill Luke easily, Luke would not have been worth the effort to recruit. But although he had certainly attempted to defeat Luke, the boy had held his own. Despite Vader's superior skill, despite his experience, Luke had survived with no more damage than an easily repaired amputated hand.

The meeting had made Vader feel, not a normal occurrence lately. There had been the thrill at meeting a worthy opponent and pride that the one so strongly opposing him was his own son.

Vader smiled into the darkness surrounding him. Obi-Wan had not told Luke that Anakin Skywalker had become Darth Vader. Luke's anger at the man who had slain his teacher had been potent, had allowed the dark side to claim him. If Vader hadn't broken that anger with fear and confusion by telling the boy that he was his father, Luke could have defeated him. A Jedi does not fight in anger; he holds his emotions in check and allows the Force to move through him. But the dark side needed to be fed with strong emotion, and when it was, it repaid that sustenance tenfold.

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire wrote:Disgusted, he broke off his attack and allowed the X-wing to escape. This was beneath him. Since he had fought Luke on the balcony of the city in the clouds, no other opponent had been any real competition. Well, perhaps the criminal Xizor offered something, but that was different, that was not a warrior's challenge. Xizor was merely duplicitous and devious; he would never dare stand eye-to-eye with the Dark Lord of the Sith.

Vader watched the X-wing scurry away. The battle was over, such as it was. The Rebel shipyard burned, its own air and fuel feeding the conflagration. Hundreds of ships gone, thousands of troops wiped away, a great victory for the Empire.

Vader shook his head. A great victory. Once that would have been something to make him proud. Now? Now it was as hollow as smashing these weak X-wing pilots.

A warrior needed to contend with equals. Obi-Wan was gone, and the other Jedi were all extinct, save one, who was the strongest of them all. His own son.

He had told the Emperor that Luke Skywalker would join them or die. The real truth was only slightly different: Luke would join Darth Vader or die.

It would be something to look forward to. That would be the duel of a lifetime. This wasn't even exercise. He headed his fighter back to the ship.

Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi novelization wrote:For the first time, the thought entered Vader's consciousness that his son might best him. He was astounded by the strength Luke had acquired since their last duel, in the Cloud City - not to mention the boy's timing, which was honed to a thought's-breadth. This was an unexpected circumstance. Unexpected and unwelcome. Vader felt humiliation crawling in on the tail of his first reaction, which was surprise, and his second, which was fear. And then the edge of the humiliation curled up, to reveal bald anger. And now he wanted revenge.

Star Wars: The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader wrote:"You are unwise to lower your defenses," Vader said, as he brought his lightsaber up fast. With incredible speed, Luke reactivated his weapon to parry Vader's attack. Vader swung again and again, but Luke blocked each blow. Soon, Vader was breathing hard through his respirator. I can't let Luke defeat me, Vader thought. I won't let the Emperor have him!

A precise kick from Luke sent Vader over the edge of the elevated platform. Crashing upon the metal floor below, Vader roared as he felt a cybernetic cable snap in his right leg.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 8jJS0OjBO_-LTzj6QpY1mextMMVpFZ22-ySQBI7dxv7Toy59RgJgUP4o2oXYAKOj_M_xA6-CVH-H=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzExMi4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 06LxUstcRLuP5Khvqxsec8EsNAkOr8J9N-Jh2GVols6hVp1Qc4Y6q3SQdT04C0unuvqvV9ZuXZoS=s1600?rhlupa=ODcuOTUuMTgwLjIzNw&rnvuka=TW96aWxsYS81LjAgKFdpbmRvd3MgTlQgMTAuMDsgV2luNjQ7IHg2NCkgQXBwbGVXZWJLaXQvNTM3LjM2IChLSFRNTCwgbGlrZSBHZWNrbykgQ2hyb21lLzExMi4wLjAuMCBTYWZhcmkvNTM3LjM2

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Unknown

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image
My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image
My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image
My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Unknown

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

As for the interview quote itself, I'll rule a tentative My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1419419311, and as for what the primary source material itself depicts, I'll say a hard My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1419419311.

(4) Moving onto Dark Nest, in The Joiner King Akanah states Jacen Solo has the same power as what she once sensed in Luke. Akanah is a character who last appeared in The Black Fleet Crisis trilogy, and in it senses Luke reconstructing Vader's fortress on Coruscant. In that way this is one of Jacen's best accolades as BFC Luke is one of his strongest incarnations in terms of sheer feats.

Star Wars: Before the Storm wrote:The beach was barely thirty meters wide, squeezed between an angry-looking greenish sea and a rocky cliff half again that high. Just beyond the breakers, sculpted spires of the same reddish-black rock jutted up from the water. Smaller chunks of rock were scattered through the surf and all along the beach, half buried in the coarse brown sand. Overhead, a thick gray mat of clouds churned as the wind drove it briskly along.

Oblivious to the cold and the wind, Luke walked slowly south along the rocky beach. He held one hand out in front of him, palm down, sweeping it methodically back and forth through the air, looking almost like a blind man feeling his way through an unfamiliar room.

Luke had not gone far when he stopped and looked up at the top of the cliff for a long moment, then out at the twin spires of rock. Dropping his chin to his chest and closing his eyes, he turned through two full circles, then looked back up at the cliff edge.

"Yes, " he said, the wind stealing the word from his lips. "Yes, it is here. "

He sat down on the sand, cross-legged and straight-backed, and brought his hands together in his lap, fingertip to fingertip. Concentrating on a picture in his mind, Luke dipped his awareness deeply into the flow of the Force beneath him. With eyes that looked inward, he found what he was seeking, like flaws in a near-perfect crystal. He extended his will.

The sand around him stirred. The rocks shuddered, shifted, then began to rise from the sea and the sand as though sifted from them by an invisible screen.

Swirling through the air as they sought their place, the stones took shape as broken wall and shattered foundation, as arch and gate and dome-the ruins of Darth Vader's fortress retreat. It hung in the air around and above Luke as it had once stood atop the cliff, a dark-faced and forbidding edifice.

There was no record in Imperial City's files to say whether his father had ever occupied the fortress, though it had clearly been built for him in accord with his instructions. It had been empty when it was destroyed by a B-wing's blasters, in the days after the New Republic reclaimed Coruscant.

Was this where Vader plotted his conquests in the Emperor's service?

Was this where he had come to rejuvenate after a battle? Had there been celebrations here, self-indulgent pleasures or cruelties? Luke listened for the echoes of the old evils, and could not be certain.

But that did not matter to his plans. As he had redeemed and reclaimed his father, he would redeem and reclaim his father's house.

Now the stones swirled again in the air, joined by others plucked from the sea and stripped from the face of the cliff. Now broken edge fused against broken edge, and the dark faces of the rock lightened as their mineral structure was reshuffled. Now heavy rock walls and floors thinned to an airy elegance as if they were clay in a potter's press.

Now a tower stretched skyward until it rose above the edge of the cliff.

When it was done, the. last gap closed, the last rock transformed, the structure securely perched just above the sand on pillars of stone extending down to the bedrock, Luke brought the E-wing down the beach and nestled it in the chamber he had made for it. It was not a door that closed over the opening, though, but a solid wall that closed out not only the wind and the cold, but the world.

"Shut down all systems, " Luke told R7-T1. "Then place yourself in standby mode, I won't be needing you for a while. "

The last task was to inspect his retreat from the perspective of any outsiders whose gaze might fall upon it. All was as he had planned.

From the sky, it appeared as part of the beach. From the sea, as part of the cliffs. From the beach, as part of the sky. From the cliffs, as part of the sea. It was not a trick of camouflage, but a simple matter of allowing the essences of its substance to be seen. The retreat was of the sea, and the rock, and the sand, and the sky, in harmony with them rather than imposed on them.

The last test was to climb the tower and inspect the view. But when he looked to the east, he found his view blocked by the lowering clouds.

So he waited, shrugging off time as easily as he shrugged off the cold.

He waited until the wind finally blew the storm away, until he could see the snow-capped Menarai Mountains ruling over the jewel of the Core, outlined against the sky by the light from the yellow-faced inner moon.

"May this sight remind me always that the few stones I've gathered will not last, " he said softly. "And may the memory of Anakin Skywalker remind me always that surrender is more powerful than will. "

Then he descended at last into his retreat, sealing the opening behind him.

Star Wars: Before the Storm wrote:His solitude was complete, timeless and undisturbed.

Then a visitor came, and everything changed.

It was his ordinary senses, reawakened, which informed Luke of the visitor's presence. First, a sound, which he later realized was his own name.

At that point, it had been many days since he had spoken, or even thought in words.

He concentrated. "Lights, medium."

The meditation chamber reappeared around him.

Sight told him that a woman stood in the chamber with him, half a dozen steps away. Her shoulders were bare, her throat covered by a long scarf that vanished down her back. Her hair was long and braided, her clothing soft and flattering. Her eyes were dark, intent, and knowing.

He took her at first for a projection, because it was unthinkable that anyone could have passed through the walls, his screens, without alerting him. But then he touched her bare arm, and touch told him her skin was real, and warm. He circled her, and scent told him of salt air, dead quarrelgrass crushed underfoot, a body bathed in flowers, a hint of the taint of the old oils and clinging vapors that hung on one's person after a long flight.

"Explain yourself," he said when he had circled around to face her again.

"You are him. You are Luke, son to Anakin. " She smiled with bright delight. "Forgive me. I thought I would never find you. It must have been the working when you built this place that I felt. That was what led me here."

"You felt what I did? From where?"

"From Carratos," she said, naming a planet in a system forty parsecs from Coruscant.

As rudely as his visitor had invaded his hermitage, Luke suddenly invaded her mind, probing the secret place where sensitivity to the Force resided. If she possessed the sort of talent her words claimed for her, he should be thrown halfway across the room when the ancient reflex repelled his mental touch. It was so with every Jedi he had probed, every candidate he had brought to Yavin for training.

Luke's probing met no resistance. He felt no shields blunting or deflecting his examination. Her mind was open-and yet there was no reflexive response. So sure was he of that test that he wouldn't have considered her for a moment as a candidate for the academy.

But, still, she had found him. She had, somehow, entered a space she should not have been able to enter unless her gifts in the Force were the equal of his.

"Who are you?" he asked wonderingly.

She laughed. "Forgive me. I am Akanah, of the Fallanassi, an adept of the White Current."

Star Wars: Dark Nest I - The Joiner King wrote:The words seemed to fade even as Jacen Solo perceived them, sinking below the threshold of awareness and vanishing into the boggy underlayers of his mind. Yet the message remained, the conviction that the time had come to answer the call he had been feeling over the last few weeks. He unfolded his legs-he was sitting cross-legged in the air-and lowered his feet to the floor of the meditation circle. A chain of soft pops sounded as he crushed the tiny blada vines that spilled out of the seams between the larstone paving blocks.

"I'm sorry, Akanah. I must go."

Akanah answered without opening her eyes. "If you are sorry, Jacen, you must not go." A lithe woman with an olive complexion and dark hair, she appeared closer to Jacen's age than her own five standard decades. She sat floating in the center of the meditation circle, surrounded by novices who were trying to imitate her with varying degrees of success. "Sorrow is a sign that you have not given yourself to the Current."

Jacen considered this, then dipped his head in acknowledgment. "Then I'm not sorry." The call continued in the Force, a needle-sharp pang that pulled at Jacen deep inside his chest. "And I must go."

Now Akanah opened her eyes. "What of your training?"

"I'm grateful for what you have shown me so far." Jacen turned to leave. "I'll continue when I return."

"No." As Akanah spoke, the meditation circle exit vanished behind a vine-strewn wall. "I cannot permit that."

Jacen stopped and turned to face her. "Illusions aren't necessary. If you don't wish me to return, I won't."

"What I don't wish is for you to leave." Akanah floated over to him and lowered her own feet. She was so immersed in the White Current that even the delicate blada leaves did not pop beneath her weight. "It's too soon. You're not ready."

Jacen forced himself to remain patient. After all, he was the one who had sought out the Fallanassi. "I have completed many trainings, Akanah. What I have learned is that every order believes its way is the only way."

"I am not speaking of monks and witches, Jacen Solo. I am speaking of you." Her dark eyes caught his gaze. "Your feelings on this are unclear. Someone calls, and you go without knowing why."

"Then you feel it, too?"

"No, Jacen. You are as clumsy in the Current as your uncle. Your feelings leave ripples, and ripples can be read. Does the call come from your brother?"

"No. Anakin died in the war." It had been eight years, and

Jacen could finally speak those words with some measure of acceptance, with some recognition of the purpose his brother's death had served in the Force. It had been the turning point in the war, when the Jedi finally learned how to fight the Yuuzhan Vong-and not become monsters themselves. "I've told you that."

"Yes, but is it him?" Akanah stepped closer to Jacen, and his nostrils filled with the scent of the waha plants that grew in the temple bathing pool. "After someone sinks beneath the Current, a circle of ripples remains behind. Perhaps it is the ripples you sense."

"That does not make what I feel any less real," Jacen countered. "Sometimes, the effect is all we can know of the cause."

"Do you remember my words only so you can use them to spar with me?" Akanah's hand came up as though to bat him across the ear, and his own hand reflexively rose to block. She shook her head in disgust. "You are a dreadful student, Jacen Solo. You hear, but you do not learn."

It was a rebuke to which Jacen had grown accustomed during his five-year search for the true nature of the Force. The Jen-saarai, the Aing-Tii, even the Witches of Dathomir had all said similar things to him-usually when his questions about their view of the Force grew too probing. But Akanah had more reason than the others to be disappointed in him. Striking another would be anathema to any Adept of the White Current. All Akanah had done was lift her hand; it had been Jacen who interpreted the action as an attack.

Jacen inclined his head. "I learn, but sometimes slowly." He was thinking of the two apparitions he had already seen of his dead brother, the first when a cavern beast on Yuuzhan'tar used one to lure him into its throat, the second on Zonama, when Sekot had taken Anakin's form while they talked. "You think I'm giving form to this call, that I impose my own meaning on the ripples I feel."

"What I think is not important," Akanah said. "Still yourself, Jacen, and see what is really in the Current."

Jacen closed his eyes and opened himself to the White Current in much the same way he would have opened himself to the

Force. Akanah and the other Adepts taught that the Current and the Force were separate things, and that was true-but only in the sense that any current was different from the ocean in which it flowed. In their essential wholeness, they were each other.

Jacen performed a quieting exercise he had learned from the Theran Listeners, then focused on the call. It was still there, a cry so sharp it hurt, in a voice he remembered and could not identify... come... help... a male voice, but one he recognized as not belonging to his brother.

And there was something else, too, a familiar presence that Jacen did know, not sending the call, but reaching out along with it. Jaina.

Jacen opened his eyes. "It's not Anakin... or his ripples."

"You're certain?"

Jacen nodded. "Jaina senses it, too." That was what his sister was trying to tell him, he knew. Their twin bond had always been strong, and it had only grown stronger during his wanderings. "I think she intends to answer it."

Akanah looked doubtful. "I feel nothing."

"You aren't her twin." Jacen turned and stepped through the wall-illusion hiding the exit, only to find Akanah-or the illusion of Akanah-blocking his way. "Please ask the Pydyrians to bring my ship down from orbit. I'd like to leave as soon as possible."

"I am sorry, but no." Akanah's eyes caught his gaze again and held it almost physically. "You have the same power I once sensed in your uncle Luke, but without the light. You must not leave before you have found some. "

Jacen was stung by her harsh assessment, but hardly surprised. The war against the Yuuzhan Vong had brought the Jedi a deeper understanding of the Force-one that no longer saw light and dark as opposing sides-and he had known before he came that the Fallanassi might find this new view disturbing. That was why he had hid it from them... or thought he had.

"I'm sorry you disapprove," Jacen said. "But I no longer view the Force in terms of light and dark. It embraces more than that."

"Yes, we have heard about this 'new' knowledge of the Jedi."

Akanah's tone was scornful. "And it troubles my heart to see that their folly now rivals their arrogance."

"Folly?" Jacen did not want to argue, but-being one of the first advocates of the new understanding-he felt compelled to defend his views. "That 'folly' helped us win the war."

"At what price, Jacen?" Akanah's voice remained gentle. "If the Jedi no longer look to the light, how can they serve it?"

"Jedi serve the Force," Jacen said. "The Force encompasses both light and dark."

"So now you are beyond light and dark?" Akanah asked. "Beyond good and evil?"

"I'm no longer an active Jedi Knight," Jacen answered, "but yes."

"And you do not understand the folly in that?" As Akanah spoke, her gaze seemed to grow deeper and darker. "The arrogance?"

What Jacen understood was that the Fallanassi had a rather narrow and rigid view of morality, but he did not say so. The call was continuing to pull at him inside, urging him to be on his way, and the last thing he wanted to do now was waste time in a debate that would change no one's mind.

"The Jedi serve only themselves," Akanah continued. "They are pompous enough to believe they can use the Force instead of submitting to it, and in this pride they have caused more suffering than they have prevented. With no light to guide you, Jacen, and the power I sense in you, I fear you will cause even more."

The frank words struck Jacen like a blow, less because of their harshness than because of the genuine concern he sensed behind them. Akanah truly feared for him, truly feared that he would become an even greater monster than had his grandfather, Darth Vader.

"Akanah, I appreciate your concern." Jacen reached for her hands and found himself holding only empty air. He resisted the temptation to find her real body in the Force; Adepts of the White Current considered such acts intrusions just short of violence. "But I won't find my light here. I have to go."

Unless there's some additional context I'm missing here, this seems solid to me. Although it does further nullify Jacen's accolades in The New Jedi Order series if after his five-year voyage he is only sensed to be as powerful as BFC Luke rather than NJO or TUF Luke. Still, I will rule a My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1289255181 here.
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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Empty Re: My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda

April 30th 2023, 7:06 pm
(5) In The Swarm War Jacen successfully tricks Luke with an illusion of a dead Mara. The excerpt is lengthy because I want to have the full context available for everybody, since I've seen it left out when trying to use this to wank Jacen in disproportion to Luke

Star Wars: Dark Nest III - The Swarm War wrote:“With the Killiks still holding Thyferra, the fleet is running short on bacta,” Jacen explained, moving his chair closer to her bedside. “I’m out of action for a couple of weeks anyway, so I thought I’d save it for someone who doesn’t have a healing trance.”

Mara nodded her approval. “Good idea—very thoughtful.” She pointed at the drainage bag hanging from his side. “How is it?”

“Inconvenient,” Jacen said. “I’ve got holes in three different organs, and I can’t move well enough to fight until I fix them.”

“I know the feeling,” Mara said. She reached for his arm and winced at the dull ache that the effort sent shooting through her lower back. “Thanks, Jacen. She would have gotten me.”

“She nearly did,” Jacen said. “If you hadn’t been so fast with that blaster, neither one of us would be here.”

“All the same.” Mara squeezed his arm, then asked, “Do we know what happened to her?”

Jacen’s expression turned sober. “Pellaeon’s intelligence staff has been reviewing the battle vids. A skiff left Gorog just before we blew it. Nobody challenged it—nobody even seemed to see it, including the combat controllers.”

Mara had a sinking feeling. “Lomi Plo.”

“That’s what Uncle Luke thinks.”

Mara used the Force to operate the bed controls and raise her upper body. The shift of position sent another dull ache through her lower back, but she pushed the pain aside and looked out the door into the infirmary lobby, where Luke was meeting with Cilghal and the other Masters.

“And he’s sticking to his plan?”

Jacen nodded.

“Who’s taking our places?”

“No one,” Jacen said, a slight frown betraying his disapproval. “Cilghal offered to lead a team herself so that Kyp, er, Master Durron could back Luke up, but Uncle Luke wouldn’t hear of it. According to the intelligence maps that Juun and Tarfang left, the collection teams only need to harvest nanotech from fifteen different environments inside the nebula, but they’re going to have to seed more than a thousand worlds in the Colony. Tresina Lobi is out of action with some crash burns, and Uncle Luke didn’t want to take another Master off the dispersal teams. He thinks it’s the nanotech environmental systems that will keep the Killiks in check—in the long run, anyway.”

Mara’s heart sank. “So he’s going after Raynar alone?”

“Admiral Pellaeon is taking the fleet to Tenupe,” Jacen said. “Wraith and Rogue squadrons will be assigned specifically to support him, and he’ll have a company of Lando’s bugcruncher droids—but we both know they won’t be able to do much once the Force duel starts.”

“And Lomi Plo isn’t going to give up, either,” Mara said.

“Not likely,” Jacen said. “Unless that blaster shot you got off kills her first.”

Mara gave him a sour look. “What do you think the chance of that is?”

“About the same as you do,” Jacen confessed. “He’ll have to take both of them out. Lomi Plo and Raynar.”

Mara’s stomach began to ache with fear. “Jacen, we can’t let him do that alone.”

“I don’t think we have a choice in the matter,” Jacen said. “Have you tried to stand up yet?”

Out in the lobby, Luke dismissed the Masters and turned to enter Mara’s room, the faithful R2-D2 trailing close behind.

They had barely crossed the threshold before Mara demanded, “Are you crazy?”

Luke stopped and cast a sheepish look back toward the departing Masters before he returned her gaze. “You heard.”

“You’d better not have been thinking you’d keep that from me, farmboy.”

“Of course not.” Luke came to her bedside and took her hand, then gave Jacen a stern look. “But I had hoped to tell you myself.”

“Luke, the Colony isn’t going to win this war overnight,” Mara said. “Wait until Jacen and I can back you up. Raynar is inexperienced, but he’s powerful.”

Jacen nodded his agreement. “And Lomi Plo will be—”

“I can’t,” Luke said, cutting them off. He clasped a hand on Jacen’s shoulder. “I’ve been feeling something urgent from Leia. This war is coming to a head now.”

“Do you know how?” Jacen asked.

Luke shook his head. “All I can tell is that things didn’t go well at Tenupe. The Falcon never connected with Jaina. I think maybe the Chiss were already there attacking.”

Mara’s heart skipped a beat, but the corners of Jacen’s mouth rose in a near smile.

“Then we shouldn’t interfere,” Jacen said. “If Mom and Dad can recover Jaina and Zekk, staying out of the Chiss’s way might be the best thing for the galaxy.”

Luke frowned. “Jacen, you’re as bad as your father,” he said. “You think the answer to every insect problem is to start stomping.”

“Not every insect problem,” Jacen said. “Just this one. I thought I’d made that clear.”

“You have,” Luke said. “You also made it clear that you’d follow the order’s leadership in this matter.”

“It was only a suggestion,” Jacen retorted. “Can’t a Jedi Knight express himself around here anymore?”

Luke’s expression softened. “Of course,” he said. “But half a dozen times should be sufficient. I’m very aware of your opinion about the Killiks, and believe it or not, I have given it consideration.”

“Okay. Sorry to bring it up again.” Jacen looked more disappointed than apologetic—which suggested to Mara that he was sincere about following the order’s leadership, even if he disagreed with it. “But I still think you should wait until Aunt Mara and I can back you up. You won’t solve anything if Raynar kills you.”

“Or if Lomi Plo does,” Mara added. She had been growing more impressed with Jacen every day since Luke took sole leadership of the order, and she was even beginning to wonder if he might make a suitable second in command someday soon. “I don’t think you can take them both, Luke.”

“Then I’ll have to take them one at a time,” Luke said. “Because if I wait for you two to recover, Lomi Plo will have time to recover, too—and so will Gorog. Lomi is never going to be weaker than she is right now.”

Luke’s tone was as firm as Mara had ever heard it, and she could feel through their Force-bond that he would not be moved from his plan.

But Jacen, bless him, was determined to try. “And you’re still not ready to face her.”

Luke’s eyes flashed with resentment—or it might have been self-doubt. “I will be the judge of that, Jacen.”

“Of course.” Jacen spread his hands in a gesture of surrender, and Mara thought she saw something bright, like moonlight dancing on a river, flicker in the depths of his brown eyes. “You are the Grand Master.”

“Thank you, Jacen,” Luke said. He turned to Mara, and she felt the faintest tingle of Force energy washing over her body. “And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’d like a …”

Luke’s jaw dropped, then he frowned in confusion. “Padmé?”

“Padmé?” Mara repeated. “Luke, what are you talking—”

“Mara?” Luke sounded disappointed. He shook his head as though to clear it. “I don’t understand.”

“Neither do I,” Mara said.

“Mara?” Now Luke’s voice was frightened. “What’s wrong?”

“Good question,” Mara said.

She turned to Jacen, but he only held a finger to his lips and moved his hoverchair closer to Luke. R2-D2 emitted a confused whistle and raised a hydraulic extension with a medical sensor at the end.

“Mara!” Luke turned and hit the emergency summons button next to Mara’s bed, but Jacen made a motion with his hands and the button did not depress. Luke did not seem to realize this. He turned back to Mara and placed his fingers to her throat, checking her pulse. “I can’t feel a pulse. Artoo, call an EmDee droid. Tell her to hurry!”

R2-D2 spun toward the data jack to obey, but Jacen used the Force to disable the power to the droid’s treads.

Mara caught Jacen’s gaze. “All right, Jacen. This has gone far enough.”

Not yet. The message reverberated without words inside Mara’s head. He must learn.

Mara felt another wave of Force energy pass over her, and Luke cried out in horror and looked toward R2-D2.

“Artoo, what’s taking you so long?”

R2-D2 issued a frustrated whistle and spun an accusing photoreceptor toward Jacen. Luke could take it no longer. He raised a hand and began to fill it with life-giving Force energy.

“Jacen, we can’t wait. We have to revive her ourselves.” He pointed at the emergency respirator hanging on the wall. “Get the respirator.”

Luke leaned over Mara and started to place his hand on her chest—until Jacen raised an arm and pushed him away.

“Jacen!” Luke screamed. “What’s wrong with you?”

“Nothing,” Jacen said calmly. “And there’s nothing wrong with Aunt Mara.”

Luke’s gaze swung back to Mara, and she could not decide whether he looked more stunned or relieved. “You’re … you’re alive again!”

“I was never dead,” Mara said. “I think Jacen is trying to make a point.”

Luke turned back to Jacen, still too confused to be angry. “I don’t understand, Jacen. What’s she—”

“You’re not ready to face Lomi Plo again,” Jacen interrupted. “And you just proved it.”

Luke’s confusion started to fade, and his anger quickly began to build. “You did that to me?”

Jacen shook his head. “You did it to yourself,” he said. “Your fear betrays you.”

Mara suddenly understood what Jacen had done—or rather, what he had not done. “Luke, I think you’d better listen to him.” She reached out to her husband through their Force-bond, adding a private plea that she knew he would not refuse. “For me.”

Luke snorted, but turned to Jacen. “Okay, I’m listening,” he said. “And it had better be good. Saving Mara’s life does not give you the right to manipulate me.”

“I didn’t do that,” Jacen said. “All I did was bring your fear to the surface. You created the illusion yourself.”

“Remember what happened in the nest ship?” Mara asked. “After I got hit, you couldn’t move. Luke, you froze.”

“And then I couldn’t see Lomi Plo anymore,” Luke said, growing calmer. He turned to Jacen. “You did the same thing to me?”

“I doubt it.” Jacen grew uncomfortable, and his gaze slid away. “That was just a mirror illusion I learned from the Fallanassi.”

“But it does prove you’re still vulnerable to Lomi Plo,” Mara said.

“You don’t fear for yourself,” Jacen said. “You fear for others—and now Lomi Plo knows that. She’ll use it against you.”

Luke nodded, and a glimmer of recognition came to his eyes. “Fears aren’t so different from doubts. I have to face mine—”

“No,” Jacen said. “You have to eliminate them.”

“Eliminate them?” Mara asked. “That’s a lot to ask—especially before we reach Tenupe.”

“But I can do it,” Luke said. “I have to.”

“How?” Mara demanded. “You can’t give up caring about your family.”

“He doesn’t have to,” Jacen replied. “He just has to surrender.”

“Surrender?” Mara asked.

“Vergere taught me to embrace my pain by surrendering to it.” Jacen turned to Luke. “I made that pain a part of me—something I would never fight or deny. You have to do the same thing with your fear, Uncle Luke. Then it will have no power over you.”

“That may be easier said than done,” Luke said.

“Not at all—I know just where to start.” Jacen used the Force to lift R2-D2 over to them. “The first thing your fear showed you was your mother’s face. And before the battle, you refused to see what happened after your father Force-hurled her.”

“So I need to see that now?”

“Only if you want to kill Lomi Plo,” Jacen said.

Mara wanted to discourage Luke, to spare him the pain of seeing his mother die by his father’s hand. But he was determined to kill Lomi Plo and end this war on Jedi terms, and she knew that Jacen was right, that Luke could not succeed until he embraced his fears as Jacen had learned to embrace his pain.

“Jacen’s right. If you’re going after Lomi Plo, you need to do this.” Mara reached for his hand. “You can’t change what is in that holo. You can only accept it.”

“That’s a lot different from accepting you being hurt—or dying,” Luke pointed out. “I couldn’t do anything to stop what happened to my mother, but when you were hurt, I was there.”

“And you still couldn’t stop what happened to me,” Mara countered. “You were pretty busy with Lomi Plo, as I recall.”

“I was barely holding my own,” Luke acknowledged.

“Some things you can’t control,” Jacen said. “If you fear them, then those things control you.”

Luke shook his head. “I’m not sure we have time for this,” he said. “And what if you’re wrong? What if Lomi Plo’s wounds are enough to distract her?”

“I’m not wrong,” Jacen countered. “Look, you may think you push your fears aside when you go to battle—that you bury them. But you’ll never bury them deep enough to hide them from Lomi Plo, no matter what her condition is. So you’ll have to deal with this problem now. Because as you’ve pointed out, Lomi Plo is healing as we speak.”

Luke let out a long breath. “Okay.” He turned to R2-D2. “Show me the holo where my mother dies.”

[...]

She let out a sudden gasp, then her hand dropped out of Obi-Wan’s, leaving the necklace dangling from his fingers. He gathered it into his palm, then turned his hand and began to study the jewelry with a shocked expression.

The holo ended, and R2-D2 tweedled a question.

When Luke did not answer, Jacen said, “Thank you, Artoo. That’s all we needed to see.”

R2-D2 tipped himself upright again, then swiveled his photoreceptor toward Luke and issued an apologetic whistle.

“There’s nothing to apologize for, Artoo,” Mara said. Although Luke looked outwardly composed, she could feel how hard he was struggling to contain his grief, to keep his anguish from erupting in an explosion of fury and pain. “It had to be done.”

Jacen took Luke’s elbow, then squeezed until Luke’s blank gaze finally turned toward him. “Master, can you change what you saw in the holo?”

Luke shook his head. “Of course not.”

“That’s right. You can only accept it,” Jacen said. “Some misfortunes you can prevent, and you will. But others … sometimes all you can do is embrace the pain.”

Luke laid a hand across his nephew’s. “I understand. Thank you.”

“Good,” Jacen said. “Now use what you are feeling. Your anger and your grief can make you more powerful. Use them when you meet Raynar and Lomi Plo, and you will defeat them.”

A sudden wave of disgust rolled through the Force-bond between Mara and Luke, and Luke frowned and pulled his arm away from Jacen.

“No, Jacen,” he said. “That’s Vergere’s way of using the Force. It won’t work for me.”

Jacen’s face grew worried. “But you’re one against two, and they’ll have the Force potential of the entire Colony to draw on. You’ll need all the power you can get!”

“No,” Luke said. “I’ll need strength—and that comes from my way of using the Force.”

Jacen cast a worried glance toward Mara, and she began to grow fearful as well.

“Luke, I understand your hesitation,” Mara said. “But I’d feel better if you took another Master or two—”

“I’ve made my decision.” Luke smiled and squeezed her arm gently. “Don’t fear. Accept.”

Jacen is successful because Luke is in a vulnerable state of mind. "All I did was bring your fear to the surface. You created the illusion yourself." In essence, Luke panics and doesn't stop to consider the situation calmly - he doesn't see past the illusion because he doesn't even try. It isn't a combat situation. I don't think you can scale Jacen to Luke with this at all, not even a little bit. A hard My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1419419311 for this one.

As an addendum, I might be wrong here but it seems to me Luke (and Jacen) regresses as a character as soon as Troy Denning takes over the reins. His conversation with Jacen and subsequent maelstrom on Shimrra's Citadel in The Unifying Force are about him incorporating the "raw, unrestrained power of the Force" that he previously equated with the dark side into his awareness and application of the Force. EC also posted the quote from Denning that "the new view of the Force taught by Vergere -- the mysterious Knight from the Old Republic -- had made them more powerful than they ever dreamed possible" yet Luke rejects this philosophy in the last book of Dark Nest. Can someone explain this discrepancy to me? Does something happen earlier in the series to answer this? It also seems to me that Luke's repudiation of this philosophy makes him weaker - he barely holds his own against Lomi Plo and is vulnerable to her illusions until he addresses his fears by way of a pep talk from Jacen like he is some Padawan instead of the Grand Master. Notable also is the fact that Jacen believes Mara would provide helpful assistance to Luke against UnuThul and Lomi Plo, which will become relevant for the following topics.

(6) Going back to The Joiner King, UnuThul states Jacen Solo is beyond his telepathic control, as well as anyone else's by his reckoning. My impression based on my limited knowledge is that UnuThul is the chief Joiner of the Unu hive, the chief hive of all the Killiks, which are collectively known as the Colony, and through his telepathic hive-mind he is able to draw on their collective Force potential. The value of this accolade depends on how strong UnuThul grows throughout the later two books - the Colony expands, reproducing and creating new hives, so I'd assume UnuThul gets more powerful in the process, which is what I've been told as well when I asked that question on Discord. If anyone can offer more information on this, I'd appreciate it.

Star Wars: Dark Nest I - The Joiner King wrote:"Hapans?" Jaina climbed out of the sleeping cell onto the walkway with Raynar, causing a soft clatter as his retinue scrambled to make room for her. "What are Hapans doing out here?"

"Defending the weak," Raynar said. "Jacen convinced Tenel Ka to send us a fleet."

At least now Jaina understood why the Chiss were attacking. They wanted to destroy the Qoribu nests before reinforcements arrived to complicate the job.

"Jacen convinced Tenel Ka, or you used Jacen to convince her?" Jaina was thinking of how Raynar had nearly forced her to leave just a few moments earlier - and of the irresistible call that had summoned her and the others to the Colony in the first place. "Your touch can be very compelling."

"Perhaps, but even we are not strong enough to control Jacen," Raynar said. "He has moved beyond our control - or anyone else's. You know that yourself."

Jaina could not argue. During Jacen's five-year journey, she had felt him growing steadily stronger in the Force - but also more distant and isolated, like a hermit retreating to his mountaintop. At times, he had seemed to vanish into the Force entirely, and at other times she had sworn he was floating just above her shoulder.

To tell the truth, it had given her the creeps. She had started to feel like she was sharing a twin bond with a different brother every few weeks - or like he was practicing to be dead or something.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Killiks_1

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Killiks_2

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Killiks_2

As of now I'm unconvinced it scales Jacen to one of the stronger versions of Luke. For one, Jacen thinks Mara would be relevant aid against UnuThul and Lomi Plo, and Luke at some point after The Unifying Force renounced Vergere's philosophy and seems to be plagued by fear and doubt in Dark Nest - we all know how low he can sink when not in the proper mindset. And when Luke has that at the end of The Swarm War, he stomps Thul and Plo individually. First he is caught off-guard by Thul's Force push, but when they engage lightsabers Luke severs his arm in two moves, and then blocks Thul's attempt to push him again, rooting himself "in the heart of the Force" and becoming "the very essence of the immovable object. Nothing could dislodge him—not one of Lando’s asteroid tuggers, not the Megador’s sixteen ion engines, not the black hole at the center of the galaxy itself." He then pins Thul to the wall with telekinesis and successfully overpowers the collective hive-mind of the Colony called the Will in a telepathic contest.

Lomi Plo appears and Luke jumps at her. She blocks one of his strikes and attacks three times; Luke parries, ducks, jumps, and elbows her under her mandibles. He is about to deliver the killing slash when UnuThul shoots him in the shoulder with a shatter gun, rendering his stronger arm inoperative. He then starts having trouble while defending against Plo's twin blades and Thul's shatter gun pellets with just his weaker arm, but he swiftly manages to dislocate one of Plo's knees. She redoubles the ferocity of her onslaught on the now-on-the-floor Luke, who keeps rolling around, parrying her strikes and dodging Thul's pellets, until he pulls a dismantled droid from under Thul, tripping him over, and hurls it at Plo. She deflects it, but the distractions buys Luke enough time to spring to his feet, run up to Thul, and knock him out. Plo attempts to escape but Luke drags her to him with telekinesis, evades her attacks, and cuts her to pieces in two swipes of his blade.

Star Wars: Dark Nest III - The Swarm War wrote:Luke felt the Force stir as Raynar made a final exertion. “They’re coming. Prepare for—”

The far hatch suddenly ruptured inward, bringing with it a short-lived decompression squall that rocked Luke back on his heels and hazed the corridor with airborne dust. He glimpsed a tall figure in a black pressure suit.

Then the figure flicked one of his hands, and Luke found himself flying backward, bouncing off YVH droids and tumbling out of control. He reached out in the Force, grabbing at passing hatches, the ceiling, even Raynar himself, but he was whirling too fast to catch hold of anything.

He hit the end of the corridor with a tremendous clung, unsure whether he was upside down or sideways, then crashed to the floor struggling to remain conscious.

By the time his eyes came back into focus, the corridor had erupted into a crashing storm of cannon bolts and shatter gun pellets. The lower two-thirds of the corridor was blocked by a wall of laminanium bugcruncher armor, but the upper third of the passage belonged to Raynar’s Killiks. Still in their pressure carapaces, they were scurrying through the smoke along the walls and ceiling, pouring shatter gun pellets down on the droids’ heads, trying to get past so they could launch an attack from the rear.

Luke rolled to his feet … and watched in astonishment as his helmet dropped to the floor in two pieces. He glanced at the wall behind him and saw a fist-deep depression where its impact had dented the durasteel.

“Can’t let him do that again,” Luke groaned. He opened the seals on his vac suit gloves, shook them to the floor, and snatched the lightsaber off his belt. Then he averted his eyes and spoke into his throat mike. “Dazers!”

The corridor erupted in rainbow iridescence; then a piercing squeal came over Luke’s earpiece and the smell of ripe hubba gourds filled his nostrils. Stunned by the Dazers’ aura-deadening properties, several Killiks dropped off the ceiling into the midst of the bugcrunchers. The rest of the insects were soon spread overhead in yellow smears.

Luke had already rushed forward, only to find himself trapped behind his own bugcrunchers and unable to see the rest of the battle. “Make a hole!” he ordered. “Coming through.”

Three bugcrunchers blocking his way obediently stepped aside, and Luke found himself staring up ten meters of corridor packed chest-high with Killik corpses and twisted YVH frames. At the other end, with his black helmet lying in a melted gob before him and the fingers of his vac suit gloves burned off by all the Force energy he had been throwing around, stood Luke’s melt-faced opponent. Raynar Thul.

Luke jumped onto the pile of chitin and metal in front of him. Two of Raynar’s Unu bodyguards immediately popped up and sent a burst of shatter gun pellets zipping down the corridor toward him.

Luke flicked his hand and Force-batted the projectiles into a wall, then the bugcrunchers at his back sent a stream of cannon fire down the hall. Raynar ignited a gold lightsaber and deflected most of the volley, but a few of the bolts made it through and splattered his bodyguards across the walls.

“It’s not too late to surrender.” Luke started forward at a walk. “I’m not eager to do this.”

Raynar’s burn-scarred lips twitched in a faint hint of a smile. “We are.”

Raynar raised his lightsaber and jumped onto the carnage heap.

Luke ignited his own blade and raced forward, using the Force to keep himself from stumbling over debris. A loud crunching erupted behind him as his surviving droids raced after him, then half a dozen of Raynar’s bodyguards leapt up from the other end of the pile and started forward, firing shatter guns with their lower set of arms and carrying flame tridents with their upper pair.

A flurry of cannon bolts zipped past Luke from behind and took out three insects. Raynar pointed at the attacking droids. A muffled thump erupted inside one of them, and it went down in a sizzling, popping crash of laminanium. Luke killed the last of Raynar’s bodyguards by Force-slamming them into the wall so hard their thoraxes burst, then the two Jedi were on one another, their lightsabers flashing toward each other’s heads with all the speed and might they could summon.

That was the trouble with powerful men—especially younger ones. Awed by their own strength, they so often believed strength was the answer to every problem. Luke was older and wiser. While Raynar swung, he pivoted.

As Raynar’s gold blade sliced the air where Luke’s head had been, Luke’s boot was kicking him behind the ankles, knocking his legs out from under him and stretching him out flat.

But Raynar was a Jedi, and all Jedi were quick. He caught himself in the Force, levitating himself just long enough to bring his golden blade sweeping in at Luke’s shoulder.

Luke had no choice but to block with his blade, and no place to block but the forearm. Raynar’s lightsaber went spinning off, still securely in the grasp of his three-fingered hand, and caught one of Luke’s bugcrunchers squarely in the back. The weapon sliced through six centimeters of laminanium armor before the severed forearm flew free. The blade deactivated, and the hilt disappeared into the tangle of death and destruction at the droid’s feet.

The pain of losing an arm might have forced a common Jedi to stop fighting, but Raynar was no common Jedi. He had the Force potential of the Colony to draw on, and he did that now, swinging his remaining hand up to hurl Luke down the corridor as he had done before.

But this time, Luke was ready. He placed his own hand in front of Raynar’s and rooted himself in the heart of the Force, and when he did that, he became the very essence of the immovable object. Nothing could dislodge him—not one of Lando’s asteroid tuggers, not the Megador’s sixteen ion engines, not the black hole at the center of the galaxy itself.

Luke stood that way, waiting, dimly aware that his surviving bugcrunchers were moving into defensive positions, one at his back and the other just inside the burst hatch. Raynar continued to struggle, trying to hurl Luke down the corridor, trying to move him a single centimeter.

Luke did not budge, and finally Raynar stopped struggling and met his eyes with a stunned and anguished gaze.

The Master sighed and shook his head. “What am I going to do with you, Raynar Thul?” he asked. “You learn nothing from your mistakes.”

Luke deactivated his lightsaber and picked Raynar up by the collar and slammed him against the wall. He used the Force to pin him there, waiting for an answer to his question, watching as the expression in his captive’s pained eyes turned from astonishment to anger to calculation.

But when Raynar’s free hand rose, it was not to summon the Force lightning that Luke had expected. It was to call his lightsaber back, to attempt to continue the battle that he obviously could no longer win.

It was in that moment that Luke finally decided that the life of Raynar Thul would be spared. He intercepted the weapon and used the Force to pin Raynar’s remaining arm against the wall along with the rest of his body. Then he opened the hilt of the captured lightsaber and removed the focusing crystal. He held it up in front of Raynar.

“Someday I may return this—but for now, it’s staying with me.” He zipped the gem into a pocket of his vac suit, then reached out to Raynar in the Force and spoke in a softer voice. “Your days as UnuThul are done, Raynar. It’s time to surrender and come home.”

The eyes beneath Raynar’s lumpy brow flashed with alarm. “The Colony is our home.”

Luke shook his head. “That can’t be anymore, Raynar,” he said. “The Colony can’t be anymore. If you stay with the Killiks, the entire species will die.”

Raynar curled his scarred lip. “Lies.”

“No.” Luke touched Raynar through the Force. “You’re still a Jedi. You can sense when a person is telling the truth. You can sense it in me, now.”

Hoping to force his Will on his captor, Raynar accepted the contact—as Luke had known he would—then gasped in astonishment as he sensed the truth in what Luke was saying. “How?”

“Because as long as you are the Prime Unu, Lomi Plo will be the queen of the Gorog.” Luke began to press, as though he were trying to force his will on Raynar. “And as long as there is a Gorog, the Colony will be a threat to the Chiss.”

Raynar began to pull, learning from Luke’s earlier tactics and trying to use Luke’s own attack against him. “The Chiss are a threat to the Colony.”

Luke went along with Raynar—in fact, he pushed even harder.

“That’s right. The Chiss are a threat to the Colony,” Luke said. “They have developed a weapon that can wipe out the entire Colony. They tried to use it here. Jaina and Zekk stopped them … but we both know they have more.”

Backed by Luke’s strength, the truth was too much for Raynar. His Will broke, and his resolve turned to panic. “We know,” he admitted.

Luke continued to push. “And they’ll use it—if you stay with the Colony.”

Raynar shook his head. “We can’t let them.”

“Then you have to leave,” Luke said. “It’s the only way to save the Killiks.”

A terrible sadness came to Raynar’s melted face. He lowered his burned eyelids and reluctantly began to nod—then suddenly stopped and glanced toward the hatch through which he had burst earlier.

“Not the only way.” Raynar’s voice assumed a dark tone, and Luke knew his true target was finally preparing to show herself. “Maybe there is a weapon to kill the Chiss?”

Luke resisted the temptation to look toward the hatch. Lomi Plo would not show herself if she knew she was expected.

“Even if there was such a weapon, it wouldn’t be right to use it,” Luke said. “The Jedi won’t permit speciecide against the Chiss—any more than we would against the Killiks.”

“But you could … if it was self-defense.” Raynar bared his jagged teeth in a try at a grin. “Destroying the Chiss would be self-defense, so you would have to permit it.”

Raynar began to push back now, filling Luke’s chest with the dark weight of UnuThul’s Will.

“If it were self-defense, we might have to permit it,” Luke said, playing along—and again using Raynar’s own attack against him. “But even that wouldn’t save the Colony. It cannot survive as it is. We know that.”

“How do we know that?” Raynar demanded angrily. “We know no such thing.”

“We might,” Luke insisted, exerting his own will through the Force again, reeling Raynar in. “If the Colony grew too large, it would devour its own worlds and destroy itself.”

“There are always more worlds,” Raynar countered.

“Not always,” Luke said. “Sometimes all of the other worlds are taken. That could have been what happened when the Killiks disappeared from Alderaan.” He paused, then used the Force to pull as hard as he could, trying to draw Raynar into his own view of reality. “In fact, I’m sure that’s what happened on Alderaan. The Killiks devoured their own world and tried to take someone else’s. That’s the reason the Celestials drove the Killiks into the Unknown Regions.”

The fight finally went out of Raynar. “You’re sure?” He folded his cauterized forearm stump across his stomach and cradled it with his other arm, his lips quivering in pain and tears welling in his eyes. “You know—”

The question was drowned out by the roar of a blaster cannon, and Luke glanced down the corridor to see the bugcruncher stationed there suddenly powering down. The droid fell out of the opening backward and crashed to the deck, then Lomi Plo scuttled through the hatchway on her mismatched set of legs—one human, the other insectile. She turned her bulbous eyes and noseless face down the corridor, then extended her crooked upper arms toward the lightsaber in Luke’s hands.

The last remaining bugcruncher opened fire, forcing Lomi Plo to ignite the lightsaber in her lower set of hands. Her blocks and parries came so slowly that she was barely able to deflect the cannon bolts and she was forced to swing her upper arms toward the droid and drain its power. Raynar, thankfully, continued to stand dazed—and seemingly impotent.

Determined to reach Lomi Plo before she drained his lightsaber’s power cell, Luke sprang down the corridor and leapt off the carnage heap to attack. Lomi blocked his first pass with her white lightsaber. Then, in place of the purple lightsaber she had left in Jacen at the end of their last meeting, she ignited a familiar-looking green blade—the lightsaber Raynar had confiscated on Woteba. Luke’s lightsaber.

“Now you’re just ticking me off,” Luke said.

Lomi clacked her mandibles and hissed, then launched a deadly low—high—low combination with her flashing blades. Luke parried, ducked, and jumped, then brought an elbow up under her mandibles and sent her staggering back, all four arms flailing as she struggled to catch her balance on her mismatched legs.

Luke whipped his blade around, cocking it for a death slash across her middle—then had a prickle of danger sense between his shoulder blades and tried to spin away. He almost made it.

Something heavy and huge slammed into his shoulder—a shatter gun pellet?—and sent him tumbling across the floor past Lomi Plo’s feet. He tried a reactionary slash as he rolled by, only to discover that was he was no longer holding his lightsaber, and he could not move his prosthetic hand—nor the rest of his arm.

Lomi Plo’s two blades began to chop the floor behind him, so he used the Force to accelerate himself and continued to roll, then came to his feet two meters on the other side of her and called his lightsaber back to his good hand.

The weapon arrived just ahead of Lomi Plo, and suddenly Luke found himself on the defensive, being driven into a corner while Raynar Thul—not so impotent after all—used his other hand to fire more shatter gun pellets.

In lightsaber combat, Luke favored two-handed styles, but he could still fight single-handed—even with his weak hand—just as well as anyone in the academy. What he could not do, however, was fight wounded and weak-handed against twin blades while a second party fired a steady stream of hard-to-deflect shatter gun pellets at him.

In short, Luke was desperate.

So he dropped to his side and caught Lomi Plo’s human leg in a scissoring motion between his feet. The knee bent backward and popped with a sickening crunch.

She fell, squealing in pain and clacking her mandibles—and redoubled her attacks, slashing so ferociously with her twin blades that Luke’s lone hand barely had the strength to block.

Of course, Control picked that moment for an important announcement from the Megador. “Be advised that three Killik swarms are diverting to attack Healing Star.”

Lomi Plo’s attacks slackened for a moment, and Luke realized that she was gently probing him through the Force, searching for any hint of fear or doubt. He put the Healing Star—the fleet’s main hospital ship—out of his mind and remained focused on the fight. Lomi Plo had almost certainly used the Dark Nest to divert those swarms, to try to create an opening that would give her power over his mind.

Still dodging shatter gun pellets, rolling back and forth on the floor and parrying madly, Luke glanced up the corridor and used the Force to reach into the carnage heap beneath Raynar’s feet. He grabbed the largest, heaviest thing he could find—a disabled bugcruncher droid—and jerked it free.

The pile shifted and Raynar crashed down on his back, but Luke barely noticed. He was pulling the droid down the corridor straight at Lomi Plo.

She deflected it easily, of course—but she had to spin away from Luke and wave a hand, and that gave him the chance he needed to Force-spring up the corridor toward Raynar, who was just returning to his feet.

“As I was saying,” Luke said, pointing his lightsaber down at Raynar’s chest. “You never learn.”

Raynar’s eyes flashed with alarm and he rolled away—presenting the side of his head for a perfect knockout blow. Luke brought his lightsaber down, but deactivated the blade and flipped it around at the last second to strike at the base of the ear.

The blow landed with a sharp crack that suggested a breaking skull, but Luke had no time to worry about Raynar. Lomi Plo was dragging herself out the hatchway, trying to escape into the general confusion of the Ackbar’s recapture. He sprang after her, using the Force to drag her back into the corridor.

Lomi Plo whirled around, her lightsabers rising into a guard position but not attacking. Trapped on the floor with a broken knee, she knew as well as Luke did that she could not defend herself; that he could kill her any time he wished.

So Luke was half expecting it when Control’s voice sounded in his earpiece again. “Be advised, Killik swarms are opening fire on Healing Star.”

Lomi Plo’s mandibles opened wide, and a long, gurgling hiss erupted from her throat. Luke did not need to speak Killik to understand what she was saying—or even to probe her meaning through the Force. She could call off the attack on the hospital ship.

All Luke had to do was let her go.

Luke snorted. “That’s the trouble with you ruthless types—you’re all so predictable.”

Lomi Plo grabbed hold of the sides of the hatchway with two of her hands, then pulled herself up on her insect leg and cocked her head so that only one of her bulbous eyes was turned toward Luke.

“Mara and Jacen are in a hospital back on Coruscant,” Luke explained. “There’s nobody aboard Healing Star but a few mouse droids. Admiral Bwua’tu said you were going to attack it. And by the way, I have no doubts about Mara. She says hello, in fact.”

Lomi Plo’s reaction came so suddenly that Luke doubted even she was expecting it. She just came flying at him with both blades flashing, striking high and low from opposite sides in a desperate attempt to finish him off.

Luke, of course, had anticipated this, too. Lomi Plo had no power over him. He simply stepped inside her attack and flicked his wrist twice, first sweeping his blade upward, then whipping it around in a backslash, and she landed at his feet in four parts.

Luke stood looking down at the pieces for a moment, half expecting them to turn to smoke and vanish, or to dissolve like a bad HoloNet signal. It was hard to believe that a woman of mere flesh and blood and chitin had caused so much trouble—had brought the galaxy to the edge of eternal war—but of course, beings of flesh and blood were always starting wars. That’s why the galaxy needed her Jedi.

Luke reached down and retrieved the two lightsabers Lomi Plo had been wielding. He tucked the white one inside his flight utilities and hung the green one in its proper place on his belt, then returned to the side of his former student.

Raynar was still unconscious, but his vital signs were stable, and he did not seem to be in any great danger.

Luke broke out a medkit and started to work. “Let’s get you patched up, son,” he said. “We’re going home.”

I don't think Jacen scales to "heart of the Force" Luke, and as to how strong Luke is prior to that, I'm severely skeptical he's anywhere close to his army-busting state from The Unifying Force. However, if I'm wrong, someone who has read Dark Nest in full may correct me, and they may also have better insight into UnuThul's power level in The Joiner King. For now I'll rule a tentative My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1419419311.

(7) Next in line we have Legacy of the Force. In Betrayal, Jacen receives visions of himself killing Luke when both have fallen to the dark side, with the same outcome repeating every time. EC argues that because the destruction of Lumiya's asteroid, which in the canonical timeline occurs in Fury, is written about only one paragraph before Luke and Jacen's duels, that the two events must take place within a short timeframe of each other. The logic behind this is evidently flawed, as there is no in rule in Force visions that two foreseen events must have temporal proximity unless such is stated somewhere in Legacy of the Force, but in that case I'll require proof. Darth Traya's visions in the Trayus Core show her mixed images from years, decades, centuries, and even millennia from now: the fates of the Jedi Exile's companions, the restoration of Ithor and Telos IV, the collapse of the Mandalorian and Onderonian cultures, Korriban's unchanging desolation, Palpatine's rise to power, etc. Lord Scourge also simultaneously foresees alternate futures centuries apart from one another: himself, Revan, and the Exile defeating the Sith Emperor, the Emperor killing them all, the his own life and death, playing out in every conceivable way, Hero of Tython slaying the Emperor, the Emperor activating the galaxy ritual, the Hero holding the Emperor's power in his hands, etc. I see no reason why Jacen's visions of the Galactic Alliance's destabilization, Lumiya dying in prison, and his duels with Luke can't feasibly take years or decades to manifest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzaQh8geL1Q

Star Wars: The Old Republic - Revan wrote:For Scourge, the universe suddenly seemed frozen in place, as if time itself had stopped. He realized he was at a crux in history; fate and destiny would be forever altered in the next few moments.

The Force washed over him in a wave, and a million possible futures flickered through his mind simultaneously. In some the Emperor was no more; in others he had transformed the entire galaxy into an empty wasteland. He saw both Revan’s triumph and defeat in the throne room; he saw variations of his own life and death played out over and over in every conceivable way, shape, and form.

He had to choose, but there was no way to know which was the most likely outcome, or what actions of his would lead to which results. Revan had said visions could guide the Jedi, but for Scourge they brought nothing but confusion.

The moment passed and the universe began to move again, though everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. Revan and Meetra stepped forward, ready to initiate the final confrontation. Scourge knew he had to act now; he had to make his choice.

In a sudden moment of clarity he saw the Emperor lying defeated at the feet of a powerful Jedi … but that Jedi was neither Revan nor Meetra. And the Sith Lord knew what he had to do.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Betrayal wrote:Nelani moved slightly, stepping back, bringing the hilt of her lightsaber a few centimeters up. “I am arresting her.”

Lumiya interrupted. “I’ll consent to be arrested.”

Both of the Jedi looked at her. “You will?” Jacen asked.

“Of course.” Lumiya looked sober, unhappy. “I know my fate is no longer my own. I want to see the Sith rise with you at the head of the order, Jacen, and for that reason I swear myself to your service.” She knelt as she spoke, lowering her head—an invitation for a blessing, or for a killing stroke. “But whichever one of you is in charge here will choose my fate, my future.”

Her voice low, Nelani said, “Put your hands behind your back.” As Lumiya obeyed, Nelani pulled a pair of stun cuffs from her belt pouch.

Jacen frowned. There was something wrong about this situation, and for a moment he suspected treachery on Lumiya’s part, but a glimpse into the likely immediate future dispelled that notion. He saw Lumiya obedient, unresisting, being led back to the shuttle.

His mind flickered forward through the likely time streams. The future, as Yoda had said so frequently and famously that the quotation littered the Jedi archives, was always in motion, and many potential futures led from this event.

But they began congregating in certain areas. Nelani testifying against Shira Brie, also known as Lumiya, also known as Lumiya Syo. Lumiya convicted, being executed, being locked up in solitude, being locked up in a mass prison and assassinated by someone whose father she had killed decades ago. All she knew vanishing, dying with her.

Along all these paths, the galaxy continued to come unhinged, rebellion sparking in all corners, the Galactic Alliance crumbling, like a cancer-racked body, eating itself from the insides out, whole populations dying.

Detonators destroying this place, blowing the asteroid into millions of pieces, scattering the knowledge hidden here. An ancient Star Destroyer raining turbolaser destruction down on the surface of Ziost, purging it of knowledge lingering there.

Scores of time lines congregated on Jacen Solo and Luke Skywalker, bringing them together. The two of them faced each other, their surroundings changing every second as the scene slipped from time line to time line, yet their poses and the lightsabers lit in their hands remained the same, as did the anger and tragic loss twisting both their faces.

They spun, they struck, the impacts of their lightsabers causing flares of light to cast the walls and floors behind them into greater darkness. On and on they fought, their loss giving them strength, until—

Jacen cut Luke down. Sometimes it was a blow across the shoulder, down into the chest. Sometimes it was a slash, too fast to see, across the throat that sent the older man’s head from his shoulders. Sometimes it was a thrust to the stomach, followed by minutes of agony, Luke writhing in a futile struggle for life while Jacen, tears running down his cheeks, knelt nearby.

Luke died.

Luke died.

“No,” Jacen whispered. He summoned himself back to the here and now.

Nelani and Lumiya were walking away. The younger woman held the older by the shoulder, guiding her.

Jacen lit his lightsaber and struck. Nelani jumped away, but the glowing blade merely parted the cuffs that held Lumiya’s hands together behind her back.

Both women looked at him.

“She remains free,” Jacen told Nelani. “If you take her …” He could not say the rest of the words. Luke dies. And I kill him.

There was more to it than that. For a moment, he was drawn back into the streams of probability that led him into the future.

Nelani could leave without her prisoner. She would return home to Lorrd and tell all to her superiors. To Luke.

Jacen cut Luke down. Luke died.

Nelani could be persuaded not to tell. She would rethink her promise later and break it, telling all to Luke.

Jacen cut Luke down. Luke died.

Only in the time streams where Nelani fell, never to rise, did Luke remain on his feet, in command, alive. Other tragedies, shadowy and indistinct, swirled around him, but he lived.

Jacen returned again to the present. The truth of what he had just experienced through the Force numbed him.

But it was the truth, and he had to be strong enough to face it.

Lumiya knew it, or had some sense of it. There were tears on her cheeks to match the ones he felt on his own. “There is this about being Sith,” she told him. “We strengthen ourselves through sacrifice.”

Jacen nodded, grudging acceptance of that fact. “Yes.”

Nelani looked at him, and beyond him, into his intent.

With a noise that was half moan, she turned and fled.

Jacen raced after her.

The Luke in Jacen's vision is also clearly dark side-aligned, which makes EC's argument here confusing as he cites Luke's own visions during Invincible showing Luke killing Caedus every time but falling to the dark side in the process. How can Caedus have the power to beat Luke in Invincible if he always loses should Luke come after him personally? EC's blog contradicts itself on this point. If Luke's victory over Caedus is inevitable in Invincible, then obviously Jacen's own visions must show a time after it.

EmperorCaedus wrote:In all possible futures in which both Luke and Caedus are strengthened by their loss, Caedus always beats Luke. Caedus gains this as of Invincible.

EmperorCaedus wrote:Why doesn't Luke just face Caedus on his own? Why go through this elaborate battle of Force visions?

The answer to this is as Luke explains, that fighting Lumiya out of vengeance had tainted him with the dark side, and that any future involving himself going after Caedus ends in darkness. If he goes after Caedus, he wins, but wins by turning to the dark side and becoming Caedus.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Invincible wrote:"I know you have," Luke said. "But I'm not going to need support because I can't kill Caedus."

There was a short silence while everyone contemplated this startling statement. Then Saba Sebatyne began to siss.

"Master Skywalker," she said, "you are alwayz making jokes at such strange timez."

"I don't think he's joking," Han said. He turned toward Luke. "Look, buddy, if this is about our feelings-"

"Han, it's not." Luke met the gazes of both of Jaina's parents, then said, "To tell the truth, I've been looking forward to running him down."

Jaina winced inside, and not just for herself. Her parents had told her that Luke claimed to hold only himself and Caedus responsible for Mara's death - that he had not let slip one bitter remark or asked a single pointed question. But all the Solos realized how difficult it must be for him not to blame the parents for the crimes of the child. It would only be natural to blame them for raising a monster, to wonder how they could have gotten it so wrong. So if Luke had finally let slip a vengeful remark, Jaina knew her parents would be willing to overlook this one moment of human imperfection - as would Jaina, had she not understood what he was really saying.

"You've been looking forward to it a little too much?" she asked. "Is that what you mean?"

"Exactly." Luke's gaze slid away from the table. "Every future that begins with me going after Caedus ends in darkness. I know I'm the only one who can be sure of stopping him, but no matter how I envision it, it always leads to darkness."

"Because you want it too much," Kyp said. "You said yourself that your judgment was clouded by vengefulness. If you could purify yourself, maybe go to Dagobah and meditate-"

"It is not Master Skywalker'z judgment that is clouded," Saba said. "It is him."

"What?" Han demanded. "He's not allowed to get mad when someone kills his wife?"

"This one does not think it is anger that cloudz him," Saba replied. "This one thinkz it is what he did to Lumiya."

"I think the word you're looking for is taints, Master Sebatyne," said Leia. "You're saying that killing Lumiya in vengeance tainted him with the dark side."

"Yes." Saba glanced in Luke's direction, then lowered her chin in apology. "This one fearz that if you go after Caedus, no matter how the hunt beginz, it must end in vengeance. That is why you can see nothing but darknesz down that path."

"And this one believes you're right," Luke replied. "Thank you for your honesty, Master Sebatyne. It’s only one of the reasons I value your friendship."

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Invincible wrote:"Right," Luke answered. "I stay as close as I can to the future we’re seeing without actually fighting Caedus - at least, not physically."

"I must say, that seems quite wise," C-3PO said. "The last time you two fought, you were forced to spend your nights in the bacta tank for an entire week."

"I don’t think that’s why Luke let Ben be captured, Threepio." Leia looked into the dark holes beneath Luke’s brow, then demanded, "What are you seeing? What scares you that much?"

Luke looked away, studying the ready deck as though the answer were down there somewhere. "I'm not sure," he said. "There's a shadow in the future. And the farther I look, the darker it grows."

"Caedus." Han spoke the name as though it were a curse. "No mystery there."

"He's part of it," Luke said, "the seed - though exactly how remains hidden to me."

"But the darkness doesn't go away when you kill Caedus," Jaina surmised.

Luke nodded and looked away. "That's right."

"You lose?" Han asked, incredulous. "Tell me you're kidding."

Luke swallowed and forced himself to meet Han's eyes, and Jaina could feel something like... shame in the Force.

"It's worse," Luke said. "I win."

As usual, it was Jaina's mother who understood first. "Oh," she said simply. Her hand went to her mouth, then she reached for his arm. "Luke, I'm sorry. What I said earlier, about going to the dark side, I didn't mean..."

"I know." Luke smiled and patted her hand, but there was too much darkness in his eyes to tell whether the smile was genuine. "But it's true. If I had any doubts about it before, my visions have only confirmed what Saba suggested on Shedu Maad - I have been tainted by killing Lumiya in vengeance. I can't go after Caedus without becoming the same as Caedus."

I suspect EC is also mistaking the visions to mean that Caedus would be fighting peak Luke (the one from DE, TUF, end of DN, etc.), and then the dark side would be stacked on top of that to provide Luke with the advantage, but in that case EC has demonstrated his lack of understanding about the nature and source of Luke's power, as well as Force power in Star Wars as a whole. A Force-user's strength at any given moment is tied to their emotional state, which are from weakest to strongest: conflicted emotion, no emotion, negative emotion, and positive emotion. It's made clear time after time across the mythos that true, selfless love is vastly more powerful than fear, anger, and hatred. Luke has historically always been at his strongest when utilizing positive emotions rather than negative ones.

i. Galen Marek is "rewarded with strength that made his efforts with the dark side look like those of a child" once "he embraces the Force completely, utterly" when "driven by concern for his friends rather than himself."

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed novelization wrote:"No!" the apprentice cried, dropping his defenses to strike one last time at the Imperials. Energy surged through him. He felt as though a star had blazed to life in his chest. Driven by concern for his friends rather than himself, he embraced the Force completely, utterly, and was rewarded with strength that made his efforts with the dark side look like those of a child. His nerves were on fire. Streamers of light radiated from his skin. His bones glowed like radiant lava.

ii. "At most times, and particularly in his weakened state, Vader wouldn't have stood a chance against the power emanating from his Master, but the light side of the Force gives him the strength he needs" to save Luke from the Emperor. His love for his son gives Anakin Skywalker "super energy" that the dark side never did.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image
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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Empty Re: My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda

April 30th 2023, 7:07 pm
iii. Luke Skywalker apprentices himself to Palpatine to "know the dark side's ways and finds its weaknesses," ends up "perhaps learning more about the dark side than he wants to know," discovers "all the dark things father knew so well," reads the Emperor's "dark books," and immerses himself in "the depths of the dark side." Luke opens himself "to his most evil urges," becomes "consumed by anger and hate," "following his father's path," and is so enveloped in the dark side he literally forgets his own name, identity, and individuality, having his "mind imprisoned" by the Emperor's will. With his sister's intervention, Palpatine's "shroud of evil is lifted" from Luke's mind "through the strength of the Force" when Luke realizes "my ally is the Force," he "unlocks unexpected resources," and proceeds to defeat the Emperor in a lightsaber duel whereas previously he lost. "The floodgates of the Force open in" Luke, "he begins to understand" and is "compelled to find and take hold of those resources that were known by Master Yoda... and the greatest Jedi of old," is able "transmute and turn" all his dark knowledge into light side variants against the Emperor, and is able to harness "the greatest power in the Galaxy," "the greatest strength of the Jedi - the power of luminous beings," "the unquenchable light of the Jedi, the ultimate reality on which their way is founded," "the principle from which the Jedi derived their very existence," overall being "united to the Force in all its intensity," with "the power of all the Jedi spirits who went before is focused in Luke." "Before such clarity and power, the cataclysmic rage of the Emperor cannot stand."

https://imgur.com/a/TREPp8i

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda DE_wisdom

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda DE_endnote_giga_wank

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

iv. Mara Jade Skywalker's body is ravaged by a Yuuzhan Vong disease incurable by any known medical technology or application of the Force's healing arts. Luke first attempts to combat it by giving into his unprecedented desperation, fear, and anger, drawing on the dark side with as much intensity as he did against Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi, but his efforts yield no results. It is only when he joins his mind with those of his wife and unborn son that his boundless love for them is able to rid Mara's body of the disease and allow for Ben Skywalker's birth.

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order - Edge of Victory II: Rebirth wrote:Luke gripped Mara's hand and tried to keep his tears at bay, tried to make his mind still, free of pain, fear, and grief.

"Cut it out, Luke," Mara said. "You're giving me the creeps." Her voice was a dry croak, barely louder than the stridulations of larval tlikist.

Luke took a shuddering breath and tried to smile. "Sorry," he said. "Not one of my better days."

"It's got to be better than mine," Mara said.

Her hand in his felt papery and hot. He gripped it harder, feeling the disease beneath. It was in furious motion, mutating at rates that medical science had once considered impossible. The only still point in her body was that place where their child floated. Somehow, even now, when her skin had gone blotchy and her hair was falling out, when the chain reaction that was fast approaching meltdown raged in her flesh, she still kept their child safe.

"Maybe - maybe it's time to let Cilghal induce labor," he said.

"No." Mara's voice cracked on the word, but it was the loudest noise she had made in days. Her eyelids dropped over her pale orbs. "I told you," she whispered. "I can feel it's wrong. If I do that, we'll both die."

"How can you know that?"

"How can you ask? I know. The Force."

"But this is killing you, Mara," he said. The words sounded as if someone else were saying them, like an unknown language.

"No. Really? I would never. . . have . . . guessed."

He felt her fluttering toward unconsciousness again.

"Mara?"

"Still... here."

Luke glanced at the sleeping form of Cilghal on a nearby cot. The healer worked night and day, using the Force to slow the progress of the disease. The results were hardly noticeable. Only Mara had ever been able to control it, but her terrific will was too focused now.

"Mara," he said softly. "Mara, you have to let me in."

"I can manage, Luke."

"Mara, my love ... no games this time. You want to do this your way, and I respect that. Now you have to respect me. That's my child, too - and you, you're the best part of my world. Let me help."

"Selfish," Mara said.

"Yes, maybe," Luke admitted.

"Meant me," Mara corrected. "Help our child."

Luke reached into her, then, into the maelstrom. He felt how truly feeble her life was. Her pain racked his body; her dark fevers gnawed at the fringes of his brain. It was overwhelming, and the most profound sensation of hopelessness he had ever felt shuddered through him.

No. I'm not here to take her pain. I'm here to add my strength. He knew it, but it felt beyond his control. There was too much, coming too fast. He pushed at it, forcing it away, trying to flow a river of vigor into her, but she wasn't there to receive it, to use it as only her body knew how. He was at the mercy of her disease as much as she was.

He heard a noise and realized he had cried out.

Calm. I am calm. I bring calm with me, and tranquility. I am tranquility.

But the sickness laughed at him. Starbursts of images and sensation exploded everywhere. He saw Palpatine's leering face, saw his own, younger features through a veneer of hatred. He was a child on the street, cold and lonely.

All negative feelings, all fears and hates and greeds. Only the worst of Mara was here, where the disease had its way.

He fought the despair, but it pooled in his feet and slowly, slowly filled him up, sap climbing inside a tree.

He knew in that moment he could never save her. Mara was lost to him, forever.

[...]

Luke.

Luke awoke to his name and found Mara’s hand on his arm. Her eyes were clear, and her lips were quivering as if she were trying to speak.

“Mara,” he murmured. “Mara.” He had more to say, but he couldn’t get it out. I love you. Don’t die.

Her head inclined, very slightly. He took her hand and felt the pulse there, stronger than it had been in days, but irregular.

Now. We have to do it now.

“Do what? Mara, I don’t understand.”

Now. Her eyes closed again, and her pulse dropped away.

“No! Mara!”

When Darth Vader had suddenly realized that he had a daughter as well as a son, Luke had felt a desperation that was the palest reflection of this. He’d hurled himself at the black-armored figure that was his father, battering him with his lightsaber until he cut Vader’s arm off. In doing so Luke had taken a decisive step toward the dark side.

Now, though his body did not move, he hurled himself at Mara’s disease with the same blind, desperate fury, battering against it with the Force, trying to shatter the slippery, mutable compounds of which it was made. The electrifying strength of anguish drove him on, and the fact that he was trying to do the impossible meant nothing. He clenched his fists until the veins stood out on his arms, attacking something he couldn’t see.

That wasn’t there to see.

No. Luke, no. Not this way.

Luke fell away, trembling. “How then?” he shouted, maybe at Mara, maybe at the universe itself.

“Luke!” Cilghal was standing in the doorway. “I felt—”

“She wants me to do something, Cilghal,” Luke snarled. “She diverted some of her energy to wake me, and a little more to stop me from … What does she know, Cilghal?”

“I don’t know, Luke,” Cilghal said. “But you’ve been telling your students attack is not the answer. Trust yourself—you’re right. You need to calm yourself.”

A retort got hung just inside of his throat. How could Cilghal possibly understand?

But she was right, of course. It was easy to remain calm when nothing upsetting was happening.

“I know,” he admitted, his breathing evening out. “But I know I have to do something. Now, or she’ll die.”

“Let me try,” Cilghal said. “Maybe I can understand what she wants.”

“No. It has to be me. I know that.”

He calmed himself further, sloughing off his darkening emotions, cleansing himself with deep, slow breaths. Only when he felt truly centered did he reach out toward Mara again, probing her gently through the Force rather than attacking her disease.

Attack is not the answer.

But she was so far gone. There was nothing to defend, except …

And suddenly, he thought he understood. One part of Mara was well—better than well, free of all disease. That’s where he needed to be, not waging warfare, but strengthening, defending from the one fortress that still stood.

He reached out again, this time as lightly as one of Mara’s caresses, into the place where their child rested, and there he found his wife, wrapped around the baby like a durasteel wall.

“Let me in, Mara,” he said aloud. “You have to let me in.” He laid his hand on her arm, squeezing gently. “Let me in.”

Skywalker?

“It’s me. I think I understand, now. I’ll do what I can. But you have to let me in.”

The wall wavered, but held. Had he guessed wrong? Had she herself already forgotten, her memory erased by the pain?

“I love you, Mara. Please.”

He trembled, still touching her arm. He couldn’t force her. He wouldn’t if he could. Come on, Luke.

The gate opened, and he felt another pulse, another life. He reached for his son.

The child stirred, as if recognizing his father’s touch. He reached back, and Luke felt little tickling thoughts, like waking laughter and amazement. It was a voice both familiar and infinitely strange. It was a voice becoming real.

“I love you. I love you both,” he breathed. “Take my strength.”

He and Mara joined like fingers twining, and like a tiny third hand, the unborn child linked with them as well. A human child. His child. Mara’s child.

The mutual grip grew stronger, but it wasn’t the desperate strength of combat or the raging power of a storm. It was a calm, enduring, and at the same time fallible, mortal embrace—the embrace of family long separated.

They mingled, each with the other, until Luke felt his identity blur, and he began to dream.

He saw a young boy with hair of pale red-gold, tracing lines in the sand. He saw an older boy, kneeling by a river course, rubbing a smooth, round stone between his fingers and smiling. The same boy, perhaps ten years old, wrestling with a young Wookiee.

He saw himself, holding the boy, watching glowing lines of traffic move through the sky of some strange world—like Coruscant, but not Coruscant.

He did not see Mara, though he looked, and that brought a new note of discord to his thoughts.

Always in motion is the future, Yoda had once told him. Still, he reached farther, searching for Mara, farther along that uncertain, shifting path. The boy grew older; he was at the helm of a starship of strange design …

All futures exist in the Force, a familiar, impossible voice suddenly said. You do not choose the future so much as it chooses you. Do not look for answers there.

“Ben?” Luke croaked, stunned. It couldn’t be Ben, of course. That time was long gone, and his old Master was truly one with the Force, unreachable, and yet …

But it didn’t matter whether it was Ben, the Force, or a part of Luke himself that had just spoken. It only mattered that he had glimpsed what might be, and only the tiniest part of that, but it was only what might be. He couldn’t let it concern him—now was not the time for searching or speculation, for both were active manifestations of doubt, and he could afford no doubt right now. Doubt was more deadly than the Yuuzhan Vong disease. It was the only real limitation a Jedi had.

He let the images slide away, and felt again only the moment, three hearts beating, three minds becoming one.

Hi there, Luke. Glad to have you back, Mara seemed to say. And then they were expanding, extending outward in every direction, like a galaxy being born. Like anything being born. Like life itself.

[...]

“Good. In that case, I’ll bid you good day—or night, whichever it is, wherever you are. And, Master Skywalker?”

“Yes, Chief Fey’lya?”

“I hope things go well with the birth of your child.”

“As a matter of fact, I now have a son,” Luke said.

“My deepest congratulations to you and your wife,” Fey’lya said.

“Thank you,” Luke replied. “May the Force be with you.”

The Bothan nodded gravely, and his image wavered out.

“How could you be so calm with that preening Hutt-drool?” Mara asked. She was half reclining on the bed, Ben sleeping—finally!—in her arms.

Luke shrugged. “It would have been the easy path to show him anger. After all, his actions nearly cost me everything.” He sat on the bed next to her, and she nestled under his arm. He looked down at his son.

“But we’re okay. He’s not worth the pain of anger. Besides, if we can mend skyhooks instead of crashing them, we should.”

“You’re such a softy, Skywalker,” she said, but nestled deeper into his arms, so he could reach all the way around her.

“You had another communication while I was in the ’fresher,” she said.

“I was just getting to that. It was Kam. He and Tionne think they’ve found the planet we’re looking for. And they send their congratulations.”

“So they’re headed back here?”

“Yep.”

“Wow. And the Falcon showed up yesterday. When Jaina gets here, it’ll be a real reunion.”

“Yeah.” Luke touched the tiny, perfect digits of Ben’s hand. “And guess who’ll be the center of attention? That’s you, fellah.” He cocked his head. “He looks like you today.”

“He looks healthy,” Mara said softly. “After that, he could look like a Dug for all I care.”

“You did it, Mara,” he whispered, kissing her cheek.

“We did it, Luke.”

“Now I only want to know one thing,” Luke said.

“That being?”

“How long before we get to sleep through the night again?”

Mara snorted and patted his hand fondly. “If this one is anything like the Solo kids, I’d say at least another twenty years.”

Something in Ben’s gray eyes seemed to agree.

v. Luke Skywalker drawing on the power of love fills him with so much Force energy his cells begin to burst and a golden glow emits from his skin. Even theoretically, the dark side would not be able to grant him any more power without killing him.

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi - Vortex wrote:Abeloth pulled in the opposite direction, and they dropped back to the floor. Luke opened himself more fully to the Force, using his love for Ben and his lost wife and the entire Jedi Order to draw it into him. The foul miasma of dark side energy, still swirling into Abeloth, seeped into him, filling him with greasy nausea. But the light side rushed in, flowing in from all sides, pouring through him like fire. A golden glow began to rise from his skin - cells literally bursting with the power of the Force - and Luke felt them both start upward again. Abeloth countered, hissing in anger, and they hovered a hand span above the floor.

vi. Cade Skywalker fails to heal Deliah Blue with the dark side but succeeds by surrendering to his love for her, accepting the light side as more powerful. Once again I'll let ILS take over. Except from his debate with the late HellfireUnit (Rest in peace):

ILS wrote:But here is the real kicker: Darth Maladi implanted Deliah Blue with a Vong implant so insidious that it dwarves everything Cade had cured or could have cured before, which includes the dark-side accelerated coral seeds, Krayt’s coral seeds and the rakghoul plague. Even though he was on a powerful dark side nexus, and he was drawing harder on the dark side than he ever had at any point in the past, he was incapable of healing her without killing her. He is convinced to try drawing on the Light Side instead, which would be more difficult given the nexus. Nevertheless, he not only heals her by doing this, but he does so while maintaining a Force Bubble shielding himself and Deliah from Maladi’s lab exploding, which they were at the centre of.
“I pushed myself as close to the edge as I can, but when I try to heal her, the pain just gets worse! I need to draw myself deeper into the darkness!”

“No. You must use the light side, Cade.”

“Not… strong… enough! More power in the dark side.”

“That is a lie. Trust the bonds you once felt within the Force when you were my apprentice. The bonds you shared with your father, who walked firmly in the light. They are still strong in you! The Force brought me here to this place, light years from where I was, to be here with you at this moment -- How can you not trust in the power of the light side above the dark? How can you not trust in the power of the Force?”

[...]

“Let the Force flow through me into you. That Sith poison… burns bad… hate and fire… burns bad… love burns brighter, Blue.”

[...]

“Did as you said, master -- tapped into the light side. Hate to say it -- but you were right.”

“Then come back to the Jedi, Cade. Become who you should be.”

“Can’t. I know now what I am. Not Jedi. Not Sith. I am what the Force has made me… the Sith’s worst nightmare. Time to make war.”


—Cade Skywalker and Wolf Sazen
https://imgur.com/a/gyXBf

To recap: not only is there no proof that Jacen's visions refer to the timeframe of Invincible, Luke's own visions outright contradict that idea; and Jacen's don't even show him killing peak Luke. So an obvious My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1419419311.

(8) In Bloodlines Jacen believes he is more powerful than everyone on the NJO Council "except Luke. And he was growing closer to Luke’s strength by the day. When he achieved Sith Mastery, he would surpass him." This is foreshadowing the events of Sacrifice, also by Traviss, when Jacen kills Mara, Luke kills Lumiya, Jacen feels his dark power swell and takes on the title of Darth Caedus. It's strongly implied Jacen considers himself close to Luke in power.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Bloodlines wrote:This time he needed to see what had happened. He shut out the time-echoes of the voices again and slipped into a corner where he could hide if his Force-invisibility failed as he flow-walked into the past. The effort of sustaining all the techniques at once was making him sweat.

His head pounded and the image of the chamber blurred for a moment, but then it cleared and Jacen felt as if he had woken with a start. The Council sat in their ceremonial seats or appeared as holograms, and one of those present in the flesh was Anakin Skywalker, now a young man, and a very angry one. He was standing in the center of the chamber in a black cloak, arguing with Mace Windu and Yoda.

“Allow this appointment lightly, the Council does not. Disturbing is this move by Chancellor Palpatine.”

“You are on this Council, but we do not grant you the rank of Master.”

“What? How can you do this? This is outrageous! It’s unfair! I’m more powerful than any of you. How can you be on the Council and not be a Master?”

“Take a seat, young Skywalker …”

Jacen watched for a few moments and both pitied and understood Anakin, and knew that he wasn’t following his path, not at all. Poor Grandfather: gifted, exceptional, dismissed, barely tolerated, largely untrained, abandoned. No wonder he resorted to crazed, desperate violence. Had he received the training that Jacen had, if he had been able to perfect his powers and experience all uses of the Force—even those the Jedi academy shied away from teaching—then the galaxy might have been a very different place.

I’m the second chance.

The Jedi Council dropped the ball. And they paid for it.

Jacen had accepted his Sith destiny, but now he understood not only that it had to happen, but why. Everything in his life had led to this point because Anakin Skywalker’s destiny had been subverted and warped by well-meaning but blind Masters, sending him off on a tangent to do a flawed Palpatine’s bidding instead of realizing his own full power.

I’m more powerful than any of you.

It was a boy’s expression of anger, but it was true. And, as history repeated itself because it had no other choice, Jacen was more powerful than any of them except Luke. And he was growing closer to Luke’s strength by the day.

When he achieved Sith Mastery, he would surpass him. He hadn’t yet thought how Luke and he would coexist after that point had been reached. For a brief and tempting moment Jacen considered Force-walking into the future, as he had done before, but his instinct said to leave it alone for the time being.

Power. Power was a vulgar, personal word, shot through with ambition and petty vanity. Becoming a Master was a necessary political step in achieving the ultimate order. Beyond that, it had no meaning, but Jacen would still seek it—purely as a tool.

He could maintain the time flow and invisibility no longer. He snapped out of the past and held his presence in check long enough to leave the chamber and pause farther down the corridor to catch his breath. A maintenance worker appeared from a storeroom and stared at him, surprised.

“Good night, friend,” said Jacen, and mind-rubbed the memory from the man as he left.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Sacrifice wrote:"I think we're missing something, Lieutenant," Jacen said, dipping his fingertip into the maze of light to make his point. "Look, what you have here is actually a flotilla of corvettes, and this Destroyer here will move into this position, because she's actually operating a-"

He trailed off, aware of the raised eyebrows and puzzled looks he was getting, but bathed in the growing warmth of revelation.

I can see all this.

"Can we check that out?" the officer of the watch called to a colleague. "Colonel Solo is rarely mistaken."

Colonel Solo, Jacen thought, had just had the epiphany of his life.

It's true. Lumiya was right. Oh, this is exquisite. I was blind before. How did I ever think I could succeed as a commander without this?

Lumiya had promised him a battlefield awareness and judgment that made ordinary battle meditation look like a finger painting-to sense and coordinate by the power of his mind and will alone, a power that only came to fruition in the Master of the Sith.

It's me. It really is. It was Mara's sacrifice after all, I accept that now.

But I still don't understand the prophecy. And I don't like what I can't understand.

He was a Sith Lord. Now his work could truly begin.

It had happened.

And it was beautiful.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

Here's where things start to fall apart for me, and the true retardation of Legacy of the Force really shines through. Karen Traviss states that Jacen's high opinion of his powers is not misplaced; now, whether she means that Jacen's judgment about himself in relation to other characters should be taken as accurate, or whether it's a more imprecise statement that Jacen has a good reason to be confident but not everything he thinks is necessarily correct, is up to interpretation. In any case, in the very next novel, Tempest, Denning writes post-prime Aurra Sing giving Jacen a hard time - so if Jacen's musings are accepted at face value, it would diminish all the Council members to Sing-level. Given Jacen has also seen Luke in action many times, including at his apex in The Unifying Force, thinking he is close to his uncle would make him beyond deluded - it crosses over into outright incoherence. Yet as pointed out earlier Denning also writes Jacen insisting that Luke should take himself and Mara with him to fight UnuThul and Lomi Plo in The Swarm War. And another thing Denning writes in Tempest is Lumiya giving Luke a hard time:

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Tempest wrote:A long hissing crackle sounded from the second exit, drawing a frenzy of screams from fleeing patrons. Luke had not heard the sizzle of a striking lightwhip in decades, and the sound sent a hot prickle up his spine. He reached inside his robe and withdrew the shoto he had been carrying in anticipation of just this moment.

“Well, I’d say this proves it.” Luke’s heart ached with disappointment. “Ben’s not here. Lumiya is.”

“Yeah.” Mara’s voice was angry. “Jacen set us up.”

She snapped the shoto off her own equipment belt and started for the cantina’s inner wall, moving into position to flank their attacker. Luke started toward the hatch and saw snakes of light crackling into the crowd ahead. A leathery, anvil-shaped head went flying and two human arms dropped to the floor. A dozen voices cried out in pain as ribbons of bloody cloth flew from their tunics.

“Back, you kreetles!” The icy voice belonged to Lumiya. “Get back! Only one man can save you now!”

The whip struck again, and the confused patrons began to fall back. A dark-cloaked figure appeared in the hatchway. Her hood had been pushed back off her head, but her face was swaddled in black cloth. Her lightwhip trailed at her side, its half a dozen strands divided evenly among energy, leather, and crystal-studded metal. Luke started to push toward her, using the Force to subtly move people aside as he fought against the retreating crowd.

“You!” Lumiya pointed a long finger in Luke’s direction. “Lay down your blades and kneel.”

“Not a chance.”

Luke ignited his blades—one short and one long, to counter the dual nature of her weapon—and watched the crowd part before him. It would have been quicker and safer to launch himself at Lumiya in a long arc of Force tumbling, but she did not seem to be aware of Mara sneaking up on her flank, and Luke wanted to keep her attention fixed on him until Mara was in position to strike.

Lumiya was in no mood to be patient. Her lightwhip crackled out again and shredded a Duros down one whole flank. Her victim fell, warbling in pain, and the blaster he had been trying to pull clattered to the floor in front of him.

The crowd froze in terror, staring gape-mouthed at the still-writhing victim.

“The Jedi has decided your fate!” Lumiya yelled over the screeching Duros. Her whip lashed out again, this time wrapping its tendrils around the waist of a lithe Hapan beauty and cutting her nearly in half. “Because of him, you all die!”

Cantina patrons began to whirl on Luke, many pulling blasters or vibroblades. Their eyes were distant and their mouths uniformly twisted into the same angry snarl, and Luke realized that Lumiya was using the Force to redirect their fear and anger toward him. Clearly, she did not intend this to be a fair fight … any more than he and Mara did.

Luke danced forward, shoving patrons out of his way with the Force and using his light blades to return the bolts of those who made the mistake of firing on him. He hated to wound Lumiya’s unwitting minions and did his best to avoid injuring them seriously, but he had to defend himself. If he allowed the situation to get out of hand and they tried to mob him, a lot of people were going to lose arms, legs, and maybe worse.

Luke had closed to within striking range of the lightwhip when a Twi’lek male in a clean kitchen apron stepped out to block his way.

“You’re a Jedi!” The Twi’lek’s head-tails were twitching in anger, and if he was troubled by the two blades hissing in front of him, his lumpy face showed no sign of it. “You can’t let my customers die just to save yourself!”

Luke used the Force to shove the Twi’lek aside. Though Mara was no longer in his line of sight, he could sense through their Force-bond that she was in position and ready to strike—and Lumiya continued to seem unaware of her.

The Twi’lek stepped out behind Luke. “Coward!” His voice grew a little muted as he turned toward the crowd. “Let’s get—”

Luke silenced the Twi’lek with a bone-crunching back kick, then hurled himself at Lumiya, both blades striking for the kill. He knew better than to think victory would come so easily, but he had to keep her attention riveted on him until Mara struck.

Lumiya’s counter was, of course, masterful. She flicked her whip at Luke’s legs, forcing him into a high somersault that bought her half a second to spin away. He came down a couple of paces inside the cantina, framed in the hatchway and facing the murky corridor where Alema crouched, hidden inside her Force shadow.

***

Alema could have taken him at that moment. She had the cone-dart in the blowgun and the blowgun pressed to her lips, and Skywalker was so focused on Lumiya that he would never have sensed the dart coming. That was what Lumiya would want, what she expected.

But where was the Balance in that? Luke Skywalker had taken so much from her-the use of her arm, her nest, her identity-and it would not be right for Alema to simply kill him. She had to destroy him, to let him watch Mara die first so that when he died, he would know that there was no hope-so he would know that Lumiya had won, that the Sith would have his nephew and his son, and that the Jedi order would die with him.

So Alema held her dart, waiting motionless while Lumiya’s lightwhip flashed again and again, keeping Skywalker framed in the hatchway for her, striking at his flanks and head to keep him from pivoting or somersaulting or simply advancing out of her line of sight.

Finally Skywalker feinted a leap for the hatchway. When Lumiya made the mistake of trying only halfheartedly to block his "escape," he made an unbelievable parry across his body with his short blade, then spun into a slashing, whirling advance with his long blade.

Lumiya had no choice except to retreat. Skywalker vanished from the hatchway and out of Alema’s sight, then the last of the lightwhip’s metallic strands whirled past the hatchway. A fresh chorus of screams arose, and a jet of blood arced out of the cantina to splat down in a line of elongated red beads.

When Alema looked back into the cantina, it was to find Mara crouching opposite her, just inside the hatchway and facing away. Half a dozen meters beyond her, Skywalker and Lumiya were fighting a frantic battle in the midst of the crowd, Skywalker trying to remain in clear areas so no bystanders would be injured, Lumiya working to keep those same bystanders in front of her so Skywalker could not attack without cutting his way through them first.

Now was Alema’s chance - but it would not be enough to simply kill Mara. Alema was a Jedi, and Jedi served the Balance.

As she filled her lungs, Alema was also reaching out to Skywalker, sharing with him all the sorrow and loneliness and despair he had caused her - the shame and hopelessness and unending anguish.

A bolt of surprise shot through the Force. Skywalker’s eyes widened and slid toward the hatchway - and that was all the opening Lumiya needed.

The lightwhip cracked again, wrapping Skywalker in a fiery cage of light and leather. The short blade went flying, taking along the hand that had been holding it, and Sky-walker’s robe fell away below the armpits in ribbons, leaving the air pink and smoky with blood and charred flesh.

[...]

Mara whirled around to charge through the hatchway—only to find it blocked by a swarm of terrified Hapans trying to flee. She deactivated her weapons and rushed into their midst, Force-shoving the leaders into the dark corridor ahead of her. Luke was badly wounded and she knew it, but she was not going to save him by giving the dart blower another shot. As soon as she was through the hatchway, she reignited her blades and spun toward the dark corner from which the dart had come.

[...]

But Mara could feel through her Force-bond that Luke was fading fast. His energy was dwindling and his concentration slipping, and he was drawing heavily on the Force just to keep his pain in check and his body moving.

[...]

There was no question of returning to the cantina without disconnecting the relay. Head injuries were too unpredictable. The Twi’lek could die at any moment, and even if she lived, one of the fleeing patrons might trigger the device accidentally. Unfortunately, the wires had to be disconnected in a specific sequence to keep from triggering the detonator. Mara only hoped that Luke could hold Lumiya off until she finished. Even with the Force to guide her, this was going to take time.

***

And time was something Luke did not have. He could feel that in the fire eating his lungs, in the raw nettling of his flesh. His breath came in inadequate gasps, and his blood was bubbling from his side in a pink froth. He was calling on the Force to keep fighting, drawing it through himself faster than his body could endure, literally boiling his own cells. At most, he had another minute of fight in him . . . maybe less.

Luke had to end this now.

He blocked a pair of crackling energy strands with his lightsaber and flung them aside, then launched himself across a daqball table toward Lumiya. She countered by pivoting away, bringing between them a Twi’lek serving girl. He could have continued the attack, slicing through the chests of both shield and captor, but even desperate, he could not kill a hostage. He threw himself into an aerial cartwheel and came down on a slick, utensil-strewn floor squarely facing Lumiya.

Her hand flicked, and the lightwhip came arcing toward his head. Luke dropped to his haunches and let it crackle past overhead. Then, when Lumiya started to back away from the expected lunge at her midsection, he hit her hard with a Force shove and spun her half around. She crashed into a drink table and nearly fell, but quickly brought her hostage around to protect her from an attack.

Luke smiled and raised his arm, pointing his lightsaber toward the serving girl, then using the Force to wrench her free of Lumiya’s grasp, he sent her flying across the claqball table. She crashed down on the other side in a heap, screaming in terror but far safer than she had been a moment earlier.

By then Lumiya had recovered from her stumble, and the lightwhip was snaking back toward Luke. He sprang into a round-off, wrapping the tip of his blade into the crackling strands as he passed over upside down. He landed on the claqball table’s squishy surface and jerked backward with all his might.

And that was when his mangled body failed him. Instead of yanking the weapon from Lumiya’s hand, his lightsaber slipped out of his own grasp and went flying into the shadows. Luke cursed in disbelief-then rolled off the table in a backward somersault.

Even that turned into a disaster. He landed on the body of one of Lumiya’s original victims and-too weak to steady himself-hit the floor with an audible thump. He could sense Mara out in the corridor, concentrating intently on something, very frightened and urging him to wait for her, not to press the attack until she was there.

There was no chance of that. Luke’s strength was failing so fast that he feared Jacen’s betrayal would cost him his life. And when Lumiya was done with him, she would be free to go attack Mara, as well. His chest tightened with an emotion that might have been anger or sorrow or fear-and was probably all those things at once. Jacen had betrayed them . . . which could only mean that somewhere along the line, Luke had failed Jacen.

Lumiya must have suspected a trap, because when Luke failed to rise immediately, she did not rush to attack. Instead, she called, "It’s not too late, Skywalker. Let me kill you now, and everyone else survives. Even Mara."

"Very generous." As Luke replied, he was inspecting the cantina floor, searching for the shoto he had lost when Lumiya took his cybernetic hand. "But I don’t. .. think so. You can’t have . . . Jacen."

"Jacen?" Lumiya let out a cold laugh. "What makes you think this is about him?"

"Your involvement with GAG." He wasn’t having much success looking for his lightsabers; the blades had deactivated as soon as they left his grasp, and the cantina floor was too littered in debris and shadow for him to find anything. "Who else could give you ... an apartment? Who else could give you access to ... their files?"

Again, that cruel laugh. "Indeed." The lightwhip’s crackling grew deeper as Lumiya shortened the strands for easier control. "Who else has access to Jacen’s codes? Who else could give orders to GAG officers in Jacen’s name?"

The questions caught Luke like a kick in the stomach. He knew that Lumiya was only trying to hurt him, that her implications were likely more false than true. But the possibility explained too much . . . and now that he thought back on Ben’s behavior over the last several months, he had to admit that he had seen too much of that possibility himself.

Something crunched on the floor as Lumiya circled the base of the claqball table. Luke gave up his search for his shoto and began to look for another weapon. He had not brought his own blaster into the cantina, prefering light blades instead, but the body he had fallen on was almost certainly a spacer, and spacers always carried blasters.

"You’re lying." Luke found the spacer’s belt and followed it to a holster. "Just saying that... to hurt me!"

"Does that make it a lie?" Lumiya asked. "You’ve caused me a lot of pain over the years, Skywalker. What better way to repay it than bringing your family legacy full circle?"

Luke knew she was only trying to twist the vibroblade, to hurt him as much as she could before she killed him- but he stuck his head up anyway.

"Stop it!" he yelled, with real anger. "You’ll never make a Sith of my..."

Luke never had a chance to say son. All he saw was the bright glow of Lumiya’s lightwhip snaking across the claqball table barely centimeters above the surface, and he knew that his reflexes were just too slow right now, that he could not duck quickly enough to keep the whip from slicing into his brain.

So Luke simply fell backward, closing his eyes against the crackling glow as the strands swept past a finger’s width above his nose, bringing up the blaster he had taken from the dead spacer’s holster, allowing the Force to guide his hand, squeezing the trigger three times before he felt Lumiya’s shock in the Force, then squeezing it twice more before he heard her body hit the floor.

And suddenly Mara was screaming at him from across the cantina, flooding the Force with alarm. "Stop firing!"

Then in the following novel, Exile under Aaron Allston's pen, Luke frames Lumiya as legitimately dueling him "to a standstill" bereft of any extenuating circumstances. Zekk also says later in the book, that himself, Jagged Fel, and Jaina Solo wouldn't be a match for Lumiya because "she fought the Grand Master to a standstill. She’s Master level." Notably, Jaina doesn't disagree, despite also having witnessed Luke's maelstrom in The Unifying Force - connect that to her contemplation in Inferno that "she had thought she had a fair understanding of his Force abilities, but if his flying was any example, he hadn’t revealed half of what he could do. Maybe not even a quarter." Lumiya also has a second, brief fight with Luke in Exile where she contends before bringing it to a halt. But how strong is she in Legacy of the Force if she can do this? Unable to ever become a true Sith Master according to herself, less powerful than Darth Vader according to Luke, and incapable of beating random Jedi Nelani Dinn in a telekinetic tug-of-war.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Betrayal wrote:Jacen shuddered. “So far, the one irrefutable sign that Vectivus was evil … No, we can do the house tour after your explanation, after I retrieve Ben and Nelani. So—Palpatine and Vader both die, and you have no chance to be educated enough to become the Mistress of the Sith.”

“Oh, there you’re wrong, Jacen.” Lumiya shook her head as if chiding him for his ignorance. “I never had any chance to become Mistress of the Sith. No matter how much I learned.”

Jacen moved to the next bust in line. This was a Bothan face, alert and intelligent. “Why not?”

“The Force is the energy of the living. You interact with it, its eddies and flows, with your own living body. It’s all right to have a mechanical part or two—an implant, a replacement foot. But for true Mastery in the Force, light side or dark side, you have to be mostly organic. I’m not, and so the greatest, the most significant powers, I can never learn.”

Jacen frowned. “Wait. That means that Darth Vader could never have become the Lord of the Sith … a true Master.”

“That’s correct. I’m not sure he ever understood that. He might not have cared. He was numbed by tragedy. The Bothan you’re looking at, by the way, was an old family friend of Darth Vectivus. Taught Vectivus basic principles of negotiation.”

“Are you saying that none of these busts is a Sith?”

“That’s right. This isn’t a museum for Sith matters. It’s a celebration of Vectivus’s youth and life. His life, Jacen. His joys and triumphs.”

Jacen propped his elbow up on the Bothan’s head. “So that’s what the trap is.”

“Eh?” Lumiya looked surprised.

“You didn’t lure me here to kill me. You lured me here to persuade me to take up the path of the Sith.”

“Yes.”

“Because I have all my body parts.”

She grinned at him. “Not exactly. Because it’s you. All the portents, all the convergences flowing into the future say so, particularly since you’ve already received quite a lot of Sith training.”

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Betrayal wrote:Nelani tried again, this time with the bust of the Bothan. It reached a halfway point between her and Lumiya, but the older woman reached out with her own free hand and the bust stopped in midair. Now it strained forward toward her; a moment later, it crept back through the air toward Nelani. It was a piece in a game of push-of-war between the women, and neither was winning.

The strain showed in Lumiya’s voice, causing it to hoarsen. “Vergere sacrificed herself so you could assume the Sith mantle she wanted for you. That’s the kind of self-sacrifice no Jedi would admit is possible for the Sith, but it’s the truth. Take what I have to teach you, Jacen. Take this place and the dark side power it contains. Take the knowledge that rests in its tombs on the world of Ziost. And use them against the forces that are trying to tear this galaxy apart. Restore order. Give your cousin, give the children in your family and your life the chance to grow up in a galaxy without war.”

“You’re still withholding the truth,” Jacen said. His voice was hard now, his manner uncompromising, unconfused. “You killed the security chief on Toryaz Station, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” she said. “Of course. I caught up to him too late to prevent the attack on you—it was already under way. But I could force from him an admission of who he was working for, and avenge the dead.”

“Who was he working for?”

“Thrackan Sal-Solo. Who else?”

“And all those situations on Lorrd—you didn’t ‘dream’ about them, did you? You had direct access to the perpetrators.”

Lumiya cast a sideways glance at the bust hovering between her and Nelani. It was beginning to creep back toward her, and the strain of keeping it at bay was showing on her face. “Yes. My visions were waking visions. I could have interfered directly with their plans—probably with exactly the same results you experienced.”

“Why didn’t you?”

“I used them as a test for you.” Lumiya closed her eyes and strained, but the bust still moved toward her. “Sith, like Jedi, have to determine the fates of others. Unlike Jedi, they know that sometimes this means sacrificing one so that twenty may live. I had to find out whether you understood that. And you do.”

“How about your confederate?” Jacen asked. “The man Master Skywalker keeps glimpsing but can’t quite see? The man he says doesn’t exist?”

Lumiya managed a laugh that was half-exhausted gasp. “Jacen, that’s you, visions of you. The Sith you will become. Luke can’t make out his features because he’s not willing to accept what he sees through the Force—your face where the next Lord of the Sith stands.” Her last words were little more than a gasp, and her control slipped at that point. The bust of the Bothan hurtled toward her. She cracked her whip at it, a foreshortened stroke that might have missed in any case, but the bust’s trajectory changed, sending the statuary beneath the tendrils. Instead of striking Lumiya’s head or chest, the bust cracked into her right hand, sending the whip spinning from her grip; its tendrils twisted across the floor like living things, scarring it with their passage.

Nelani leapt forward, slashing at her enemy. Her blade came down—

On Jacen’s. His blade held hers, his eyes held her eyes. “I’m not through here,” he said.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Exile wrote:Mara leaned forward, elbows on the table on either side of the datapad retrieved from Lumiya’s quarters, and rested her chin in her hands.

From the other side of the table, Luke looked at her. “You cracked the encryption on the data card?”

“Finally.”

“But you don’t look happy.”

“You don’t need a Force-bond to tell that, farmboy.”

“Tell me.”

“Some of it’s an invoice. The sender seems to have been a bounty hunter working for Lumiya, and the invoice is an itemized list of expenses: hours worked, fuel expended, blaster shots taken. The main part, though, is a mission status and event report. Even decrypted, it’s hard to puzzle out—everything is referred to by code words. But assuming I’m putting the right names to some of these code words, the information is … interesting.”

“Such as?”

“ ‘Confirmed that the Lady’s daughter succumbed to in juries inflicted by Grandson Three-two-seven-oh-seven,’ ” Mara recited. “ ‘Please inform if Lady’s mission changed from insertion/observation to revenge.’ ”

Luke frowned over that one. “Lady has to be Lumiya. She used to style herself the Dark Lady of the Sith … after Emperor Palpatine and my father were no longer around to slap her down for presumption.”

“I agree. And if that same-time context is the basis for more than one of these code names, Grandson would therefore have to be one of Darth Vader’s grandsons, right? Jacen or Ben.”

“Three-two-seven-oh-seven,” Luke said. “Just a second.” He pulled out his datapad, connected it remotely to the Temple’s computer, and went searching for a report Ben had filed weeks earlier. “Here it is. Bee-em-ex-three-two-seven-oh-seven. An uninhabited star system near Bimmiel. That’s where the woman Syo led Jacen and Ben, where Jacen defeated some sort of dark side Force-user within the asteroid under her habitat.”

“Where Nelani Dinn died.” Mara looked confused. “Nelani was Lumiya’s daughter?”

“No. Nelani’s parents have files in the order database, and Nelani looks—looked—a lot like her mother. Besides, Nelani died the same day Jacen and Ben arrived at the habitat. Your file there suggests that ‘the Lady’s daughter’ lingered for a while.” Luke frowned. “The other woman who was there, Brisha Syo. Brisha could be an anagram for Shira B—Shira Brie.”

“Lumiya’s real name.”

Luke nodded. “I didn’t make the connection at the time, because then it had been years since we’d heard anything about Lumiya.” A thought was growing within him, and alongside it a worry, a big one. “Let’s say Lumiya has a daughter. She names her Brisha, a self-tribute, and Brisha works with her. Brisha lures Jacen and Ben to an ambush. She and the mysterious Sith she claims is living in her basement—maybe he’s just a Dark Jedi she’s hired, maybe he’s Lumiya’s Sith apprentice—are going to kill Ben, an act of revenge for everything I’ve done to Lumiya. Or maybe to capture him, train him to be a Sith. Which is just as much revenge, and twice the evil.”

“I did a thing or two to her, as well.”

“Right. Revenge against both of us. But Nelani is there, too, and throws the odds off. The dark sider and Nelani are killed, Brisha is badly wounded, Ben gets a knock in the head and forgets what happened, and Jacen presumably never figures out that Brisha was one of the bad guys. Jacen and Ben leave … and weeks later, Brisha ‘succumbs to injuries.’ ”

“And her mother …” Mara winced. “Her mother would want revenge. Against Jacen. He’s racking up quite a body count against daughters of dangerous opponents of ours.”

Luke shook his head. “We don’t know that Jacen wounded Brisha. How could he have done so and then left the habitat without thinking of her as an enemy? Ben must have done it, during one of the periods of time his memory doesn’t cover. Which would make Ben the target.” His stomach began doing flip-flops. In addition to being a cocky teenager alone in a galaxy at war, Ben might now be the target of one of the galaxy’s deadliest killers—a woman who had fought Luke to a standstill mere weeks before.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Exile wrote:“I’m no more suited to analyze the Force than I am to composing ultrasonic music, since I can’t experience either. I just know the little bits I’ve heard, and that’s been added to quite a lot since I’ve come here. But if the Force was speaking through the Grand Master when he pronounced you the Sword of the Jedi, and if the Sword is anything like the Chosen One, then there’s some sort of imbalance that needs to be addressed. And that would seem to point to Lumiya.”

Jaina nodded. “Maybe our task force needs to be pursuing her instead of Alema Rar.”

“Or in addition to, since the two of them were clearly cooperating against the Skywalkers at Roqoo Depot.”

Zekk returned to stand over the two of them. “I don’t think the three of us are a match for Lumiya. She fought the Grand Master to a standstill. She’s Master level. We’re two Jedi Knights and one Force-blind space jockey.”

Jaina frowned up at him. “Zekk, that was uncalled for.”

“I’m just explaining, correctly and logically, that Fel is not an asset when it comes to matters of the Force.”

“Zekk, stop it!”

Implacably, Zekk continued. “And this sort of analysis is something that Fel knows quite a lot about.” He turned his attention to Jag. “Didn’t you once tell Jaina I wasn’t a good enough pilot to join her squadron? Wasn’t that cool, levelheaded analysis?”

Jaina winced. That event had taken place during the Yuuzhan Vong war, on Borleias. And Jaina had let herself be convinced of Jag’s point, even though she’d known better.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Inferno wrote:Sneaker toodled an affirmative answer that sounded vaguely like "for now." Another volley of crimson blossoms opened around them, many laced together by flashing lines of cannon bolts. The Vulnerator had anticipated their attack, waiting until the StealthXs had drawn close enough to spot. Then - and this was the smart part, the part that required discipline only the Alliance space navy could instill - the gunners had held their fire until all stations had acquired the target.

Luke was weaving through the storm almost effortlessly, slipping away from turbolaser strikes half a second before they blossomed, ducking cannon bolts as though he had a telepathic connection to the gunner's mind. And maybe he did, for all Jaina knew. She had thought she had a fair understanding of his Force abilities, but if his flying was any example, he hadn't revealed half of what he could do. Maybe not even a quarter.

She concentrated on staying behind him, trying to follow the silhouette of his StealthX as it darted through the fiery curtain surrounding them. Often she could see only the faint glow of his ion engines before their efflux turned dark, and sometimes her only sense of his location came through the Force. It did not take long for her cockpit to stop bucking despite the barrage, and she was finally able to read the damage report Sneaker had put on the display earlier.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Exile wrote:Luke and Mara made their approach a merciful one. They landed in the midst of the thickest group of security officers. Luke’s lightsaber flashed in a circle, severing five or six blaster barrels, and Mara gestured with the Force to sweep aside half a dozen agents.

Luke deflected a blaster shot from an opportunistic CorSec woman. “Let’s go, Jacen. Your ride’s waiting.”

Jacen struck, cutting a Bothan shooter in two. “I don’t need your help.” Then he looked past Luke and his expression hardened still more. “Oh, no.”

Luke glanced back that way. Han and Leia were entering the main hall at a dead run. “And your other ride is here.”

Then he heard Mara’s warning hiss—more through the Force than with his ears—and when he turned back again, Lumiya stood before him.

***

As Han and Leia approached, the nature of the battle before them changed in an instant. Abruptly Luke was drawing and igniting his second lightsaber, the half-length shoto, and using his primary lightsaber to deflect a weapon that looked oddly like Lumiya’s lightwhip.

Han squinted. The wielder was Lumiya, though her skin was dark. He raised his blaster and fired, but Lumiya must have been aware of him; she simply twisted aside and the bolt caromed off the floor, then passed through the chest of the six-meter hologram of an admiral that dominated the center of the room.

Mara, nearly surrounded by security agents, was batting their blasterfire back at them with her own lightsaber. Leia angled away from her, toward Luke—and then let out a surprised cry as a low table slid into her path, too suddenly for her to vault or sidestep. She tripped but came up on her feet and lit her lightsaber.

She stopped abruptly and stared to the left. Han followed her gaze … to see Alema Rar emerging from wall-side shadows, an odd smile on her lips, her lit lightsaber in her hand.

“Mine,” Leia said, and leapt forward.

Han ignored her. He fired at the Twi’lek, but Alema casually caught the bolt with her lightsaber, then began spinning her blade in a defensive pattern as Leia reached her.

***

“I guess this settles the question of whether you’re dead or not,” Luke said. He caught another crack of the lightwhip on his long blade, darted in close, slashed at Lumiya with the shoto. But with an exertion through the Force, she lifted a severed human head into the path of the blow, and Luke’s attack sent the head spinning through the air. It landed on a table stacked with food.

“Of course,” Lumiya said. “I thought you knew. I am dead. I have been for decades.”

“Then lie down and let us throw dirt on top of you.” With a similar telekinetic exertion, Luke whipped the tablecloth from beneath all the platters and hurled it at Lumiya. It swept upon her from behind, but she cracked her whip backward, cutting the tablecloth in two, then continued the maneuver into a forward stroke. Luke deflected separate lightwhip tendrils with his two blades.

“You really do hate me, don’t you?” Lumiya asked.

“You’ve given me plenty of reasons to. But no. I don’t reciprocate your hate.” Luke leapt over another sweep of tendrils, coming down atop a chair and leaping free of it as Lumiya’s follow-up attack disintegrated it. He landed lightly, poised.

“I don’t hate.” She lowered her whip. “I’m sorry you think that of me. I haven’t hated for … a very long time. Yes, I’ve tried to kill you—but that was professional. Not personal.”

Luke held up his own weapon long enough to deflect a stray blaster bolt, a security agent attack that merely strayed too near him, then lowered the lightsaber, matching Lumiya’s action. “You don’t hate. Somehow I don’t believe that.”

“We belong to rival schools, Luke. That’s all. Shall I prove it?”

“Sure.”

Lumiya deactivated her lightwhip and wrapped it around her waist. She gestured, palms up. “Kill me now, if you want.”

He took a step forward. “I don’t want. But you’re a never-ending threat to me and my family.”

“Then take your shot. But first, for old times’ sake, take my hand.” She extended her right hand, palm still upward, a gesture of peace.
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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Empty Re: My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda

April 30th 2023, 7:09 pm
Another funny thing Allston writes in Betrayal is Lumiya facilitating an illusory duel between Jacen and Luke via the Force phantom technique and by drawing on the dark side nexus of Darth Vectivus's stronghold. Jacen comments that the phantom is "just about as good" as the real Luke and "a fair match" for him, and the reason he gives is that "the phantom he fought had the speed and moves of a Jedi Master," the implication of course being that any Jedi Master would be match for Luke.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Betrayal wrote:Luke shook his head and exerted himself through the Force, willing the visions, the voices away. They faded, leaving him in the dark with his wife asleep and unharmed.

He took his lightsaber from the nightstand and moved out into the hallway. He didn’t want his perturbation to awaken Mara.

Something was happening; events at distant points of the galaxy and even of time were focusing toward him and those he loved. The confusion, the turbulence of those thoughts and emotions pressed down on him, soured his stomach.

On the cold stone floor outside his chambers, he sat cross-legged and tried to sink into a meditative state—a state to give him real knowledge, a state to grant him peace.

[...]

“I am a Master. You are a Jedi Knight. Do you know what that means?”

“That I can’t win?” Jacen punctuated his question with a mocking laugh.

“No. That you must go through my subordinates to get to me. Allowing me to test you, to evaluate you. That’s tradition, you know.”

“If you say so.”

The reflection of the Sith’s gold-orange eyes disappeared—and then the Sith himself vanished, ghost-like.

But there was a sound from beyond where he had stood, a slight scrape, and another figure moved forward into view. This one walked, as the Sith had, in a fashion appropriate for a standard-gravity environment, and stepped out to stand where the Sith had stood.

He was not tall, but he was well muscled and agile. He wore black pants, tunic, boots, and gloves, and held an unlit lightsaber.

His features were those of Luke Skywalker, but rakishly bearded and twisted into a grin that was all malice and scorn.

“Not nice,” Jacen said.

[...]

Luke felt a presence, the arrival of someone strong in the Force. He opened his eyes.

Hovering over the floor in front of him, meters from him, was his nephew and onetime prize pupil, Jacen, lightsaber lit in his hand. Except it was not truly Jacen; whoever it was reeked of dark side energy, and his stare promised only malevolence. “Not nice,” the false Jacen said.

Luke rose. “Who are you, really?”

The not-Jacen snorted. “You barely exist. You don’t need to know.” He took an odd, gliding step forward—it was only the slightest of exertions, but he floated meters toward Luke.

Luke lit his lightsaber.

The not-Jacen struck, a fast, powerful lateral blow that Luke met with little effort, without conscious thought. Not-Jacen’s blade was immediately in guard position for an anticipated counterstrike, but Luke held back. Oddly, the force of the impact sent his opponent floating backward. Not-Jacen drifted until he hit the corridor wall, which checked his motion, and he floated gently to the floor.

Then Luke heard the humming and chattering of lightsabers in conflict. The muffled noise was coming from his own quarters.

[...]

The Not-Jacen came at Luke again and again, making prodigious leaps, bounding from wall to wall, from ceiling to floor, as if immune to gravity. With each pass he hurled one, two, three lightsaber blows at Luke, striking again and again until, thrown back by the impacts, he was too far away to engage.

Luke countered every blow and pitched attacks of his own. He felt the skin of his left forearm pucker a little from the heat of a near hit, saw the Not-Jacen’s robes catch fire just under the right armpit from an especially close thrust of Luke’s … but Not-Jacen patted the flames out and merely grinned at him.

Not-Jacen seized a ceiling glow rod fixture and hung there as though his weight were nothing. “You’re just about as good as my true Master,” Not-Jacen said.

Luke gave him a quizzical look. “And who is that?”

“You know,” Not-Jacen said. “By the way, you’d look good with a beard.”

“You think so?” Luke ran his free hand over his clean-shaven chin. “Well, I’m not sure what our disagreement is, but perhaps it could be settled by talking.”

“I try not to negotiate with phantoms, with things that don’t exist. Better to just cut them in half and watch them disappear.” Not-Jacen kicked off from the wall and flew forward again.

[...]

Jacen seized a rock outcropping and held it, keeping him from dropping once more toward the man with the face of Luke Skywalker. “You’re just about as good as my true Master,” Jacen said. And it was true—the phantom he fought had the speed and moves of a Jedi Master. He’d be a fair match for Luke.

The bearded man gave him a mocking look. “And who is that?”

“You know,” Jacen said. “By the way, you look good with a beard.”

“You think so?” His opponent stroked his facial hair. “Well, I’m not sure what our disagreement is, but perhaps it could be settled by talking.”

Jacen considered that. This combat was not just pointless, being carried out at someone else’s wish for someone else’s ends, but also dangerous—the false Luke was potentially good enough to kill Jacen.

Still, the false Luke reeked of the dark side of the Force. There could be no enduring benefit in cooperating with him. Could there? For a moment Jacen was confused, weighing the preponderance of Jedi history and claims about dark-siders against his own limited experience.

But he decided in favor of history and tradition. “I try not to negotiate with phantoms, with things that don’t exist. Better to just cut them in half and watch them disappear.” Jacen kicked off from the wall and flew forward again.

He knew that this solidly planted, gravitationally advantaged Luke had adapted to Jacen’s low-gravity tactics, so he altered them—the instant he touched down before the false Luke, he planted his feet and used the Force to brace him there, then threw a flurry of hard blows.

It was no use. The false Luke adapted instantly to his change in tactics, reverting to a softer, defensive style, turning away each of Jacen’s all-out attacks. And he did so grinning, silently mocking.

The false Luke, instead of countering Jacen’s fifth blow in sequence, sidestepped it, luring Jacen forward and off-balance. Luke’s counterstrike whipped around and down toward Jacen’s unprotected back—

“Enough,” Brisha said, and the false Luke vanished. Jacen, straightening, still felt a tremor of pain from the area where the blow would have landed, and looked down to see a portion of his robe, a long black mark, on fire. He patted it out and looked up at Brisha. “Who was that, really?”

She shrugged. “A combination of the real Luke Skywalker and the dark side energy of this place. A combination that would have beaten you, since you weren’t utilizing the same energy, the resources available to you.” She still held on to one of the rails—sagged against it, actually. She was perspiring.

“You’ve been using a lot of energy yourself,” Jacen said. He switched his lightsaber off.

She nodded. “Coordinating the actions of several Force phantoms at once? Very tiring. Try it sometime.”

“So you admit that you’re behind this assault on me.”

“Oh, it was no assault. Just a test. If it had been an assault, I would have let the Luke phantom kill you. Don’t you think?”

Jacen frowned. Her words had the ring of truth to them. “I think it’s time for you to tell me your whole story.”

“Of course.” She pushed off from the rail and floated toward the stone outcropping where the false Luke had originally arrived. She bounced lightly past Jacen and beckoned for him to follow. “All the answers are this way.”

He followed.

Then Allston writes Caedus thinking in Fury that eight Yuuzhan Vong Hunter droids "might whittle down the numbers of Jedi," meaning Ben Skywalker, Leia Organa Solo, Saba Sebatyne, and Luke Skywalker himself. "One of the Masters had to fall if Caedus was to survive this day" - it's almost as if he believes Saba and Luke are interchangeable, and for some reason he's of the impression that Luke can't protect his allies from eight YVH droids when he's seen Luke mow through dozens if not hundreds of Vong warriors without breaking a sweat and rapidly dropping Jedi Master+ level Vong slayers while making sure that Jacen and Jaina also survive. How good is a YVH droid by comparison? Well, "in a one-on-one match between a Jedi Knight and a YVH droid, the odds were about even."

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Fury wrote:The Yuuzhan Vong Hunter droids, designed at the height of the Yuuzhan Vong War, were formidable. In a one-on-one match between a Jedi Knight and a YVH droid, the odds were about even. If the Jedi was inexperienced, if the battle dragged on long enough for her to tire, she was likely to be the loser ... a dead loser.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Fury wrote:On the other hand, he could not afford to ignore the possible presence of Jedi, either. He carefully withdrew from the active influence of his ship commanders, then opened himself up to a different flow of the Force.

Yes, there were Jedi aboard. Luke. Ben. Saba Sebatyne.

His mother.

His eyes snapped open and his connection to his commanders faltered, vanished. "Security!"

Tebut, answering from her station below the bridge walkway, port side, sounded composed as usual. "Sir."

"Confirm Jedi. They'll be coming here for me."

"Yes, sir. Initiate Plan Bastion?"

"That's correct." Caedus took a deep breath. His ships and boarding parties would have to succeed without benefit of his battle meditation. He needed all his focus now. His focus, and the forces he had assembled against this specific eventuality.

Even now, security teams would be assembling at strategic choke points between the hangar bay and the bridge. Space-tight blast doors would be closing and sealing at other critical points. Backup officers would be entering the auxiliary bridge, ready to assume control of the Anakin Solo if things became too dangerous or frantic for officers here to do their work.

And Caedus's additional defenders should be arriving...

The bridge doors opened and they marched in, a double column, eight YVH combat droids in all. Two turned to face the stern as the blast doors there shut. Two dropped to the officers' pits, one on either side, their mass causing deck plates to crumple as they hit. The other four marched forward, then, four meters short of Caedus's position, turned toward the stern. More would be stationing themselves elsewhere in the ship.

Caedus didn't think these measures would stop the Jedi. But they might whittle down the numbers of Jedi.

They had to. Jacen could defeat his mother or Ben without trouble; Saba, with difficulty. Saba plus Luke would be impossible odds. One of the Masters had to fall if Caedus was to survive this day.

As a sidenote, it really breaks any notions of Caedus mega growth if he judges himself to be more powerful than anyone on the Jedi Council sans Luke as early as the second book, yet in the seventh book he still sees Katarn as "a threat" and is pressed by him plus three idiots; and likewise deems Sebatyne a "difficult" fight in the same novel. I don't think Caedus in Invincible is any more than a moderately improved version of himself in Betrayal; I doubt there exists even a single stomp gap between them.

Circling back to Traviss now: despite writing Jacen's inner thoughts on himself vs. the Council in Bloodlines, she also writes Mara "I-get-winded-from-collapsing-a-tunnel" Jade give Jacen hell in Sacrifice after Jacen nearly dies from having said tunnel brought on top of him. I'd guess here's also a good time to remind everyone that Traviss is also the writer of the short stories "In His Image" and "Two-Edged Sword" where she depicts 19 and 18 BBY Vader, respectively, simply Force-crushing Sa Cuis, his clones, and Sheyvan - all of whom are Emperor's Hands like Mara - through their Force shields, even doing so to two and three at a time. Interestingly, the character of Erv Lekauf from the two short stories has a grandson named Jori Lekauf who appears in Bloodlines and talks about his grandfather's service to Vader - it seems Traviss wanted some continuity between Legacy of the Force and her other works, so I personally assign some weight to the disparity in portrayal between Vader, and Jacen and Mara, whom she has barely beat a holding-back, sub-Vader Lumiya who could have killed her by her own admission in Sacrifice, and later has Lumiya hold off a bloodlusted, emotionally devastated Luke before being decapitated in the same novel.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Bloodlines wrote:“What made you sign up?”

Lekauf smiled, almost embarrassed. “My grandfather served under your grandfather in the Imperial Army, sir. He always talked about how Lord Vader put himself in the front line. Meant a lot to him, that did.”

Jacen patted Lekauf’s shoulder. It was humbling to see how loyalty could last generations. Whatever sins Anakin Skywalker had committed as Vader, there were still those who recognized his qualities as an inspirational commander. Jacen decided it might be safe to walk back in time and watch him again.

He wasn’t repeating his mistakes. He was simply building on Anakin Skywalker’s missed opportunities.

“Let’s make our grandfathers proud, then.”

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Sacrifice wrote:A slim figure in a dark gray suit and veiled triangular headdress stepped into the space between the parked ships.

"Hello, little housewife . . . ," said Lumiya.

Mara's autopilot kicked in and she was the Emperor's Hand again, silent and focused. There was nothing worth saying anyway. Amateurs gave speeches; professionals got on with the job.

She Force-leapt five meters at Lumiya, slashing down right to left, two-handed. The stroke - all power, no finesse - clipped the Sith's headdress as she sprang back, slicing off a section. Lumiya's eyes widened, pupils dilated, but she was already whirling her lightwhip about her head. The tails crackled and hissed, missing Mara only because she threw all her energy into a Force push to slow them a fraction.

Mara didn't take that weapon lightly. It was the worst of both worlds, leather strips studded with impervious Mandalorian iron fragments and tendrils of sheer, raw, murderous dark energy. Mara drew her blaster and rolled under the hull of the ship next to her. The light-whip gouged through the durasteel with a shriek of tearing metal, filling the air with the smell of hydraulic fluid, and the spurt of liquid turned into a torrent that began spreading in a thick pool. As Mara rolled clear on the other side of the ship, Lumiya landed heavily on both feet and brought the whip down so close to Mara's head that she felt the rush of air on her right cheek like a breath. The crack was deafening.

Mara wasn't even thinking when she aimed the blaster. Lumiya's whip hand was raised to throw as much weight as possible from the back stroke. A puff of white vapor burst from Lumiya's shoulder, and she staggered a few paces.

Metal. Maybe I hit metal.

Maybe she had, because Lumiya teetered for a second but came right back. Mara sprang horizontally from a crouch and cannoned into Lumiya's legs with all the power she could muster from the Force. She hit solid durasteel. Blood filled her mouth but she couldn't feel a thing - yet. Clinging to Lumiya's knees with one arm, denying her the space to swing the whip, she brought her down like a felled tree before smashing her head into the woman's face.

And that hurt. Oh yes, Mara felt that. She'd caught not Lumiya's nose but the cybernetic jaw, and it cut deep into her forehead. Fighting on pure reflex now, part stunned, she killed the lightsaber blade for a second and held the hilt like a dagger, stabbing it down into Lumiya's chest before flicking the energy back on. Lumiya pulled to the side as the blade punched through flesh. Mara smelled it. She flicked off the blade to pull back again, triumphant.

I've done it. Dead. Dead, you-

But Lumiya was screaming, and that wasn't right at all. The scream seared through Mara's spinning head. It was more than sound. It was-

Mara scrambled to her knees to look down at what should have been a dead woman, and stared into green eyes that were utterly devoid of any emotion, and then the world darkened like an eclipse.

Maybe I'm the one who's dead.

Something hit her square in the back, pitching her forward onto Lumiya. Mara struggled to turn over without letting go of either lightsaber or blaster, but something coiled around her neck and jerked her backward. The lightwhip was still in Lumiya's fist, she could see the thing, she could see it, so what was around her neck, choking her? She felt as if she was flying backward at high speed, and then she hit something so hard that it punched every bit of breath out of her lungs and left her gulping for air.

A second or two was all it took. Mara lay trying to suck in air in painful, straining gulps, eyes stinging, and saw Lumiya's boots run past her face at a stagger, missing her by centimeters.

What's in my eyes? What's stinging?

She raised her hand to rub them and her knuckles came away red and wet. It was blood. The last thing she saw as she looked up was the orange sphere, that impossible Sith ship, soaring vertically into the air and extending webbed vanes like living wings.

Mara managed to prop herself up on her elbows. She was suddenly aware of the two runners she'd seen earlier, all nice and neat in their crisp white sports gear, staring at her in horror. She summoned what focus she had and concentrated hard.

"You've just seen two stuntwomen performing for a holovid, shot by a hidden cam," she said. "You didn't see a fight at all."

"We didn't see a fight at all, dear," said the woman obediently.

The man gawped, and then grinned. "Wow, it's amazing how real that blood stuff looks!"

"Isn't it . . . ," said Mara, and somehow got to her feet, retrieved her lightsaber hilt and blaster, and walked off with as much grace as she could manage.

I was sure I'd finished her off. Mow did I miss?

She almost sobbed with frustration and struggled to get into the XJ7's cockpit, still trying to work out what had jumped her from behind. When she checked her injuries in the reflective surface of her datapad, her face was streaked with blood, her right eye was swelling and closing already, and there was something like a rope burn across her neck. She could see indentations in her skin that looked like a twisted wire cable.

Something like a droid jumped me. A machine, anyway. That's why I didn't sense it.

It was crazy to fly a fighter after a head injury, she knew, but there was no other way back to Coruscant. She fired up the drives, swearing and cursing. She'd had the cyborg witch right there, her lightsaber in her, and she still hadn't killed her.

And I didn't feel any malice from her, either, Luke. Just a busted head.

This was going to take plenty of bacta. Mara lifted the XJ7 clear and set it on automatic for the homeward leg.

Luke is going to go nuts when he sees me in this state.

Her adrenaline was ebbing, and the pain was making itself felt now. She settled into a shallow meditative trance to speed the healing process.

Why didn't she kill me? She had the chance. I brained myself on her kriffing metal jaw.

Then Mara remembered the transponder. She fumbled for the datapad again and activated the search emitter. A yellow blip-no, two yellow blips-showed.

One was still on Vulpter: Ben. The other was edging across the grid on her screen, moving away from the Core.

Lumiya.

Gotcha, she thought, smiling for a second before she remembered her split lip. Gotcha.

Lumiya and her bizarre Sith ship were on a bearing for the Hydian Way node. Either she wanted Mara to follow, or she didn't know about the transponder.

It was okay. Mara could take her anytime now. And two could play the Come-and-get-me game.

She leaned back in her seat and concentrated on reducing her ripening black eye.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Sacrifice wrote:He jumped out of the cockpit and waited for her to leave the safety of her vessel, standing with his lightsaber in both hands. Eventually an opening formed in the side of the sphere, and she emerged. Would the ship attack him as it had Mara? It made no move. He couldn't even feel it now.

"Come on, Luke, try to finish the job. Mara would have wanted that, yes?" Lumiya reached up to her face and tore away the veil that covered everything but her eyes. Then she reached behind her back and slowly drew out her lightwhip. "And this isn't to make you feel shame for the extent of my injuries. I just want you to see who you're fighting."

"I'm seeing." Luke drew his lightsaber and temporary comfort flooded him. "And this ends here."

He knew the lightwhip by now. He'd relied on the shoto as an extra weapon in the past to counter the whip's twin elements of matter and energy, but he was flooded with a new confidence that he could take her with just the lightsaber that had always stood between him and darkness. Holding it two-handed over his head, he rotated it slowly, stalking around her.

Lumiya raised her arm to flick the whip and get the momentum for the forward stroke. And then she cracked it, sending forks of dark energy crackling into the ground at his feet, making him jump back before he sprang forward again and brought the lightsaber around in a right-to-left arc that she parried with the whip's handle. He leapt out of range of the whirling tails again and again, then she paused and he edged closer again.

"You hate me that much?" he asked.

"I don't hate you at all."

"You killed her. You killed my Mara."

"Nothing personal." She looked as if she was smiling, but the movement was around her eyes rather than her cybernetic mouth. "Just doing what I swore an oath to the Emperor to do. To serve the dark side. Oaths matter, Luke. They're all you're left with in the end."

She drew back her arm and brought the lightwhip crackling through the air, missing Luke by centimeters. He lunged at her again and again, driven back each time. She'd slow sooner or later.

But so would he.

Then, as she began to raise her arm again, he ran at her, so close in that she couldn't get the whip traveling at its maximum lethal speed. He forced her back, step by step, as she tried to maintain the distance she needed.

One-two-three-four; she blocked him, handle held this way, then that, using the whip like a short lightsaber to deflect him, but Luke didn't pause or shift direction to wrong-foot her. He drove her like a battering ram toward the edge of the mesa, pushing her within meters, then a step, of the edge.

Lumiya held the whip handle in both hands like a staff and blocked his downward sweep. For a moment they were locked in a stalemate, pushing against each other and grunting with the effort, with only the sounds of exertion because they had nothing left to say to each other.

Her rear foot began to slide backward as she struggled for purchase. The edge of the mesa was cracked and fissured. The smooth glittering stone began to crumble.

Luke reached out and caught her hand as she fell, whip tumbling and bouncing down the steep rock face into oblivion. He leaned back, all his weight on his heels, knuckles clenched white with the strain of holding her weight, and for a second he wanted to see her face dwindling as she fell to her death, mouth open in a scream, but that wasn't the way to end this.

"I'd never let you fall," Luke said, and pulled her back to safety. As she straightened up, he looked her in the eyes-calm, eerily calm-and swung his lightsaber in a single decapitating arc.

Now he could breathe again.

Another Traviss moment: after being fooled by an illusory fleet (to be covered in detail later), Caedus wonders who possibly could have deluded his senses. He entertains Luke, naturally, but also Lumiya and Zekk, a Jedi so unfathomably shit that he gets stomped by even Jaina. "Lumiya was dead. Who else might be able to fool him? [...] Luke, probably, or maybe Zekk." Forget about Vitiate or Sidious; hell, forget about the Dread Masters or Darths Zannah and Wyyrlok; even forget about Lords Vivicar and Kaan - at this point the likes of Queen Amanoa have a shot at mentally influencing Caedus.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Revelation wrote:Caedus fumed.

He was no fool, he wasn’t mad, and he had explored more arcane Force techniques than any member of the Jedi Council. He did not fall prey to tricks.

But even if that phantom fleet had been a trick and not some freak phenomenon thrown up by physics beyond his grasp—then who was creating it? He took one long loop around the area in the StealthX.

Caedus wasn’t checking to make sure he hadn’t missed any more humiliatingly nonexistent ships. He was scouting for the source of the illusion. And it was an illusion—yes, that was much, much more likely than the laws of the universe having a bad day.

He’d pulled off some remarkably convincing tricks himself; he’d hidden Lumiya right under Luke’s nose, literally. He’d also been caught up in manufactured illusions and he could still feel the apparent reality of Lumiya’s conjured world in her asteroid habitat.

Niathal, mundane rule-follower that she was, had simply tested reality by firing a torpedo, her mind unencumbered by any hall-of-mirrors thinking that would make her question if the torpedo failing to hit anything was also part of the same elaborate, convincing construction.

But I’m a Sith Lord.

I should be beyond this. I should be anticipating these strikes against me.

It had to be one of the renegade Jedi. Lumiya was dead. Who else might be able to fool him? Ben—no, Ben had his skills like vanishing in the Force, but he thought in honest, plain lines, channeling his Force power into extensions of ordinary talents like smashing down doors, locating explosives, and blinding surveillance holocams. Two burly CSF officers and a sniffer akk could do that. So it would be one of the usual suspects—Luke, probably, or maybe Zekk, because it wasn’t his mother’s or his sister’s style. Where were they? How far could Luke extend his powers?

And why couldn’t anyone else see it? Illusions could be made visible to many people. So it was designed to disturb him, and him alone, not to lure his ships into shooting and whatever might result from that.

So what is there to take away from all this? That Luke's typical power level in Legacy of the Force is clearly not what it is in The Unifying Force. The Jacen who views himself as his rival also views any Jedi Master as a fair match for Luke, and has close fights with a post-prime Aurra Sing and Mara Jade where he nearly dies. In the previous series, Dark Nest, by one of the authors of Legacy of the Force, Jacen thinks himself and Mara would be worthy help for Luke when facing UnuThul and Lomi Plo. As Caedus he has a contentious skirmish with Kyle Katarn's squad and believes Saba Sebatyne would prove troublesome, as well as that eight YVH droids would press Luke enough that he wouldn't be able to protect Sebatyne or Ben, and might get killed himself even with them for aid. Legacy of the Force is a series where both Luke and Jaina can say with a straight face that Lumiya can duel Luke to a standstill and admit in the same conversation she's not even as good as Vader, with Jaina thinking she has a good grasp of her uncle's Force abilities yet being astounded more by some flying tricks than effortlessly cleaving through armies of Yuuzhan Vong warriors and defeating twelve slayers.

But why is this? Truthfully, I haven't the faintest idea. It's possible that upon hearing Luke's rejection of Vergere's philosophy that allowed him to do what he did in The Unifying Force in The Swarm War that Jacen doesn't expect his uncle to be as powerful anymore, and views him more like the was when he rescued Jacen on Belkadan in Dark Tide I: Onslaught, where he likened the difference to wielding two lightsabers versus making one lightsaber appear like ten or twenty - but that's just a theory and it doesn't account for the Lumiya nonsense.

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order - Dark Tide I: Onslaught wrote:The creeper released his ears and scuttled toward the doorway. Jacen stared intently at his lightsaber, willing it to twitch and dance. He wanted it to rise up from the shelf, climb toward the ceiling, then he would drive it down with such force that it would crush the creeper. He didn’t know what he could do after that to effect an escape, but that was enough for the moment, and joy surged through him as the lightsaber drifted up off the shelf.

Then it spun away, out toward the east, becoming a black dot against the sun’s ball. Jacen watched it vanish, his victory dissolving into astonishment. He tried and tried to recall it, tried to make it return and smash the creeper, but it vanished. He could not feel it, and great sadness slammed into him. Jacen felt as if the Force itself had whisked away his lightsaber, taking away from him the symbol of the Jedi Knight because it no longer felt him worthy of any place in the order.

Then, distantly, he heard the snap-hiss of a lightsaber being ignited. Almost as if an echo, the sound repeated itself. The youth raised his head and looked out the doorway, past the creeper. Half the rising sun burned in the east, pouring molten gold light out over the horizon, and in the center of it came a dark form. It broadened slightly as it approached, and two green blades flanked it. Closer it came and closer, resolving itself into a Jedi Master, dark cloak flowing behind him, twin blades held more like warning torches than weapons.

While his uncle was distant enough to seem no taller than a toy figure, a Yuuzhan Vong warrior darted at him from the left. The Yuuzhan Vong smashed his amphistaff down at Luke’s head. The Jedi Master raised his right lightsaber to block the blow and could have easily stroked the other blade across the Yuuzhan Vong’s unprotected stomach. Instead he pivoted on his left foot, scything his right leg through the Yuuzhan Vong’s legs, dumping the alien hard to the rock-strewn ground. Luke then brought his right hand down and smashed the pommel of his lightsaber into the Yuuzhan Vong’s face, leaving the warrior limp in the dust.

Another Yuuzhan Vong came in from the right and slashed his amphistaff at Luke’s middle. Luke leapt back from the tip, then caught the return cut on both lightsaber blades. He raised the amphistaff high in a parry, then spun beneath it. As the Yuuzhan Vong warrior whirled to face the Jedi Master again, a fist-size stone shot from the ground and clipped the warrior in the side of the head. It shattered his helmet, spraying pieces of it into the air, then another slammed into his shoulder. More stones stormed through the air as if trapped in a cyclone, battering the alien warrior relentlessly. Finally one arced in at his forehead, skipped off the shallow dome of his head, and dropped him cleanly to the dirt.

A third warrior came at Luke, but he displayed more caution than his enthusiastic companions had. He twirled his amphistaff around like a propeller, arcing cuts in at Luke’s feet or head. The Jedi Master dodged back, then leapt above a slash. He used the Force to push himself high in the air, then he twisted through a somersault and landed behind his foe.

The Yuuzhan Vong whipped around and snapped a kick through Luke’s legs. The blow caught Luke in the ankles, dumping him on his back. The Yuuzhan Vong continued his spin, then came up and brought his amphistaff around in an overhand blow at Luke’s head.

In the time it took for his foe to complete a revolution, the Jedi Master rolled through a backward somersault and came up on one knee. He raised the lightsabers and crossed them, catching the amphistaff above his head at the green blades’ nexus. Furious at being caught, the Yuuzhan Vong flexed his amphistaff, which opened a fang-filled mouth. It reared back, ready to strike at Luke’s face. The amphistaff’s hiss and the Yuuzhan Vong’s triumphant snarl filled the air.

Then Luke slashed both lightsabers outward, drawing their glowing lengths over the amphistaff’s throat. While its flesh might have been dense enough to prevent a lightsaber from immediately shearing through it, the double assault snipped the first twenty-five centimeters from the amphistaff with no problem. The rest of the amphistaff recoiled in pain, and the Yuuzhan Vong warrior, who had been leaning heavily on the amphistaff to keep Luke down, stumbled forward. Without rising, Luke brought his right lightsaber up to stroke the Yuuzhan Vong’s belly, then spun and slashed the other against the back of the warrior’s thighs.

The warrior collapsed to the ground. The remains of its amphistaff writhed in the dust beside him, gradually subsiding.

Luke rose to his feet and stalked forward. Several stones, as if little rodents fleeing from his advance, rolled on ahead of him. They bowled over the creeper and crushed it. The Jedi Master stepped over the oozing mess the stones left in the doorway, then strode past Jacen without a word. Lightsabers hissed and popped, then went silent. Jacen slowly floated to the ground.

He breathed heavily for a moment, then rolled over onto his back. Luke sank to one knee beside him, then touched the youth’s face with his mechanical right hand. Jacen felt some pain as Luke pressed the coral seed against his bone, then his uncle pinched flesh between thumb and forefinger. With a flick of his artificial thumb, the Jedi Master popped the bloody seed free of his nephew’s face, letting blood streak Jacen’s cheek.

Jacen stood and kicked his legs free of the bonds. “Uncle Luke, I’m so sorry.”

“No time for that.” Luke handed him his lightsaber, then took hold of Jacen’s right arm and hauled himself to his feet. “The ship is over there, in a depression, to the southeast. Artoo is waiting for us, sending out the data we’ve acquired. We have to go, now.”

“What about the slaves?”

Luke shook his head. “What slaves?”

Jacen pushed past the aches in his body and reached out to catch a sense of the frayed ones. “I don’t understand. There were slaves when I Went to the villip paddy.”

“They don’t exist anymore. They are dead, or, I don’t know, somehow they have gone completely over to the Yuuzhan Vong camp. Perhaps they accepted what they are becoming.” Luke leaned heavily on his nephew. “We have to get to the ship.”

Jacen hugged his right arm around Luke’s waist. “What’s wrong? Did they hurt you?”

“No, Jacen, it’s just that …” Luke’s chest heaved with exertion. “It’s just that using that much of the Force, using it that directly, is exhausting. A Jedi may be able to control and use a great deal of the Force, but there is a price, a fearful price. Hurry, we have to go, quickly.”

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order - Dark Tide I: Onslaught wrote:The events of the past week had confused Jacen terribly. His vision had been incredibly real, yet when he went to follow it, he’d run into disaster. The image of his uncle moving into the Yuuzhan Vong camp, wielding twin lightsabers, still played through his head. He’d known Luke Skywalker all his life, and had acknowledged him his Master, but until that point had never really seen Luke the way others had. Luke’s greatest triumphs had been accomplished well before Jacen had been born, so he always knew Luke was a legend, but never had a way to see why he had been a legend.

The display he had put on had impressed Jacen, as had his uncle’s weakness after the display. It seemed to age Luke terribly to have used the Force so directly. Once on the Courage, the autopilot had been set, and Luke retreated to meditate and recover from the ordeal, leaving Jacen to tend to the cut on his own face. The youth lifted a hand and touched the scab, which was the one tangible reminder of how close he had come to becoming a Yuuzhan Vong slave.

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order - The Unifying Force wrote:Jacen recalled watching his uncle on Belkadan, where the war had begun, wielding two lightsabers when he had come to Jacen’s rescue. But the rescue on Belkadan paled in comparison to the control Luke demonstrated now.

His single blade might as well have been ten, or twenty.

He took the steps at a lightning pace, burning his way through dilating membranes but in complete control of his momentum. Seen through the Force he was a maelstrom of luminous energy, a Force storm against which there was no shelter. And yet all his energy poured from a calm center; an eye. He made no missteps. None of his actions were interrupted by thought.

In fact, Luke didn’t seem to be there at all—physically or as an individual personality.

Jacen and Jaina were astounded—but they had little time to reflect. Their lightsabers were busy, as well, turning the blows Luke dodged, or defending assaults launched from below.

On the fourteenth level, where the Citadel’s exterior wings sprouted from the hull, they reached a fork in the stairway.

Luke swung to Jacen. “Which way?”

He wasn’t even breathing heavily.

Other suggestions I've heard is that Luke is simply not as powerful in general in Legacy of the Force due to mediumz! and that the inconsistencies are a result of variance between authors - so we ought to ignore LOTF Luke and Caedus's low points and simply scale them in the framework of other stories - but both of those claims are exaggerated. Legacy of the Force is ultimately a collaborative effort that was outlined all the way through with the help of LFL Licensing and Del Rey executives before the writing even began, and during it the three authors were "in regular, sometimes constant e-communication, and nobody was interested in upstaging anyone else or playing a big ego card." With the medium argument I also don't get why we should raise Caedus alongside Luke but ignore all the other characters who are compared to him. Why is that more reasonable than simply raising Luke and leaving Caedus behind with Lumiya, Katarn, and the rest when his feats even outside of Legacy of the Force are far more along their lines than peak Luke's? Or perhaps some middle ground is being proposed, wherein Luke is raised to the level where the community usually holds him, and Caedus is somewhere in between Luke and Lumiya - but why that would yield a Yoda-tier placement instead of Maul-tier or Dooku-tier seems utterly arbitrary to me.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

Secondly, Luke is monstrously powerful in Legacy of the Force. It doesn't get factored into how character assessments him or his standard performance level, but there are moments in the series where he displays more of his "Super Saiyan" powers akin to earlier in his career. I will get to those next, but as for the Bloodlines quote, I will have to rule a hard My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1419419311 on it.

(9) Now we come come to the infamous fight in Inferno. This duel has been dissected plenty of times in the community's history, and any detailed breakdown I could conduct would probably combine elements of but ultimately pretty closely echo those by ILS and The Ellimist, respectively. I will however do a brief summary after allowing you to read through the whole fight uninterrupted yourself:

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Inferno wrote:It had to be a bad dream, Ben sitting there in that overgrown bramble, swaddled in thorn-studded vines, his skin flaking away in purple scales, his eyes burning with a pain-mad gleam. Luke had to be imagining this. Not even Jacen would use the Embrace on his own cousin.

"You'll have to do better than that, Ben." Still facing Ben, Jacen laughed and threw his hands up in mock terror. " 'Look! Behind you!' That ruse was old when the stars were young."

Ben shrugged. "It's your funeral."

"It might be, if I were naive enough to let you summon that."

Jacen pointed at a vibrodagger lying on the deck, about two meters in front of Ben. Luke didn't know what it was doing there - whether Ben had attacked Jacen with it, or whether Jacen had been using it on Ben - but he started to accept that the horrible scene was real. He was, in fact, standing in the doorway of a secret cabin filled with Yuuzhan Vong torture devices, watching his twisted nephew taunt his captive son.

Luke didn't give Jacen a chance to surrender. He just sprang.

Ben's jaw dropped, and Jacen started to spin, snatching his lightsaber from his belt and igniting it in the same motion, bringing the emerald blade around high to protect his heart and head.

But Luke was attacking low, striking for the kidney to disable in the most painful way possible. Jacen's eyes widened. He flipped his lightsaber down in the same moment Luke's met flesh.

The tip sank a few centimeters, drawing a pained hiss as it touched a kidney, then Jacen's blade made contact and knocked it aside. Even that small wound would have left most humans paralyzed with agony. But Jacen thrived on pain, fed on it to make himself stronger and faster. He simply completed his pivot and landed a rib-crunching roundhouse.

Luke stumbled back, his chest filled with fire. Jacen had caught him on the barely healed scar from his first fight with Lumiya, and now his breath was coming in short painful gasps.

Good, Luke thought. This was supposed to hurt.

Jacen followed the kick with a high slash. Luke blocked and spun inside, landing an elbow smash to the temple that dropped Jacen to his knees. He brought his own knee up under Jacen's chin, hearing teeth crack - and relishing it. He parried a weak slash at his thighs, then drew his blade up diagonally where his nephew's chest should have been.

Except Jacen was sliding backward, one hand extended behind him, using the Force to pull himself toward a tendril-draped rack in the far corner of the torture chamber. Luke leapt after him, bringing his lightsaber around in a low, clearing sweep.

Jacen stopped pulling and started to swing his free hand around. Luke was ready, had been expecting this since the fight started. Still flying through the air, he raised his own hand, palm outward, and pushed the Force out through his arm to form a protective shield.

The lightning never came. Instead, Luke was blindsided by something heavy and spiky, and his body exploded into pain as he slammed into a durasteel wall. He found himself pinned in place, trapped by a bed of thorns Jacen had hurled across the cabin. He felt the hot sting of the thorns pumping their venom into him. His hearing faded and his head began to spin, and he saw Jacen, one hand still raised to keep Luke pinned, sneering and taking his time rising.

Bad mistake.

Luke raised his lightsaber, slashing through the thorn bed as he sprang. Jacen scrambled to his feet, barely bringing his weapon up in time to block a vicious downstroke. Luke landed a snap-kick to the stomach that lifted Jacen a meter off the deck, then followed it with a slash to the neck-

-which Jacen ducked. He came up under Luke's guard, holding his weapon with one hand and driving a Force-enhanced punch into Luke's ribs with the other, striking for the same place he had kicked earlier. Luke's chest exploded into pain, and he found himself croaking instead of breathing.

Luke struck again with his lightsaber, using both hands and putting all his strength into the attack, beating his nephew's guard down so far that Jacen's emerald blade bit into his own shoulder. Jacen kicked at Luke's legs, catching the side of a knee. Something popped and Luke felt himself going down. On the way, he swept his blade horizontally.

Jacen screamed, and the smell of scorched bone and singed hair filled the air. Knowing Jacen would strike despite the wound, Luke rolled over his throbbing knee and spun back to his feet with a clearing sweep.

His blade met Jacen's in a shower of brilliant sparks. Luke freed one hand and drove a finger-strike at Jacen's eyes.

Jacen turned his head, but Luke's little finger scratched across something soft and bulbous. Jacen roared and stumbled away, shaking his head. Luke feinted a dash toward his nephew's blind side, then - as Jacen pivoted to protect his injured eye - Luke hit him with a Force wave.

Jacen went flying, and it required only a soft nudge to steer him into a tendril-draped rack in the far corner. He hit with so much cracking and crashing that Luke worried the rack had broken, but the thin tendrils quickly entwined Jacen in a net of pulsing green.

Luke started forward, his injured knee buckling each time he put weight on it. The rack's slender tendrils were tightening around Jacen, cutting into his flesh and oozing a yellowish irritant that made skin puff up and split. Jacen began to slash his lightsaber up and down, cutting the vines away two and three at a time. If Luke wanted to finish this - and it seemed like a good idea, given how battered he was himself - he had only a few seconds.

Luke closed to within two meters without saying a word. What point would there have been? Jacen wasn't going to surrender, and Luke wouldn't have believed him if he offered. It was better to attack quickly, while he still had the advantage. He brought his lightsaber up to strike.

"Wait!" Ben cried from behind him. "Let me do it!"

Astonished and appalled, Luke put a little too much weight on his injured knee - and fell as it buckled. He rolled beyond the reach of Jacen's lightsaber and looked back across the chamber. Ben was still strapped in the Embrace, but he had summoned the vibrodagger off the floor and was battling to cut himself free of the chair's lashing tentacles.

Luke shook his head. "I don't think so, Ben."

"You have to!" Ben insisted. "I deserve it!"

"Deserve it?" Luke returned to his feet, far angrier with Jacen than he had been just a moment earlier. "To kill someone?"

"You don't understand, "Ben insisted. "It was my fault. If I don't do this..."

"I said no, "Luke interrupted. How could Ben believe that he had a right to kill someone? "You're very confused, Ben. We'll talk about this later."

Giving his son no further chance to argue, Luke turned back to Jacen, who by now was almost free. Only one leg remained caught, though it was still entwined in a half a dozen places. Luke limped forward, circling toward Jacen's trapped side.

Jacen stopped cutting at the tendrils and flung a hand toward the ceiling.

"Dad, look — "

Luke was already throwing himself to the deck. A tremendous crash sounded from the illumination panel, and the chamber fell instantly dark. He rolled opposite the direction he had just been moving, but wasn't quick enough. The fixture smashed into his head and shoulders, slamming his face into the deck. He heard something crunch in his nose and was instantly choking on his own thick blood.

Jacen's lightsaber droned twice, filling that corner of the torture chamber with flickering green light. Luke Force-hurled the light fixture off his back, then hobbled to his feet.

Jacen launched himself over Luke in a high Force flip. They exchanged perfunctory attacks as he tumbled past, then Luke was alone in the corner, watching the green column of his nephew's lightsaber move toward the door.

Jacen was running.

Luke spat out a mouthful of blood and Force-leapt after his nephew, at the same time reaching out to drag him back. They came together in a blinding flurry of sparks, their blades colliding faster than the eye could follow, filling the dark chamber with flashing fans of color. Blows came out of nowhere. Luke caught another kick in his knee and found himself calling on the Force to keep his balance. He landed an elbow and felt a bone in Jacen's face shatter.

Jacen stumbled back, groaning, the green light of his lightsaber briefly illuminating Ben's face as the boy struggled to cut himself free. Luke pressed forward, angling toward the Embrace to keep Jacen away from Ben. Jacen fought his way over anyway, placing himself squarely between Luke and the chair, then gave ground and vanished behind the green ribbons his lightsaber was weaving through the darkness.

Luke Force-leapt after him, knowing that this Jacen - the Jacen he had caught torturing his son - would not hesitate to take Ben hostage... or to kill him. Luke landed half a meter in front of Jacen's lightsaber and quickly beat down his nephew's guard - too quickly. When he did not glimpse a face in the light of his own blade, Luke knew something was wrong and stopped.

Which was exactly what Jacen was waiting for, of course.

Luke had barely started to turn before a loop of thin tendril slipped over his head and tightened around his throat, oozing toxin and cutting deep into the flesh. The wound swelled and burned as if it were on fire. Luke whipped his lightsaber around, trying to cut Jacen off his back, but Jacen was already spinning away, tightening his garrote and placing Luke's body between himself and the deadly blade.

"Should have let me go when you had the chance," Jacen snarled. "Now you're done."

Luke slammed an elbow into Jacen's ribs, but it was like hitting a permacrete wall. Instead of continuing to fight, he accelerated into the spin, using the Force to hurl them both into the nearest wall.

Jacen hit first, his skull clunking hard into the durasteel. The garrote loosened a little. Luke dropped his lightsaber, bracing one hand against the other so he could use the strength of both arms to hammer his elbow up under Jacen's chin.

The garrote went completely slack. Luke followed up with a palm-heel to the same target, using the impact to drive himself away from his attacker and buy some maneuvering room.

Then Jacen let out a bloodcurdling scream and stumbled away, a black silhouette vanishing into the darkness of the torture chamber.

Luke stepped back in shock and confusion, summoning his lightsaber to hand, but knowing by the surprise in Jacen's scream that this was not another trick.

"It's okay, Dad, "Ben said from beside him. "It's just me."

Ben took the glow rod from Luke's belt and activated it. Jacen was crawling across the torture chamber, the hilt of a vibrodagger protruding from between his shoulder blades. His face was inflamed and misshapen, his clothes were smoking and tattered, a hand-sized rectangle of scorched skull showed through his scalp, and still he was stretching a hand toward his lightsaber.

Luke re-ignited his own lightsaber, then pointed out the door. "Artoo is in the hangar prepping a skiff for launch, "he said. "Go help him while I finish up here."

"No way." Ben extended his free hand and summoned Jacen's still-ignited lightsaber. "This kill is mine."

Ben's words chilled Luke to the core - chilled him and frightened him. He could hear the hatred burning inside his son, feel the darkness swirling in his Force aura.

"I said no." Luke limped after his son and grabbed him by the shoulder. "You can't surrender to your rage, Ben. I did that with Lumiya, and all it did was make me weak. But if you do now, you'll be lost to the dark side. I feel it in you already."

"I don't care about the dark side." Ben was still holding Jacen's lightsaber, waving it around in careless anger. "Jacen killed Mom, and it was my..."

"Is that what you think?" Luke interrupted. He was pained by his son's confusion, but at least he finally understood the hatred and the rage, the thirst for vengeance. "Jacen didn't kill Mara. It was Alema - at least that's the way it looks now."

Ben frowned. "Alema?"

"Jaina and Zekk uncovered some evidence putting her near the scene." Luke started Ben toward the door. "I'll explain on the way back to Kashyyyk. We've got to get out of here before the rest of those turbolasers blow."

Ben allowed himself to be pushed across the threshold into the hangar. "The rest of the turbolasers, Dad? How many did you sabotage?"

"Four, "Luke said. "Just the long - range batteries."

"Then I've got news for you, "Ben said. "They've already blown - while you and Jacen were fighting."

Luke glanced at the ceiling, not all that surprised to learn that he had missed the detonations. "We'd better hurry." He tapped a control pad on the wall, and a heavy door clanged down to seal Jacen inside his torture chamber. "Security is going to be all over this part of the ship looking for saboteurs."

"No kidding." But instead of starting across the hangar, Ben shined the glow rod back toward the torture chamber, as though he could somehow see Jacen behind the durasteel door plotting his defense against an attack that was not going to come - at least not today. "Being at the scene doesn't mean Alema is Mom's killer, you know. Jacen was close, too."

"Everyone knows that." Luke did not try to draw Ben away; this decision, Ben had to make on his own. "But if I can't be sure it was Alema, can you be sure it was Jacen?"

Ben exhaled in exasperation, and Luke was relieved to feel the hatred in his son's aura softening to uncertainty.

Luke held his hand out. "Give me the lightsaber, Ben. It isn't time to finish things with Jacen-not this way."

Ben deactivated the lightsaber, but did not pass it over. "So we're just going to let Jacen get away with it?" ht asked. "With burning Kashyyyk and torturing me and everything else?"

"Of course not, "Luke said. "But we'll come for him when the time is right-for us."

Ben thought for a moment, then asked, "You promise?"

Luke nodded. "We have to stop this madness, "he said. "And we will - when our judgment isn't clouded by pain and rage."

Ben let out a heavy sigh, then passed the lightsaber over. "In that case, we really need to get out of here." He started across the hangar at a run. "Jacen still has his comlink."
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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Empty Re: My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda

April 30th 2023, 7:10 pm
So, in summary, Luke gets in 2.5/3* saber hits, seven unarmed hits, and two telekinetic hits; Caedus gets in four unarmed hits and three environmental hits. Just by that alone, you can conclude Luke the victor and superior fighter, and the fight would have ended sooner with Luke gutting his nephew if his son didn't distract him. Caedus admits to all of this on reflection:

*the half a point is for pushing Caedus's saber into his skull, but you can count that as a full point if you want to.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Inferno wrote:Luke had beaten him. Luke had just kept coming despite his injuries. He had inflicted more damage on Caedus than he had suffered himself, and he had even escaped the garrote before Ben struck. In fact, it was probably that attack that had saved Caedus's life. Nothing else could have shocked Luke out of his battle rage - only the sight of Ben slipping so far to the dark side.

It was a memory that both frightened Caedus and burned his pride, but it was one that he would have to contemplate at length. Now he knew what to expect when Luke discovered who really killed Mara - and when Luke came after him next time, Caedus would be ready.

Additionally, Caedus is a Sith Lord who thrives off of pain and uses it fuel his power, so any normally debilitating injuries would likely only make him stronger and possibly compensate for the physical damage itself. During his recovery he is described as outright savoring his pain and keeping his mind alert with it, so throughout the fight he would have retained his razor-focused battle clarity. Luke does not share this luxury: any serious wounds inflicted on him would progressively weaken him as the duel goes on - pain is said to cloud a Jedi's ability to draw on the Force - and the over the course of the fight Caedus repeatedly hits Luke on his "barely healed scar," and he has Yuuzhan Vong torture venom pumped into his system near the start.

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order - Dark Tide I: Onslaught wrote:Jacen reached inside to touch the Force and call it to himself, but the pain in his shoulders and hips nibbled away at his concentration. A third cough didn’t help the situation. Jacen did his best to try to let the pain bleed away with Jedi pain-suppression techniques, but as he calmed frayed nerves, the bonds on his wrists tightened. They twisted his arms more, grinding his shoulder sockets, making the pain spike.

Jacen gasped and hung there for a second. A cold chill sent a shudder through him, pulsing more pain from his joints. In response the bonds on his arms eased a bit, but Jacen hardly took comfort in that fact.

The device to which he had been attached clearly could sense how much pain he was in. Intellectually he knew this was actually very easy. Sensors could monitor the amount of activity going on in the parts of his brain dealing with pain. Electronics could even measure the output of the pain receptors in his shoulders—much in the same way they read neural signals and allowed Luke’s artificial hand to function normally. He was even aware of machines that inflicted pain, like those used on his parents by Darth Vader on Bespin.

What surprised him was that there seemed no active purpose for keeping him in pain. No one was interrogating him. The pain wasn’t sufficient to break him down, just to keep him in a distracted state. While that was preventing him from accessing the Force, somehow he didn’t think the Yuuzhan Vong knew enough about the Jedi to realize how useful this would be.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Inferno wrote:And he would do it again. Now that he had moved the battle away from the Core, Coruscant was no longer at risk, and he had bought the Alliance time to regroup. Now all that remained was to withdraw and let the traitors believe they had driven him back. Caedus sat up-savoring the fiery bolts of pain that shot through him with the effort-and swung his legs over the side of the gurney.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Inferno wrote:"Very well." The droid raised its hand, extruding a hypo from the tip of its index finger. "Then perhaps an injection of painkillers will make him less irritable."

"No painkillers - I need a clear head." Actually, Caedus was feeding on the pain, burning it like fuel to keep his hormone levels high and his mind alert. "And I need my aide!"

Caedus is also familiar with the arena - he knows how to leverage the Yuuzhan Vong contraptions to his advantage - whereas Luke is in a state of vengeful "battle rage." While such emotions can heighten a Force-user's prowess, when it is mixed with desperation or some type of confliction, it can close one to the Force and make their fighting comparatively sloppy. Single-minded focus on an enemy in such a state would naturally make anyone tunnel-visioned; I sincerely doubt Luke would fall for those kinds of environmental tricks if he has his usual clarity and awareness. In this duel he is forced to fight "the nephew he’d once loved" yet paradoxically finding sadistic glee in causing him suffering - "He brought his own knee up under Jacen's chin, hearing teeth crack - and relishing it." -, and walking into the scene of finding his son tortured by said nephew are both "emotional shocks" for him that massively hinder his connection to the Force. Not only would those conditions be present for the first half of the altercation, but they are added to by "Ben demanding the right to finish Jacen" for the second half, leaving Luke "shocked almost beyond understanding" and out of his battle rage.

Star Wars: The Old Republic wrote:The Hero of Tython: “Malgus’s lightsaber form was flawless, but he let anger and desperation cloud his fighting. He faltered, and I followed through.”

The Voidhound: “There I was, blaster in hand, sidestepping Force attacks, when Malgus lost his cool. But not me. I took the shot, and that’s all she wrote.”

Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Rising Force wrote:Bruck hoped to become Qui-Gon’s Padawan! And the only way to do it was to make sure that Obi-Wan failed. He’d tried to keep him from preparing, and now he was trying to make him mad. Obi-Wan’s anger, his impatience, had been his downfall often enough in the past. Bruck hoped to fill his mind with rage and despair so that he would not be open to the Force.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Fury wrote:Years earlier, before Jacen Solo had been born - before, in fact, Luke and Leia knew they were siblings, before Leia had confessed even to herself that she was in love with Han - Yoda had told Luke that electrical shocks, applied at different intensities and at irregular but frequent intervals, would prevent a Jedi from concentrating, from channeling the Force. They could render a Jedi helpless.

But Yoda had never told Luke that emotional shocks could do the same thing.

They could. And just as no amount of self-control would allow a Jedi to ignore the effects of electrical shocks on his body, neither could self-control keep Luke safely out of his memories. Every few moments a memory, freshly applied like a current - bearing wire on his skin, would yank him out of the here and now and propel him into the recent past.

Boarding the Anakin Solo. Finding Jacen torturing - torturing - Luke’s only child, his son Ben. The duel that followed, Luke against the nephew he’d once loved…the nephew who now commanded Master-level abilities in the Force, though he had not been, and never would be, elevated to the rank of Jedi Master.

And no pain Luke suffered in that fight was equal to Ben demanding the right to finish Jacen. That demand had brought Luke to where he was now, sitting cross-legged on the floor of an upper-story room of an abandoned Imperial outpost, staring through a wide transparisteel viewport at a lush Endor forest he was barely aware of, his body healing but his spirit sick and injured even after all these days.

Shocked almost beyond understanding by Ben's blood-thirst, Luke had prevented his son from executing a death blow against Jacen. Nor had Luke chosen to finish Jacen himself. He had led Ben in sudden flight from the Anakin Solo - a flight to prevent Ben from taking the next, possibly irreversible, step toward the dark side that Jacen had planned for the boy.

A third burden on Luke's mental state is the death of his wife. In Sacrifice, after killing Lumiya in cold blood and learning that she wasn't the one responsible, the pain from losing Mara that he had been holding in finally comes out and he "sobbed and raged in private until he was spent" for murdering the wrong person, which "broke something deep, deep inside him." Inferno is full of quotes about Luke's distant and withdrawn state of mind, and Ben Skywalker muses that "his dad had been very distracted since his mother's death. Was it really so impossible that a grieving Luke Skywalker had made a fatal mistake?" in reference to ostensibly being shot down in his StealthX accidentally by Jaina. In Fury, Luke's internal monologue reveals that "his heart should have been the only guide he needed, with the Force offering the occasional nudge when things were unclear. But his heart had been burned beyond recognition when Mara had died, and what was left was in pieces, each piece suggesting a different course of action," and he wonders if "perhaps he could no longer read the Force. Perhaps it chose not to speak to him anymore. And if that was true, he could not remain the Grand Master of the Order. He would lead the Jedi into ruin." Ben later confirms that Luke has subconsciously sunk into suicidal depression: he has forgotten his duty to the living and literally wants to die so he can be reunited with his wife in the Force, and it's only with his son's support that he's able to shake himself out of it to lead the Jedi Order again. He shoulders this weight throughout all of Inferno and the vast majority of Fury.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Sacrifice wrote:"Anyway, I got Lumiya."

"Yeah?" Ben sounded surprised. "What do you mean, got?"

"I killed her. I won't dress it up. I owed it to Mara to give her justice."

Ben was totally silent. Luke felt a small disturbance around him and his muscles stiffened.

"Dad . . ."

"I know, legal process and all that, but legal process . . . Lumiya said she had to . . . well, a life for a life. That's all."

"Dad . . . Dad, it wasn't Lumiya."

"It was. She said . . ."

What exactly had Lumiya said?

"No, no, it can't be, because I was right next to her at the moment Mom died, nowhere near the scene. We'd landed on Kavan, both of us. She was still in the Sith sphere."

Luke heard Ben's voice from a long way away, and everything was upended again.

It wasn't her. It wasn't Lumiya.

"Dad, take it easy, okay? We'll find who did it." Ben grabbed his shoulders. "Dad, that's why Mom stayed. She stayed so we could find evidence. We don't know who did it yet. Forget about Lumiya. You just got to her first - I was going after her before Mom died. You did the galaxy a necessary service."

No, he hadn't. Luke didn't feel he had done that at all. He'd killed Lumiya - evil as she was - for something she hadn't done. That wasn't justice.

Luke found himself sinking to his knees. "I killed the wrong-"

"Sith."

"I killed the wrong person. But she said-"

Ben put his hands on either side of his father's face, suddenly years older than Luke. "Look at me, Dad. It's not good to do this here. Let's talk elsewhere."

"Ben . . ."

"What about all the other people she killed and had killed? She's not worth your anguish, Dad. Save your tears for Mom, 'cos I will."

Luke managed to hang on for a few more minutes. When he couldn't stand it any longer, he strode off to his cabin, shut the hatch, and sobbed and raged in private until he was spent. He'd thought he was bearing up well, holding in all those tears, and then something like Lumiya added a straw to the scales and the floodgates opened. He hated her for that. He'd wanted to weep for Mara, his grief untainted by anything connected with the evil that had led to her death. He didn't want Lumiya intruding in this moment, and yet somehow she had.

Whoever had killed Mara was still around. He could focus on bringing them to justice, and that meant he had something else to hang on to while he struggled with grief.

But Lumiya had done it again.

She'd fooled him one last time, manipulated him one last time, thwarted him one last time, and it broke something deep, deep inside him.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Inferno wrote:She pointed across the courtyard to Saba and the other Masters, who were escorting Luke and Ben toward the head of the funeral pyre. Both Skywalkers wore gray robes with raised hoods, but father and son could not have looked more dissimilar. With squared shoulders and the heavy gait of a soldier, Ben managed to seem both angry and in control, as though his mother's funeral had brought his adolescent energies into perilous focus. In contrast, Luke had stooped shoulders and an erratic gait that made him look as though it required all his strength just to be there.

Leia reached out in the Force to let him know they had arrived, but Luke's presence was so drawn in on itself that it was almost undetectable - and it shrank even more when she tried to touch him.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Inferno wrote:Saba Sebatyne had been living among humans for well over a standard decade, and still there was so much she did not know about them. She didn't understand why Master Skywalker seemed so lost right now, why he had stopped talking to his friends and turned all his attention inward. Surely he knew Mara wouldn't want that? That she would expect him to stay focused and guide the Jedi through this time of crisis?

But he just stood staring at the funeral pyre, as though he couldn't quite believe it was his mate up there, as though he expected her to awaken at any moment and climb down to stand beside him. Perhaps he was only trying to understand why Mara had failed to return her body to the Force, wondering - like so many other Masters - whether it still held some clue to the killer's identity that had been missed during the autopsy. Or he could be worried that something in Mara's past had interfered, that she had done something as the Emperor's Hand so terrible that the Force could not take her back.

Saba only knew that she did not know; that Master Skywalker had been wounded in some way she could never understand and had lost himself. And she feared that if he did not return to himself soon, something terrible would happen. She could feel that much in the Force.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Inferno wrote:Luke's gaze rose to the top of the pyre and locked on Mara's face, and he said nothing. The shadows beneath his hood were almost deep enough to hide the red bags beneath his eyes, but even drawn in on himself, his Force aura beamed anguish.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Inferno wrote:Master Skywalker finally tore his gaze from the pyre. Though his expression was not exactly peaceful, there was at least a hint of gratitude in his eyes, and she could tell that her words were reaching him. It was harder to tell whether she was being any comfort to Ben. His attention was fixed on the slatstones beneath his feet, his brow furrowed in concentration, his Force aura swirling with pain and confusion and a rage that Mara would have found very frightening.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Inferno wrote:Even as Luke demanded this, he could see by the troubled expressions on the faces of the Masters that they had doubts about whether they should have told him now - and he had only himself to blame. Given the way he had drawn in on himself, what were they to think? Awash in doubt - about himself, about the Force, even about the Order itself - he had shut himself off from everyone except Ben. And he had been playing straight into his nephew's hands, practically inviting Jacen to step in and take control of the Order.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Inferno wrote:Most of the wing had departed before Jaina felt Luke touch her mind. She opened herself to the Force, expecting to join him in a combat-meld. She felt only his outer presence, reluctant and unwelcoming, and even that quickly drew in on itself until she could barely tell it was there. There would be no emotional joining on this mission; he was not ready to share his pain with anyone. Jaina slid into line behind her uncle, wishing there was some way to comfort him through the Force, but knowing there wasn't. A few minutes later, they were climbing out of the smoke into the blue Kashyyyk sky.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Inferno wrote:"You think you shot him down?" Ben didn't know what he would do if he actually succeeded in making Jacen lose control of his anger - only that he had to make something happen. "That's a laugh."

But Jacen wasn't taking the bait. He removed his hand and said, "Actually, it wasn't me. It was an accident - friendly fire. Jaina got him."

That did shake Ben. It seemed unlikely that Jaina Solo would make such a mistake, and even more unlikely that his father would be caught by it. But freak accidents did happen, and his dad had been very distracted since his mother's death. Was it really so impossible that a grieving Luke Skywalker had made a fatal mistake?

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Fury wrote:Alone, Luke stood away from the ill-balanced tool rack, closing his eyes, immersing himself in the Force ... looking for guidance.

His heart should have been the only guide he needed, with the Force offering the occasional nudge when things were unclear. But his heart had been burned beyond recognition when Mara had died, and what was left was in pieces, each piece suggesting a different course of action. Throw everything into the effort against Jacen. Hunt down Alema Rar and make her pay for killing Mara. The rot is too deep; the Jedi Order should withdraw and let the warring states fight their way to a finish; only then can rebuilding begin. This kill is mine. This kill is mine.

And the Force was silent. It seemed like forever since it had shown him any guidance about the bigger picture. All it offered him these days was guidance for immediate problems, the here and now. It had been that way since - for how long? Since Mara's death at least. It could have begun before then.

Perhaps he could no longer read the Force. Perhaps it chose not to speak to him anymore.

And if that was true, he could not remain the Grand Master of the Order. He would lead the Jedi into ruin.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Fury wrote:Ben didn't speak for long moments, and Luke felt a growing swell of confusion and concern radiate from the boy.

Then there was a jolt of stronger emotion from Ben: fear. Luke looked up to see Ben suddenly on his feet, staring with an expression of naked alarm on his face.

Luke offered a quizzical look. "What is it?"

"I don't know how to say it. What are the right words?" Ben turned away from his father, looked around as if seeking confirmation from faces that weren't there, and turned back again. He was suddenly as frantic as someone at the crossroads of a maze with stormtroopers coming up behind him - which way of several was best? Which ways led to capture or death?

And then he was pacing, running his fingers through his hair, ruffling it as though the sudden untidiness would help the thoughts escape. "You want to be with Mom."

"Of course I do. Don't you?"

"Yes, but for me it's different. I want her to be here, with us." Ben stopped in midstride and whirled to face his father, a graceful move that Luke could appreciate with the Jedi Master portion of his mind. "You want to be with her where she is."

"What do you mean?"

"You want to be dead. At peace. With her. Dead."

"That's ridiculous."

"No, it isn't. When Uncle Han and Aunt Leia told us Alema Rar was dead, you should have said, Now I can get back to work. Instead, you're saying Now I can turn over the Jedi Order to someone who's worthy. You're getting ready to die. Problem is, you don't have an incurable disease or a blaster pressed against your head. So how's it going to happen?" Ben's voice cracked on the final word.

"Ben, that is so, so ... You're just leaping to the wrong conclusion." Luke struggled for the right argument to make his son see that this was a ridiculous notion.

But the argument just wasn't there.

"That's what attachment is, isn't it?" Ben began pacing again, and words finally poured from him like water running through a shattered dam. "It's not loving somebody. It's not marrying somebody. It's not having kids. It's being where, if something goes wrong, there's nothing left of you. It's where if she goes away, you start functioning like a droid with a restraining bolt installed. Mom wouldn't want you to be this way. So why are you?"

"I can't help it." Luke was on his feet and the words wrenched out of him before he realized it. He rocked, unbalanced by the sudden violence of his emotions.

Ben spun to stare at him. "You've got to!"

"How?"

"I don't know. You're the Jedi Master, you figure it out."

Luke felt real anger stir within him, a fire fanned by the insolence of Ben's tone.

No, that was another lie, Luke lying to himself. The fire was being fanned by the fact that Ben was right.

Luke closed his eyes, feeling his way through the insulation of peacefulness he'd constructed for himself across these past months. Beyond it, he tried to find himself. But at first he could feel nothing but the weight of his grief, and the one thing that kept him functioning while carrying that burden - his desire to be reunited with Mara. Reunited when the time came. Reunited in the Force.

Then there was the other weight, the one he had largely slipped from his shoulders, the weight of his responsibility - to the Order, to his family, to the galaxy.

To the living.

Of course he had shrugged it off. No man could carry two such weights for any length of time. He would be crushed beneath them.

But he had to carry the one he had set aside, didn't he?

I'm sorry, Mara. Knowing it to be a betrayal, Luke slowly, carefully stepped out from under his grief.

It didn't leave him entirely - just as Mara was still part of him, the pain of losing her would always be with him, too.

But suddenly it was easier to breathe, to think. He wondered how long it had been since he had truly thought clearly.

And curiously, it didn't feel like a betrayal at all. Then there was that other weight, the weight of duty. He had carried it throughout his adult life, and at times it had ground him down. But at other times it had sustained him, helped keep him alive.

Perhaps that was why he had been so willing to abandon it: it had been keeping him alive at a time when he did not want to live.

With meticulous care, he picked up and shouldered that other weight.

He opened his eyes. His son stood before him, anxious, but now Ben sighed, a brief exhalation of relief. "Hey, Dad, look in a mirror."

"I don't need to."

"You know what? Your feelings betray you." Luke suppressed a snort. "Ben, if you ever, ever say I told you so..."

"I won't."

"...I'll put you through a training session that would make Kyp Durron cry."

"I won't, I won't."

"How did you get so smart, anyway? When I wasn't looking?"

Ben shrugged, once again an adolescent at a loss for words.

Luke put an arm around his son's shoulders and led him toward the lift. "You know, these are unsettled times. Things are too busy for many of our usual formalities. For ceremonies, for rites."

Ben frowned, suspicious. "What are you getting at?"

"I think you should begin building your lightsaber."

Ben skidded to a stop and looked at Luke. "But... . but I haven't faced my trials."

"What do you call pulling yourself back from the brink that Jacen pushed you to ... and then pulling the Grand Master back from his own brink?"

"Being obstinate."

"Show me a Jedi Knight who isn't obstinate." Luke stepped onto the lift plate and held his toe over the button inset in the permacrete. "Get to work on your weapon, son." He pressed the button and let the turbolift carry him down, back to his work, back to his responsibility.

So in his duel with Caedus, Luke is dealing with 1) a subconscious desire to kill himself, 2) having to fight his once-beloved nephew who is also his best friend's son and finding disturbing amounts of satisfaction from causing him pain, and 3) finding said nephew torturing his own son with the worst torture device in the galaxy - all three are said to dampen his connection to the Force. He also gets progressively weaker as his preexisting injuries are targeted by Caedus and when he has his system pumped full of Yuuzhan Vong torture venom, and the emotional gut punch of Ben demanding the right to kill Caedus is far more devastating to him than even hindrances 2 and 3, so that's another layer of baggage for him in the second portion of the duel. Factor in Caedus's injuries fueling his power and battle clarity, his familiarity with the environment, as well as Luke's tunnel-vision, and it's telling that despite all that Luke is the dominant one of the two all the way through. It leaves you wondering just how one-sided a circumstance-free, fair fight between Caedus and an all-out Luke would be, but fortunately Inferno gives us a clue earlier in the book:

Star Wars: Shatterpoint wrote:Vastor turned his dive into a roll and spun to face the Jedi Master from one knee, and before Mace had even finished speaking the Force whirled around him and Mace found himself wrenched off the ground, hurtling backward through the air to slam against the smooth-barked gray trunk of a meter-thick lammas tree. The whole tree shivered with the impact, and a spiral galaxy birthed itself inside Mace's head.

He thought, I was wondering when we'd get to this part.

Vastor's face tightened. Strength must have been returning to his nerve-punched arms already, because he managed to raise one and gesture as though throwing a stone; Mace was whirled forward from the tree to crash against the skull of an astonished akk dog.

The impact folded him over the dog's head and blasted the breath from his lungs; the dog's crown spines gashed Mace's abdomen, and when it tossed Mace aside with a twitch of its head like a Nymalian water-ox, his blood ran down the black outer shells of its eyes.

Jedi Padawans learn to counter Force kinesis before they even begin lightsaber training. Still in the air, Mace sensed the flow of power that held Vastor's grip upon him; with a sigh, he allowed his center - Vastor's point of Force contact - to relax and ground Vastor's power back into the jungle around them...

And that jungle came to life.

A gripleaf trailer snaked down from above and seized one of Mace's ankles in its unbreakable clutch. His airborne tumble became a wide-swinging head-down arc.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Inferno wrote:Caedus exhaled in exasperation. "Is this about the academy?" He sneaked a glance toward his observation bubble, where a halo of battle light could be seen flashing around his chair, broken only by the thick triangular pedestal on which it rested. "I told you, I'm not going to leave one of the Alliance's most valuable assets unprotected..."

"Don't play stupid, "Luke snapped. "This isn't about the academy. It's about Ben."

"Ben?" Caedus stopped at the corner of his desk, feigning shock. "Did something happen to him?"

"You tell me, "Luke said. "You're the one who sent him."

"Sent him where! I've hardly spoken to Ben since the funeral."

In the next instant, Caedus found himself flying across the cabin toward his observation bubble. Luke had not gestured, had not flinched, had not even shifted his gaze; he had simply grabbed Caedus in the Force and hurled him five meters into his chair.

"Don't lie." Luke started across the cabin. "I'm getting tired of it."

Caedus sprang out of the chair... or attempted to. Instead, he found himself struggling against an invisible weight. He felt as if he were accelerating to lightspeed with a faulty inertial compensator.

"Luke, you've gone mad." Caedus reached for the controls on the arm of his chair and discovered he couldn't even do that much. "You can't do this. I know you're having trouble dealing with Mara's death, but..."

"This has nothing to do with Mara, "Luke said. "And you're lucky it doesn't. If she were here - if she had known what you were using Ben for - there'd be pieces of you scattered along the entire length of the Hydian Way."

The irony of the statement was far from lost on Caedus, but he was too astonished - and too frightened - to take any pleasure in it. While it was true that Luke had taken him by surprise, it was equally true that he had done so with no visible effort - and that he was continuing to hold him with no apparent exertion.

Keenly aware that all that stood between him and a quick death was Luke Skywalker's much-strained sense of decency, Caedus let a little of his very real fear seep into the Force, just enough to seem properly alarmed.

"Does this have something to do with Cal Omas?" he asked. "Tell me Ben didn't do anything foolish!"

Luke's eyes grew narrow and cold. "Tell me what makes you think he might have."

"Of course, "Caedus said. "Ben learned of a conversation that made it look as though Omas had something to do with Mara's death."

"That's ridiculous, "Luke said. "Chief Omas would never have done something like that."

"Never have!" Caedus echoed. "You mean Ben.... you mean Omas is dead?"

Luke looked at him without answering.

Caedus would have shaken his head, save that it was still being held motionless with the Force. Had it been Mara's death instead of Omas's that Luke had just heard about, Caedus knew he would already be dead. Another reminder that anyone could be surprised.

"I tried to tell Ben the same thing, but he's so full of anger." He locked gazes with Luke. "I'm afraid he's going to become its servant, if one of us doesn't reach him soon."

Luke nodded, then sat on the corner of Caedus's desk. "How did Ben find out about this conversation?"

Caedus forced himself not to look away. "I wish I knew."

"You told him." When Luke's expression did not change, Caedus realized that his uncle had been expecting the lie, that he had already worked matters out for himself. "It's just so convenient for you, isn't it? You let something slip in an innocent conversation and point Ben like a missile."

"That's not what happened." The denial was strictly for form; Caedus knew Luke wouldn't believe it. "But even if it were, now is hardly the time to discuss it. We're a Squib's hair from victory. After we crush the Confederation, I'll be..." Krova's voice came over the comm speaker. "I'm sorry to interrupt, Colonel Solo, but Admiral Bwua'tu is ready for the Hapans."

Caedus felt a knot unwind inside. Finally.

"Tell Admiral Bwua'tu the Hapans will be coming shortly." Caedus had retained personal control of the Hapan Home Fleet, determined to prevent any risk to Tenel Ka or Allana by not using it until victory was certain. He waited until Krova had acknowledged the order and closed the channel, then turned to his uncle. "I've told you all I know about Omas's death, and I need to transmit that order myself. The Queen Mother insisted I take personal responsibility for committing her fleet."

Luke raised his brow. "You think you're dismissing me?"

"I know I am." Caedus put an angry edge in his voice; he might be trapped in a humiliating position right now, but he was still the leader of the Galactic Alliance - and Luke was still its servant. "If you like, we'll open an inquiry into Omas's death after we've saved the Alliance."

Luke glared at Caedus for a long moment, then finally slipped off the desk. "Is that a promise?"

"It is."

"Then I'll take it for what it's worth," Luke said. Leaving Caedus Force-pinned in his chair, he started toward the door. "I'll show myself out."

Caedus knew he would be freed as soon as Luke turned his concentration to something other than Force-pinning him - but that might take minutes, and Caedus needed to send in the Home Fleet now. Besides, he was the Chief of State of the Galactic Alliance, and he could not allow anyone, even Luke Skywalker, to humiliate him and simply leave. He had to assert some sort of authority.

"Luke," Caedus called. "Aren't you forgetting something?"

Luke stopped at the door and looked back, the rage in his face now softening to what looked like remorse. "You're right. I should warn you that you'll have to crush the Confederation without StealthXs. The Jedi can support you no longer."

"What?" Caedus was so shocked that he tried to rise - and found himself as unable to move as before. "You can't desert now. We can end this war!"

"We could destroy the Confederation fleets and kill a lot of rebels, "Luke admitted. "But I don't think you can end this war, Jacen. I don't think you even know what it's about."

"That's absurd." Caedus did not understand how a man who had been fighting wars for forty years could be so foolish. "After their fleets are destroyed, Corellia and Bothawui will have to accept our terms, and once they've surrendered, the rest of the Confederation will have no choice but to come racing to rejoin the Alliance."

Luke shook his head and reached for the touch pad beside the door. "There's always a choice, Jacen."

"And if you go through with this one, you'll regret it." Caedus could not understand why Luke wanted to desert him just when they were on the brink of saving the Alliance, but he did know how to prevent it. "Have you forgotten the academy?"

The door opened. Instead of stepping through, Luke faced Caedus and spoke in a very calm voice. "I'm sure you're not threatening the younglings."

He pointed at the base of Jacen's meditation chair and made a tapping motion with his finger. The pedestal gave a loud whumpf, and the seat dropped a quarter meter.

"Because you really don't want to see me angry." Luke made the tapping motion again. The pedestal emitted a metallic shriek, and the seat dropped another quarter meter. "And I think you're smart enough to know that."

Luke tapped a last time, and the pedestal collapsed with a low loud crump, depositing Caedus on the floor with his feet sticking out in front of him like a child.

"But if you want to try me, go ahead and make that threat."

Luke lowered his hand, and the weight vanished from Caedus's chest. He could have leapt up to attack - had he been that foolish - but Sith were not slaves to their emotions. Avenging his humiliation could wait until after he had saved the Alliance.

Luke telekinetically pins Caedus to his meditation chair without even flinching. Caedus discovers he cannot even move his hands or turn his head; the only animated part of his body is his mouth. Too many excuses have been made for this on Caedus's behalf over the years: yes, Caedus is taken unawares, but the text immediately emphasizes Luke's ease with which he executes and maintains the pin: "While it was true that Luke had taken him by surprise, it was equally true that he had done so with no visible effort - and that he was continuing to hold him with no apparent exertion." For all of Caedus's efforts to break free, they don't appear to strain Luke's lack of effort in holding him there, and Caedus even admits Luke might have been able to continue doing so for "minutes" after leaving the room.

It's often remarked that it's much harder to break out of a telekinetic grip than it is to defend against one in the first place, but that is not true, or at least I've seen no proof of it: "Jedi Padawans learn to counter Force kinesis before they even begin lightsaber training," and Mace Windu is able to swiftly redirect Kar Vastor's powers from himself into the ground so that Vastor is forced to rely on his connection to the jungle's plants to indirectly ragdoll Windu instead of overt telekinetic domination (remember that Vastor is far more powerful than Windu). The mere facts that Caedus is "frightened" and "keenly aware that all that stood between him and a quick death was Luke Skywalker's much-strained sense of decency" should by themselves tell anyone that this isn't an ordinary case of telekinetic influence; catching others off-guard through lapses in their Force defenses happens all the time in duels and elsewhere yet they never spell instant death for the victim. The demonstrated gap between Luke and Caedus here is bigger than between TCW Darth Sidious and TCW Darth Maul; it's more akin to TPM Sidious vs. TPM Maul, Yoda vs. Asajj Ventress, or ROTJ Sidious vs. ROTJ Luke.

But it gets better still. There is a second part to the feat that doesn't get nearly as much attention as it ought to, and that is Caedus failing to budge his meditation chair "no matter how hard he exerted himself." Even after Luke has departed from the ship on his StealthX, he either continues to hold the chair in place or, more likely, his use of the Force earlier leaves a passive imprint of his power (cf. Freedon Nadd's tomb, Count Dooku on Korriban, or Palpatine's hologram recording) that to him might be utterly trivial but to Caedus is utterly insurmountable. What happens here is effectively the afterglow of a sunset outshining the brightest lamp on the planet; one telepath's stray thought overpowering the maximally concentrated mind sorceries of another. Whatever you believe about the mechanics of telekinesis vs. Force barrier, it should very much be the case that the power ratio in telekinesis vs. telekinesis is 1:1. Keep in mind Luke throughout Inferno wants to die deep inside, so he's far from an optimal mindset or peak strength for this feat, based on it I wouldn't be exaggerating in saying Luke Skywalker's passive Force aura has more power in it than a combat-ready Darth Caedus's greatest Force attacks.

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Rule of Two wrote:With mounting frustration he continued his search, winding his way through the passages until he reached an apparently insignificant chamber, almost buried at the very heart of the temple. Both Kaan and Qordis were there waiting for him.

They stood a meter apart, each on one side of a small doorway carved in the back wall. The door was only a meter high, and was blocked by a tightly fitted slab of black stone, giving Bane hope once more. The stone seemed to have been undisturbed by whoever had been here before him. It was possible no one had found this room, hidden at the end of the twisting maze of passages. Or maybe someone had found it but had been unable to move the stone slab. It was even possible that the small entrance had once been hidden by the lost arts of Sith sorcery, and the spell obscuring it had gradually faded over the centuries, making it visible only now.

Glancing quickly at the twin manifestations on either side of the small doorway, Bane crouched down to examine the slab. Its surface was smooth, and it extended only a few centimeters out from the passage, making it impossible to get a firm grip. Of course, there was one other way to move it.

Summoning his strength, Bane reached out with the Force and tried to pull the stone toward him. It barely moved. The stone was heavy, but it was more than sheer mass that held it in place. There was something fighting his power, resisting him. Bane took a deep breath and tilted his head from side to side, loudly cracking his neck as he gathered himself for another attempt.

This time he went deep, plunging into the well of power that dwelled within his core. He reached back into his past, dredging up memories buried deep in his subconscious: memories of his father, Hurst; memories of the beatings; memories of the hatred he bore for the man who had raised him. As he did so, he felt his power building.

It started, as it always did, with a single spark of heat. The spark quickly became a flame, and the flame an inferno. Bane's body trembled with the strain as he fought to contain the power, letting the dark side energy build to a critical mass. He forced himself to endure the unbearable heat as long as he could, then thrust his fist forward, channeling everything inside him toward the stone blocking him from his destiny.

The heavy slab flew across the room and struck the far wall with a heavy thud. A long vertical crack appeared in the wall, though the dark stone block itself was undamaged. Bane dropped to his knees, panting from the exertion. He looked up to see the ghostly watchers still keeping their vigil beside the entrance. With a shake of his head, he crawled to the now-open doorway and peered in.

Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The Final Showdown wrote:He paused by the wreckage of the vehicles that the mysterious Sith had moved so easily. There was a disturbance in the air, as though the dark energy of the Force still pulsed around the wall of debris. As if the Sith had vanished, but left a pool of his darkness behind.

Star Wars: Dark Empire audio drama wrote:Palpatine's hologram: ...and I have come to realize that the dark side is my only ally. The dark side is the only means to power.

R2-D2: (beeb beeb)

Luke: Be quiet, R2, I don't care about the time, but can you do something about the heat? I suddenly... feel... cold...

Palpatine's hologram: My explorations of the Force have revealed to me many wonderful secrets.

Luke: Cold... like a dead hand pressing on my heart...

Palpatine's hologram: I have learned that Anger and Will, when joined together, forge a most unholy and devastating alliance.

Luke: Maybe R2's right... time to leave... but it's like a great weight... pressing down on me... I... can't move... can't... leave...

Palpatine's hologram: Using Anger, I have learned to unlock the hidden reservoirs of the glorious dark side power.

Luke: No...

Palpatine's hologram: Anger concentrated by Will in the vital center of the body creates a portal, through which vast energies are released. The energies of the dark side of the Force. This is the power I command, now that I am one with the dark side.

Luke: Is this what my father felt?

Palpatine's hologram: With these energies, I have slain my enemies across the empty reaches of space.

Luke: I shouldn't... listen...

Palpatine's hologram: I have created lightning, and unleashed devastating fires.

Luke: ...but I can't... stop...

Palpatine's hologram: With this knowledge, I can unleash dark side energies that swirl invisibly around us, even to shatter the fabric of space itself. In this way, I have created Storms.

Luke: Got... to break... free!

R2-D2: (beeb beeb)

Luke: I'm... alright, R2. (panting). This place... is still strong with the dark side. And the presence of the Emperor, even in a hologram, is almost overpowering.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Inferno wrote:Krova's voice came over the comm. "The Jedi are ready to launch, Colonel."

"All of them?" Caedus asked. "Master Skywalker, too?"

There was a brief silence while Krova consulted the hangar chief, then she said, "Master Skywalker is the one making the report."

"That was quick, "Caedus said, raising his brow. "Are the Hapans in position?"

"Opening fire now, "Krova reported. "But Admiral Bwua'tu's plan doesn't call for the StealthXs to attack until the Bothans turn to meet the Hapans. He feels the added element of confusion will..."

"I'm aware of the battle plan, Lieutenant." Caedus focused his Force-awareness deep inside the Anakin Solo's belly, where he felt a snarl of angry Jedi presences. Deciding it would be better to have them dodging missiles and turbolaser volleys than sitting idle and stewing about his authority, he said, "And Master Skywalker is aware of the plan, as well. Let him launch."

Krova acknowledged the order, and a moment later Caedus felt the Jedi moving away from the Anakin Solo. Realizing it would soon be time for him to coordinate their attack with Admiral Bwua'tu, Caedus grabbed his meditation chair in the Force and discovered that he could not turn it back toward the battle. No matter how hard he exerted himself, it would not budge.

Krova reported that the Hapans had sealed the Confederation's escape route and were now fully engaged.

Caedus gave up on the chair - he couldn't see anything useful through the bubble anyway - and dropped into the seat facing away from the battle. Instead of leaving his legs stretched out in front of him as they had been before, he drew his knees up to his chest and felt no less foolish.

And here is the bitter pill for the medium people to swallow: Luke isn't actually less powerful in Legacy of the Force than he has been in other series. Denning, the one who gave him the above chair feat, is the same author who in Dark Nest had Luke remark he can move around Star Destroyers (before The Force Unleashed was even a concept), stomp turbolaser-bending UnuThul, and gave him the "heart of the Force" supermassive black hole wank that has had the versus community in tumult for the last 18 years. He is well aware of how strong Luke is, even stating in an interview for Tempest that "nobody is sure what exactly his limits are" but that in Legacy of the Force he will be facing different kinds of challenges that will force him to "rely on more than his Jedi abilities" so he isn't "going to shove moons around with the Force." But despite being responsible for some of Luke's wankiest depictions, Denning generally dislikes overpowered characters, saying that they "are only interesting when they have big flaws" and noting they tend to "suffer from the Deus ex Machina syndrome, and Luke is certainly no exception." He seems to have a fixation with the "space opera" aspect of Star Wars, not wanting it to devolve into a superhero story and even consciously walking back on the ending message of The New Jedi Order in order to keep that space opera going in Dark Nest; it seems to me he artificially plays up the tension for the sake of the plot but at the expense of narrative and logical consistency, stating for Fate of the Jedi that Luke "can be killed by a lucky shot, just like anyone else. That possibility is always there, even when he's facing down a lowly Sith apprentice. A good writer will play on the possibility to keep the suspense level high, even when he's facing relatively feeble opponents." All the comparisons between Luke and Lumiya, other Jedi Masters, YVH droids, and even Caedus himself I don't take at face value; not only are there often encumbrances in place for Luke, but in each instance it's done to artificially heighten the stakes, and every time the writers have Luke show a considerably more of his true power it becomes abundantly clear he's orders of magnitude above everyone else.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Unknow12
My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Unknow13

It's not just Denning, either. Traviss in Revelation has Luke conjure in an illusory fleet that completely convinces Caedus it's real. He keeps comming his crew the coordinates, but they cannot detect anything. Once the illusion recedes Caedus is left fuming that it should not have been possible to trick him like this, and is even more nervous about the fact it was not a physical illusion everybody could see but instead a mental illusion exclusive to him, meaning Luke got inside his head without him knowing about the intrusion and projected into it an impeccable, 360-degree illusion of five Star Destroyers and twenty light cruisers. As a reminder, this is the same author and novel in which Caedus gets the shittiest telepathy of all time for a purported top-tier.
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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Empty Re: My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda

April 30th 2023, 7:11 pm
A short time later Luke begins telekinetically ripping Caedus's StealthX apart. Once Caedus opens a comm channel to confront his unseen adversary, Luke responds that he could have killed Caedus several times by now but is only refraining from doing so because he still holds out hope for his nephew. When rejected, Luke continues tearing Caedus's ship apart even more and when Caedus tries to block him with the Force, he fails miserably and is staggered by the depth of Luke's power. He effectively gets ragdolled right after being mindfucked by an opponent who is simultaneously concentrating on flying his own StealthX at a dangerously close distance, and it's made clear Luke's chair feats in Inferno weren't even close to the full extent of his powers.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Revelation wrote:He flicked open the comlink, perfectly secure this close to the ship. StealthXs almost always operated in complete comm silence, and nobody could monitor them without big clues like an open channel. The fighters really did vanish. “Solo to Nevil, the Third is on station. Patch me through to Ocean.”

She would be—

No—

Caedus had jerked the StealthX ninety degrees to starboard before his retina—fractionally slower than Force senses—registered a slab of ship filling his vision. And it wasn’t the Anakin. He righted himself relative to the assembled fleet; but he was suddenly overwhelmed, ships popping into existence all around him in a complete 360-degree ring. Wherever he turned the StealthX, he was facing the spars and sensor masts and patchworked hatches of warships. Cannon turrets—he couldn’t identify the type, the navy, anything. It was a fleet from another time and place.

He could feel the ships, but he had no impression of lethal, implacable mass. His passive sensors showed static, as if he’d been hit by an EM pulse that hadn’t tripped the warning. He sensed danger, though; a real threat.

Caedus did what any pilot would, and signaled a warning as best he could, trying to work out what he had fallen into.

***

Jacen Solo’s open comlink spewed uncharacteristically loud chaos onto Niathal’s calm bridge.

“Enemy vessels, I repeat enemy vessels, estimate five destroyers, type unknown, twenty light cruisers, no—fifteen—range five hundred—”

She stared at her chart repeaters. Nothing. Just the ships she hoped and expected to find, the Third and Fourth fleet components. She looked up, searching for a simple explanation, and the electronic warfare control section—all ten officers—was staring back at her as one bemused being, equally dumbfounded, screens visibly devoid of frantic, blinking UNIDENTIFED icons even from her position. One officer suddenly swung back to her screen and started punching in code. Nobody else said a word. Everyone with a sensor or screen was searching, cross-checking, looking to see what they’d missed and what bedlam was unfolding out there. Had the hyperjump disrupted all their calibration? Were they about to be vaporized?

“What is that man doing?” Niathal was genuinely thrown, wondering if she might have interrupted him on some morale-boosting dry-run pre-attack; that was the kind of irrational mystic stuff he’d do at a time like this. “Colonel Solo, this is Ocean, we do not see the targets, repeat, we do not see the targets—”

The officer of the watch and his juniors were at the forward viewscreen, physically searching through the transparisteel for whatever Jacen could detect but they couldn’t. There was only so much a lookout could spot with the unaided eye against a starfield and from this position in the ship, but given what Jacen was calling in, they should have been able to see activity and the glitter of faceted surfaces bouncing raw sunlight back at them.

And Jacen’s voice—impressively calm, Niathal had to give him that—continued to fill the bridge, transmitting approximated ranges and positions relative to his own.

“I’ve got him, ma’am,” said the EWO who’d been tapping at her console. “I’ve mapped his comlink signal onto the holochart. Watch the purple trace.”

It was just a blob of violet light set a little way apart from an orderly pattern of blue transponder markers. The blue markers were in two distinct formations, pennant codes valid, showing two GA task forces. The violet light—Jacen Solo’s StealthX—was racing across the holochart, jinking and looping, as if it were navigating through a congested spacelane and avoiding bigger vessels.

Niathal’s initial shock, which had set her blood pumping hard enough to hear in her ears, was ebbing into disbelief and a different kind of worry. She glanced down at the comlink panel. Jacen was patched through to her and to the Anakin Solo’s bridge.

Okay. Let’s share your unique Sith insight, shall we, Colonel?

She flicked a key and the voice channel went to every bridge comlink in the two fleets.

“Ma’am, confirmed zero contacts.” The EWO seemed to hesitate, as if saying what was now on Niathal’s mind and probably everyone else’s was a little rude. “There’s nothing out there, unless someone has cloaking technology we don’t know about and Colonel Solo is able to see past it … being a Jedi, and all that.”

It was an outside chance, Niathal knew. Just to be on the safe side, she turned to the weapons officer.

“Bargos, lob the smallest torp you’ve got at one of those coordinates the colonel gave, will you?” she said. “See if we hit anything solid.”

“Very good, ma’am …” Bargos had a chartful of phantom targets to choose from. He keyed in a course with nothing to lock on to, and issued the standard warning across the task force. “Stand by, stand by, all vessels, live weapon, test-firing, bearing and course … that … in five standard seconds … and torpedo away.”

They waited.

The torpedo’s sensor trace tracked steadily across the screen. It passed the projected impact point and carried on going … and going. It looked like it would make it to Bestine in a few years, unimpeded by any mystery target.

“Maybe it’s moved …,” Bargos said, struggling to keep a straight face. It wasn’t humor; it was nerve-fraying anxiety, not about an invisible enemy, but about a commander who was behaving irrationally.

“Whoa, he’s lost it,” said a whispered voice behind Niathal, barely audible. “Told you he’d flipped, when he did that to Tebut …”

Jacen was still transmitting, calm but definitely confused.

“Anakin Solo, I have … lost visual.” There was a pause.

“Very good sir.”

“Anakin Solo, respond, did you confirm my visual? Anything?”

“Negative, sir.”

“One final visual check, and returning to ship.”

It was so silent on the bridge that Niathal could hear the collective unk of humans swallowing after holding their breath for a while. The whole episode had been played out live to the fleet. Everyone had heard how JCOS-2—Joint Chief of State Number Two, as Jacen was known in memos—had been chasing ghosts. If they hadn’t heard it live, the utterly reliable fleet scuttlebutt service would provide highlights for them for years to come. Niathal checked her chrono and the time codes on the signals. The bizarre incident had run for a little under eight standard minutes.

She judged that the time was right. “Anakin Solo, this is Ocean. Get me Captain Nevil. Now.”

Nevil must have been right next to the comm station. Niathal hardly had time to blink. She didn’t even need to pose a question before he answered it. He did a fine job of sounding as if they hadn’t spoken in months.

“Ma’am, we’re no wiser than you are about what happened.”

“Tell me this was some ill-timed readiness drill, Captain.”

“I can’t, ma’am.”

“Great gods of the waters, is Solo insane?” Her comlink was still transmitting to all bridges. She had a valid reason for doing that, if the threat really had been a cloaked fleet, but it was much more about enabling a bloodless coup. The ships’ companies and their officers could now make up their own minds about which commander they would prefer to follow into a tight corner. “I know he doesn’t drink liquor …”

“Ma’am, when Colonel Solo is available, I shall tell him you wish to talk to him.”

“Most kind, Captain.” Niathal smoothed her jacket, with the feeling of having found a thousand-denomination cash-cred in the street. She had paraded her contempt for Jacen across the task force, and Nevil had been seen as loyally supporting his superior officer. Honor was satisfied. “All vessels, stand defense watches.”

She stepped down from the slightly raised dais that spanned the deck, and paused. “And … if anyone doesn’t spot anything that isn’t there, don’t hesitate not to tell me.”

A ripple of laughter ran around the bridge. Even though a battle was still imminent, the tension dropped a good few notches. She stepped into her day cabin and leaned back against the bulkhead, eyes closed for a moment, before comming Nevil.

“Captain Nevil,” she said. “Sorry about that. Thank you for sounding suitably noncommittal. I just want you to know you’re not alone.”

***

Caedus fumed.

He was no fool, he wasn’t mad, and he had explored more arcane Force techniques than any member of the Jedi Council. He did not fall prey to tricks.

But even if that phantom fleet had been a trick and not some freak phenomenon thrown up by physics beyond his grasp—then who was creating it? He took one long loop around the area in the StealthX.

Caedus wasn’t checking to make sure he hadn’t missed any more humiliatingly nonexistent ships. He was scouting for the source of the illusion. And it was an illusion—yes, that was much, much more likely than the laws of the universe having a bad day.

He’d pulled off some remarkably convincing tricks himself; he’d hidden Lumiya right under Luke’s nose, literally. He’d also been caught up in manufactured illusions and he could still feel the apparent reality of Lumiya’s conjured world in her asteroid habitat.

Niathal, mundane rule-follower that she was, had simply tested reality by firing a torpedo, her mind unencumbered by any hall-of-mirrors thinking that would make her question if the torpedo failing to hit anything was also part of the same elaborate, convincing construction.

But I’m a Sith Lord.

I should be beyond this. I should be anticipating these strikes against me.

It had to be one of the renegade Jedi. Lumiya was dead. Who else might be able to fool him? Ben—no, Ben had his skills like vanishing in the Force, but he thought in honest, plain lines, channeling his Force power into extensions of ordinary talents like smashing down doors, locating explosives, and blinding surveillance holocams. Two burly CSF officers and a sniffer akk could do that. So it would be one of the usual suspects—Luke, probably, or maybe Zekk, because it wasn’t his mother’s or his sister’s style. Where were they? How far could Luke extend his powers?

And why couldn’t anyone else see it? Illusions could be made visible to many people. So it was designed to disturb him, and him alone, not to lure his ships into shooting and whatever might result from that.

Caedus could feel nothing beyond a distant sense that there were still Jedi in the Force, much the way the lights of a city were a constant and unnoticed backdrop until they went out. He was chasing phantoms again. That was what they wanted. He had to focus, swallow his anger, and avoid being provoked.

The crew of the Anakin Solo had already heard him make a complete fool of himself. He’d have to work on restoring his infallible image.

Luke. After Niathal, before order being restored—he had to do something about Luke. Perhaps Luke would have the common sense of the last remaining Jedi after Palpatine’s Purge, and go into exile.

Ahead of Caedus, an auxiliary vessel was hooking up to a cruiser to replenish supplies via a long tube-like tunnel, proof of how rapidly some of the Third Fleet had slipped their berths. They were catching up on routine tasks that would have normally been completed alongside. The Imperials would have brought forward their embarkation, too: as soon as they showed up, they could get this over with.

Occupying Fondor wasn’t an option.

No … it would turn into Corellia, but worse. Worlds looked at Corellia, bruised but still Confederate, and might even be emboldened enough by the cocky defiance to try to emulate it. Fondor might do that while tying up hundreds of thousands of troops and their vessels. Caedus intended to make an example of Fondor, the sort that said Don’t try this again.

Torching Kashyyyk should have announced that, but the human majority on many planets probably took more notice of what happened to their own related species in nice clean cities.

He was among the scattered ships now. The light level in his cockpit—the light from the distant sun at his back—dipped slightly.

He couldn’t see anything on his instruments.

He couldn’t feel anything near him beyond the general oppressive weight of warships preparing for battle.

Remember what happened last time. Caedus wouldn’t be caught twice. If he leaned slightly to one side, the reflection at his six often appeared on the viewscreen in front of him. He shifted in his seat, but there was nothing.

If I jump at every shadow now, he’s got me. Ludicrous.

The next moment, the sherrnkkk of tearing fiberplast vibrated through the airframe and his chest, and he was flung to port, spinning out of control. Something had hit him. He hadn’t clipped anything through careless flying. He was too experienced, too good. He punched the StealthX into a short burn to stop the roll and peeled away under the ships to put some distance between him and whatever had rammed him.

Obviously—he couldn’t see it. No point sending a distress signal; this wasn’t something to share with the fleet again. He accelerated, trying to get some edge, looking for what wasn’t there: stars.

He was straining to find a dark area of obscured stars, the only way he could spot a fighter that was as camouflaged and undetectable as his own.

I’ve been hunted by a StealthX before, Luke. You think I’m stupid?

If he couldn’t see Luke, he would maneuver where Luke couldn’t detect him.

He wasn’t going to get in the same position of not being able to use his cannon as he had with Mara. He’d risk being hit by fragments. He didn’t have far to run for help if he got a slow decompression. This time, he’d use what he’d learned.

For the first time, though, he began to wonder if it was Luke out there.

Ben?

Caedus hadn’t felt anyone. Luke—he could always sense Luke. But Ben had taken to Force hiding instantly. Mara had managed it for critical moments and nearly killed him, but this smacked of Ben.

Bang.

Something clipped him from underneath the fuselage this time, shaking his teeth. He corrected course. He didn’t need instruments to tell him he had a breach somewhere. When he looped again, he caught sight of a thin trail of escaping vapor or fluid, probably coolant. StealthXs had traded shielding for sensor negation; they still had pretty tough skins in collisions, but hitting another vessel at these speeds normally tore off parts and ended unhappily.

This was incredibly precise wingtip ramming, or staggering luck twice in a row. And he was no longer undetectable. He had a vapor trail.

He opened a comm channel. There was no point trying for a meld, after all. The StealthX’s comm system had seen more use today than it had in its entire service history.

“Face me, and let’s finish it,” he said.

Ben, or Luke? If it’s Luke, then he’s got new tricks. It could even be Jaina, if Ben’s teaching everyone to shut down in the Force.

I don’t care.

“Come about and head for the orbitals,” said Luke’s voice. “You’ll make it. Then land, and we’ll talk.”

Caedus headed for the Anakin, wondering just how far Luke would go to force him to land. The odds were different now. This wasn’t like Kavan. Caedus had a fleet right next door.

“Aren’t you going to open fire?”

There was flash of blackness in the cockpit as the pursuing vessel blocked the sun for a moment. Luke’s presence faded back into the Force like a sunrise. “If I wanted to kill you, I could have done it several times over by now.”

“You think a stern talking-to, deprogramming, and the love of a good family will put me right again?”

“I’m prepared to try. You’d be amazed.”

Caedus was drawing Luke deeper into the fleet assembly area. Luke seemed to be simply hanging a wing-breadth off his tail, a suicidal tactic for anyone else.

“You’re going to have to shoot me down to stop me,” said Caedus.

“I always learn from history.”

“Try—ahh.” Caedus struggled to correct the StealthX as the damaged starboard wing cannon broke away. The escaping vapor was speckled with round droplets now. “Did you do that?”

Chunkk. The port cannon ripped free.

“You could retaliate,” said Luke, “and we’ll both end up dead. Come about and head back toward Fondor.”

Caedus was coming up on the fleet auxiliaries with their replenishment conduits strung between ships. If he could alert his anti-air batteries on the frigates, he could lead Luke’s StealthX between them and trust to the gunners’ timing.

“I’m not your father, Luke, and I don’t need to be redeemed,” said Caedus.

Luke reacted; it stung him, and Caedus actually hadn’t meant it to. He felt the flinch.

“Mara told me that about Lumiya.”

The name made Caedus flinch this time. “She was right, Luke.”

Pinpoints of light picked out maintenance pods moving over ships’ hulls. Caedus was preparing for a feint and a dash into the Anakin’s hangar bay now. Luke was too smart to mess around in the heart of the GA Fleet; Niathal must have done a deal. Caedus was being herded toward something here. He was being set up.

Luke hadn’t mentioned Mara’s death. Odd: he either had something worse planned for Caedus, or he didn’t think he was responsible. The ax waiting to fall kept getting bigger. Fett hadn’t come after him, either, and if one thing was certain, it was that he would find a way of getting at him.

But not this time.

Luke’s StealthX nudged him again from behind—how? Caedus couldn’t see. Force push? Something metallic inside the fuselage shrieked. He had a sense of someone rummaging furiously in the drives as if looking for a dropped hydrospanner, throwing fragments into the coils. He’s ripping the thing apart—

Caedus tried to block Luke in the Force and suddenly got an idea of just how much power Luke could muster. His seat shot forward, sheared off the runners, tipped to one side, and he hit the console at an angle before he could buffer the collision with the Force. Something cracked in his chest. Pain flared, stopping his breathing. Then he was aware of brilliant white light coming right at him. In the moments before he managed to veer off to starboard, almost blinded, he got a glimpse of a StealthX’s uneven outline with two grappling arms extended, and the sense of a Jedi other than Luke.

They’d tried to cripple the StealthX and grab him, airframe and all, right in the middle of the fleet. Brazen; incredible. He’d never allow anyone but his own apprentice to fly a StealthX again, not even an ordinary pilot. Luke was still close behind, feeling as if he were actually leaning on his shoulder; Caedus switched to raw instinct. He looped around, weaving between cruisers spaced at regular intervals—someone must have picked him up on visual by now, surely?—and then maneuvered to line up the auxiliaries with the Anakin Solo, accelerating. He’d either hit it right or he’d crash, but if the other StealthX tried to take him at this velocity from a head-on intercept it’d rip them both apart.

Caedus aimed right at the fleet auxiliary replenishing a landing craft. It was crewed by civilians, merchant fleet, noncombatants; it had only a light cannon for self-defense. The long connection tunnel was actually an air lock extender, a quick and easy way to transfer supplies without docking shuttles, and there’d be crew working in it. Luke was right on his tail.

Smashing through it would damage the StealthX badly, but it would rip the tunnel apart, and there’d be deaths.

Let’s see who blinks first.

Caedus realized nobody could see any of the StealthXs. Whatever fluid he was losing had vented completely. The auxiliaries couldn’t even pick them up on collision alarms.

Do it.

The Anakin Solo loomed behind it.

“Don’t—” Luke could see what he was doing, all right.

“I’m past caring,” said Caedus, lying.

You’ll peel off rather than risk clipping that … killing workers … Caedus thought.

I’ll live with it.

The orange tunnel rushed up to meet him faster than he expected and he jerked the yoke back. Nothing snagged him; he didn’t feel it, anyway. He couldn’t look back. But he felt Luke’s moment of horror at a near hit, buying him seconds that he needed to shoot underneath the Star Destroyer and come back along its length toward one of the hangar decks.

“Anakin Solo, emergency landing, damaged StealthX One-One—open Five-Alpha Hangar—”

He could have sworn he snapped off the tip of a comm mast. He was holding the fighter steady as much by the Force as by its controls, and trying to slow it with the Force as well, because the braking burn wasn’t enough. He had to drop into that slot just right or he’d take the section out with him.

I could have activated the transponder, let them track me for the last few seconds, but I can’t pinpoint the Jedi—

Too late.

Caedus stopped thinking and felt. He was braking with everything he had. Coming out of the blackness of space, the hangar lights were sudden and blinding, and then he realized they were sparks. He was skidding across the hangar deck. The bulkhead filled his view; the arrester baffle caught him. He was flung against what felt like a permacrete wall. As the lights around dimmed and he couldn’t see through the canopy any longer, he had a foolish moment of thinking he was dying.

No, you’ve done that. Doesn’t feel like this.

It was the automatic flame-retardant foam coating the fighter. The airframe was completely still; he wasn’t lodged in a bulkhead. He inhaled sharply, cursed a broken rib, and set about trying to heal it, eyes closed, while he waited for the fire party to decide he wasn’t going to explode, and crack the canopy from the outside.

After a few moments, the light level increased. The foam was dispersing, and the canopy opened.

“Sir, I hope your insurance covers this …”

Say the right thing. The Jacen Solo thing. Show them you’re not a madman.

“I swerved to avoid a Jedi,” Caedus said. “I didn’t get his number. Give me a hand, will you?”

They were expecting him to rage at them for some imagined shortcoming, he could tell. He felt their relief as he climbed out of the cockpit and slipped on the remains of the foam. When he looked back, the StealthX was a mess. He was quite upset by that.

“Quick coat of paint, sir, and you’ll never know she had a prang,” the crash crew chief said. “Med droid’s on the way.”

“At least I know who generated the phantom fleet,” Caedus said. This counter-rumor could zip around the fleet, too. Sane, humble, even humorous in adversity. “Next time I try to chase Luke Skywalker’s pranks, confiscate my passcard, will you?”

They laughed; good old Colonel Solo, one of the team, not the one who killed junior officers at all. He controlled himself sufficiently to limp back to his day cabin via the bridge, where he found that the Jedi illusion story had preceded him, and closed the hatch before letting the pent-up rage escape like steam. He looked in the mirror; a few cuts, and the eyes of a stranger, yellow, but eyes he was getting used to.

He could channel anger now. He would save its focus and momentum to take out Fondor.

***

Niathal listened to the chatter on the bridge, caf in hand.

“He said the Jedi created a Force illusion of a huge fleet, targeted solely at him,” one of the signals officers said.

“Oh, Jedi, of course …” The junior officer of the watch was glued to the sensor screen but still managed to roll his eyes in mock realization. “Don’t you just hate it when that happens?”

Niathal believed it, but she was still waiting to hear it from Jacen’s own lips. The absence of the Fondorian fleet was troubling her; the first wave of the Imperial Remnant had dropped out of hyperspace, and she was waiting for a comm from Pellaeon. She had made up her mind. She would seek a surrender, and if Fondor declined talks, she would disable the defenses on the orbitals to allow the ground troops to land and secure them, one at a time, and then move on to begin precision attacks on the planet’s fleet bases. There was no point creating a wasteland.

And if—when—the Fondorian fleet reappeared, they’d have to get past Pellaeon, too.

And then there was Jacen Solo. Luke would have to learn to shoot to kill, he really would. She wondered if she would have fired if she’d had a lock on Jacen; she imagined her fingers curled around the yoke of an X-wing, and her thumb depressing the button, and wasn’t sure that she would.

But what do you do with a Sith? What do you do to restrain a man who has powers like Luke Skywalker, but no rules, no moral limits? It was hard to see him as simply someone who believed in benign dictatorship but whose law-and-order policy sometimes got out of hand. His otherness disturbed her. She could barely remember Palpatine’s reign, just his image everywhere, and Vader at parades on the holonews—occasionally. But she hadn’t known they were Sith. She didn’t even know then that Jedi existed. When she studied history at school, she learned about the Sith—Jedi wars by rote, but now that she could actually put it in a personal context of individuals she worked with, it had taken on a whole new meaning. She was a little alarmed by both sides. The mind influence was the most corrosive realization she’d had; how much of what she’d done was purely of her own volition? Luke could even deceive Jacen into fighting a fleet that wasn’t there.

No excuses. You knew what that leak to Luke would do. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t examine every urge you get to see if it’s really your own.

So, after a bit of a detour, what's my verdict on the Inferno duel? A big, fat My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1419419311.

(10) In Fury Caedus believes that he is "the best lightsaber swordsman around - excepting possibly Luke, perhaps the best there ever had been." Essentially, he thinks it's not certain that Luke is better than him yet also thinks it's not improbable that Luke could be the best lightsaber duelist in galactic history, implying of course that Caedus believes it's possible he himself might be the greatest duelist of all time as well.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Fury wrote:Caedus hadn't felt the blaster bolt coming. His concentration was slipping.

And this madman of a Falleen Jedi was starting to beat down his parries. His strength was slipping.

He wasn't yet recovered from his duel with Luke. And now, as more of his troopers began firing, Horn began deflecting more bolts at him. The imprecise, barely aimed nature of the attacks worked in Horn's favor. The shots were unpredictable and Caedus had to divide his attention between a mad swordsman and a growing number of half-blind snipers.

But he was still the best lightsaber swordsman around - excepting possibly Luke, perhaps the best there ever had been.

Caedus waited until the timing was perfect, waited until an incoming bolt arrived at the same moment as one of Mithric's attacks so he could devote a single maneuver to both. He caught Mithric's blow toward the hilt of his lightsaber. He caught the bolt near the tip, deflecting it up and straight into Mithric's chest.

Mithric staggered back, the center of his chest blackened, as the smell of burned skin and meat filled the air. Caedus leapt up and executed a single, precise lateral blow.

Mithric's head fell from his shoulders. His body toppled down half a second later.

One of course only has to look at the situation Caedus is in when he makes that comment to notice the obvious irony: his guard is being beaten down by a loser Jedi Knight after being hit by a deflected blaster bolt from another loser Jedi, and is now struggling to divide his attention between the two. I see absolutely no reason to take Caedus's opinion here seriously when a book earlier he got thrashed in a duel by an emotionally destroyed Luke, and I likewise have no reason to believe Caedus has had any of the vaunted mega growth since then when he is still complaining about his injuries as an excuse for being held down by two scrubs. Even the maneuver he executes is something I can easily picture Darth Maul, Mace Windu, or Obi-Wan Kenobi replicating - in fact I think pulling out those names is probably highballing it way too much. Legacy of the Force has also set an appalling precedent for the reliability of character opinions, particularly Caedus's, so that's further basis for me to toss this one into the bin. A hard My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1419419311.

(11) Later on in Fury Luke remarks that Caedus is his "match" which has been used to indicate they are equals, but the context shows that Caedus is Luke's match in terms of being his opponent vis-à-vis Ben facing YVH droids. Even were Luke judging Caedus as his equal, this is Allston's Luke who thinks Lumiya can duel him to a standstill while acknowledging that she is inferior to Vader, and just a few minutes earlier he was pressed by one or two YVH droids, so hardly the Palpatine-disarming, skyscraper-destroying, dovin basal-moving, army-busting, UnuThul-stomping menace from earlier in his career.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Fury wrote:The three Jedi turned toward the hole in the blast doors.

Blasterfire began to pour through, its density and angle suggesting three or four different sources. These weren't the narrow bolts of hand weapons, either. To Ben they looked like they had to originate with heavy, squad-level weapons.

Luke, lightsaber lit and up, charged to the hole, batted away a flurry of bolts, and dived through. The barrage became less ferocious.

Saba was next, squeezing through the gap with surprising grace. The noise made by the barrage of fire continued-but no more bolts came through.

Ben gulped, then ran forward and somersaulted through the gap.

He landed on his feet on the far side, warmed but not singed as he passed by the superheated metal of the hole he'd cut.

Beyond, several meters away, four YVH combat droids poured fire at the two Jedi from the blaster cannons in their right arms.

Ben focused on the droids' weapon arms, not their appearance. Tall, gray-black with glowing red eyes, built to look like armored human skeletons, their appearance had been carefully designed by Lando Calrissian to anger Yuuzhan Vong warriors and frighten everyone else. Their deathlike ugliness was distracting. Ben elected not to be distracted.

Saba, her sword work brilliant, was parrying full-autofire streams of blaster cannon fire. Luke, more mobile, was avoiding the fire aimed at him - like a dancer, he kept ahead of every stream, but was making no headway, and in fact was being herded back toward the blast doors. A few moments more and the droids might pin him against the doors, denying him maneuverability, and finish him.

But one of Luke's opponents switched targets - it aimed at Ben, sending its stream of blasterfire at him.

He got his lightsaber up, caught the first several bolts - and was staggered, forced back by their power, which was so much greater than any bolt from a blaster pistol or rifle he had ever encountered. He might be able to intercept every bolt, but stopping them all would exhaust him within seconds.

Don't stop them. Just get rid of them. It was his own voice, not his father's, not his mother's, not Jacen's.

He angled his blade and let the incoming fire ricochet off it. The bolts angled up and to the right, pouring into the ceiling and walls - and hammering much less at his arms.

Good. Now he could survive the attack for perhaps half a minute. Yippee.

He shook his head. He could be someone his father and Saba needed to protect, in which case he might get them killed. He could take care of himself, just barely, as he was now, in which case he made a lie of his assertion that he would be useful on this mission.

Or he could contribute. But how?

Let the enemy do the work. The operation's catchphrase flashed into his mind and he knew what to do.

He reached out with his free hand, grabbing and wrenching through the Force at the blaster cannon arm of his enemy. Knowing how heavy the YVH droids were with their layers of laminanium armor, he exerted himself - and spun the droid around, aiming its cannon at one of Saba's foes.

The cannon fire took the YVH droid in the side, riddling it. It jerked in place, the glows fading from its eyes, then went down sideways, cut in half at the pelvis.

Ben kept up the pressure on his opponent, maneuvering its blaster cannon to aim at Saba's second enemy. The droid ceased fire before hitting its other ally. A vent opened on its chest...

Luke gestured, and smoke emerged from the vent... but the minirocket designed to fire from that port did not. A moment later it exploded, blowing the top half of the droid off, leaving the legs still standing.

Now there were two, each facing a Master.

Saba pressed forward, able to push her way up the stream of fire from her droid. Her target raised its other arm, an arc of what looked like lightning flashing toward her, but she caught that on her lightsaber as well - then ducked and rolled under both energy attacks, rising just beyond the droid, her lightsaber blade extended backward and up - into the droid's neck and head. The laminanium armor there did not yield easily, but the precision of her blow and the greater-than-human strength she could put behind it drove the point of her blade through what would, in a human, have been thoracic vertebrae, severing its head.

Nor did she stop there, but spun, driving her point down from a high stance into the newly created gap in the droid's neck.

Luke, meanwhile, gestured. His enemy toppled backward and down, rolled by a telekinetic exertion in the Force to lie facedown. It struggled to rise, but Luke pounced, putting the point of his blade against its back. He drove it home, slow going through the armor, and twisted it around until the droid ceased struggling.

Saba pushed her dead foe over, sending it crashing to the deck plates, and eyed Ben. "Good tacticz, "she said. "But warn this one next time. The stream of boltz crossed this one when the droid turned."

[...]

Caedus watched on his monitor as Luke, Saba, and Ben approached the bridge doors from the corridor beyond. There were a few guards on duty, not that it mattered. They fired, the Jedi rushed, fists and lightsabers swung, the guards went down.

This was not good. Both Masters remained intact.

All was not lost, though. Caedus had resources still available to him. He was fresh. He had eight YVH droids.

In the monitor view, the Jedi approached the blast doors. Ben began to drive his lightsaber point into the metal.

Caedus made an impatient gesture. "Open."

The blast doors slid aside. The Jedi stood there in triangular battle array, Luke and Saba now in front, Ben behind. Caedus and his YVH droids stared back at them. The bridge officers pretended to ignore the situation; they kept their eyes on their screens, conducting the space battle that raged around Centerpoint Station.

Caedus offered a smile that in no way reflected how he felt. "Uncle Luke. Ben. Master Sabatyne. Care for some caf?"

The Jedi, lightsabers ready, moved in, paying dose attention to the two YVH droids flanking them.

Luke shook his head. "Care to surrender?"

"If I did, I'd never be able to have more fun with Ben, like the last time he was here." Caedus fired the taunt like a blaster bolt - a pair of them, one at Luke, one at Ben.

And yet, in the Force, he felt not one flicker of anger from either of them. That was. ... surprising. Distressing. Time away from him appeared to have undone all the good he'd done Ben during their last session.

Caedus sighed. "All right. Kill."

The combat droids snapped into motion, all eight firing simultaneously, their streams of blasterfire converging on the Jedi.

[...]

Luke and Saba flanked Ben, their lightsabers up, and caught the barrages of blaster damage being hurled their way. Caedus waited, patient. They couldn't sustain that amount of fire for very long. Either they'd die, or they'd figure out how to put the combat droids down fast. As blaster bolts began ricocheting all over the bridge, the Anakin Solo's officers dived for cover behind their stations. Caedus merely ignited his lightsaber, ready to fend off any ricochets coming his way.

Curiously, Ben returned his own lightsaber to his belt. The boy gestured out in either direction. Something flew from each hand, down to the YVH droids in the officers' pits, adhering to their chests.

Caedus sighed. Of course. The Jedi had plundered grenades from the droids they'd defeated.

As the thought occurred to him, the detonators went off. The combat droids disappeared - not vaporized, but hurled into and through the bulkhead armor behind them. The shock wave hammered everything at the stern end of the bridge, shredding officers' stations, setting men and women on fire. Screams and alarms filled the air.

Ben repeated the move, planting a grenade on the chests of the two YVH droids flanking the Jedi. Caedus blinked. It seemed a suicide move. The explosions would consume the Jedi as well as the droids. But Luke and Saba lashed out, each kicking a different direction, and the two droids, still firing, toppled over backward into the pits where their comrades had been.

In the moment he had before those detonators went off, Caedus acted to whittle down the enemy numbers as they had been whittling down his. He gestured, exerting himself telekinetically, and Saba Sebatyne slipped laterally into the starboard pit, almost atop the doomed droid there.

Her leap toward safety was almost instantaneous, but almost wasn't good enough. The detonators went off. The blast caught Sebatyne when she was only a meter or two in the air. It propelled her like an old-fashioned munition to the port-side wall, slamming her into that surface five meters above the floor, and she slid, flaming, down into the pit.

Luke and Ben looked Caedus's way. He smiled at them and shrugged. "One down."

The four droids nearest him kept firing.

[...]

Impossibly, Saba stood, even got her lightsaber up to deflect the next wave of blaster bolts aimed at her. Smoke rose from her back and legs, and stretches of her skin were charred, bleeding. ... but she was upright, standing on shaky legs.

Luke didn't turn toward Ben, but pitched his voice to make it easier for the boy to hear. "Get her out of here."

"Remember why I'm here, Grand Master."

Vexed, Luke tightened his jaw and nodded. He raised his voice. "Master Sebatyne: extract."

"This one iz still..."

"Leaving." Luke's tone was unyielding. "Remember what we're here for."

Beyond Jacen, the metal shutters were coming down across the viewports. It wasn't surprisng; the explosions had to have weakened the viewport housings, and the ship's diagnostics were sealing everything up before the atmosphere could explosively escape. Besides, all of a sudden there were more ships to see out there, and some of them were approaching the Anakin Solo, laser batteries flashing. Luke gestured toward Jacen. Jacen raised his lightsaber and his left hand, ready to ward off any attack, but Luke's gesture was a diversion. His exertion in the Force picked up one of the YVH droids and hurtled it backward, against the faltering viewport.

The transparisteel buckled and the droid was lost to space. Air, rushing past the Jedi, tugged them forward, and Jacen staggered back toward the viewports, but then the shutters came down, sealing the bridge.

Meanwhile Luke felt a pained exertion in the Force as Saba leapt up to the walkway and walked - limped - off the bridge.

Three YVH droids were left. And Jacen. Against Luke and Ben. Jacen was Luke's match, which meant Ben had to cope with three combat droids. The odds weren't good. Then the odds changed.

As he batted blasterfire with his lightsaber, Luke felt a surge of emotion in the Force: innocent joy, a little girl's delight at going home.

Jacen visibly paled. "Allana. . ." Suddenly he charged, crossing his own combat droids' streams of blasterfire, forcing them to cease fire for brief moments.

He came at Luke but leapt laterally, flying across empty air to one of the doorways leading aft, utterly ignoring the Jedi.

Luke snapped a command to his son: "Extract! Warn Leia, Jacen's coming!" He got his lightsaber up and deflected new streams of blasterfire, then began backing toward the bridge's blast doors, toward his son.

A simple My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1419419311 should suffice here.
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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Empty Re: My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda

April 30th 2023, 7:12 pm
(12) Now the crux of EC's blog: Darth Caedus vs. Luke-amped Jaina, referred to by the portmanteau "Juke" from here on out. Before I get into addressing his specific claims, I'll post the fight in full and break it down:

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Invincible wrote:Caedus waved the Moffs up toward the anteroom, then turned back to the projection booth to see the muzzle of a pellet accelerator pushing through a makeshift firing port, which the sniper had cut through the projectionist’s blaster-scorched viewing pane. He managed to raise the arm on his injured side in the weapon’s general direction, then reached out with the Force and made a twisting motion with his hand. The barrel trembled for an instant, then started to bend against the edge of the firing port.

The sniper was not surprised. The weapon simply spun free as it was abruptly released, and the snap-hiss of an igniting lightsaber sounded from inside the projection booth. Despite the pellet wound his shoulder had suffered earlier, Caedus did not hesitate to activate his own blade. His pain would only fuel his power, and if he did not attack the sniper, he knew the sniper would attack him. He Force-leapt up through the hole into the smoky, flashing interior of the booth and pivoted around to block the fan of blue light that came slicing toward his neck even before he could sense who he was fighting.

Whoever it was, the enemy was good.

Caedus felt a boot slam into his ribs—an instant before he saw it coming with his Aing-Tii fighting-sight—and the breath left his lungs. He countered with a head-high backslash and brought his own foot up, landing a Force-enhanced snap-kick between the legs of the brown-robed blur attacking him. The blow drew a pained grunt but failed to even stagger his foe.

A bony elbow slammed up under his chin, rocking him onto his heels. Then, finally, Caedus felt a familiar tingle in the back of his mind, and he saw the image of a violet blade slashing at his vulnerable side. He swept his own lightsaber down across the front of his body in a desperate reverse block that barely caught the attack in time to prevent it from slicing him in two, then whirled into a spinning back kick that landed squarely in his foe’s stomach and drove him back … a mere two steps.

It was enough.

Now Caedus could see who he was fighting, and he could not believe it. A gaunt-faced man with eyes as blue and cold as vardium steel, nostrils flaring red with anger and exertion, a thin-lipped snarl filled with confidence and disdain.

Luke Skywalker.

Just a few minutes earlier, Caedus had sensed his uncle’s presence far above Nickel One, in the same blastboat as his mother, father, and Saba Sebatyne. And now here Luke was, inside the asteroid. Even Jedi Grand Masters could not be in two places at once—Caedus knew that—but he did not waste time being confused.

All that mattered was that Luke was here, somehow, and that he was the one swordsman in the galaxy whom Caedus did not dare fight one-armed. Even as Luke leapt forward weaving a basket of lightsaber slashes, Caedus sprang back out of the projection booth, launching himself into a high Force flip designed to put as much distance between himself and his attacker as possible.

Luke flew after him, not even bothering to try for the high position, simply coming up under him with a wild slash combination that was anything but subtle or deft or even tricky; just pure relentless ferocity. Caedus had to stretch himself out belly-down in midair to meet the attack, and even calling on the Force to bolster the strength in his good arm, it was all he could do to keep the powerful strikes from knocking his guard aside and leaving him wide open.

They started to drop, trading a trio of lightning-fast blows that left Caedus’s hands stinging and his heart racing. The last time he had fought Luke, he had started with a painful kidney wound but two good arms—and barely managed to survive. Now, with a relatively bearable shoulder wound and a single good arm, he had to do more than survive, he had to prevail—because now there would be no mercy at the last minute. This time, his uncle would not care whether he survived as long as Caedus died, because now Luke knew the truth about who had killed his wife.

After the third exchange, Caedus and Luke came down in the seating area, two rows apart. Both landed on their feet, Luke more lightly than Caedus.

Caedus deactivated his lightsaber and flicked his hand downward, arming the dart thrower he had begun wearing beneath his sleeve after their last fight.

But Luke did something even more unexpected, removing one hand from his lightsaber and pushing the palm forward. An instant later, the unseen hammer of a Force blast caught Caedus in the sternum and drove him not over, but through the seats behind him.

He slammed into the next row and dropped to the floor foot-to-foot with the big Mandalorian he had killed earlier—the one in the black armor and red helmet. Caedus’s head was spinning and his chest was more than aching—it was throbbing, burning, clenching so tightly he could hardly breathe.

But he still had his lightsaber—and he needed it. He thumbed the activation switch and brought the weapon up just as Luke’s blue blade came slicing down toward him. Caedus caught it on his own crimson blade, then straightened his arm, simultaneously parrying and pointing the dart thrower on his wrist into his attacker’s face.

“Release!” he commanded.

A faint puff of air tickled Caedus’s forearm as the thrower launched its darts, but Luke was already whirling out of the way. The slivers streaked past in a harmless black flash and vanished; then Luke was spinning into the row where Caedus lay, positioning himself above Caedus’s head for the coup de grâce.

There was no time to leap up or loose a bolt of Force lightning, and the angle was particularly poor for blocking and parrying. Caedus’s only hope lay at his feet, and he seized that hope with the Force, using it to pull the dead Mandalorian up over him, then hurling the corpse headlong into Luke.

Two bodies collided with the sharp crack of metal impacting bone. When Caedus did not die in the next instant, he realized he had finally driven his uncle onto the defensive. He rolled to a knee, his lightsaber ignited and raised between them.

Luke lay buried beneath the huge Mandalorian, blood pooling around his head and one motionless arm protruding beneath the fellow’s side. By all appearances, Luke Skywalker was dead—or at least unconscious.

Caedus’s heart began to pound not with fear, but with excitement. His visions of late had been filled with his uncle’s face—Luke Skywalker attacking him here on Nickel One, Luke firing on him from one of Fett’s Bes’uliike, Luke sitting on Caedus’s throne, claiming the New Empire as his own. Had he—Lord Caedus—finally put an end to those visions—finally ruled out the possibility of those futures becoming the future?

Eager as he was to be rid of Luke, Caedus was also suspicious. His uncle had been using a new fighting style, one that he had never taught his students at the Jedi academy—one that he had never, as far as Caedus knew, used on anyone who had survived to describe it. The style was essentially conservative, brutal, and ruthless, designed to deal damage without suffering it—and not all that tricky.

Which meant now would be the perfect time to switch styles and trap an unwary opponent by playing dead. Using the Force to keep the Mandalorian pressed firmly down on Luke, Caedus retreated twenty paces to the body of a fallen stormtrooper, then deactivated his lightsaber and tucked it under his wounded arm. When Luke still did not move, he pulled a fragmentation grenade off the trooper’s equipment belt. He thumbed the arming slide, then sent the grenade sailing toward his uncle and the dead Mandalorian.

***

Despite the ringing in her ears and the gauze in her head—despite her hugely aching skull and the big knot of hurt swelling on her brow—Jaina had never been so filled with the Force. She could feel it in every cell of her body, swirling through her like fire, burning more ferociously every moment. She had never felt so strong or so quick or so alert. She could drive her fist through a durasteel wall, or catch a blaster bolt between her fingers. Despite the red curtain of blood cascading from the gash where Vatok’s helmet had split her forehead, she was aware of everything.

Including that grenade sailing toward her.

So Jaina reached out with the Force and sent it flying back toward her brother. An instant later, the weight pressing down on her grew lighter as Caedus’s attention shifted to the grenade. She started to Force-hurl her friend’s body off—then recalled how her brother had been anticipating her attacks. She grabbed the beskad hanging from Vatok’s waist, then sent his body flying after the grenade.

The iron saber had barely cleared its scabbard before the hammer-fist of a grenade detonation jolted the forum. Vatok’s body was silhouetted against the orange flash of the explosion. Jaina held him there, shielding herself from the fiery heat of the blast, and felt the searing bite of shrapnel only in her legs.

The detonation swept the last wisps of gauze from Jaina’s mind. Not waiting to see if she had been seriously injured, she let her friend’s body drop to the floor and leapt after her brother, lightsaber in one hand and Vatok’s beskad in the other.

Caedus turned to meet her with his good arm forward and his wounded shoulder behind. Jaina struck high with the lightsaber and low with the beskad. Caedus slipped back, allowing both blades to pass, then sprang forward and counterthrust, trying to impale her with her own momentum.

Jaina was already spinning past his crimson blade, pivoting on a dead stormtrooper’s chest plate as she brought Vatok’s beskad around at neck height. But Caedus had anticipated her once again, leaning away to take the blow on his wounded shoulder rather than across his throat.

Jaina did not even feel the beskad cleaving bone. She simply heard a voice—Jacen’s voice—cry out in shock and pain; then an arm landed on her boots. In the next instant Caedus was whirling away, screaming and flapping a red stump, and something hot and wet splashed across Jaina’s face and throat and began to burn like acid.

A part of her—the part that had grown up with Jacen and trained with him on Yavin 4 and traded snowballs at Coruscant’s polar playgrounds—was too horrified to act. That part wanted to stand paralyzed in shock, to pretend this was just some terrible nightmare from which she would shortly awaken. The other part—the part that had actually asked for this mission—knew what would happen if she let herself freeze.

Jaina launched herself after Caedus. The loss of an arm did not seem to faze him. He simply turned to meet her attack, his yellow eyes blazing with pain and fury, and their lightsabers met in a brilliant explosion of color. Jaina brought the beskad around again, striking low for his thigh … and knew she was in trouble when Caedus did not even try to block.

Caedus deactivated his lightsaber and let it drop between them. Jaina felt the beskad begin to bite, then her brother’s palm sank deep into the pit of her stomach. In the next instant she was riding a bolt of Force lightning across the chamber, her muscles cramping, her teeth grinding, her ears roaring with the fiery sizzle of burning synapses.

A full second later, she slammed into a durasteel wall and felt a terrible popping in her ribs, then dropped to the floor, still holding her lightsaber and the beskad. The Force lightning had died away, but her muscles remained useless aching knots, and the stench of scorched flesh was so powerful she wanted to retch. Instead, she tried to rise—and succeeded only in sparking a dozen different kinds of pain.

Across the chamber, her brother was in little better shape. He sat slumped in a half-collapsed chair, his remaining hand clamped over the stump of his missing arm, his thigh wound dripping blood onto the floor. His yellow eyes were staring at Jaina more in confusion than rage, and his head was cocked as though he could not quite believe what he was seeing.

“You?” he gasped. “Jaina?”

Jaina managed to raise her throbbing head. It hurt—a lot—and her vision was starting to blur.

“I haven’t changed that much, Jacen,” she said. With her muscle control beginning to return, she pushed herself into a kneeling position. “And I hope you know how much this Sith nonsense is steaming Mom and Dad.”

If Caedus heard her wisecrack, he did not show it. His yellow eyes began to dart around the chamber, searching for something Jaina did not understand—but maybe that was just because her head was throbbing so bad. The pain was beginning to muddle her thoughts.

Somehow, Caedus forced himself back to his feet. That would have been impressive—if it weren’t so kriffing scary.

“Where’s Luke?” he demanded.

“Right behind me,” Jaina said, also standing. The effort sent pangs of anguish shooting through her lungs, and she realized she had a few broken ribs to go with the lightning scorch on her chest. She squinted in his direction, trying to keep him in focus so she could kill him. “Come over here, and I’ll show you.”

That brought Caedus’s gaze snapping back toward her, and Jaina realized she might have overplayed her hand. She still had both arms, but the fact that her brother remained standing at all proved how much greater his Force powers were than her own. She tossed the beskad aside and summoned a fallen stormtrooper’s power blaster to hand.

Then Jaina sensed someone watching her from the direction of the antechamber where the Moffs had fled. She looked up to find a pair of gray blurs dropping into firing positions in the doorways. She loosed a burst of suppression fire toward the two troopers, then Force-flipped up into the cover offered by the ruined projection booth, landing backward so she would be facing her enemy and in a position to defend herself.

Jaina’s boots had not even touched the floor before the stormtroopers opened fire. She dropped the power blaster and used her lightsaber to deflect their bolts, angling them down toward her brother. If she kept him busy enough, he wouldn’t be able to hurl another lightning attack her way. His lightsaber snapped to life and began to weave a crimson shield in front of him.

Then Jaina experienced an abrupt draining as her Force energies returned to their normal level. Suddenly she felt cold, tired, and in pain, and she barely had the strength to hold her lightsaber as it flicked back and forth, batting away blaster bolts. She retreated deeper into the projection booth, stumbling over combat debris that she normally would have sensed without any conscious thought. When she reached the wrecked control panel, she could finally drop behind cover.

Caedus’s voice sounded out in the forum, still deep and booming and strong. “Not her! Skywalker is the dangerous one.”

Skywalker?

Was Jaina beginning to hear things now, too? Or was Caedus beginning to imagine them?

The blasterfire shifted away from the projection booth and grew more erratic. Jaina poked her head up, peering over the scorched control panel through what remained of the projectionist’s one-way viewport.

Her brother was limping up toward the anteroom, finally starting to look a little weak and dizzy himself. His good hand was still holding the stump of his severed arm. But his yellow eyes were round with fear and his brow was furrowed with anger, and he was looking toward the far corner of the chamber, which Jaina could not see from her vantage point.

“There, you fools!” he yelled. “Blast him!”

The two stormtroopers seemed to study the corner for a moment, then obediently opened fire again. Energy bolts quickly began to ricochet back into the seats, but whether they were being deflected by a lightsaber or merely bouncing off the walls was impossible to guess.

Jaina did not have the energy to investigate. She dropped back to her haunches and opened herself completely to the Force, drawing it into her exhausted, battered body from all sides. The muffled crumphs of door-breaker charges began to sound somewhere out in the forum as the rest of the Elite Guard began to blast their way into the battle area. She knew that her mission had just gone from difficult to impossible, but when was she ever going to get a better chance? Caedus was wounded and weak, and if she could just catch up to him, she might be able to finish him.

An urgent clatter began to build out in the forum as stormtroopers poured through the entrances they had just blasted open. Jaina rose and ignited her lightsaber, but before she could step back into the breach, she sensed a nervous insectoid presence studying her from the far end of the booth.

Jaina turned to look. The technician who had helped her earlier was poking his head through a melt hole in the rear wall.

“Jedi Solo, are you ready to depart?” the Verpine asked.

“Depart?” Jaina frowned; what a foolish idea. “Hardly. Caedus is still alive.”

The Verpine nodded. “Yes, my hive mates report that he is being rushed to the infirmary,” he said. “And your extraction team will meet you at SurfaceHatch TenCrater.”

“Can’t.” Jaina shook her head, then nearly lost it as she tried to peer out into the forum and drew a volley of blasterfire. She whirled around and looked back toward the Verpine, who was crouching just outside the melt hole, trembling. “Can you get me into the infirmary?”

“No!” the Verpine replied. “You are too damaged to fight. I am worried you can’t even make it to TenCrater on your own. I may have to carry you.”

Jaina waved him off. She couldn’t let Caedus regroup. She had already lost the advantage of surprise, and the one thing she knew for certain was that if she let him recover—

“Your extraction team is in a precarious position itself.” The Verpine was having to yell to make himself heard above the blasterfire. “They insist you come now.”

Jaina felt her mother reaching out to her in the Force, calling her back. She could sense not only the fear her mother felt for her, but also the teeth-grinding terror of combat—and a certain sense of demand that carried with it the hard edge of an order.

Jaina sighed. She had promised the Council to obey orders. “Okay, okay.” She made a dash—more of a stumble—for the exit. “Tell them we’re coming!”

1. Despite having one arm inoperative, Caedus notes "his pain would only fuel his power," so his Force strength for the duel is at its typical level.
2. Juke kicks Caedus in the ribs faster than even his Aing-Tii fighting-sight can predict.
3. Caedus tries to slice Juke's head but she either evades or blocks; the text doesn't specify.
4. Caedus kicks Juke in the pussy which "fails to even stagger his foe."
5. Juke elbows Caedus in the chin which sends him rocking back onto his heels.
6. Juke slashes at Caedus's side and Caedus is barely fast enough to block the blow.
7. Caedus kicks Juke in the stomach and drives her back a disappointing mere two steps.
8. Luke's image shows anger and exertion on his face, so that's probably reflective of his mindset, and we can determine he's probably straining to some degree balancing all the complex stuff he's doing.
9. Caedus admits he would not dare face Luke one-armed.
10. Juke "leaps forward weaving a basket of lightsaber slashes" but Caedus springs back from the elevated projection booth with a Force flip, dodging the attacks.
11. Juke continues after him without bothering to leverage a positional advantage, simply "coming up under him with a wild slash combination that was anything but subtle or deft or even tricky; just pure relentless ferocity"; Caedus's Force augmentation it stretched to its limits in barely preventing "the powerful strikes from knocking his guard aside and leaving him wide open." The two are seemingly floating in the air for this exchange.
12. They start to drop and three of Juke's blows leave "Caedus's hands stinging and his heart racing."
13.  Caedus reflects on his duel with Luke in Inferno (referred to as I-Luke from now on), stating he barely survived then yet now has to not only survive but prevail with just one good arm. It seems he is not making any distinction between I-Luke and Juke; if there was a momentous power difference between the two, he would have noted it. Caedus also thinks Juke's mindset is to kill him no matter what and has no regard for his own survival so long as that goal is accomplished.
14. Juke hands more lightly on her feet than Caedus.
15. Caedus deactivates his lightsaber and arms the dart thrower concealed in his sleeve. It's noted he began wearing it after his last fight with Luke, insinuating he expected having to rely on trickery even in a scenario where he would have the use of both of his arms.
16. Juke Force-pushes Caedus through the seats behind him, which Caedus does not expect at all. His head is spinning and his chest is "throbbing, burning, clenching so tightly he could hardly breathe."
17. Juke leaps at Caedus, who barely gets his blade up in time to parry.
18. Caedus aims the dart thrower at Juke and shoots, but Juke dodges and positions himself above Caedus's head.
19. Juke is about to deliver the coup de grâce; Caedus has no time to dodge, summon Force lightning, and he cannot successfully block or parry from his angle.
20. To save himself, Caedus telekinetically launches the corpse of a nearby Mandalorian into Juke, burying her beneath the carcass and stunning her. Caedus notes he has pushed Juke on the defensive for the first time wonders if he has finally vanquished the great Luke Skywalker.
21. Caedus makes further commentary on Juke's fighting style: it's "one that he had never taught his students at the Jedi academy—one that he had never, as far as Caedus knew, used on anyone who had survived to describe it. The style was essentially conservative, brutal, and ruthless, designed to deal damage without suffering it—and not all that tricky."
22. Caedus is still apprehensive about Juke faking her unconsciousness, though, and thinks now would be a good opportunity for her to switch styles to catch him off-guard, so he keeps the Mandalorian pinned on top of her, and retreats twenty paces and sends a fragmentation grenade at her.
23. The narration now changes to Juke's perspective. Her ears are ringing, the gash on her head is bleeding, her skull is aching, and her brow is hurting. It seems Caedus's telekinetic projectiles can do much more damage than his Force-augmented strikes.
24. Despite her ailments, Juke's power is much greater than Jaina's has ever been: the Force is filling "every cell of her body, swirling through her like fire, burning more ferociously every moment," and she feels like she can "drive her fist through a durasteel wall, or catch a blaster bolt between her fingers," and she has complete awareness of her surroundings.
25.  Juke reverses the direction of the grenade and sends it flying towards Caedus who lightens his pin on the Mandalorian corpse to focus on the grenade. Juke grabs a beskad (a Mandalorian sword forged from beskar) from the corpse and flings it toward the grenade to shield herself from the explosion but gets shrapnel embedded in her legs nonetheless.
26. Juke lunges at her brother dual-wielding a lightsaber and a beskad, striking high with the former and low with the latter; Caedus dodges both attacks by stepping backward.
27. Caedus swiftly steps forward in an attempt to impale Juke on her forward momentum, but she twirls around, evading the thrust.
28. Juke swings her beskad in a decapitating motion that severs Caedus's arm instead of his neck as he leans away.
29. Caedus screams and pretends to flail around for a bit as he marks Juke with a Nightsister blood trail (revealed later) but on the whole the loss of his arm does not faze him as he draws on the injury for power, "yellow eyes blazing with pain and fury."
30. Juke lunges after Caedus again, and he blocks her lightsaber head-on.
31. Juke swipes her beskad at Caedus's thigh; he lets it dig in but trades the hit for a palm strike "deep into the pit of her stomach" and sends her flying with a bolt of Force lightning.
32. Juke's muscles cramp, synapses burn, flesh on her chest is scorched, and her ribs crack as she slams into a durasteel wall. She tries to rise but her muscles "remain useless aching knots," and she is overwhelmed by the pain. Luke's Force illusion also breaks, revealing Jaina to Caedus for the first time.
33. Caedus is "in little better shape," slumped in a chair holding the stump of his severed arm and bleeding from his thigh.
34. Juke manages to raise her head and push herself into a kneeling position but her vision is blurry, and eventually stands up after Caedus does.
35. Juke makes the comment that "the fact that her brother remained standing at all proved how much greater his Force powers were than her own," which some have taken to scale Caedus over Juke, but it could easily be her confirmation bias (Jaina does not know Luke is amping her and maintaining an illusion), or a more holistic assessment of their respective power sets (Caedus can feed on pain, she can't) rather than strictly about their respective Force reserves.
36. Stormtroopers interrupt the duel and Juke begins deflecting their blaster fire at Caedus, who parries the bolts.
37. Luke drops the amp and Jaina's power drops to its normal level, making her feel "cold, tired, and in pain, and she barely has the strength to hold her lightsaber as it flicks back and forth, batting away blaster bolts." She retreats into the projection booth.
38. Caedus is limping, "finally starting to look a little weak and dizzy himself."
39. Caedus is still seeing an illusion of Luke that nobody else can in a far corner of the chamber and orders his stormtroopers to fire at it, but the bolts are batted aside by what to others looks like an invisible presence.
40. Jaina is extracted from the battleground as Caedus is rushed to the infirmary.

Conclusions? Taking Juke's felt level of power - punching through durasteel walls, catching blaster bolts in between her fingers from the air - at face value, she is admittedly quite formidable. While catching blaster bolts from the air is not inherently that impressive, holding them in place without dissipating them would be much more difficult, especially doing so with fingers instead of the full palm; and punching through durasteel is something I could imagine high-end interpretations of General Grievous, Darth Maul, Darth Vader, and so on replicating, but for more grounded mediums such a feat would be top-tier.

Now, I don't believe Caedus is above that as I already explained with the fallible nature of Juke's opinion, and the duel itself reveals Juke's Force augmentation is blatantly greater than Caedus's own: his cunt punt does nothing and his stomach kick drives her back only two steps, whereas each of her blows strain his arm (to be fair he was defending one-handed against her two-handed attacks, so it's not quite as damning for him) and even with the aid of his Aing-Tii fighting-sight (Juke makes repeated note of Caedus "anticipating" her moves) he often barely reacts in time and is occasionally even outpaced, taking a kick to the ribs and a beskad to the shoulder. While fighting-sight is baked into Caedus's style and feats, it's still something that bolsters his performance beyond what his Force augmentation and precognition would be capable of unassisted - essentially fighting-sight enables him to punch above his weight, and he's still evidently outclassed by Juke's sheer output.

The duel itself is very short, too. They collectively execute seven moves before Caedus jumps back from Juke's slashes. They trade three blows in the air and land, after which Juke Force-pushes Caedus to the ground, leaving him hardly able to breathe as his chest throbs and burns, and follows up with a leaping attack on top of him. Caedus parries that one strike and misses with his dart thrower, and then Juke is in a position where Caedus explicitly cannot defend himself properly with the blade and is too slow to retaliate with lightning - she has him dead-to-rights in what in a movie may only be ten seconds (try to visualize the altercation in your head at the same speed prequel duelists fight and you'll see I'm not exaggerating), or around the same time in which a raging Anakin Skywalker defeats Count Dooku onboard the Invisible Hand; for supplemental perspective, Qui-Gon Jinn vs. Darth Maul on Tatooine is a little over 30 seconds, Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Dooku on Geonosis is a little under 30 seconds, Anakin Skywalker vs. Dooku on Geonosis is a little over 40 seconds, Yoda vs. Dooku is a little under 40 seconds, rage Maul vs. Darth Sidious is a little over 20 seconds, Mace Windu vs. Palpatine is about 55 seconds, Yoda vs. Sidious is over 40 seconds (we don't see all of it on-screen), and rage Luke vs. Vader is a little over 30 seconds. Credit to Caedus for getting out of the situation with a telekinetic projectile, but it doesn't change how one-sided the first part of the engagement is.

The second part is even shorter. Juke lunges at Caedus who steps back and misses a retaliatory thrust as Juke pivots and slices off his arm. Two seconds, max, in movie time. They then collide blades once before she gets strikes at his thigh and he sends her hurling through the air with Force lightning - again, at most two seconds - and the duel is effectively over, lasting a combined 15-20 seconds if the pause where Juke is pinned down isn't taken into account. Juke's shock at severing her brother's arm horrifies the part of her that still loves him, and The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia confirms this "surprise" contributes to her being hit by the lightning, so an emotionally neutral Juke would likely not fall for it. And I will acknowledge Caedus's disadvantage in defending against two weapons with only a one-handed style that I don't picture to be his specialty like Dooku's is with Makashi, for example, but I will also point out that having two hands does not make up for the sheer speed difference that being beheaded in seconds denotes - and make no mistake, someone at Caedus's power level without fighting-sight would die: he is noted to be left with a severed arm instead of a severed head only because he anticipates the strike in advance. And the fact that he can only score a decisive hit on Juke by leaving himself open (even then he only connects because of Juke's brief emotional civil war) is telling.

My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Image

I want to stress that Luke is not puppeteering Jaina: she is not even aware he is responsible for her amplified power level or that he is casting an illusion to deceive Caedus, and the fighting style she's employing is her own. Speaking of which, Caedus describes it as rather brutish and not at all tricky or clever. If we approximate Juke to roughly be in the ROTS titans' ballpark of augmentation (which I think is fair and can agree with), she still isn't as good of a duelist as they are; she's not pulling off 8D chess moves in the midst of the battle like Yoda, Sidious, Windu, Dooku, Kenobi, or Anakin would; facing Juke is not equivalent to facing Sidious with his "constantly changing," "ambiguous," "shrouded" style "in which you'll never get the better of him," or Yoda with his tiny hitbox as he bounces around you like a beach ball of destruction and can redouble his speed without warning. In his fight with I-Luke, whom he equates Juke to, Caedus suffers far more damage in quick succession and is beaten down in about ten seconds as well, only lasting even that long because of his inhuman pain tolerance and ability to feed on it. He performs worse than against Juke because Luke, despite his mind fog and battle rage, uses a more complex style than her - the fact that Caedus differentiates them is proof enough of that. Now imagine someone with Juke/I-Luke's power level, nearing peak Luke's sheer skill, and without I-Luke's mental hindrances impairing their awareness or technique... someone like Sidious or Yoda or Anakin... and I don't see Caedus lasting very long at all. Then imagine a hypothetical Caedus without fighting-sight and a disproportionate ability to ignore injury and feast on it, and I'd say you'll arrive somewhere about where I picture Maul standing. Of course, those attributes of Caedus's are baked into his performances and thus stacked on top of mundane augmentation, precognition, and Force reserves, so I can see him competing in that Dooku realm, and how their idiosyncrasies stack up against one another is going to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Now onto EC's points. He argues that Luke projects his spirit into the fight itself rather than merely empowering Jaina from afar. Given the evidence he presents, and my own cursory reading of the material, I actually find myself agreeing with this proposition. What I do not agree with, however, is his corollary that this entails Luke's full strength is present and at work against Caedus, and therefore that Caedus scales meaningfully to, or as he argues, above, prime Luke. Firstly, the fact that they send Jaina by herself after Caedus the second time is indicative that EC's assertion "as of the end of Invincible, Luke is not expected to win against Caedus" is completely wrong. EC himself posted the excerpts where Luke reveals he's been messing Caedus's foresight without his nephew knowing, which in itself denotes a gap, at least to me. Luke's own visions also reveal that if he goes after Caedus himself, he will inevitably win every time and turn to the dark side, and it would expressly not even be Luke at his best - in fact such a scenario manifesting would possibly be a huge source of conflict for him initially with the way he's feared the dark side for most of his life and all that.

Moreover, in the Juke fight he appears as "a gaunt-faced man with eyes as blue and cold as vardium steel, nostrils flaring red with anger and exertion, a thin-lipped snarl filled with confidence and disdain," and Caedus surmises "there would be no mercy at the last minute. This time, his uncle would not care whether he survived as long as Caedus died, because now Luke knew the truth about who had killed his wife." And given Caedus can feel Luke's Force presence, we have no reason to doubt this unless you believe Luke is deliberately misleading Caedus by emanating false emotions and is secretly calm beneath the mask, but that would be conjecture and isn't supported by the text. Not to mention maintaining such a deception would take further energy away from the supply Luke can commit to bolstering Jaina, which is already taxed by the environmental conditions.

Luke projecting his spirit onto the battlefield would mean departing his body but leaving some sort of tether in place in order to prevent bodily death. However, I imagine this tether would only grow thinner with distance as Force spirits require living Force energy to remain in the physical world and prevent dissolution into the Force, which is usually found in the midi-chlorians of their bodies. It's also possible for a spirit to draw on the midi-chlorians of others, but this link is not perfect unless the spirit possesses the target, which is not what Luke does with Jaina; she would surely notice his presence in her body if that were the case. Aloysius Kallig states he cannot manifest to Darth Nox onboard her starship for long even though they share a connection by blood relation, and Aidan Bok tells Tash Arranda he "drew on your link with the Force to become more solid, just as I draw on it now to become visible to you." Of course, Luke is orders of magnitude more powerful than Kallig or Bok, which is presumably why he is able to empower Jaina to that extent, but it's still strenuous for him to even be there; as Caedus observes, his nostrils flare with "exertion" as well as anger. On top of giving Jaina energy, Luke is also maintaining an illusion of himself only visible to his nephew by "altering Caedus's perceptions" without him realizing this even after over a week of reflection, and maintaining physical as well as metaphysical invisibility to all except Caedus (Inferno demonstrates Luke can selectively reveal his Force signature to whomever he wishes while cloaking it from everyone else in the galaxy, as he does to Caedus while right next to him before proceeding to kick his ass). All that coupled with his suboptimal mindset makes it clear that the strength Luke lends to Jaina is only a fraction of his full might.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SL86VkLtMy8

Star Wars: Galaxy of Fear - Ghost of the Jedi wrote:“Tash.”

The voice of Aidan snapped her from her trance. She had been so overwhelmed by the appearance of Gog that she had forgotten the Jedi ghost.

She looked for him now. The gray figure was still hovering next to her, gazing at her with his empty eyes. “Aidan, help me,” she pleaded.

“Stop mumbling and open the book!” Gog pointed his blaster at her head. He obviously could not see or hear Aidan.

“I cannot help you,” Aidan sighed. “I lost my power long ago, when I failed to defeat Vader. I am no longer a Jedi.”

“But you were able to touch me. You shoved me through a doorway!” Tash cried.

Gog raised an eyebrow. He followed Tash’s gaze, but all he saw was empty air. “I will give you to the count of three,” the evil Shi’ido threatened. “If you do not open the book, I’ll blast you to atoms. I promise you, the Essence Stealer is far less painful.”

Aidan frowned at Tash. “I was able to touch you because we are connected by the Force. I drew on your link with the Force to become more solid, just as I draw on it now to become visible to you. But that’s all I can do. I tried to be a hero once, Tash, and I failed.”

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Inferno wrote:"You think you shot him down?" Ben didn't know what he would do if he actually succeeded in making Jacen lose control of his anger - only that he had to make something happen. "That's a laugh."

But Jacen wasn't taking the bait. He removed his hand and said, "Actually, it wasn't me. It was an accident - friendly fire. Jaina got him."

That did shake Ben. It seemed unlikely that Jaina Solo would make such a mistake, and even more unlikely that his father would be caught by it. But freak accidents did happen, and his dad had been very distracted since his mother's death. Was it really so impossible that a grieving Luke Skywalker had made a fatal mistake?

"No - you're making it up." Ben's objection sounded desperate, even to him. It felt like a cold hand had grabbed his heart and started to squeeze. "I would have felt him die - just like I did when you killed Mom."

Jacen shook his head solemnly. "How, Ben? Have you felt anything through the Force since you've been here?" He took his vibrodagger from its sheath and activated it, then tossed it onto the floor about two meters away. "Go on, then. Summon that blade and free yourself."

Ben reached for the vibrodagger... and couldn't find it. He opened himself wide, and sensed nothing.

"What's wrong?" he gasped. "I can't... feel."

"Of course not," Jacen replied. "How long could the Embrace have held you, had I let you keep the Force?"

"You can do that? You can separate me from the Force?"

Jacen gestured at Ben's helpless form. "Apparently so."

"And now I can't reach out for help," Ben said, beginning to see how Jacen was trying to fool him. "So when you tell me Dad is dead, I can't find him in the Force. I have to take your word for it."

"That's not the reason," Jacen said. "But I see how you might come to that conclusion."

Jacen laid his hand on Ben's shoulder again, and the Force came flooding back in a shocking, painful torrent. He sensed a dozen things at once - his aunt Leia searching for him in the Force, filled with pain and shock and sympathy; his cousin Jaina, down on Kashyyyk, full of sorrow and apology and - now that she sensed him aboard the Anakin Solo - confusion; Saba Sebatyne and the other Masters relieved by his sudden return to the Force. And they were all reeling, bewildered and concerned because he was aboard Jacen's ship.

But mostly, Ben sensed his father - a small, tight presence a deck or two above. He was skulking through the substructures below one of the long-range turbolaser turrets, and he seemed as surprised as everyone else by where Ben had turned up. But there was also a note of reassurance, a promise that he would soon be there to help.

At first, Ben couldn't understand why Leia and Jaina and everyone else still seemed so sad - then it hit him: They couldn't feel his father's presence. Ben was the only one whom his dad was allowing to sense him through the Force. Not even Jacen had that kind of control.

"Neat trick."

Ben didn't realize he'd said this aloud until Jacen scowled.

"It's no trick, Ben. Even I'm not good enough to project emotions into other Force-users," Jacen said. "You're sensing the same thing I am. Everyone knows what happened."

"And that's why you think Dad is dead?" Ben asked cautiously. "Just because everyone thinks so?"

"I know because I felt him die," Jacen said. "I'm glad I was able to spare you that particular anguish. It would have done nothing to make you stronger."

"Yeah, thanks," Ben said flatly. Now that he was alert to it, he could sense how tightly his father was holding his presence. Even Ben felt only half connected to him, as if he were holding hands with a ghost or something. "How long ago did all this happen?"

Jacen smiled. "You know I'm not going to tell you that."

Ben cocked his head in acknowledgment. "It was worth a shot." He was trying to figure out why his father had sneaked aboard the Anakin Solo - it had to involve more than just taking out the long-range turbolasers. With Jaina along, they could have destroyed all four in a single pass and still had two shadow bombs left. "It's been about a day. Everybody's still in shock, but they've had time to start worrying about me."

"It appears their concerns are misplaced. Your thinking is remarkably clear." Jacen glanced at the Embrace, then added, "All things considered, of course."

The smirk in Jacen's voice made Ben want to kill him, and he finally realized his father had probably sneaked aboard to do the same thing. It didn't seem right. The responsibility was Ben's alone. He had gotten his mother killed by telling only her about Lumiya. If he had owned up to his mistake publicly - if he'd had the courage to tell his father and the rest of the Council Masters what he had seen - then his mother would never have gone after Jacen alone. The Masters wouldn't have let her, and she would be alive right now and Jacen would be dead, and the galaxy would probably be at peace.

"It's okay to hate me," Jacen said, apparently sensing the drift of Ben's thoughts. "But you mustn't be controlled by it. You must make your hate serve you."

Ben summoned a laugh, managing to sound bitter if not natural. "I don't hate you, Jacen. I pity you."

Jacen scowled. "I don't appear to be the one in need of pity, Ben."

"You will be," Ben said. "Dad's not dead. He's coming for you."

Jacen's scowl vanished. "You're not holding up as well as I thought." He patted Ben's arm. "Stop fighting it, and the hallucinations will pass."

A sudden rumble shook the cabin, and the muffled squeal of twisting metal began to weep down from many decks above. An alarm siren blared to life out in the hangar; then a series of muted thuds sounded somewhere overhead as a chain of bulkhead doors slammed down.

Jacen was on his comlink instantly, demanding an expianation from his aide Orlopp. Ben caught a snippet of the Jenet's reply, something about cooling coils and a catastrophic failure of the number two long-range turbolaser.

"Stop the barrage and inspect the cooling coils of the other batteries," Jacen ordered into the comlink. "Keep me informed."

Ben waited until Jacen had closed the channel, then asked, "Still think I'm having hallucinations?"

Jacen glanced up at the ceiling, and Ben could feel him reaching out in the Force, actively searching for Luke - or any other saboteur. Finally, he shook his head and returned his attention to his captive.

"I'm afraid so," he said. "I don't feel any Jedi presence at all, and if I don't, then neither do you - nothing real, anyway."

"That's because he doesn't want you to feel him," Ben said. He sensed his father very near now, on the same deck and moving fast. "But he's here."

"And I suppose you'll help me find him if I let you go?" Jacen scoffed. "Nice try."

Ben glimpsed a dark figure stepping into the doorway. "I don't think you'll need any help finding him, Jacen. Dad's right behind you."

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Invincible wrote:Caedus’s voice sounded out in the forum, still deep and booming and strong. “Not her! Skywalker is the dangerous one.”

Skywalker?

Was Jaina beginning to hear things now, too? Or was Caedus beginning to imagine them?

The blasterfire shifted away from the projection booth and grew more erratic. Jaina poked her head up, peering over the scorched control panel through what remained of the projectionist’s one-way viewport.

Her brother was limping up toward the anteroom, finally starting to look a little weak and dizzy himself. His good hand was still holding the stump of his severed arm. But his yellow eyes were round with fear and his brow was furrowed with anger, and he was looking toward the far corner of the chamber, which Jaina could not see from her vantage point.

“There, you fools!” he yelled. “Blast him!”

The two stormtroopers seemed to study the corner for a moment, then obediently opened fire again. Energy bolts quickly began to ricochet back into the seats, but whether they were being deflected by a lightsaber or merely bouncing off the walls was impossible to guess.

Jaina did not have the energy to investigate. She dropped back to her haunches and opened herself completely to the Force, drawing it into her exhausted, battered body from all sides. The muffled crumphs of door-breaker charges began to sound somewhere out in the forum as the rest of the Elite Guard began to blast their way into the battle area. She knew that her mission had just gone from difficult to impossible, but when was she ever going to get a better chance? Caedus was wounded and weak, and if she could just catch up to him, she might be able to finish him.

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Invincible wrote:He left it at that—this was neither the time nor the place to explain how a Nightsister blood trail worked. The fighting around the Roche system was growing fiercer by the hour, but he could not leave—did not dare leave—until he understood what had happened to him in the Tactical Planning Forum. He had been fighting Luke one moment, Jaina the next, and then they had both been there—not just illusions of them, but presences real enough to bat blaster bolts back at the stormtroopers attacking them.

[...]

“You keep your part of the bargain, and I’ll keep mine,” he said. “Who was with you?”

“There was only one Jedi,” Mirta said. “Your sister, Jaina.”

“My sister?” Caedus roared despite himself. “You expect me to believe that?” He waved the stump of his arm at her. “That Jaina did this?”

“I don’t know who did that, but Jaina was the only Jedi I saw.” Mirta seemed completely unimpressed by his anger. “And don’t look so surprised. She’s been training with Mandalorians.”

“Then why didn’t she share their disposal barge?” Caedus demanded. He turned to the lieutenant. “Take your sample.”

“What?” Mirta seemed genuinely shocked. “You’re a Jedi! Can’t you tell I’m not lying?”

“I’m a Sith,” Caedus corrected. “And I don’t need the Force to know you’re lying. There were two Jedi there. I fought them both.”

Mirta did a good job of appearing completely confused—even in the Force. “I don’t know about that, but the only one who came with us was Jaina.”

“Then how did Luke get in?” Caedus demanded. He whirled on the lieutenant. “What are you waiting for? I gave you an order.”

“Of c-course.” The frightened lieutenant stepped to the foot of the bed—where the prisoner could not even attempt to bite her—and pulled the sheet off Mirta’s feet. “Sorry, my lord.”

Mirta watched in horror as the lieutenant raised a vein, then, just before the needle was inserted, said, “Okay, Luke was with us.”

The lieutenant looked to Caedus for instructions.

Caedus ignored her. “I know that. How did he get into the planning forum?”

“With us.” Mirta’s answer sounded more like a question than an answer, and Caedus realized she was still lying to him—he could even sense it in the Force. “We had control of the Nickel One security system and help from the Verpine—”

“Yes, I know all that, too,” Caedus said. “I’m interested in Luke—in how he really slipped into the asteroid. This is your last chance.”

Mirta’s eyes grew desperate. “I told you,” she said. “We came in through a gun emplacement, then blew a reactor core to cover our breach point.”

Incredibly, Mirta was still lying about something. Caedus could sense it in her desperate Force aura—that she was being mostly truthful but misleading him about something crucial.

“At least something you said is true,” he said. He passed the hypo to the lieutenant. “Take your sample—and give her this injection. She told half the truth, so I’ll keep half my word.”

Mirta began to curse him again, and Caedus knew he had made all the progress he was going to that day. He motioned Tahiri to follow him, then left the room and started down the corridor toward his quarters, deep in thought as he puzzled over how Luke had really gotten into the room.

It always came down to Luke. It had been Luke’s eyes into which he had been looking when his arm was taken, it was Luke’s face that haunted his dreams, it was Luke who he saw in his visions. Sometimes Luke was chasing him through a desert landscape filled with spires and arches, sometimes Luke was driving a crimson lightsaber through his heart … sometimes Luke was wearing Caedus’s black robes, sitting on his dark throne, ruling his Sith Empire.

“That was a lot of trouble,” Tahiri said, finally tearing Caedus out of his thoughts. “If you were going to betray your promise, why bother justifying it? It’s not like anyone there was going to talk about it.”

Caedus stopped in the middle of the corridor. “I didn’t betray my promise,” he said. “Mirta was lying about something.”

“Sure, after you started pressing her,” Tahiri said. “But I didn’t sense the lie the first time. If Luke was there, she didn’t know how he got there.”

“Luke was there,” Caedus insisted.

“Sorry,” Tahiri said, not quite cringing. “I didn’t mean to suggest—”

“No—forgive me,” Caedus said, finally realizing what he had overlooked—what the Force must have been telling him all along. “I was just coming to a decision.”

Tahiri remained silent, waiting for his pronouncement.

“Have Mirta transferred to the Anakin Solo, and inform the Moffs that I would like them to place their assets at my disposal and select a command committee to accompany us.”

“Very well,” Tahiri said. “Shall I inform them of our objective?”

“My uncle.” Caedus began to walk again. “I’ve been growing more and more convinced that killing Luke Skywalker is the key to winning this war—and I’m sure of it now.”

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Invincible wrote:“You’re welcome,” Mirta said. “Now, the thing you need to know about your brother … he underestimates you.”

“That’s not really news, Mirta,” Jaina said. “Maybe not even true. He’s magnitudes stronger than me in the Force. All I’ve got on him is five weeks of Mandalorian commando training.”

“And that’s enough to get the job done.” Mirta’s tone was reprimanding, like a parent scolding a child for wanting a third bowl of frezgel. “But I mean, his weakness is more delusional. He’s convinced you couldn’t have taken his arm—at least not alone. He thinks Luke was with us.”

Jaina paused, recalling Caedus’s confusion at the end of the battle. She also recalled her own condition, how the strange surge in her Force powers had suddenly faded just before Caedus had redirected the stormtroopers’ fire. “Maybe Luke was there.”

Mirta shook her head. “He wasn’t. I was conscious most of the time—and I didn’t see him.” She waved the blaster muzzle at the door. “Now get out of here. You’ve only got an hour before my next meds are due—and no offense, but I don’t want you as a roommate.”

I won't address every single little detail in EC's blog because I don't think that's necessary. The analysis I've presented should be sufficient as it is to clarify why I believe what I do about the Juke fight, and that's a resounding My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1419419311.

(13) Finally we come to the last quote (I hope) used to argue Caedus scales to some high-end iteration of Luke. In the novel Millennium Falcon, Leia tells Allana that Jacen's "powers were unmatched by those of any other Jedi" during the Yuuzhan Vong War. This can easily be a reference to Jacen's temporary attainment of perfect oneness at the end of The Unifying Force (written by the same author, James Luceno), which Leia bore witness to "and would carry to her grave," rather than his baseline power.

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order - The Unifying Force wrote:Neither Jaina nor Jacen had answered Leia’s calls as Nom Anor had led the search for them, but the reason for their silence became clear the moment she entered the bridge of the accelerating alien vessel.

She was last to arrive in the cavernous chamber. Nom Anor and Han, blaster in hand, had raced in ahead of her, only to be transfixed by the spectacle unfolding before their eyes—a sight Leia knew she would carry to her grave, and all the more spellbinding for the backdrop of familiar stars, hyphens of coherent light, roiling plasma missiles. She felt as if she were wedged between a dream and a vision; lifted into a realm that was usually denied to mortal beings.

In the center of the bridge Jacen stood like a pillar of blinding light, feet planted, arms at his sides, chin lifted. The dazzling light seemed to spin outward from his midsection and surround him like an aura. His face was almost frighteningly serene, and perhaps a touch sad. The pupils of his eyes were like rising suns. He seemed to age five years—features maturing, complexion softening, body elongating—as Leia watched breathlessly.

What youth might have remained in her son vanished.

Across the bridge, Shimrra’s Shamed familiar, Onimi, was pinned to the coarse bulkhead like a captive shadowmoth, uneven eyes rolled up into his deformed head and slavering mouth opened wide in wonderment, agony, despair—it was impossible to know.

Jaina dangled limply between her brother and Onimi, as if a mournful sculpture, fragile but growing stronger by the moment.

And as she strengthened, Onimi began to wane. For an instant it appeared that the surgeries, mutilations, and disfigurements were reversing themselves. The Shamed One’s facial features became symmetrical. His twisted body straightened, assuming its original size, shape, and aspect—more human than not, though taller and leaner, with long limbs and large hands. But life deserted him just as quickly. He slid to the deck as if his bones had dissolved. Poured from his mouth, eyes, and ears, corrosive fluids began to consume him, leaving nothing more than a puddle of foul hydrocarbons, which the yorik coral deck absorbed as it might a stain.

Immediately the vessel spasmed, as if it had been struck by turbolaser fire, or had in fact sustained a kind of stroke. Color and warmth drained from the living console, and the instruments took on an arthritic look. Cognition hoods and villips grew desiccated. Blaze bugs fell out of formation and died on the floor of their niche. Coral fractured, and the already scant green light faded. With its dovin basal dying, the vessel almost succumbed to a last grab by Coruscant; then it lurched forward once more, aimed resolutely for the heart of the battle.

When Leia finally came back to herself, Jacen had lifted Jaina from the horns on which she had been suspended, and was cradling her in his arms.

“You wouldn’t let me help you,” she said.

Jacen comforted her with a smile. “I needed you to help yourself.”

Star Wars: Millennium Falcon wrote:Deep in the Force, Leia fed stamina to Poste and strength to Allana and support to Han, whose fear for Leia and Allana’s safety was eroding his ability to stabilize the ship. Like Leia, he was desperate to keep Allana from harm. But buried deep under his anguish he was thinking of Jacen.

Calling to Jacen for help.

For the first time, Leia realized the full depths of Han’s pain and grief. And she seized on the source of Han’s turmoil.

“Child, listen to me,” she shouted to Allana. “Your father understood the beings who transformed this world. Long before you were born we were at war with them, but your father was a force for peace, and his powers were unmatched by those of any other Jedi. He wanted you to grow up in a galaxy free of war. He wanted to protect you at all costs. I want you to reach deep into yourself and find him. As painful as it is, you need to find your father. Stretch out with your feelings. Use the Force!”

No need to complicate this beyond that. My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1419419311

-- -- --

Tallying the results, we have one My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1289255181 and 12 My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda 1419419311. Nothing in The New Jedi Order or Legacy of the Force supports Caedus being anywhere near peak Luke's level; he is markedly inferior to both I-Luke and Juke, and every time Luke shows a measure of his true power Caedus is dwarfed to an enormous degree. His consistent performance level is significantly above Council-tier, but he cannot just handwave them either. Dark Nest is the only series where you might be able to draw meaningful comparisons between Jacen and Luke, but as the former does not have any feats even remotely approaching the latter (that I know of), and as Caedus's limits are made clear time and time again in Legacy of the Force, I find the aggregate evidence to indicate Caedus is indeed in that Council+/++ range, not relative to any of Luke's best iterations.

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Master Azronger
Master Azronger
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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Empty Re: My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda

April 30th 2023, 7:15 pm

CONCLUSION

So we come to the end. To summarize my grievances with excessive Darth Caedus wank:
  • Every single one of Caedus's conventional power feats has been replicated or exceeded by people substantially below the ROTS titan class. He has no feats that put him on that level, not even close.
  • The scene Revelation, toward the end of Caedus's Sith career, where he is overwhelmed by the anger of a hundred people and needs to amp himself to telepathically influence a handful of people on the planet below is absolutely pathetic.
  • Every non-Luke opponent Caedus fights in Legacy of the Force is infinitely below the ROTS titan class as far as I can tell. Aurra Sing is past her prime, Mara Jade Skywalker's telekinetic limits in the fight itself are pitiful, Jaina Solo is below the NJO Council as well as some Jedi Knights, and I have nothing to suggest Kyle Katarn, his strike team members, or Saba Sebatyne should be above or even really on par with Kit Fisto, Plo Koon, Asajj Ventress, etc. Each adversary is able to push Caedus near or to his limits.
  • I have no reason to believe in Caedus's purported mega growth. All of Jacen's 15+ years of training and experiences in the Yuuzhan Vong War still leaves him a far lesser duelist than Mara Jade, Corran Horn, and Kyp Durron. His five-year-journey to master the Force doesn't make him that much stronger than Council members. I don't buy at all that just one year of incremental growth for him would skyrocket him to the ROTS titan class. Such growth would be unprecedented in the lore, even from prodigies greater than Caedus.
  • Caedus's threat level assessment by the NJO Council is comparable or sometimes inferior to the threat level assessment of people exorbitantly below the ROTS titan class, and it pales in comparison to the threat level assessment of people actually in that class or above it.
  • Caedus has no discernible impact on the fabric of the Force like darksiders in the ROTS titan class or above it usually have.
  • Caedus has maybe one comparison to a powerful iteration of Luke Skywalker that might be valid in a vacuum, but I develop intense skepticism regarding Akanah's opinion when I bear witness to all the rest of Caedus's shortcomings. The rest of his comparisons to Luke are either simply invalid or to weak versions of Luke, which hinders Caedus's case more than helps.
  • Luke's full power utterly demolishes Caedus. I wouldn't be surprised if Luke could atomize him with a thought.
  • Caedus's fight against Juke showcases someone on the level of Darth Maul or Darth Tyranus at the very most.

None of those bullet points might be conclusive in themselves, but taken together I have an extremely difficult time accepting the premise of a Yoda-level Caedus. Even adjusting for the grounded medium of Legacy of the Force, nothing in his portrayal suggests Yoda-level to me. He has no film-tier feats like Palpatine blitzing the B-team despite the writers having all seen Revenge of the Sith; instead, they show Luke being able to stomp him even harder than that. None of his accolades are any more special than those that have been afforded to other Dark Lords of the Sith. Everything about him screams generic.

I don't really know how else to articulate my thoughts here. It's almost as if people have this preconception of Caedus that he should be with Yoda, either because of his potential or because he's historically always been held in high esteem, or some combination of both. I don't care about reaction scaling with Luke: Legacy of the Force is full of people making retarded claims about Luke's power level despite having witnessed him cut loose storming Shimrra's Citadel and knowing he's bested Palpatine and UnuThul before. I read Jacen's fights with Aurra, Mara, and Kyle and co., and I see people manufacture all sorts of excuses as to how those fights are somehow not a bad look for him. There's a point where medium distortion isn't enough for me: anyone who doesn't instantly snap Aurra Sing's neck with the Force, is brought to the brink of death from having a dislocated knee and tunnel ceiling collapsed on them - feats Hope Malgus and 19 BBY Vader would laugh at ten times over -, and is taxed by a strike team that would get one-shot by Darth Traya's Force drain and whose leader Darth Bane can probably lift above his head and rip in half, is never going to be in consideration for the ROTS titan class for me.

The more I read about Darth Caedus these past two weeks the less formidable he became in my mind. At this point I don't at all blame Ziggy or Bran or really anyone for clowning on him so hard in the past. Luke reaction scaling and medium distortion may be enough to warrant a Yoda-tier placement for some people - perhaps even most people - but not for me. Instead of ranking him based where I think he should be, I rank him based on where the text shows he is. And unless someone is able to dismantle everything I've said here, that's Maul-level, which isn't bad: I have folk like Exar Kun, Darth Malak, Darth Bane, Mace Windu, and Cade Skywalker on that tier. Or if I'm feeling generous, I can agree to have him on Dooku's level too, meaning alongside Revan, Arcann, Darth Malgus, Darth Tenebrous, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and so on, but that depends on the discussion that will ensue after I hit the send button. For all my harsh words and lowballing-esque rhetoric at times, I don't think Caedus is actually literal shit; he has some good things going for him. I simply take issue with what I find to be completely outlandish positions relative to everything I've been exposed to about the guy.
HeartoftheForce
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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Empty Re: My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda

April 30th 2023, 8:14 pm
@Master Azronger

Caedus injuries against the Katarn strike team amped him until the consistent strain of keeping up with them outweighed the influx of power from the amp

So when Niathal said he did not look well, she was correct. He keenly felt his worst injury. Not the vibroblade wound, not the scalp tear, not the kidney damage-all three were healing. All three were the kind of pain that strengthened him.

-LotF Fury
hellothere5432
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My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda Empty Re: My Problems with Caedus Wank: Why I find Caedus = Maul more believable than Caedus = Yoda

May 1st 2023, 12:37 am
HeartoftheForce wrote:@Master Azronger

Caedus injuries against the Katarn strike team amped him until the consistent strain of keeping up with them outweighed the influx of power from the amp

So when Niathal said he did not look well, she was correct. He keenly felt his worst injury. Not the vibroblade wound, not the scalp tear, not the kidney damage-all three were healing. All three were the kind of pain that strengthened him.

-LotF Fury

“Caedus flexed his injured leg experimentally and decided it was not too bad. It would take his weight and allow him some footwork.” Source: Legacy of the Force: Fury wrote:

Jacen hurt. He was starting to feel the full extent of his injuries, and he needed to heal himself. He also needed to get out of this tunnel.” Source: Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice wrote:

Allana was no longer afraid of him, and had accepted him-instantly, with boundless affection-as her father. The Hapans were still behaving well enough, now staging raids on critical Confederation sites and resources. Caedus himself felt healthy again, fully healed for the first time since his fight with Luke. And right up to the day of Caedus's operation to capture Centerpoint, Corellia's defenses had been growing weaker, more lax. (...) All was not lost, though. Caedus had resources still available to him. He was fresh. He had eight YVH droids. Source: Legacy of the Force: Fury wrote:

Likely several dozen more saying Caedus's injuries don't amp him but these should suffice. Try again
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