boredom does things to you man

Nobody outside the entrance to the Dark Council chambers moved. Lights flickered on and off as loud thudding and explosions echoed throughout the building. The guards pressed their ears against the door to listen—having attempted to blast it down and failed, forcing them to call in a team to assist. In the meantime, all they could do was wait and listen to the bursts, crackling of lightning, and the sound of lightsaber blades clashing faster than they could count. They just had to hope that whatever was going on in there, it wouldn't bring the entire building down on top of everyone.

Twelve great thrones were spread about the circumference of the Dark Council chambers, though only eleven were filled. The most powerful Sith Lords in the galaxy relaxed in their seats, intently observing the great battle that occurred before them. Two more men stood off to the side dressed from head-to-toe in black; the taller of the duo had some hints of purple in his robes, while the shorter one had numerous red gems infused into his. Both wore masks, the taller in one of a golden color, the other bearing one that resembled the face of a twisted demon looking forward to his next victims. In the center of the room was the source of the commotion; two Sith lunged around faster than any normal person, swinging their crimson-bladed lightsabers at each other and launching blasts of purple lightning in every direction.

One of the Sith appeared to be rather elderly and possess decades of wisdom and experience. His entire body below the neck was covered in red and black armor and long, light robes, and he had a single red tattoo of a crescent with an upward-pointing arrow going through it around his right eye. The second towered over his opponent, seemingly possessing the strength of many men. His hands were unusually large—almost the size of his opponent's gaunt face—and he wore a black cape and robes with some bits of armor integrated in, but something about his clothing seemed… off. The man's face was hard to make out under his dark hood, though an onlooker could occasionally spot a faint, yellow glow for a very brief moment.

The duelists were like a massive whirlwind of red and purple, jumping this way and that, until finally a pained shout echoed throughout the room as the roaring frenzy ceased. One of the red blades went out as the hilt it belonged to flew off to the side, accompanied by a wrinkled, pale hand. The old Sith fell to his knees and looked down at the stub where his hand once was, then up to face his opponent.

"No… I won't be defeated," he grunted. "I can't be!"

This man was Darth Thanaton, a recently-appointed member of the Dark Council. A staunch traditionalist at heart, the man stirred conflict with the man who now stared down at him with cold, yellow eyes; after deeming his defeater's former master a traitor to the Sith Empire, he sought to end the man—who went by the name "Prax", and later took the mantle of the old Sith Lord Kallig—but he responded in kind.

The Dark Council members stirred in their seats with anticipation, wondering if Thanaton still had one more trick up his sleeve, or if this mysterious man—whom they knew only to be a slave not that long ago—was indeed his successor.

But alas, those rooting for Thanaton were wrong. The elderly Sith raised his remaining hand and fired a bolt of Force lightning at Prax, who simply swatted it to the side with his left hand and calmly put away his double-bladed lightsaber. Another bolt was launched; that too was knocked away. The large man marched forward and his body radiated a red aura, but Thanaton was not fazed. Force lightning rained down and covered his body, and he directed a stream in Prax's direction. The room was lit up and everyone was blinded for a moment, being forced to look away, but that wasn't the end. Two purple lights broke through the chaos; four ghostly figures stood by the giant's sides, and an unseen force sent Thanaton flying around the room, smashing into the walls, floor and ceiling.

Awe and terror filled the hearts of the Dark Council, who continued to watch as their fellow was ruthlessly blasted over and over with streams of Force lightning. Finally, a pale, bearded man with dark hair and heavy armor plating stood up and rushed to the scene. It was none other than Darth Mortis, who carried a look of grief.

"I'm sorry, Thanaton," said Mortis. And with that, he reached out with the Force, clenched his hand, and twisted it; a crack was heard as Thanaton fell lifeless to the floor. The other Sith got up as well, approaching the battlefield.

"Good riddance to him," another Sith remarked.

"He was a better Sith than you give him credit for, Ravage," growled another. Covered completely in dark red, spiky armor, this was Darth Marr, former master of Darth Lachris—a woman Prax met and assisted with the resistance on Balmorra.

"Let us hope his successor is as worthy," Mortis muttered. He motioned to the throne that was empty during the battle. "My lord, your seat."

"I expected no less, replied Prax. "I take it-"

"He's only a Lord!" Darth Ravage protested. "You can't put a Lord on the Dark Council!"

"Quiet, Ravage! He's earned his place," said Marr. "By order of the Dark Council and in light of your reputation, you are hereby titled Darth Occlus. You are head of the pyramid of ancient knowledge. You are charged with keeping the mystical knowledge of the Sith and guarding the secrets of our order. With us, you are ruler of all the Sith, answerable only to the Emperor himself."

"Being the gentleman I am, I will allow you to cling to that delusion," Prax laughed. He turned to the two Sith who accompanied him and nodded. "Still, I appreciate the lovely titles; there's information I would really like to get my hands on."

"I think you will find us more than equal to your threats," Marr retorted.

"Well, you see, 'my lord', that's where you're wrong," said Prax. The Sith began to pace around the Dark Councilors. "Or… is it really that well hidden?"

"Spit it out," Marr commanded. "If you're trying to say something, being cryptic about it won't get the message across."

"Isn't it obvious?" Prax asked rhetorically. "The hints are everywhere. My choice of garb, my unexplained power, cunning surpassing the average Sith… Perhaps you need just one more hint." With that, the Sith procured a silver helmet with a dark t-shaped visor from his robes. He lowered his hood with his free hand, revealing a pale, handsome young man with neat, black hair. His irises were a bright yellow like any other powerful Sith, but something about his sent a shiver down the spines of every Sith present. "Looks can deceive, but I can assure you that I am older than all of you combined, and have had my Darth title before you were even born."

"Wait a second…" Mortis mumbled to himself, recognizing the design of the helmet. "Is he-"

"Yes, I have returned," Prax interrupted. "I am Darth Rogue, and I come with vengeance long overdue." And with that, he slipped on the helmet; he was a spitting image of the man whom he claimed to be.

Darth Rogue was a great Sith whose age stretched back many generations, surpassing even Emperor Vitiate. On top of formidable combat prowess and being immensely powerful—both in terms of the Force and influence over others—he had become feared among his fellow Sith for his abnormal ideologies, earning his name: "Rogue". By the time the Empire had returned and delivered a crushing blow to the Republic, many were paranoid of Rogue and the effect he was having on the younger, more impressionable Sith; in time, the Dark Council turned on him and tried to assassinate him. As it turned out, he was still alive and more powerful than ever; whatever weakness with the Force the others felt earlier was now gone, replaced by power that even they couldn't imagine.

The room lit up with crimson as every Sith in the room—with the exception of the man in jewel-encrusted armor and the one in the golden mask—activated their lightsabers. Marr was the first to make a move, lunging for Rogue with his lightsaber in hand. Rogue's double-bladed saber flickered to life, and the two exchanged blows faster than any the Sith had ever seen. Mortis was the next to join in, then Ravage, and many more. The two masked Sith who had been watching the previous duel along with the others simply continued to observe, though they quickly backed away to avoid the savage clashing of blades and streams of lightning. Just about every Dark Council member was in the center with Rogue, landing blow after blow, but their target dodged or blocked all of them. It almost seemed like he was dancing about the area, as if he was simply toying with his opponents, savoring every ounce of their frustration and raw emotion for what they had done to him years ago. Eventually, he found himself locked in between two of them; he firmly gripped the ends of his lightsaber hilt and twisted. With a click, it separated into two, and Rogue was free to resume fighting.

Crash. The main entrance to the Dark Council chambers split open and fell to the floor as Sith troopers, warriors, and Imperial guards came rushing in, weapons in hand.

"Lord Vanius, what is the meaning of this?!" demanded a bald, cybernetic-covered man. It was Naman Fal, captain of the Imperial Guard on Korriban. He had met Rogue and the shorter of the two masked Sith a few years ago; they were the ones who recovered his deceased son's corpse in one of the tombs for him.

"Oh, just the usual," replied the Sith in the demonic mask. "Sith #1 said this, Sith #2 disagrees, everyone tries to kill each other. You know how it is."

Just then, Ravage came flying past Naman and Vanius, crashing into the crowd of Sith. He was badly injured and covered in lightsaber burns. Mortits was thrown to the side as well, and after some time, Marr and Rogue were the only ones still fighting; everyone else was unconscious or too wounded to continue. Naman activated his lightsaber and pointed it at the duel.

"Open fire!" the captain exclaimed.

"Which one, sir?" one trooped inquired.

"What do you mean 'which one?' The big one, you fool!" Naman retorted angrily.

"They're both pretty big," said the Sith in the golden mask.

"The one. In. Black-"

Suddenly, Naman cried out in pain as a lightsaber blade—albeit black with a red outline instead of the typical white with red—burned through his hand, cutting through his own lightsaber's handle and severing it in half. Vanius stood before him with a curved lightsaber in hand, the dark energy blade's source. Before anyone could react, he swung the blade to the side, ripping through Naman's hand and burning across his neck, decapitating him.

"In case anyone didn't get my point, your target is no one—hold your fire and wait for the strongest to come out on top," growled Vanius.

The troopers and warriors nervously lowered their weapons. Stories were often told of the Sith Goldvanius—or "Vanius", for short—and his rather brutal treatment of others. Chaotic and prone to sadism, his former trainer banished him to Korriban years ago; there, he met Rogue and quickly learned the ropes, unleashing years of cruelty he had endured at a young age upon friend and foe alike. Few were willing to anger him, and by the looks of it, seemed to prefer the Dark Council's wrath over his.

And so they all waited, watching Rogue and Marr as they viciously fought one another as a whirlwind of red and purple light. In time, the conflict died down, and Marr was on his back. Rogue stood over him with his lightsabers in hand. He crossed the blades and held them up to the Sith's neck.

"This is exactly why the Sith have fallen so far," Rogue muttered. "We senselessly kill each other to show who is more powerful. When someone comes along and suggests that we cease this pointless brutality and unite as one against the Jedi, we just end up killing them too! I will not be so foolish so as to throw away such valuable resources." His lightsaber blades shrank away back into their hilts, and he proceeded to store them in his robes. "I still have a use for all of you, and thus I shall spare you, for now. Alas, though, two of you can only demonstrate your usefulness if certain… terms are met." Rogue held out his arms, and the thrones in the council chambers slid to the side, toppling over. "Two more spots are required for my associates, Lords Goldvanius and Mizael. They are to be awarded their appropriate Darth titles and positions in the Dark Council."

"Don't push your luck," grunted Mortis, who was trying to climb back to his feet.

"If certain circumstances make my additions impossible to carry out, I will simply free up two positions myself," said Rogue. He began to survey the room. "Let's see… who do I need the least? I'm sure I can make adjustments to my plans to not include a few of you..."

"You've made your point," Marr sighed. "Consider it done."

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