The Dark Ascent
Peace is a lie. There is only Passion.
Darth Nehalem inhaled. His breath was the only reminder of a connection to his physical, mortal shell. In the weeks that had followed his ascension to the Iron Throne, his ventures into deep meditation had only become more intense, driven not by a stronger connection to the Force, but by the constant, pressing dread that consumed his every living moment.
Through Passion, I gain Strength.
He knew that fear was a powerful motivator. He had long been a master of bringing that sensation to others. He had experienced it himself. Staring down his predecessor on two separate occasions. Every time the door to his cell opened while in captivity. A lifetime of embracing the fear, pushing him forward.
Through Strength, I gain Power.
It all paled in comparison to what he had been experiencing these last weeks. He had the power only few could dream of, a mastery of the Force held by so few. He had the full strength of the Brotherhood at his command. Yet, it was not enough. The Force was screaming at him, a constant bellowing alarm of danger.
Through Power, I gain Victory.
The more he searched, the more the alarm sounded. Yet the Grand Master never seemed to find the threat at his doorstep. He could not lead the Brotherhood to a true victory against an unknown enemy. They were shadows of ghosts; he only could catch out of the corner of his eye. Shapeless, formless, yet constantly nearing.
Through Victory, my chains are Broken.
Yet the Grand Master found himself bound, chained to the unknowing that plagued him. The Brotherhood was still rebuilding, strengthening itself from the damage he helped bring, and meanwhile, the Clans were as always plotting, moving to assert their independence. If he misstepped now, it could end everything.
The Force shall be set free by me.
Darth Nehalem’s eyes shot open, hands white-knuckled, gripping tightly to the cool metal of the Iron Throne. His mind raced, wondering if that could have been his own thought. It had felt both familiar and alien, intimate and distant all at once. In his heart, he knew the truth.
The enemy was preparing to strike.
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