Chapter 7: Preparations

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Noòx had just awoken, it was in the early hours of the morning as he walked through the halls of the base, every so often he passed the night shift guards who would soon go to bed. It had been a few days since the return of Marr and Revan, yet none knew of it. Before a few details were to be finalized they had decided to not reveal their presence. The two hid under large cloaks, covering their entire body and face, and they stayed in the Throne room which was rarely used. Despite it being so early Noòx was wide awake, this had not been the first time Noòx had been asleep for a few days straight and it would certainly not be the last. After walking around for a while Noòx arrived at the Hangar, if his calculations were correct the ship would soon arrive. Just before falling asleep Noòx had contacted Skywalker and Kenobi, giving them the coordinates to Odessen and asking them to bring along a few of their most trusted officers. The two of them had agreed to this as expected, and he had not received word from Khem Val. Some would take this as a bad sign but Noòx on the other hand did not. Having had Khem Val as his servant almost immediately after becoming Sith their bond was strong, Khem Val would only contact him if it was absolutely necessary, in this case he had not contacted him so there were no problems. If anything were to happen to him Noòx would definitely sense it. There he stood, hiding in the shadows, masking his presence with the Force, waiting... Then a loud noise filled the Hangar and other parts of the base, it was the alarm. Soldiers from all over the base rushed towards the Hangar, not noticing Noòx, and were preparing to receive what they assumed to be unwanted guests. Despite having given them the proper clearance codes the ship was unfamiliar so according to protocol they were to hold off anyone who comes out of the ship. As the ship landed the soldiers had already finished their preparations. Just as the ships door opened and Noòx heard the faint words 'I got a bad feeling about this' all soldiers immediately pointed their weapons at the guests. From what Noòx could see there was of course Skywalker and Kenobi, a human officer and two clones. The Clone soldier with blue markings and surprisingly the Mandalorian Jaig eyes tried to reach for the blaster in his holster. However he was stopped by a blaster pointing at him, which was held by none other than Major Jorgan. "Hold it right there, I suggest you stop with what you're trying to do unless you want to eat a blaster bolt" said Jorgan. The Clone looked at Skywalker, who nodded, and he relaxed his stance. "Good soldier, now then why don't you tell me who you are and how did you get those clearance codes?" said Jorgan. Kenobi cleared his throat as he then said "I am Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, beside me stand Jedi Anakin Skywalker, Commander Cody, Captain Rex and Admiral Wullf Yularen of the Grand Army of the Galactic Republic. We received those codes from a masked man" said Kenobi very calmly. "Oh ho, Jedi and Republic? Well I must say that you've come to the wrong place then" said Jorgan. "How so? And might I ask for your name?" asked Kenobi. They were clearly letting Kenobi do the talking, this gave Noòx a few good ideas for later. "You've just entered the territory of your most hated enemies, the Sith. As for me? Major Aric Jorgan, former leader of Republic Special Forces infantry squad 326, commonly known as Havoc Squad. Now I serve the Sith which is kind of hard to believe but I pledged my loyalty and I'm a man of my word" said Jorgan. "General, I'm not familiar with this so called 'Havoc Squad'" said Yularen. "Neither am I" said Skywalker. "That is because that was 3000 years ago, thanks to the Dark Lord and his Force Powers we basically slept all that time" said Jorgan. "Is he the one in charge, if so I'd like to meet him" said Kenobi. "Unfortunately no one simply gets to meet the Dark Lord, especially you afte-" said Jorgan who was then interrupted by his com link. Using his own com link and the Force to prevent the sound from getting out Noòx told the Major to bring them to the Throne Room. "Well, change of plans. We're taking you to the Throne Room, and don't try any funny business" said Jorgan. By now Noòx had moved from his hiding spot and took a shortcut towards the Throne Room to arrive there before they did. When he entered Marr and Revan were already there just like he had asked. "Are they here?" asked Revan, Noòx nodded in response, "Then it's time to have a little bit of fun" said Marr as Noòx stood in front of the Throne. Not long after the door of the elevator opened and Aric Jorgan, followed by the guests that were surrounded by the soldiers all stepped out. Revan and Marr still wore the cloaks that covered their entire body and face, making them unrecognizable. "My Lord, they are here as you had requested" said Jorgan in the most respectful way he could manage. "Thank you Major, you may leave us" said Noòx. The Major bowed and left, and though it was hard to see it seemed like he wished the guests good luck. As soon as the elevator door closed Noòx focused his attention on the guests. "Welcome, am I correct in assuming that you are a part of the Republic's Military?" asked Noòx to the officer, as Kenobi and Skywalker stood there, silently watching Revan and Marr. "That is correct, I am Admiral Yularen of the Grand Army of the Republic" said Yularen. "It seems you do not known the proper manners for when you are in the presence of a Sith Lord, let alone a Dark Lord. Brothers, if you do not mind" said Noòx. "Kneel!" said both Revan and Marr as they reached out with the Force, increasing the gravitational force on the group and forcing them all to their knees. The Jedi still tried to do something, or at least pretended to. After all Noòx had ordered them to not reveal their true allegiance until ordered otherwise. "General, can't you do something?" asked Yularen as he turned to Skywalker. "I can't, their power in the Force is too strong" said Skywalker. "Now, seeing as that is settled I believe it is time for us to talk business. After all I didn't call you to this planet for nothing" said Noòx, who noticed the confused look on Yularen's face. "Ah of course, you don't know. Your Generals have been so kind as to bring you here to hear my offer" said Noòx. "Generals, what is he talking about?" asked Yularen, him and the clones have a confusing look at the two Jedi. "They've joined me. By now you should've been smart enough to figure out that this is enemy territory, but not of an enemy you know. I shall clear up those thoughts of yours and tell you who we are. We are the Leaders of the Sith Empire, an ancient enemy of the Republic that is preparing to return to the known galaxy and set it ablaze ones more. And your Generals have betrayed your beloved Republic" said Noòx. "That's a lie, the General would never do that!" said Commander Cody. "Oh, but it is the truth. You may rise, my new Sith" said Noòx. In this moment Revan and Marr who had been focusing on keeping them down released the pressure on Kenobi and Skywalker. The two of them rose to their feet and walked to the base of the throne, and turned around looking at their friends being forced to kneel. "General, why?" asked Yularen. "The Dark Lord has shown us a new way" said Kenobi, "A way of freedom, a way where we can be our true selves and make our own choices. Away from the lies and hypocrisy of the Jedi and Republic" said Skywalker. "And we can grant you that same freedom. You three are here today because these two trust you, and want you to join us. We offer you freedom, to do what is necessary. To not be slaves to the Republic and to make your own choice" said Noòx. "General, we've fought alongside one another for so long, I would give my life for you, but I cannot simply betray the Republic" said Captain Rex and Commander Cody nodded. "And I cannot simply betray it either, especially after the kindness the Chancellor has shown me" said Yularen. "The Chancellor? Oh you mean the Sith Lord that has been controlling this entire war from behind the curtains" said Noòx. The confused looks the three had were priceless. "That cant be true, The Chancellor would nev-" said Yularen. "He has, your beloved Chancellor is nothing more than a Sith Lord deceiving everyone in order to claim power. All of you are nothing more than little pawns in his game. Everything you thought you knew, everything you have been fighting for has been a lie. However I offer you a chance, to get rid of the Chancellor and make him pay for his betrayal, to fight for a cause that is worthy of fighting for. It is as your Generals have said The Empire shall fight for Freedom and Justice, I know we don't know each other and I know you don't trust me, but trust your Generals. They've joined me because they saw the truth, so tell me. Will you see the truth as well and break away from this useless war, to become free to make your own choice, or will you die as a useless pawn, dying for a cause that is a complete and utter lie" said Noòx, he lifted his hand and his brothers stopped using the Force on them. "The choice is yours to make, either you walk away towards your doom, or you stay there and bow your head and accept my offer to become a part of something that is worth fighting for" said Noòx. Now silence filled the room. For a few minutes nothing happened. The three of them were surely taking everything in they had just heard. Finally the Captain lowered his head, and the Commander followed. Now all attention was on Yularen, who eventually lowered his head as well. "Splendid, please take the elevator, I'll contact Jorgan and tell him to get you to one of our lounges, don't worry you'll be able to talk with your Generals later but first we have business to discuss." said Noòx. "Yes, uhh how should we address you?" asked Yularen. "You may address me as My Lord or Dark Lord, either way is fine" said Noòx. "Then we shall take our leave, my Lord" said Yularen. The three rose to their feet and left. "Well that went surprisingly easy" said Marr, "Their trust in their Generals must be far greater than I had anticipated" said Revan. "Of course it is, you both know that some of the greatest bonds are formed in war during the heat of battle" said Noòx. "True, but enough about that, are these the two Jedi you have converted?" said Revan. "They are" said Noòx. "I sense their raw strength, their power. They are strong, yet also unrefined..." said Marr. "Perhaps, but given the time we can certainly polish them. What we need right now is strong allies with experience in leading, these two are our best option" said Noòx "We'll trust your judgement on this one" said Revan. "I thank you for your faith in me, now let's eat down to business" said Noòx as he walked down the steps to the level of Skywalker and Kenobi. The two of them knelt before him. "My Lord, we shall ensure their loyalty towards the Empire and convince our subordinates to join you as well" said Obi-Wan. "Good, however there are matters we need to attend to, matters involving you two." said Noòx. "Us?" asked Anakin. "The two men that stand beside me are my two brothers and fellow members of the Dark Council. Their names have been engraved into the Galaxy's history and both are considered Legends. May I introduce Darth Marr and Darth Revan. Together we are the Dark Council, the ruling body of the Empire" said Noòx. By now Revan and Marr has removed their cloaks and the two Jedi turned Sith lowered their heads in front of them as a sign of respect. "However there is a slight problem. Despite the three of us ruling over the Empire it is a bit too much to handle, especially now that we are preparing for War. But I believe that you two could help us with this matter" said Noòx. "We're humbled to serve" said Anakin, "Not for long. You see we are planning to expand the number of Dark Councilors from three to five. We have decided that you two are our best candidates" said Noòx. "But my Lord, we've only just started our path to the Dark Side, there is no way we could hold such a position" said Anakin. "I understand your hesitation. Once another Dark Councilor rejected me because at the time I was only a Sith Lord. However you two already have experience in military leadership, and now of the inner workings of our enemy. Besides, right now I do not dare to confer the title of Dark Lord, let alone Dark Councilor. As of now the Sith within this new Empire are unstable, they will undoubtably cling to the old ways and this will only create unnecessary problems for us. However you two are fresh blood, untouched by the politics of the Old Empire, and therefore the best choice we currently have" said Noòx. "My Lord, if I may, we appreciate your faith in us however we do not possess the same power and knowledge as you do" said Obi-Wan. "Your power will undoubtedly grow over time and you will expand your knowledge alongside it. I believe that if you were given the time you two would rise within the ranks of the Sith and eventually stand above all others. However time is short of the essence, the Galaxy is being set ablaze by a war that is manipulating both sides. If we do not interfere now with all of the Chancellor's plans we will face an opponent that will be far more troublesome to deal with. So my brothers and I have decided to speed up your training and bestow our own knowledge and understanding upon you. However a price must be paid" said Noòx. "What kind of price?" asked Obi-Wan. "Pain, during this ritual your power, knowledge and understanding of the Force shall rapidly grow, your body will have to quickly adjust and this results in immense pain. After that one must meditate on this new knowledge before the ritual will be complete. The chances of getting through the first part all depend on your willpower, but even if you have the strongest will within this entire Galaxy if you are unable to grasp the meaning of the knowledge all will be for naught. Rift now I'm giving you a choice, to become stronger and more powerful. To serve the Empire and take revenge against those who had wronged you. What do you say, will you accept my request?" said Noòx as he stared at the two kneeling Jedi. "We shall, my Lord" said Anakin. "Good, then prepare yourself for immense suffering" said Noòx. And so they did, soon after they had prepared what little preparations that needed to be done. The two Jedi knelt before the three Dark Lords of the Sith. Revan and Marr watched grabbed Noòx by his shoulder as they began to channel their knowledge to him and he channel both his and their knowledge to the two Jedi. For the next six hours the room was filled with screams of pain and agony. Then another six hours were spent meditating, all the while the three Dark Lords watched over them. And finally the two opened their eyes, First was Kenobi and Skywalker followed soon after. The two rose to their feet, their skin had turned paler and their eyes were like burning coals, they had come in touch with the Dark Side. "Good, you were both able to succeed and your power has grown rapidly. So let me test something. Each of you, please fire a bolt of Force Lightning at me" said Noòx. The two nodded and raised their hands. It didn't happen immediately but the two were able to focus their energy through their fingers and fire Force Lightning at Noòx, who easily channeled and absorbed it. "Impressive, you have only grasped the knowledge yet both of you were able to use it and with such strength. However, Skywalker may I ask what happened to your right arm?" said Noòx. "It was chopped off by Count Dooku in a moment of carelessness, my Lord" said Anakin. "Ah, the apprentice. That explains why you could only channel it through your left arm. And I must say that in all honestly Kenobi's blast was more powerful, he seems to have more aptitude for Force Lightning. But that's beside the point. As of now you have reached the requirements for becoming a Dark Council member, what follows now will be your Inauguration, and the last time you will have to kneel. Kenobi you're up first" said Noòx. What followed was something that had not happened for over a thousand years. As Kenobi knelt before Noòx looked down upon the soon to be Dark Lord. Within him he saw a rare spark, something that reminded him of a warrior he had met long ago. Under his mask he smiled as he then said the same words that Marr said all those years ago. "By the order of the Dark Council and in light of your new reputation as master of the Dark Side, you are now Darth Dagè-Rón. You may rise and let it be known that you are one of us now, we're equals" said Noòx as Kenobi, or should one say Dagè-Rón, rose to his feet. "I'm truly honored" said Dagè-Rón. "You are Head of the pyramid of Expansion & Diplomacy and Production & Logistics. You are tasked with ensuring the expansion of our borders and ensuring the allegiance of both our allies and citizens. You are also tasked to oversee the Empire's economy, industries, trade routes and many other assets that will ensure the continued function of our Empire. These jobs are not to be taken lightly" said Marr. "I shall do my best to live up to my new position" said Dagè-Rón. By this time Revan had returned from grabbing something from a chest which Noòx had stored behind the Throne. "Good, then as a gift we hereby give you this battle armor which we had designed and more importantly a new Lightsaber" said Noòx as Revan handed it over to Dagè-Rón. "The lightsaber once belonged to Darth Ravage who was your predecessor, at least it belonged to him until Marr and I killed him" said Noòx. And with this wary look Dagè-Rón stared at the two Dark Lords and said "Should I be worried?". "Not at all, Ravage has it coming and had we not done that the Empire would've probably fallen into anarchy." said Marr. "I believe that is enough about that, Skywalker here is waiting" said Revan. Now as Skywalker kneeled before Noòx he saw within him not only the spirit of a warrior but the flame of passion burning within him. Once again Noòx smiles as he said the words. "By the order of the Dark Council and in light of your new reputation as Master of the Dark Side, you are now Darth Vader. You may rise" said Noòx. "Thank you, my Lo-... Noòx" said Anakin, or should one say Vader as he rose to his feet. Once more Revan left to grab something from the chest. "You are Head of the Pyramid of Laws & Justice and Technology & Biotic Science. You are charged with controlling the rigid order and efficiency of our Imperial Society and bringing Justice upon those who would go against it. You are also tasked with ensuring that the Empire furthers it's scientific research, may it be body modification, cybernetics or even superweapons." said Marr "I shall not disappoint you. "And just like with Dagè-Rón we give you battle armor and a new Lightsaber. Your battle armor is made to look more fearsome as opposed to Dagè-Rón more passive look, fitting your positions" said Noòx as Revan who has returned once more handed the items to Vader. "Be careful with that Lightsaber. It once belonged to the Emperors Wrath, a man, or rather a ghost that even the Dark Council feared" said Revan. "Then it is a fitting weapon" said Vader. "Also Noòx what's with that bowl in the chest?" asked Revan. "Oh that's for a ritual" said Noòx, "How many rituals are we going to do?" asked Revan, "It's the last one, but it's very important for it will ensure the future of the Empire and is as the Dark Council. So I hope it isn't a bother if I ask if you could grab it for me" said Noòx. "Ugh, Very well. But I'm not your errand boy" said Revan. Eventually Revan brought out the large bowl and the five of them surrounded it. "So what's this used for exactly?" asked Dagè-Rón. "It shall contain some of our blood, this blood is used to bind the oath we swear to us, the bowl itself is simply a catalyst. This is a powerful ritual because it shall painfully kill those that break their oaths. A problem with it is that in the past servants and Sith alike had died unnecessarily because of a mistake in their oath." said Noòx. "Are you sure we should use it then, I already died once and I don't want to do so again any time soon" said Revan. "I do, because future generations will have to do so as well, this shall at the very least prevent infighting between the Dark Council members as best as possible and kill those that would either betray the Empire or put their own personal goals above that of the Empire. It's honestly the best solution I can think of for this problem" said Noòx. "Very well, give me the knife" said Marr. And so Noòx did after inserting a little bit of his own blood. Then Marr, then Vader, then Dagè-Rón and lastly Revan. The bowl was now filled for about three quarters. "Now then let's begin" said Noòx. He began channeling the Dark Side through the blood that had gathered before him, he muttered words of the ancient Sith and in an dark otherworldly tone he spoke. "Do you swear to serve the Empire and its people until your final days?". "I do" all replied. "Do you swear to fight for and protect the Empire until your death?" He said. Once more they all replied with "I do". "Do you swear eternal loyalty towards the Empire" he said. "I do" was replied once again. "And do you swear to put the interests of the Empire above all?" And for the last time they all replied "I do". "Then the ritual has been completed, and you are now the Dark Council" said Noòx before finishing up the ritual and returning to his normal voice. "That felt strange, I hope that at least I won't get killed for accidentally blowing something up" said Vader. "I would laugh if you did, but do not worry, I have ensured that one of the criteria is that you must have actual intend to do something like that, it will not count simple mistakes as something worthy of killing for" said Noòx. "Wouldn't that mean that if you were to subconsciously go against the Empires interests you still wouldn't die?" asked Dagè-Rón. "Well yes, but actually no. While there are certainly loopholes like that the chances of it actually happening are very slim" said Noòx. "In any case I believe we've dwindled around for long enough, we've important military matters to discuss" said Marr. "You're right, Vader and Dagè-Rón put on your armor and masks, then we'll head to the war room" said Noòx

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