- "When the time comes I will defeat my Master and take his place."
"Perhaps that time is now."
- ―Darth Zannah explains the Rule of Two to Hetton
A duel occurred in the year 990 BBY, between the Sith-aspirant Hetton, his eight servants, and Darth Bane, Dark Lord of the Sith. Instigated by Bane's own apprentice Darth Zannah, the duel ensued after Hetton, who had been tricked by Zannah into giving her information regarding the creation of Holocrons, arrived at Bane's camp on the planet Ambria—having been led there by Zannah.
While meditating at his camp, Bane was surprised by the sudden appearance of Hetton's eight Umbaran-trained Shadow Assassins, each armed with their customary Force pikes. Though outnumbered, Bane immediately readied for battle as all eight assassins attacked, attempting to overwhelm him with the strength of their numbers. After cutting down three of them, Bane was interrupted by Hetton, who had Darth Zannah at his side. Hetton then charged Bane, with his five remaining assassins doing the same. However, all were subsequently killed by the superior might and skill of Darth Bane. Hetton was last to meet his demise, and upon ending his life, Bane attacked Zannah. Before the Dark Lord could kill her for her seeming betrayal, Zannah revealed the truth; she had been using Hetton all along, and from him she had discovered information on creating Holocrons, a secret which had eluded Bane until that moment.
- "And after Bane is dead we will go to Tython?"
"If that is your wish, Master."
- ―Zannah and Hetton plot against Darth Bane
While on the planet Serenno carrying out her mission to instigate rebellions against the Galactic Republic, Darth Zannah, the first apprentice of the fledgling Sith Order formed in the wake of the New Sith Wars, encountered a Sith aspirant known as Hetton, a Serenno nobleman. Over the course of thirty years, the Serenno aristocrat had accumulated a vast collection of Sith artifacts, and had also become well versed in Sith lore. He even employed eight Umbaran Shadow Assassins from the Sith academy on that world, each equipped with the signature Force pikes of their order. Upon their first meeting, Hetton recognized Zannah as a Sith, and appealed to her; he would pledge all of his resources to her if she in turn accepted him as her apprentice. Zannah agreed, knowing that in truth she would only use Hetton for his knowledge, which potentially included finding information on the creation of Holocrons. Her only obstacle was her own Master, Darth Bane, whom she knew would never allow such a diversion from his explicitly defined Rule of Two, which stated that there could be no more than two Sith at a time—a Master and an apprentice. Hetton, however, was convinced that Bane could be defeated. She thus agreed to Hetton's terms while keeping her predetermined betrayal of him secret, and the pair, along with the eight assassins, departed for Ambria on board Hetton's ship, the Loranda, intent on relieving the Dark Lord of his mantle.
The Shadow Assassins
- "Zannah was right about you. Today is the day you die, Darth Bane."
Meanwhile, Darth Bane sat pondering his own recent failure at constructing a Holocron at his camp on Ambria, when the parasitic orbalisk armor he was covered in reacted to an unknown and unseen dark side presence in the immediate vicinity. Bane realized that his senses were all muted—he could neither see nor hear anything around him, or sense anything through the Force. Leaping to his feet, Bane activated his curved hilt lightsaber, the ambiance of which revealed eight individuals, previously concealed from his sight, that Bane immediately recognized as Umbaran Shadow Assassins. The loss of stealth slightly disoriented the assassins, causing them to hesitate, while Bane did not. He leapt forward and bisected the first of the assailants, causing the rest of them to swarm him with their Force pikes. Foregoing any sort of defense, Bane's predominantly offensive fighting style was an unexpected tactic for the assassins, and two more were swiftly eviscerated by his lightsaber. The remaining Umbarans fell upon him with reckless abandon, simultaneously electrocuting Bane with several thousand volts through their pikes. Bane's orbalisks could not withstand such an assault, and he was thus forced to his knees in agony. Instead of pressing the advantage, his stunned foes stood in disbelief that their quarry was neither dead nor defeated, having survived the full brunt of their attack. This brief respite was ample recovery time for Bane, whose anger began to rise as he noticed Zannah standing nearby, flanked by a black-robed old man, who was wielding a green-bladed lightsaber.
- "Zannah! Master! Help me!"
- ―Hetton, pleading for assistance
Issuing his challenge, Hetton charged the Dark Lord head-on, while the assassins attacked from behind. Bane met their advance by thrusting out with the dark side towards the Umbarans with such force, it halted two of them in their tracks as though they had suddenly hit a wall, and hurled another two backwards. The fifth and final assassin fell to Bane's lightsaber. While he was distracted, Hetton conjured a single bolt of Force lightning at Bane, which was absorbed by the Dark Lord's blade. In turn, Bane unleashed his own barrage of lightning, the wrath of which Hetton barely managed to elude. The remaining four assassins then returned to the fray and assailed Bane once more. In response, he completely embraced the dark side and decimated his enemies, killing all the assassins in a final attack. Bane next faced Hetton, and removed his weapon arm before running his own blade through the old man's chest.
- "I knew you had the strength to defeat them, Master. That is why I didn't come to your aid during the battle."
"And what if you were wrong? What if they had somehow killed me?"
"Then you would have been weak, unworthy of being Dark Lord of the Sith. And you would have deserved to die."
- ―Darth Zannah and Darth Bane, after the battle
Outraged at the apparent betrayal of his apprentice, Bane attacked Zannah with a ferocity that she had never before seen in him. She attempted to defend herself from his onslaught, all the while pleading her innocence and the discovery of a hoard of Sith information. The Dark Lord sought penance from her, and had beaten her to nigh-oblivion when Zannah finally revealed that she had used Hetton, and acquired from him information on creating Holocrons. Bane ceased his assault upon hearing this, as Zannah presented him with the datacard Hetton gave her as evidence. Finally reassured of Zannah's loyalty, Bane regarded his apprentice's cunning as he considered the implications of the data she presented. When asked what she would have thought had Hetton and his ilk been successful in defeating him, Zannah replied that he would have rightfully earned his death, being unworthy to bear the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith. Bane nodded in approval, content that through Zannah's action, his Sith Order had remained completely anonymous, and he would be one step closer in creating his own Holocron.
Behind the scenes
The duel on Ambria was written and conceived by author Drew Karpyshyn for the 2007 novel Darth Bane: Rule of Two. Karpyshyn uses this event to eliminate the character Hetton, thus ensuring the anonymity of the Sith.
- Darth Bane: Rule of Two (First appearance)
- Darth Bane: Rule of Two audiobook
- Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil (Mentioned only)
- Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil audiobook (Mentioned only)