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"The Tenebrous Way" is a short story written by Matthew Stover and illustrated by Brian Rood for Star Wars Insider 130. It introduces Darth Plagueis's Sith Master, Darth Tenebrous, who later appeared briefly in the novel Darth Plagueis.

The story is from the point of view of Tenebrous. It takes place when he is killed by Plagueis, but his consciousness remains in the Force while he is trapped within his own decaying body. This story also touches on the fact that he made sure to manipulate Plagueis throughout his training so that Plagueis would be obsessed with immortality.

Plot summary[]

The story describes the last horrific and panicked account of Darth Tenebrous, dying on the floor with ice barbs stabbing through his only lung. The etymology of his name is given as Darkness. Tenebrous uses the force to shield himself from the pain and transfers his essence into a small amount of his own midi-chlorians as they are leaving his body. During the transfer, he watches Darth Plagueis next to his body, studying the midi-chlorians as they depart. Tenebrous describes choosing Plagueis for his single specific fear of death.

Tenebrous then builds this fear by needling at it and pricking at it for decades until it becomes Plagueis' wound that wouldn't heal and his obsession. Darth Tenebrous' entire life goal was immortality. As an apprentice, Tenebrous taught himself the Sith power Essence Transfer, he has known it for more than a century. He discovered it through his Bith experimenting and was not taught it through his unnamed master. He speaks of his master's training in spite and as secondary to his Bith science. He only thought of the force as a source of energy that could be harnessed. He vastly developed his foresight more than others before him but he disregarded it when he could foresee the future through his calculations of numbers.

He saw the end of the Bane order by the "Shadow" and the rise of the "One Sith" order after it. He consulted the prophetic book Journey of the Wills. Four of the eleven translations prophesied the coming of the "Savior," the "Chosen One," "born of pure force." He studied this book for three years and calculated the Savior's midi-chlorian count would be fifteen thousand or higher. So he decided he would transfer his essence into the body of the Savior when he was born. Tenebrous then kills his master and went searching for an apprentice of his own. The scene comes back for a moment to Tenebrous watching Plagueis then returns to his past.

Plagueis came up with the idea that midi-chlorians migrated back into the force at the death of the host but Tenebrous shot down the idea. In truth, he secretly believed it, inspiring his plan of the Retrovirus. The retrovirus, midi-chlorians that Tenebrous experimented on and perfected into what he named Maxi-chlorians, possessed a prolonged life or at least a life span longer than that of normal midi-chlorians. Their side-effect was that they cut off a person from using the force entirely so Tenebrous adjusted them to only infect a small amount of midi-chlorians while leaving the majority untouched. He fine-tuned the virus to affect the power of foresight, which Tenebrous thought as a necessary loss since he already knew the future through his calculations. When Tenebrous first needed the time to develop the retrovirus, he would send his apprentice Plagueis on many useless, doomed-to-fail missions to give him time to develop it.

Before Tenebrous' death, he had infected himself with the retrovirus and he lost his foresight ability. In his dying state, he transfers his essence into the maxi-chlorians and enters Plagueis' body through his eyes, mouth, skin and a wound on his back. Tenebrous recalls why he picked the name Plagueis for his apprentice, the etymology foretelling his future, his name meaning "The diseased one." While inside Plagueis, Tenebrous explores the powers of Plagueis, amazed at how powerful they were and that he had underestimated him. He then uses Plagueis' vastly developed foresight to see far into the future to watch Plagueis' own death. He is utterly panicked when he witnesses Plagueis die before he could make the Savior into his apprentice, thus ending his chance to steal the Savior's body.

He watches until the foresight completely disappears, robbing Plagueis of his foresight power. Panicking, Tenebrous rips himself from Plagueis' body and contemplates a way to reverse his failed plan, though perhaps there isn't a way and the best option is to wait until the maxi-chlorians go extinct so he could die too. However, Tenebrous realizes that he doesn’t know how long it will take the maxi-chlorians to fade, or if they will fade at all. Upon attempting to sense Plagueis, he is shocked to discover his Bith body has become ancient and mummified, with no traces of Plageuis ever having been there. Wondering if he has been alive in the maxi-chlorians for decades or centuries, he then wonders if his retrovirus, instead of eliminating his foresight, twisted it upon itself, forcing him to relive this moment in time over and over again.

He panics and questions how many times he has seen this moment. Is this the millionth time? The billionth? He then comes to the realization. and in that moment, Tenebrous wishes he still had a mouth, because he really, really, needs to scream. The story then starts over again, confirming that Darth Tenebrous is endlessly reliving his death.


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