How we think the fight will go
Vader watches his young opponent. He watches as the young man called Murtagh side-steps one foot over the other, slowly circling him. This boy reminds Vader of himself once—a Jedi Knight determined to bring peace to the galaxy he loved and defended, even if it meant turning to the dark side to do so. Vader thinks of Obi-Wan, his mother, and most of all Padmé. How he loved her so. How he longs for her still.
Vader stands in the middle of the clearing, turning to match Murtagh’s steady circling, the young man’s sword held in front of him, at the ready. Both men studying each other, neither willing to make the first move.
Vader thinks of the similarities between himself and Murtagh at his age. Murtagh’s appearance was not all that different from his. Before all this machinery. Before Obi-Wan betrayed him and left him burning. The anger builds within. The dark side begins to flow into him. Yet the only sound that the tall man in the black armor, helmet, and cape exudes is that of his respirator slowly breathing in and out. The creatures native to this world have run from the area surrounding the clearing. They know something horrible is about to happen.
Vader’s thoughts linger on Obi-Wan, his brother, his friend. How could be have turned on him? How could he have poisoned Padmé’s mind against him? For a flickering moment he takes his mind off of Murtagh and thinks of her, his lost love.
In that second a great shadow appears on the ground in front of Vader. He spins and looks to the sky as a large red dragon with white horns dives directly at him. The great beast opens his mouth and unleashes a torrent of hellfire at Vader.
At the edge of the clearing, Murtagh cracks a crooked grin.
Vader looks up at the fire and doesn’t see the dragon. Instead he sees himself lying next to a lava flow, his legs gone, his flesh and clothing beginning to smolder. Obi-Wan stands over him, safe from the fire. The Jedi reaches down and Vader expects his friend to pull him to safety. But Obi-Wan only picks up Vader’s lightsaber and walks away. Vader sees himself burst into flames. His anger rises and he feels the dark side of the Force awaken within him.
As the great dragon Thorn unleashes his mighty fire upon the Sith Lord, Vader reaches a hand skyward and uses the Force to direct the fire away from him and at Murtagh. The flame veers to the left just feet from Vader’s outstretched hand and envelops the boy in fire.
The surprised dragon closes his mouth and the fire stops. As it continues its descent, it attempts to grab at Vader with its deadly claws. The Dark Lord calls his lightsaber to his still-outstretched hand via the Force and thumbs it on. The scarlet-red blade ignites and slices the underbelly of the massive beast as it soars just feet above Vader’s head.
Thorn cries out as its armor is split open. The dragon crashes to the earth, leaving a large trough in its wake. It thrashes about in agony, using its wings to cover the gaping hole in its abdomen.
Vader turns to examine what he expects will be the charred remains of Murtagh.
To his surprise his opponent is charging through the firestorm unscathed, mouthing some type of incantation. Within seconds he is upon Vader, swinging down at him with his sword and still mouthing words Vader does not recognize. As Vader moves to parry Murtagh’s attack, he is surprised to find himself hurtling through the air. Instead of blocking a sword stroke, he is now reaching out with the Force to keep himself from smashing into a large tree at the edge of the clearing. But for a glancing blow to his right shoulder, Vader mostly avoids the tree. He lands on his feet, cloak splayed out behind him, lightsaber held at the ready.
Vader steps forward only to be met square in the chest by a thunderous blow from the great beast’s tail. His lightsaber flies from his hand and he lands hard on the ground, meters behind where he was hit.
As Vader listens to the sound of his now ragged breathing he sees Padmé one more time. If only she had understood how much he loved her. If only she had listened to him and not Obi-Wan’s lies. It might have all been different. Instead she led Obi-Wan to him. Let Obi-Wan come between them. Let Obi-Wan leave him as this. The anger boils within him once more.
Darth Vader, the Dark Lord of the Sith, rises from the ground, the dark side energies feed off his anger. Using the Force, he grabs a rock the size of his head and hurls it at Murtagh.
Murtagh blocks it easily enough with a magic word, only to find five, ten, twenty stones hurtling through the air towards him. His magical prowess allows him to block most of the debris, but a few get through, catching him in the mouth, chin, and throat. With each hit it becomes harder and harder for him to speak his incantations.
Thorn, still crippled from the horrible wound to his belly, manages to drag himself in front of the rain of stones and shield his rider. Vader stands tall, allowing his hatred for Obi-Wan and Padmé to fill him with dark-side energy. He reaches out with the Force and hoists the massive dragon off the ground. The great beast struggles in vain to break free of the Sith Lord’s hold. Vader raises the beast up, head-first so the remnants of his tail barely brush the ground. The wings are spread wide, and the dragon’s organs push against the gaping hole in its belly.
Vader holds the beast motionless for a moment. He turns to look directly at Murtagh, on his knees, battered and broken. Thorn, in desperation, lets loose one last salvo of hellfire towards the sky. Vader twists his fists, and the great dragon’s neck wrenches and breaks in a cascade of falling flame. Vader flings the dead beast to the side and approaches the boy.
Through the Force, he grasps Murtagh’s neck and lifts him up into the air, holding him so his face is just inches from Vader’s mask.
Vader stares at him, his cold eyes seeing not the man he is fighting but the man he himself once was. The young Jedi Knight, naïve and trustworthy. It’s not Obi-Wan or Padmé that Vader truly hates. Vader hates himself.
He reaches out, catches, and ignites his lightsaber all in one smooth motion. The red blade pierces Murtagh’s chest and escapes through his back. Vader holds Murtagh, watching the life dissipate from his eyes, and he sees himself.
The Force shall free him.