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16 May 2021 - 00:25

the ramblings of a geek


Argh! I am having such a hard time writing up this latest chapter of my fic! It's annoying as hell.

Okay, so I want Maul and Ahsoka to fight, without sabers, and Ahsoka's gotta kick Maul's ass again, but in a way where it's believable. I don't want her to be overpowered, and I don't want Maul to "let" her win, either. Ahsoka's smart. I already know how she kicks his ass. It's getting them to fight at all that is making me rip my hair out! Maul is too wordy, goddammit! I'm not sure his first instinct would be to fight (and subsequently kill) Ahsoka Tano. I mean, that wasn't what he was after on Mandalore. I mean, sure, he was willing to kill her, if he had to, I guess. *rolls eyes* But deep down, that's not what he set out to do. He wanted to corrupt her, gain an ally. And it mattered, y'know? Once she agreed to help him. You see it on his face. The relieved disbelief, the small light of hope blooming in his eyes...

I think, after all these years, he's never forgiven her for that. Not for fighting him, capturing him, the whole shebang, no. I think the worst thing Ahsoka unknowingly did to Maul back then was to agree with him, accept his offer, even if at first. There is no crueler thing to do than to give a broken man hope. That for a moment, for a fleeting instant, Maul thought there might be a chance... only for her to take it away almost immediately, shattered him, fueled his rage, and turned Ahsoka Tano forever into an enemy in his eyes. For a person who does not know how to forgive, this was a huge blow, and something that scarred him deeply. On top of that, she slighted him thrice that day. Ouch.

So now here we are, decades later. Has Maul moved on? Well, he thought he had, but just like with Kenobi, seeing Ahsoka again brought on an onslaught of negative emotions in him that almost undoes them both. So this fight, this battle that occurs just after he's been reborn, so to speak, is going to bring old feelings to the surface. She's changed. That much is clear to him, but he can't help but treat her as he did when he encountered her as a brat on Mandalore. Even though she kicked his ass back then, too. He's going to commit the same mistakes. Except now, he's bitter, to boot.

But does he want her dead? I don't think he does, necessarily. He just wants her to admit that she was wrong back then, that she should have joined him to defeat Sidious. If she does this, then... well, I don't even think he knows what he would do in that scenario. Part of what drives him is knowing she never will. He would be so stumped if she did. And, may I add, that probably would seal her fate. He'd finally be free to kill her. To stop the struggle and end it all. So, ironically, the fact that she won't bow down is what keeps her alive. It all has to do with his twisted philosophy of the Rule of Two. Conflict keeps one moving, helps one grow. His eternal struggle was almost over: his two greatest nemesis, Kenobi and Sidious, are now dead. Without conflict, without a vengeance to achieve/work toward, what more is there to his life? Damn it all, he can't even go after Vader, the one who beat him to the punch both times, because he's dead, too. So what more can Maul achieve? What purpose does he have? He's not the conniving type, not like his Master. His goals in life, even if he told himself otherwise, were never conquest. Those were Sidious's plans. Maul was just a tool, a means to an end, with no real volition. Once he was free of his master, he would have been satisfied with leading a life of crime and just being an overall nuisance to the Republic and the Jedi. The struggle is what he was raised for, what he enjoyed. Despite what he was raised to believe, Maul was always made to serve, never to be a Master in his own right. He probably would have killed Ahsoka and then himself, destroying the bled kyber in the process.

Yes, that would have been his ultimate goal. Destroy the kyber, be killed along with them, take out one last enemy as a bonus. I think this is something he formulated on the spot after he came across her again. He was already ready to die. She was one more thrill before the inevitable end.

It's why he says he missed her. He misses what she represents: vestiges of his old life, of a time when he had the fantasy of power, when he was at his peak. And yet, so, so low. No brother, no mother, no culture, no people. Riding high and... alone.

He feels the power of the kaiburr growing, senses that burgeoning oppression of the Dark Side. He knows that even though the Emperor is dead, something much worse approaches, and the galaxy is not prepared for it. In essence, he can sense the rise of Darth Krayt, but is unaware of what he is, or where he comes from. He feels the connection Hett has to Tatooine, feels that he's bound to him too, somehow, through their shared darkness. Yet at this point, things are so abstract, that he doesn't give much merit to any of it. He knows this dark presence wants the kaiburr, but they were dormant, and he was content to sit in the shadows and observe for a while longer. Once that dark entity began to get nearer to finding the bled crystals, then Maul had probably planned to destroy them and himself along with them before anything could come of it.

And then Ahsoka shows up.

Dank ferric.

So, she activates the crystals, awakens them with her aura, right? Stupid bitch. Now he has to deal with their evil darkness seeping everywhere into the Force. Now this shadow-dragon's going to know where they are, will come for them. For him. Maul's out of time, and it's this stupid woman's fault. Now he has to deal with the crystals, and the dragon, and her. His unresolved feelings for the Togruta just make everything worse. By the stars, he hates her so much...! Stupid brat had to show up and ruin everything. Might as well destroy her along with the crystals and himself. At least he'll get to kill one of his enemies...

The problem is, now she's made his life interesting again. Now he's not sure if he's all that ready to throw in the towel, call it quits. He can't let her leave with the kaiburr... he needs her. He'll take her prisoner, then. Torture her until she breaks, or until he's satisfied. (Newsflash: he'll never be satisfied.)

So how does this fight go? I know that from Ahsoka's point-of-view, she understands the danger the crystals pose, knows she needs Maul's help to destroy them. Knows she's going to have to twist his damn arm to get him to comply. But she doesn't hate him. She doesn't know what's going to result out of all this mess either. Some part of her still wants him "brought to justice," but her faith in the government and disciplinary structures as a whole has been shattered. She doesn't know what brining Maul to justice would even look like anymore. All she knows is that she wants to help Luke without being directly involved. She cares for him and Leia, and wants Anakin's children to succeed. She also wants to keep them safe. Safe from Maul, and those crystals, and whatever other nefarious things the Dark Side will dole out. She is fighting to protect. Maul is fighting to survive.

Except he knows Ahsoka will not strike a killing blow. So he's really fighting out of boredom. Mixed with a bit of spite. Am I making any sense? Anyway, so we've gotten to a stalemate in their fight. She's disarmed him, but at what cost? She's wounded, and her body probably can't take much more exertion. He's losing control, and just lost his weapons, too. A temporary respite is in order, no? But if I do that, the fight loses momentum, and it'll be harder for them to take things up again. Still, I need for them to take up a more lighthearted approach to this battle before the end. I need them to fall into a rhythm, like a sparring match, except a bit rougher. No killing intent anymore. How to achieve this?

Well, not too much talking, please. That'll slow things down a lot, and this chapter's delayed enough. Take it back to where I started in my outline: "Strictly unarmed combat. They at first try to use the Force against one another, but they appear pretty evenly matched, so they just do physical combat instead. Ahsoka wins in the end by injecting Maul with a sedative. He passes out."

This pause should feel more like a catching of their breath before resuming. They're both tired, exhausted by the entire ordeal they've gone through together. Ahsoka will probably be the first to suggest using the Force against each other, maybe be the first to lash out this time. Maybe he becomes aggressive, and she shoves him away from her with the Force, extinguishing the campfire in the process. Maul recovers quickly, and returns the favor. They do this back and forth, kicking up a sandstorm between them. Eventually, Ahsoka drops her staff, using the Force to fortify her leg, and physical fighting resumes. After a few minutes of this, she moves in and injects the Zabrak. He draws back, stunned, afraid she's hit him with some kind of toxin, but she clarifies that it's only Tranqarest, which pisses him off, and though he's starting to move slower, is still lucid enough to keep fighting for a while, boosted by his own power in the Force. He wrestles her to the ground before muttering: "You never do what I want...!" and passes out. Ahsoka takes some time to assess the situation, realizes that Maul's out like a light, and allows herself to relax. She then admits that the entire ordeal has made her feel more like her old self than she has in years. She's not entirely sure whether this is a good or bad thing, but it was something she definitely missed.

Okay. Okay, I think I'm good to go now.

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