The Tragedy is an award winning short story written by Brandon Rhea. Set nineteen years before the novel Star Wars: Episode I - The Chosen One, the story focuses on the events surrounding the murder of Darth Plagueis the Wise and the ascension of his apprentice to the Sith throne, as well as the new Dark Lord's desire to prevent the birth of Annikin Skywalker. The story also emphasizes the end of the former friendship of Ussej Padric Bac and Plagueis—formerly Jedi Grandmaster Damien Nightblade.
The story was first published on Star Wars Fanon, the Star Wars wiki of fan invention, on February 28, 2010. This release was the result of Rhea removing the original version of the story from the prologue of The Chosen One, as he believed that it did not properly fit with the rest of the novel's story. An extended version of the short story was released nearly a month later on March 20, featuring new scenes and an expanded exploration of the characters. The work was edited by Alternative Saga contributor Susan "Solus" Donnam, who also provided the cover art. Reviews for The Tragedy have been favorable, and it was voted to featured work status on Star Wars Fanon.
- First edition; February 28, 2010, nine page e-book
- Final edition; March 20, 2010, thirteen page e-book
On the eve of the Apocalypse, one Dark Lord of the Sith must make a fateful choice: listen to the pleas of the Shaman of the Whills and defeat his apprentice in combat, or allow his apprentice to take the throne of the Sith—and bring forth the end of days.
Nineteen years before the start of the Clone Wars, Darth Plagueis the Wise—known as Jedi Grandmaster Damien Nightblade before falling to the dark side of the Force—and his apprentice reside in an ancient Sith academy on Dathomir. The immortal Plagueis realizes that his time as Dark Lord of the Sith is coming to an end. Despite his immortality, he can still be killed, and he suspects that his apprentice is plotting to kill him as dictated by the Rule of Two. Despite this, he is satisfied that his apprentice does not have all the knowledge Plagueis has, such as the secrets of immortality.
As Plagueis contemplates his death, his old friend Ussej Padric Bac appears in an attempt to convince him to stop his apprentice from killing him. The Shaman of the Order of the Whills reminds Plagueis that if his apprentice kills him and becomes the Dark Lord, the Apocalypse will begin. Bac believes that Plagueis can stop this, as Plagueis is the shatterpoint for the galaxy-ending event. Nevertheless, Plagueis is adamant in allowing his apprentice to kill him, as he is tired and no longer wishes to be the Dark Lord of the Sith. Bac begrudgingly leaves, believing he is powerless to stop Plagueis from meeting his ultimate destiny.
Under the cover of darkness as Plagueis sleeps, his apprentice sneaks into his chambers and stabs him, delivering a killing blow that would become a legend—one that is later recorded in the Journal of the Whills—in the years that followed. As Plagueis dies, his apprentice becomes the new Dark Lord of the Sith.
Taking up the mantle as leader of the Order of the Sith Lords, the new Dark Lord sits upon his throne. In his throne room, he is greeted by a young Zabrak who will soon become his apprentice. The Zabrak's test to prove his worth is to travel to a desert world in the Outer Rim Territories, where the Dark Lord orders him to kill a pregnant woman before her unborn child can be born and become the one who will destroy the Sith.
After the Dark Lord and Maul speak, Bac returns to Plagueis' chambers and collects the fallen Sith Lord's body. Before disappearing with it, the shaman says goodbye not to Plagueis, but to his old friend Damien Nightblade.
|Source: Star Wars: The Tragedy||Attribution: Brandon Rhea|
"It's tragic, really, seeing you like this," the man's voice called out from behind, one so full of sadness, of regret over what could have been but wasn't. "It's not too late, you know. You're the shatterpoint for everything destiny says is supposed to happen. Do the right thing and fate can be irrevocably changed from this point on."
Plagueis couldn't deny that, even if he'd wanted to. His old friend had told him about the coming days so long ago, but he'd dismissed it as a foolish man's deluded fantasy. Yet over the years, as events began to unfold, he'd come to realize that maybe everyone's fate was set in stone, that he'd been unknowingly guided down this road by the Force despite what he may have wanted.
And yet even so, part of him felt like he truly did want what was coming to him. Was that the Force playing with his mind, or did he have his own part to play in his ultimate destiny? He felt like he was making decisions, and his own wants and desires seemed to come from within, yet here was a man telling him that someone, or something, had decided that for him, but at the same time he could change it. It was enough to drive a man mad, though he'd already made his choice, even if it was futile.
"Once you start down the dark path," Plagueis told him, "it will forever dominate your destiny. You can't stop it from consuming you. My fate is sealed, not because someone wrote it thousands of years ago, but because I want this. I'm tired, and now I'm done."
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Behind the scenes
Star Wars: The Tragedy was released as an e-book by author Brandon Rhea on February 28, 2010 on Star Wars Fanon, the Star Wars wiki of fan invention, as well as on TheStarWarsRP.Com. Prior to being released as a short story, the work was part of the prologue for Rhea's novel Star Wars: Episode I - The Chosen One. However, he came to feel that the sequence did not work well in the prologue; according to Rhea, The Chosen One was written in a way that would make readers wonder as to whether or not the Sith still exist. Because the prologue did not leave any guesses as to whether the Sith were still active, Rhea removed the scene as he felt that it ruined the Sith mystery. Instead of discarding the scene, however, he worked it into the short story that became The Tragedy.
On March 20, 2010, Rhea re-released the story, also in e-book form, with re-written segments and additional scenes added to the story. With this re-release, Rhea added elements such as the identity of Darth Plagueis, an appearance by Alternative Saga character Ussej Padric Bac, an expanded psychological exploration of Darth Plagueis, and additional connections to the lore of The Chosen One and TheStarWarsRP.Com. A cover created by Susan "Solus" Donnam was also released. Rhea nominated the story for recognition as a featured work on Star Wars Fanon shortly after re-releasing it. The Tragedy received featured work status on March 31, 2010.
The Tragedy was nominated for three awards in the Summer 2010 Star Wars Fanon Short Story Contest: Best Drama, Best Movie Era Short Story, and Best Short Story. The story lost the Best Drama category, coming in third place behind Star Wars: Death and Life by Sean Nash and winning story Breakfast in Bedlam by Trak Nar. The story won the Best Movie Era Short Story category, and was awarded the second place prize for Best Short Story, behind Death and Life.