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S_W_LeGenD
06.17.2013 , 05:38 AM | #2
Contrasting Sidious and Vitiate:

Sidious is the first Sith Lord to be recognized/promoted as the most powerful Sith Lord ever in the Star Wars mythos; several canonical sources affirm this. However, as the Star Wars lore continues to expand with passage of time; retcons often occur and new extremely powerful characters are being introduced which may diversify marketing appeal of the Star Wars mythos. One such entry is Tenebrae; canonically this Sith Lord existed much earlier then Sidious but seemingly rivaled the latter Sith Lord in power. Now of-course, numerous debates have taken place in many discussion forums about who is the most powerful Sith Lord since canonical sources are promoting multiple Sith Lords with this accolade in current times. Most logical answer is that their is no right or wrong assumption in this regard; Star Wars is a dynamic world in which unexpected can be expected. Even though their are different forms of canon, both Sidious and Tenebrae have earned the accolades of most powerful Sith Lords ever in c-canon sources. Some fanboys claim that GL declared Sidious as the most powerful Sith Lord ever but this appears to be a hearsay since I have yet to see a single quote from GL which validates this claim; even if GL said something in this regard, it should be kept in mind that he mostly represents the original universe or timeline in the saga in his interviews. In addition, he is no longer the authoritarian of the Star Wars mythos; Disney is. Some fanboys may wish to continue to regard GL as the ultimate authority concerning Star Wars mythos related matters but "objectivity" is not their cup of tea and these people will never move on with new information. This being said, I admire GL for his works and creative genius.

My objective is to contrast talents of Sidious and Tenebrae to offer fellow fans an objective picture of why both characters do justice to their accolades in their own fashion because both Sith Lords grew in power under different circumstances and honed their respective skills in different manner.

Ground realities of Sidious:

Sidious was trained in the dark arts by an immensely talented Sith Lord Darth Plagueis and emerged as a nearly perfect killing machine; he seemingly took interest in both Sith Warrior and Sith Inquisitor curriculum or received mixed training. He grew up in an age when the Sith were enforcing the infamous Rule of Two; Sith had learned valuable lessons from previous history and decided against challenging the Republic and the Jedi openly (a change of strategy was required). While the ancient Sith were capable of terminating both threats, internal power struggles and betrayals prevented them from doing so and such events weakened the Sith on the whole. The followers of Rule of Two evaded both risks but slowly and surely worked for their plan to weaken the Republic from within until the time would be right to take it down and the Jedi Order along with it.

Brief details of rise of Sidious to prominence:

Spoiler


Sidious actually transformed the Republic in to a Sith Empire from within but he found it impossible to convert the Jedi so he plotted the downfall of the Jedi Order instead. He did manage to seduce a few Jedi to the dark side to do his bidding; his most prominent seductive conquest being the "chosen one" who helped him succeed in his plans. Since the Jedi were a threat, it was important for Sidious to be prepared for any eventuality should the need arise. His combat prowess was such that he could handle multiple powerful opponents simultaneously with combination of his excellent martial skills and high level Force Mastery. He defeated the Sith brothers who endangered his plans, cut down 3 Jedi Masters swiftly who were part of the Jedi Strike Team assembled to arrest him and even defeated Jedi Master Yoda (one of the most powerful Jedi in history of the Order) in single combat. After establishing his Sith Empire, he began to delve deeper in to the secrets of the dark arts by searching for lost information and visiting different planets for this goal. Darth Malgus's knowledge of the dark arts proved to be valuable for Sidious since it set the stage for the latter Sith Lord to gain command of devastating Sith powers and push them to new heights (the iconic Force Storm being the prominent example). It should be kept in mind that knowledge to conjure a Force Storm is not unique to Sidious; it was an ancient talent and Darth Rivan managed to unleash it with the aid of a special amulet. Issue was conjuring up such a power with a natural body could be a very risky venture as Darth Rivan ended up stripped from his powers after teleporting himself in to a future age with a Force Storm he summoned. Therefore, Sidious had to think of a remedy if he wanted to be able to conjure Force Storm without consequences; immortality was the answer. Thus began his pursuit of immortality. Sidious managed to create an imbalance in the Force and the Force decided to retaliate; when Darth Vader betrayed Sidious and apparently killed him, Sidious's essence survived and recovered with the aid of other Sith spirits and managed to possess one of his minions. Sidious had kept a supply of clones on planet Byss (a world absolutely loyal to him) which he would use during emergency situation should he loose his original body. And this plan worked but clones were not perfect and Sidious wanted a strong natural body to sustain his power. On Byss, Sidious spent ample time to recover and rebuild his strength. However, difference was that he was like an immortal entity during this time and his capacity as a practitioner of Force had significantly increased; he managed to siphon energies of all inhabitants of Byss to fuel his power and with such enormous supply of energy reserves, possibilities for him to unleash dark side powers were now seemingly endless. Such power enabled him to conjure Force Storms at will. Sidious was now seemingly the most powerful Sith Lord ever or so it was assumed. Sidious put strong emphasis on developing and honing his offensive capabilities with the Force. He adopted conventional path to gain these talents; he was very intelligent and possessed the capability to learn anything but he had to break free from his biological limitations to achieve great power and be able to do justice with the knowledge of the dark side he acquired.

Ground realities of Tenebrae:

Spoiler


Tenebrae came in to existence in an age when the fields of Sith Alchemy and Sith Sorcery were very popular among the Sith; powerful Sith Lords could perform amazing tasks by choosing the route of Sith Sorcery to gain power.

Sith Sorcery is a specialized branch of Sith Inquisitor curriculum:

Spoiler


Tenebrae was naturally incredibly strong in the dark side (most likely gifted with extraordinary midichlorian count) but his history indicates that he didn't receive much formal training to hone his talents like Sidious did. Some talents came naturally to him such as capability to perform Mind Domination, Force Sever and Force Drain. Tenebrae was naturally so powerful that he seized control of an entire world at the age of 13; this is unparalleled accomplishment and display of combat prowess at such a young age. Tenebrae possibly surpassed Marka Ragnos in power in his natural form. Under lack of tutelage of any talented Sith Lord, Tenebrae chose the path of Sith Sorcery to acquire great power. In short, Tenebrae is a self-made Sith Lord. This also explains his unorthodox fighting and power-progression tactics. Regardless of his enormous natural power, Tenebrae wanted to reach a state in which possibilities for him would be endless to utilize dark side talents. Thus began his pursuit of immortality. However, his plan was more complex than this, he wanted to test the limits of his dark side talents and acquire a gigantic supply of energy reserves which would significantly enhance his capacity as a practitioner of the Force. He adopted the path of Sith Sorcery to accomplish these objectives and succeeded; he destroyed his homeworld in the process but gained immortality (while retaining his original biological body) and gigantic supply of energy reserves by trapping souls of all life forms in the void or within himself and his Force Drain capabilities had developed to such a degree that he could continuously siphon energies from all of these trapped souls of life forms he destroyed. Then he crowned himself Sith Emperor and led the Sith survivors in to unknown regions during that time to develop his own Sith Empire. He was very intelligent and created a well-structured society while he himself focused on learning more about the secrets of the dark side with passage of time. Those who think that Tenebrae didn't learn much during his reign as Sith Emperor are kidding themselves; the capability to swiftly destroy most powerful Sith Lords in the galaxy simultaneously, should the need arise, does not comes from thin air. He could summon duplicates (realistic illusions) of himself in single combat to confuse his opponents. In addition, when he ventured in to the Dark Temple on Dromund Kaas (arguably the most haunted and dangerous place in the Galaxy) he forced all of the deadly supernatural forces/spirits trapped over there in to submission. He was also an incredible telekinetic; demonstrated the capability to nearly atomize durable objects, perform telekinetic feats without any gesture and even collapse buildings. On top of this, he had acquired such power after his transformation that he could possibly unleash destruction on planetary-scale by himself, should he desire. Though the full extent of Tenebrae's capabilities are shrouded in mystery; he was capable of tackling any kind of challenge he came across and he eventually began to develop/demonstrate Abeloth like capabilities to increase his safeguard. Tenebrae also began to influence galactic events by compelling powerful forces to do his bidding; he was responsible for instigating Mandalorian Wars and the consequent Jedi Civil War during which the Jedi Order war almost wiped-out (Yes, Sidious was not the only Sith Lord to accomplish this task) and the Republic significantly weakened, and he personally struck down and subdued many agents of the Republic who sought to eliminate and assassinate him. Most importantly, Tenebrae was planning something far bigger; something that was unthinkable; something that has never been attempted during any era; nobody in all of the galactic history managed to acquire sufficient dark side knowledge to make this kind of objective possible to accomplish; much earlier, Tenebrae's “power reach” was of planetary scale, this time his “power reach” had approached galactic scale. If it not for internal betrayal, he would have been able to transform himself in to an omnipotent godly entity by destroying the entire (Republic spanning) galaxy and rewrite Star Wars history. With such power, he would have been capable of doing anything; possibly create space matter and life itself. However, the Force has its own will and Tenebrae was treading too far this time; it was inevitable that the Force would retaliate and create circumstances that would lead to downfall of the mighty Tenebrae. Make no mistake: Tenebrae could learn and do anything but history teaches us that attempts to create significant imbalance in the Force can backfire.

Conclusion:

It shall be kept in mind that individuals with unnatural abilities and power often invest their powers in many areas. For example: Tenebrae had invested his powers on galactic scale; simultaneously siphoning energies from huge number of life forms located or trapped on different planets; controlling his children stationed on different planets; continuously performing rituals of incredible scope on Dromund Kaas; empowering Imperial Guard individuals when necessary; and possibly more. He was making such investments to unnaturally prolong his life, maintain his dominance over his Empire and also develop offensive capabilities to destroy the Jedi Order from within without him being required to be on the front lines. His ultimate plan was to gain unlimited power and invincibility and he could make this happen, but the Force had other plans (Force have its own will) and he was treading too far so he had to be stopped. So when he invested his powers further to accomplish this goal, it made him vulnerable at that moment because it was an investment of unprecedented scope. Therefore, not surprisingly, Tenebrae soon found himself under unfavorable circumstances and went down. His plans were brilliant but the Force was not with him.

It should be abundantly clear that if Tenebrae prepares himself for combat, he might be able to defeat anybody; possibly even one-shot anybody. He have canonically demonstrated such level of effectiveness when he prepared himself to fight an entire Dark Council; he had not invested his powers much during that time as a hint.