The Dark Lord is powerful in ways that defy anything you can possibly imagine.
The Dark Lord was the former apprentice of Darth Plagueis, whom he murdered in Plagueis' sleep to become the Dark Lord of the Sith in 41 BBY—a method of execution the Dark Lord later came to regret. This act prompted the beginning of the galaxy-ending Apocalypse, which would continue for at least nineteen years. As the Dark Lord, his power within the Force grew, and he held himself in high regard. He chose to communicate non-verbally, believing that speaking was too primitive for his immense power.
After Plagueis' murder, the Dark Lord ordered Darth Maul, whom he took as his apprentice just after Plagueis' death, to kill Shmi Skywalker and her unborn son, Annikin Skywalker; the Dark Lord believed Annikin was destined to be the Chosen One who would destroy the Sith. Maul failed to kill Shmi Skywalker on Tatooine and her son was born. The Dark Lord, therefore, chose to change his plans, deciding to one day capture the boy and turn him to the dark side of the Force.
...who's the one who trained that demon out there, plotting your death? Who's the one who gave him what he'd need to drown this galaxy in its own blood?
—Ussej Padric Bac chastises Darth Plagueis shortly before the latter's death
The Dark Lord became the apprentice of Darth Plagueis in the years before the Apocalypse. As Plagueis' apprentice, the Dark Lord was trained in the Sith academy on Dathomir to one day become the Dark Lord of the Sith, the birthright of apprentices in the Order of the Sith Lords after killing their masters. Towards the end of his tutelage, the Dark Lord discovered a young former Jedi, Darth Maul, and decided that he would one day take him as his apprentice.
In 41 BBY, the Dark Lord prepared to kill Plagueis, a fate that Plagueis had resigned himself to. Ussej Padric Bac, the Shaman of the Order of the Whills, attempted to talk Plagueis out of allowing himself to die, as the Dark Lord’s ascension to the Sith throne would bring about the galaxy-ending Apocalypse. The shaman was unable to convince Plagueis to defend himself, and the Dark Lord murdered Plagueis in his sleep, becoming the Dark Lord of the Sith.
Beginning of the Apocalypse
As Bac had warned, Plagueis' death and the ascension of the Dark Lord to the Sith throne marked the beginning of the Apocalypse. Just after Plagueis' death, Maul arrived at the Sith academy, ready to become the Dark Lord’s apprentice. The Dark Lord ordered Maul to travel to Tatooine and kill Shmi Skywalker and her unborn son, Annikin Skywalker, whom the Dark Lord believed to be the Chosen One who was destined to stop the Sith from destroying the galaxy. Maul was also ordered to kill Sarus, a member of the Ophuchi Clan of hermits tasked with aiding the Chosen One in his destiny.
Maul made his way to Tatooine and attempted to kill Shmi Skywalker and her unborn child, but he failed in his mission after he was forced to flee during a duel with Sarus and a group of Ophuchi. Because Annikin Skywalker was born, the Dark Lord changed his plans and ultimately decided that, when Skywalker was old enough, they would capture him and turn him to the dark side so he could destroy the galaxy instead of save it.
Hunt for Skywalker
In 22 BBY, during the Invasion of Utapau, Darth Maul traveled to Tatooine once again in order to find Sabé Arcadia, the queen of Utapau, who escaped her planet as the Trade Federation invaded it. Maul, who commanded the invasion forces, also worked with the Guardians of Lettow to track down Annikin Skywalker, per the Dark Lord's orders of one day finding him and turning him.
Personality and traits
Ussej Padric Bac described the Dark Lord as a demon and a manifestation of the devil from Corellian mythology, one who would drown the entire galaxy in the blood of all its inhabitants. Although the Dark Lord was confident in his own abilities, believing himself to be the Dark Lord history would remember above all the others, Darth Plagueis saw him as a foolish man who was unable to see past his own desires to fulfill the promise of Darth Bane, namely that the Sith would return to rule the galaxy. This overconfidence in his own knowledge was what Plagueis believed would lead to the Dark Lord’s downfall. Nevertheless, Plagueis also believed that the Dark Lord would indeed be the one who would allow the Sith to rise again.
Although the Dark Lord spent a great deal of time preparing to kill his master, he did end up regretting how he went about doing so. Rather than facing Plagueis in combat, he chose to murder him in his sleep. He became ashamed of his own cowardice, though that did not deter him from carrying out his plans as the Dark Lord of the Sith.
Powers and abilities
The Dark Lord trained in the ways of the Sith under Darth Plagueis for a number of years. He believed in the Rule of Two, which stated that there could only be one Sith master and one Sith apprentice at one time and that the apprentice would one day kill the master. After he felt his training was complete and he had amassed enough knowledge from his master, the Dark Lord used the power and training his received to murder Plagueis and become the Dark Lord. He held himself in the highest regard, believing that he had the ability to control legions simply by sitting on his throne.
His power also led him to communicate through non-vocal means, a conscious choice so as to show off the power he wielded. Rather than speaking, he would communicate to others through the Force, speaking his thoughts in their minds. It was this and his other abilities that led Sarus, who had become the leader of the Ophuchi Clan, to tell Annikin Skywalker in 22 BBY that the Dark Lord was powerful in ways that he could not imagine. Sarus feared that if the Dark Lord's power was left unchecked, he would destroy the entire galaxy.
Behind the scenes
...the Dark Lord is powerful in ways that simply defy description.
—Author Brandon Rhea describes the Dark Lord
The Dark Lord is a character created by Brandon Rhea for the Alternative Star Wars Saga fan fiction series. Rhea has neither confirmed nor denied that the character is based on Palpatine, the Dark Lord of the Sith in the canon Star Wars films, preferring to leave readers with a mystery as to who the Dark Lord really is.
While having been mentioned in Rhea’s novel Star Wars: Episode I - The Chosen One, in which the character is slated to appear in towards the end, the Dark Lord first appeared in a short story called Star Wars: The Tragedy. The story, written by Rhea, focused on the death of Darth Plagueis and the Dark Lord’s ascension to the Sith throne. Despite speaking to Darth Maul in the story, the character does not have any vocal dialogue, nor does his dialogue appear at all. Instead, he communicates to Maul via the Force, and Maul’s responses were crafted in a way that would allow readers to understand what the Dark Lord was saying. This lack of dialogue was a purposeful element of the Dark Lord’s characterization, as Rhea wanted to stress that the Dark Lord is "a presence, not a man, but rather an unstoppable force who’s so powerful that he doesn’t need to lower himself to some primitive thing such as verbally communicating."
Readers reacted positively to the character. MPK, author of the short story River, noted that the character was a departure from Palpatine and seemed more like Darth Nihilus. Rhea agreed that it was a departure, as he "found the idea of someone who is just a presence, one who can still represent a wholly satanic figure, to be much more frightening and compelling." Dalton Wylind, a fan fiction author who reviewed The Tragedy for the official Star Wars Fanon blog, enjoyed the “coldness and the cruelty” in the Dark Lord and thought it was "very memorable."