"Come," the command rebounded in on itself, adding an unnatural echo to the word. Iradox remained rooted in place as his forefather by two and half millennia drifted through the mist. He had faced Sith spirits; ancestors and other more hostile apparitions - even an immensely powerful Force entity. Despite all this, the sight of the long dead Sith monarch filled the Dark Lord with a primal urge to take a step back. He did not.
"Come with me," the apparition repeated, now almost within touching range. "Stay where you are," the Dark Lord warned. The Force rallied around him, forming an invisible barrier that separated Iradox from Atrum. The Sith monarch paused to regard its descendant. "There are things you must see." A tense moment passed, two sets of predatory Sith eyes locking; each ablaze with an intense unholy flame; each never wavering and never blinking. Iradox could sense no sinister intend from his ancestor but knew better than to lower his guard. Still, the pause afforded him time to collect his thoughts: How did he get here? What had happened?
"The shift," he said. "We were performing the Ethereal Shift." The apparition slowly nodded. "Was it successful?" the Dark Lord pressed, eager to know whether all his efforts had born fruit or been for naught; whether he, and all the Sith he had rallied to his cause, had successfully managed to subvert the balance of the Force in favor of the dark side.
"It was; it is; and it will be. To a degree..."
The infernal orbs that was the Dark Lord's eyes narrowed into thin lines. "Explain," he demanded.
"Time passing is a mortal perception, you know this: Tied to a mortal vessel you perceive time as passing in seconds, days and years. But moments do no vanish; they are not consumed like an injected adrenal. Similar to how atoms scattered across the universe gathers into clumps of energy that living beings perceive as matter, so time exists once and forever, spread across the entire continuity of being. Such is what you experience in this realm of the Force, and that is why time holds no meaning here."
Slowly the Dark Lord nodded his comprehension: He did indeed understand this to some degree, if not to the refined level the ancient Sith monarch had displayed. It filled him with a certain level of grim satisfaction and pride; knowing that his seemingly undoable scheme had been successful, or at least partially so. Now that he paid attention, he could sense it as well: The very fabric of the Force that surrounded them was imbued with radiant dark side energy. Off in the distance above the mist, the ethereal sky cracked with flashes of green lightning. The sounds were muffled, as if one was hearing them while submerged beneath water. The result was a sense of eerie quiet despite faint echoes pouring out from an immaterial horizon.
"Even so, time still passes in the mundane plane and my body can only sustain itself for so long in my absence." The Dark Lord straightened and fixed the Sith monarch with a stare of granite. "Therefore, unless I am already deceased, I shall not be coming with you. I have lingered for long enough and I still have things to do in the material world."
The apparition slowly shook its crowned head. "No." Iradox kept his expression stern and unwavering. "I am afraid that such is not your choice to make." he said and initiated the procedure that would draw his Force presence back to his body. He felt himself flow away, saw the ethereal landscape pale and lose its saturation. Then it was as if something tied him down; as if he was chained to an unmovable object that kept him anchored in this realm. The faint echo of Atrum's voice chimed in: "I am afraid that it is."
White-hot rage flashed through the Dark Lord. It was a familiar sensation to the Sith, a welcome one. He seized upon it, feed it to dark energies that latched onto the emotion and grew like a tick draining blood. His arms shoot out towards the apparition and the world erupted into cascades of crackling purple.
Similar to when it had first appeared, the Sith spirit drifted forward. It passed unharmed through the lightning and extended a hand that effortlessly penetrated the Dark Lord's barrier, as if it was part of the very energies making up the invisible shield. Surprise and confusion was replaced by sudden pain as Atrum's finger connected with Iradox's chest. The Dark Lord felt something inside him shift in response to his ancestor's touch: His power was drawn inwards; locked away. Gasping, the Dark Lord fell to one knee.
"You cannot harm me for I am part of you." the ancient Sith monarch announced. "Now, son of Darth Iractor, you will come with me."