Air traffic was slow and they could not see any reason for it, nor could they see any Holonet screens. Finally Knarf veered the air speeder down and took a different route.
When they arrived at the Temple, Jedi were bustling about and the air was tense with nervous energy. Shadie reached out in the Force, something was amiss, something illusive, yet… There, above Coruscant, as though many ships were coming out of hyperspace, she felt several gaps in the Force. Sith. And not just any Sith: Kromus’s Sith. She felt a tremor in the Force. They had just come out of hyperspace.
Instinctively she took Knarf’s hand and held it tight. He looked at her carefully, as though trying to read on her face what she had sensed through the Force.
‘Is it Kromus?’ he asked.
‘His Sith,’ she answered, confirming. ‘They are here.’
‘All of them?’
‘No, but many.’
They entered the Council Chamber, still hand in hand. Shadie no longer cared. War was upon them now. Master Juun Kloh stood in the centre of the circular room before the Masters who formed the Council, sitting as they always did, in a large circle around the room. Brenum and Trylia were with him. They seemed somewhat surprised as the pair walked hand in hand, but remained silent about it.
‘Shadie,’ said Master Juun. ‘I don’t know if you sensed the disturbance…’
‘Kromus’s army of Sith,’ she said.
‘Yes. He’s sent them to attack the Jedi.’ He looked at Brenum and Trylia then back to her. ‘You must go now and hurry. Your battle lies at the Crypt.’
‘And at Dathomir,’ said Shadie. ‘The sphere is there, so is Darth Lahnius. First things first.’
‘Do be careful, child,’ said Master Shargal, one of the eldest members of the Council.
‘That is not all, Shadie,’ said Maser Juun. He wore a strange expression.
Brenum and Trylia exchanged glances before looking at Knarf. Shadie only held his hand more tightly as he added his other hand to their clasp, and brought their hands close to his heart.
‘I’m going with Shadie to Dathomir. My path lies with her,’ he said. In that moment, he almost sounded like a Jedi.
‘That is good to hear,’ said Master Juun, nodding, ‘for I have noticed that you strengthen her, but you must both still hear this.’ He turned to the holocom that stood in the centre of the Council table and activated the holoscreen. ‘This message came in early this morning.’
The image of Kromus’s face appeared on the screen.
‘Good day, Jedi,’ he said most contemptuously, ‘if you are watching this recorded vid, then my spies have arrived on Coruscant and soon an army will be upon you. My army of handpicked Sith. They will destroy you. There is only one person who can stop this war: Darth Shadie, my former apprentice. She must come to me, if she can find me.’ His lip curled up in a snarl. ‘I hide and shall remain hidden. If Shadie is as powerful as everyone claims she is, then that should not be a problem.’ He leaned closer into the holocam. ‘I don’t expect many of you Jedi will remain alive by the time she’s found me.’