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.’
He paused and somehow his eyes in the recording seemed to find her, almost as though he had predicted exactly at which spot she would be standing while watching the vid.
‘Oh, and Shadie, you better pray that lover of yours is far from Coruscant when my army arrives. It’s him they’re there for, partly.’ Kromus made a fist with his hand as he spoke. ‘I look forward to personally crushing the life out of him — the same way I did your parents. The same way I will you, if you continue to follow the petty rules of the Jedi.’
He snarled and the image flickered out.
Shadie looked at Knarf. She could feel his heart racing. Who could blame him? There were hundreds of Sith on planet hunting him.
‘I’m not afraid,’ he said. ‘I’m with you.’
Well, everyone knew their secret by now, there was no use denying anything anymore.
‘And I wouldn’t want you anywhere else,’ she told him. She turned to Master Juun. ‘The sphere will lead me to where Kromus hides and protect me from any traps he’s lain out for me. But you must know, he’s built a Holocron. Exile Vorum revealed it to us as he died. I have tried to search where Kromus could have hidden it, but I do not know where it lies. A Sith Holocron can be very dangerous. We may have to search for it across many planets.’
‘We’ll take care of the Holocron in due time, once Lahnius and Kromus have been destroyed,’ her Master reassured.
Shadie halted her thoughts. She’d caught the slight tone. ‘We?’
‘Yes,’ replied Master Juun. ‘I will clear the way for you, then take my fighter shuttle to Dathomir. My path lies with you as well. I wish to see you off on Dathomir, safely. Not that I don’t believe in your abilities, Shadie, but once you start that fight against Kromus…’
‘Anything can happen,’ she completed. ‘I understand.’
Just then, she felt great pain in the Force: death. Knarf must have felt it from her, because he looked at her, compassionate pain on his face. The other Jedi in the room reacted to the disturbance as well. The Sith had destroyed their first Republic frigate and everyone on-board that ship had died, silenced by the dark side, by the power turbolaser batteries of a destroyer ship.
Shadie looked at Brenum and Trylia and held out her other hand. They took it.
‘We are ready,’ said Trylia. Her striped head tails twitching nervously.
‘We are,’ confirmed Brenum.
Knarf put one hand to join theirs. ‘So am I,’ he said. ‘I believe in you, Shadie.’
She smiled at Knarf. ‘I am ready also.’
The Temple shook a little.
‘Turbolaser batteries from the Destroyers,’ said Master Juun. ‘They will try to destroy the Temple from space. Go now!’
They nodded and hurried to the Krayt Dragon, one behind the other. The Sith were already on Coruscant and Jedi were battling them left and right.
It didn’t take long before they arrived at the ship, at its docking berth at the Temple. Shadie knew, once they’d be in hyperspace, it would be the calm before the storm.
Lightsabers sizzled and crackled about everywhere near the Temple’s landing bay. Knarf got his blaster.
‘No,’ said Shadie. ‘No time to fight our way to the ship. We’ll dodge. Trust me.’
He looked reluctant but did not argue and holstered his blaster. Shadie took his hand and they ran hand in hand. Brenum had already activated the automatic power up sequence; the landing ramp was down and they ran into the ship as though no Sith had noticed them. Brenum and Trylia hurried to the cockpit. Shadie pressed the key to raise the ramp.
‘Shadie,’ said Knarf, gently pulling her arm as she was hurrying to follow her friends, still holding Knarf’s hand, as an indication to slow down. ‘You don’t have to squeeze so tightly. I’m not going anywhere. I’m here. We’re going to fight this war together.’
He gently touched her face. She smiled. He always seemed to know the right thing to say, somehow always seemed to read her mind.
‘This is it,’ she said. ‘Part of me can’t help but be scared.’
‘You have nothing to fear, my Lady.’
Her heart warmed at the mention. She closed her eyes, taking a deep breath, and opened them again. His brown eyes were looking into hers with comfort. Knarf put both hands on her face and kissed her with all the passion in the galaxy. Where he’d learnt to kiss so well, Shadie still could not begin to guess, but he certainly knew how to woo a Jedi. Then, he looked at her with a serious expression of tenderness.
‘Hey!’ called out Brenum’s voice. ‘What’s taking you so long? There’ll be plenty of time for that later, once we’ve entered hyperspace. Get your kriffing backsides up here while we launch. And Knarf,’ he added quickly, ‘get yourself to the cannon turret.’
Knarf laughed and held his mouth ajar. ‘You’re blushing.’
‘You don’t have to emphasise.’
‘No, but I choose to.’
Shadie laughed. Despite everything that was going on, everything that could make her unhappy, he knew how to make her smile.
‘Come on,’ she said.
She ran to the cockpit, Knarf head to the turret.
‘Time to test a bit more of that Battle Meditation you’ve been practicing, Shadie,’ said Trylia.
Shadie took a deep breath, standing in the small bridge, and guided the ships into orbit, using the battle meld to help the Jedi and the Republic ships keep the Sith off them. It also helped guide Knarf, as he kept gunning at the enemy fighters. Shadie could sense two Sith fighters in attack formation coming in hot at a Republic fighter. She nudged the man in the cockpit who leaned the throttle in and veered up, giving Knarf a clear shot at the Sith fighters. She could sense him turn his seat and aim at them. One shot sent one colliding into the other. There was a blossom of fire, which she only sensed, but she heard Knarf shout out in pride. Then the Dragon shook and she could hear laser fire streak its stern.
Brenum felt Shadie’s presence in the Force and sent the ship aft. He turned the ship the way they came, thus giving Knarf another clear shot. A few laser shots later, two of the three ships were down. One Sith fighter was stubborn and kept manoeuvring to avoid damage. He hit the Dragon again, Shadie heard something pop somewhere, Brenum cursed and Trylia soothed that it wasn’t anything vital. Brenum kept veering and dodging. Finally, he turned the ship back outwards from Coruscant’s gravity well. Shadie led several Republic fighters their way to help clear the way. A Republic frigate came in defensive position close to the Dragon, giving them the opportunity they needed to slowly make their way out of the planet’s gravity well, far enough into subspace to make their jump out system.
After some time, Shadie sensed their escort veer back towards the jumble of fighting ships. Shadie opened her eyes in time to see the blackness of space, with explosions behind them and lights flickering as enemy and republic fighters continued to attack each other, streak into star lines and then into the blue hue of hyperspace.
* * *
‘Blast it!’ snapped Brenum.
‘What now?’ asked Trylia.
‘Every time this strange signal comes in, I’m never fast enough to try to detect it.’
‘Let’s have a look,’ said Knarf, leaning from his seat looking onto the pilot consoles. After they had made the jump to hyperspace, Knarf had joined them in the cockpit. They had been silently sitting at various stations, trying to keep busy and their minds off the battle that awaited them.
Trylia in the co-pilot’s seat pressed a few keys.
‘It’s a binary message,’ said Knarf.
‘Reaching us in hyperspace?’ said Brenum sceptically.
‘Hey, it’s not that difficult to slice a dish; long range signals can reach ships in hyperspace.’
‘Easy for you to say.’
‘Maybe it’s Master Juun,’ suggested Trylia.
Shadie watched from her seat. She needed to clear her head. She stood without a word and went into her meditation chamber. She sat down and closed her eyes. Shortly after, the door chimed. She reached out with the Force: Knarf. She’d suspected so.
He entered as Shadie used the Force to open the door and close it behind him. He sat down cross-legged in front of her. She kept her eyes closed, though she could imagine his look of surprise that a Jedi could use the Force eyes closed for such meticulous things. Eyes closed, but not blind. She could sense how he was sitting, how he was looking at her, how he was feeling.
‘Mind if I join you?’ He waited. She said nothing. ‘If you want me to go…’
She opened her eyes. It brought her comfort for him to be here at this time.
‘Are you all right, Shadie?’ he asked.
‘Maybe not entirely.’
‘Are you frightened?’
‘Perhaps, yes. For so long, it seemed my purpose as a Jedi was to destroy Darth Kromus. Once he’s gone, what will I do?’
‘You are a Jedi. The Force will tell you what to do.’
‘Kromus was my Master. He was like my older brother. He had given me purpose, albeit revenge is not really a good purpose, he showed me to use the Force in many powerful ways. I felt so betrayed when I found out the truth. I started hunting him, killing his minions who tried to stop me. But when I sought the Jedi, I became someone else. I no longer had any need for revenge. No need for hatred. No need to kill Kromus. But he, he wanted to kill me, now that I was a Jedi, combining light side and dark side powers. To him, I betrayed him, I betrayed the Sith.’
‘I thought the Sith believed you’d return to them after your Jedi training, more powerful than ever.’
‘Many still do,’ Shadie said. ‘But Kromus thinks I won’t, and I’m too dangerous for him. I betrayed him and I stand in the way of his Sith Academy. The other Sith want him destroyed as much as the Jedi do.’
Knarf put a hand on Shadie’s. ‘He thinks? Why not he knows.’
‘Because I don’t know. Destroying him could turn me to the dark side for good, and then I would truly be Dark Lady of the Sith, the one who brought justice to all the Sith. And that’s what frightens me most. It frightens me more than death.’
‘Shadie, you are a powerful Jedi. If you falter, you will not fall far before the light brings you back. You will not turn to the dark side. You are a Lady of pure light. Kromus may taunt you, but in your heart, you are good. Otherwise knowing the truth about your origins would not have taken any evil out of you. True evil cannot be saved. But you are light, in here.’
He put a hand on her heart and looked at her with that piercing gaze of his, those brown eyes saying so much more than his words. He leaned forward and kissed her and as they kissed, he leaned more and more in and Shadie leaned more and more back, until they were lying on her meditation mat and their energies were as one once more. Their breathing came in syncopations, and they held each other as though it was the last time they would be able to intimate with each other. And for one long lasting moment, their energies was all that mattered.
Then Knarf held Shadie in his arms tightly, Shadie felt herself shaking a bit.
‘We’re approaching Dathomir,’ she said.
Knarf kissed her fiercely. ‘I would do anything to still time and have you in my arms indefinitely. But the sooner you get to the Crypt, the sooner you can leave, and…’ he smiled amusingly, mouth ajar ‘the sooner I can have you back in my bed.’
Shadie blushed. ‘Perhaps I should tell Kromus to hurry up and let me kill him so I can get back to you before the next nova explosion.’
Knarf laughed. ‘You just remember your light, and you will win that fight.’
‘I know. And I’m not scared of dying, it’s the…’
‘…Dark side,’ overlapped Knarf. ‘I know.’
He smiled and passed his hand in her hair. Her comlink chimed. She reached for it.
‘Coming out of hyperspace in thirty standard minutes,’ said Brenum.
‘All right,’ said Shadie. She turned her head to Knarf. ‘Time to get ready.’
“Darth Shadie: Lady of the Force” is written by Celinka Serre (2018).
Disclaimer: The Characters in this Fan-Fiction are new and have original names. The story is an original written work. The story is derivative and consistent of Fan-Fiction since it borrows the franchise world of Star Wars. Certain jargon and places, or concepts mentioned, along with the SW Old Republic universe belong to Lucasfilm Ltd. and Disney. No characters or storylines from the films are used. No storylines or characters from the games or books are used. A handful of characters from the games may be referenced, but are not the main focus in this fanfic story. This fan-fiction story falls under FairUse.