They met with Kelbourn and his team at the mercenary camp where his ancestor had served Mandalore the Preserver on Dxun itself, as had been appointed. If Sith were still roaming the moon, there was no need to broadcast the location of the new Mandalorian camp. That was assuming there was a new camp on Onderon’s moon.
‘Are you all right?’ Knarf whispered to Shadie.
‘I’m fine,’ she replied dryly. ‘I’m…just a little anxious.’
Shadie felt in turmoil actually. The Jedi code versus the new sensations Knarf had made her experience, added to everything else going on at the moment, caused her much confusion. Was it wrong because it went against the Jedi code? Or was it right because it felt so good? The sweet taste of Knarf’s lips was still on hers. Oh, he really could kiss well.
Shadie banished the thought and tried to use a Jedi calming technique for her shaking body. She’d barely eaten at all since the previous night; her stomach was causing her as much torment as her mind.
‘It seems I have troubled your soul,’ Knarf said to Shadie.
‘No, you haven’t, Agent Knarf. My soul was already troubled before you entered my life. My emotions don’t revolve around you.’
‘And now I fear I’ve upset you.’
‘Perhaps we should discuss this later.’
Shadie cursed herself for replying so dryly to Knarf. He’d only been kind, receptive of her emotions, and he truly made her smile.
They followed their guide into the abandoned warehouse where sat the rest of the Mandalorian team. At the head of the conference table sat Kelbourn the Fifth.
It was difficult to read Mandalorians. It was easier through the Force, but with their faces completely hidden behind their helmets, it was rather disconcerting and distracting.
‘I am told you are searching your former Sith Master, Mando Jedi,’ said Kelbourn.
‘So how can the Mandalorians help you?’
‘You are mercenaries, spies, bounty hunters. You have certain resources and skills…’
‘And why should the Mandalorians help you, Jedi?’ interrupted another Mandalorian.
‘The man I hunt, the Sith Lord I hunt, came to your planet, on Mandalore, killed my parents, Mandalorians, and kidnapped me, all because I was Force-sensitive. And he did this in the hopes to forge me into the perfect Sith pupil. I never knew my parents, I was but a toddler. But if any of you did…’ she probed the room and found her quarry and looked him straight in the eyes, or helmet’s eyes, ‘…now’s your chance to exact revenge.’
The Mandalorian stirred, so did his female warrior friend sitting next to him.
‘Have a seat,’ said Kelbourn.
The Jedi and their friend sat down. Kelbourn hit a switch and a three-dimensional projection of the Sith sphere appeared.
‘What do we know of this Sith ship?’ asked Kelbourn.
‘It speaks through the Force,’ replied Shadie, ‘and it communicated to me that its current Master is Darth Kromus, the one I seek. It also spoke of an ancient Crypt. From what I understand, it was left dormant by an ancient Sith Lord who created that Crypt and my former Master found it. It also said it was far from Coruscant, far from Korriban, far from light. I am lead to believe it lies near the Unknown Regions.’
‘The Unknown Regions are perhaps unknown,’ said a Mandalorian, ‘but they are not that far from light; there are many star systems and planets.’
‘The edge of the galaxy perhaps?’ suggested Brenum.
‘Unlikely,’ said another Mando. ‘Far from light means perhaps close to it.’
‘So it was trying to fool me…a ruse, to make me believe the Crypt was far from the Core?’ speculated Shadie.
‘Yes!’ replied Knarf, a little too enthusiastically. All eyes and helmets turned to him. ‘The Core is the brightest area of the galaxy, due to the concentration of star systems; it is also where you received your training. At the Jedi Temple, on Coruscant. So, yes, it could simply mean far from the Core, therefore in the Outer Rim, but also far from you. Far from your light. The light of the Jedi, the light that took you away from Kromus as his padawan.’
‘You know, that actually makes a lot of sense,’ said Trylia. ‘But where in the Outer Rim?’
Kelbourn pressed another key and a projection of the galaxy appeared.
‘We Mandalorians have means of searching, as many mercs have gathered much information on the various planets, moons and star systems and hyperspace lanes of this galaxy,’ he said, ‘even the uncharted ones. Let me punch in certain details we know, perhaps our intel will find us a planet.’
‘All right,’ said Shadie. ‘Outer Rim, in a sector with not too many star systems, therefore relatively close to the Unknown Regions. The way the sphere spoke of the ancient Crypt, it sounded like it was buried deep below the surface.’
‘So caves that go deep under the ground,’ said Kelbourn punching in the details.
‘Did you notice how the four Sith the Mandalorians helped us kill fought?’ asked Brenum. ‘Apart from Lahnius, who had great ease fighting us, they all seemed very rooted, almost as though the gravity on Dxun was denser than what they were used to. If Kromus has founded a new academy to rival the other Sith academy, I’d put my credits on a planet with low gravity.’
‘Jedi he may be,’ exclaimed a Mandalorian in purple and brown armour, ‘but the barve has skill. A Mandalorian analysis, that was.’
Brenum smiled and shrugged. There was a beep.
‘We have a planet,’ said Kelbourn. The projection zoomed in to a single planet. ‘Gravlex Med.’
‘It looks like it’s right next to Dantooine,’ said Trylia. ‘He wouldn’t go so close to the ruins of the Jedi Enclave; that planet, Gravlex Med, is uncharted and unrecorded.’
‘Wouldn’t he?’ said Shadie. ‘It makes perfect sense, especially where Kromus is concerned.’
‘How?’ asked Brenum.
‘To counterbalance the light with the dark, a new Sith academy where the old Jedi once used to be, now destroyed, in the Raioballo System.’ Shadie looked at Knarf. ‘To cast shade. And I will confront Kromus there and cast light upon his underground Crypt.’
Knarf smiled at her, mouth slightly ajar, amused, the top of his cheeks reddening ever so slightly.
‘Why do I get the feeling I’m missing something here?’ Trylia murmured to Shadie, her lips barely moving. Shadie only blushed.
‘And as you would not have noticed certain crucial facts without that fight here on Dxun, or lived to analyse it without our intervening, we now require payment for aiding you,’ said Kelbourn.
‘Absolutely,’ said Shadie. ‘What do you require from us?’
Shadie’s heart sank and Knarf’s eyes went big.
‘Sithspawn!’ she muttered under her breath. She’d been expecting them to demand credits.
‘Me!’ cried Knarf. ‘But I’m with them. I n… They need me.’
‘We have a mission that requires your skills,’ explained Kelbourn. ‘Our slicers are all occupied and none among my team possess the necessary particular skills to crack a certain code. They’ve tried, I’ve tried, to no avail. We need you, and it would save us a great deal of trouble and time if you joined us. We are a good way from Mandalore and we must go to Hutt Space.’
Knarf looked at Shadie, sadness in his eyes. Her heart began to pound; those eyes, the way he looked at her, the way she felt just to be in his presence.
‘You have one standard hour to get ready. In one hour both our ships will be out of this system,’ said Kelbourn. The Mandalorians began to rise from the table.
Shadie’s mind began to race. Hutt Space was a very long way from Gravlex Med. They would have to make a few jumps to the Hydian Way hyperspace lane and then make their way to the Braxant Run and then a few more jumps to Gravlex Med. No way would Knarf have time to catch up to them before she reached her former Master. She lowered her gaze.
‘Can we have that talk before I go?’ asked Knarf in a tender voice.
Shadie looked up and realised she and Knarf were standing alone in the room. She had not even noticed herself rising from her seat.
‘What is there to talk about?’
‘Your emotions, the energies between us. I’m no Jedi, but we certainly have a connection. There is something here, it’s strong, and I’d like to explore it further, see where it might lead us.’
‘But the code says… You make me feel sensations I’ve never felt before and I don’t know if it’s wrong.’
‘It’s only wrong if they make you feel bad.’
Shadie laughed. ‘No, they make me feel good.’
Knarf smiled. ‘They make me feel good as well. You truly are beautiful, Shadie.’ He put a hand on her face. ‘You are a Lady, but not of the Sith, a Lady of the light. If you like, you can be my Lady of the light.’
‘Come on! He said an hour,’ shouted Brenum entering the room. Shadie and Knarf quickly took a step away from each other. ‘We have things to prepare and I require you, Agent Knarf, before we all leave this Bantha dung of a jungle moon.’
He walked out again.
‘Knarf,’ said Shadie taking his hand. He squeezed hers gently and as they sat down, put a hand on her thigh, which sent ripples of pleasantly warm shivers through her body. ‘I may be undecided about whether this is right or wrong, and I may be anxious about it all, but I want to explore this universe of new sensations with you. And I want to see where it leads us. I…I very much enjoy your company and…’
Knarf was kissing her again, and this time she was not denying herself any pleasures, as they both allowed themselves to feel each other’s faces, arms, bodies, the energies… After a while, they had to pull away from each other, otherwise Shadie was sure they would have ended up doing a lot more than just kissing in the old Mandalorian warehouse.
‘Wow, all this energy,’ said Knarf, holding Shadie’s face, his other hand in her hair.
Shadie giggled. ‘All right,’ she said, ‘I will be your Lady.’
Knarf smiled. ‘My Lady.’ He kissed her again.
‘What part of now do you not understand!’ shouted Brenum
‘On our way,’ Shadie shouted back.
They made their way back to the Krayt Dragon for the preparations. While Trylia was setting the coordinates in the navicomp, Brenum and Knarf had gone aft. What it was Brenum wanted decoded, neither female knew. Trylia’s head tails moved in wonderment as she set to work.
When they finally emerged, Knarf had his luggage.
‘I’ll, uh, see you soon, yeah?’ he said. He smiled, his gaze piercing hers once more. Those deep brown eyes reading her better than any Jedi she knew. Then he turned and left the ship. Brenum got the Dragon fired up for takeoff.
‘Sub-light engines are online,’ he announced.
The Dragon lifted into space as Shadie sighed. The Mandalorian ship rose into view in the forward viewport, and then it was gone, into hyperspace.
‘All right,’ said Brenum. ‘Can’t stay in subspace forever.’
‘What are you doing?’ asked Trylia, ‘I’ve already entered the coordinates.’
‘We’re not going to Gravlex Med,’ replied Brenum. ‘Not yet anyway.’ He turned to Shadie and smiled. ‘There’s someone on Nar Shaddaa who knows about the ancient Crypt and who can give us some advice on what to expect; an old exiled Jedi who’s been to that Crypt. He’s one of the Jedi whom Knarf has met before.’ Shadie smiled; Nar Shaddaa was in the heart of Hutt Space. ‘Besides, if anything goes wrong on his mission, we’ll be there to rescue the nerf herder, and then he can join us again.’
‘Thank you,’ said Shadie.
“Darth Shadie: Lady of the Force” is written by Celinka Serre.
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.