Brenum and Agent Knarf were tinkering at the control console, while Trylia and Shadie were looking on, checking things on other consoles.
‘So if a power is of the dark side, why do Jedi use it?’
‘It’s not the power but how you use it that determines whether it’s light or dark, Agent Knarf.’
‘I think you shouldn’t be so rude, Brenum,’ said Trylia. ‘Our guest is helping you fix the hyperdrive.’
‘I just think it’s fascinating,’ replied Knarf. ‘It’s a whole other universe to tackle.’
‘What?’ asked Brenum cynically.
Shadie snorkelled. She had to hand it to the man; he certainly had a way with words. It had been several days since they had begun repairing the ship, and he always knew when to say something to make her smile, it seemed. She looked up from her datapad. Agent Knarf’s glasses were dusty, but his brown eyes still pierced within her soul.
‘When you say universe, what exactly do you mean?’ she asked.
‘Well,’ said Knarf, ‘there are things, projects or aspects of life, that in themselves are too detailed and complicated, and each need a different approach. So it’s like a whole different universe.’
‘Fascinating!’ Shadie replied, probing with the Force. There was an energy about this Knarf fellow.
‘What’s so fascinating about him comparing a project to a universe?’ complained Brenum. ‘We use the Force.’
‘And that’s a whole other universe I have yet to comprehend. Perhaps one of you could enlighten me.’
Shadie’s heart skipped a beat. Why had he looked up at her while saying that? Something in his tone… Trylia interrupted her thoughts.
‘You know, Knarf, the Force is something not all Jedi understand fully,’ Trylia had said it looking at Brenum. ‘We listen to it, are attuned to it, feel it, use it. Why the light and dark? Some like to believe they can coexist.’
‘But one must be careful,’ replied Shadie. ‘To forfeit serenity and surrender to passion can become very dangerous.’
‘Uhm, I like danger, me,’ said Knarf.
‘The Jedi also have the rule of no attachments,’ continued Shadie.
‘But how come you still go by your Sith name, Shadie? Why, you are a universe as well. Your story fascinates me, although…’
A trill came from the cockpit. Everyone looked up.
Trylia stood from her crouched position and head for the cockpit first.
‘Incoming vessel, unknown make,’ she said as everyone followed her in. ‘Coming in very hot and fast…literally. They’re going to crash on Dxun.’
‘Any signals?’ asked Knarf.
‘Communications are jammed,’ said Brenum, ‘but there’s this.’
Knarf looked at the coded series of digits the ship had created when the Krayt Dragon‘s automatic diagnostics system had come online and tried to identify it.
‘It’s ancient, that’s for sure,’ he said, still glancing at the code. ‘Nothing I’ve ever seen. But I think it’s safe to bet it has Sith aboard.’
‘You call that safe, Knarf?’
‘Enough. Brenum, he was captured by, not working with or for, the Sith,’ said Shadie.
‘The ship has crashed,’ said Trylia.
‘All right, we need to investigate. You two stay with the Dragon. Continue repairs. And be ready to act as my backup if I need it. Knarf and I will investigate.’
‘Why does he…’
‘Because he might be able to decode things for me,’ said Shadie. ‘Besides, this is my mission, therefore I decide, and I need to be the one to investigate. It’s my former Master who’s sending assassins after me. And I want to keep an eye on our guest.’
‘Wow, guest just sounded like prisoner,’ smiled Knarf. ‘But you know,’ he smiled evermore, looking Shadie up and down, ‘if you want me on your own, all you need to do is ask.’
Shadie, bewildered and astonished at his humour at such a serious moment, felt herself blush.
‘I assume you know how to use a blaster?’ was all she found to say with her dry throat.
‘Yes, I know how to use my weapon.’
Trylia stifled a laugh.
‘Have fun out there,’ said Brenum, as Shadie rolled her eyes and made her way out, followed by Knarf.
As she left the cockpit, she expanded her hearing senses and heard her friends.
‘Quite a sense of humour,’ said Brenum sarcastically.
‘Oh, I think he’s funny.’
‘Glad one of us thinks so.’
‘I also think he’s charming.’
‘You think so?’
‘Yes, charming Shadie.’
* * *
The trek to the downed ship went with little incident, aside from the odd predator.
‘Are you all right, Shadie?’
‘We are awfully close to the Sith Temple. That Temple houses the tomb of Freedon Nadd. The air is thick with the dark side.’
‘You fear falling back to the dark side?’ Shadie nodded. ‘But you turned to the light, so you can’t turn back.’
‘It’s not as black and white as that. All my life I believed a lie, I was a Sith based on a lie. But now that that lie has shed light on me, my anger, sadness, remorse, regret, all those emotions could turn me to the dark side, and it wouldn’t be based on a lie, but on the truth that lingers within my own emotions.’
‘I see,’ replied Knarf. ‘Is that why you follow the Jedi rules so carefully? You fear that if you stray you may turn to the dark side?’ There was a pause. ‘Shadie, I don’t believe it’s healthy for a Jedi to refrain from feeling any emotion at all. You spoke of no attachment or no passion. If you don’t let yourself have at least a bit of that, you will be deprived, and then there might be a greater risk of becoming a Sith. Whereas if you let yourself feel a bit of passion, a bit of attachment, it could brighten your life. Just look at me,’ he smiled broadly, ‘I don’t deny myself any pleasures.’ Shadie scowled. ‘I always found Jedi to be so serious anyway. Jedi or not, you only live once. Might as well let yourself feel everything there is to feel in life.’
‘That would mean letting myself…’
‘Feel. Not use negative emotions for dark purposes. Not the same thing.’
‘For someone who doesn’t know much about the Force, you sure know how to analyse it.’
‘I’ve been observing you,’ said Knarf. ‘And you friends,’ he added quickly, ‘that’s all.’
Shadie had opened herself up to the Force, and she knew she had numbed other parts of herself. To fully be open might allow herself to heal and become a more powerful Jedi, but it would also hurt more, for she would truly feel more. That’s what scared her; feeling those dark emotions.
They arrived at the wreckage. Smoke rose from the ship, but the ship was fully intact. Shadie shuddered at the sight of its spherical base. She could sense its energy, so strong with the dark side. She staggered back and almost fell. Knarf caught her and steadied her.
‘What is it?’ he asked. Shadie could not find words to explain it. ‘It’s the ship, isn’t it? It has dark side energy.’
‘Can you sense it?’
‘No, but I can sense you. I’m perceptive to others’ feelings. It was also obvious in your reaction.’
‘That…is no ordinary ship. It’s a Sith meditation sphere.’
Knarf’s jaw tightened and his eyes widened. ‘You mean to say, what the legends speak of: a ship that is commanded through the Force, that is Sith itself and that responds to and communicates with other Sith through the Force?’
‘And where are the Sith who were travelling in it?’
The other Masters don’t matter. Shadie gasped. Your power is stronger than theirs. You are a true Master. I could take you to the Ancient Crypt, if you earned that right. I can feel you. You and The Master of the Crypt are connected.
Shadie began to shake and started walking to the sphere.
‘What are you doing?’ asked Knarf suspiciously.
It does not matter what you are doing, but what you will do. If you destroy the Master of the Crypt, you can be the new Master. I can show you secrets and powers no other Sith can.
Knarf ran in front of Shadie, though she more felt him than saw him. He took her by the arms.
‘Shadie, what are you doing? It’s kind of scary.’
‘It’s talking to me,’ she replied mechanically.
‘The sphere. Through the Force. I need to speak with it.’
‘Uhm, I don’t think that’s a good idea. Maybe I should call Brenum and Trylia and let them know what we’ve found…’
Shadie used the Force to push Knarf away. His comlink went flying and he fell to the ground.
‘Aah, that hurts.’
‘They are not worthy of the power this ship holds. I can be the true Master of the Crypt.’
‘What are you talking about?’
Shadie put a hand on the sphere and felt a surge of Force energy flow through her body.
Knarf started towards her again. Shadie used the Force to push him back as he tried to advance. She barely perceived from the corner of the eye that in consequence he was walking in place.
‘What in the kriffing kark!’
‘Where is the Crypt?’
Far from Korriban. Far from Coruscant. Far from light. I will take you to it.
‘The Master of the Crypt. You say he and I are connected. Like brother and sister? Master and student?’
He hunts you and you hunt him. But your power is greater than his. He did not earn ownership of me. He did not claim his mastery. He stole me from the Crypt. But you can earn it. You can be THE Master.
‘I wish to be the Master of the Crypt and destroy Darth Kromus.’
You will be Darth Shadie, Dark Lady of the Sith, Master of the Crypt.
Shadie realised Knarf had been shouting her name for some time. She turned her head towards him.
‘I will be Darth Shadie, Master of the Crypt…Lady of the Sith.’
‘I know why you keep your Sith name. It’s a reminder that wherever there is light, there is darkness, like the darkness within you. It creates shade. There cannot be either one without the other.’ Knarf paused. ‘And I believe you feel you are the shade, the one to cast darkness upon the light. But I don’t think so. I believe you are the combination of light and dark, therefore the shade. You are not the darkness that will engulf the light in your life. You are not total darkness, maybe not total light, but…’
Shadie, keeping her hand on the sphere, turned slightly more towards Knarf. With his piercing brown eyes, he looked directly into hers.
‘…You have the power to cast light upon all that is dark. And you have the power to be pure light.’
Shadie took her hand off the sphere and fell to her hands and knees. Her pull on him gone, able to move again, Knarf ran towards Shadie and helped her get up. She let him steer her away from the ship, which was still calling out to her:
Master of the Crypt. Dark Lady of the Sith.
When they were far enough, Shadie started to shake again.
‘It’s all right, Shadie.’
Shadie looked at Knarf.
‘What have I done?’
‘Why, you’ve done nothing.’
‘I almost hurt you. Well, severely hurt you. I almost took that ship… Thank you. I don’t know what would’ve happened had you not helped me. You…saved me from my dark side.’
‘No, I didn’t. You did, yourself. You had me practically pinned down with the Force. You could have killed me instead. You could have, instead of talking to the ship, hopped in. I merely spoke words that I believe are true and you recognised them as true because it is the true you. Had you truly been Sith, you would have shut me up, ignored me or killed…’
‘But had you not been there to speak those words…’
‘Your soul would have spoken them instead.’
‘In any case, thank you.’ Shadie blinked a few times, taking a deep break.
‘You’re not too hurt?’
‘No,’ Knarf smiled. ‘You’re very terrifying when you use the Force… And very beautiful too.’
Shadie felt her face get hot.
‘Especially when you blush,’ continued Knarf.
Shadie looked down as they walked, trying to hide her face, somehow. She was smiling, she realised.
‘I’m beautiful when I use the Force?’
Shadie let herself feel and smile more and laughed.
‘You ain’t seen nothing yet, Knarf.’
* * *
Recounting the incident to Brenum and Trylia was less troublesome than Shadie had anticipated.
‘So we have, I don’t know, many Sith running around on Dxun,’ said Brenum, ‘a Sith meditation sphere…’
‘But a few clues about where Kromus is,’ said Trylia.
‘You think the sphere meant the Unknown Regions?’ asked Knarf.
‘Not sure, but once we reach Mandalore, I’m sure some of the Mandalorians could help us out,’ replied Shadie.
‘Well, scanners are back online,’ said Brenum. ‘I could not detect any base on this moon. Of course, if it’s secret… The Dragon should be ready for a fly about soon enough. I’m almost done fixing the shields.’
‘Wait a parsec,’ said Knarf. ‘You left Korriban?’
‘Yes.’ Brenum nodded, once.
‘And ended up on Dxun? Which is farther from Mandalore. Now I’m not a pilot, but you are,’ he pointed at Brenum.
‘Hey, I entered the coordinates in the navicomp properly. We thought the navicomp had been hit during the brief pursuit from the Sith ships that were attacking us when we left Korriban’s orbit.’
‘Brenum’s been a Jedi longer than me,’ said Shadie, reading Knarf’s face. They’d already speculated about how they’d ended up star systems farther than they had planned. ‘And he may not have double-checked the nav coordinates, but he knows mechanics and ships well. He entered the proper coordinates.’
‘Hey, come to think of it, though,’ said Brenum, ‘when I was running diagnostics and making repairs to the hyperdrive, I didn’t notice anything wrong with the navicomp. If it was malfunctioning enough to send us here, it should have been fried.’
‘You didn’t think of mentioning this sooner?’ said Trylia, throwing her hands up.
‘Hey, I was just glad it was up and running; I didn’t give it any second’s thought.’ He paused. ‘You think it got sabotaged somehow while we were on Korriban, so that no matter what coordinates we entered, the ship would come here instead?’
There was a pause.
‘Outside!’ the three Jedi said in unison and began to run out, Knarf following behind.
When all four ran down the landing ramp, they found themselves facing four Sith and their crimson blades already ignited. A rush from the Force told Shadie to turn around. At the top of the Dragon’s ramps stood a tall Sith clad in black, with black robes. He took his hood off to reveal dark eyes, spiked hair and a menacing smile.
‘A stowaway?’ said a bewildered Knarf.
‘My Master taught me to hide myself in the Force as he does himself. Which is why you could not detect me. Why you will never find him.’
‘Kromus will die and I will be the one to ensure that!’ shouted Shadie. ‘I will find him.’
The Sith turned towards Shadie and his eyes met hers. Oh, this was Kromus’s true new apprentice. She could sense his power, and he basked in the dark side.
‘Your thoughts betray you, Darth Shadie. Just as you betrayed your Master.’
‘He is no longer my Master!’ she replied between gritted teeth.
The Sith began walking down the ramp.
‘Whereas I,’ he continued, ‘Darth Lahnius, shall never betray him!’
He lifted his arm and began choking Knarf with the Force. Knarf brought a hand to his throat, croaking.
Shadie sent lightning towards Lahnius, but he leapt up and landed beside the gaping Knarf. He plunged his blade towards the man and a sizzle of yellow from Brenum’s blade brought a great sense of relief to Shadie as her friend blocked the Sith’s attack.
Then, the battle had commenced and chaos reigned. Five Sith against three Jedi and one non-Force user who managed to sprint away and get his blaster in hand, despite his near death. Blades crackled everywhere as the three Jedi danced about blocking each of their enemies’ blows. Shadie sent lightning and pushed with the Force every chance she got, flurrying with her staff blade. Everyone was lunging, slashing, jumping, moving with great speed, and colours blended as each blade made contact with a Sith’s; green, red, blue, yellow, purple.
Trylia cut both legs off one Sith. But another was upon her. Brenum fought with both his blades, parrying two Sith at once, and Shadie was alone with Lahnius, duelling her former Master’s new grand apprentice. He was strong, powerful and she could not predict any of his movements. He hid himself in the Force even as he used it.
Every now and again a blaster bolt went flying, but Agent Knarf could not help them with the battle. They would soon tire and…
Out of the darkness of the night, appeared a large number of — Shadie looked at them carefully — Mandalorians. They’d been in stealth in their beskar armour; stealth field generators. That was why it seemed as though they’d appeared from thin air. Mandalorian beskar was strong enough to sustain several hits from a lightsaber without any damage to the armour. There were at least a dozen of them, equipped with either assault rifles, repeater blasters, shock sticks, vibroblades, blaster pistols, mythosaur axes and several concussion grenades.
Within moments, the battle was over.
Lahnius leapt up high into the air and used the Force to run from any lightsaber or blaster shot.
Shadie looked around at the four dead Sith lying on the ground.
‘Is everyone unharmed?’ asked Trylia.
Knarf approached from his hiding spot. ‘I think so,’ he said with a gruff voice.
Shadie started towards him, then thought better of it. If anything was to happen between them, better it remain secret…for now…at least until she sorted out her emotions. Shadie shook her head. How could she be thinking such thoughts, after such a battle.
‘Thank you,’ she said to the Mandalorians.
A tall Mandalorian clad in dark armour approached her.
‘I am Kelbourn the Fifth of Clan Kandera, named after my great, great, great, great grandfather Kelbourn the First, who served Mandalore the Preserver. I am Clan Leader and in charge of this mission. A Jedi Master came to Mandalore to inform us that a certain team of young Jedi would be seeking our aid. He asked that we help you in exchange for whatever Mandalore chose. He mentioned the story of the Mando child taken from murdered parents, lied to, and raised as a Sith, now turned Jedi. When you failed to arrive at the time our spies estimated, we investigated. Hyperspace signatures gathered from our spies on Korriban helped us to track you here. Our apologies for taking so long. We mercenaries prefer caution to speed.’
‘Wow, I greatly appreciate it, thank you. We are in your dept. I am Shadie, the Mando child our Master spoke of. I didn’t realise he’d gone to such lengths to ensure our safe arrival at Mandalore.’
‘The Sith are not the only ones following you, Jedi. And were you not of Mando origin, we would not be helping you. We have our own wars to fight.’
He handed out a datapad.
‘Here are coordinates to follow. We will rendezvous there, on this moon, in the morning.’
‘We might need to fix the navicomp,’ said Brenum. Trylia nudged him. Shadie suppressed a smile. Not only had they just had their necks saved by the proud Mandalorians, but also Master Juun Kloh had been keeping an eye on them, to help them, and she knew the navicomp was probably fine; Darth Lahnius must have changed the coordinates after their first jump.
‘You’ll have time before morning,’ replied Kelbourn. ‘We’ve agreed to help you. However, we cannot linger here indefinitely when one Sith still remains on this moon.’
‘We understand,’ said Trylia. ‘Thank you.’
The Mandalorians walked away, reactivating their stealth field generators.
‘Creepy,’ murmured Knarf, watching them disappear into the jungle night of Dxun.
Brenum had picked up the Sith weapons and started up the ramp, followed by Trylia. Shadie waited for both to be out of sight. She stood outside the ship for a while. She was aware that Knarf stood watching her. She turned and walked to him.
‘Are you all right?’ she asked.
‘I am,’ he said, putting a hand on her face, ‘when you are near me.’
Shadie let herself feel instead of resisting. His hand was warm upon her face. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Time seemed to still itself. She felt energy flow between her and Knarf, not just the Force, but something else, something different, something she had not experienced before. Or perhaps it was the Force, but on another level, one which she was very much enjoying. She felt Knarf’s forehead touch hers. His breath seemed as irregular as hers, breathing in gasps and syncopations. His lips lingered before hers, touching yet not touching for a long while, before their lips finally met. His kiss was warm and tender, and she returned the kiss fiercely. Shadie felt passion in that moment, yet it was not a passion of the dark side, it was somehow serene. They continued to kiss for a while. Shadie could feel urges within her body, and urges emanating from Knarf.
Then she was wrapped in his arms and they stood there a little while longer.
‘Ah, Shadie, I can feel our energies. It’s amazing.’ Shadie smiled. Definitely Force-sensitive. At least he was with her. ‘I’ve never felt anything like it,’ he continued.
‘Neither have I.’ And she kissed him again.
* * *
Darth Lahnius entered the sphere.
Where is the Lady of the Sith, the one with the true power?
‘She’s not here.’
She will destroy the Master of the Crypt.
‘No. He will destroy her and then I will destroy him and I will become the Master of the Crypt.’
Lahnius was getting tired of this sphere already. But once he brought his true rival to his Master, together they would destroy her, and then he would kill Kromus, thus earning himself not only the titles he sought, but also the secrets to ancient Sith power.
But the sphere had sensed Darth Shadie on Korriban and had not stopped asking about her, seeking her out, attempting to draw her to it. Shadie would suffer. No one was going to stand in Lahnius’s way. And he was going to kill her and her friends.
He smiled. So Shadie had a secret lover, so to speak. He’d seen them outside her ship. He would exploit that, use it to his advantage. Lahnius’s lip curled into a true snarl of contempt. He was the true Master. He would soon show everyone, even Kromus…especially Kromus.
“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.