Shadie entered a dim lit room, taking a few steps before stopping. She ignited her lightsaber, the snap-hiss resonating in the cavernous chamber, and she held it as one blade in her right hand, with her arm extended to the side. She could feel the dark side ever so strongly in this room, more so than in the rest of the entire Crypt. The low gravity had destabilised her briefly, but not as much as the wave of dark side energy emanating from the Crypt. The sphere had reassured her that if the Lady could embrace it, she could transform it.
Shadie stilled her thoughts as a figure approached. She could see their silhouette a good distance away. She knew it was Kromus even before he stepped into the light.
‘Darth Shadie!’ said Kromus; he seemed somewhat surprised, though trying to hide it. Perhaps he thought Lahnius would be returning in her stead?
Shadie nodded slowly.
‘Yes. It is me… Now, it’s time for you to die!’
Shadie walked to Kromus in a steady pace and hacked her lightsaber above him. Kromus swiped it away with ease. She came at him again, striking low and left; he blocked. She was trying to feel where he was at with his abilities. Long had it been since she’d fought him or trained with him and she did not know how much he’d grown in the Force. Although, to her own advantage, neither did he know how much she had grown in the Force.
They duelled briefly, studying each other’s moves, evaluating how quick they were to parry, how quickly they attacked. Kromus used Force Speed to strike blows up, down, left, right and left again, and Shadie managed to block each one with astonishing speed.
Simultaneously, they took a few steps away from each other, backing away and began a slow walk around the room, circling, facing each other.
‘Do you really believe your powers are stronger than mine?’ asked Kromus.
‘You forget that I am a servant of the light now. Combined with the powers you taught me… Well, let’s just say, I can be quite deadly.’
Shadie came at Kromus again, this time mixing speed and lightning which he caught on his blade, she switched her sabre to a two-sided staff and flurried, adding a quick strike at the neck. Kromus hacked her staff away using the Force to send her bouncing back a bit.
‘I can still sense the dark side within you, Shadie. It has merely been dormant. You are a Jedi, yet you are a Sith.’
He attacked high and hard, Shadie alternately blocked and attacked side to side with her staff; left, right, left right, advancing with each hit, Kromus backing away with each hit. He lifted one hand and a piece from an unfinished wall of the Crypt’s cave beyond the room came rushing Shadie’s way. She sent a quick burst of lightning and it shattered into tiny pieces. Half her lip curled into a smile. And she stood back, looking at Kromus who was staring back at her.
‘I am neither Jedi nor Sith. I serve both the light and the dark. I am Shadie, Lady of the Force.’
They both stood there for a while, silent. Shadie let her words sink into Kromus’s thick Sith skull. She had said those words with pride. Kromus began to pace around the room again, so she followed suit, circling with him, facing him.
‘I’m amazed you succeeded in finding me. I never revealed the location of the Crypt,’ he said.
‘I still have friends among the Sith,’ replied Shadie.
‘How is that even possible?’ Kromus spoke with disdain. ‘You turned your back on the Sith.’
‘I went in search of the truth. A different matter altogether, but many seem to think I intend to return to the Sith Academy once I have completed my quest.’
She paused. She kept on circling, playing with her blade, powering it back to a one-bladed lightsaber, letting its tip bounce off the ground, letting the sparks irritate Kromus as much as her words.
‘Of course, that will never happen, but they make for very powerful allies when I need them.’ She turned her head towards the opening from where she had entered the room. ‘One ally in particular flew me here.’
Now Kromus understood the true meaning of her words. Not many Sith would aid her, no matter what they believed. She had meant the sphere. And Kromus snorted at the insinuation, for his ship, the ship Lahnius had sought to claim as his own, had chosen Shadie, and allied itself to Shadie and aided her.
‘But how could any of the Sith locate me?’ asked Kromus distractedly. ‘The sphere would not bring you to me until you had found me with the Force, you’ll have had to earn your right for transport to the Crypt.’
‘True,’ confirmed Shadie. The sphere had made that much clear to her and she’d always assumed so anyway.
‘As for any human Sith helping you find me… I excel at concealing my presence, you could not have possibly detected me through the Force. I was hiding in the Force.’
‘No, you’re right, I couldn’t detect you at all. But you forget my origins. I am a bounty-hunter’s child.’ Kromus’s eyes narrowed. ‘Yes, them.’
‘What have the bounty hunters done this time?’
Shadie laughed out in one quick breath. Then she spoke condescendingly.
‘Let’s just say the Mandalorians gave me what was necessary to hunt you down. Some of them were even there when my parents died. You remember my parents, don’t you?’
Kromus stopped walking. He seemed to be recapturing it in his mind, the time he’d killed them. Shadie and Kromus stood looking at each other.
‘The bounty-hunters,’ began Shadie, staring at Kromus.
‘Those scum are vermin to this galaxy!’ interrupted Kromus angrily, leaning forward as he said it.
‘Is that why you killed them?’
‘What? You think I killed them just to rid the galaxy of them?’
‘Oh, don’t play dumb with me, Kromus. If there’s one thing you can rely on the Sith for, it’s betrayal. Master Usharr knew the truth, and he sought opportunity to betray you and he told me everything. Don’t pretend you killed them for any other reason than preventing the Jedi from having me and for…’
‘Master Usharr would lie his way up the ranks to overthrow me and take my place as Academy ruler.’
‘Really? Then if what he said was such a lie, how come you disappeared?’ demanded Shadie.
Kromus seemed to study Shadie. He did not reply. Shadie knew there was so much more she may never know, but what she wished to get at was his betrayal to her. He raised her to be his minion. And she’d thought she truly had his brotherly love. She scowled at the thought. Love among Sith? Never.
‘Hmm. That’s what I thought,’ she said when Kromus failed to give any reply at all.
‘I disappeared after you left the Sith.’
‘And then I came back,’ replied Shadie nodding, ‘and you were gone. But I’d only returned to tell Master Usharr I would not be returning as his pupil. Still, he is the rightful ruler of the Sith Academy, not you. You were his apprentice when you took me from my parents, you were way too young to be a Master.’
‘Too young? Or too ambitious? Too powerful… He was jealous of my power and quick rise. But Shadie, I could not have gotten there without you, you were my most promising student.’
Shadie could not contain herself, she walked closer to him, yet stayed a few paces away, even though she knew there were leagues and parsecs of distance separating them from ever understanding each other again. She stood at two arms’ length from him and he looked at her like he used to during their training sessions; with fondness. It angered her, it sickened her. She was loathing him at that moment.
‘Really? Me? Not Lahnius? Or would you be telling him that were he here and were I dead in his stead?’
Kromus shook his head.
‘I’d hate for you to turn your back on all I’ve taught you.’
There was something in his tone and Shadie found herself fighting back tears. Hurt. He had hurt her, yet somehow, he had been hurt as well. Shadie turned her gaze to the ground for a brief moment.
‘You know,’ she said still looking at the ground, ‘it’s funny. Everything you did, was so that I would serve the Sith, not the Jedi, and yet, I still turned to the Jedi. And they taught me great skills.’ She looked up at Kromus, directly into his gaze. ‘Master Juun Kloh is a hundred times the Master you ever were.’ Her jaw still clenched from anger, she turned her gaze to Kromus, and turned her chin so that she would be staring right into his eyes. Disappointment was one emotion still very strong within her.
‘So what lies did Usharr feed you?’ asked Kromus, changing the subject. Shadie realised that she and Kromus had not spoken since his disappearance; they had never hashed things out. A pity she would never get the answers she wanted or have another chance at seeking those answers from him after today.
‘Do you take me for a fool? Do you think you can convince me it was all a ruse in order to overthrow you? No, because there is proof! It is too late to wriggle your way out of this one, Kro-mus!’ Disdain crept in again.
‘I wanted but the best for you, Shadie,’ said Kromus, a touch of sadness in his tone, his brows scowling into a genuine expression of sadness and regret.
Shadie could take no more. Her anger had crept in from deep within her. ‘NO!’ she shouted.
Shadie sent a large long burst of lighting towards Kromus in her anger, and her anger was reflected in the pulsing blue light streaking out of her fingertips as much as in her face. Kromus smiled to himself. He was probably doing it on purpose to anger her so, but at this point she no longer cared. She would allow herself to feel that anger, passionately, for serene passion had been taken away from her, all because of him. So she would feel the only passion left for her to feel in order to defeat Kromus.
She fed Kromus yet more lightning and he stood his ground, taking it in, as though relishing its abundance. It was as Lahnius had done, except to a much greater degree and with much more success.
‘You wanted me to be a pawn!’ she shouted at him through the crackling of her lightning. ‘You…,’ she stopped the lightning and calmed her tone… ‘wanted greatness, and what better way than to take a homeless child as your apprentice and use her to reach your status of power.’
‘Yes,’ replied Kromus, he didn’t even sound like the lightning had injured or weakened him, ‘and a Sith child is a good excuse to have armies at my disposal. “For my little sister.” The phrase always worked to have things go my way. I would have waged war against Usharr and you would have sacrificed yourself for me, for the brotherly love of an adopted sister is strong.’
‘Yes, maybe, but not after learning the truth. I saw the Holocron the Jedi showed me. Had my parents willed it, I would have gone to the Jedi Academy.’
Anger swelled within her once more, a feeling of hatred replacing the love she once held for her so-called adopted older brother, whom she thought protected her, when the whole time he wanted her to die for him. A brief spark shone in her eyes, she knew, a feeling within them she’d not felt since she’d renounced being a Sith.
‘You told me the Jedi killed my parents. You had me believe other Mandalorian bounty-hunters had betrayed them to the Jedi.’
Shadie walked the rest of the distance towards Kromus and stood almost nose-to-nose with him. He stared down at her, wearing smug satisfaction on his face.
‘I grew to hate both the Jedi and the Mandalorians. I grew strong from my anger and did everything you bade me to do. You…just wanted to get your hands on the next Force-sensitive child before the Jedi did.’
Shadie raised one hand and began choking Kromus using Force Grip, and she watched him choke, as she slowly raised him higher with the Force. Now she spoke almost through her teeth.
‘You killed my parents.’
‘The Jedi are weak,’ said Kromus through the choking. ‘They would have made a mockery out of you.’
‘The Jedi…forgave me my mistakes and showed me what it is to serve the light.’
At those words, she thought of Knarf, of his words when the sphere had first spoken to her. She was angered by Kromus’s betrayal, by how he sent assassins after her, jealous perhaps that he found a new favourite apprentice to replace her, angry that that new apprentice, Lahnius, had almost killed her lover, who may yet die for all she knew. But he had helped her understand her light, and in that brief moment of thought, she released her grip on Kromus’s throat. She took a step back from him and breathed in deeply and out slowly.
‘Your betrayal is still a fresh wound, but I will not give in to aggression.’
Kromus’s face turned to one of dismay and anger. ‘Oh, really?’ he said.
Kromus raised a hand quickly and used Force Push. Shadie flew high and far away from him, her lightsaber flying to a corner of the room, powering down in the process. Shadie landed on her back, a burst of pain rushing through her body briefly. Kromus steadied himself and walked slowly towards Shadie, who was starting to move again after that initial shock. Before she could get up, Kromus sent a shockwave of dark energy towards her, and its pain ran through her, hurting more than all the hatred and grief in the galaxy. She let out a short cry of pain and the purple energy flowed through and around her, pinning her back to the ground.
Kromus then stood looking down at her as she breathed heavily, trying to recover as quickly as she could from such dark and overwhelming power.
‘I will not only show you what it is to serve the dark side,’ said Kromus, ‘but what it is to master it.’
Shadie took a couple more breaths, then in turn she used Force Push to gain time by pushing Kromus as far away from her as possible before he could send another shockwave of dark side energy. She extended her hand and called her lightsaber to her with the Force. Then she jumped up, removing her cape in the process, igniting her blades as a full staff and landed facing her former Master.
She held her sabre flat horizontally, then suddenly glided it low, slashing at Kromus’s feet. He jumped up and landed, blocking her next strike, holding his blade in a low and complete vertical line, crouched on one knee as he did so. Before she could strike at his head, now having the advantage, he raised himself with the Force and jumped high above the ground. He bounded in the air, striking at her from above and she blocked meticulously every blow as he used Force Speed. He landed behind her and lunged at her. Shadie cast herself aside in time and used her staff to shove her archrival’s blade aside.
Shadie turned around with her blade high to strike, Kromus blocked. She advanced on him, he kept parrying. She held one half of the staff at elbow level, on her left, while Kromus tried to push it away. He sent it downwards, but she was already bringing the other half of her staff up and he blocked that blow as well. Shadie took a beat, twirling and flurrying her staff sabre in the air. She stood, holding it level with her waist, on one horizontal line. She came running towards Kromus, keeping her blade level, he bent backward, leaning far, sending his blade to block her staff and he flipped in the air, a twirl jump, landing a bit farther back, on his feet. Shadie levelled her staff again, in a horizontal line, this time straight in front of her. She sent it spinning towards Kromus. He ducked the first pass and jumped the second. Her staff came back to her.
Kromus spun his lightsaber in the air and twirled towards her with it. He bounded behind her and struck, but she blocked, lifting her staff and sending it to protect the back of her neck and to block Kromus’s crimson blade. With the help of the Force, she sent him staggering back as she turned to face him once more. She attacked his side, sending his lightsaber into the air. He only caught it again with his other hand, twirled it on itself and threw it up to catch it again with his right hand.
Kromus took a step back and held his lightsaber front and downwards. He looked at Shadie and sneered. Things around him began to lift into the air, he sent them hurling towards Shadie who ducked and used her staff blade to block them. Then she used the Force to stop them in mid-flight and sent them back towards Kromus. Seeing he was distracted by everything he had sent coming back his way, Shadie took the opportunity to come at him again, twirling her staff in the air, jumping and spinning in mid-air to strike him several times; he blocked each time, faster and faster, from one side to the other.
Shadie came at Kromus high. He held his blade a long time against hers, both of them pushing, the clash of their lightsabers sending sparks. He spun his blade around hers and pushed her staff down and away with such force, Shadie could not bring the other half of it up to block the blow that never came.
Kromus started to grip her, flying her across the room. Shadie managed to use the Force to slow the push and landed harmlessly onto the ground. Yet he was still choking her. She sent him lightning, strongly, and he bounced back a bit from the shock of its rapid intensity, unable to absorb it or fuel himself with it this time. Kromus ran to her; using speed, Shadie could barely see him anymore, so fast was he moving with the Force. She closed her eyes, grounded herself, and used the Force to parry this way and that, here and there, high left, low right, above her head, turning and ducking, parrying back, and jumping over his blade while flipping in the air. He moved and seemed a blur to her, but the Force guided her.
When he saw this wasn’t working, he sent yet more dark energy towards her, but this time she was ready for it, this time she was expecting it, as she knew he relied on it to harm her, and she used absorb to gather it all in the palm of her hand, and the more he sent, the larger the orb became, and the larger the orb, the more dark energy Kromus sent her, until finally, she sent it all in an explosion across the room and it rebounded onto Kromus. He shouted out more in anger than in pain. He sent pieces of rock and wall towards her, larger than before. She used barrier to deflect them harmlessly off her, having anticipated the move, gathering her energy back, for the absorption had cost her, having required much effort.
‘Shadie,’ said Kromus as he resorted back to his lightsaber and came at her, advancing, ‘I know the dark side is strong within you. If you just let yourself feel it in its full strength…’ She blocked and batted his blade away. He lunged and she sidestepped, again batting his blade away. ‘I saw you revel in its power before and I can see it now too.’ She struck high and low quickly and he blocked. As they held their blades against each other, he looked her in the eyes. ‘Your emotions of passion betray you.’
‘The dark side is merely a tool to help me kill you, Kromus. But I, above all other Jedi, know the importance of controlling one’s anger.’
‘And yet you let yourself go and use the dark side against me.’ He smiled. ‘Same as you let yourself go and used your passion in your lover’s bed.’
Shadie snorted to herself. Kromus could not understand that certain passions were serene.
‘I use it combined with the light,’ she told him. ‘But the light side is more powerful than you can ever know.’
Shadie gathered the Force around her and sent the air spinning; something Trylia excelled at and had shown her during her recent training. She sent the spinning air towards Kromus. Shadie had to crouch low to concentrate fully on the Force. Kromus gasped and shouted in surprise as he was lifted off the ground and began twirling in the whirling air. Shadie remained crouched, her head was bowed as she concentrated, but her voice rang loudly through the room, above the sound of the moving air.
‘There is peace! There is Knowledge. There is serenity. There is harmony.’ She stood and looked at Kromus’s spinning form. She spoke slowly. ‘There is the Force.’
Kromus curled himself up in a ball as he spun and suddenly bounced up out of the whirlwind, which dissipated the moment he left it. He landed with a heavy thud onto the ground, crouching and bowing low with the heavy force of the dark side, refuelling himself with his anger. When he stood again, he spoke provokingly.
‘Peace is a lie!’ He ran towards Shadie. ‘There is only passion.’
He struck a blow to the head, which Shadie parried high with her staff blade, pushing the red blade away, advancing and sending a flurry of double strikes Kormus’s way as she replied.
‘There is no passion, there is serenity. As there is no emotion, there is peace.’
‘Through passion, I gain strength.’
Switching forms, Kromus began fighting more aggressively, slightly more slowly, but with more violent and heavy blows, with so much more strength, that Shadie had to use push and drain to get him to back away. As he kept talking, he kept advancing, attacking again and again, and she kept blocking and blocking, backing away every time.
‘Through strength, I gain power.’ The exchange between the two blades became more intense.
‘Your power is an illusion created by your obsession and greed to control,’ replied Shadie, rather quickly. She almost felt the need to convince herself of that truth. She was losing her footing, yet she kept blocking, but if she did not change the tide now, she would soon be pinned to the wall.
‘Through power, I gain victory.’
Shadie blocked a series of quick blows and pushed his blade away with the aid of the Force. ‘Not a chance!’ She took a brief moment to gather the Force within her once more.
‘Through victory…’ he paused briefly, ‘my chains are broken.’
Shadie suddenly became more violent as she hacked at Kromus with all her might, forcing him to retreat as she advanced on him, yet he was sending more attacks her way than she was sending his way. Still, she kept advancing as she blocked his every strike, defending herself from his even more violent blows.
Shadie powered down half her lightsaber and held it with both hands. Twisting and turning, she slowly slashed up and down, in flowing motions, drawing an eight in the air with her green blade. Kromus backed away, dodging and bending backwards to avoid getting struck. Then Shadie slashed horizontally at mid arm level, Kromus’s crimson blade blocked hers before his shoulder and they held their blades a long time. Finally Kromus pushed her off, swiping downwards. He jumped forwards and came at her to strike at her face. She blocked. Both blades formed and X and Shadie struggled as Kromus struggled harder. Finally she pushed him a bit and used the Force to propel herself backward with a kick to his stomach. Kromus flipped in the air and rolled to soften the blow.
He remained crouched for a brief moment. He let go of his blade; it remained floating in front of him. Then it began spinning wildly on itself and orbiting around him so quickly, there was no way Shadie could penetrate the false shield his lightsaber was creating. He was buying time, she knew; he was growing tired. Good, so was she. It was time to end this. For her sake, for the Jedi’s sake, for her parents’ sake, and for Knarf’s sake.
She came running at him and tried to strike through the sabre barrier, while jumping and flipping above Kromus’s crouched form. He rose, his lightsaber still spinning. Shadie was ready for another pass until she realised the blade was spinning towards her, so quickly, so wildly, it took all her concentration to deflect every single blow it delivered to her. She reignited the other half of her lightsaber, and flurry after flurry, deflected the red lightsaber.
Kromus stood there, watching her, smiling, laughing. Shadie sent lightning towards the blade and it bounced back towards Kromus. She wished she had thought of it sooner, had she known.
She could feel sweat drip down her face. She wiped her forehead as Kromus caught his lightsaber in one hand, looking at her with contempt. She could still see vivid images in her mind of Knarf sweating, as much as she was now. She smiled, but not from joy. She could see Knarf’s dying form in her arms as well, she could see the images the Jedi Holocron had shown her of her dead parents, she could see Lahnius’s red lightsaber protruding out of Vorum’s chest. Everyone who had died at the hands of Kromus and his Sith, she could see in her mind. No, her smile was a sneer. Kromus was going to die for all the death he had caused, and he was going to die this day, at her hands.
Kromus came at her, and she let him have the first few strikes; she blocked, high left, low right, above head, knee level. Then it was her turn to advance on him, to strike him quickly, continuously, and consistently, varying her moves so he could not predict where to parry.
Shadie struck with such strength, using the Force to make each blow count, to make each blow weaken Kromus. Finally, there was an opening, she flurried and nicked Kromus’s shoulder with her blade. A small portion of his skin was showing and smoking. Kromus stumbled back. Shadie used that opportunity to use Force Drain, as Master Juun had showed her to do. Surprising Kromus and immobilising him, a hand above his torso, letting her lightsaber fall to the ground, she drained him with all the Force she had within her, thus weakening him. Kromus began sliding down it seemed, though he leaned against no wall, and he ended up in a half crouch on the ground with Shadie bent over him, the red orb in her hand removing as much life and strength from him as she could. Kromus’s lightsaber switched off and he fell to his hands and knees, as though gasping for air.
Shadie stopped the drain and stood looming over him. Kromus looked up at her, lifting the top of his body, almost in a begging position.
‘Shadie! If you are of the light side now, then…please, forgive me. I did not truly intend to kill you when you came to me today. I merely wanted to show you that a Master can lose his way as well. A brother can lose his way. I am so sorry about your lover. I am glad you killed Lahnius… Lahnius was never the apprentice you were. He could never be the sister you were to me for all those years. Let me into the light you serve. Have mercy on one who’s made mistakes.’
Kromus reached up to her and caressed Shadie’s hand, as though he were trying to show her affection. It was the same hand that Knarf had held so many times, the same hand, she knew, that had once held her mother and father’s hands. Kromus knew nothing of affection. Shadie shook her head and clenched her jaw.
‘Today,’ she said in a low and steady voice, deadly menace in her tone, ‘I serve the light and the dark, for I am Lady of the Force. And tonight…you…shall serve neither.’
Shadie barely moved her hand, as she used the Force, and her lightsaber flew to her. She gripped it with both hands, igniting it as one blade and lifted it straight up. Kromus had caused her so much pain, caused those for whom she cared so much pain, her friends, all the other Jedi… It felt good to revel in the murky darkness for just one moment.
Before his doom, Kromus smiled a proud grin of victory as Shadie brought down her blade onto Kromus. He screamed, long and loud. But he was not dead, yet. Through his pain it seemed, he began to laugh. He laughed a little louder, and his last efforts were heard through his laugh, as Shadie pulled the blade from his body.
He struggled to speak, yet he sneered proudly at Shadie, putting his hand on the hole in his body as though to emphasise his point, to emphasise what she had done, and how she had done it.
‘The dark side…is absolute!’
His laugh became a frightening one; it provoked her. Shadie began to fear she had turned back to the dark side, but if she had, it was too late now. Or perhaps she needed to be lead back to the light. Either way, she would deal with it later.
Shadie silenced Kromus with a diagonal swipe left to right. And, looming above him, holding her blade a bit to the back and side of her, she watched Kromus as he lay finally dead. Shadie powered down her lightsaber, and realised her own defeat in this duel.
To be continued…
“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.