They sat at some padded seats at a booth with high backs in the district’s tapcaf. Fane fidgeted. She could sense great apprehension from him. Something about Knarf’s theories unsettled him. If Knarf was correct, then the Sith had somehow infiltrated the Republic senate. What other governments could they infiltrate?
To Shadie’s right sat Knarf and then Fane, across from them sat Mandalore and Talyc, both of whom had taken their helmets off; each of their helmets placed in front of them on the table.
‘So, I’m told Coruscant can no longer be relied on or trusted as it used to be,’ said Mandalore. ‘And that the Sith will attack Mandalore with great weapons capable of causing much destruction.’ Shadie nodded. ‘Do you have any proof of this?’
‘Well, not as of yet, only what Fane has seen in his visions.’
Fane briefly described his vision to Mandalore. Shadie looked about. All these patrons were going about their every day business, without a clue about the war that was coming their way.
A group of aliens walked by their booth. They waved and winked at Talyc, who politely waved back. He leaned in closer to the others a bit.
‘Better this remain secret,’ said Talyc, ‘until the blockade is established. Just so we’re sure not to cause great panic and unrest among the people. Especially if the Republic is unable to repay its dept to us and come to our aid.’
Mandalore leaned back and sighed. ‘I knew I would some day need to re-establish the blockade of our ancestors, but it seems that now is sooner than anticipated. But I have no choice.’
Shadie looked up, suddenly tense and aware. Knarf stirred next to her.
‘Helmets on,’ he said, and the three Mandos donned their helmets.
‘You sensed that?’ asked Shadie, surprised.
‘I sensed you,’ he said to her. Talyc and the Mandalore inclined their heads.
‘Yes, Knarf senses what Shadie senses through sensing her all the time,’ explained Fane. ‘It can be quite unnerving, but practical in most cases.’ He tried to sound casual.
‘Knarf,’ whispered Shadie, ‘concentrate on me, sense me.’
Shadie expanded her senses. There had been a flicker of a presence in the Force, of a dark presence, as though someone hiding in the Force had failed for a brief moment. Again, the presence was there and then gone again. She had sensed excitement. He had found his query. That was perhaps why his hiding had faltered. That must mean he was not a master, but he was no mere acolyte either. Shadie looked about. Most of the tapcaf’s patrons were either human or alien, they sat minding their own business, and otherwise they had helmets on their heads and were more difficult to read.
A group of Mandalorians in silver armour entered the tapcaf, looked at her and saluted her. Yes, a clan whose name she failed to remember, but who had been greatly entertained by her and Fane when demonstrating Jedi acrobatics at a party several months back. She smiled and nodded to the friendly Mandos, appearing as though she sensed nothing. She looked at other Mandalorians. There was a Sith here and he could be anywhere.
Shadie looked at Knarf. He nodded and she knew he had relayed everything he had sensed, that she had sensed, to Talyc and Mandalore through their helmet’s private com channel.
‘Well, that was invigorating,’ said Knarf.
‘What was?’ asked Shadie.
‘Why, sensing you, my love.’ She could hear his smile in his voice, also sensing he wanted to lead the Sith astray as to their knowledge of his presence. If all they did was sit quietly, looking around, the Sith would become suspicious.
‘Tell me,’ began Talyc, turning his head to Fane. ‘This something they do all the time? Is this how he seduces her to get her into bed?’
‘Oh, he doesn’t need to seduce me,’ replied Shadie. She heard Fane stifle a laugh.
‘You know,’ said Talyc, ‘I’ve learnt a few tricks from some of the aliens I’ve brought home. I do admit I’ve tried my hand at some pretty exotic species.’
‘It’s funny,’ began the Mandalore, very casually, ‘my wife always tells me…’
Before she knew exactly what she was sensing, Shadie bolted out of her seat, igniting her lightsaber as a single blade, and held it above the Mandalore’s head, blocking a red blade that was held by a being in bronze armour.
‘Sorry to interrupt, Mandalore, but it seems an attempt on your life needed to be averted.’
Many blasters had been trained on the Sith being, Knarf stood with his vibroblade, as did Talyc, and Fane ignited his aqua coloured lightsaber.
The Sith leapt up into the air, flipping, and landed on a table nearby. He held out a hand and closed his fist with a swift motion, crushing all the blasters and rifles held by patrons. Then he swiped his arm about and they were pushed to the ground.
Shadie ran to him, igniting the other side of her blade, and made a flurry with her staff. Knarf came up behind. The Sith grabbed Knarf in a choke and sent him hurling across the room.
Talyc shouted some sort of war cry in Mando’a and came charging at the bronze armoured being, who only propelled him out of the way with a volley of dark side energy and he landed on top of Knarf.
‘They look cosy,’ said Fane, striking and blocking. ‘More entertainment for us Jedi.’
The Sith was not letting himself be distracted by Fane’s quips. Fane frowned. Shadie sent lightning. The Sith absorbed it and sent it towards Fane. He caught it on his lightsaber with a bit of a struggle.
‘Oh, if that’s how you want to play it,’ said Shadie.
She pulled on the Sith with the Force, as he came to strike her; Fane blocked him. They had practiced this duel move many times. Fane had come to recognise when she would need him to add particular defence moves to accompany her attacks. The Sith was now locked in a parry with Fane. Shadie drained the Sith’s life until he was weak and lost consciousness. Fane held him up by the neck and held his lightsaber at his armour’s throat just in case.
‘He’s strong,’ said Shadie, ‘but inconsistently so. His powers are honed, but unfocused.’
‘Well, you sure can’t blame him. He didn’t have you as a master,’ replied Fane.
‘Hey, the phoney remarks are my job,’ said Knarf, as he and Talyc staggered back to them, rubbing sore muscles.
‘It appears I owe you my life, Master Jedi,’ said Mandalore, as Shadie and Fane powered down their weapons. ‘Thank you.’
Shadie wished she could smile, but a nod was all she could manage.
‘What are you going to do with him?’ asked Talyc.
‘Could we use him as leverage?’ suggested Fane.
‘With hundreds of Sith at Darth Gourd’s disposal, blindly following him?’ said Shadie incredulously. ‘One less will not matter to him.’
‘Regardless, I wish to know who my assailant is,’ said Mandalore.
Fane took off the Sith’s helmet and Shadie sensed shock rise among all those watching, including herself.
‘What were you saying about my idea, master?’ said Fane. ‘I don’t know about you, but a Sith who is not only seemingly young, well I mean he looks older than me, but also Chiss! My guess is he is a close relative of Gourd’s. That’s our leverage, right here.’
Shadie stared at the features of the blue skinned Chiss. Several Mandalorians bound the Chiss Sith’s hands with metal clamps and guarded him while they awaited their comrades who were bringing over some ysalamiri. Shadie looked at Fane, he had been right. Again.
‘What did I say about getting cocky, Fane?’ she smiled.
‘Pehah!’ laughed Knarf. ‘For once, I’m not the one she says that to!’
Everyone looked at Knarf, Shadie with a warning look, Fane with a different kind of warning look, Talyc and the Mandalore, Shadie could only guess, with bewildered faces.
‘How you make light of a situation is beyond me,’ said Talyc.
‘Comes with the territory of loving a Jedi,’ said Knarf.
Talyc looked at Fane and cocked his head towards Knarf. ‘Listen to him. Of course, I wouldn’t know, I’ve never been with a Jedi.’ He looked at Knarf.
‘Of all your concubines, you’ve never been with a Jedi?’ laughed Knarf. Talyc shrugged. Knarf looked at Shadie and Fane, also shrugging.
‘Hey, don’t look to me for insight,’ said Fane, scratching the back of his neck, with a shrug, seeming shy about it. ‘I’ve never been with anyone. I’m a Jedi. Shadie’s the exception, breaking all the rules.’ He laughed, and then winced exaggeratingly, as though to hide from incoming anger.
‘You’ll have to come out drinking with me some time,’ said Talyc, taking his helmet off, ‘and I’ll find you an exotic lady.’
Fane laughed. ‘Not sure if I should be scared.’
‘I’ll protect you,’ said Talyc, winking, ‘if anything untoward should happen.’ He looked down at the Chiss Sith. ‘And well, I’m sure you could handle yourself anyhow.’
‘Well, regardless,’ said Mandalore, ‘and in the meantime, I have some holding cells we could place him in, and surround the outer walls with ysalamiri to be sure he doesn’t use the Force and try to escape. I suggest we get a move on now. He seemed quite intent on killing us.’
‘Agreed!’ exclaimed Talyc and Knarf simultaneously, and smiling sheepishly, like a couple of school boys getting caught talking out of turn with some silly banter.
‘Master,’ said Fane.
‘I sense them too,’ said Shadie.
The Mandalore turned his head. ‘I’ve just been informed a transport has arrived with several Jedi aboard. I’m glad to see this day will yet bring good tidings.’
‘Come,’ said Shadie, ‘we will need to debrief them on what’s been going on.’
Mandalore nodded as she and Fane made for the exit, leaving the others to secure the prisoner in a holding cell.
Shadie met up with the Jedi envoy. Josur was present; he’d helped during the battle against Kromus. The two Twi’lek brothers, Ruther and Lian, were also there, along with a few others. They had agreed to stay for now, until more evidence could be found, though several of them made no promise of extending their stay. At least they were here for now, and willing to consider Shadie’s theories.
* * *
The chamber was sombre, just as Darth Gourd liked it. The walls were decorated with a bit of Chiss artwork. A rare sculptured Sith artifact in a domed pedestal stood in one area, surrounded by other artifacts, all contained in a dome, just as Gourd liked them, yet it felt so dull and empty. It was missing the voice of a friend, of an arrogant dark lord. Darth Gourd had always wanted the mantle of the one and only Dark Lord of the Sith, and yet it had been much easier letting someone else do the job while he ruled a select few. Now Darth Kromus was dead and the Jedi had his nephew. And Shadie was still alive.
He could have used some wisdom from Kromus right now. “Don’t let worry cloud your better judgement, my friend,” Kromus would have probably said. “Allow your anger and mastery fuel you to inspiration on how to free your nephew, on how to neutralise the Jedi.” Yes, neutralise them.
It had taken years to infiltrate the Senate, and now he had just gotten an idea. He chimed the holocam and waited. Less than an hour later, Perce appeared, the holofeed giving his tall stature a diminutive form.
‘Yes, my lord?’ he said, going down on one knee and bowing his head.
‘What news of Coruscant?’
Perce rose. ‘My Lord, the generator field has been reinforced, and the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic has forbidden any ships to enter orbit or to leave the planet.’
‘Good. I have a new task for you.’
‘I am listening, Lord Gourd.’
* * *
Perce gathered his things and walked briskly to the Supreme Chancellor’s office. He was clad in typical business garments. It would not do for the Senate to know their leader’s advisor was a Sith, off to do his lord’s bidding, although that particular lord had already done part one of the mission.
Perce entered the office of Supreme Chancellor Emain, who stood pacing the office.
‘Sir, you wished to seek out my council?’
‘Have you watched the holovid?’
‘I have, sir, yes. You should take this matter up with the Jedi and find out if these claims are true.’
‘I have,’ replied Emain. ‘Master Herl’unik swears he has no such Sith in custody.’
‘Well, one Jedi somewhere does, but that changes nothing. This Darth…Gourd, he says he will be attacking Coruscant within the week? Whoever has this Sith, well, it’s the Jedi’s duty to rectify this.’
‘It would be up to them to defend Coruscant, but most are out on missions.’
‘So, recall them.’
‘All of them?’
‘Sir, if I may,’ Perce sat himself down, ‘it is the Jedi who have brought this on Coruscant. Recall them all.’
‘They won’t all come.’
‘It is their duty to defend Coruscant,’ insisted Perce, waving his hand slightly. ‘They would be destroyers if they didn’t’
‘Yes,’ said Emain, nodding vigorously. ‘What about that Jedi who was exiled?’
‘He was exiled for he fell to the dark side, so he’s not wanted here, is he?’
‘And his master’s no better, she used to be a Sith herself,’ said Emain.
‘Exactly.’ Perce perused over a datapad, hiding a smile. ‘Shall I write your speech, sir?’
‘No, it’s all right. I already know what I’m going to say.’
* * *
‘…And therefore, all Jedi are to return to Coruscant immediately, on the sole exception of Fane, who has been in recent years exiled, and his master, Jedi Master Eidhas. This matter is caused by the actions of the Jedi. It is your duty to defend Coruscant, to defend the Republic. Any Jedi who does not return to Coruscant within the next few standard days, will be considered a deserter to the Republic and thus punished accordingly.’
‘He can’t do that, can he?’ complained Brenum, as he switched off the Holonet feed on the Krayt Dragon‘s com.
‘I think he just did,’ replied Trylia. Brenum rolled his eyes. ‘But it’s a ruse, it’s bait. Darth Gourd is not going to attack Coruscant.’
‘That’s if what those pirates told us is true,’ replied Brenum.
‘What are we going to do?’
Brenum put a hand on Trylia’s. ‘First, we’re going to land on Mandalore, then we’ll figure it out.’
‘You mean Shadie will figure it out.’
‘Same thing. Now, one more jump.’
Brenum set the next jump coordinates. It didn’t take long and they were out of hyperspace again.
‘Whoah!’ he cried out.
Trylia only blinked. ‘I think Shadie might have already figured it out.’
‘Transport, this is Mandalorian Blockade Traffic Control, state your business to being in Mandalorian space or you will be fired on.’
‘Fired on! We’ve got news about…’
‘What my friend means to say,’ interrupted Trylia, with a soothing voice — Brenum hated it when she did that, although it had saved his hind a few times — ‘is we’re Jedi, friends of your Mandalore and some other Jedi who are currently on planet.’
‘Yeah, and we’ve been on a reconnaissance mission for over a year,’ continued Brenum. ‘We have information about the Sith.’ There was a pause. ‘Oh, by the way, this is the Krayt Dragon.’
‘Verifying ship ID.’ It took a while, but Brenum could live with that. They were being thorough. ‘Krayt Dragon.’
‘ID checks out.’
‘I told you!’
‘We can’t be too careful. One of our own turned out to be a Sith.’ Trylia’s eyes went so big it looked like they would expand into the outer white above her eyes. ‘Please follow your escort.’
‘Will do.’ He chimed out. ‘A Mandalorian, a Sith? I’m eager to hear that story.’
“Masters of the Force” is written by Celinka Serre (2019).
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.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.