The Krayt Dragon was in hyperspace and had made its last jump. Brenum sat at the controls; Trylia was at the co-pilot’s seat. Shadie sat next to Fane discussing strategies. Talyc and Knarf sat farther back.
‘So, you know what the next step in your relationship is?’ said Knarf, cocking his head in Fane’s direction.
‘Yes, I do,’ replied Talyc. ‘You know what the next step in yours is?’ he asked, cocking his head in Shadie’s direction. ‘The next logical step…’
‘I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about that. I thought Jedi weren’t allowed…’
‘My eye you haven’t thought about it,’ said Talyc, leaning in closer to Knarf to continue in a whisper. ‘And the Jedi Council has granted a lot of permissions for the two of you. As if they’d stop there now.’
‘It’s just that it scares me, what with all this dark side power thing and the whole claiming of the Crypt thing. I know I don’t want to lose her, and I am committed to her, for the long haul.’
‘So, what’s the problem, then?’ Talyc didn’t get it. Knarf and Shadie were it; they were the embodiment of true love.
‘I know what it would mean for Shadie, what it represents in the Force. I guess I just need to find what it means for me, within me.’
The ship returned to real space as the starlines stopped, and the Crypt, the strange asteroid-like station, loomed in the viewport at a distance.
‘We’re approaching the Crypt,’ said Brenum, ‘on a direct vector.’ He turned to look at Fane and at Talyc. ‘Can I trust the two of you with my ship?’
Fane looked aghast. ‘Brenum! What do you think we’re going to get up to?’
‘No, not that!’ Brenum laughed. ‘I mean, can I trust you to fly her gracefully.’
‘Oh,’ said Fane, blushing.
‘Fly her gracefully?’ said Talyc. ‘Yes. Leave her unscathed? No guarantees.’
‘I suppose that’s the best I can hope for,’ said Brenum, looking worried.
‘All jokes aside, I’ll take good care of her,’ said Talyc, chuckling.
They had determined that it would be safer for Talyc and Fane to remain with the ship, seeing as Talyc wasn’t a Force-user, and he and Fane didn’t have a strong Force-bond like Shadie and Knarf or Brenum and Trylia did. They needed to play it safe just in case Relsor was there and would attempt to create illusions in the Force. Besides, someone needed to fly the ship in the event the others needed a quick escape.
Talyc stood and walked to the viewport as the ship entered the atmospheric field of the Crypt. He shuddered. There was something about it he didn’t like.
‘I’m not Force-sensitive,’ he said, ‘but even I feel that.’
‘That,’ said Shadie, ‘is the dark side, in its purest and rawest form.’
‘Be careful down there, Master,’ said Fane. ‘Stay safe.’
Talyc looked at Fane; his worry was evident. He took Fane’s hand and squeezed gently. Fane closed his eyes and took a deep breath; a Jedi trick to clear the mind, Talyc knew it to be. He looked at Knarf who understood his concern and nodded back to him. He’d lost one close friend recently; he didn’t need to lose another.
* * *
The Crypt felt much the same as it had the last time Shadie had been here: heavy, dank, with a strange smell about it, and the dark side being ever strong, ever raw, feeling ever pure. She could feel it calling out to her, craving for her to take it in her bosom and embrace it.
‘Wow,’ said Knarf. ‘This is intense.’
Brenum and Trylia looked uneasy, but they could use the Force more easily than Knarf could to keep themselves from becoming overwhelmed. Knarf put his helmet on. Shadie had instructed him to relay anything he could back to Talyc, just in case anything went wrong. So far, they were alone, but she knew there were others here, she knew Relsor and Perce were here; she could feel them through the Force.
They walked along the large area. The Krayt Dragon took flight as soon as they had exited the ship and it now lurked somewhere, secure for now, and hidden. They passed the area where Shadie had fought Kromus the first time, when the dark side had empowered her and somewhat taken over her. She could feel Kromus’s signature in the Force. His presence had been strong.
“The dark side is absolute,” he had told her. Strangely enough, Relsor has said those same words to Knarf.
They walked some more, and then she was hit from the side with a blast of intense dark side energy. Her stomach lurched and she felt like keeling over. She held on to Knarf’s arm, feeling dizzy. She looked up: quite a distance away, yet close enough to be seen in full detail, stood Relsor and Perce.
* * *
Relsor relished in the stunned expression that reflected upon Shadie’s face. He reached out to her and her fellow Jedi, trying to touch their minds. So this love thing they had, this Force-bond, was preventing him from creating an illusion around them. No matter, he was Master of the Crypt, and he would show them the raw power he had just inherited.
He looked over at Perce. His human counterpart stood with his hands clasped behind his back, as he usually did, chin up, smiling, waiting. Relsor had promised him a good show.
Relsor reached into himself with the Force and exuberated the heavy darkness of malady towards the Jedi.
Shadie wobbled some more, holding onto Knarf, who bent over. Relsor could hear his former apprentice panting inside his helmet. There was a higher pitched whimper of pain with the panting that Relsor thoroughly enjoyed hearing. Trylia fell onto her hands and knees, obviously feeling pain within her body, moaning every now and then. Brenum quickly turned around to face the wall and vomited. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and turned to look at Relsor with disdain.
‘You,’ the blue-haired Jedi said. ‘You’re doing this.’
‘Feel the power of my dark side. Feel its purity. How raw, how clear, how…’ Relsor sneered, ‘electrifying!’
He and Perce both lifted their hands in the air and lightning hit the Jedi. It danced across the Crypt’s vast hall, vacillating between blue lightning and dark purple energy of the dark side. The Jedi screamed in pain, wailed, fell. He and Perce stopped.
‘The dark side is absolute, Shadie,’ said Relsor, ‘a lesson your master should have taught you.’
‘If you’re referring to Kromus, he stopped being my master long ago,’ replied Shadie, getting up and leaning against the wall.
‘Our master,’ said Perce, ‘knew much about the dark side, about this place, but he was too weak to claim it. Whereas we…were successful.’
‘We?’ said Knarf.
Relsor looked at him. He wore his Mandalorian armour, but he had a lightsaber clipped to his belt. So the slicer had become a full Jedi. Interesting.
‘We share this power,’ said Relsor. ‘However only one can be the True Master of the Crypt and of the Sphere. That would be me.’
‘You’ll never be the True Master,’ said Shadie.
‘Won’t I?’ Relsor paused and let Perce give the signal to the others. ‘I’m afraid you have intruded on my domain.’
Hundreds of red lightsabers ignited at once. The Jedi looked around, shell-shocked.
‘You will not be permitted to leave,’ Relsor continued. ‘You will not be permitted to continue forward. You are only permitted to die.’
At that moment, the Jedi ignited their lightsabers: Shadie with her green blade as a staff, Brenum’s two lightsabers, blue and yellow, Trylia’s purple staff, and Knarf had an orange blade. They began fending off Sith left and right.
‘What do you want from us?’ Trylia called out.
‘Oh, I think you know,’ replied Relsor above the sound of blazing lightsabers.
‘You can’t have her,’ said Brenum.
Relsor observed those two as they fought. He stood watching and caught something interesting in their interactions with each other. The last time he’d seen them, their love had saved them from his illusions, but barely, and they had not seemed this close, nor this comfortable to be publicly seen as having an intimate relationship. So now they had finally and officially, and obviously, become lovers, thus embracing their passion. That too was interesting. It was information that he had hoped to find out. These Jedi were giving him exactly what he wanted. What he needed to know even more though was for them to somehow give up the location of the Jedi who could block his illusionary Force attacks.
‘Now!’ shouted Knarf, before Relsor could say anything more to them.
From the far end of the Crypt at its entrance came their ship, lowering itself, as they all ran towards it. They used the Force to push away the Sith who stood in their way.
Relsor screamed in anger. He began to run towards them, realising Perce was already way ahead of him. They ran towards the Jedi, closing in on them. The ship turned slightly and laser fire began to streak within the Crypt, causing the Sith to stop and block incoming fire.
‘No, no, forget the laser fire!’ shouted Relsor. ‘Get the Jedi, catch the Jedi!’
The landing ramp lowered and Trylia ran in, followed by Brenum, then Knarf ran in and Shadie ran in last, pausing at the bottom of the ramp to turn her head to look at Relsor. He took that moment to reach inside the ship and feel who was there. Also interesting.
Shadie ran up the ramp as it began closing up. The ship rose from the Crypt and went into hyperspace.
Perce shouted out and let lightning dance from his fingertips into the nothingness where the ship had loomed moments earlier. Relsor felt like doing the same. Perce’s continous shout reflected his own anger. Relsor shook his head. He would have to find another way to capture the Jedi.
Perce turned to face him and walked back towards where Relsor stood.
‘What do we do now?’ he asked, shrugging.
‘We need to find that Jedi,’ said Relsor. ‘The powers we now share, the power I now possess, should allow me to do that. We must remove him from the board.’
‘Then holofrequency slicing and Force slicing it is,’ said Perce.
* * *
Brenum splashed water on his face in the Krayt Dragon’s refresher. His face looked pale in the mirror. He returned to the bridge where the others sat. Trylia walked to him and put a gentle hand on his face.
‘How are you feeling?’ she asked.
‘Still a little ill.’
Shadie turned to look at him and smiled sympathetically. ‘I felt like I was going to keel over; I had no energy, I felt weak, powerless. I’ve never felt anything quite like it.’
‘The raw power of the dark side,’ said Brenum. He sat down, glad someone else was at the helm right now.
Talyc turned to look at him. ‘You’ve looked better.’ He looked at the others. ‘No chance in claiming the Crypt then?’
‘Not anytime soon,’ replied Shadie.
‘I felt him try to touch my mind,’ said Fane. ‘He tried to speak to me through the Force.’
‘What did he tell you?’ asked Shadie.
‘Something about the power I was missing out on,’ said Fane. ‘That if I had fully turned to the dark side, I would be more powerful than I am now, and I could share the power they now hold, had I just continued Kromus’s legacy with them.’
‘Did he try anything else with your mind?’ asked Shadie, concern in her voice.
‘No, I think the Force bond you four have, because of the whole Force-user love thing, made him unable to do much more in that short time,’ said Fane. ‘Besides, I have reminders of why that decision I made to turn back to the light was a good one. There is much I would be missing out on now had I succumbed to darkness.’
He glanced at Talyc who smiled widely at him before returning his attention to the controls. The ship returned to real space near Mandalore. Brenum smiled to himself. Fane and Talyc looked happy; it seemed to Brenum they had what he and Trylia had, what Shadie and Knarf had.
‘You two are just adorable,’ he said.
‘A Mandalorian and a Jedi,’ said Talyc, ‘now that’s a deadly combination.’
‘Try two Jedi,’ said Trylia.
‘I think,’ said Knarf, ‘we can agree that we make for a deadly team of Jedi and Mandos.’
Everyone nodded or voiced agreement.
* * *
The ship landed on Mandalore and the group made their way to the Mandalore’s bunker to give him an update on the situation. Brenum felt better, Shadie could tell, for his face had more colour. She was certain she’d be sick herself when she felt Relsor reach to her with the raw power of the dark side he now possessed.
Once they had given Mandalore an account of events, the Jedi contacted Master Herl’unik to keep him appraised about everything. Talyc returned to the rest of Clan Kandera to give his own account on everything that had transpired while the others continued their chat with the Grand Master.
‘Are you saying you’re willing to risk the dark side to gain control of a sentient artefact?’ said Master Herl’unik.
‘No, Master Herl’unik,’ said Shadie. ‘I’m saying that I’m willing to risk going back to the Crypt to claim it, but that I will find a way to gain what I need through the light side, despite it being a dark side ritual.’
Master Herl’unik shook his head. ‘It sounds risky, but you have proven capable of many deeds no other Jedi has been able to do. Therefore, I will trust your judgement.’
‘In the meantime,’ Shadie continued, ‘we are keeping tabs on the goings-on in the Empire for any clues that may help us. It will be some time before I can return to the Crypt and I doubt Relsor will remain there. We need to find where he hides. I don’t think he moves around the galaxy like Darth Gourd did. He must have a base somewhere, somewhere Kromus once might have used, somewhere I didn’t know about.’
‘Well, you’ll keep me posted if you find anything,’ said Master Herl’unik. ‘I hope, Brenum and Trylia, you’ll be travelling to Tython now?’ They nodded. ‘Good. Lian’s already there and looks forward to working with the two of you.’
‘Lian went to Tython?’ said Trylia. ‘Doesn’t that make Coruscant vulnerable?’
‘Tython is not that far away and there is too great a population on Coruscant for Lian’s focus to truly do the healing work he needs to do in the Force,’ said Master Herl’unik. ‘He needs a clearer mind, more focus. He hopes to find that on Tython.’
‘Well, we’ll be on our way as soon as possible,’ said Brenum. ‘We’ve delayed long enough.’
‘Thank you,’ said Master Herl’unik. ‘May the Force be with you all.’ He signed off.
‘Looks like you’re stranded on Mandalore, now that the Sphere’s gone and we’re about to head off,’ said Brenum.
‘Nah, we’ve got the Mandalorians and their ships,’ said Knarf.
‘Don’t you worry about us,’ said Fane. ‘Worry about him.’ He pointed back at the blank holoscreen where Master Herl’unik’s face had been just mere seconds ago. ‘I don’t think he was too pleased.’
‘We had urgent matters,’ said Trylia. ‘That’s all.’
Trylia smiled, though she looked pained. The gust of dark energy they had all felt had taken its toll on all of them.
They walked their friends to their ship and bade them farewell before returning to their daily duties.
* * *
It was quiet for a few days. The holotransmissions and Holonet that Knarf had previously sliced into had revealed nothing of interest regarding the Dark Council, the Empire, nor the True Sith. It was strange. All the reports Knarf had listened to, all the holoshows that spoke about the happenings of the Empire, had previously gone on non-stop about the True Sith and their plans, their promises, and all these things, and now, nothing. They were talking about mundane goings-ons, bounties captured on Dromund Kaas, an acolyte becoming an apprentice on Korriban, Sith masters squabbling with each other about their petty Sith delegates. There was no mention about the True Sith, no mention of Relsor or Perce.
‘I think he’s up to something,’ Knarf told Shadie. ‘He’s planning something, and that’s why there’s no news on them. He’s planning something big.’
As though to confirm it, a news holoshow began, the announcer began by claiming this was big news. He mentioned that even though he could not divulge any details at this time, that Lord Relsor, the leader of the True Sith, had confirmed progress was on its way.
Shadie looked at Knarf. ‘He’s on the move. But where is he going?’
Their private holochannel chimed. Knarf answered. Lian’s face appeared on the holoscreen.
‘Master Eidahs,’ he addressed her formerly, bowing slightly, ‘I have grave news.’
‘Let me guess,’ she said, ‘it has to do with Relsor?’
Lian nodded. ‘I can’t explain how, but he has found me in the Force.’
‘Did you sense anything else?’ asked Knarf.
‘Only his satisfaction at finding his quarry,’ Lian replied.
‘That explains the holonews,’ said Knarf. ‘Progress is on its way.’
‘He’s going to attack Tython,’ said Shadie.
Knarf was already calling Talyc on his comchannel before she had completed her thought.
‘What is your assessment?’ asked Lian. ‘Brenum and Trylia told me what happened at the Crypt. Should I isolate myself and remove any danger my presence may pose to the others?’
‘If he finds you and destroys you,’ said Shadie, ‘then he can use his powers on the entire galaxy. You are the only one capable of averting his attacks and preventing his powers from spreading too widely. The Force-bond I share with Knarf can protect us, but we must protect everyone in the Republic, and everyone opposing Relsor. You are safer where there are those who can protect you. Stay close to Brenum and Trylia. We’ll arrive with Mandalorians. We’re going to face Relsor and Perce together, we’re going to protect you.’
‘Thank you, Shadie. I mean… In any case, thank you.’ Lian closed the call.
‘Did you catch all that?’ said Knarf into his comlink.
‘Already calling on the others,’ came Talyc’s reply. ‘You need an army, you’ll have an army.’
‘Good.’ Knarf closed the call. ‘Are you able to reach out to it, the Sphere? Find out where Relsor and Perce are exactly?’
Shadie shrugged. ‘I hadn’t thought of that.’
She closed her eyes and concentrated. She reached out to the Sphere. Its reply was short, curt, but at the same time apologetic.
‘It can’t tell me,’ she told Knarf, ‘but it warns me to be vigilant and ready.’
‘Then that’s all the confirmation we need.’
“Seekers of Darkness” is written by Celinka Serre (2020).
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 story lines from the films are used. No story lines 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 Fair Use.
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.