Talyc stood before the large team he had assembled. Clan Kandera was present, along with members of other clans who had volunteered to fight the Jedi’s war again, even though it was not a Mandalorian’s duty. The pirates with their Cathar leader were there as well. Some of them looked a little too eager. It didn’t matter; they’d be killing Sith, as long as they remembered that.
Fane stood to Talyc’s left; Shadie and Knarf stood farther back behind the larger group. The ship was already in hyperspace; they were in one of the Mandalorians’ larger vessels. Many smaller vessels were ready for takeoff in the main hangar, along with starfighters, though Shadie had assured Talyc that most of the battle would be taking place on planet.
‘We fight to protect the Jedi Master called Lian,’ Talyc said to them all. A holoimage of Lian was projected so that all knew the face of the Twi’lek they’d be fighting to protect. ‘He is the only one capable of diverting Relsor’s Force attacks. If you feel you are living an illusion, or that someone or something is messing with your mind, voice it immediately. Relsor is known to toy with the minds of others.’ Talyc looked about, and then went on.
‘All Mandos are required, upon the request of another, to remove their helmet. I do not make this demand lightly. It is grave that we lost our recent clan leader, Kelbourn, and I do not wish to lose any one of my clan mates today, nor any of my brethren or friends.
‘We will head straight for Jedi Lian’s location and fend off any Sith who stand in our way. I believe we are all capable of doing that!’
There was a roar of cheers and war cries from many.
‘The Jedi among us will work their way to Lian and protect him directly. The rest of us are to kill as many Sith as possible.’
‘Easy!’ exclaimed one of the pirates.
‘If things start to get chaotic,’ continued Talyc, ‘we will divide into two groups. I will lead the first group; Fane will lead the second. Are there any questions?’
‘Why does he get to lead the second group?’ said one of Talyc’s clan mates.
‘Because he‘s the one who wakes up next to our clan leader in his bed every morning, that’s why,’ said another.
‘Well, when you put it that way.’
Fane giggled and looked down. Talyc felt his face get hot. He looked at Fane who reflected back his own shyness.
‘Okay,’ Talyc said. ‘You may ready yourselves as you see fit.’
He turned to Fane and took his hand, and squeezed it gently.
* * *
Talyc’s hand felt warm and Fane did not care who was looking on. He felt content. He could hear Knarf giggling about the joke. He shook his head.
A green Twi’lek approached them.
‘Hello boys,’ she said in a sultry voice, ‘if ever you want to have a bit of extra fun and have room for another in that bed, just let me know.’
That was direct. Fane felt shocked. She winked at him and smiled. Then she winked at Talyc and patted him on the cheek.
‘See you on the battlefield, boys.’ She walked away.
‘Who is she?’ asked Fane.
‘Oh, that’s Nriwe. Don’t mind her.’ Talyc looked at Fane more carefully. ‘What’s wrong?’
‘Well, it’s just, I don’t want to share you,’ admitted Fane.
‘Good,’ smiled Talyc, ‘because I don’t want to share you either.’ Fane smiled. ‘Fane, you, barve.’
‘It’s just, she sounded as though you had history.’
‘Nriwe and I, that was a long time ago.’ Talyc took hold of both Fane’s hands. ‘Fane, my man, you’re my man. I’m committed to this, whatever this is. The people I flirted with or… What I mean is, my past is in the past. I’m with you, now.’
Fane nodded. He could see Shadie and Knarf forehead-to-forehead, eyes closed, breathing in deeply, focusing, clearing their minds probably. Fane looked back at Talyc and pulled him in closer and gave him a gentle kiss. Talyc smiled at him.
Shadie and Knarf approached after a short time.
‘I can sense Lian in the Force reaching out to us,’ said Shadie. ‘Brenum and Trylia are with him. Knarf and I will need to head straight to their location.’ She paused, looking like there was more she wanted to say.
‘Don’t worry, Master,’ said Fane, ‘you can leave me and I won’t blow up in smoke.’
‘I hope not,’ she replied. She smiled.
Holding Knarf’s hand Shadie looked out the viewport. Fane’s eyes followed hers. The planet grew bigger as they entered Tython’s atmosphere.
‘We’re going to protect Lian at all costs,’ said Shadie. ‘I will do all that I can to ensure his work healing the Force does not go in vain. He is the only one who can heal it. We need to stop Relsor and Perce.’
‘I’ll kill that Perce Sith myself if I have to,’ said Knarf.
Fane looked at Tython’s surface as it grew closer. He could feel the Force calling out to him, the light side calling out to him; he embraced it. He felt a new sense of purpose; he felt importance. The Force needed him. This was his duty to the Jedi Order, to protect the light side of the Force. Fane knew now with a sudden feeling of clarity, that he was ready to return to the Order and serve as a Jedi Knight once more.
* * *
They landed on the surface near some old ruins. Shadie saw that there were ground troops already in place, many of them Jedi. She recognised Coruscant’s official armed forces from their insignia. Master Herl’unik had confirmed before their departure from Mandalore that he would inform Supreme Chancellor Emain about the current situation. It looked like the Supreme Chancellor was more than willing to defend the order that now kept him alive. He had already dealt with Perce enough as it was.
‘Jedi Master Eidahs, I presume?’ said a tall and bearded man, approaching them. She nodded. ‘Sergeant Emery, from Ord Mantell. We’ve set defensive perimeters on all areas of the ground near the ruins. Our forces are already overwhelmed by Sith, but they are giving much resistance. Your friends and Jedi Master Lian are at this location at the ruins.’ He pointed to some coordinates on his datapad.
‘Thank you, Sergeant,’ she replied. Shadie turned to Fane. ‘You’ll be careful, promise me.’
‘Master, don’t worry. You can count on me.’
‘Fane, I meant…’
‘I know what you meant, Shadie. You stay alive too.’
‘I will, you know I will.’
‘Mandalorians!’ shouted Talyc. ‘Today we avenge our brother, Kelbourn, and bring justice to those who took his life from us! For Mandalore!’ He took off at a jog in one direction, donning on his helmet.
Fane looked at Shadie. ‘If you need reinforcements…’
‘Don’t worry, Fane. Go!’
Fane took off, following the group of Mandalorians and pirates. Zaereg was chanting something out loud and roaring loudly, as Cathar usually did; the other pirates roared a reply every time he did, even if they were not Cathar, and the Mandalorians cried out: “For Mandalore,” in rhythm with the roars.
‘That pirate captain seems overly excited about killing Sith,’ said Knarf.
‘It doesn’t matter.’ Shadie smiled. They took off at a jog as well, in the direction of Lian, Brenum and Trylia.
* * *
The Sphere set Relsor and Perce down in a secluded area, far from the battle. Relsor and Perce exited and the Sphere floated into the air. It would return when they needed to leave, when Relsor would call on it.
He was gravely angered already. ‘Twice now, the Jedi know where we are to be, when we are to be there,’ said Relsor.
‘Could it be your connection with that Jedi who can divert your mind attacks?’ suggested Perce. Relsor shrugged. ‘I have no idea how they could possibly know.’
‘He knows I found him,’ said Relsor, ‘but to amass such a force and organise such a coup so quickly. They must have known something was amiss before it even happened.’ He paused. Perce took his datapad out and pointed up the path ahead.
‘The ruins are up that path,’ he said. ‘We can probably expect Shadie to be protecting her friend.’
‘Good!’ said Relsor. ‘She is who I want. You fight to capture Shadie,’ he reminded him. ‘She has many secrets regarding Kromus and we may need her down the line in order to bring down the other Jedi. Capture her and get out of there. I will find my Jedi nemesis and keep him busy. It would be a lot easier if I could use my full power, but as long as he’s alive, I cannot, not here, not now.’
‘Do you think you’ll manage to kill him?’ asked Perce as they started up the path.
‘The way the Jedi forces are organised, I highly doubt it, but I might not need to yet.’
‘The Crypt gave us great power,’ said Perce, ‘we should be able to handle all these Jedi, but if they prove stronger and more resilient than we thought…’
‘Then we’ll get out of here and find another way to capture Shadie,’ completed Relsor.
* * *
When Shadie and Knarf arrived, Brenum and Trylia were kneeling in meditation with Lian. The Twi’lek opened his eyes.
‘He approaches,’ he told them. He could sense his True Sith nemesis, but could not detect his exact location.
‘Relsor?’ asked Shadie. Lian nodded. ‘Can you sense his location?’
‘It is too ambiguous,’ said Lian. ‘He’s good, whatever power he possessed before the Crypt was already too powerful for me. Now with the power of the Crypt, it’s something else altogether. The best I can do is divert his energy and ensure that no illusions are created. I cannot prevent him from concealing or distorting his Force presence. I have been trying to have his attempts backfire on him, make him see an illusion, but I am not a master of his art. I can only heal the Force wherever he tries to create a hole in it.’
‘Don’t worry about it,’ said Knarf. ‘You’re doing a lot for the entire galaxy already.’
‘We need to move you,’ said Trylia. ‘Protect you, guard you, and bring you to another location.’
‘You make it sound like I’m an artefact that needs to be carried,’ laughed Lian.
‘There are many Sith fighting Republic and Jedi forces already,’ Brenum told Shadie and Knarf. ‘Relsor is trying to distract us, overwhelm us, but we already knew, we were already here. We were ready and we had already moved Lian from his meditation chamber to the ruins.’
‘I had installed myself in an area where the light side is strong,’ said Lian. ‘Perhaps I was too much of a beacon there.’
Shadie nodded; she seemed uneasy. He still hurt from his brother’s death; he hurt to know that his brother died because of a war with a Sith who had sought to destroy Shadie. However, he knew that it was not her fault and she had given Lian a choice and he had chosen the outcome that had led to his brother’s death.
‘Shadie,’ he said. ‘I hope you know I don’t hold you accountable for Ruther’s death.’
‘I know,’ she nodded. ‘I’m worried for Fane.’
‘You can’t baby-sit the poor guy,’ said Brenum.
‘I don’t worry about that. I worry if he is touched with Relsor’s darkness, he might…’
‘He won’t turn to the dark side,’ said Trylia. ‘He tried that once and turned away almost as soon as it happened. Fane has grown much since then, and it’s all down to you.’
‘It’s down to him,’ said Shadie. ‘He’s done well.’
There was some rustling nearby, and coming up the path, walking side-by-side, they saw Relsor and Perce. Relsor held his two lightsabers aloft and unlit, his red eyes glaring at Shadie, the shadows of the wild trees nuancing his deep blue skin. Lian could feel his raw power and wrath, could feel he had come for him.
Perce walked holding a single blade, but held his hand in a half fist, his arm halfway up, lightning already charging at his fingertips.
‘I’ll occupy the Chiss,’ said Lian.
‘Are you sure?’
‘I can handle him. I don’t think it’ll be enough to defeat him, but it will be enough to keep him busy long enough for you to destroy Perce.’
‘Don’t do anything crazy,’ said Brenum.
Lian nodded and ignited his lightsaber, jumping towards the Chiss Sith, blocking his path to prevent him from continuing further. Perce let lightning dance from his fingertips, lunging towards the other Jedi.
* * *
Fane fought off several Sith at once, using the Force to grip them and send them flying into a canyon. The Mandalorians shouted in victory and returned their attention to other Sith who were approaching. There were so many of them. Fane blocked lightsaber after lightsaber, crushed windpipe after windpipe, but it still wasn’t enough, more Sith kept coming and closing in on them. He found himself backing up farther and farther from many of the others. The Sith were doing the same to other Mandalorians. Fane just focused on defeating those who fought him and he heard blasterfire and vibroblades beside him. When the Sith had been downed, he looked around.
A few pirates were dead. Zaereg walked to him.
‘I’m not sure where the other group has gone, but looks like it’s time to separate from the main group.’
‘Looks like?’ said another pirate. ‘Have no choice you mean.’
Fane took a good look around and felt the Force around him. ‘We need to help our ground forces and prevent the Sith from causing too much carnage. The main goal, though, is to make sure that these simple Sith warriors and acolytes don’t reach Lian and the other Jedi. If they overwhelm them, then Lian could be defeated and then we’re all in grave danger.’
‘Yeah, I heard from Knarf what that Chiss can do,’ said Zaereg. He shook his head. ‘That’s not good for us.’
Zaereg crouched by the bodies of his fellow pirates and placed a hand on each of their chests in turn. Fane let him do what he needed. Zaereg stood again.
‘Come on,’ said Fane.
‘We hunt Sith!’ roared Zaereg.
* * *
Talyc looked around. His whole team was present, and it appeared Fane had left with his. What he did not know was whether Fane had taken the strategic decision or if the Sith forces had imposed that decision on him. No matter, it was time to track down more Sith and make sure they didn’t reach the Jedi.
Nriwe jogged up to him.
‘We’re all here and still alive,’ she said. ‘Thank goodness for beskar.’
‘We need to find the Sith,’ said Talyc. ‘Make sure we destroy as many as we can.’
Talyc turned to go when he heard Knarf through his helmet’s comchannel.
‘Talyc,’ said Knarf. ‘I have a strange feeling that we’re going to need reinforcements. Don’t ask me how I know, I just feel it.’
‘Will do, Bes’laar,’ said Talyc. ‘You being overwhelmed by Sith?’
‘By one Sith, yes.’
‘Yikes! We’re on our way.’
Talyc gave the order to his team. They hurried up the path that led to the ruins. Somewhere along that path they found a large group of Sith hurrying towards the ruins. Talyc laughed; the barve had sensed incoming Sith through the Force. His friend had truly become a Jedi.
Talyc issued some orders through his helmet’s comchannel, as they began to approach quietly to ambush the Sith. He switched his channel to private to Knarf.
‘I thought you said you didn’t want to be a Jedi, Bes’laar, and here you are sensing danger from afar. Found a group of Sith heading your way.’
‘What do you want, Talyc, my hand was forced.’ Knarf burst into laughter.
Talyc shook his head. He gave the command to his group and then laser fire poured through the air towards the Sith who turned and blocked, but at least stopped heading towards the ruins.
* * *
Knarf chuckled to himself as he dodged another Force attack of lightning. Perce was testing them, getting warmed up, trying to figure out their moves. He had been dancing like that for some time. He sent more lightning and Knarf caught it on his lightsaber, the blue of the lightning contrasting with his orange blade.
Perce lifted his arms up and Brenum and Trylia, who had been running towards him, went flying in different directions. Knarf didn’t get it; Perce was fighting them, but from a distance, never letting them get too close. He was powerful enough to predict their movements. The four of them could not get close to Perce. It was almost as though he didn’t want to kill them, as though he had another goal.
It hit Knarf like a gundark landing on a shrub bug. Perce wanted to capture them, or one of them. Knarf looked at Shadie who sent lightning back at Perce, absorbing his and creating her own, fuelling an orb of lightning in the air. He wouldn’t let that Sith capture his Lady. He would kill him first.
Knarf ran towards him and was caught in a grip. He lingered in the air a bit before being slammed down. Thank goodness for the beskar’gam armour he had on. His prosthetic leg was going to need some extra maintenance after this fight.
‘Tell me,,’ said Perce, ‘why is it every time Relsor and I are somewhere important, you four come along? It’s as though you know where we’ll be, as though you guess our every move. One might think you were groupies stalking us. Did your Jedi friend who can divert mind attacks figure us out?’
‘No,’ said Shadie.
Shadie tried sending some energy towards Perce. It wasn’t dark energy, but similar; it was light energy. It came out shimmering and white. She was creating something new again. Knarf smiled, even if his Lady could not see it, he knew she could sense him, and feel his pride for her.
‘You followed us to the Crypt,’ said Perce. ‘We hadn’t been there long and you were there.’ He began pacing to and fro angrily, sending the Jedi flying with the Force if they approached him. ‘And then, you arrive here, ready with an army of Jedi and Republic troops. Not only that, when we arrived here, the troops were already here, already on ground before we knew it. You are far too organised for it to be a coincidence.’
‘Maybe you’re not as clever as you thought you were,’ Knarf told him.
Perce stared at Knarf, narrowing his eyes, and then understanding dawned on his face.
‘Ah, so that’s how you did it. You sliced into the Holonet when I was testing your slicing skills.’ He smiled. ‘Oh, you’re good. You had me fooled.’ He seemed amused. ‘You pretended to not be able to slice through anymore, allowing me to believe I’d succeeded. So how did you find out? Was it our private communications? The ship’s navicomputer? What?’
‘The Empire’s Holonet,’ Knarf said boastfully. ‘You can try to slice something into it again and keep me out, but I’ll find a way to slice my way back in again. I always do.’
‘Do you now?’ said Perce. He smirked. ‘Then maybe I should eliminate you.’
He sent a painful attack Knarf’s way, using dark side energy, lightning, and choking him at the same time. Knarf felt his body lift up into the air and saw Perce’s lightsaber flying towards him.
‘Knarf!’ shouted Shadie.
She jumped up and batted the lightsaber away. She came at Perce as he focused on Knarf. The Mando-Jedi felt himself be released as Perce began to duel Shadie. Knarf breathed in deeply, catching a much needed lungful of air. He felt a hand grab his arm and pull him up.
‘Come on,’ said Brenum. ‘Looks like he depleted some of that energy. Time to fight him for real.’
* * *
Lian walked in a large semi-circular motion, looking Relsor up and down.
‘You know if you try to attack me, I can divert it just as easily,’ he told the Chiss. ‘You can’t create any illusions with me.’
‘If I keep you busy long enough, I can create one for your friends.’
‘No chance. I’ve gained some abilities too. You’re not the only one who has become powerful in the Force with some extra powers. I’ve got the light side with me, and this whole planet is immune to your attacks.’
‘We’ll just have to see about that!’
Relsor came at Lian, using the Force to try to weaken him. Lian fought the urge to fall to his knees, fought the urge to feel hatred towards Shadie, and fought the urge to believe the dark side could bring his brother back. He knew it was all caused by Relsor, all these thoughts and emotions, and he focused on healing, he focused on the Force, he focused on the light that had guided him all his life.
As crimson blade glowed clashing with snow-white blade, as deep blue Chiss moved around in a frenzy duelling with pale blue Twi’lek, the Force was in motion; Lian could feel it. Gaping holes were created within it and others were filled, energy was turned upside down as he put them right side up again, strands of light were broken up to be replace by darkness, onto which Lian only cast light and the darkness burnt away.
The battle of the minds had begun, the battle between malady and healing, the battle between the energy of raw and crude darkness, and the energy of pure and disciplined light, as Lian and Relsor fought through the Force, in the Force, and with the Force.
“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.