Fane awoke in a sweat and grabbed his holocom. ‘Shadie, come in. Shadie!’
‘Yes, Fane, what’s wrong?’
‘He’s on his way, soon, and he’s going to be early.’
‘Did you get a sense of where he was?’
‘One jump away, but a long one. It was…not real time, but…I say tomorrow, maybe in the afternoon?’
‘Well, try to get some sleep,’ said Shadie. ‘I need you rested tomorrow for the big fight.’
‘I’ll try, thanks. Is… Is Knarf back from his mission with Talyc?’
‘Yes, they got back earlier this evening.’
‘Oh, good.’ Fane let out a sigh of relief. ‘I’ll be able to sleep then, knowing you can too.’
‘What did Shadie tell you about going to sleep and ending the call,’ said Knarf, in a half awake manner. ‘Too much noise.’
Fane laughed. ‘Surely she tells you to go to sleep too,’ he joked. He heard Knarf grunt tiredly. ‘I’ll send word out right away,’ continued Fane. ‘You need your rest too, Master.’
He chimed off. Fane made another call.
‘Fane! To what do I owe this pleasure?’ said Talyc.
‘I have news regarding Darth Gourd,’ said Fane. ‘It’s time.’
* * *
Security personnel were stationed all around the cell that contained Darth Gourd’s nephew, more than previously. He sat cross-legged in a meditative pose and opened his eyes as Shadie, Knarf, Brenum and Trylia approached.
Those eyes were rather unsettling. Although the face was much younger than the old Chiss, Knarf was reminded of Darth Gourd whom Knarf had duelled. Not to mention, he found Chiss eyes unsettling to begin with.
Shadie stared at the Chiss for a long while. ‘Are you not going to gloat about the escape plan we forgot to think of in our calculated strategy?’
‘To gloat would be to reveal I had an escape plan,’ he replied. ‘You were Sith once, Shadie, you know how we work.’
‘I do indeed,’ she replied. ‘That is why you are to die.’ Her tone was flat and blunt and took Knarf by surprise. Brenum and Trylia stared at her. Knarf took a breath. The Chiss man only stared back. ‘If you are dead, you cannot escape.’
If she thought she would get him to talk by making him believe he was about to die, Knarf was certain he didn’t care.
Shadie took off her cloak as Fane approached. Was he part of this strange plan?
‘I have brought your ceremonial weapons, Master,’
‘Thank you, Fane.’ Shadie began to don on strange armaments.
‘I see the passion that you share, the way you two look at each other,’ said the Chiss.
Knarf, puzzled, stared back at the Chiss. He seemed to have some sort of fixation with Knarf.
‘That is because we love each other,’ replied Knarf.
‘She has a great dark side,’ the Chiss taunted. His voice was calm and calculated.
‘We all do. But she also has light. She brings as much light into my life as I do into hers, more light than she realises.’
‘But her darkness is unsettling, is it not? Doesn’t it anger you to have to deal with it time and time again, to repeat yourself when she needs you?’
‘No!’ replied Knarf.
‘I am ready,’ said Shadie, ‘unlock the doors.’
‘She will kill me for the dark side that is within her and one day, she will destroy you as well.’
‘That’s not true, she loves me.’ Knarf balled his hands into fists as anger swelled within him.
‘She is using you… Besides, your passion, your anger, use it to fuel yourself…’
‘Shut up, you Sith vermin,’ said Knarf.
‘I speak truth. That is why it angers you. I speak your fears.’
Knarf was so overcome with anger; he entered the cell and rammed the Chiss into the wall, a hand on his throat. The Sith began to laugh. Knarf felt so angry. Then Shadie was pulling him away and leading him away. Knarf followed mindlessly. He paused to look back at the smirking Chiss. Knarf vowed to himself that he would kill him.
‘Knarf, are you all right?’
Knarf looked at Shadie, blinking a few times. They were in the stairwell of the bunker and she was no longer wearing any strange accessories. Fane was not amongst them. Knarf felt pain in his head and put his hands on his head.
‘What’s wrong?’ asked Shadie, concern in her voice.
Knarf was overwhelmed and suddenly he couldn’t help himself but cry. He took Shadie tightly into his arms.
‘It’s okay, my love. What’s happening?’ She looked at him with genuine worry on her face.
‘You didn’t kill him?’ asked Knarf. ‘Didn’t plan to kill him?’
‘Aach!’ Knarf let himself lean on the wall and fall to the ground.
‘Knarf, what’s happening to you?’ Shadie’s voice reflected alarm.
‘I saw you; you were going to kill him. He was provoking me and he made me so angry, and then you were pulling me away.’
‘No, I was questioning him,’ said Shadie, her tone level.
‘If questioning is what you want to call it,’ said Brenum. ‘He kept gloating about his brilliant escape plan, without actually telling us what it was.’
‘What are you talking about?’ said Trylia. ‘You seem to have overlooked the fact that he was contemplating me, stating that a Chiss had never… mated with my species before. He said that if people around me didn’t get their act together, he would be willing to relieve me of my stress by…’ She blushed. ‘Well, I don’t need to repeat his words. It was flattering, but I rather he not be the one to…’ Brenum blinked at her and shook his head with disbelief.
‘I think I understand what just happened here,’ said Shadie, crouching next to Knarf. ‘He entered our minds.’ She looked up at her friends. ‘We saw either what we wanted, or what we feared. He used our needs, wants, desires, passions, fears, against us.’ She turned her attention back to Knarf. ‘My love, he touched your mind and used your fears. Whatever you lived, it wasn’t real.’ She wiped a tear from his face. It was her turn to comfort him.
‘But the ysalamiri,’ said Knarf. ‘He can’t use the Force in their bubble, no?’
Shadie’s eyes went wide. She dashed to the door. Brenum helped Knarf up and they all followed. The security team and the ysalamiri were all slain.
‘Blast it!’ cried Shadie. ‘The ysalamiri bubble was an illusion too.
Perhaps you’ll also enjoy Stardust Destinies I: Variate Facing; fantasy action-adventure taking place in a realm strong with magic where prophecies are dictated by dragons. https://binkyproductions.com/stardustdestinies