Talyc stood holding the assault canon, shooting at oncoming Sith, desecrating the ground before him. He cried out something in Mando’a.
‘You’re having way too much fun with that thing!’ said Kelbourn.
‘Damn right, I am!’ Talyc shouted out over the noise.
When he’d had enough, he passed the heavy weapon back to the others. Kelbourn took out his vibrosword and swirled it about.
‘Those Sith are Darth Gourd’s.’
‘Is there a different between Darth Gourd’s and Darth Perce’s?’ asked Talyc. ‘They all look the same to me.’
‘Fighting style, fighting stance,’ said Kelbourn. ‘Shall we to the group over there?’
Talyc looked back at the Temple from the distance.
‘I hope our Jedi friends are all right,’ he said, feeling worry.
‘We can always go help Shadie defeat the Sith inside the Temple,’ said Kelbourn.
‘Can we, though?’
The Mandalore’s wife approached. ‘The resistance fighters seem to have things under control for the moment. Many of the Sith returned to the Temple. If we attack them from behind, while Shadie and the others fight from the front, they’ll be overwhelmed.’
‘Excellent idea,’ said Kelbourn. He began towards the Temple as eagerly as Talyc felt.
* * *
When Shadie found the other Jedi, Lian hurried towards her.
‘Shadie, Knarf, Fane, it’s good to see you alive.’
‘Same here, Lian,’ replied Fane.
Shadie had a look around. The Jedi had taken a defensive formation near the entrance; others had rounded up their dead friends in one corner of the room. As though knowing her thoughts, Lian led her to where Master Salah and Ruther’s bodies lay.
‘Lian, I’m so sorry,’ she said.
‘I know.’ Lian paused. ‘He knew. Ruther knew he was going to die.’ Lian showed Shadie the datapad. ‘He also knew that if he was killed, Coruscant would be saved and I would likely survive this war.’
Fane crouched next to the dead Jedi.
‘So many of my companions, so many who trained with either Master Salah or Master Juun Kloh, or both.’ Fane balled his hands into fists a few times, loosening them up every time. ‘If I didn’t have the discipline, I think I might be tempted by the dark side right now.’
‘I feel the same way,’ said Lian. ‘That’s why I’ve stayed here. We’re protecting the younger ones.’ He pointed at the other end of the room where several Jedi, including Josur stood protectively around a group of younglings and apprentices. ‘Brenum and Trylia went after Gourd and Perce. No news from them yet. Many of the Masters are missing. I’d like to lead a team to search for them. I’m assuming you’ll attempt to join Brenum and Trylia in the search for Gourd?’
‘Yes,’ Shadie nodded. She looked back at Lian. ‘There is a secret hatch under the rug in the Council Chamber. Only masters know about it. It is seldom used. There is a tunnel that leads to a hidden area of the Temple. I’ve never been, but I know it’s there. It’s possible the Masters have gone in to find some relics that might help us. You’ll need the Force to enter.’
‘If the Masters were having a meeting when the Temple was overrun, it would make sense for them to attempt to regroup in a hidden area and plan a counter attack,’ said Fane.
‘I’ve been hoping they had found a safe place to hide in,’ said Lian. ‘I’ll take a handful of Jedi with me. I’ll contact you when I have news.’ Shadie nodded. Lian left at a rapid pace.
Shadie took out her comlink. ‘Brenum? Trylia?’
‘Shadie! It’s good to hear your voice,’ said Trylia. The sound of lightsabers sizzling through the air could be heard.
‘I’ve arrived at the Temple,’ Shadie told them. ‘Lian has gone in search of the Masters. Any news on Gourd or Perce?’
‘No, we haven’t found them yet,’ said Brenum. ‘Only their Sith. We’re searching the Temple.’
‘What’s your location? Knarf, Fane and I will join you.’
‘We’re on he upper level, near the grand hall,’ said Trylia.
‘Got it. On our way.’
Shadie reached out in the Force to sense her friends’ location more precisely and realised that she couldn’t. Something in the Force was fluctuating and it was difficult to get a read on anyone. She looked at Fane.
‘I feel it too,’ he said. ‘Looks like we’re going to have to find them without the Force, if ever they are forced change location.’
‘Then let’s hurry,’ said Knarf.
* * *
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