It was as Relsor had described: Trylia and Alegna were bound together very tightly with what appeared to be some sort of complex rope. It looked like an immense arena; perhaps it had been used as a staging area. There were empty cages within the arena that shimmered of pristine metal. Talyc could only guess the beasts those cages had contained; some were rather large. All around the arena, in a great ring, were ysalamiri, placed in a spiral a good few meters out. There were also ysalamiri within the arena and scattered along the area for a good distance. Armoured Sith stood around the ring, guarding it, and within the centre of it all, stood Vax, overseeing the operation. Talyc noted he was no longer dressed in Mandalorian armour, but instead was garbed in Imperial gear.
Talyc passed the macrobinoculars to Shadie who was huddled closest to him as they all crouched by the edge of the ridge, looking down.
‘I don’t like the look of those empty cages,’ said Shadie. ‘What do you think they were for?’
‘I’m not sure,’ said Talyc. ‘There are more cages than can contain a few hundred ysalamiri. That means there are other beasts nearby.’
‘As you can see,’ said Relsor, ‘the area is heavily guarded and the amount of ysalamiri is even too great for me.’
‘Yeah, and you’re supposed to be able to use the Force even in an ysalamir’s bubble,’ said Knarf.
‘Like I said before, I can if there are a few, with a dozen it’s more challenging,’ said Relsor. ‘There are gaps between their bubbles. However, hundreds are a different story.’ He pointed towards the arena. ‘The Sith have placed them strategically. Even if Trylia tried, she would not find any gaps from where she could draw on the Force.’
‘We can shoot them,’ said Nriwe. ‘Kill enough of them, create some sort of opening.’
‘With two ranged weapons and hundreds of Sith alerted to our presence?’ said Perce. ‘We can’t even reach them with our powers while they are in that area. These ysalamiri are as much shrouded from the Force from which they draw their power as they are protected from those who wield it outside that bubble.’
‘We’re going to have to draw them out,’ said Relsor.
‘Lure them far enough from the ysalamiri so we can fight them,’ said Fane, ‘and that way you can reach them with your powers, Relsor. We can fight them and you can do…what it is you do.’ Fane looked at Relsor. Talyc felt Fane tense up. ‘You can immobilise them, use your malady, we can all use lightning, wind and such, and that way the few of us can defeat all those Sith.’
Relsor nodded. ‘I do not intend on fighting you today, Jedi Fane. Your wariness is unnecessary.’
‘Even with Relsor’s powers on our side, there is no way we can defeat an army of Sith,’ said Usharr. ‘These are specially trained and highly skilled. They are not the mere acolytes the Empire was willing to sacrifice when they sent you a supposed army of Sith.’
‘What do you suggest then, Usharr?’ said Perce.
‘We need to draw them out, as Relsor says, but we need to separate them, scatter them.’
‘How do we draw them out?’ said Brenum.
‘Maybe we just wing it,’ said Nriwe, taking the macrobinoculars and scanning the area.
‘There are a few details we need to figure out, I agree,’ said Shadie.
‘Nriwe and I don’t have the Force,’ said Talyc, ‘and thus we are unaffected by ysalamiri. I don’t like the idea of drawing Sith out while Vax stays behind to maybe move Trylia and Alegna.’ Talyc was conflicted about the situation. While he did not want to see the day arrive when Fane would have to duel Relsor, Talyc would have preferred to see his clan fight Relsor than play happy allies with him, but he would have to play along for now and allow the Chiss to help them. ‘Can you draw them out far enough for them to not detect two Mandalorians creeping towards the arena?’ Relsor nodded. ‘Nriwe and I can get in and help untie Trylia and Alegna. Once that’s done, they can join the fight.’
‘What about Cypher Five?’ asked Relsor.
Talyc sighed. ‘I can deal with Vax. He doesn’t possess the Force.’ He closed his eyes. ‘I thought I could trust him.’
‘You can use that anger to fuel your attack when you fight him,’ said Relsor.
‘Don’t!’ Talyc pointed a finger at Relsor. ‘Don’t think you can advise me. I’m not Knarf, I’m not your apprentice.’ He looked at Knarf. ‘No offence.’ He paused. ‘Relsor, I am your enemy, you tortured me, and if it wasn’t for Fane, I’d be swinging at you right now.’
Relsor laughed. ‘Do you really think your fist would reach my face before I would stop you?’
Talyc just couldn’t anymore; he swung at Relsor and punched him in the mouth. ‘It just did!’
‘Talyc!’ said Fane. Talyc shook his hand, shaking his anger and the momentary pain off. Relsor wiped his mouth, keeping his head low, gazing up and looking menacing.
Shadie put herself between Relsor and Talyc. ‘Relsor, please, just allow him this moment. We are united by this one cause, but it does not make any animosity disappear.’
Shadie and Relsor exchanged a stare for a good while. The silence was broken by an excited squeal from Nriwe.
‘Look what we have here! Over there!’ She pointed at a large cage that housed a massive beast.
‘A rancor?’ said Shadie.
‘I think we just found how to draw the Sith out.’ Nriwe smiled widely. ‘One of you Jedi can use the Force on it to make it want to go towards the ysalamiri, right? We get it out of its cage, we use it to draw the Sith out, Talyc and I sneak up on Vax, you send the rancor our way, it crushes a few ysalamiri.’
‘One rancor will not make much of a difference once the Sith have cut it down,’ said Relsor.
‘That’s why we’re going to free them all!’ said Nriwe, grinning widely.
‘All?’ said Perce, sounding unsure.
‘Yup, I count six. Just make sure one of them reaches the arena.’
‘Six could work,’ said Relsor.
‘Yes, excellent plan,’ said Talyc, smiling.
‘Hey, there’s a reason I’m the clan’s second leader.’
‘And what are you going to do with the rancor once it reaches you?’ asked Brenum.
‘You leave the rancor to us,’ said Nriwe. ‘Focus on the Sith, we’ll take care of that rancor.’
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