Warning: The following chapter contains mature subject matter, which may be triggering to some readers. Reading discretion is advised.
Talyc woke up with another headache. He rolled to his side to find Fane sitting up, looking over his datapad.
Fane looked at Talyc. ‘Good morning.’ He smiled.
Talyc propped himself up and put his hand on Fane’s chest. Talyc had not felt able to be intimate since his rescue, but he wanted Fane to feel his affection.
Fane took his hand. ‘Have you seen these?’
‘Messages from people I don’t even know,’ said Fane, ‘all wishing you a prompt recovery. They sent their messages to me, but I’m sure you received many as well.’ Fane tapped on the datapad and seemed to read through another one. ‘This guy says he’ll gladly take the bounty on whomever captured you, as long as they’re not Sith.’
‘We can forget that then,’ laughed Talyc. ‘The Mirialan’s Sith.’
‘She has speed and whirlwind abilities that only Trylia can match,’ said Fane. ‘I don’t know that any Mandalorian or bounty hunter can defeat her.’
‘It would take special circumstances, that’s for sure,’ Talyc said, agreeing.
Fane checked another message. ‘Oh, who’s this? Oh, wow.’
‘What is it?’ asked Talyc. Fane showed him the message. It was a rather detailed description of what some Cathar lady would like to do to help Talyc feel better. ‘Sorry.’ He felt guilty that a former concubine had sent such an explicit message.
‘It’s okay,’ said Fane. ‘We got a bunch of other messages from women and men with whom you’ve been. I don’t mind so much, as long as your former lovers know that I’m your man now.’
‘They’re not former lovers. I’ve never loved anyone before,’ said Talyc. ‘Well,’ he hesitated, ‘not like this. There may have been one, but that was a long time ago, before I met you and knew what love really felt like. And all of these, they were just fun adventures. I assure you.’
Fane blushed. ‘I admit, it does make me a little uneasy.’ He looked down. ‘I know you’ve had many, I just… You have so much experience compared to me.’
‘So? What does that change?’ Talyc felt a tug of curiosity. ‘Fane, have you really never been with anyone before me?’
‘Never. You are my first and the only one.’
‘So when we first kissed, that night, when we… You didn’t seem like you had never…’
‘I let the Force guide me,’ smiled Fane.
‘Look, don’t worry,’ Talyc reassured him. ‘I’ll reply to them and let them know I’m spoken for, those who don’t already know or those who need reminding.’
‘Well, let’s not be hasty,’ said Fane with a coy smile. ‘Look at this one; he looks handsome and he’s offering to take us both on.’
‘Hey!’ Talyc ripped the datapad from Fane’s hand. Fane laughed. Talyc knew he was just teasing, and it filled his heart with joy to see him smile and to feel like laughing. ‘You’re mine.’
Fane took him in his arms and kissed him. ‘That, I am.’
Talyc closed his eyes as he and Fane held their embrace and felt the relief he enjoyed feeling these days.
‘Oh, Lian’s here,’ said Fane. ‘Time to get dressed.’
Dressed before him, Fane joined Lian and they exchanged a quiet word before Fane went out in the sun of Tython. Standing by the entrance, Talyc glanced outside. He saw the Jedi Grand Master a short distance away and Fane was talking to him. The Supreme Chancellor of the Republic was also present, along with Josur, and it looked like the Grand Master was handing them pieces of a droid.
‘Don’t look so worried,’ said Lian. ‘Eight-Oh had his memory backed up in a system and he will be receiving upgraded parts. Once he’s back online, he’s going to be glad he went through that ordeal. Or so I hear.’ Talyc nodded, feeling unsure about how he should react. It’s not that he was insensitive or didn’t care about the droid, but he didn’t know him. Lian chuckled. ‘I know the droid is not what worries you, but you could smile, Talyc.’ Talyc looked down shyly. ‘Master Herl’unik has come to see that you are doing well, aside from bringing the droid, and ensuring that we have everything we need to help you.’ Talyc nodded. Lian put a hand on his shoulder. ‘The Force needs you. That is why we help.’
‘But I’m not Force-sensitive.’
‘Perhaps not, but you share a bond of love with one who is. And even if Fane were not a Jedi, the energy of love that true love creates in the Force, it heals it, somehow. Therefore, the Force, in order to heal from Relsor’s malady, needs you and your love. As you heal, your life energy heals the Force too.’
‘Do I really have that much power as a non-Force-user?’ asked Talyc.
‘You know you do. You can feel it. The energies you share with Fane, what you feel when you’re with him.’
‘Sometimes I’m afraid it will all disappear and be an illusion,’ Talyc admitted.
‘Then remember how Fane makes you feel, remember your love when you are together, for that is real and truer than any illusions Relsor can create. Your love can break that fear and remind you how real this moment is.’
Lian looked towards the hill at the two Jedi. Master Herl’unik waved. Talyc waved back.
‘So what about you, then,’ said Talyc, leaning on the doorframe. ‘No one with whom to share energies of love for you?’
Lian smiled shrugging. ‘Not yet anyway.’
‘No one’s caught your eye? You know, I’m sure I could find you someone decent. Clan Kandera has a lot of single ladies, and guys, depending what your preference is.’ Talyc leaned in and whispered. ‘And between you and me, some of them are darn good too.’ Lian laughed. ‘Of course, I didn’t fall in love with any of them. Fane’s the one who got my love.’
‘You mean Fane is the lucky one who won your heart.’
‘Well, since you asked,’ said Lian, ‘I always imagined I would find myself a beautiful Twi’lek. I mean, don’t get me wrong, you humans are good looking, but being a Twi’lek myself, I always had a preference for my own species. I always imagined she’d be blue, but I’m biased.’ It was Talyc’s turn to laugh. ‘You know, the Jedi Order never made me think I could not find someone, probably because my father had married, so I knew that if I found the right person, they would allocate the same courtesy to me as they had my father. The thing is, it has always been the men who have been Force-Users, and the women had only borne men as children. I would quite like to break the pattern and have a daughter and teach her the ways of the Force, the same way my father taught my brother and me.’
‘I’m sure you’ll find that life some time in your future,’ said Talyc.
‘Well, I’m in no rush. I have the Force to focus on right now. I’m sure I’ll find her when the time is right.’
‘Hey, who knows, maybe she’s closer than you think.’
Talyc looked back down the hill. Fane motioned for him to join them. Lian and Talyc made their way to the group.
‘Clan Leader Talyc, I am glad to see you are awake and doing better than last I had heard.’ The Grand Master clasped Talyc’s hand politely. ‘As the delegate for Mandalore, Fane has informed me of the goings-on on your planet. I am glad you’re taking the time to rest on Tython. Do give your Mandalore my best regards.’
‘Thank you, Grand Master.’ The Grand Master began walking away.
‘There is a Council meeting I must attend,’ said Lian. ‘I will return shortly.’
‘That reminds me, I’ll have to contact Clan Kandera later on and give them an update.’
Fane nodded. ‘You’ve spoken a lot with Mandalore, but your clan does need some updating too, I suppose. Nriwe did leave a few messages for me to remind you to message her.’
‘Our clan,’ corrected Talyc. Fane smiled. ‘It can wait a bit longer though.’ Fane nodded, he started leading Talyc towards the river path. Talyc pulled him back to him. He thought about Lian’s encouraging words about his fears. ‘Fane. I have these fears that this is not real and I want to feel how real this moment is. All of it. I don’t want to wake up from an illusion. I want the realness of this to be, and to truly feel that this is, my reality.’
Fane took Talyc in his arms. Talyc wrapped his arms around Fane. He could feel their energies. He remembered their first kiss, their first night. Talyc looked around; the grass around them was tall, the area was quiet. He got an amusing idea.
‘Are there many Jedi who come by this way?’ he asked.
‘No, they’re mostly down by the ruins,’ said Fane.
Talyc smiled. ‘You think this grass is as comfortable as the grass on Mandalore?’
Fane’s smiled grew. ‘There’s only one way to find out!’
Fane had his lips on Talyc’s, as they both giggled, allowing themselves to be wrapped in the energy of their love, falling onto the grass, as the sun shone its light upon them.
* * *
Shadie reached out through the Force, trying to get a read on her enemy’s thoughts or emotions and sensed Relsor approach. Perce was with him.
‘Tell me about Kromus and his secret teachings to you,’ demanded Relsor as they entered.
Shadie was taken aback. ‘What are you talking about?’
‘We know he taught you things he taught no other.’ Relsor crossed his arms. ‘Now, speak.’
‘It would help if I knew what you were talking about,’ said Shadie.
‘It seems you don’t want to cooperate,’ said Perce. ‘That can be remedied. I can extract the information from your mind myself.’
‘What? But I truly don’t know what you’re on about!’ objected Shadie.
‘I think you do,’ said Relsor.
Shadie thought for a moment. ‘Oh, I know what this is. You’re trying to get a rise out of me. Well, it’s not going to work.’ Shadie crossed her arms and shifted her weight to one leg. She looked right at Perce. ‘Our Master never taught me anything secret or anything more than he taught you.’
‘You know this for a fact, or is it mere speculation?’ asked Perce. Shadie gave no reply.
‘Perce, leave us. I’ll deal with her myself.’
Perce nodded and left Shadie and Relsor alone. When the door had shut, Relsor walked menacingly towards Shadie.
‘You bear secrets you do not wish to share,’ he said. ‘Kromus taught you a lot more than he taught anyone else. We know this. We are not fools. You were his sister, perhaps not by blood, but you knew him better than any of us did, better than my uncle did, better than any other of his other pupils did. I can sense it from you. You are hiding something from me. It’s ominous and it’s dark. There is some dark side energy about you that I can sense but I cannot pinpoint. I can only assume it has to do with Kromus and his dark teachings.’
Realisation came to Shadie, as she knew Relsor was sensing the power she now possessed from the Crypt. The dark side he spoke of was that of the Pure-Blood’s dark side power that feeds the Crypt as the Crypt feeds him. She felt dread and worry. If Relsor found out now, the others could be in danger. It wasn’t time yet.
Relsor smiled. ‘Yes, I can see it on your face, your fear at my sensing it.’ Shadie felt cold. ‘Your face pales.’ He took another step, getting too close for Shadie’s liking. ‘That is not my malady; that is your secrecy catching up to you. I suspect this is a part of you that you have hidden from even your lover and your friends.’ Relsor took Shadie by the arms and squeezed; it hurt. ‘Mark my words, Shadie, I will discover your secret in time, so you might as well just tell me.’
‘Let go of me,’ said Shadie.
‘No!’ Relsor narrowed his eyes. ‘Answer me!’ Relsor squeezed harder and now used the Force to make her feel ill.
Shadie screamed. ‘No!’
She reflexively pulsed with the Force. Relsor flew back and hit his head on the wall. He fell to the ground with a look that spoke of shock and satisfaction at the same time.
‘Where has this power come from?’ Relsor asked as he stood.
Shadie looked down at her hands, which flickered mildly with lightning. She played it off as coolly as she could.
‘You made me angry, Relsor. I didn’t like the way you were speaking to me or the way you were hurting me.’
Relsor smiled and walked up to her again. He tilted his head to one side, studying her.
‘You cannot hide forever, from the rage that still lives within you, and one day it will unleash itself. You are of the dark side, Shadie, don’t fool yourself. It lives within you, always. The more you try to resist it, the stronger it becomes, it persists, and one day, it will come out. The question is, will you have control over it, or will the dark side have completely taken control of you? And when it does, will you lose yourself and become a being different than even Darth Shadie?’ He sneered. ‘You will be exactly the thing you fear to become.’
Relsor pushed Shadie with the Force, sending her dark side energy. She managed to deflect it and sent it away from herself, but not back at Relsor, just to the side. She did not want to hit Relsor with her full might just yet. Relsor sent more dark side energy her way, then lightning. Shadie bounced back, crying out in pain. She tried to shield herself without using too much of her newfound powers.
‘Fight back, Shadie. I know you have the power within you to unleash the full might of the dark side upon me.’
‘No, I will not. You’re trying to turn me to the dark side.’
Shadie thought of the being in her Force vision and the woe and regret the dark side could cause if she went down that path. She could fight back now, but Relsor had succeeded in making her feel fear, and now anger.
Shadie closed her eyes, taking a deep breath and sat down. ‘I will not fight back.’ She looked up at Relsor.
He marched up to her. ‘Get up.’ His tone was commanding, dry, quick. ‘Fight me! Fight back.’ He sent lightning at her. He sent dark energy. He used his malady to create a pain inside of her that felt agonising and she leaned forward, moaning, clutching her abdomen. ‘FIGHT BACK!’ He shouted so angrily, and lingered on the last word a long time. The dark side permeated from him; it was so overwhelming.
Relsor took one of his lightsabers, ignited it, and walked even closer to her. The blade lingered in the air above her. Finally, he whacked it down at her. Shadie flinched just slightly, as the red lightsaber hit the floor mere inches away from her, scorching the floor.
Relsor ignited his other blade. ‘That one was a warning.’
Shadie calculated. He needed her alive. He would not kill her; he was testing her, trying to get her to fight back. Her vulnerability was angering him and making him want to hurt her even more. She closed her eyes, feeling the heat of the second blade close to her face.
‘ARGH!’ shouted Relsor, with such Force, it pushed Shadie back.
He stood looming over her, holding his two blades downwards at his side. He powered them off.
‘We will continue this later.’
Relsor left. Shadie’s heart was pounding and she felt Knarf reaching out to her through the Force. She felt lonely, longing.
‘My love,’ she whispered.
She needed his face, for him to hold her face, to hear Knarf’s soothing voice. She knew Relsor was trying to break her, and try as she may to be strong and within the light, his tactics were working and she feared he would truly break her some day. She could not pretend, though she had tried; she just needed to find out what Relsor wanted. Just a little bit longer, just a bit more.
Shadie curled up against the wall and sobbed. Relsor was right; the dark side still lived within her, and that frightened her more than anything else.
* * *
‘What did you do to Shadie, Relsor?’ Knarf felt his heart pounding with fear as Relsor looked at him.
‘Nothing to worry yourself with. I was merely pushing her in the right direction.’
Knarf knew Relsor had done something to her. He also suspected he’d come to see Knarf to test his resolve. Knarf didn’t care.
‘I need to see her, I need to be with her.’ Knarf paused. ‘You said you would allow it.’
Relsor looked pensive. ‘No, I’m sorry, Knarf, but I cannot allow it.’
‘If she is angry, it will only strengthen her resolve. A softer approach might help.’ Knarf hated what he was proposing, but he needed to see his lady, he felt such longing for her, and he could just feel how she needed him right now. If he could make believe that he was okay with what Relsor was doing, perhaps… He closed his eyes. How could he convince a Sith who was manipulating the lot of them to allow him to comfort his lady and provide for her needs, when Relsor knew very well it would help her feel better. ‘Do you not trust me? After everything I did for you?’
This got the Chiss’s attention. ‘Of course I trust you, Knarf. It is simply a question that you comforting Shadie will ruin the work I have done on her.’
Knarf narrowed his eyes. ‘You promised you would not hurt her. I did not agree to betray my Republic and be your apprentice just to be separated from the very person who fuels my passion. Allow me to see her at once!’
‘I don’t think you’re in a position to give me any orders, Knarf.’
Knarf clenched his jaw. This was it, he didn’t care anymore. He used the Force to call his lightsaber to his hand. Shoving Relsor aside, he hurried out the door. He hurried to Shadie’s room and used the lightsaber to hack the lock on the door. He entered the room to find Shadie curled up like a child in a corner of the room. She looked up at him; her face was streaked with tears.
‘My love?’ Her voice trembled with longing and pain.
‘My love!’ He powered off his lightsaber and ran to her, taking her in his arms and cradling her.
‘He’s trying to break me, and I still don’t know what he wants from me. I can’t hold up much longer.’
‘Just give the word and we’ll leave.’
‘Have you…’ She did not complete the question; he knew what she meant though. He shook his head. ‘I will give you a bit more time.’
‘Reach out when you need to and we’ll leave,’ said Knarf. ‘We don’t have to stay any longer if you don’t want to.’
She shook her head. ‘We have a mission and it’s yet incomplete. Leaving now would be too easy.’
‘Only if you’re sure.’ Knarf placed his hands on her face. ‘Everything is okay. I love you.’ He felt her breathe him in and he felt the energies of their love. He kissed her.
‘You done?’ Knarf and Shadie looked up. Relsor stood in the room with his arms crossed.
‘I’m sorry, Master, but I’m not leaving her side.’ Knarf held Shadie more tightly.
Relsor narrowed his eyes, but nodded. ‘I still expect you to continue your training, Knarf.’ Relsor left the room.
Knarf took Shadie in a tighter embrace and held her as long as she needed him to.
* * *
‘What are you hoping to accomplish?’ asked Perce. ‘You use force on Shadie, leniency on Knarf.’
‘Let me figure Knarf out,’ said Relsor. ‘Perhaps Shadie will be more willing to understand my teachings if Knarf can convince her that his training with me is worth it. So I will allow him the time to do that. Besides, I have other Jedi to attend to.’
‘Remember, whatever the Togruta might require from you, she might be testing you, but you must test her too, test how serious she is about allowing you to prove yourself.’
Relsor nodded. ‘I think I can focus on her, make her choose me, and then I can trap Knarf.’
‘Or perhaps, allow me to trap Knarf while you focus your attention on Trylia,’ suggested Perce. ‘I can assign tasks to the slicer, and then I bring him back to his cell, to his Force stasis.’
‘I like that plan, Perce.’ Relsor took a breath. ‘And then Shadie will turn to the dark side in order to save her lover’s life.’
“Healers of the Force” is written by Celinka Serre (2021).
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.