Talyc awoke feeling heavy, his head spun. He looked about the room, gathering his bearings, remembering where he was and that he was safe. Fane was at a console and turned around smiling.
‘Looks like he’s awake, you can tell him yourself.’ Fane stood and motioned the monitor. ‘Mandalore’s on the holocall.’
Talyc nodded and got himself out of bed. When he sat down in front of the monitor, he saw that Mandalore was accompanied by his wife. Their holoforms smiled at him.
‘Mandalore, Co… I mean, Mrs. Mandalore, it’s good to see you,’ said Talyc.
‘Talyc,’ said Mandalore, ‘I’m glad to see you are safe. You’ve looked better, but I trust you are in good hands and will be back to duty soon enough.’
‘I feel rather weak, but I’ve been worse. Those Sith did a good number on me.’
‘Fane was telling us,’ said Mrs. Mandalore. ‘He’s been keeping us appraised of everything.’
‘Yeah, I kept making calls every day while you were out,’ said Fane. ‘I feel like I’ve really grown closer to our Mandalorian leaders, Mandalore and his proxy, who happens to be his wife, and yet she still won’t tell me her name!’ Fane feigned dejection.
‘That’s because only clan leaders and their seconds know her true name,’ laughed Talyc. ‘And I’m not about to get on her bad side and tell you.’
‘Smart man,’ said Mrs. Mandalore with a laugh. She winked. There was a short pause.
Mandalore’s face grew stern. ‘I hear that Darth Perce probed your mind.’ Talyc nodded, knowing this was ill news for his leader. ‘What did he gather from it?’
Talyc closed his eyes and sighed. ‘The codes embedded in my images; some of them were Mandalorian secrets.’ Talyc paused. ‘I’m sorry. If you need to demote me…’
‘Nonsense, you are a fine clan leader.’ Mandalore’s face remained stern, but his tone conveyed conviction. ‘It isn’t your fault that these Sith are fixated on us and the company we keep. But I have to ask, in those secrets, was there information about our planetary defences?’
‘Only the main bits, nothing major, no weapons descriptions, no beskar armour tricks or secrets, but there was information that may lead him to figure out how to get through the shields and bypass the blockade.’
‘Then I will readjust the blockade,’ said Mandalore. ‘Was there anything regarding the secret bunker, the hidden fortress-bunker that houses much of our weapons that we are to use if we are attacked on planet?’
‘No. Given you’ve told me very little about its lower levels, and that we’ve not had a need for it yet, it was not on my mind, so I doubt he caught on to that and no information regarding that was on my datapad. If they attack Mandalore and we must gather our people, the secret fortress-bunker is secure and our safe haven.’
‘Good. That place is as big as it is ancient. It hides more armour, weapons and beskar than its worth in credits could be held in a bank. It houses many of our finest ships and fighters.’
‘I assure you, Mandalore, it is all secure.’ Talyc stared intently at Mandalore, who nodded, his expression softening. ‘How is the rest of Clan Kandera?’
‘I’ll let them tell you themselves, which reminds me, I have an appointment to keep. We’ll speak soon.’
‘Take care of yourself, Talyc,’ said Mrs. Mandalore. Mandalore chimed out.
‘What does he mean by that?’ Talyc looked up at Fane; his man smiled.
‘He means that they are all coming here,’ said Fane, beaming. Talyc took that in; it would be good to see the others of his clan. There was a strange chime. Fane walked to the table and took the data-com. ‘It’s the coordinates to Shadie’s mystery friend.’
‘You’re not going to go, are you?’
‘I have to, she’s asked me to, but it can wait. We’ve got a clan to catch up with.’
* * *
Clan Kandera had brought the pirates along and they set up a few tents near the bunker. With some glow rods of various colours, they made the place looks like a cantina. They had brought chairs and small tables and they set them up. Several Jedi had come to help them out and had joined the festivities in celebrating Talyc’s safety and recovery.
Talyc sat next to Nriwe and Zaereg while Fane was chatting with some of the local Jedi. Lian had joined them as well and was enjoying himself quite a bit. He had loosened up; it suited him. Nriwe was trying to convince the Jedi healer she could read his tells in a game of Sabaac as well as he could sense the Force.
‘I’m not taking your bait for a bet,’ said Lian, chuckling.
The Hequel twins approached the table. ‘Talyc, sir, we brought you a bottle of your favourite brandy.’
They poured him a glass and placed it in front of him. Talyc stared at the glass, smelling the brandy. This was the drink he always ordered, the drink that bore so many memories with Kelbourn. But now, the smell reminded him of the lower cities of Coruscant, of the Mirialan waitress who’d turned out to be Relsor’s Sith lover.
‘Well, don’t just stare at the glass,’ laughed Zaereg. ‘Drink! To victory over Sith, to survival!’
Talyc shook his head. ‘I can’t!’
‘What’s wrong?’ asked Nriwe.
‘Talyc, remember you are safe here,’ said Lian.
Talyc found himself feeling heavy, his chest pressing onto him. He shoved the glass and it toppled over.
‘No! I don’t want it! I can’t!’
He stood and walked a good distance away, his chest was heaving from pain and memory and panic. He’d never experienced such an episode before. He began to weep. He heard footsteps behind him and felt Fane’s gentle hand on his shoulder.
‘I’ve made a fool of myself, haven’t I?’
‘You have not,’ said Fane.
‘I must be such a disappointment to the others. How can I lead a clan in this state?’
‘You’re a Kandera by blood,’ he heard Nriwe say. ‘Kelbourn would be proud of you. He’d tell you “Talyc, you barve, you were captured by Sith and survived. That either makes you lucky or them stupid.” We don’t think any less of you.’
‘No, and neither do we,’ Zaereg said.
Talyc turned around to face whomever was there. As it happened, everyone had followed him.
‘That brandy, it’s my favourite, but I ordered it the night I was captured. I don’t know if I can ever drink it again.’
‘Nonsense!’ said Zaereg. ‘What you need perhaps is some fruit juice with a pinch of membrosia. And…’ he reached into his pocket, ‘a good game of Sabaac.’
‘Zaereg’s right,’ said Nriwe. ‘Change that memory into a new one, a good one.’
‘That actually sounds like fun,’ Talyc admitted. Zaereg smiled and looked over at Lian.
‘I’m still not betting with any of you,’ said Lian. Zaereg pretended to look dejected.
‘Can you give us a moment?’ Fane turned to Talyc as the others returned to their makeshift cantina. ‘I just received a data message from Shadie’s friend asking to come soon. I think it’s best I leave now.’
‘You’re in good company, Talyc. And Lian will look after you while I’m gone. I promise I’ll be as quick as I can.’
‘Where do the coordinates lead?’
‘That’s the strange part,’ said Fane, ‘this person is on Csilla.’
‘Csilla?’ said Talyc. Fane nodded. ‘That’s at the other end of the galaxy, in Chiss territory!’
‘I know. I promise I’ll be back soon.’ Fane put a hand on Talyc’s face and leaned in for a kiss. Talyc closed his eyes, feeling Fane’s warmth around him. ‘I love you.’
Talyc smiled. ‘Ni kar’tayl gai darasuum, and I can never say it enough.’
‘Neither can I,’ said Fane. ‘It’s my fault you got captured, you know. Had I just told you what I wanted to tell the council, but I didn’t want to worry you and I was afraid to tell you I loved you. Sounds stupid now; it could have saved us so much trouble.’
‘You think Relsor wouldn’t have found another way to capture me, the only non-Jedi in our close group? He knew this was the way to get Shadie. I just, I’m scared that I’ll see illusions with you gone. I saw you die, Fane, I saw you want to kill me, I saw–‘
‘Then look at me now and remember this moment.’ Talyc nodded. Fane took him in his arms. ‘I promise I’ll be safe and return as quickly as I can.’ He kissed him again.
Fane left for the spaceport and Talyc returned to the group. He had missed his clan, his friends, his family, and they were here, on Tython; he was safe, and Lian was here, using his powers to keep them all safe.
* * *
Fane had borrowed one of the freighters from Tython and had announced himself as a friend of Brenum and Trylia’s, come to check if the Chiss required anything from the Jedi Order. He met with the Ascendancy briefly, but they didn’t have anything new to mention. However, he told them about the rescue mission and capture, which was why he was coming in Brenum and Trylia’s stead. The Chiss offered some minimal support in the event of an assault on Relsor’s part and Fane reciprocated. Both were reluctant to offer more ships in a hypothetical war scenario, though both knew a war was coming. However, Fane knew it would probably hit Republic space or Mandalorian space before it hit Chiss space.
When Fane was done his meeting, he followed the coordinates on the datacom. They led him to a secluded area of Csilla. He took a speeder to the location, on the pretext that he needed to ensure there were no remains of Kromus’s artifacts or anything at all where Kromus might have left them. Fane ended up quite a good distance from where Kromus’s holocron had been found, yet in the same general area.
Fane descended the speeder, having arrived at a set of ice caves. He walked through the large dome shaped caves and arrived at yet another, smaller cave. This one led into the ground, like a set of stairs. When he arrived at the bottom, there was a corridor, and at the end of it, a door to a shelter. He knocked on the door.
‘Enter,’ came the voice within the shelter.
The door slid open for Fane and he saw a man passed his prime, yet he was well kept for someone of his age. The man eyed Fane carefully. Fane took another step forward, but before he could approach the man, he had ignited a lightsaber, pointing it at Fane.
The Jedi threw his arms up, as a show of non-aggression. He observed the lightsaber; it was of a magenta-pink colour.
‘You’re not Shadie!’ said the man.
‘No, I’m Fane, her former apprentice.’
‘Former?’ The man had the same voice as from the calls. This was indeed the mystery friend.
‘She graduated me,’ said Fane.
The man observed Fane a bit longer, then he powered off his blade and clipped the hilt to his belt. He returned to feeding the fire in the middle of the dome shaped shelter.
‘Why have you come?’
‘I’m here on Shadie’s behest,’ replied Fane.
‘Where is she?’
Fane took a deep breath. ‘Captured. There was a rescue mission, and only I escaped. Shadie, along with Knarf, Brenum and Trylia have been captured by Relsor.’ Fane was careful not to disclose that the plan had been intentional.
‘This is ill-boding.’
Fane took a few steps towards the man. ‘Are you Sith? I noticed your blade isn’t red, but I’ve never seen any Jedi in the Order with such a colour.’
‘What I was does not matter to what the state of the Force is today,’ replied the man. ‘It does not matter that Shadie is not here and I cannot speak with her.’
‘Did you know her? Are you a friend of hers?’
‘I knew her, once,’ the man said nodding. ‘Who are the others you mentioned and who was rescued?’
‘We rescued Talyc, my partner. He is Mandalorian.’
‘The Mandalorians are involved with the Jedi Order then?’ The man laughed. ‘Now that is an alliance I thought I’d never see.’
‘Yes, you and me both. Knarf is Shadie’s husband-to-be. Brenum and Trylia are our friends.’
‘Does the Order know of all these attachments? I don’t think they would approve.’
‘They have allocated much for us all. They recognise that the serene passion of love can heal the Force from Relsor’s malady,’ Fane explained. The man nodded. ‘So, who are you?’
‘I’m sorry, I cannot tell you. I must speak with Shadie directly.’
‘Well, I’ve come all the way here from Tython,’ said Fane. ‘Shadie asked me to communicate with you on her behalf. It’s kind of cold here too, you could come to Tython with me, if you like.’
‘No, not yet. Though I appreciate the humble offer of hospitality. I came here on self-exile because of the state of the galaxy then; when I did, I had my reasons for being here. Now, I’m afraid things have gotten worse. I must remain hidden.’
‘I understand.’ Fane eyed the man carefully. ‘You’re from the Sith Academy, aren’t you? Did you know Kromus personally?’
‘Have a safe trip back to Tython, Jedi Fane. I pray Shadie survives.’
Fane knew a dismissive yet conclusive tone when he heard one. He nodded and left the man’s shelter.
‘Well that was a strange encounter.’
He turned back to the closed door. The man had not been hostile, but very reserved. Whoever he was, he was indeed a man of mysteries, and a Force-user with a magenta lightsaber. Fane suspected he was Sith, but he certainly was not from the True Sith, nor was he a Follower of Kromus. And if he was Sith, Fane noted what he had revealed; that he’d been in self-exile for quite some time. This meant he was not part of this new alliance between the Sith Empire and the True Sith. To Fane, this made him as much an ally as anyone else right now, given the circumstances, and no less of an ally than their Pure-Blood Creator of the Crypt friend.
Fane returned to the ship and headed back to space. He logged the encounter in his datapad while he was in hyperspace. He also hoped Shadie would survive. If anyone could get this man out of exile and get some answers from him, it was her. Whatever secrets he wanted to reveal, were for her, so it had to be her.
* * *
Lian and Talyc sat in front of each other, in meditation. Lian had his eyes closed; he felt the Mandalorian struggle through the memories they were exploring together. Lian opened his eyes as Talyc shouted in frustration, pounding his fist on the floor.
‘Calm yourself, Talyc.’
‘I’m not a Jedi, I don’t have the ability to just breathe and be calm,’ Talyc retorted.
‘You don’t need the Force to breathe and be calm,’ said Lian.
Talyc closed his eyes. ‘It hurts, everything hurts. My body is healed, yet my mind is in pain.’
‘What you suffered could have killed you,’ said Lian. ‘You have a very strong will.’
‘Well they knew they needed me alive, didn’t they?’ Talyc stood. He sighed and looked at his chrono.
‘Fane will return soon.’
‘It’s been days. Clan Kandera has returned to Mandalore, Fane hasn’t returned to Tython, and my friends are captured, my best friend is a captive. What a barve. Knarf and Shadie both, just as crazy as each other.’ Talyc chuckled. ‘Everything they risked for me.’
‘It was all planned, though, as Fane and I explained,’ said Lian.
‘What about that Sith at the Crypt you spoke of, are you able to reach out to him? Maybe he can help us?’
Lian shook his head and stood. ‘He cannot leave the Crypt, and I do not possess the necessary power to reach out to him, nor would I want to. I must stay away from the dark side, I must stay away from that place if I can.’ Lian put a hand on Talyc’s shoulder. ‘You need to give yourself time. Relsor put you through a great ordeal. Such wounds are difficult to heal.’
‘I feel so weak!’
‘You are much stronger than you realise, Talyc.’
‘Oh, if I had the Force, I would kill that True Sith just like that.’ Talyc formed a fist with his hand. ‘He killed my cousin and clan leader. He tortured me. And now…now Fane has a strange connection to him.’
‘To the malady he creates, not necessarily to him, as it were.’
‘You’ve lost me again, sorry.’
Lian chuckled. The Mandalorian had more spirit than he gave himself credit for.
‘Thanks, by the way.’ Talyc looked down at his hands. ‘The healing you’re doing, the healing I need, in Mando’a it’s called mirjahoal.’ He looked up again.
‘You’re welcome,’ said Lian, smiling.
Lian sensed an eager presence in the Force and reached out. Fane had arrived. He gave it a few moments, then announced it to Talyc, who ran out of the bunker.
* * *
Talyc’s heart leapt. He stopped and saw Fane up the path; he smiled. Fane ran up to him, as Talyc ran towards Fane. He took him up in an embrace and held him tightly.
‘I’ve missed you too, Talyc.’ He kissed him.
‘You’ve been gone for days, what took you?’
‘Well,’ began Fane, looking up the path as Lian approached, ‘first there was the matter with the Chiss Ascendancy, explaining why I was on Csilla, without actually saying why I was on Csilla. They seem to be divided. Part of them want to remain the loyal allies of the Empire they always were, the other part wants nothing to do with Relsor, and seeing as the Empire has joined the True Sith and never told them about it and that Relsor and Gourd had turned their backs on the Chiss before all this began, they see the Empire as having betrayed them. Chiss also see Force-users among their own kind as sort of tainted, or something to that effect.
‘While no official alliance can remain, they’ve agreed to lend us ships in the event the Republic is attacked, if we do the same, but of course, no ships will be deployed until war breaks out. As for their views on Mandalore, well, let’s just say they’re not big on negotiating with Mandalorians, so we left it at that.’
‘What about Shadie’s friend?’ asked Lian.
‘Dead end. He was there, but he will only speak with Shadie or leave his shelter when he meets with her. I learnt however that he is in self-exile and from the way he spoke, he knew her for quite a while, long ago. I think he knew Kromus too. The timeline would indicate he knew her when she was a Sith. Also, he had a lightsaber.’
‘If he is Sith, could he be someone from the Sith Academy on Korriban?’ asked Lian. ‘Perhaps someone who opposed Kromus?’
‘It’s possible. I asked, but he wouldn’t give me a straight answer. His lightsaber is magenta, not quite red but not quite pink. I’ve never seen anyone with that colour before.’
‘Well, whatever he was before, he’s been exiled and he’s willing to help Shadie,’ said Talyc. ‘That counts for something, I suppose.’
‘Those were my thoughts too.’ Fane put a hand to his head and winced.
‘More head aches?’ Lian put a hand on Fane’s forehead.
‘It spiked when I was in hyperspace,’ said Fane.
‘We should work on your connection with Relsor. Perhaps this time, focus on hearing, rather than entering his mind, simply being within the bubble of malady he’s creating. With time, we can help you enter and take control of him temporarily.’
‘Will I be able to speak through him?’
Lian shrugged. ‘Whatever we achieve, you will always need my guidance. We, together, are somehow linked to his malady. I can heal the Force around the malady inflicted upon it, while you seem to be able to destroy.’
‘But I haven’t destroyed his malady!’
‘No, but you’ve destroyed, you’ve killed more than your fair share of Sith.’ Lian looked from Talyc to Fane. ‘I realised something while I was healing Talyc the other day. My father told me that he had had a vision where a close friend would need great healing. He told me to stay close to my friends, for the one who is destined to destroy will need me, that I will be connected to that Jedi.’
‘Your father had a Force vision of the future?’ Fane’s eyes were big with surprise.
‘It was his only one. He said he got it in a moment of clarity. He told me: “When the Jedi kills and you feel hate, then will the Force unite you.”‘
‘What does that mean?’ Talyc cocked his brow, scowling in wonderment.
‘Master Juun Kloh meant Fane.’ Lian smiled. ‘You were always meant to kill him; you are the one who is destined to destroy. My father saw his death, he saw you kill him, and he saw that it was necessary.’ Lian smiled comfortingly. ‘I felt hatred towards you, and then the Force united us. That is why we are thus connected. Our abilities could work better together, and be combined if we were connected through the Force. You had to kill my father so that this could be achieved. I’m not saying you’ll need me to destroy Relsor, but this ability you have requires my aid, and if you had not killed my father, we would not have connected through the Force through such powerful emotions and thus I would not be able to utilise your abilities today.’
Fane put a hand to his face, shaking his head. ‘Did your father let me kill him? He was trying to have me see sense. A nudge and final lesson before his vision was fulfilled? Perhaps he did not understand the full extent of the necessity of his death. And all of it to bring us here, and to the future where I fight Relsor.’
‘I know it’s a lot to take in,’ Lian continued, ‘but now I understand why I was able to forgive you after meeting you again after those initial years had passed. The Force had a purpose and its purpose was to bring us together. We are connected now and you can be more powerful in order to succeed.’
‘So basically you’re saying that Fane killing your father is what will make him able to defeat Relsor?’
‘That’s absolutely it, Talyc,’ the Twi’lek said. ‘When I chose to stay on Mandalore, I sensed it in the Force, which was guiding me to my newfound connection to Fane. My brother did not sense it, and Ruther returned to Coruscant. It was always meant to be me, the healer, and Fane the destroyer. Now together, we can destroy and heal within the Force.’
‘My head spins just from thinking about this,’ said Talyc, ‘you’ve lost me again.’
‘Don’t worry about it, Talyc,’ laughed Lian.
‘All right, well, can I at least take it easy before we start trying to spy on our enemy?’ said Fane.
‘Whatever you like, my man,’ said Talyc, putting a hand around Fane’s shoulders. ‘Lian and I need a third person to add to the Sabaac table.’
‘Oh, so he finally agreed to bet?’ said Fane.
‘No, I agreed to play,’ said Lian.
“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.