Warning: The following chapter contains scenes depicting torture and violence, which may be triggering to some readers. Reading discretion is advised.
Talyc was startled awake by the feeling that his insides were burning, yet freezing; lightning. He shouted out in pain as his body felt the sensations running through every limb. He balled his hands into fists, as though trying to hold onto something. He opened his eyes when the lightning had stopped.
He saw Perce standing before him, looking up with condescension, hands clasped behind his back.
‘Should have know it was you,’ said Talyc. ‘Your lightning is different from Relsor’s.’
‘Is that so?’
‘It seems, I don’t know, less refined.’
‘That makes it sound like a bad thing,’ said Perce.
‘Not at all,’ said Talyc. ‘Refined goods taste better, but aren’t as good or pure as the unrefined stuff you can get, like spice. It’s truer to the natural essence of what it’s supposed to be when it’s unrefined.’
‘Ah, I understand,’ said Perce. ‘But your meagre attempt at complimenting my skills do not detract from the fact that I cannot slice into your encrypted files and I require the codes. I am giving you the chance to give them to me verbally.’
‘How else would I give them?’ Talyc was confused.
‘I don’t know if you would survive the procedure, but as I did to the Republic’s Supreme Chancellor, I can use the Force to extract them from your mind.’
Talyc felt dread at that. He had come to a dead end. If he did not give him the codes, Perce would use his technique, he would suffer and maybe die, and then Perce would know that the encrypted files are not of interest to him. If Talyc gave him the codes, he would only delay the inevitable wrath of the True Sith who stood before him, as he would soon find out the files contained nothing.
Perce took a few steps towards Talyc and placed a hand on his head.
‘I’ll take the silence as your permission to probe your mind,’ said Perce.
‘As if you need my permission,’ Talyc retorted. It was too late to decide anything now, the Sith had already decided Talyc’s fate.
‘Perce! Stop that now!’ Relsor marched into the room. His tone had been authoritarian and his face was stern. ‘We need him alive, and you do not know if he would survive your mind probing.’
Perce narrowed his eyes. His fingers gripped Talyc’s head more tightly. He let go and took a few steps back. He was not happy at all. Talyc clocked the exchange of looks Perce and Relsor shared. So there was discord in the True Sith partnership, the duo had come to a disagreement.
‘We shall try a different method first,’ said Relsor. He walked up to Talyc and placed a hand on his left shoulder. Talyc braced himself but the surge of pain never came. ‘Give Perce the access codes to the encrypted files.’
Talyc said nothing. He felt a surge of dark side energy run through his body from his shoulder as purple light glowed around the Chiss’s blue hand. Talyc screamed in pain, but did not give them any codes. Relsor stopped. He ignited his lightsaber and held it next to Talyc’s face. Talyc knew Relsor needed him alive; he would not kill him.
‘The access codes,’ said Relsor.
‘If you kill me, Fane and Shadie and the others won’t come for me, they’ll sense my death. You won’t have Shadie.’
‘I am very well aware of that, Clan Leader Talyc,’ Relsor said in a very backhanded tone. ‘I have no intention of killing you, but perhaps I can maim you.’ He angled his lightsaber. Talyc felt the heat of it not only on his face, but on his shoulder as well. ‘Normally beskar would protect a Mandalorian from a lightsaber such as mine, but that hole in your armour is very inviting and perfectly reachable. Perhaps Knarf can share camaraderie with you over lost limbs.’
Relsor touched the tip of his blade to Talyc’s shoulder, just enough of it to the part of skin that was exposed from the damaged beskar armour. It was hot, it pained Talyc, and he grunted, and reflexively closed his mouth, clenching his teeth.
Relsor lifted the lightsaber straight up, ready to strike Talyc’s arm.
‘Five-four-five-six-three-Kay-Ae-En-Dee-Ee-Ar-Ae-seven-five-nine-five-Tee-eight-four-two-nine-five!’ He paused, breathing heavily and slowly. ‘You need to make sure you’ve selected the Encrypt File option, the decrypt option will not work.’
‘Splendid!’ said Perce. He marched out of the room.
Relsor powered off his lightsaber and clipped it back to his belt. He turned to go.
‘Are you going to take that?’ said Talyc.
‘Take what?’ Relsor slowly turned his head back towards Talyc.
‘Perce. He came in here, willing to sabotage the plan you so meticulously put together.’ Relsor lifted his head to look at him with red eyes gazing menacingly. ‘He is willing to defy you, no? You share power with him, yet you are the leader and he thinks himself the leader. His lightning is different than yours; I can recognise it. It’s raw, crude. Yours is refined, calculated, more disciplined. I may not have the Force, but I know a warrior when I see one. You have the makings of a Mandalore. Perce has the makings of one who tries to gain power through the power that others possess. We have a few like that on Mandalore. Chakaaryc. Undesirable.’
Relsor stared at Talyc. He angled his head. ‘If you are trying to cause discord between Perce and me, then think again. We share power, he would not defy me thus.’
‘Power cannot be shared,’ said Talyc. ‘Even a Mandalore’s partner knows their place when the Mandalore is speaking. A Mandalore’s partner is not Mandalore; Mandalore is Mandalore. Or Shadie, leading her friends, they follow her, they don’t lead, she leads. There can only be one true leader. Was your uncle really a true leader until Kromus was dead? Were you until Gourd was dead? You want to be a true leader? Perce will only stand in your way.’
‘Oh, you’re good, Mandalorian, you’re clever,’ said Relsor. ‘It is a shame you do not possess the Force. You would make a fine Sith.’
‘Finer than Knarf?’ asked Talyc. Relsor seemed amused but gave no reply. Talyc thought he had him, was making his thinking wheels turn, just enough to cause a bit of chaos among the two Sith. Talyc didn’t know what he would gain from it, but it was better than being the one to be manipulated. ‘What is it? Through power I gain…strength?’
‘Through passion I gain strength, through strength I gain power, through power I gain victory, through victory my chains are broken.’
‘The Force shall free me, yes, I remember that last bit.’
Relsor laughed. ‘You amuse me, Clan Leader Talyc,’ he said. ‘Comply with my demands and I might see about letting you in on some Sith secrets that might help you gain power on Mandalore. I might see on letting you live, when all this is over.’
‘I would be ever indebted to you,’ said Talyc. ‘Mandalore would be your playground and I would provide you the Mandalorians you would need.’
Relsor walked up to him. ‘I almost believe you! But I also sense you. I commend you for the effort, however.’
Relsor left the room. Talyc frowned and sighed, clicking his tongue. He almost had him. He didn’t get it; how Relsor had known so soon that Talyc was lying. When he had encountered Kromus, the Sith Lord had been weak at the time, and Talyc had made sure to speak the truth continuously throughout the conversation. Kromus had not detected any deception on his part because he had worded things carefully enough. This time, though, he had lied, had been too eager maybe, and Relsor had seen right through his ruse. Perhaps, at least, he thought Relsor knew he was right about Perce. The arrogant former diplomat would want to have his due, want to have his say, and if Relsor always dictated everything to him, they would be at odds. Talyc didn’t know if that was the best-case scenario for him or the worst.
He drifted into sleep, feeling weak, yet encouraged by some prospects.
* * *
Talyc was awakened shortly after, by both Perce and Relsor. They both stared at him angrily.
‘That your favourite pose?’ Talyc asked, looking at Perce, who stood in his usual stance.
‘Your encrypted files,’ said Perce, ‘they’re empty.’
Talyc couldn’t help himself from laughing.
‘Something funny, Clan Leader Talyc?’ said Relsor.
‘The two of you,’ said Talyc. ‘Your jealousies towards my friends are petty, pathetic.’
Relsor walked to Talyc. ‘Pathetic? You’re the one stuck in a Force Barrier keeping you in stasis and immobile.’
‘Thanks for the reminder.’
Relsor backed up a bit. ‘You know, Perce, I think you’re right. He’s worth the risk.’
Perce smiled and walked up to Talyc, placing a hand on his head.
‘If I die,’ started Talyc.
‘We don’t care anymore!’ said Perce.
What happened next, Talyc could not explain. It felt like he was naked, but his insides were inside out, someone was intruding on his mind, someone was inside his head; he was wrong, he felt wrong, he felt outside, yet inside. It hurt, it felt uncomfortable, and it felt like a pain he had never felt before, something he could not describe. He let out a long continuous scream, his scream increasing in intensity with each passing moment. Finally he stopped screaming when the pain stopped. The sensation of probing needles had stopped, yet there was throbbing, inside, though he felt none physically. He could not explain what had just happened to him.
He coughed. He felt destroyed, defeated. He felt weak, he felt as though he was dying. He did not know what was happening.
‘He survives,’ said Relsor, interest in his voice. Talyc just stared at the ground, his mouth open in shock.
‘So the files were only a decoy. The images I was looking through, they are what is important,’ said Perce. ‘Interesting. And now I know each and every single one that I need to study, what to look for and what to find. Secrets vital to Mandalore.’
He began to go. He stopped at the door and turned back towards Talyc.
‘No,’ he said. ‘I don’t think he’ll drop the Jedi Order just for you. He’s made his choice, you are not a part of that future which he has chosen for himself.’
Perce left the room. Relsor stayed a moment longer, staring at Talyc, but Talyc just felt so drained, all he could do was stare down, his body shaking internally, wondering if he was dying or if he was going to live.
* * *
Talyc again did not know how much time had passed. He had stared at the floor a long time. He heard thumping on the door. A boot was kicking it, repeatedly. The door swung open. Fane ran in. He put a hand to his mouth.
‘No, no. I’m so sorry, Talyc. I’m sorry you’ve suffered for me.’
Talyc looked at him. He looked real enough. ‘You’re not real,’ he said. Fane stared at him. Out in the hall, Talyc heard Shadie’s voice call out to hurry. ‘You can’t be real.’
Tears formed in Fane’s eyes. ‘I am real, Talyc. It’s me, Fane, your man. We have to hurry and get you out of here before it’s too late. I promise to take care of you.’
‘Are you truly here, Fane?’
‘What have they done to you? What tortures have you suffered?’
Fane walked to Talyc and touched his face. His hand felt so real, so warm. A part of Talyc knew this could not be real, but he wanted it to be real, so much.
‘It’s okay, Talyc, I’m here now. I’m going to save you.’
‘Fane,’ said Talyc. If this was real, he would say it, he would tell him. ‘I love you.’
Fane smiled at him. There was a scream out in the hall and Fane turned around. Lightning streaked into the room towards Talyc. Fane caught it on his lightsaber as it snapped to life, bright aqua-blue. Relsor came into the room. He began fighting with Fane.
‘Fane!’ Talyc cried out.
Fane sent some Force attacks towards Relsor, but the True Sith only absorbed them and it fuelled his power. Relsor sent more lightning, but Fane deflected it, using his lightsaber. Relsor sent Fane flying across the room. Fane quickly recovered and used the Force to attack the barrier that held Talyc. Talyc felt himself fall to the floor. He was free; this was real. Fane was truly here.
Talyc slowly stood, feeling woozy. Fane and Relsor kept on duelling. Talyc got his bearings back, the fight in him returning. Relsor picked Fane up with the Force and dove his lightsabers deep into his body.
‘No!’ cried Talyc.
Fane gave a loud cry, dropping his lightsaber. Relsor pulled his blades out as Fane crumbled to the floor. Lightning came into the room. Relsor turned around.
‘Shadie, you are next!’ Relsor left the room.
Fane was on the floor, eyes wide, breathing erratically. Talyc ran to him and took him in his arms. He was trembling. He looked shocked, afraid. Talyc placed a hand on Fane’s face.
‘This is all my fault,’ he said. Fane looked up at him. He reached his hand towards him before it fell to the floor as his body went limp, eyes closing. ‘Fane?’
Talyc began to tremble as well. He shook his head. He began to weep. He hugged Fane’s limp body and cried.
Suddenly Fane’s body dissipated and there was nothing but air where Fane had been. Talyc looked around. Fane’s lightsaber was no longer there either. The door, which had been left opened, was shut, and everything was quiet.
Talyc slid further down onto the floor as he realised that this had all been an illusion, a mind torture. Shaking, he screamed in anger and grief. He put his head in his hands. He wept for a long time, until no more tears would come.
The door to the room opened. Relsor walked in slowly. Talyc could run to the table that had his weapons, they were right there, yet he knew he could not defeat the True Sith lord all by himself. He knew it was of no use. So Talyc merely stared, streaks of tears on his face, devastation in his heart.
‘Now do you understand the powers that Perce and I share and possess together?’ said Relsor. Talyc nodded. ‘Good.’
Had Perce not probed his mind, Relsor would not have been able to create this illusion. Perce had delved into the deep parts of Talyc’s mind, found his emotions, found his memories, and Relsor had recreated the sensations he had felt, the emotions he had once known. Relsor had touched his mind, using everything Perce had gathered from it.
Talyc was lifted into the air and flung towards the centre of the room again, where stood the two pillars that fuelled the Force Barrier. Relsor sent dark energy towards them and Talyc was stuck in stasis once more. It was game over for him. He did not know what other illusions Relsor would create for him. His only hope was for Fane and Shadie to come for him, for real.
Still trembling, Talyc wished he could reach out through the Force. He wondered if Fane could somehow feel him, hoped he could feel him, and in case he could, he would think very hard about the despair and the urgency he felt, so that his man could come for him sooner rather than later, hoping against all odds that he would live to see Fane again, for real.
“Lady of the Crypt” is written by Celinka Serre (2020).
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.