Shadie, Knarf, Usharr, and Fane stood with Talyc as he gave instructions to Nriwe for the clan. The barve kept reminding her of things she probably already knew.
‘Don’t worry, I can look out for the clan when you’re not there, you know,’ said Nriwe. ‘I have done it before. Multiple times.’
‘I know.’ Talyc bowed his head. ‘I worry I’ve let the clan down.’
‘You haven’t,’ she replied.
‘I haven’t failed all of you?’ Talyc asked. Nriwe gave him a sardonic look. Knarf put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. Talyc looked at him. ‘I just worry.’
‘So does Shadie,’ said Knarf, smiling. He looked at his wife who nodded in agreement. ‘You’re a good clan leader, Talyc, and a fine Mandalorian.’
Talyc smiled. ‘And you’re a good friend, Bes’laar.’
Nriwe’s comlink chimed and she looked at her datapad. She giggled. ‘Remember to bring a bottle of Tarisian ale for Lian,’ she said.
‘How do you know he wants that?’ asked Fane, giving her a mock-suspicious glance.
‘Oh, he just messaged me.’
‘What?’ exclaimed Shadie, curiosity on her face.
‘Shall I tell him you’re on your way?’
‘Since when do you exchange private messages with Lian?’ asked Knarf, amused.
‘Well, we got chatting and he wants to confide in people who aren’t his closest friends,’ said Nriwe. ‘He doesn’t want you to feel bad for saving his life, but he’s still adjusting to his new life and he just needs a sympathetic ear.’
‘We’re sympathetic!’ said Fane. He looked bemused.
‘I’m sure Lian considers your friendship more important than to complain to you about his woes,’ said Knarf.
Nriwe put her datapad away. ‘I told him you were leaving soon.’
‘Oh, okay,’ said Shadie. ‘You sure there’s nothing more going on between you two?’
Nriwe blushed. ‘I don’t think he wants that right now.’
Talyc pointed her way. ‘Now if there’s one thing I do well is gathering information and I’ll find out for you, because I know you, Nriwe, and I can tell–’
She shook her head. ‘Get going. I’ll be fine. The clan will be fine.’
Talyc began going through a few more details and Knarf had to pull him away. When they reached the docking area, the Krayt Dragon seemed already prepped for takeoff. Brenum was at the controls, waiting patiently, and Trylia waved from behind the cockpit viewport. Once everything was loaded onto the ship, they were off into hyperspace.
* * *
Everyone sat waiting patiently, lost in their own thoughts. Fane sensed something in the Force, like a wave. He looked at the others.
Talyc looked from him to the others as well. ‘You all just had the same face on. You just sensed something in the Force, didn’t you?’ Fane looked at him and nodded. Talyc looked awfully pale. ‘It’s Relsor’s malady,’ he said conclusively.
‘You sure you’re not Force-sensitive?’ said Knarf.
‘Certain of it,’ replied Talyc, ‘but I feel ill and I recognise Relsor’s malady. I’d recognise it anywhere.’
The sensation in the Force pulsed again and then it vanished. Talyc sighed in relief. Fane quickly reached out in the Force towards Lian. Everything seemed fine at the Crypt as far as Lian knew.
‘Well,’ he said, ‘Relsor might be testing his abilities. Lian still hasn’t mastered using the Crypt to spread his healing and Relsor is so powerful, even then, Lian won’t be able to stop all his powers.’
‘How far do you think he can spread his malady to?’ asked Trylia. ‘He must be able to sense his own reach.’
‘Yeah, well, I hope he can’t sense us,’ said Brenum. ‘The last thing we need is him meddling in our affairs before we’re ready to take him on again.’
Trylia’s lips tightened into a line and she looked down. ‘I just wish there was something we could do to help him.’
‘Help him? Help him! He’s trying to kill us and you want to help him?’
‘He can’t be saved, Trylia,’ said Brenum.
‘She has a point in wanting to understand him better, though,’ said Usharr. ‘We would do well to delve deeper into his dark side powers to understand how to better defeat him.’ Usharr looked at Fane. ‘It would greatly increase your chances of success.’
Talyc reached for Fane’s hand and squeezed. ‘I don’t want to think about you having to fight him.’ He sighed and shook his head. ‘What is wrong with me? Everything worries me. I’m scared.’
‘There’s nothing wrong with you, Talyc,’ Shadie said gently. ‘I think Relsor might be trying to affect you in any way he can.’
‘I can’t go through that again!’ Talyc shook his head. ‘If I lose my mind again, just dump me in some carbonite until I’m sane again.’
Knarf chuckled. ‘I doubt that’ll be necessary, but if you insist.’ The two exchanged a series of mocking stares and chuckles.
‘Coming out of hyperspace,’ said Brenum. He turned towards the others. ‘So who’s helping me carry out the water tank. It’s got precious Tython water; very delicate procedure.’
‘Best I don’t taint it with the dark side,’ said Usharr with a teasing smirk.
‘I don’t have the Force,’ said Talyc, putting his hands up.
‘It’s not that big, two of you using the Force will get it through,’ said Tylia.
Brenum looked from Knarf to Fane to Shadie. ‘Any other volunteers?’ he asked sarcastically, chuckling while he settled the ship down on the Crypt.
* * *
The energy of the place felt invigorating and refreshing to Shadie. It felt light as opposed to the dank heaviness it used to have. It wasn’t quite humid or tropical, but it had a warm feeling, like standing in the shade on a hot day, where the air is still and fresh. It was cool in areas, yet warmth spread everywhere and filled the air with a nice scent of Tython ferns. They were making good progress on the place and Shadie was pleased she could bring a bit of what was familiar to Lian.
They made their way to the series of chambers with some of the plants and the tank. The big tarentatek was sleeping in a corner. It fidgeted, opened its eyes, and lifted its head to look at them. It snarled and then slumped back down as though subdued.
Shadie wondered about it, then she heard Lian’s voice through the Force, loud and clear so everyone could hear.
‘I’ve been training it, using the light side to subdue it to feel sleepy if it becomes too aggressive towards my allies. I’m hoping it can recognise friend from foe and become a guard for the place.’
‘Is it working so far?’ asked Knarf.
‘It’s working to subdue it to sleep,’ said Lian. ‘It’s not yet responsive to my light side prompts. We’ve been communicating through the Force. I think it misses its former master.’
‘Interesting,’ said Talyc.
They came to the room with the sarcophagus.
‘We are at the location of Kromus’s secret datapad,’ said Usharr.
‘Really?’ said Shadie. ‘I was convinced we were going to search for it after unloading everything.’ Shadie felt a thrill. She could not ignore the affinity she felt towards Kromus, especially not after his help on Relsor’s ship. ‘So where is it?’
Usharr chuckled. ‘I sense your eagerness.’ He looked at the others. ‘You may do the honours to bring us down, just leave the sarcophagus open for a bit.’
‘Wait,’ said Fane, seemingly amazed, ‘in there?’ Usharr nodded.
‘That is a hiding place that’s in plain view,’ said Brenum. ‘We never even thought to look at what was in there, past the skeleton, of course.’
Knarf pushed the lid of the sarcophagus and the landing began its descent. Usharr bent and reached into the sarcophagous, rummaging a short while. Then his eyes went big a brief moment.
‘There!’ He pulled out a small datapad. ‘This is it.’ He handed it to Shadie.
‘Kromus’s secrets,’ she said, staring at it. Knarf put a hand on her shoulder. ‘I’m hoping there is something in there that can bring a bit more answers for me about Kromus. Then again, I do feel some closure. I guess I’m looking forward to knowing what’s on here, now appreciating him better.’
‘I understand,’ said Knarf.
‘You’ve got a lot in your hands already,’ said Trylia. ‘Let me carry it for you. Besides, everyone will expect you to have it. If anything happens, it should be safe with someone else, should the enemy target you.’
‘You’re right,’ said Shadie. ‘If Relsor tries to take it from me, he won’t be able to if it’s not on me.’ She handed it to Trylia, who looked at it strangely.
‘I think more of us than we realised will appreciate knowing the contents of this datapad,’ said Trylia. ‘I sense it will provide much understanding about Relsor.’
Brenum scowled at her. ‘It’s not going to change anything about us having to destroy him.’
‘I must have hope,’ said Trylia.
The platform arrived at the bottom and the team continued towards Lian’s chamber. Shadie had not seen him since bringing him to the Crypt.
Shadie looked at Lian and smiled. He looked well; his amputated lekku looked completely healed, and he no longer bore any marks of any death he might have come close to, aside from the lekku. She embraced him.
‘It’s good to see you, Shadie,’ he said, holding her tightly. He looked past her at Knarf. He embraced him too. ‘And you too, Knarf. I’ve missed my friends.’
‘Well, you just saw us recently, but…’ started Fane. He chuckled and embraced his friend.
Once Lian had hugged them all, he looked at Usharr and nodded. ‘Thank you for your assistance. The Jedi owe much to you, even if you are a Sith Lord and master. The Jedi Council has not forgotten your deeds. Would you perhaps consider defecting and becoming a Jedi?’
Usharr’s eyes went wide. ‘The Jedi are offering me a place among them?’ He shook his head and spoke in a comforting yet firm tone. ‘I must decline. I am too well trained in the arts of the dark side. We are allies, no more. My true place is back at the Sith Academy on Korriban. I would not wage war against you or Mandalore, but I cannot learn the light side or train anyone in its arts.’
‘I understand,’ said Lian. ‘I had to try. If you change your mind, the offer stands.’
‘By the way,’ began Shadie. She handed Lian a glass case that contained the lightsaber Jassahmi had wielded. ‘It still has some risidual dark side, I believe, so we’ve encased it to be safe. We figured it would do best to keep it here, lest our enemies try to retrieve it.’
‘That is wise, thank you for entrusting me with it,’ said Lian, delicately placing the case on a mantle near the back of the room. ‘It is imbibed with the dark side, even if its wielder is dead.’ He walked back to Shadie. ‘It will be kept safe here, I can promise you that.’
‘So,’ said Brenum, ‘where do you want all this.’ He pointed at everything they had brought in.
‘Yes!’ said Shadie enthusiastically. ‘Let’s decorate. We also brought you some banners.’
* * *
‘Bring us as close as the stealth generator will allow,’ said Relsor. Perce looked up at him. He was becoming increasingly annoying. Relsor scowled at him. Perce was convinced he could read his mind sometimes.
‘Just let me do my thing,’ he said.
The transport they were in was of Republic make. If anything were to happen, their enemy would not know right away it was them. Of course, they would reach out in the Force and sense a bunch of gaps in the Force, and that would surely give them away, but it was worth the few extra minutes of surprise.
The transport landed gently onto the surface of the Crypt. Perce and Relsor hurried out and began walking towards the entrance to the chambers.
‘So now we wait here?’ asked Perce.
‘Yes,’ sneered Relsor. ‘Let us wait as we set everything in place before revealing ourselves.’
* * *
Everyone was placing some ferns and discussing the best placement for some of the other decorations they had brought. Suddenly, Knarf felt a massive surge of energy in the Force of dark side power that flickered into life.
Shadie grabbed his hand reflexively. ‘Relsor’s here.’
They all looked at each other.
‘Go!’ said Lian. ‘I’ll do what I can from here to try to minimise his powers.’
The group ran to the circular lift and up they went, running towards the main large corridor. They were met with a large onslaught of lightning that lifted them into the air and flung them to the ground. Knarf landed on his back, his head hitting the ground hard.
‘Ouch! That hurt,’ said Knarf, pained.
‘Not as much as will your pride when I’m done with you!’ said Perce.
Knarf bounced up, igniting his lightsaber, and slashed at the Sith before he could grab his weapon. He singed his arm. He slashed again, scorching his nemesis’s shoulder, slicing the tip of it off. Perce winced and shouted more in anger than in pain. By the time he had ignited his weapon, his shoulder had regenerated.
‘I hate that,’ said Knarf.
Perce sneered at him. ‘And I love it.’ Perce lunged at Knarf.
He could see Talyc sending volleys of blaster fire towards the Sith Lord, but Perce was too quick for both of them. Relsor kept sending lightning, which Fane, Shadie and Usharr were intercepting with their lightsabers.
‘Relsor!’ shouted Brenum. ‘You can’t possibly think you can defeat us, just the two of you, against all eight of us.’
‘Eight?’ Relsor paused the lightning. ‘I wouldn’t count Jedi Lian so readily as a number among you, not when I can counter his abilities to counter mine.’
‘What are you talking about?’ said Fane.
‘I’ve been training too,’ said Relsor, pride dripping from his voice. ‘Lian’s going to have to do a lot more to stop me.’
Suddenly, Knarf found himself falling to his hands and knees, feeling pain throughout his entire body. He looked up and saw Shadie lying on the ground, moaning; Talyc was crying out “Not again,” as Fane was reaching for him. Brenum and Trylia looked like they were going to be sick, while Usharr looked serene and focused, his hands forming an orb in the air, channelling something, though Knarf could not guess what.
Perce looked down at Knarf as the pain subsided, yet Knarf’s eyes blurred as he felt ill and he could not decide what he was feeling anymore.
Slowly, part of the feeling began to subside, as he felt from within himself an energy source healing him. He stood up again. Usharr had a larger orb of a yellowish energy field. Knarf figured he was gathering the malady he would otherwise be feeling. The next thing he knew, the orb hit Perce right in the chest and the Sith Lord belched, screamed, and buckled all at the same time. Knarf jumped at him, but before he could strike his enemy down, he was lifted into the air and a hot and cold sensation danced across his body. Perce was sending more lightning, despite everything.
Relsor stood grounded, staring at them all. ‘I did not come alone, if you must know.’
Knarf sensed dozens of life forces flicker into existence, gaps he had not realised were there before, now being filled with the dark side, and dozens of red blades ignited and began to move amidst the Jedi, fighting the group. After some time of fighting, they were all lifted into the air, but this time, no lightning hit them. Knarf looked about and realised he could not move.
‘I hate this!’ shouted Talyc in a warning tone. ‘This is triggering me!’
‘Oh, but you can’t do anything about it, Clan Leader Talyc,’ said Relsor. ‘So best get used to it.’
‘Kriffing kark! I hope you suffer the most painful death you will have ever known!’
‘Talyc, it’s okay, we’ll be all right,’ said Fane.
The dozens of Sith who had been fighting them, now stood here and there amidst them, hands in the air, all holding them up, using the Force to immobilise them. Perce was pacing to and fro in front of them all.
‘You the overseer now?’ asked Knarf. Perce just smirked at him condescendingly.
* * *
Relsor reached with the Force and pulled Brenum towards him, sending him lightning and using his malady to prevent the Jedi from defending himself.
‘Brenum!’ shouted Trylia.
Relsor ignited his two blades, stopping the dark side torture, and walked towards Brenum. The Jedi struggled to get up from the ground and barely managed to get on hands and knees. He was panting; this satisfied Relsor. He lifted his blades and went to strike.
‘Relsor! No!’ cried Trylia. Relsor paused. ‘Please, stop!’
Relsor took a step back and held his blades frontwards. If Brenum moved, he was too close to the lightsabers to not get singed at least. Relsor nodded towards the others and Trylia dropped to the ground. She ran towards Brenum and took him in her arms, helping him up. Brenum leaned back, holding onto the sides of the Crypt’s walls. Trylia stood in front of Brenum, in Relsor’s way and turned towards him.
‘Don’t kill him!’ she pleaded.
‘Why should I not?’ demanded Relsor. ‘It will change nothing to the way you feel if I save his life. I tried that once, to spare him, and you betrayed me. Now get out of my way.’
‘No!’ Trylia’s tone was firm. ‘If you want to kill him, you’ll have to go through me first.’
Relsor laughed. This was working out better than he had planned. He used the Force to toss her aside and then began choking Brenum with the dark side. The Jedi began croaking. Relsor combined lightning with the Force choke. Trylia ran between them and took the brunt of the lightning.
‘Trylia, no!’ both Relsor and Brenum cried out. Trylia fell to the ground, panting in pain.
‘I don’t want to have to kill you,’ said Relsor. He wanted to push her, but this had to come from her. ‘But I will if I must.’
‘Trylia, no!’ pleaded Brenum. ‘Don’t let him kill you! There’s nothing for it, let him have me if it saves your life.’
Relsor was loving every moment of this. Now all he needed was for Trylia to want to do the same for her lover.
‘No! I won’t let him kill you, Brenum.’ Trylia turned to Relsor. ‘If I go with you, will you stop? Will you leave, and leave all my friends alone.’
Relsor wanted to look like he was contemplating her offer. He took a beat, then nodded. ‘Yes.’
‘Trylia, no, you can’t’ said Brenum.
‘Brenum, I have to. It’s okay, I’ll be all right.’
Trylia embraced Brenum and kissed him. Relsor turned his head away and looked to the side and down, he could not bear to watch them exchange their affection thus.
‘I love you,’ he heard them say to each other.
After a brief moment, Relsor looked back at Trylia. She turned to the others. She looked at Shadie. Relsor observed Shadie’s expression. Either Trylia was aware of the secrets Kromus had kept, or had in her possession that which contained the very secrets. Relsor was satisfied.
‘We leave!’ he called out to the others.
He used the Force to send Brenum flying into his friends, as his True Sith let go of their hold on them to run across the hallway towards the transport. Relsor firmly took hold of Trylia’s arm. She stared at Brenum and he at her. Relsor pulled her into the transport as Perce and the others made their way on behind them.
* * *
Brenum stared bemused as Relsor pulled Trylia into the transport before he could not see her anymore. He ran towards it, determined to catch up, to enter with the other Sith. He would fight them all, all of them, just to save her from Relsor’s captivity. He reached the transport just as the entrance shut itself. He banged on the hatch and drove his lightsaber into it. The others caught up to him and attempted to do the same, but the transport lifted, and everyone fell with their blades powering off as it went into hyperspace, leaving them on the Crypt, and Trylia with Relsor. Brenum punched the ground. He could sense Lian’s disappointment in himself and sent his friend reassurance. Knarf put a hand on Brenum’s shoulder. The others bowed their heads. Brenum closed his eyes and felt his tears trickle down his face.
“Secrets from the Past” is written by Celinka Serre (2022).
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.