Shadie returned from her extensive “meeting” with the Sphere. Knarf looked up from his datapad.
‘The Dark Council apparently has appointed a new liaison between the Empire and the True Sith,’ he said.
‘Honestly, Shadie,’ said Talyc, ‘he’s like some grandma hooked to a holodrama. He hasn’t taken his nose off his datapad for hours.’
Knarf could sense something was off. ‘My love, what is it?’
Shadie looked at everyone. ‘I had some discussions with the Sphere, regarding my…lightness. The Sphere claims to understand that I have mastered the dark side and have combined light and dark to coexist within me. I allow passion to reign within me, despite being able to achieve serenity. It believes my light is a result from such darkness and that my darkness cannot exist if there is no light bright enough in which for it to be visible. This is why I remain its master and the Lady of the Crypt. However, I have not claimed the Crypt.’
‘What does that mean?’ asked Fane. ‘What must you do to claim it?’
‘That’s the thing, it can’t tell me. I have to discover that for myself,’ said Shadie. ‘The Sphere mentioned it serves a High Master, I’m assuming that’s the energy within the Crypt itself. The Sphere knows many secrets that those who claim mastery of the Crypt don’t know, unless they are worthy or ready to discover or in need of that knowledge. So now, I’m ready to claim the Crypt. Claiming it would make me Master of the Crypt and of the Sphere. The problem is, if someone else claims it, they could command the Sphere.’
‘That’s not good,’ said Brenum.
‘There is a silver lining in this, however,’ continued Shadie.
‘Which is?’ asked Knarf.
‘In the event someone else claims the Crypt, the Sphere still considers me the Lady and its master. It favours me. Although I will still need to go and claim the Crypt for myself, but it will retain its connection to me. Through deep meditation I may be able to communicate with it, but not command it, and not gain information from our enemy. The Sphere in turn will not divulge my information to our enemy due to its undying loyalty to me, but it will have to obey every command given to it, on the sole exception of destroying me. It will not attack me or try to kill me. We agreed to that.’
‘Splendid,’ said Brenum, sarcasm in his voice.
‘I have managed to convince it to extend that courtesy to the rest of you, including you, Talyc.’
‘Thanks. I think.’ Talyc cocked a brow.
‘Why did it never share this information with you before?’ asked Trylia.
‘Because I never asked. And I never asked because no one else ever returned to the Crypt. Kromus had been the last, and he had never mentioned a High Master of the Crypt or anything like it. The Sphere will not divulge certain secrets if the one it wants to serve does not ask. It will keep the Crypt’s most ancient secrets hidden in this way. And I mean, I get it.’ Shadie inclined her head to the side in a half shrug. ‘Now that our enemy is going there, and I think the Crypt commanded the Sphere to do so, it shared some secrets with me, which I honestly should have explored a lot sooner.’
‘I say,’ said Brenum. ‘But there’s no point in dwelling on the past; there was no way we could have known.’
‘So what happens now?’ asked Trylia.
‘The Crypt permeates the most powerful dark side energy I have ever felt,’ said Shadie. ‘We still need to go there and stop Relsor. But we’ll need the Krayt Dragon just in case we arrive too late. In that event, we will need to escape and return when the coast is clear so that I can claim the Crypt as mine once and for all.’
‘We need to contact the Council and let them know we’ll be arriving late on Tython,’ said Trylia.
‘Really?’ said Brenum, a bit incredulous. ‘You’re worried about what the Jedi Council thinks when we might lose a powerful ally in the Sphere, and Shadie must face whatever horrors await her in a place where the dark side is at its strongest?’
‘Well, claiming the Crypt can’t be that difficult,’ said Knarf. ‘We fly there, Shadie does whatever she needs to do, the Sphere returns to us.’ He looked at Shadie. ‘Right?’
‘Ultimately,’ replied Shadie.
‘Then let’s make sure we get there before Relsor does,’ said Knarf.
* * *
The place was dank and had a strange smell about it. Relsor crinkled his nose; it was the smell of decay.
Perce spun slowly to look at its vastness. ‘Kromus spoke a lot of this place. This was where he was going to defeat Shadie.’
‘And instead Shadie defeated him,’ said Relsor. ‘I wonder why that is.’
‘Well because he hadn’t claimed this place, had he?’ said Perce. They walked along a long cavernous hallway. ‘This place exudes the dark side, can you feel it? Can you feel its raw power?’
‘I can feel it.’
‘It also contains chambers to which no one can gain access, unless one passes the trials. Passed these chambers, deep below, lies a very ancient chamber. Or was it passed those other chambers? Kromus was never able to learn more and he obviously was never able to gain access to these chambers.’
‘We will,’ said Relsor. ‘It’s the only way to defeat those Jedi. Somehow they are able to see through my illusions. Perhaps if I can be more powerful I may be able to defeat them more easily.’
‘We will certainly be able to gain valuable knowledge, and chance at finding whatever or whomever is able to divert your illusions.’
‘I suspect it is a Jedi,’ said Relsor.
‘Well, that part is obvious,’ said Perce.
‘If I can find who it is,’ continued Relsor, ‘I can destroy them.’
They veered right towards a large alcove and arrived at a large door made of stone.
‘This is the first chamber,’ said Perce, as described by Kromus. ‘I do not know what lies within.’
‘Then let’s find out, shall we?’
Relsor place his hands on the door and focused his attention on the energy around them. The door slid open. Within the chamber lay a slain beast, decaying, the dark side fuelling its corpse.
‘How is this creature not a pile of bones?’ asked Perce.
‘The dark side is feeding it, trying to revive it,’ said Relsor. ‘I can hear whispers. They speak of the one who slew the beast but could not give the sacrifice.’
Perce looked ponderous. His eyes went wide and he walked to a stone pillar.
‘”Tarentatek to be slain.“‘ He paused and looked at the corpse. ‘That thing’s a lot bigger than any tarentateks I’ve ever seen. It must have a regenerative cycle. Lucky for us, it hasn’t reawakened to be reslain yet.’ He glanced back at the pillar. ‘”Pay the price of victory, then pay the sacrifice of kin death.” I believe it means we must kill a relative.’
Relsor laughed. ‘Kromus failed to kill Shadie, that is why he could not get passed this room to the second chamber. Whereas I…’ Relsor walked to the door and placed his hands on it, focusing as he had before, ‘…killed my own Uncle.’
The door slid open, the stone rolling to one side and into the wall. Relsor turned to look at Perce.
‘I think the energy of the dead Sith who fuel this place have granted us access, Perce.’
They walked into the second chamber. There was a pool made of stone; within it, stale water with calcification on the side of the pool rippled, though there was no wind. Perce walked to the stone pillar within the room.
‘Here it reads: “Spill the blood of one most loyal to join with yours and his power will be second to yours.“‘ He laughed. ‘Kromus would’ve never gotten passed this room; he was always way too greedy.’
Relsor looked around and found a sharp tool sitting by the pool.
‘I may have been it too,’ he said, observing the tool, ‘however, our enemy is as of yet undefeatable, and I will need all the help I can get. If we both can share this power, then Shadie is sure to falter.’
Perce walked to him and held out his hand. Relsor made a small cut in his own hand using the tool and let his blood drip into the pool. Then he made a cut in Perce’s hand. Perce winced only slightly and his blood dripped into the pool as well. Then the door that led to the next chamber slid open.
Perce looked at Relsor and smirked in satisfaction. He wiped his hand, while Relsor used his own lightning to cauterise the wound. Then, they both entered the third chamber. It was Relsor who walked to the next pillar, eager to find out what the next trial was.
‘”One cannot wield true power if one is not a master of stealth, if one has not risked their life to live as the enemy and risk detection.” I believe this one’s yours, Perce.’
‘Well, you too, my Lord.’
Relsor shook his head. ‘I was a Mandalorian for a day. You worked for the Republic Senate for over a year. Our victory in this chamber is thanks to you.’
The door slid open.
‘You know,’ said Perce, ‘I think if we had discovered this sooner, before achieving all that we have, it would have been really annoying to have to return every time.’ Relsor laughed. ‘Think about it,’ Perce insisted. ‘It would have been a race with anyone else trying to claim the Crypt.’
They walked into the next chamber. The pillar mentioned something about communicating with the Crypt’s protector.
‘The Sphere!’ said Relsor; he was in great thought. He had to meditate and find a way to communicate with the Sphere.
He sat a long time in meditation. Perce lent his power to help find this Sphere, using what he knew of Kromus’s Force signature and his connection to it to trace its own signature in the Force, already assuming it was where Shadie was. Relsor focused his attention on Mandalore, his connection to Knarf from when he had trained him, and his brief connection with Shadie, as well as the minds of the two Jedi, Brenum and Trylia, whom he had touched. Relsor also focused on, and found in the Force, Shadie’s apprentice, who always trailed along behind her, following her commands, and the Mandalorian who often fought with them.
He found the Sphere in the Force, berthed in the fields of Mandalore. It was as though he could see it. Perce had told him how Lahnius had lost command of the Sphere due to his inability to communicate with it directly through the Force. Shadie had that necessary ability. Relsor would find a way to have that ability as well.
He reached out to the Sphere, touched its sentient mind.
Greetings from the Crypt, he said to it through the Force. Allow me to introduce myself: I am Haar’elso’rothmor; many refer to me as Darth Relsor. I reach out to you so I can prove my worth as the most powerful Sith to exist.
You truly believe you have the power to withstand what awaits you in the antechamber and claim me as my commander?
There is only one way to find out. Stand by and you shall learn my fate shortly.
He cut the conversation short. If Shadie was near the Sphere while he had not yet claimed the Crypt, he knew there was a chance she would hear him and then she would know where to find him. He turned his attention to Perce who stood next to the open doorway.
‘Tell me, Perce,’ he said, ‘has Shadie claimed this Crypt?’
‘No, Relsor. Had she done so, there would be more trials for us to face. There are no masters of the Crypt alive.’
‘Then why was she the Lady of the Crypt?’ If Shadie had been the Crypt’s Lady, able to command the Sphere without claiming this place as her own, there was a risk that the Sphere would not recognise him as its new master. ‘Can someone else claim the Crypt once it is already claimed?’
‘It says on this wall that if a Master of the Crypt lives, for each person who claims the Crypt afterwards, there are always more trials than the last master faced, always an extra trial to withstand, and do you honestly believe Shadie has the capacity to withstand whatever awaits us in the next chamber?’
‘Eavesdrop, did you?’
‘Didn’t have to. We are sharing power.’ Perce smiled. ‘The perks of cooperation, I guess. Much more efficient than the sort of cooperation the diplomats in the Republic thought was effective.’ He put a hand to his forehead. ‘Oh, just the thought of it, I’m having flashbacks.’
Relsor chuckled and they entered the next chamber. Even if Shadie did try to reclaim the Crypt, it would be hard and arduous, and he would ensure she would not be able to.
As though reading his mind, Perce took out his comlink and sent a message to some of their True Sith followers. If Shadie came to claim the Crypt, she would be met with a lot of opposition.
Relsor heard the whispers again.
‘I am ready!’ he cried out. ‘Unleash whatever might you want. I can withstand the dark side and I shall command it.’
Lightning blazed from all around. Relsor and Perce were engulfed in a sea of liquid fire, or that is how it felt. Relsor could feel the power of the dark side within him. He could feel its intensity.
‘The Force shall free me!’ he shouted out.
He let the storm, the pain, the dark side, flood his body, and he relished in its raw nature. Then he and Perce both fell to the ground, panting. After a moment, Relsor stood, as did Perce.
Relsor felt changed, different, more powerful. He felt eager to test his new powers. He had survived the trials; he had claimed the Crypt.
He reached out to the Sphere with the Force and commanded it to return to the Crypt at once, to return to its true master, the True Sith, Haar’elso’rothmor.
* * *
Shadie bounced up aghast, feeling something in the Force, a fluctuation. She gasped for air as she felt a heaviness overcome her. She looked at Knarf who slept soundly next to her. She shook him gently and he stirred.
‘My love?’ he muttered.
‘Something’s happening,’ said Shadie. ‘We have to go now, we can’t wait till tomorrow.’ Knarf propped himself up a bit to look at her. Shadie reached out in the Force to try to sense what it was she was sensing.
I am sorry, my Lady, the Crypt has been claimed and I must go to my new master.
Shadie felt dread. They were too late. Relsor had already claimed the Crypt.
Then I will do what I must, she promised it. You will not lose your Lady or be away from her for long. I promise.
She reached for her comlink.
‘Brenum, get the Dragon prepped; we’re leaving for the Crypt. Now.’
“Seekers of Darkness” 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.