Standing aboard the bridge of the Republic flagship, the dreadnought called Force of Peace, Knarf took it all in. They had found, well the Jedi had found, Kromus’s army waiting for them in the Mid Rim near Iridonia. Apparently the Sith had used some sort of Force-meld to announce their presence there. It also explained why several of the Sith were Zabrak.
The ship’s Captain, a Quarren from the world of Mon Calamari, cohabiting the world with the Mon Calamari themselves, stood near the large viewport, watching the battle wage beyond the transparisteel viewport: starfighters swirling and dancing about, quad lasers, cannon batteries and proton batteries, all going off out in space around the frigates, freighters, battle cruisers, and dreadnoughts. Many beings of many species at different posts on the Force of Peace were targeting and manoeuvering.
Shadie stood in the centre of the bridge, in a meditative stance, hands clasped behind her, eyes closed, and beautiful as ever. Brenum and Trylia stood by her side, each to one side, in the same stance. They were in a Jedi battle meld, using Battle Meditation to help coordinate the fight outside. The Jedi Master who was named Salah stood with Talyc and a few other Mandalorians whom he had brought with him to be part of Shadie’s boarding team.
Knarf smiled. Talyc had said to him: ”I formed you into a half-decent Mando, I’m not letting you out of my sight to worry if you’ll die.” He smiled again and looked down at the helmet in his hands, the vibroblade and repeater rifle that were secured on his utility belt. Who had known a simple slicer would become a warrior. So many unpredictable events causing his life to go to shambles, sending him tumbling away from the path he had set himself on. And he was glad of it, glad it had happened. He wouldn’t change any of it. He looked at his leg in its armour. Well perhaps he’d change getting the bottom half of his left leg sliced off by a Sith lightsaber. Although, the prosthetic was better than a droid’s limb, it had prosthetic skin, he could feel with it, function with it as though it were a normal leg, and it took very little maintenance to keep it functional. However, the pain when Lahnius had sliced it off had been excruciating. Thinking about it too much brought the pain back, and that, he could dispense with.
The com chimed. The voice of the Mandalore came through.
‘We’re ready to jump in on your mark,’ he said.
‘Hold position for now,’ replied the Quarren Captain in his guttural voice, with a somewhat slurred basic. ‘Let us wait and see what surprises the Sith bear first.’
‘He is waiting for me,’ said Shadie, still in her stance. She opened her eyes ‘I sense he will try to draw me in. He hopes I will want to save the Jedi and the Republic from further death.’
‘Then that is good news,’ replied the Quarren in anticipation. ‘More ships approach.’
No sooner had the Captain spoken the words than many more ships appeared coming from hyperspace: battle cruisers, dreadnaughts, and destroyers. Knarf gaped at the amount of starfighters that bled from each of the larger ships.
‘Mandalore,’ said the Quarren. ‘The playground, I mean the battlefield, is yours.’
Knarf thought he actually heard the Mandalore laughing. Then he realised that he was.
‘Hehehe, I like you, Quarren. If ever you should tire of the Republic, you’ll know where to go. Now, it’s time to teach these Sith scum who’s boss of this galaxy. Mandalore out.’
Brenum whistled. ‘Arrogant man, isn’t he?’
‘Like you’re one to talk,’ replied Trylia.
Knarf took his gloves off and stood behind Shadie. He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her on the shoulder, permeating comfort to quell her fears. He did not care who the onlookers were, this was war, anything could happen; it was no time to worry about professionalism. Besides, he was a slicer and a warrior, not a politician or an official of the Republic.
‘I believe in you, my Lady,’ he said.
Shadie turned to face him, smiling. She gave him a quick kiss without a word. Then nodded at the others who filed up behind her. Knarf stayed by her side as they began to walk to the turbolift at the back of the bridge.
‘Shadie,’ called out Master Salah. Shadie stopped and looked at her. ‘Remember all that Master Juun Kloh taught you.’
Shadie nodded but did not continue. ‘Mandalore arrives,’ she said instead.
Just then, dozens of ships appeared, sleek in design. There were so many and they were so large. No wonder the Mandalorian blockade was a force to be reckoned with.
‘Aha!’ cried the Quarren Captain in triumph. ‘The Sith are now sandwiched.’ His head tentacles swayed with satisfaction.
Indeed it was true. The Sith ships were surrounding the Republic forces, with the Mandalorians on the exterior of the battlefield. The Sith had nowhere to go.
Shadie smiled. ‘This time, we will win.’
Everyone followed Shadie down to the main hangar and into the Krayt Dragon. Brenum and Trylia went to the cockpit. The Mandalorians installed themselves in the main hold. Shadie took Knarf by the hand and sat down. He took her hand in both hands and kissed it. On the edge of such a massive battle, what could he say? She smiled at him. He put a hand on her face, replacing her hair.
‘My beautiful, my gorgeous Lady of the Force. My pure light.’
He kissed her. They would soon be in battle with the Sith aboard Kromus’s dreadnought, perhaps die. So he kept kissing her as long as he possibly could, hungrily and passionately, feeling their amazing energies that fuelled him with life and desire. Even though they’d just shared an intimate moment on the way to Iridonia, he wanted more of Shadie, more of the energies, more of her love, and he could feel she wanted more of him. Finally, he realised they were far from alone. He blushed, pausing his kissing, and looked at the others.
‘Oh, you can keep going,’ said Talyc. Shadie gave him a look. ‘Or not.’
Knarf burst out laughing. And as the Dragon descended into the hangar of Kromus’s large and ”real” flagship, Knarf put his gloves on, looked one more time at Shadie and put his helmet on. Their battle had just begun. He secured his weapons and stood.
‘We ready?’ he asked.
‘Question is, are you?’ said Talyc.
‘Well, as long as I walk out of this fight with both legs intact, I’m good.’
‘You mean as long as you walk out,’ said Brenum, coming from the cockpit. ‘As I recall, you were carried out last time by the Force,’ he continued pointing at Trylia.
‘Such minor details,’ replied Knarf in mock dismissiveness.
‘Easy for you to say, you were unconscious through most of it. Whereas I…’
‘You are going to shut your mouth,’ said Trylia.
Shadie smiled. ‘I don’t know what traps await us but we must be careful. We must be vigilant. There will be many Sith and we need to find the Holocron as well. Kromus may have it near him to help fuel his life force. If not, we need to find out where he’s hidden it in order to avoid him coming back to life a second time.’ She paused. ‘May the Force be with us.’
* * *
Shadie probed with the Force, trying to sense the presences of the Sith. Many of them had Kromus’s ability to hide in the Force. Many more were letting their Force presence shine as though they wanted Shadie to be sensing them. Something caught her attention.
‘A Sith just winked out of the Force!’ said Trylia in shock.
‘Kromus,’ replied Shadie. ‘He’s trying to throw us off. They are all appearing and disappearing in the Force. It’s to prevent us from finding Kromus. He might have a trap lain out for us.’ Knarf snorted at that. ‘But this is strange,’ Shadie added, sensing something new. ‘He might not be as strong as he once was.’
‘Why is that?’ asked Talyc, his voice sounding somewhat tinny through his helmet speakers.
‘I can sense… I sense a bit of him, weakly.’
‘Maybe he wants you to follow that presence without fully broadcasting himself,’ suggested Knarf.
‘Well, if so, he might think that I’ll think it’s a trap.’
‘What?’ said Talyc. ‘You just lost me.’
‘She means as reflex, we might conclude he’s prepared a trap, because his presence in the Force is faint,’ said Brenum, ‘so we’re going to follow the presence anyway.’
‘And what if he knows that and it is a trap?’ asked Knarf. He sounded anxious.
‘Well, my friend,’ said Brenum, patting Knarf on the back ‘you won’t be walking into it alone.’
‘Great. That’s a comfort.’
‘Kromus doesn’t scare me,’ said Shadie. ‘Come, he’s a few decks up.’
The Mandalorians, including Knarf, took up the lead and placed themselves by the doors. The three Jedi stood leaning against the wall. Talyc activated the switch. The doors slid open. The team of ten jumped into the corridor, laying out laserfire and blaster fire in their midst, advancing into the mass of Sith. When their shots came flying back towards them, bouncing off too many red blades, they switched to their vibroblades and vibroswords.
Shadie watched Knarf in his armour, shooting with the repeater rifle in a confident stance. Indeed, he had gotten not only used to his new leg, he stood like any other Mando. He’d become a warrior. She tried to imagine his expression behind the helmet he wore. He quickly got his vibroblade out while holstering his rifle and blocked a red lightsaber. The wonderful thing about vibroblades and vibroswords was that they were the only non-lightsaber weapon to be able to withstand lightsaber hits without breaking, albeit not as efficiently as another lightsaber, but they did the job. The frequency at which the blades vibrated had been purposely thus calibrated by the inventor long ago for that very purpose. As for the beskar’gam with which the Mandalorian armour was made, it more than protected the wearer from the blade of a lightsaber, unless repeatedly hit in the same spot. Strong alloy like that was incomparable.
Knarf slashed at a Sith’s neck, killing him. Shadie was impressed. As if to emphasise, Knarf looked back towards her and cocked his head. She could sense him smile, could almost visualise him wink at her in the manner he usually did when emphasising a joke or amusement. Had he sensed her reaction of awe? It then occurred to her that she could sense him entirely. Between sitting in the Krayt Dragon’s main hold and now, he must have chucked away the ysalamir from his jetpack. But when?
Shadie, Brenum and Trylia jumped into the chaotic midst of red lightsabers and vibroblades and fought the Sith, finishing them off.
‘Defences will be strong as we near Kromus’s location,’ said Talyc.
Shadie whirled on Knarf. ‘Where’s your ysalamir?’
There was a pause, but it was Brenum who answered. ‘Shadie, it was me who suggested he leave it behind.’
‘But Kromus wants him dead. He’s tried so many times to have him killed.’
‘And Knarf never died! Despite he almost did once,’ replied Brenum. ‘Can’t you see, Shadie, the Force wants him alive. He may never become a full Jedi as you or me, but…’
‘I can’t sense the Force, but I can sense you, Shadie,’ said Knarf, ‘and that ysalamir interfered. I’m Force-sensitive, you said so yourself. I am Force-sensitive to you and with you. My sensitivity and light will guide you at your darkest hour when you face Kromus. I am here with you, my Lady, and I will not let him turn you to the dark side.’
Shadie took it in and smiled at Knarf. It did not matter when or how he managed to get rid of the reptilian without her knowing, seeing as she was beside him the whole time. What mattered was that he was here, as he had promised, and he wanted to be here with her, living this. Besides, although the ysalamir might have caused the Sith some disconnection from the Force, it would also have affected her, Brenum and Trylia.
‘Your lips are far from mine behind that helmet,’ she said at last, her tone letting him know she was all right now, after her initial worry.
Knarf laughed aloud. ‘You’ll just have to wait then!’ And he walked passed her to the turbolift doors.
The others laughed as well. Shadie could sense Knarf’s big wide grin and she blushed. She would have him for this, later.
‘Seems the turbolifts have been jammed,’ said Knarf. ‘I can try slicing through the system.’ He fiddled with the controls. Then shook his head. ‘No, I’ll have to do it from inside the lift.’
‘Allow me,’ said Trylia, graciously pushing Knarf aside.
She activated her lightsaber and rammed it into the centre of the two turbolift doors. A moment later the doors came open, but there was no turbolift.
‘Looks like it’s up there,’ she said.
Knarf, leaning into the shaft, careful not to fall, looked up. ‘Yikes.’ He turned his helmeted head to Trylia. ‘Allow me.’ There was humour in his voice.
He activated his jetpack and burst up into the air. He landed on the wall, grabbing hold of one of the cables. Then he climbed his way to the top of the lift. He opened the panel and jumped in.
‘This shouldn’t take long,’ he called out.
Moments later, the lift descended into place, its inner doors parting open. Shadie knew Knarf was grinning behind his helmet, as he stood, fists at his waist, leaning on his good leg.
‘I know you’re smiling with pride,’ she told him. His head whirled around. Then he leaned his helmeted head on hers.
‘If only you knew how much,’ he replied with a laugh.
‘Talyc, did you teach him to be cocky too?’ she said, as the lift took all thirteen of them up a few decks.
‘No, I’m afraid not,’ replied Talyc.
The doors parted to reveal an empty corridor.
‘Wait,’ said Trylia, ‘I suddenly sense many Sith.’
Out they came from many rooms.
‘Kromus is definitely here. They are here to guard him,’ concluded Shadie.
There was no need for any of the Mandalorians to take out their blasters or rifles, there were just too many Sith. Vibroblades whirred everywhere, multiple lightsabers snap-hissed into life. Brenum activated his two lightsabers, Trylia ignited hers, and Shadie ignited hers as a staff.
Brenum just plunged into the fight with focus and precision, slicing up and slicing to the sides outwards, slicing in and slicing down, turning around, slashing and slicing some more. There was no time for calculated moves. Shadie and Trylia made a series of flurries and double strikes. Shadie sent some lightning about, sending it in any direction, but not much of it as not to hit any Mandalorians with it. She heard Knarf grunt as he fought and shout out several times. Talyc was quick and dodged a lot of the time, he kept himself in a low stance, striking at legs, whilst other Mandalorians struck higher; this became quite effective.
Shadie jumped in to help Talyc bring down many of the Sith, as many more poured out from more rooms. The Sith, no matter how many were downed, pressed forward, always more coming from other rooms, advancing on them every time. No matter how much Shadie tried to advance on her opponents, the mass of Sith kept pushing the group back.
It became apparent that the Sith were trying to push them towards something specific, towards the presence Shadie felt, but that didn’t seem right. As they fought, they were pushed back some more. Shade saw Knarf thumb a grenade and send it into the mass of Sith. It took only a few of them down, compared to the number present. There was something about these Sith, different from the ones Shadie had fought during the first battle, different from the ones from downstairs even. They had a different fighting style, as though trained by another Lord. This did not make sense, but there was something disturbingly ominous about this observation.
There was a shaft, going diagonally down, Shadie saw Sith begin to enter it and sliding down towards another area. She tried to get near it, passed the other Sith, tried to detect the code each Sith entered on the pad when the large shaft doors closed on them. When the shaft doors opened, it revealed a tunnel of some sort, but Shadie was too far to see the code. Why the Sith were leaving the premises of the fight they were clearly having the upper hand in, she did not know. What then had this been for?
Brenum ran forward, sprinting with the Force to catch the remaining Sith. They turned and in unison held out a hand towards Brenum. He shouted out in pain as he was pushed back with the Force. His yellow blade went flying across the room; Knarf caught it. Brenum’s body slammed into the wall and he groaned.
‘Nice catch,’ Brenum said, recovering.
As quick as the fight had begun, it was over, with the rest of the party being pushed away as the remainder of the Sith disappeared into the shaft.
Talyc stood by it. ‘Knarf, maybe you can slice this thing, so we can follow the Sith to…wherever they’ve disappeared to.’
‘I don’t get it,’ said Brenum, ‘what was the point of this.’
Talyc shrugged. ‘Don’t know.’
Knarf took his helmet off. Sweat beads had formed on his forehead. He gave it a wipe.
‘I thought this armour was supposed to keep me at a comfortable temperature.’
‘You must have accidentally switched off the Auto,’ said another Mandalorian. ‘Allow me,’ he added in imitation of Trylia and Knarf.
He took Knarf’s helmet.
‘Wait,’ said Trylia. ‘Someone just winked into existence!’
A Sith jumped down from somewhere above, and landed before Knarf, advancing menacingly towards him, backing him up towards a closed door, lightsaber threateningly pointed at him. The Sith waved his hand at the activation switch to the room and pushed with the Force, sending Knarf into the room.
The doors closed. The Sith pulled the cables that hung from the open activation switch.
‘Now,’ he said, ‘I’ve ensured the success of Kromus’s trap.’
He sneered. Shadie came at him. The Sith spread out his arms and let her strike him down. He fell dead at her feet. She shook her head.
‘I don’t get it.’
‘Poor barve,’ said Talyc, motioning the room Knarf had been forced to enter, ‘always walking into a trap.’
‘I sense Kromus in there!’ said Shadie, panic in her voice. ‘His faint presence is in that room.’
Talyc tried to open the doors, but it was of no use. He tried to push them open to no avail. The other Mandalorian looked at Knarf’s helmet in his hand.
‘If he had his helmet, we could communicate with him, warn him, but…’
‘Not your fault,’ said Talyc.
‘We can pry or slice the door open,’ said Brenum.
He activated his blue blade, but when he hit the door, sparks flew and the blade bounced off instead of slicing through. The door remained unscathed.
Talyc took a glove off and ran his hand on the door. ‘Why the clever kriffing… It’s beskar. You won’t be able to cut your way through this door. Not in time anyway.’ He leaned his ear to the door. ‘Soundproof too. He set this trap smartly. Kark!’
‘Hey, over here!’ said another Mando entering another room, the green Twi’lek from the tapcaf. The others followed.
There was a monitor screen. Talyc went to it and dialled up the volume.
‘Knarf!’ called Shadie into the com. ‘Knarf!’ He did not react at all to her shouts.
The room was dimly lit, they could see. Knarf was looking around.
‘He can’t hear us,’ said Talyc.
They could hear him though, and Shadie feared the worst. Knarf was walking around the room, a confused look on his face.
“Wielders of Pure Light” is written by Celinka Serre (2019).
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 storylines from the films are used. No storylines 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 FairUse.
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.