Chapter Nine

Warning: The following chapter contains mature subject matter, which may be triggering to some readers. Reading discretion is advised.

Fane marched into the bunker where Lian and Talyc were sitting at the lounge talking about Pazaak. They looked up at him. He could tell they knew something was amiss, as he himself felt his own heart palpitate with fear.
            ‘Something’s wrong,’ he said. ‘I can feel it. Something isn’t right with Shadie. We need to try to establish a connection with Relsor again. Maybe I can help her.’ Lian nodded.
            ‘It’ll be all right, Fane,’ said Talyc. ‘How do you know something’s gone wrong?’
            ‘There is a foreboding sensation in the Force whenever I reach out to her,’ said Fane. ‘There is a lot of fear. And just now, when I reached out to her, I sensed darkness.’
            ‘The dark side?’ Lian stood and walked over to Fane.
            Fane shook his head. ‘Not from Shadie, but around her. It’s not the Pure-Blood Sith either. This is something created and caused by Relsor. I can sense doubt in my former master and she is afraid of something. I think she’s scared of herself.’
            ‘Herself?’ Talyc shook his head. ‘Of all the years I’ve known Shadie, the last person she’d be afraid of is herself.’
            ‘Talyc, when Shadie joined the Order, she feared herself the most, more than she feared anything else,’ said Lian.
            ‘I thought she was Knarf’s Lady of Light though,’ said Talyc.
            ‘For the way she defeated Kromus the second time, yes,’ said Lian, ‘but she herself knows the dark side is as much a part of her as it is a part of anyone.’
            ‘Right, dark and light coexisting,’ said Talyc.
            Lian turned back to Fane. ‘What else do you sense when you reach out to her, Fane?’
            ‘That’s it. She’s afraid and I feel as though I’m afraid of myself. That’s how I know.
            ‘Then let’s try to establish a connection with Relsor and see what you can find out.’
            ‘I’m going to push this time. I’m going to try to enter his mind, his thoughts, and take control of him if I have to, if I can.’
            He sat down on the lounge and right away began to clear his mind, as Lian took his usual position in front of him and Talyc put his hand on Fane’s thigh.
            Fane sensed Lian find Relsor’s malady in the Force and Fane jumped right in. He regretted it quickly, but he didn’t let go of his connection. He felt a bit sick and wished he had braced himself beforehand instead of being too hasty. No matter, he was in now.

* * *

            Relsor observed the pillar where sat the remains of the holocron.
            ‘No matter how many times I try to activate it, it still will not respond to me,’ he said turning to Perce.
            ‘Nor to me,’ replied his counterpart. ‘It’s confirmed, there really is no other way than by Shadie’s Force touch.’
            ‘She will turn, Perce, I promise you that. We will have access to this holocron.’
            ‘But will it work?’ Perce prodded the pieces and they began to glow and whisper in the Force. ‘Will Kromus return again?’
            ‘Not as he did once before, but as a Force-ghost, yes. With Shadie returned to the dark side, the holocron will respond to her, and Kromus will lend us his power.’
            Perce crossed his arms. ‘You want his power,’ he said sternly. ‘I want to know his secrets.’ He paused. ‘There was one person who knew one secret of his, if not many more, and he has been hidden in the Force, shrouded for a long time. If I cannot find him, then Kromus will have to tell us his secret himself.’
            ‘And if he does not?’ Relsor looked from the holocron’s remains to Perce. ‘If Kromus refuses to help us, then we will have to find this shrouded man ourselves and force the information from him. The Crypt has secrets and we have not found them. Perhaps we should return and search the place properly.’

* * *

            Fane bit his tongue and shouted out in pain as he returned to his reality, falling sideways. He had sweat pouring down his face; Talyc wiped it with his sleeve.
            ‘Fane, my man, welcome back.’ Fane opened his eyes to see the Mando’s smile and his heart was filled with joy, a sensation that was much needed. Fane was not panting, but breathing deeply, taking in lungfuls of air.
            ‘Relsor has the remains of Kromus’s holocron and he wants to break Shadie and turn her to the dark side so that she can summon Kromus’s Force-ghost. Relsor claims that Kromus has secrets regarding the Crypt.’
            ‘Probably the one we already know,’ said Lian. 
            Fane nodded. ‘Relsor and Perce also know about the exile. They spoke of him as being shrouded in the Force and knowing certain secrets that Kromus had never revealed to anyone else.’
            ‘If the Crypt hides more secrets, it would be good for us to know about them,’ said Talyc. 
            Fane nodded. ‘I need to get back in there!’
            ‘Right now?’ Lian shook his head. ‘I don’t think it’s wise, and I don’t think I can help you sustain it right now. You lost your hold in there, are you certain you won’t be harmed attempting to return so soon?’
            ‘I have to warn Shadie. I could feel Relsor’s malady, he wants to break her and torture her and… She needs to know about the holocron.’ Fane took a deep breath. ‘I could only enter Relsor’s mind. I wasn’t able to take control of him. I need to practice, I need to try, then maybe I can go find Shadie and warn her.’

* * *

            Shadie was pacing to and fro as Knarf sat trying to establish a connection with the navicomputer. She sighed in frustration.
            ‘Any luck?’ his Lady asked.
            ‘No.’ Knarf closed his eyes and shook his head. ‘I keep trying, but nothing’s working. I need to have a strong link before I can do anything. I need to get inside.’
            Shadie sat down next to him and took his hand. ‘Instead of trying to establish a physical connection through the Force, try to get into its system.’
            Knarf knew what she meant. He nodded as she leaned her head onto his lap. He stroked her hair and then began to concentrate again.

* * *

            Relsor entered the room in which Trylia was being held. She had been sitting in meditation and she was ready to present to him her trials. The Crypt had inspired her somewhat, and she knew this would ensure that Brenum, her true love, would stay alive. Trylia stood as Relsor walked to her.
            ‘I apologise for being away for so long. I had important matters that required my attention. Now I can fully commit in proving my worth to you, so you may choose me, and I promise you, my dear, I will show you what passion is, what it feels like, and you will see how it will be the best choice you have ever made.’
            ‘You employ compelling words, I’ll give you that,’ said Trlyia. ‘You’re going to need that for the third trial.’
            ‘I’ll only give you three, since you and Brenum both have already proven yourselves worthy fighters and defenders.’ Trylia made an effort to sound friendly and put a hand on Relsor’s arm, sliding her hand down to his, and she let him take her hand.
            ‘What must I do to win you?’ Relsor sounded sincere, yet desperate. He needed something; perhaps he longed to feel such passion.
            ‘What do I sense?’ she asked instead of answering him. She was genuinely curious. Relsor looked down.
            ‘I once had the passion I seek, the passion you make me feel; I’ve only felt it from one other before. I was still young and not fully trained, but she changed everything for me, as do you. My uncle, Darth Gourd, killed her. She made me stronger as I made her stronger. My uncle feared what I might become and he cut off my power at its source. That’s when I learnt the galaxy is a cruel place and one that must bow to me or suffer for non-compliance.’
            Trylia, empathetic as she was, felt sad; she pitied Relsor. He had found passion, one she could sense had been the love of his life. She knew that such love can make you so much stronger. Had Relsor become the monster he was today because he had lost his true love? His malady was perhaps a consequence of the pain and sorrow he felt. A pity it was then that his true love might have been able to stop him from being the powerful dark lord he was today. Yet, he would still be Sith, and powerful and strong and a formidable enemy.
            ‘I’m sorry,’ she said, genuinely feeling it. She was also sorry to know that he was too far gone to be saved, and he would not be able to heal from the malady that had made him the malady. He would not know love again, and he would die; only having known sickness and heartache, only having been sickness and heartache.
            ‘You can change me,’ he said. ‘You can save me.’ Trylia looked up at Relsor and saw tears in his gleaming red eyes. He blinked a few times and shook his head. ‘Sorry, I don’t know what I’m saying.’
            ‘The light can heal you and save you too,’ she said. Her heart went out to him.
            ‘It’s too late to change what I am, Trylia.’ 
            ‘It can’t be.’ Trylia shook her head. Was he toying with her or being genuinely vulnerable? She put a hand over his heart. ‘This can heal, if you only reach within and step into the light.’
            ‘Will that make you mine?’
            ‘I cannot promise to fill the void that lies within you. You must do the trials first.’
            Relsor grunted as his expression hardened again. ‘I don’t know what you’re doing, but it hurts. I cannot go where you want me to go.’
            Trylia could tell him it would change her decision and perhaps choosing him would save him and turn him to the light side, but she loved Brenum, and she could not deny the true love that she felt or hide it from anyone. If Relsor sought to replace a hole he had inside himself with her, he would be disappointed, for her love would never be true, and she would become the heartache from which she was trying to save him. She couldn’t save everyone; she couldn’t turn a malady into a remedy. Relsor had shown her his vulnerability, but he was still a monster, unwilling to walk the path that would save him from himself. She could prod and push, but it would be of no use if he could not see the truth for himself. And forcing change upon someone is not the way to live. He would fall back into his dark side the moment he discovered Trylia had manipulated him into the light side, and that would undo any good she would have tried to accomplish. It was the predicament in which she found herself: wanting to help, wanting to save him, yet unable to be what he needed her to be, unable to be what would save him, the same way he could not be what she would have needed him to be.
            ‘But you might be able to…’
            ‘No, Trylia. I am a Lord of the dark side. If that changes what you have said before, then tell me now.’
            ‘It does,’ she admitted. ‘But I don’t want you to hurt Brenum. Please!’
            Relsor shook his head. ‘Will following your trials give me a chance to prove myself worthy of being your lover? If I prove myself the better, will you stay here? If I let him live?’
            ‘How would that fix either of us from the hurt we will have caused each other?’
            ‘I don’t know, we’ll figure it out when we get there.’ Trylia nodded. ‘Then tell me what I must do.’ Again there was desperation in Relsor’s voice, but determination accompanied it this time, and resolve. 
            ‘You must make a sacrifice for me. Then you must do a great deed for me. And then you and Brenum will have to argue your case. I assume Shadie will argue against you, perhaps Knarf will argue for you. They will only act as aids to your arguments, however.  Perce can mediate the debate.’
            Relsor seemed pensive, then nodded. ‘Consider the sacrifice already taken care of. I will return shortly, my dear, Trylia.’

* * *

            Relsor shut the door behind him and leaned against the wall. He had not felt such vulnerability since he was too young to remember. His body trembled; needed to steady himself. He used the dark side to fill himself with the energy he needed to regain his composure. Was he walking on fire? He was taking a dangerous path, one that could undo everything he had worked hard to build? His source of power came from a passion that would perhaps lead nowhere, yet it fuelled him with enough strength to know he could conquer the entire galaxy. 
            He considered killing Trylia and removing his vulnerabilities by eliminating her and everything she represented. Then he thought better of it. She was an idealist; she wanted to save him, turn him to the light side. She would never turn him as he would never turn her, yet that did not mean they could not unite their passions. 
            Relsor clenched his jaw as he wondered how different his life would be or where he would be, on whose side of the war he would be, had things turned out differently. 
            There was only one way to find out if anything could be different, whatever that meant for him and to him. There was only one thing he could do right now.
            He found Jassahmi with Perce, who seemed to be arguing with her about non important matters. They both looked up at him, probably sensing his resolve, sensing his anger, but hopefully not his inner torment.
            ‘Jassahmi, leave,’ said Relsor. ‘It’s time for you to go and for us to end this once and for all.’
            ‘You’re going to get Shadie to use the dark side?’
            ‘No, not yet. I mean you and me. We need to end this.’ Relsor could see Perce’s expression from the corner of his eye, as he made a fish face of amused surprise. ‘It’s over between us. Now go.’
            ‘What? You can’t do that.’
            ‘I can and I just did. I am your Lord, you still have a task to do for me.’ Relsor pointed towards the viewport that showed space outside the ship. ‘Go do it.’
            ‘But I am your passion!’ Jassahmi replied in protest.
            ‘No, you are not. You never were and you never will be. I do not feel passion around you.’
            ‘This is because of her, isn’t it?’
            ‘Don’t make me escort you out myself.’ Relsor pointed towards the other side of the hall. Jassahmi pressed her lips into a thin line, turned and left quickly. ‘It’s time to get things moving, Perce.’
            ‘Tell me what you need from me,’ replied Perce.

* * *

            Knarf focused his attention briefly back to Shadie, as he concentrated on slicing the navicomp. Shadie watched and smiled; Knarf could sense she was glad that despite everything, he was with her now, and it fuelled him to continue his arduous Force-slicing work. He brought his attention back to the system. He could feel the codes through the Force. He needed to enter Emain’s code into the base code, and then slice the system for the trace signature to linger until it had been picked up, like entering a password. It would be similar to a positive and negative ion finding each other and then disappearing once they had been reunited, except the data would remain in Emain’s datapad. And he needed to ensure that this change in the code could not be detected by anyone, especially not by Perce.
            He found a node that seemed fitting. There! He added the code and he could see it, could feel it. Then he searched for the navicomp trace signature codes and as he worked it, he felt the code changing. Suddenly, he felt as though he was standing at a station, working on the navicomp system in person, slicing it in person. He let the Force guide him as to what he should do and he followed that guide.
            Knarf could not tell how long he had been at it when he opened his eyes, triumphant.
            ‘Success,’ he announced.
            Shadie smiled. ‘Then it’s time. I will reach out to the others to let them know that soon, very soon, we will leave.’ Knarf smiled. He was proud of himself. Shadie put a hand on his face. ‘I knew you would succeed. I’m so proud of you. You’re so handsome when you focus like that.’ Knarf laughed.
            Just then, Perce entered the room. It seemed Knarf had completed not a moment too soon. Hopefully, nothing he had just done had been detected.
            ‘You are needed, Knarf.’
            ‘I…require your skills.’ Perce looked pained to say it.
            Knarf stood and kissed his Lady before leaving the room.
            ‘What do you need me for?’ asked Knarf.
            ‘Well, first we need to stop by your cell to pick up a few bits and bobs. I’ll explain when we get there. Relsor is waiting for us.’
            Knarf could sense that Perce was unaware of what Relsor had in mind. He could truly feel that Perce had been left in the dark. If this was a trap, Relsor had planned it well. Knarf remained alert and entered the cell room cautiously. 
            Relsor stood by one of the pillars in the room. He motioned the stasis field. Knarf right away turned to run, sensing and recognising the obvious trap, but before he could get anywhere, Relsor had immobilised him with the Force. Relsor floated him to the stasis field, where the Chiss lord sent dark energy to each pillar with his other hand, and then secured Knarf into the stasis.
            ‘I let you stay with your lady while I thought about how to trap you,’ said Relsor. ‘You defied me and you will not get the chance to do that again. Is that understood, Knarf?’
            ‘Yes, Relsor.’ Knarf tried to fight the stasis, but he could not, not even with his newfound powers. ‘What are you going to do with me now?’ he asked, feeling disdain.
            ‘I’ll sleep on it.’ Relsor and Perce left.
            Knarf sighed. At least he had sliced the navicomputer so that Relsor’s secret base could be found. And now the four of them could make preparations to leave.

“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.

You might also enjoy other SWTOR fanfics, Dragon Age Fan-Fiction short stories,  Mass Effect Fan-Fiction, or Stardust Destinies the High Fantasy Fiction series.

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