Chapter Three

Warning: The following chapter contains scenes depicting torture and violence, which may be triggering to some readers. Reading discretion is advised.

Fane made his way to Shadie and Knarf’s house. On his way, he saw Dargoza, surrounded by his clan, all of them eyeing him. He scowled at them.
            ‘Lost another clan leader?’ Dargoza said in a snide tone.
            ‘Talyc’s not dead,’ said Fane, ‘though I’m sure you’d like that.’
            He motioned his hand towards his lightsaber in warning. Dargoza knew better than to pick a fight with a Jedi.
            When Fane reached Shadie’s place, she was sitting in front of a holotransceiver and holoscreen, and Knarf was pacing to and fro frantically. The holoscreen showed Brenum and Trylia who were on Tython. The pair sat in front of their own holomonitor.
            ‘I did not agree to this, Shadie,’ he said. ‘I will not let you do this!’ He lifted his arms and threw them back down, exasperated.
            ‘What’s going on?’ asked Fane.
            ‘Your master,’ Knarf said pointedly, ‘wants to give herself up to Relsor when we go on the rescue mission.’
            ‘What? Shadie, you can’t do that!’
            ‘Fane,’ said Shadie calmly, yet she seemed a bit impatient, ‘if it were you or anyone one of you,’ she glanced at the holodisplay, ‘I’d do the same. If it were me, you’d do the same.’     ‘Why give yourself up, though?’ said Fane. ‘I had assumed we’d go in, grab Talyc, and then run right back out of there.’
            ‘Relsor wants to capture me,’ said Shadie, ‘he needs me for some reason.’
            ‘Relsor wants us all,’ said Brenum through the holochannel.
            ‘If I let him capture me, there are better chances that the rest of you can make an escape with Talyc, that the rescue mission will be a success.’
            ‘No,’ said Knarf. ‘No, I’m not letting you, and that’s final.’
            ‘My love, if I reclaim the Crypt, then I can escape with the Sphere. I’ll be fine.’ Knarf shook his head. ‘Look, claiming the Crypt should make this doable with the least amount of risk.’
            ‘Least amount of risk, she says,’ said Knarf.
            Fane sat down next to Shadie and waved at Brenum and Trylia, smiling gingerly.
            ‘If you’re letting yourself get captured by Relsor, then so am I!’ said Knarf, turning around quickly, determination on his face.
            Trylia leaned quickly in to Brenum’s ear and whispered something. He nodded.
            ‘And so will we,’ she said. ‘He wants us all, he can have us all, except for Fane, who’ll have escaped with Talyc.’
            Fane’s heart grew heavy. ‘Master, I don’t know if I can let you do this.’
            ‘Relsor is going to keep coming after us until we defeat him,’ said Shadie. ‘Whoever he captures next time might not be so lucky. At least Talyc is still alive; we can still save him. I can find out valuable information before I make my escape. I can use this opportunity to our advantage. Fane, I’m not just doing it for you or for Talyc, I’m also doing it for me.’
            Brenum laughed. ‘See Fane, she’s a bit more selfish and a little less selfless than you feared!’
            Fane couldn’t help but smile. ‘But then this means someone’s going to need to steer the ship,’ said Fane.
            ‘Then it sounds like I’m your Jedi,’ said Lian, stepping into view. ‘That is if Brenum trusts me with his ship.’
            ‘Well,’ started Brenum, jokingly, ‘it’s for a good cause.’ Brenum smiled at Fane through the holoprojection.
            ‘Lian,’ said Shadie, ‘I’m glad you’re here. Relsor and Perce spoke about sharing the power of the Crypt. I’m assuming that means that when I go to reclaim it, there may be a way for me to share that power too. Brenum, Trylia, Fane and Knarf are all coming with me, but we could bring another. I’d be willing to share that power with you too. It could prove useful.’
            ‘It could,’ said Lian, ‘and I can’t deny being tempted to enhance my powers, but I must decline. It is a generous offer, Shadie, don’t get me wrong, but my powers function purely within the light side of the Force. I would not want to taint that in any way, perchance it might render them ineffective against Relsor’s powers, which function purely within the dark side.’
            ‘I understand,’ said Shadie. ‘It’s very noble of you to deny yourself such power.’ 
            Lian shook his head. ‘It’s what makes sense in the Force, that is all.’ He smiled sympathetically.
            ‘Then that settles the matter,’ said Trylia. ‘We go to the Crypt, claim it, come back to pick up Lian, and head straight for Relsor’s ship.’
            ‘Uh, he hasn’t exactly sent me coordinates,’ said Fane.
            ‘He will,’ said Shadie, certainty in her voice. ‘He’ll contact you again, and when he does, you can tell him that you will bring him…me.’
            ‘If that’s what the plan is,’ said Fane. Knarf smiled sympathetically and put a caring hand on Fane’s shoulder.
            ‘Excellent,’ said Shadie. ‘Now all we need to do is inform the Council and hope they don’t object…too much…because we’re still going.’

* * *

            Talyc didn’t know how many days he had been waiting. He had tried to keep track of the days that went by, but counting time had never been his forte. He dwindled in and out of sleep continuously. It had been some time since the Sith had visited him.
            Talyc heard some noises coming from afar. It sounded like blaster fire and lightsabers. Could enough time have passed already for his friends to arrive to rescue him? Talyc looked up, eager and hopeful.
            There were shouts and the sound of a lightsaber burning through someone’s body right outside the door. It opened. Talyc’s heart leapt with relief. Fane stood staring at him, observing his stasis.
            ‘Fane,’ said Talyc.
            ‘Talyc,’ said Fane.
            Talyc’s heart turned to ice. Fane’s voice was cold, as was his gaze; he looked angered.  Talyc didn’t understand; he had heard the urgency in his voice. Perhaps Fane was angry with him for having gotten himself into this situation.
            ‘Fane, I’ve been an idiot. I’m sorry.’
            ‘As you should be! Do you realise how much trouble you’ve put me through?’
            ‘I don’t understand.’
            ‘I thought I had made things clear, Talyc, when I chose the Jedi Order over you.’ Talyc shook his head. No, this couldn’t be true. ‘You’ve become a liability,’ Fane continued, ‘a burden.’
            ‘Fane, it was always you, the one I always wanted. You said that you cared for me,’ protested Talyc.
            ‘A mere distraction from my Jedi duties. Well, now I’ve found focus.’ Fane paused. ‘Perhaps if I eliminate you…’
            ‘No!’ shouted Talyc. This wasn’t real. He knew it wasn’t. ‘This isn’t real. Fane wouldn’t say that or think that.’ 
            Talyc remembered back to when he had admitted how he felt. Fane had said it had always been him for him too, from his fears about Talyc being the one to be dead when Kelbourn had been killed, to saving Talyc’s life. Talyc could still hear Fane’s voice in his head, calling out to him before Relsor’s holocall had ended, Fane shouting at Relsor to stop hurting him.
            Talyc shut his eyes tightly and focused on what he knew to be true. He pictured Fane’s face in his mind, repeated Fane’s words in his head, hearing Fane’s voice.
            Talyc opened his eyes and was relieved to see a pair of gleaming red Chiss eyes staring back at him. He sighed. ‘I’m actually happy to see you,’ said Talyc. 
            Relsor tilted his head. ‘You won’t be able to resist my powers for long,’ he said. ‘You’re not a Force-user. It’s only a matter of time and you won’t know what’s real or fake anymore. I guarantee it.’
            ‘Thanks for the reminder, I’ll bear it in mind,’ said Talyc.
            ‘You’ve regained some strength,’ said Relsor. ‘That’s not good. I can’t have a strong Mandalorian.’ He put his hand on Talyc’s left shoulder. ‘I know this has not yet fully healed.’
            ‘Only because you keep preventing it from healing,’ Talyc retorted.
            He screamed as Relsor sent dark energy into his shoulder. Talyc’s body jerked in the air, as the stasis held him in place. He gritted his teeth, to grind and bear the pain. He thought his insides were going to boil, or melt, or do something painfully unpleasant. Relsor stopped.
            ‘Go easy on him,’ came a sleek and sultry voice, ‘you need him conscious for your next message.’
            Talyc recognised the voice. Where had he heard it?
            In walked a tall, slim Mirialan with a dark green hue, lighter green tones shimmering on her body. She smiled slyly. 
            ‘The waitress,’ said Talyc.
            ‘Hello again, Mandalorian,’ she said. ‘Looking good up there.’ 
            She laughed. Relsor gave her one of those looks. Talyc knew that kind of expression, he’d seen Knarf and Shadie exchange them too many times for the Mirialan and Relsor’s relationship to pass unnoticed by Talyc. He could use that information later, he thought.
            The Mirialan took the datapad. Talyc observed that she had a lightsaber at her side. So she was Sith, not just some random person Relsor had picked up from somewhere and recruited. She must have been either a member of the True Sith or of the Followers of Kromus. It didn’t matter anymore; the two rogue dark side factions had merged into one now.  They were all True Sith, and they were all following the teachings of Kromus and Gourd. Talyc had understood that much.
            Relsor seemed to be waiting. Then Talyc heard Fane’s voice.
            ‘What do you want, Relsor?’
            ‘You know what I want,’ replied the Sith. ‘Though it’s more who I want: Shadie. Bring me your master and Talyc can go free.’
            ‘Fine, I’ll do it. But I’ll need some time, I don’t want to arouse suspicion.’
            ‘I can sense you are speaking the truth, Jedi Fane. Good lad. Before I end this call, your boyfriend has something he wants to tell you.’
            Talyc didn’t know what to say, but he wanted to warn Fane, this was a trap, it had to be; Talyc didn’t need the Force to figure that out. He didn’t want Fane betraying Shadie for him, though he suspected Shadie was in on the plan, knowing his friends.
            Before he could think of what to say, all he managed to utter was: ‘Fane!’
            The next thing Talyc knew was that lightning was dancing across his entire body and he was screaming in pain. His body jerked this way and that. He gritted his teeth. Relsor stopped; Talyc could see the smoke rising from his own body.
            ‘Contact me when you are ready,’ Relsor said into the holotranceiver, ‘and I will send you the coordinates.’
            Talyc tried to look at the datapad, tried to see Fane’s face, even though his man was facing the other way from him, but the holotransmission had ended.
            ‘Aw, don’t be so sad,’ said the Mirialan, her lips puckering up in mock sadness, ‘Jedi Fane will be here soon enough.’
            ‘Yes,’ said Relsor. ‘What he doesn’t know is that I have no intention on letting any of you go. He is going to join you as a captive, Clan Leader Talyc, while Shadie will be mine. Oh, I do hope they bring their friends, the Togruta would make the perfect captive.’
            ‘She is unimportant,’ replied the Mirialan dryly. She left the room before Relsor did.
            Talyc would have laughed, and though he felt an ounce of hope, despair overwhelmed him as he realised he could have somehow warned Fane of the trap he knew would come; logic had dictated it as such. He closed his eyes and began to weep. If Fane did not prepare for the possibility of a trap, then everyone would become captives, and it would all be Talyc’s fault, all because of his stupidity, because of his stupid assumptions.
            He felt a tear run down his cheek. There was nothing he could do, and that made him fall deeper into his despair.

* * *

            ‘You are not sacrificing yourself,’ said Master Herl’unik.
            ‘That’s what I told her,’ said Knarf, ‘until I decided I would join her in that sacrifice.’
            ‘We’ve already devised the entire plan,’ said Shadie.
            ‘As you’ve repeated several times,’ said Master Herl’unik. ‘You’ve told me your plan. What if it all goes wrong?’
            ‘We assume that Relsor has no intention of letting Fane escape with Talyc, so we’ve planned in consequence. We have a fail safe.’
            Master Herl’unik’s eyes narrowed. ‘What fail safe?’ he asked dryly. There was a pause. ‘Shadie? Master Eidahs?’ He put more emphasis on the Eidahs part.
            ‘We’re going to claim the Crypt,’ Shadie said at last.
            ‘Yes, if I fail, my friends will be there to help me. I can assure you that I will do everything in my power to claim it using as much of the light side as I possibly can. On top of that, like Relsor did with Perce, I’m going to share its power, so we can all defeat those Sith. And,’ Shadie added quickly, before Master Herl’unik could answer, ‘I’m going to take advantage of the situation and learn as much as I can while on his ship, so that it can help us win the war against the True Sith. It’s the perfect infiltration plan. I infiltrate as a captive.’
            ‘Yes, I wonder what could possibly go wrong.’
            ‘Master Herl’unik, those were my very words earlier,’ said Knarf. ‘Understand that we did not come to this decision without considering all other options. I don’t like it either, but it’s necessary.’
            ‘To save a Mandalorian?’ The Grand Master’s tone was somewhat patronising. ‘As Jedi, you serve the Jedi Order and the Republic, not Mandalore.’
            ‘Master Herl’unik, that Mandalorian is the very one that has brought much clarity to Fane, to whom his heart belongs. As a Jedi who has her lover by her side, with her on every mission, serving the order with her, I cannot let Talyc be killed by Relsor, for Fane’s sake.’
            ‘And for the record,’ added Knarf, ‘we are members of Clan Kandera now, so techincally, we have a duty to our clan leader.’
            The Zabrak Jedi master looked up in exasperation. ‘How did I allow all this? You see, this is the very reason Jedi cannot have any attachments! Plus, you didn’t even consult the Council before making your decisions.’
            ‘We spoke to Lian, he’s a Council member,’ said Shadie. ‘And didn’t my master have attachments? Lian’s father? Who didn’t let his relationship get in the way of his Jedi duties, but neither did he let his duties prevent him from being there for his family? He found balance, and the Order had granted him the life he had desired to lead; as you have granted me, like you have granted Brenum and Trylia, as you seem to have granted Fane.’
            Master Herl’unik sighed. He closed his eyes. Shadie thought the holoprojection had frozen, for he didn’t move. Finally, he opened his eyes again.
            ‘Know that this mission is not sanctioned by the Order, and if you fail, I cannot risk sending anyone after you.’
            ‘I understand,’ said Shadie.
            ‘Look, I understand the decision to claim the Crypt. We’ve discussed it previously, but this rescue mission… Do be careful, Master Eidahs, and good luck.’
            ‘Thank you.’
            Master Herl’unik chimed out. Shadie took a deep breath. It would be a long few days before Brenum and Trylia arrived, having needed to wrap some things up back on Tython, and Shadie was eager to get this mission started. She hated seeing Fane in such a state.
            ‘Well, that went well,’ said Knarf. ‘Who’s next on our list?’
            Shadie smiled and made another holocall. The form of Supreme Chancellor Emain appeared.
            ‘Jedi Shadie,’ he said, recognition on his face. ‘How did you get my personal com channel?’
            ‘Oh, I’ve had it for some time.  I’m sorry to bother you, but I’d like to inform you that I am going on a dangerous rescue mission, top secret. We’re going to board Relsor’s ship. I plan on letting him capture me.’ The Supreme Chancellor’s eyes widened with shock. ‘If there is anything you can tell me about Perce that we don’t already know, it would help. If there is anything you’d like me to try to find out while I’m there, I can accommodate, to the best of my capacities.’
            Emain nodded in understanding and smiled. Their chat was brief, but he shared a few tidbits he had observed about Perce, from during the time the Sith had pretended to be his aid. 
            ‘Should anything go wrong and should I not return…’
            ‘Nonsense, send the coordinates once you have them and the Republic will be there to aid you if you need it. Give us a time and location at which to be to check if your mission has gone wrong.’
            ‘That is very kind of you, Supreme Chancellor,’ she said.
            ‘The coordinates might change, but perhaps we could leave a trace,’ said Knarf. ‘Send me any code you’d like me encrypt and I will slice it into the navicomputer on Relsor’s ship. Only you will recognise the trace signature, but it will stay there longer than any other trace signature. In fact, it will remain there until it is picked up, and I will slice it so that only you can pick it up.’
            ‘You do me a great service,’ said Emain. 
            ‘You’ll be doing us a great service,’ said Shadie. ‘This mission is not sanctioned by the Jedi Order.’
            ‘Then consider it sanctioned by the Republic!’

“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.

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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