Knarf and Relsor were sparring together when the ship approached. Relsor knew this because Knarf paused in his actions suddenly and his face paled, his lips compressed, and then his expression hardened as he looked down at his weapon.
‘What is it?’
Knarf looked up at him. ‘It’s Shadie. She approaches.’
‘Then you know what you must do.’
‘It will be like no wound she has ever before felt.’
Relsor smiled. Knarf had learnt well. He had enjoyed toying with the idea of training him, and as it happened, Knarf was becoming more of an asset by the minute. And every time he probed him, he sensed no deception, only truth in his words, anger in his emotions; and Knarf had developed strength in the Force. The dark side was well suited for the former slicer who had never thought he was Force-sensitive, let alone think he would some day become a Force-user.
They went to see Gourd in his meditation chamber.
‘Uncle,’ said Relsor, ‘Shadie approaches.’
‘Are you certain?’ replied Gourd. ‘I don’t sense any ships.’
‘I am certain,’ replied Knarf. ‘I can sense her. And I believe it’s safe to assume she will arrive with a squad of Mandalorians. Not to mention her apprentice and her two friends.’
Gourd thought for a moment.
‘You have a plan then?’ he asked Knarf. ‘I can sense your excitement.’
‘Yes, my Lord. I am eager to see her reaction. As for a plan, if they board the ship, that is if they actually succeed in boarding the ship this time, to try to save me, they must think I am being held captive, who knows how much damage they could cause. But if we boarded their vessel, just imagine Shadie’s devastation. It will make her hesitate long enough to give you an advantage, which in turn will disorient her enough to allow me to confront her.’
Gourd turned to his nephew. ‘What do you think of this plan?’
‘I will be with Knarf the whole time. Together, we can reach Shadie, and Knarf can then kill her.’
‘What if she proves to be a too formidable opponent?’
‘I do not doubt my apprentice, Uncle.’
‘Lord Gourd,’ said Knarf, ‘do you honestly think Shadie will want to kill her lover? No, she will want him alive.’
Gourd smiled. ‘You are her greatest weakness,’ he said.
‘And she is my greatest strength,’ replied Knarf.
For a moment, Relsor pondered that, then he realised Knarf’s meaning. ‘Yes,’ he laughed. ‘It makes complete sense. Just by the mere fact that your former relationship with her becomes her weakness, suddenly, as she is weakened, you become stronger.’
‘But Knarf,’ said Gourd, ‘you do not become strong only when she becomes weak. You have a strength in you that the Force fuels, that the dark side fuels.’
‘Regardless,’ Knarf replied, ‘she is now here.’
And not a moment later, a vast ship winked into existence outside the viewport, many starfighters pouring out of it: a Mandalorian ship.
‘Uncle,’ said Relsor, ‘I believe it’s time for my apprentice and I to board the Mandalorian flagship.’
* * *
The Chiss ship came towards the Mandalorian ship quickly and on such a strange vector, and before anyone could realise what was happening, it had docked next to the ship and extended its ambilical.
‘They’re boarding the ship!’ cried Brenum.
‘Send in the droids!’ was the command that came from Kelbourn.
Large and small battle droids walked and rolled into the lobby. As the hatch opened, a volley of blaster fire erupted. Red blades blazed into life, their wielders twirling and swirling, as they blocked and advanced, using the Force to send the droids flying the other way.
The first being to come into view on the viewscreen was Gourd’s nephew. The second was Knarf, wielding a red lightsaber and fighting alongside the Chiss Sith.
Shadie gasped, as Trylia moaned an “oh no!” Brenum cursed as Fane put a hand on Shadie’s arm, and Talyc only leaned in closer into the monitor and looked carefully at Knarf. His friend used the Force like a Jedi or Sith apprentice would, but with seemingly less ease than an adept, and he wielded the red lightsaber as though it were a vibroblade. He was clad in his charcoal and blue armour, and had his blaster and vibroblade at his belt; his helmet was tied like a satchel to his belt. There was a reason why it wasn’t on his head, Talyc just knew.
Tears ran down Shadie’s face. ‘Knarf,’ she whispered. ‘This can’t be. Look at him, he’s become a Sith.’
‘I’m going to kill him,’ said Brenum. ‘Then I’m going to interrogate him, and then I’m going to kill him again!’
‘Look,’ Talyc pointed at the scene. Knarf was finishing off a last droid, stabbing his blade deep into its circuitry. Then he looked up at the security cam, directly at it, his stare intense, for what seemed a long time.
‘He looks so angry,’ said Shadie. There was fear in her quivering voice.
‘Perhaps,’ replied Talyc. ‘If you had to live a lie you knew would hurt those you loved, would you be angry?’
‘You can’t possibly be suggesting Knarf is pretending,’ said Fane. ‘The Sith would have detected the lie. I mean… Look at him!’
Knarf used the Force on an officer who fell to the ground, stunned, but still moving, therefore still alive, as the Chiss beside him simply killed another officer.
Knarf looked at the cam again, then made his eyes go wide a moment. Talyc’s heart thumped.
‘Seal the hatch. There are more Sith coming! Seal the hatch and leave Gourd’s ship behind. We go to hyperspace.’
‘What?’ This came from many.
‘Talyc, are you sure?’ asked Kelbourn, looking ready to execute the new plan.
‘That,’ Talyc said, pointing at the vidscreen monitor, ‘is the Knarf I trained. Bes’laar the Mandalorian. And he is warning us. Besides, now we have him.’
‘But he’s killing…’
‘Stunning! Gourd’s nephew is killing. Shadie, do you honestly believe Knarf would forget the happiness you bring him and turn to the dark side? Look at him! He’s trying to warn us of an attack and infiltration.’
‘But he’s got a red blade and he’s acting like a Sith.’
Talyc placed his hands on Shadie’s arms. ‘Listen to me, Shadie. I lied to Kromus himself without even uttering a single real lie. Who says Knarf didn’t do the same? He had a plan. He told you to trust him, to know, no matter what happened, that he loved you. Trust in your love. Now trust me.’ He looked back at the monitor display. ‘Kelbourn, seal that hatch, call in our fighters. Shadie, let’s go intercept your lover and his Sith counterpart.’
‘Good thing I’m clan leader,’ said Kelbourn; there was humour in his voice. ‘I’ll stay and monitor the situation from here.’
Talyc nodded to Shadie in a reassuring manner. Shadie blinked a few times.
‘You know, Shadie,’ said Fane, ‘the more I observe Knarf, the more I’m inclined to agree with Talyc. I don’t know what his plan was, but if he pulled it off, then he’s brilliantly barvy!’
Shadie looked back at the screen. Knarf pointed at something and let the Chiss take the lead to down some more droids, as he went to an access panel. He began slicing it. That’s when he reached for his helmet and donned it on his head.
‘I knew there was a reason he had it off,’ said Talyc. ‘It was for you, the warning!’
The Mandalorian starfighters were entering the hangar as the hatch was sealed and disabled. Kelbourn contacted Mandalore on the bridge to update him on the situation. Talyc put his helmet on and switched to the internal frequency.
‘Have you lost your kriffing mind?!’
‘Came close, but no,’ came in Knarf’s voice.
‘Do you know how good it is to hear your voice?’
‘You too. It’ll be good to see you.’
‘I already do see you. Security cams,’ said Talyc.
Knarf chuckled as he glanced up at the Chiss who still had his back to him. ‘Can’t talk long. I’ve sabotaged Gourd’s ship. I’ll explain later. We need to figure out a way to kill blue face Sith Master here.’
‘Master?’ Talyc heard the shrill pitch in his own voice.
‘Well, it’s not like I had a choice, really. It was accept or die… How’s Shadie?’
‘Hang on.’ Talyc took his helmet off and held it between his and Shadie’s head so they could both hear him.
‘Come again?’ he said.
‘Shadie, how is she?’ Knarf sounded concerned and sad.
‘Knarf!’ said Shadie.
Knarf paused in his movements and held on tightly to the panel. ‘Shadie,’ he whispered, as though holding back tears. ‘My Lady.’
Then the helmet was off and back at his belt and the Chiss turned back around to face Knarf. He had developed Jedi instincts, it seemed, the sneaky barve.
‘All destroyed,’ his master told him.
‘All sliced,’ said Knarf, his expression hard with hatred. He took the lead, Talyc could only guess to hide some of the emotions reflecting on his face, and the next security cam showed his face from afar looking up as he smiled in a semi-sad way.
‘Told you,’ said Talyc, as he dialled up the volume in his helmet some more. ‘Now he even fixed up the volume for us to hear everything going on. As I’m doing now.’ Shadie began to cry from relief. Talyc smiled. ‘I never doubted him for even a split second.’
‘I’ve got an even better reason to kill him,’ said Brenum. Knarf stopped walking and scowled. ‘Don’t tell me he heard that, otherwise his Sith friend would have also.’
‘No, this is an audio trick,’ said Trylia, looking from one friend to the other, ‘so we can hear him without any background noises. He wants us to hear something. Listen.’
‘He’s letting us hear the Sith’s plan,’ said Fane. ‘Come on! Time to confront that Chiss. And then we can scold Knarf for his recklessness all we want.’
‘You should go,’ said Kelbourn. ‘I can manage the droids, and security cams, and doors, and you help our barvy friend lead the Chiss into a trap.’
‘Got it,’ said Talyc. ‘I’ll call on you if we need you.’
* * *
They arrived in a dimly lit high ceilinged chamber near the engineering room. The hum of the ship could be heard. Shadie extended her awareness and felt Knarf close by. His “master” was still with him. Shadie stood still as the others gathered around her, a little dispersed, and she held her weapon at the ready.
Knarf entered with his faux-master from above on a catwalk and they both jumped down. Knarf landed with a slight thump, much more lightly than he ever had before. He had been training. Knarf held is hand out to Shadie while the Chiss pulsed with the Force and everyone went flying, bouncing away from the centre of the room, everyone but Shadie who was held in place by a strong Force grasp from Knarf.
Shadie cleared her mind of any fears. The dark side had a strong hold right now and Knarf looked so convincing, she wondered if he had not truly turned. She banished the thought and cursed herself for it. Talyc was right, this was her lover who had told her to trust in their love no matter what happened.
Knarf let go the Force grasp and she descended to the ground. She stole a glance at the Chiss who smirked at the others who were held immobile by the Force.
‘I think,’ said Knarf in a low voice, ‘we see the stunned face I was looking forward to, Relsor.’
Relsor laughed in reply, nodding his approval to Knarf. So that was his name, good on Knarf to let them know.
‘You know, Shadie,’ said Relsor, ‘if you surrender to us, you will avoid much suffering.’ He did not look at her as he spoke, instead he looked at the others as he walked from one to the other. ‘Die now, or your friends will suffer.’ He stopped in front of Trylia. ‘Save perhaps one.’ He passed a hand on her face. ‘Such beauty. Imagine, Chiss and Togruta, consorting.’ Shadie could sense him emit pheromones through the Force and Trylia’s chest began to heave
‘Stop it!’ cried Brenum.
‘Yes, this would make you very uncomfortable,’ Relsor continued. ‘She would have me instead of you.’
‘Enough!’ demanded Shadie. ‘This will not get me to surrender.’
‘Knarf, will you take care of her? I’ll enjoy the Togruta.’
Knarf looked at Shadie, his eyes intense. ‘Your destruction is inevitable now. It is too late. There is no time for negotiation.’
He gave a slight nod, just enough for her to understand: Shadie was to take the right, and he would take the left.
Shadie nodded in reply. Together, they leapt into the air; Knarf’s blade illuminated red, Shadie’s green, as they ignited their weapons, hers as a single blade. They came crashing down on either side of Relsor, who reflexively blocked each blade with his two blades. Relsor held out his arms, his lightsabers perpendicular to the floor and pushed them away. He used the Force to deflect more powerfully, and sent both Shadie and Knarf tumbling away. He leapt up and landed almost on top of Knarf, striking high; Knarf blocked.
‘I should have known you would betray me! But you do realise that betrayal is a step towards the dark side.’
‘I never betrayed anyone,’ replied Knarf. ‘I always stayed true to—’
‘Save it! I don’t care about your reasons. All I care for is that you die!’
Shadie came bounding up behind Relsor as Knarf went to strike him. He slashed both their blades outwards, making Shadie back away quickly. Knarf rolled backwards and onto his feet. The slicer held out the lightsaber in his hands in a defensive stance.
Relsor began to flurry in circular motions as he spun on himself. Shadie and Knarf blocked every blow, but it was becoming abundantly clear that this Sith was powerful in the Force. The ground began to quake beneath them. Shadie fell to her knees. Relsor lunged at her. Knarf jumped in, batting the blade away, and then the next. He kept batting the blades in turn as Relsor tried to strike at Shadie, and Knarf just hacked them away.
‘Shadie will die, Knarf. If you cannot kill her and fulfil or remember your promise to me, then you will watch her die!’
‘You will leave her alone and you will not hurt her!’ Knarf rebuked.
Knarf’s attacks became aggressive, and he and Relsor exchanged many heavy blows. Knarf reached out with the Force, trying to push Relsor away. The Chiis merely slid a few meters and laughed at Knarf. Then he reached out with the Force and lifted Knarf off the ground, lifted him high up and slammed him onto the ground. Knarf bounced a few times in place, but he managed to get back up on his two feet.
Shadie noticed Knarf was limping and suddenly was afraid that the Force attack had injured him through the armour. Then she realised it was probably his prosthetic acting up from lack of maintenance and she sighed in relief, but she’d let her guard down in that time. Relsor came at her, grabbing her shoulder and she felt the scathing heat of his blade near her face. She felt a shooting pain run down her body, as she was hit with dark side energy. She fell to the ground.
‘Relsor!’ called out Knarf, opening himself up to the Force and spreading out his arms vulnerably. Relsor looked up at him, leaving Shadie alone. ‘Do you know what makes Shadie and me so strong?’ He spread out his arms even more. ‘Our love!’
Knarf closed his eyes, as Relsor came at him, lifting his blades, looking like he was about to land on top of him. At the last moment, Knarf crouched, taking a step forward. Relsor leapt over him, landing behind him. He spun, swirling to strike down Knarf with both his blades. Shadie held her breath, but at the last moment, Knarf rolled back into Relsor, sending his red lightsaber deep inside his gut, using one hand, as the other reached to his side and pulled out his vibroblade, which blocked both of Relsor’s blades as they came down on him.
Shadie used the Force to push away both of the Chiss’s lightsabers, which deactivated immediately. Relsor fell to the ground, breathing heavily and slowly. Knarf deactivated his red lightsaber and threw it on the ground at Relsor’s feet.
‘Here, you can have this lightsaber back. It never felt like mine, anyway. Besides, I think I might go more for orange. Always liked the colour better.’
‘My uncle will make you pay, Knarf. You just wait. The dark side will prevail. It is ab…so…lute!’
And he was dead.
‘Yeah, I think Kromus mentioned something of the sort to Shadie.’
Knarf looked angered, pained, and disgusted. He closed his eyes and took a breath and his face relaxed.
By this time, the others had dropped back to their feet, the Force grasp that held them immobile no longer gripped them. They took a few shaky steps towards Shadie and Knarf.
For what seemed like a long time, there was a silence, and everyone stared at everyone else. Knarf looked at Shadie with his deep brown eyes, his expression intense. And then he ran to her so quickly and his arms were around her before she could wrap hers around him. He held her so tightly. She squeezed her eyes shut and felt him do the same.
‘My love,’ he whispered, as if in relief. Then: ‘I’m sorry.’ He put both hands on her face. ‘Pretending was so difficult. Staying alive was so difficult. But what was even more so, was knowing how it might hurt you.’
She looked at him reassuringly, sending through the Force that there would be time to grieve the pain and heal from these events together later, when they could be alone.
‘I love you so much. Our love kept me going,’ he said.
Shadie managed a smile. She was relieved, happy, sad, and angry, all at the same time.
Knarf kissed her, pressing his lips hard on her face, passion in his energies, regret in his breathing, sorrow and relief in his fierce kiss. Shadie felt the same. She had worried so much. And it was then that she realised Knarf was weeping, and so was she. Suddenly, she had a thousand questions to ask him. Knarf seemed to sense that for he began explaining what had happened.
‘He tried to break me, Shadie,’ said Knarf. ‘He trusted me and it was so painful to pretend. I was so scared. I was more afraid of losing you than of losing myself or of losing my life. The only way I could return to you was like this, by saying I’d kill you. I couldn’t let them kill me, because I know how much you still need me, how much I need you. I missed you, longed for you, like I’ve never missed you before. The dark side was everywhere, and all I wanted was you and your light.’
‘That’s why you said what you said; you gave yourself up,’ said Shadie.
‘They would have killed you otherwise. I saved Mandalore. They’ve got weapons more powerful than the lasers.’
‘Ok, but you didn’t have to give yourself up like that.’
‘Forgive me if I hurt you by causing you such grief and fear.’
‘It’s ok. I was scared, but I remembered your love for me,’ she said. Knarf kissed her again. ‘Knarf, promise me you’ll never do that again.’
‘I promise I’ll never leave your side again.’
‘Well, you don’t want to stay glued to her either, women can be rather…’ Talyc shut his mouth when they glared at him, before all three cracked into a contagious smile.
‘Shadie,’ said Knarf, taking her hand, ‘never leave my side.’
‘You’re stuck with me, Knarf,’ she said.
‘Good. Because you’re stuck with me too.’
‘Shall we give you a few hours to, uh…?’
‘No, Talyc,’ laughed Knarf. ‘I just very much love my Lady and needed to remind her.’ He kissed her brow and held her tightly.
‘We are still here, you know, and waiting for the rest of the recent info you got, Knarf,’ said Brenum.
‘Brenum, give them a moment,’ said Trylia in between sobs.
‘Trylia, they’ve had several moments. And I have something to say to Knarf.’
Knarf walked up to Brenum, who seemed to size him down, and then suddenly Brenum punched him. Knarf flew to the ground.
‘Don’t the kriffing kark ever do that again!’ Everyone remained silent. ‘I was worried!’ Brenum sighed and helped Knarf up. Then he hugged him. ‘We were all worried.’
‘I know,’ replied Knarf, as Trylia hugged him too.
‘I, uh, I got to say, Knarf,’ said Talyc, ‘I was kind of scared myself. You’re, you’re still on our side, right?’
Fane laughed aloud. ‘I think we’d sense it if he wasn’t.’
‘Just making sure.’ Talyc winked at Knarf.
‘Talyc,’ said Knarf, ‘I’ll always have your back. You know that. You know, I used your tactic to fool the Sith, speaking the truth all the time, watching what I’d say. There was the risk I’d fall to the dark side, but I did it as much for Mandalore as for Shadie.’
‘Then perhaps you can give Mandalore a report,’ said Mandalore arriving at the scene. He was accompanied by Kelbourn and a few others.
‘Oh, right, shall we proceed to a briefing room?’ said Knarf.
‘Yes.’ Mandalore took up his comlink, as some of his clan picked up the Chiss body and carried it away. ‘Reports say we’re safe in hyperspace and there is no sign of pursuit from the Sith.’
‘When did this happen?’
‘While you two were being all lovey-dovey!’ said Mrs. Mandalore.
‘Well, more when they were fighting the Chiss Sith,’ said Kelbourn. ‘To be fair, he was pretty distracted.’ Mrs. Mandalore shrugged.
Knarf scowled and whispered: ‘Who’s she?’
‘Mandalore’s wife,’ replied Talyc. ‘She joins a fight if it’s worth her time.’
‘I’m honoured!’ said Knarf, giving her a Mandalorian salute.
* * *
They sat around a table, emotions still high with no true sense of relief.
‘So these weapons…’ began Mandalore.
‘In check for now. They are like laser batteries but do much more damage. However,’ Knarf pulled out a device, ‘I rigged them and reprogrammed them to this remote.’
‘So you rendered them useless?’ asked Brenum.
‘Oh, they’re functional, all right, but when the moment is right, I can activate the reverse sequence. The lasers will shoot backwards and inwards, into the dreadnought, and the ship will decimate itself.’
Talyc whistled. ‘Do this while the flagship’s surrounded by its own ships and boom goes the flotilla!’
‘Exactly,’ said Knarf. ‘But there is a more pressing matter. The Sith have infiltrated the Senate.’
‘We know, they’ve trapped the Jedi from within the planet. They need our help,’ said Shadie.
‘How? We aren’t enough,’ said Knarf.
‘Ah, but you see, I was planning on rescuing you, Knarf,’ said Mandalore. ‘You’re a slicer, Honolet is down, everything is jammed. See what I’m getting at?’
‘Then let’s get to work!’
“Masters of the Force” 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.