Brenum darted towards Relsor who leapt at Trylia, as she blocked and turned around to strike at him. Brenum was suddenly caught in a Force grip, and unable to advance any further.
Trylia bent low, blocking, and came back up with a flurry. Relsor struck with each of his two blades, alternating; Trylia kept blocking, batting her staff from angle to angle. She twirled and slashed at the mid; Relsor jumped, flipped in the air, and landed behind her. Trylia lunged, Relsor bent sideways, avoiding the purple blade. Relsor went to strike with both his blades at the same time and Trylia barely managed to duck in time.
Brenum could only watch in horror as Relsor seemed to be gaining the upper hand, unable to go to Trylia’s aid. Relsor powered off one lightsaber and clipped it to his belt while slashing and lunging frantically, yet calculatedly. Trylia dodged a hit and spun around, bringing her staff at a more vertical angle. Relsor cast lightning towards her and she screamed, her lightsaber flying out of her hands.
Brenum tried to move, reflexively wanting to run forward, yet he was still unable to move; only his fingers and head moved, while the rest of his body was stuck in a strange limbo.
Relsor ran closer to Trylia, his blade up. He plunged the blade deep inside her abdomen.
‘TRYLIA!’ Brenum shouted long and loud, and harshly.
Trylia shrieked a shrill cry of pain and fell backwards. Relsor caught her as she fell, holding her in his arms. Her back dipping backwards, he leaned down to her face, his lightsaber still inside her body. He leaned in and kissed her lips, then looked up smirking at Brenum. He powered off his lightsaber and let Trylia fall to the floor.
‘No!’ shouted Brenum. ‘No, this can’t be happening!’
Relsor began to laugh as he slowly backed away, closer to the viewport, watching. Brenum looked at him, feeling the fire in his own eyes. Then he looked back at Trylia, who lay motionless.
Suddenly, the Force grip on him was gone; Brenum landed on the permacrete floor. He stared, his heart sinking deeper and deeper, lower and lower. He dropped one lightsaber, and then the other, each of them powering off as they hit the floor. Anger swelled inside him; he wanted to kill Relsor. Instead, he only stared at Trylia, before deciding what he wanted to do, what he needed to do. He ran to Trylia, just so that he could hold her one final time.
* * *
The red blade came up so suddenly as lightning still crackled about, and bore a hole and sizzled through flesh. Trylia felt cold inside of her and let out a shrill cry.
Brenum dropped his lightsabers. Relsor pulled out his blade from inside Brenum’s body. Relsor looked at her and smirked. Brenum fell to the floor, his knees buckling under him, falling on his back.
‘NO!’ Trylia cried out. He could not die, not now, not without knowing…
The Force grip that held her in place was released.
Relsor began laughing as he slowly backed towards the viewport and then stood, watching, holding his two weapons, one of them lit, the other powered off. Trylia dropped her lightsaber; it extinguished as it hit the floor. She felt rage inside and glared at Relsor. Her chest heaved; thinking back, Brenum had been so sweet, so honest, so sincere. She looked back at Brenum. Trylia ran towards him; he would know before he was completely gone, he would know how she truly felt.
Before she could reach him, she felt as though she hit a wall and bounced backwards. She ran forwards again, and bumped into something; someone was there. She felt through the Force and then she could see.
‘No, this can’t be?’ said Brenum. She looked at him wide-eyed. ‘Trylia, how is this possible?’
‘Oh, Brenum.’ She put a hand to his chest. ‘Your wound is gone!’
‘What wound? You… You were dying. Relsor killed you.’
Trylia frowned, feeling disbelief and relief at the same time; this made no sense. ‘What are you on about? You were dying,’ she said.
‘He stabbed you!’ they both said at the same time.
Then realisation dawned on her and she saw on Brenum’s face the same understanding come to him. Brenum whirled on their assailant angrily, as did she.
‘YOU!’ they both exclaimed.
‘No! No!’ said Relsor. ‘No-no-NO! My illusions never fail! How is this even possible?’
‘What were you hoping to accomplish?’ said Brenum sternly.
‘You were supposed to attack me, you were supposed to avenge the other’s death. You were supposed to give in to your innermost darkest emotions, and then the dark side would have made you my slaves.’
‘Well, you were wrong there, weren’t you?’ said Brenum. ‘Your mind trick torture didn’t work.’
‘It should have! It always does.’
Trylia glared at Relsor. ‘You want to know why you have failed, Relsor?’
‘Tell me, then, why has my illusion broken when I had you both so anchored within it?’
‘Because,’ started Trylia, she took Brenum’s hand and held it tightly, ‘love is more powerful than the dark side can ever be.’
Relsor took a breath and began nodding angrily, slowly.
Trylia called her lightsaber to her hand, though she kept it powered off. Brenum did the same, calling his two blades, one at a time. He clipped one to his belt and then held the other aloft. In unison, as though he knew to follow her cue, they ignited their lightsabers and stood facing Relsor, holding each other’s hands, as their lightsabers, blue and purple, hummed in the silence.
‘Do you think you can defeat me?’ proclaimed Relsor.
He lifted his arms up in the air and the ground began to shake, lightning hit them from all around like a storm of pain and fury. Brenum and Trylia were pushed backwards as Relsor broke the transpasristeel and jumped out the viewport.
* * *
‘He’s getting away,’ Brenum shouted. He started to run towards the viewport.
‘Let him go,’ said Trylia. She pulled Brenum back, still holding his hand and she powered off her lightsaber. ‘Brenum.’ She closed her eyes and shook her head. ‘I’m sorry I never told you, was always too afraid, was in self-denial.’ She opened her eyes again. ‘I thought he had killed you. How could I live with myself knowing you would never know?’
Brenum looked at her, his heart pounding in his chest. He had dared to tell her how he felt and he yearned to hear her say those same words to him. She had told Relsor that love had prevailed over the dark side. Had that been an illusion too?
‘Never know what?’ he asked at last, as he powered off his lightsaber and clipped it to his belt.
‘That I love you too,’ she said tenderly.
‘This is not an illusion? You are telling me this for real?’
Trylia nodded. ‘I never showed you much affection, not the way you showed me. I never returned any of it or made to indicate I felt the same way.’ She looked down. ‘I’m sorry.’
Brenum touched her chin and brought her face up gently. Her tears were so beautiful, because they were tears of love, glistening on her lilac skin.
‘Our love proved stronger than the illusion,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t matter that we have not been so forward with our affections as some people we know. Our love was still stronger, because it is true.’
Trylia smiled. ‘The truth shines light upon the darkness of lies,’ she said. Brenum stared at her a long time. ‘Well?’
‘Are you going to kiss me?’
Brenum laughed and plunged his lips onto Trylia’s, kissing her for the first time, and it felt so sweet, so warm, so relieving. He held her as she wrapped her arms around him. He felt the warm, wet sensation of tears on his cheek, and he could not tell which were his and which were hers, but it did not matter.
‘Come,’ Trylia said at last. ‘We need to find the others.’
They turned to go, still holding hands.
‘There you are!’ they heard Shadie’s voice. She and Knarf came running in, with Fane right behind them. Her face changed from relief to worry. ‘What’s happened?’
Trylia wiped her face. ‘I, uh, we thought we’d died.’
‘What? But you’re both all right, right?’ Shadie walked to them and put a hand on each their shoulders. She seemed to notice their clasped hands. She looked up at them and smiled her understanding.
‘What do you mean you thought you’d died?’ asked Fane.
‘Relsor,’ said Brenum, wiping his face with his hand. ‘He was here.’
‘What?’ said Knarf. ‘Impossible. You must be joking.’ Knarf stared at Brenum and Trylia. ‘No, I killed him. I killed him!!’
‘It was an illusion,’ said Brenum. ‘He improvised when you turned on him, but his plan was to overthrow Darth Gourd the whole time. He created an illusion, then hid on the ship, snuck off when we reached Coruscant, and tried to have us turn to the dark side so he could enslave us for his dark purposes.’
‘How?’ asked Fane. ‘How did he manage to get off the ship? There were Mandalorians all around.’
‘He said he was dressed as a Mando,’ said Trylia. ‘He discarded the armour somewhere.’
Shadie and Fane exchanged a worried glance. Knarf took his helmet and spoke into it.
‘Mando lost, I repeat, Mando lost. Relsor is alive and dangerous. Round up all Mandalorians and their armour, he was dressed as a Mando.’
‘Knarf?’ came in Mrs. Mandalore’s voice. ‘I think we’ve already found the armour that he stole and we know who’s it is.’
‘I’m sorry. It’s best…that we show you.’
‘Wait, who? Which Mandalorian?’ Knarf flicked a switch inside his helmet. ‘Talyc? Talyc come in?’
Knarf looked up. Fane was staring blankly at him, reflecting the dread Brenum knew they all felt.
There was a rushing of feet. Mandalore’s wife came running in. She looked at everyone. ‘We found his armour in a garbage heap, but we’ve found no sign of him.’
‘No sign of whom?’ asked Fane.
At that moment, Talyc walked in, carrying very recognisable deep blue and brown armour. Fane breathed out a quivering breath as though from relief and turned around right away, putting a closed hand up to his mouth. Shadie looked his way.
‘Kelbourn!’ said Knarf. ‘That kriffing Chiss killed Kelbourn.’
‘But I thought he was with you during your ride in hyperspace,’ said Brenum, confused.
‘Not Kelbourn,’ said Trylia. ‘Relsor had his armour before we all went to hyperspace.’
‘He must have killed him some time before we boarded the transport, and exited Mandalore’s flagship,’ said Talyc. ‘He didn’t leave my side since we met up before getting on the transport and he left it when we were fighting Sith at the Tem… Ah, KARK! He could tell the difference between Darth Gourd’s Sith and Darth Perce’s Sith.’
‘Darth Perce seems to work for him,’ said Trylia, her head tails twitching anxiously. ‘By the manne in which he was talking about him, it’s as though… Darth Perce was a Follower of Kromus and not one of Gourd’s Sith.’
‘The same two fighting styles as when Shadie faced Kromus for the second time while Knarf fought Gourd,’ said Talyc. ‘And Kelbourn wasn’t on that ship with us.’ He shook his head. He looked at the armour he held.
Fane turned back around to face everyone. ‘I knew it. I sensed it. I felt it in the Force.’ Fane looked at Shadie and then at Talyc. ‘I was telling you about it. The feeling of heaviness, the dark side, that someone might die. It was him, and it was because one of us was already dead! He…he sat next to us. He spoke of the dark side! How could we not have sensed him?’
‘He’s been scrambling the Force the same way Perce has been slicing the com signals,’ said Brenum. ‘But I sense a change in the Force. Someone is doing something to help us, but…’ He felt such dread. ‘He’s powerful. That Chiss is…’ He let his sentence trail off.
‘If he was in the ship when he took his armour, it’s possible Kelbourn’s body is still there,’ Mandalore’s wife said. ‘To think that this whole time we were on Coruscant, Kelbourn was actually Relsor.’
Knarf shook his head in disbelief. It was all so much to digest. ‘We have to find him.’
The Mandalore’s wife used her comlink to contact Mandalore.
‘Yes?’ his voice rang in loudly through the small speaker.
‘You must go to Kelbourn’s quarters on the ship. Now.’ She briefly explained the situation.
Everyone could hear Mandalore walking in the ship. ‘I’m entering his quarters.’ He paused. Everyone heard a loud exhale. There was another pause. ‘Dead. He looks…scorched.’
‘Lightning,’ Brenum said through gritted teeth.
Talyc stomped a foot on the ground. ‘He was my clan brother, and my clan leader, my cousin by blood.’ He gave the armour to someone else. ‘We’re going to find Relsor, and Darth Gourd, and Darth Perce. Mandalore, what’s the status in space?’
‘As it happens the ships are in place, it’s time to destroy Gourd’s dreadnought.’
‘We need to find him,’ said Fane. ‘We need to destroy at least one Chiss Sith… Uah!’
Fane began to shake and paled. Brenum looked at the others. Next thing, Fane was on the ground. Shadie, Knarf and Talyc were faster than Brenum was to be by his side.
‘He’s having an episode,’ said Talyc. Shadie put a hand on Fane’s forehead. Fane suddenly opened his eyes. ‘Hey, you got to quit doing that, scaring us half to death like that.’
Fane tried to smile before wincing. ‘He’s on the upper landing pad. Alone.’
Shadie nodded. ‘Let’s go kill Darth Gourd.’
* * *
The wind had picked up by the time they had reached the landing pad. They found Darth Gourd standing in the centre of it. He turned to face them.
‘Ah, a group of Jedi and Mandalorians at my disposal. Come to die, have you?’
‘No, I’ve come to destroy you,’ said Shadie. ‘You’ve caused enough carnage for one lifetime.’
Darth Gourd laughed. ‘And you think you can destroy me?’
‘I killed Kromus whom you could never kill; twice! I can definitely kill you.’
Darth Gourd ignited his lightsaber and whipped his light staff as it blazed to life. ‘We’ll just see about that!’
He and Shadie began duelling. Knarf took a step back as the others took defensive stances around the area. Every time Gourd came towards them, they were ready. Knarf sensed something, but he couldn’t place it.
‘Darth Gourd?’ he called out. ‘Have you checked your tactical display yet?’
‘What?’ The Chiss lord looked confused.
‘Your ships…have been manoeuvred by the fight above, to be in a specific position; a battlefield layout the Mandalore designed himself. It’s like painting an art piece out in real space.’ He pulled out the control unit. ‘And I have the rigged control unit for your super lasers.’
Knarf gave the Chiss no time to react. He activated the unit. Talyc opened a public channel to the Mandalore, who reported back how each Sith ship was exploding, along with Gourd’s dreadnought. Gourd shook his head. He took his datapad and checked it. Shadie looked on, ready to fight him again should he attack again. Gourd looked up at Knarf.
‘No! You sliced my super weapon!’
Knarf nodded triumphantly. Then his face changed as, from the platform above, Relsor jumped down, landing on the landing pad before his uncle, holding his lightsabers at the ready.
Gourd turned to face him. ‘You’re dead,’ he said, aghast.
‘No, Uncle, I am very much alive. All my illusions were expressly there for a reason.’ He looked towards the Jedi and Mandos. ‘Looks like that pathetic group of Jedi can’t even defeat one Sith Lord. Looks like I’ll have to finish you off myself.’
‘What? Stand down, now.’
‘You don’t order me.’ He ignited his two blades simultaneously. ‘If they can’t kill you, I will.’
Relsor lunged forward at Gourd and the two began to duel. Gourd whipped his lightwhip at his nephew who caught it on one blade, as the other went to strike Gourd who blocked with his lightsaber.
‘Perce!’ Gourd shouted into his comlink. ‘Get me out of here.’
‘I’m afraid I can’t do that,’ came in Perce’s voice. ‘My orders are clear.’
‘My Lord’s, my True Lord’s orders.’
Gourd looked at Relsor, understanding on his face. ‘No.’
‘Yes,’ sneered Relsor.
Gourd slashed at his nephew with his lightsaber, the lightwhip dancing in the air around his head. Relsor caught it again on one of his lightsabers and yanked it out of Gourd’s hand, sending it to the floor. Gourd defended himself with one blade as Relsor attacked him again and again with both his blades.
‘Relsor, stop! You have powers you do not understand. Heed my warning.’
Lightning came crashing down on him from above as Relsor lifted a hand up in the air. A shuttle flew low, hovering near them.
‘Darth Perce is in that shuttle!’ cried Fane. ‘We need to get him.’
Relsor immobilised his uncle with the Force.
‘How are you able to perform such abilities?’ cried Gourd. ‘It took many Sith…’
‘Because, Uncle, I am the most powerful Sith alive. I do understand my powers. Every move, every power, was calculated, from letting Shadie sense me on Mandalore, to being captured, to allowing Knarf to believe he’d killed me, it was all deliberate, it all had purpose. I’ve enjoyed making you believe I was weak. I’ll enjoy watching you die even more.’
Smiling Relsor advanced on Gourd and drew both blades into his body. Gourd grunted. Relsor pulled the lightsabers out, and then Gourd fell to the ground.
‘Is this just another illusion?’ asked Brenum.
‘No illusion this time, Jedi,’ said Relsor. ‘Just me, purely me, and my raw power.’ He leapt into the air and onto the shuttle ramp as it made a low pass, calling his uncle’s weapons to him with the Force.
‘Get him!’ shouted Fane. He started running towards the shuttle.
Relsor sent a burst of lighting that came crashing down all around them like a great storm, and a great wind pushed them back. Knarf fell flat on his back. He saw Shadie get up and loom over Gourd’s body, making sure he was dead and that it was truly him and no illusion. The shuttle flew a distance away, Brenum was shouting curses at it. It came back around, hovering above the landing pad. Relsor shouted out to them.
‘Good luck finding me, Jedi. Thank you for making this victory so easy for me!’
There was another storm of lightning, Knarf felt cold and hot pain at the same time; it was excruciating and nauseating.
A gust of Force wind pushed them back again. Talyc went tumbling over the edge of the landing pad, falling down the tall Temple, towards the permacrete of the lower districts far far below.
‘Talyc!’ Knarf cried out.
Fane ran to the edge of the landing pad, an arm extended out. Knarf joined him. Talyc was suspended in the air; he had already fallen below the upper city walkways and Knarf could not guess how many hundreds of meters his friend had dropped. Fane was breathing heavily as he lifted Talyc back up, though it was more of a yank and pull, and Talyc flew back up to the landing pad, where Fane set him down safely next to him.
Talyc swallowed, looking bewildered, his jaw tight and his eyes wide. ‘Thanks,’ he said. He looked intensely at Fane. He was swaying a bit, looking like he was trying to get his bearings back. ‘I feel like I’m still falling.’
He quickly put his helmet on his head and backed away. He leaned against the sturdy wall of the Temple.
‘I wasn’t going to let you fall to your death,’ said Fane, his expression as intense as Talyc’s had been.
‘Afraid of heights?’ asked Brenum.
‘Something like that,’ said Talyc.
‘You okay there, Talyc,’ asked Knarf, approaching his friend.
‘You know when you realise something you’d sort of known, but then it kind of just hits you?’
Knarf put a hand on his shoulder. ‘It’s okay to be afraid to die.’ He motioned everyone present. ‘We all are. That’s why we all have each other’s backs.’ He looked towards Fane. ‘And I am so grateful Fane saved your life just now.’
‘So am I, Bes’laar.’ Talyc’s voice was impassioned.
‘That was very impressive, Fane,’ said Trylia, smiling. ‘That’s the kind of discipline I typically am able to exhibit. Your power has grown.’
‘Yeah,’ said Fane, blushing. ‘I guess it has.’ He looked at Talyc, then at his hands.
‘Don’t be so surprised,’ laughed Brenum, patting the young Jedi on the back. ‘At some point, we all accomplish such incredible feats. Now you can boast about it.’
‘Fane,’ said Talyc. ‘I owe you one.’
Fane smiled. They turned to Shadie, who walked back to Gourd’s body. She crouched.
‘Do you sense anything, Fane?’ she asked. ‘Can you connect with him?’ Fane shook his head. ‘It seems to be truly him,’ Shadie went on. ‘He seems to be truly dead. What I don’t understand is how come Relsor didn’t create an illusion. He seems to be creating them all the time. Why stop now?’
‘Because he couldn’t!’ said a voice.
Everyone looked up. Lian arrived, followed by the Council Masters.
‘Lian!’ exclaimed Fane.
‘We, I…’ began Lian. ‘I can heal the Force, it seems.’ He looked at Knarf. ‘I sliced the jammed Force frequencies.’ Knarf smiled and took a stance to show his pride and gratitude. ‘There’s something Relsor does in the Force when he creates an illusion. I found a way to prevent that from happening.’
‘So ultimately, he couldn’t create an illusion because you had taken that power away from him?’ asked Brenum.
‘Combined with true love, he had no chance against us,’ said Trylia. She blushed, her lilac cheeks turning a purple. ‘I mean…’
Knarf looked at them, they were holding hands again and surely the Masters would have clocked the exchange between them. Knarf hoped they wouldn’t be too hard on them. Everyone deserved to feel the kind of love he shared with his Lady. He looked at Talyc as the Jedi spoke some more about what had just happened here with the Masters.
‘Are you all right, my friend?’ asked Knarf.
Talyc shook his head. ‘I will never be the same after today.’
Knarf nodded. ‘We will celebrate in honour of Kelbourn the Fifth, a fine clan leader, as there never was another like him. And then we will find Relsor, and his lackey Darth Perce, and we will honour Kelbourn’s memory by bringing them down.’
Talyc nodded. ‘For honour. For Clan Kandera! For Mandalore!’
Together, they lifted their vibroblades up in the air.
“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.