Fane could barely feel his fingertips; they tingled as though they’d been asleep for ages. He managed to lift himself up on his hands and knees. Talyc was moaning, Lian was bobbing this way and that, rocking himself, Shadie was reflecting energy back at Relsor, and Usharr looked focused, taking in all the dark side energy, as though ready to burst.
‘You going to explode the dark side at Relsor?’ Fane asked, crawling towards where Usharr and Talyc lay.
Talyc reached a hand towards Fane. Fane took Talyc’s helmet off. ‘Are you all right?’
Talyc looked up at him, his face wet with tears, and Fane felt a pang. This ordeal must have been causing so many flashbacks for Talyc.
Lian finally stopped rocking, after taking a loud deep breath, and lay motionless. He looked calm, his eyes focused on Relsor, and Fane saw the dark side energy orb diminish and shrink. He understood that Lian was healing the Force. Fane felt a little ill, but he figured that was normal, given the circumstances.
‘We need to take him by surprise,’ said Lian in a low voice. ‘Usharr, can you send him one of your attacks soon? I will attempt to connect Fane to Relsor’s mind.’
Usharr looked at Lian and nodded, still looking focused. Then, on Lian’s mark, Usharr sent Relsor an immense attack of dark side energy that made Relsor stagger back. Fane focused and he could feel Lian guiding him. They connected within the Force and connected to Relsor’s malady. Fane pushed as hard as he could, but he could feel the True Sith fighting back. He was in, and Relsor stood as Fane made him stand, then he was back out again. He pushed again and was back in, then was kicked right back out. He pushed again and felt Relsor push back.
Relsor screamed extremely loudly. ‘Aaargh! Get out of my head!’
Relsor lifted his hands high and everyone was lifted into the air. Suddenly Fane could no longer move. He focused on the Force around him, trying to move his limbs. He didn’t understand.
Relsor laughed. ‘You thought you could resist my paralysing stasis, didn’t you, Fane? Just because you can connect to my mind, doesn’t mean you can resist my powers. You are still too weak to defeat me, which will make it all the easier to destroy you.’
Fane felt panic; he was supposed to be able to defeat Relsor. He looked at the others. Talyc’s jaw was clenched tightly, Usharr seemed to relax in the position and circumstance in which he found himself, Shadie looked defiant, while Lian kept his eyes closed and looked meditative. The Twi’lek opened his eyes again and looked at Fane.
‘We have to try again!’ he called out.
‘I’m trying, but it’s not working!’ cried Fane. ‘He’s found a way to resist us.’
Fane saw Lian try to move. The Jedi healer seemed to be healing the Force around him, for he could move his arms and legs in slow extended movements, but when Relsor looked at him, he became as motionless as the others.
‘We need to try something!’ cried Shadie.
‘We need to embrace it,’ said Usharr. ‘Work with it.’
And then Fane saw something he never thought he would, and the Force was ever more wondrous to him: Relsor sent lightning towards Usharr but it stilled in the air, motionless, and never reached its target.
‘Just like that,’ said Usharr.
‘Urrgh, stupid Sith!’ growled Relsor. The Chiss tried again, this time with dark side energy, and he sent it towards all of them, but that too was stilled and paused in mid-air before it could reach any of them.
That’s when Fane understood: as long as Relsor held them in stasis like this, his Force powers would not hurt them.
‘The dark side is a wondrous tool, if you know how to utilise every one of its aspects,’ said Usharr, a faint proud smile on the corner of his mouth. ‘Something our enemy never learnt.’
Fane couldn’t help but smile. Usharr was the only Sith among them and he could truly use the Force in ways they could not. For once, Fane was glad a Sith was among them.
Relsor looked at them for a moment and sat on the ground, legs crossed, and closed his eyes in meditation. At least while Relsor was busy trying to figure out his next move, even if they were still in stasis, floating above the ground, they were unharmed, for now.
* * *
The Mandalorians formed a ring around the two duelling Force-users. Knarf still felt a few pangs of pain here and there, but most of it had dissipated. He manoeuvred the same way he had when fighting the Sith aboard Relsor’s ship, and the Mandalorians took advantage to attack Perce from all angles. Still, the Sith was able to divert, deflect and send back every single attack that came his way. Perce maybe no longer had the shared power of co-master of the Crypt, Knarf was thinking, but he still retained all the powers he had gained from it.
Knarf advanced on Perce and tried to strike at his heart; he knew it was the only way to kill the man. While he did that, Lashika got in and sent a bolt from an assault cannon right into Perce’s back. Perce fell forward onto hands and knees. A scorched hole was present. Perce growled and within seconds, there was nothing.
Knarf thought he heard Lashika curse in Mando’a.
‘He regenerates,’ said Knarf. ‘Nothing can kill him but a blow to the heart.’
‘Not if I chop off his head!’ shouted Mandalore waving his vibrosword, as he, Nriwe, and many others arrived on the scene.
Perce lifted a hand and sent Mandalore flying back the way he’d come, creating a wave that lifted everyone high into the air and sent them crashing back down. Knarf was taken off guard and Perce pulled him towards him.
‘You are a dead man!’ he said to Knarf.
Knarf barely blocked in time, but he knew his armour could handle it if he was attacked by Perce’s lightsaber. Knarf defended himself, strike after strike, but Perce was proving to be a lot stronger than Knarf had anticipated, and he found himself tiring out.
Overhead, starfighters streaked the sky, many of which were Sith and of Chiss design. The hijacked ships may have been destroyed, but it did not mean it had destroyed all the True Sith who’d been aboard. Laser fire from various ships bounced between the fighters and those ships. The Krayt Dragon and the Maw were both part of the fight in the sky. Knarf thought he also saw the Fat Momma do a flyby and swirl around the Maw. Three starfighters exploded into shrapnel as the ships flew past these.
Something chimed and Perce lifted his wristband comlink to his mouth.
‘A bit busy, Relsor!’
‘I require your assistance, Perce,’ came Relsor’s voice. ‘I find myself at a bit of a stalemate at the moment.’
Perce growled in annoyance and sent a wave of lightning towards everyone, sending them back.
Knarf recovered quickly and took pursuit after Perce.
* * *
Relsor stood up, seeing Perce running towards him, and he pointed at their floating enemy.
‘The old Sith has found a way to freeze up my powers as long as they remain in stasis,’ he said.
‘Then stop the stasis,’ said Perce, as though the answer were obvious.
‘It’s not that simple, Perce.’ Relsor was already annoyed; he didn’t need his counterpart berating him as well. ‘They will attempt to enter my mind.’ He lowered his voice to a whisper. ‘We need to separate them and isolate Lian.’
‘Then allow me to have the honour of taking care of the others while you do what you need to do.’
Relsor heard more running footsteps and recognised Knarf’s voice.
‘Humph, why does he have to join the fight,’ said Perce. ‘I thought I left him with the group of Mandos back there. Oh well, time to get to work.’
Perce raised his arms and Relsor released the stasis as lightning rained down on everyone.
Relsor grabbed Lian in the Force and gripped him. The Jedi put a hand to his throat, scowling. Then Relsor lifted him into the air and pushed so hard, the Jedi went flying across the field, far away from view. Relsor bounded towards him, knowing Perce would stall the others; hopefully long enough to give him time to kill Lian.
* * *
Lian landed on the ground and rolled a few times. He stopped, lying on his stomach, and looked up. He was breathing heavily. All of that had taken its toll on him, but he would still attempt to heal the Force if he could.
He felt queasy. Relsor had been unleashing his full malady and it was excruciating, it was agonising, and even if Lian was a healer, there was only so much he could do.
Lian’s body was shaking a bit and he felt a fear he had never felt before. He was weakened, and alone, and he knew what this meant. He reached out to the others, reached out to Fane, and made his urgency known. If the others could help him fight Relsor, then he could yet survive.
He got on his hands and knees and propped himself up. He reached for his comlink and realised it was not there. He settled his nerves and took a deep breath. He reached out towards Brenum and Trylia. They were busy fighting off Sith starfighters, but they had promised they would ensure his survival.
The Krayt Dragon came into view and his friends landed the ship nearby. Brenum and Trylia came running towards Lian.
‘Lian, you’re injured, let’s get you out of here,’ said Brenum. ‘It’ll be safe on the ship.’
‘Nowhere is safe!’ said Relsor as he arrived.
Brenum and Trylia were lifted into the air, just when Lian thought he could get a few moments to recover. He realised that hiding away would not make this moment disappear.
Relsor sneered and balled his hand into a fist. He sent Brenum and Trylia flying through the air, and they fell out of view. Lian could only assume that they had landed somewhere near the others.
Lian looked at the ship; he could make a run for it. As though knowing his thoughts, Relsor waved a hand towards the ship and it closed up. Something inside it creaked and the ship rose into the air.
‘Activating autopilot is such an easy task,’ said Relsor. ‘Why pilots keep that function to a few buttons, I’ll never understand.’ He looked up at the ship and it drifted away. ‘Well, that’s out of the way.’
‘So here we are, you and me,’ said Lian. This was the moment he’d felt in the Force; the moment Relsor would kill him. ‘I’m going to delay you, Relsor, and the others will arrive.’
‘I’ll still kill you,’ replied Relsor, ‘and when you’re dead, there’ll be no one to heal the Force, and Jedi Fane will be mine to destroy.’
“Protectors 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.