Shadie glanced from Fane to the direction where Lian and Relsor had gone. Knarf and Perce were exchanging insults as they fought.
‘Fane!’ cried Shadie. ‘What can you sense?’
Fane was clutching his head. ‘It’s another massive headache, and Lian’s in trouble, real trouble. Relsor is using his full might and I fear for Lian’s life.’
‘That’s because your friend is about to meet his end!’ said Perce.
‘Not if I have anything to say about it?’ Shadie said defiantly. She reached out to the Sphere and felt it was close and quickly approaching.
‘I’m surprised a pretender like you is still riding on someone else’s fame,’ said Usharr. ‘A mere shadow of what your peers are capable of being.’
‘And he can’t even slice anything to keep me out,’ said Knarf. ‘He’s a failed slicer and a failed Sith.’
‘Now seeing what you’ve become, Perce,’ said Usharr, ‘I realise I did well to kick you out of the academy! The Sith Empire deserves better than a disgrace such as you.’
‘Shut up, Usharr!’
Usharr opened his mouth to rebuttal something more but instead cried out in warning, lifting a hand up as Brenum and Trylia came flying towards them. Shadie joined Usharr and cushioned their fall.
‘Let me guess: Relsor?’ she said.
‘He’s going to kill Lian, and I promised Lian I’d keep him alive,’ said Brenum, ‘and there we were flying around fighting starfighters when we should have been with him the whole time.’
‘Brenum, whatever happens, it’s not your fault,’ said Shadie, reassuring him.
‘You don’t understand, Shadie,’ her friend protested, ‘Lian knew, Lian felt it in the Force. He’s going to die! We have to do whatever we can to prevent that from happening.’
As though on cue, the Sphere finally arrived and dropped down close to them. Perce looked up and jumped into the air and disappeared from view; Shadie assumed he might have landed atop the Sphere. It didn’t matter.
‘Come on, everyone!’ shouted Shadie.
Fane, clutching his head, followed her in, the others all running behind him.
When they entered the Sphere, they were met by an interesting figure: a tall and fully armoured Mandalorian.
‘Oh, hi there,’ he said, mildly waving his hand. He took his helmet off, holding it under his arm.
Talyc shook his head in disbelief, yet he had a broad smile on his face. ‘How in the kark?’
The Mandalorian shrugged. ‘One minute I was about to be spaced, wasn’t too sure how long I’d last out in space in this armour, then this Sphere thing appeared and swallowed me up.’
‘Wait, are you Mildred?’ said Knarf.
‘The very man himself,’ replied the clan leader. He turned to Shadie. ‘I suppose I have you to thank?’
Shadie smiled but shook her head. ‘The Sphere was out of touch for a portion of the fight, it acted of its own volition, probably when Relsor’s illusion ended.’
‘Right place, right time for the Sphere, then, I guess, and for me. Makes me the lucky one all the same,’ said Mildred.
‘Emerick is going to be over the moon to hear you survived,’ said Talyc, exchanging a handclasp and shake with Mildred, who also shook hands with Knarf, in a more formal manner.
‘I wish I could say the others survived, but very few were left,’ said Mildred. ‘All who could get to escape pods, did. It was brutal.’
‘I know what Relsor is capable of,’ said Talyc, ‘I can imagine what his Sith did to you all.’
‘No,’ said Mildred, ‘there were very few Sith leading the assault. Most of them were Imperial Officers.’
‘Imperial!’ said Brenum. ‘I don’t know if that helps us or not. Relsor was willing to sacrifice the Imps.’
‘Yeah, I don’t think they estimated their failure,’ said Mildred. ‘A lot that transpired wasn’t planned, good and bad.’
As the Mandalorians kept on talking, Brenum and Trylia turned to Shadie, Usharr and Fane.
‘We have the recording, Usharr, it worked,’ said Trylia. ‘Shadie, we recorded Usharr confronting Relsor regarding his alliance with the Empire. Knarf can slice a broadcast across the entire galaxy to expose Relsor’s plans.’
Shadie nodded. She didn’t know the extent of whatever plan her friends had devised, but she trusted that it would help their cause and knew she would soon find out anyway.
The Sphere arrived at Relsor and Lian’s location and opened up to let everyone out. Perce jumped down from atop the Sphere, landing before them, and right away sent lightning to block their path.
‘My ship?’ cried Brenum. ‘Where is it?’
Relsor laughed. ‘Autopilot!’
Brenum scowled. ‘You!’ Brenum jumped into the fray, leaping over Perce and his lightning. Trylia joined him and they landed next to Relsor.
Relsor smiled at them. ‘We have an audience, Lian, many who’ve come to see your demise, and my victory.’
Relsor hacked at Lian repeatedly. Lian fell to his knees, holding his white-silver lightsaber up above his head, deflecting every attack, trying to push back, but it was clear he was losing strength.
Relsor laughed as Lian wretched as though he was fighting the sickness that Relsor was sending him. Fane ran to Lian’s side. Relsor grabbed Fane’s neck and squeezed, Shadie could see Fane’s face go from pink to purple and he dropped his lightsaber. Talyc rushed forward, but Knarf stopped him with a hand on his arm.
‘What are you going to fight with?’ said Knarf, pointing at Talyc’s bent vibroblade. ‘Don’t get yourself killed.’
Knarf went instead and used the Force to yank Fane out of Relsor’s grip. Fane called his lightsaber to his hand, while still recovering, taking in heaves of air. Perce fought Usharr and Mildred, but kept spinning a weave of lightning that danced across the ground, stunning everyone in place.
Lian struck at Relsor’s legs; the Chiss jumped. Lian’s movements were becoming heavy and slowed. Lian shouted out and hit Relsor on the arm. The Chiss moved out in time, but he still was slashed a great wound and a scorch mark could be seen sewn into his skin.
‘You’re going to pay for that one,’ said Relsor. Relsor sent lightning at Lian who went flying a little further away.
Lian got up and dithered before finding his footing. He staggered towards Relsor. ‘I’m not dying, Relsor, not today, no matter what you do to me.’
‘We’ll just see about that!’
Everyone, except for Lian, was lifted into the air again, floating above the ground, trying to move, yet not moving. Relsor continued to fight Lian and Perce sent lightning at everyone who hovered above the ground.
Relsor slashed at Lian who blocked. He twirled one lightsaber, powering it off and clipping it to his belt, all the while slashing at Lian who was barely managing to block in time. They locked blades and Relsor grabbed Lian’s arm, sending dark side energy into his body. Lian screamed and fell to his knees. Relsor lifted him above the ground, using the Force, and began choking him. Lian croaked for air. Relsor slammed him to the ground, lifting him again, slamming him again, and Lian bounced a few times in this way.
‘Lian,’ Fane called out, ‘help me get into his head.’
‘I’m trying,’ cried Lian. ‘I… can’t…’ He stumbled and dropped his lightsaber.
Relsor held Lian in an immobile position and slashed again, slicing his left lekku in the middle. Lian gave a loud cry and Shadie reflexively tried to turn her head away, feeling empathetic pain for her friend. Lian couldn’t die, the Force needed him to heal it. Something had to be done.
Relsor let go of everyone and they all fell to the ground. Lian was slumping over, trying to look up, but it was clear his energy had been drained. Relsor took hold of Lian’s head, as Fane ran towards the Sith Lord. Relsor lifted his arm parallel to the ground, hand up, and pushed Fane away. Relsor took a moment to drain Lian, of the Force by the looks of it, before releasing the power, but he still held Lian’s head.
‘Your friends are weak, Lian,’ said Relsor. ‘He who must defeat me cannot even resist my powers. You fight for the wrong cause. I will give you one chance to save your own life. Turn away from the Jedi, come to my side, and join Perce and me in our fight to defeat the Jedi, and I will let you live.’
Lian’s face contorted with disdain. ‘I rather die a million times than betray the Force to your malady.’
‘Then you are allowing the Force to become my malady with your death,’ said Relsor.
He struck Lian in the stomach. Lian grunted and fell onto his back as Relsor retracted his blade, laughing. Everything turned into a blur.
‘No!’ Shadie cried, running to Lian’s side.
‘No, no, no,’ she heard Fane shouting, ‘this is all my fault. Another Kloh has died because of me.’
‘It’s not…your…fault,’ Lian struggled to say, as Shadie crouched next to her friend. She took his head and cradled it onto her knees. She wiped her eyes from the tears that ran down her cheeks.
The cut at Lian’s lekku was raw and blood was seeping out of the half-cauterised wound. The hole at his stomach was completely cauterised, and smoke rose form it.
Fane and Talyc took position next to Lian.
‘I owe so much to you,’ said Talyc.
‘You healed yourself,’ said Lian.
Shadie placed a hand on Lian’s stomach, focusing. Perhaps she could help him heal and save his life.
Knarf and Usharr kept Relsor and Perce busy as other Mandalorians arrived. Mildred was shouting at the Sith Lords, taunting them.
‘Hey, Relsor! Guess who destroyed your superlasers and survived the blast! I did! I’m immune, nothing can kill me.’
He had their attention all right, and he led them into the group of incoming Mando warriors.
Shadie refocused, closing her eyes this time.
‘Shadie,’ whispered Lian. She opened her eyes. His pale blue skin was turning even paler. ‘I can attempt to heal my body, but I won’t last much longer. Even if we all combined our powers, the inevitable will happen. I’m dying.’
‘I’m so sorry,’ said Brenum. ‘I feel I failed you.’
Lian shook his head. He reached to touch Shadie’s hand. ‘Take me to the Crypt.’
‘What?’ Shadie was too dazed by what had happened to understand Lian’s reasoning.
‘Let me be the one to take the Sith’s place and earn immortality,’ said Lian.
‘But what if you’re not worthy?’ said Shadie. ‘What if he refuses? What if you die on our the way there?’
Lian chuckled. ‘I’m dying anyway. If it doesn’t work, then I die and the Force will be in peril. If this fails, go to Ryloth, find my grandfather, he may be able to help.’ Lian winced. ‘But if this succeeds, then I can heal the Force from a focal point and use the light side to help all of you.’
‘That place is of the dark side, what if it kills you?’ said Fane.
Lian took Fane’s hand. ‘I rather have people say the Crypt killed me than give Relsor bragging rights.’
Fane managed a smile and nodded. He looked at Shadie; she nodded back. She called to Knarf and to Usharr.
‘Go,’ Usharr called out, ‘I’ll keep them busy. A chance for me to continue my fight with Perce; a chance for an old master and his old apprentice to exchange in a duel.’
‘We’ve got this!’ shouted Mildred, shooting an assault cannon at Relsor.
‘I’ll find the Krayt Dragon,’ said Usharr. ‘I’ll secure it.’ Shadie knew he meant the recording.
Everyone hurried into the Sphere. Lian entered a healing trance and Shadie focused her attention on her healing powers too, doing all she could to sustain Lian’s life. She prayed that this would work, that he would stay alive long enough for them to reach the Crypt. They felt the Sphere using its powers too. She sensed Fane approach and felt him add his powers to hers. She also felt Knarf, Brenum and Trylia. All five of them were healing Lian, keeping him alive, delaying his inevitable death.
“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.