Lian watched the team Talyc and Fane had assembled bustle through the long corridor towards his confinement chamber. Shadie had promised him they would renovate the place: add plants, turn the room with the well into a hydroponics chamber, hide the Crypt’s old skeletons with some vines from Tython and other various plant life that would bring more colour to the place. She and Knarf had already brought him some components for his “office space”, as well as some essentials to turn some parts of his chamber into a garden where he could meditate.
There was a stream flowing somewhere within the Crypt itself, which had begun flowing when Lian took over as its guardian, and Shadie seemed to be full of ideas to make it cascade into the room like a fountain. The Jedi appreciated his friends’ ideas, bringing pieces of home to him. The throne seemed to be a permanent fixture so he himself was working around it, coming up with ideas of his own.
As the group strode into the room with their crates, he noticed something particular about them. At first, he hadn’t paid too much attention to who they were, being more focused on what they were carrying, but now he noted they were all Twi’lek, and all of them were female.
Lian looked down as they walked in with another load of supplies. Talyc, this was his doing.
‘No, you’re angling it wrong!’ he heard Fane’s voice. ‘I told you we should have switched.’
Lian saw Fane and Talyc carrying a large holomachine, equipped with holocom, Holonet transceiver, holoscreen, and much more.
‘Why don’t you just carry it using the Force?’ a green Twi’lek asked. Lian recognised her, but couldn’t remember her name.
‘Because it’s too wide for the space and my Force floating skills aren’t the best,’ said Fane.
Another Twi’lek laughed, she was of a red hue. ‘And he calls himself a Jedi.’
‘Hey,’ said Talyc, ‘he’s got other skills that matter.’
The two Twi’lek ladies looked at each other and then at the two men. ‘Do tell!’ said the green one.
‘Now, now,’ said Lian, ‘I’m sure they want to keep some details private.’ He smiled. Talyc was shaking his head, chuckling. Fane had turned a bit red in the face.
‘Careful there, Fane,’ the red Twi’lek said, ‘your face is starting to match my skin tone.’ Fane let out a sigh that sounded like an amused hiss.
The two men, helped by the Twi’leks, carried the holomachine over to one of the farther and darker corners of the room, though corner hardly described the circular area. The red Twi’lek leaned on it, slumping her shoulders a bit.
‘This is the last time I do you a favour, Talyc, you work your clan way too hard,’ she said. Talyc shrugged. ‘I’m telling Emerick.’
‘What does he have to do with how hard I work you?’ laughed Talyc.
‘So he can defend me to you.’ The Twi’lek put her hands on her hips. ‘Not that I can’t take you on myself. I’m just saying.’
‘Hang on a minute, am I missing something here?’ Talyc squinted in confusion.
‘Oh, you didn’t know?’ the green Twi’lek said. ‘I suppose what with you captured and then healing and then with what happened on Mandalore…’ She paused.
‘Well spit it out, Nriwe, the suspense is killing me.’ That was her name, the green Twi’lek’s.
‘Lashika and Emerick,’ said Nriwe. Lian also recognised this one’s name, from the time he heard she bested Fane in a friendly duel.
‘Together?’ said Talyc. ‘When did this happen?’
‘Like Nriwe said, while you were all angry at the world weird dark side influence trance thing,’ said Lashika.
‘Oh.’ Talyc smiled. ‘I’m happy for you.’
‘Thank you.’ Lashika looked at Lian. ‘Sorry.’ She and Nriwe left the room with the other Twi’leks, leaving Lian blinking. He turned his head to the side in thought, keeping his eyes on Talyc.
‘Why did she just apologise to me? Talyc? Fane?’
The two men looked like they were up to something and Lian could sense their compassion at his predicament.
‘Look, I wanted to match you up,’ Talyc admitted, ‘so I called upon all the Twi’leks I knew, owed me a favour, or were willing to help.’
Lian blushed. ‘You don’t have to do that, you know.’
‘I know, I just… I’m sorry you’ve found yourself in this situation,’ replied the Mando clan leader.
‘And I wanted to help too,’ said Fane. ‘I feel it’s a bit my fault you’re stuck here.’
Lian shook his head. ‘No.’ He walked up to Fane and put a hand on his shoulder. ‘And we can still defeat Relsor. Once I’ve become more accustomed to my newfound abilities here, I’m sure we can find a way for you to enter his mind again. I can feel my healing powers spreading. Once I reach the entire galaxy, perhaps it will be enough to weaken Relsor.’
‘We can only hope,’ said Talyc.
The Twi’leks returned carrying more crates and plants. Lian looked around. He was pleased with what they had brought.
‘We’ve got more to bring later,’ said Fane. ‘So we’ll be back.’
‘That’s fine. I’ve got enough to keep me occupied if I get bored,’ Lian said, chuckling.
The two men left the room with the Twi’leks. Last to exit was Nriwe. She turned around.
‘Did you want help setting up the holo?’ she asked.
‘Oh, no, it’s fine.’
‘You remember fighting alongside me on Mandalore, right? You look a bit lost.’ ‘Vaguely.’ Lian waved a dismissing hand. ‘I’m just a bit overwhelmed.
She nodded and looked behind her and then took a few more steps into the room. ‘Don’t let them, you know, they’re just trying to help.’
‘I know.’ Lian sighed. ‘I had an idea of what my life would look like, and I never imagined I would come so close to dying and surviving, and yet feel regret at the same time.’
‘You’re a prisoner. That’s never fun. I remember before being a Mandalorian, running bounties, running around the galaxy, and feeling more trapped than I had ever been. Then I was captured by Hutt slavers and I came to appreciate the freedom I had come to take for granted. But you’re still free, you know. You don’t owe anything to anyone and you aren’t commanded by anyone.’
‘But I’m still stuck here.’
‘Doesn’t mean you can’t have the life you imagined you’d have.’ Nriwe inclined her head to the side. ‘It’ll just be here instead.’
‘Do you know why he asked you and the others to help?’
‘Yeah,’ she said, a soft pink coming on her green cheeks. ‘I suppose you’re good looking enough.’
‘Enough?’ said Lian, spreading his arms out. He let out a small chuckle.
She smiled. ‘Anyway, I best be off.’ She started off, then turned back to Lian, taking out her datapad. ‘Here, let me leave you my holocom code, if ever you want to unload your thoughts to someone who’s not, you know, your friend or close to you… That sounded better in my head.’
Lian laughed. ‘You’re all right. Thanks.’ She transferred the code number to his datapad. ‘I remember Tython, talking about Sabbacc. You were trying to convince me you could read my tells better than I could use the Force.’
Nriwe placed a hand on her hip. ‘You didn’t want to make that bet.’
‘I might be inclined to change my mind.’ Lian realised his face felt hot.
Nriwe smiled. She waved goodbye and left the room, and Lian couldn’t help but stare at her until she disappeared up the circular lift at the other end of the corridor.
* * *
The Mandalorian shuttle lifted off the rock formation that formed the Crypt. Talyc punched in the coordinates for the jump to hyperspace. He looked over at Fane, who was staring at Nriwe, who was staring out the viewport. Talyc smiled. Then he noticed Nriwe looking back at him and scowling.
‘Don’t go getting any ideas!’ she said. ‘I just feel bad for the guy.’
‘Okay,’ he nodded. Nriwe turned and joined Lashika further in the shuttle.
Fane leaned in and whispered, ‘I definitely sense something.’
‘I knew it!’ Talyc smiled, satisfied. The com chimed. ‘Yup?’
‘Hey, it’s us,’ came in Shadie’s voice. ‘We’ve got some things ready here for our next trip to the Crypt. Brenum and Trylia are coming to join us on Mandalore with more plant life from Tython and a few ferns from Manaan that Master Herl’unik picked up for Lian. We should be good to make the trip in the Krayt Dragon.’
‘Sounds like a plan, Shadie,’ said Fane. ‘See you soon.’
* * *
Shadie closed the channel and looked at Knarf. ‘Everything is set and planned out, just how I like it.’
‘Since when do you like things planned out?’ Knarf laughed. She scowled, and he grinned back, sensing her amusement, though she was doing her best to hide it.
Shadie looked at Usharr. ‘And you definitely remember where this special secret datapad is?’
‘Definitely,’ said Usharr. ‘I would hardly forget such a hiding place. It’s obvious when you know it, but very hidden when you don’t know it.’ He paused. ‘I wish I could say I knew what the datapad contained. It certainly was very important to Kromus.’
‘You never once checked it?’ asked Knarf.
Usharr chuckled. ‘You think I wasn’t curious? I tried; I could not.’
‘Well,’ said Knarf, nodding, ‘if it contains anything that can help us, any secrets regarding our enemy, it’ll be on there; I can just feel it.’
‘It was heavily encrypted,’ warned Usharr.
‘Then I can decrypt it,’ replied Knarf. ‘There’s very little I can’t these days.’
* * *
‘Just encrypt it so we can be on our way!’ Relsor complained, annoyed at Perce’s meticulous slicing.
‘Wait, this has to be done very precisely,’ replied Perce. He looked up at Relsor. ‘Do you want this to look like it came from the Republic, or do you want the Dark Council to know it was from us?’ Perce stared at Relsor, though he gave no reply. Relsor knew that Perce knew what his answer would be. He waved his hand dismissively in a sign for him to carry on. ‘Besides, nothing stuns our enemy quite like a shocker.’
Relsor folded his arms. ‘Well, I hope it shocks them enough to start firing at each other. I’m tired of the Dark Council’s politics getting in the way of my plans.’
‘You and me both!’ There was a long pause while Relsor waited for Perce to complete the task. ‘There.’
At that moment, Awgro entered the room, as though on cue.
‘My lords,’ he said, ‘the Dark Council has sent a message and wishes to meet with you.’
‘Oh?’ said Relsor, ‘do they, now? How convenient, as we would like to meet with them.’ Relsor probed the young Sith with the Force, trying to figure out if he had overheard anything from their plans to dupe the Dark Council into war with the Republic earlier than would naturally occur. Hopefully, he had not heard them speak of making the recording of Usharr and Relsor look like Knarf had sliced it either. Relsor sensed no suspicion from Awgro. ‘We have a stop to make before we go to Dromund Kaas. Tell them we will be in touch when we are ready.’
‘Right away!’ Awgro bowed and left the room. Perce cocked a brow.
‘What?’ Relsor asked dryly.
‘Jedi Master Lian will sense our approach,’ said Perce. ‘You don’t think he will have Jedi at the ready for us?’
‘No!’ Relsor elongated his conclusive note. ‘Jedi Lian believes he can stop us because of his newfound powers at the Crypt, but he has not mastered them yet. I can still create illusions. Had his powers spread farther than the Crypt itself, I would not be able to. Besides, he still cannot stop my full might, my malady, not even at the Crypt. He can perhaps heal his friends quickly enough, because of their shared power, but if Clan Leader Talyc is there, he will be perfect to exploit to distract Jedi Fane, and thus distract and preoccupy Shadie and Knarf, at the very least.’
Perce smiled. ‘And then the only two we need to deal with are Trylia and Brenum.’
‘Precisely. And I can deal with Trylia, I can manipulate her.’
‘She’s too powerful to be manipulated through the Force with simple mind tricks,’ objected Perce.
‘No, I mean I can make her do what I want out of the pity she feels for me,’ said Relsor. ‘I can sense her in the Force; I can send her my vibes. If the Jedi happen to arrive before we do, Trylia is the one on whom we can rely to get our hands on Kromus’s secret information.’
‘Trylia’s not going to give up such valuable information to you, just for you!’
‘No,’ admitted Relsor, ‘but she will do it to save Brenum’s life.’
Perce sneered and nodded. Relsor knew he could sense his plan. Relsor reached out with the Force to feel for Trylia, whom he could sense was still on Tython. Concern was what he sensed from her as soon as he felt that she sensed his touch through the Force. He smiled. He was going to get his hands on Kromus’s secrets, whichever way he had to.
“Secrets from the Past” is written by Celinka Serre (2022).
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.