Talyc met with Nriwe and Fane near the docking station. Nriwe had dolled herself up a bit. She always looked stunning, but Talyc noticed she had taken particular care to put some makeup on and to dress lavishly.
‘My, you’re dressed to impress!’ remarked Fane, voicing Talyc’s very thoughts. Nriwe blushed.
Talyc nudged her. ‘I’m sure Lian will think the same, and more.’ Talyc looked at his chrono. ‘We should get going. I’ll go clear our departure in person.’ He pointed at the booth. Then he noticed Vax standing nearby in the shadows, looking ominous. ‘I think our friend Wapita has his recruit spying on us. I’ll just check what he’s up to.’
Vax didn’t seem to notice him. Talyc approached as the others head inside the small freighter they would be taking to the Crypt. As Talyc got closer, he heard Vax talking into his com.
‘They’re taking the green Twi’lek with them. They’re going to the Crypt, but I’m not sure for how long.’
‘Just for dinner!’ Talyc cut in. Vax spun around looking like a bantha had just sat on his stomach. Talyc leaned in towards the transponder. ‘Or maybe overnight if all goes well. Nriwe’s got herself a date. I’m surprised you’re a bit late on the news, Wapita. Next time, get someone less conspicuous to spy on us.’
Vax quickly switched his comlink off. ‘Talyc!’
Talyc pointed at the comlink. ‘If Wapita wants information, he just needs to ask. I’m not one to hold a grudge. Dargoza was the one with whom I had an issue. Our clans don’t need to be rivals.’ Talyc put his hands on his hips. ‘Anyway, what does Wapita gain from following us and gaining information on us.’
Vax looked down a moment. ‘I’m really sorry, Talyc,’ he said in a low voice. ‘I’m sorry to deceive you like this.’ He looked up again. ‘You understand though, that Mandalorians or bounty hunters don’t usually tend to hang out with Jedi, let alone collude with them.’
‘Collude?’ laughed Talyc. ‘If that’s what you want to call it.’ He winked.
‘My point is, Wapita has distrust. Plus there is a Sith who’s with Shadie and Knarf all the time. A Sith! You need to be careful with that one. I don’t trust him, what’s his purpose here on Mandalore?’
‘We can trust the old man, he’s on our side,’ said Talyc. ‘For now. Don’t you worry about me, Vax. I’ll be fine. And tell Wapita we’ll inform him how the date went.’
Vax nodded. Talyc made his way to the shuttle after clearing their departure with the Mando in the booth. He sat down at the controls; Fane gave him a quizzical look.
‘Vax was spying on us for Wapita,’ said Talyc. ‘Apparently, he’s mistrustful of Usharr, mostly.’
‘A little late to not trust us,’ said Nriwe. ‘We didn’t just now recruit Jedi into our clan.’
‘I know.’ Talyc sighed. ‘It’s weird. Why be dodgy now? I’m telling you, when we get back, I’ll have a word with Wapita, from one clan leader to another.’
* * *
The trip to the Crypt was inconsequential, other than Nriwe kept going back to the refresher to make sure she looked fine. Her heart was pounding when they arrived at the Crypt. She noticed the outside of it changed some more.
Upon touch down, Fane and Talyc wished her luck and she walked to the entrance of the first chamber. The door slid open for her, and she heard Lian’s voice welcome her. She walked through the rooms, making idle chitchat with the Jedi.
It seemed like it took much longer this time to reach the bottom of the Crypt and walk through its massive hall. Lian stood by the door, ready to greet her. He was garbed in simple Jedi clothes, as opposed to his usual Jedi Master garb, but it suited him.
Lian took her hand and led her to a table in the centre of the room.
‘I trust your trip here went well?’ he asked.
‘Yes, quite!’ said Nriwe.
‘I’ve taken the liberty of preparing some snacks. While I don’t need to eat, I quite enjoy the taste. I hope you like nerf?’
‘Yes, thank you.’
Nriwe noticed that his tone was different, nervous. They sat down and began chatting, but it was different too.
‘We don’t need to talk about just simple things, you know,’ she said. ‘You’re usually full of Jedi talk and reminiscing about Tython.’ Lian looked up at her. ‘What I mean is, you seem to not know what to say.’
Lian looked down at his plate. ‘I apologise. I was worried I would bore you with all the Jedi talk of Tython and how I miss the place.’ Nriwe shook her head. There was a short pause. ‘I’ve had another talk with Lord Void.’ This piqued Nriwe’s interest. She raised her brows. ‘He believes the Dark Council is withholding information from him. He thinks it has to do with the fact that his apprentice failed and is no longer on Relsor’s ship.’
‘Well, I don’t know who in their right mind would want to be on his ship,’ said Nriwe.
‘Void is concerned. He has thus far been willing to work with us behind the scenes, but he suspects there is much information to which he is not privy. He has warned us to be vigilant. He believes the Sith are planning a coup against Relsor.’
‘Are they trying to let themselves be wiped out? There is no way they can take on Relsor.’
‘Not to destroy him, but to cripple him,’ said Lian, ‘in order to renege on their alliance.’
‘Does that mean the Sith would be willing to join the Jedi and the Republic in the fight against Relsor?’
‘I don’t know,’ said Lian. ‘Our list of allies grows, but many are unwilling to commit to anything right now, all from the fear Relsor’s mere existence creates.’
‘I understand. Well, Mandalore stands with you, regardless!’
Lian looked up from his plate and stared at her for an uncomfortable while. ‘You would be so willing to risk your life for the Jedi? For the Republic?’
‘It’s not like it’s not the first time,’ said Nriwe. ‘Shadie’s my friend, my clanmate. It all started with her and Knarf. A few more Jedi added to the mix doesn’t change the fact that Relsor would attack Mandalore anyway. He’s done it before; Gourd has done it. We’re in this war whether we like it or not.’
‘And you don’t like it?’
‘Of course, I don’t like war! But I’m a warrior, a fighter. I’m Mandalorian. I will stand by my friends, my clan, my family, and fight till the end.’
‘I would not want you to die for the Jedi,’ said Lian. He looked down again, then up and around. ‘This is what has become of my life, because I was dedicated to fighting for the Jedi, ready to sacrifice myself. Would you risk injury, imprisonment, death?’ He looked back down and closed his eyes. ‘You do not have to fight for the Jedi. You do not have to risk anything for us.’
Nriwe reached for his hand. ‘I risk it willingly. I risk it for you.’
Lian opened his eyes but said nothing for a long moment. Then, ‘I’m sorry.’ Lian took his hand away from hers. There was a silence.
‘Listen, do you need me to go? I don’t mind, it’s okay. I’ll go.’
Lian said nothing. Nriwe stood and slowly made her way to the door.
* * *
Nriwe turned to look at him. Lian could hear his heart beating. He stood and stared at her.
‘I cannot let you fight for me,’ he said. ‘I cannot let you risk your life for the Jedi. Relsor is powerful with a powerful army. If you die…’
‘How do you know? And then if you don’t, what then? This?’ He motioned the room around him. ‘This is my fate; this is my life. I will never go anywhere else again. I will never do anything anywhere else again. To tie yourself to me is to tie yourself to a fate of limitation, danger, and uncertainty. That is why I must let you go. I’m sorry I invited you here, I will not impose anything on you.’
Lian looked down. He knew what he felt, something which he had never before felt, something he had only heard his friends describe. He looked up at Nriwe who stood at the door, tears swelling in her eyes. He could sense her in the Force, sense turmoil, conflict, and sadness. Her green sheen glistened under the light of the glowing bulb trees.
‘Forget about all of that,’ said Nriwe. ‘What do you want?’
‘For you to stay.’
Nriwe swallowed. ‘I want to stay.’
‘You do? I mean…’ Lian walked to the door where she stood and stopped in front of her. ‘We barely know each other.’
‘Then let’s get to know each other better,’ said Nriwe. She blinked and the tears vanished from her eyes as a smile came on her face.
Lian took a step towards her and put a hand on her face. ‘I always imagined I would fall in love with a blue Twi’lek. I’m not sure what I feel and if that is what love is, but I know that I think I like this green sheen you have.’
‘You think?’ smiled Nriwe, taking a step closer.
‘You certain you want this? You want to risk something uncertain with a Jedi?’
‘It seems to work for others in my clan,’ she teased. ‘I want to stay.’
Lian nodded leaning closer. ‘I want you to stay.’ His voice was nearly a whisper.
Lian’s heart leapt and he found himself kissing her, holding her in his arms, her arms wrapped around him fiercely. Her lips were warm, and he felt tingling throughout his entire body, which made him want to devour her lips even more. Nriwe took a step back and giggled joyfully, before plunging back towards his face and kissing him even more fiercely than before.
Lian placed a hand on the wall as he continued to kiss Nriwe, feeling a flutter run through his stomach and he let out a soft moan as Nriwe nubbed his lower lip. Lian lifted Nriwe as she wrapped her legs around him, and kissing fervently, made his way to the cot he now used as his bed.
Nriwe let out a gentle and lovely laugh as they plopped onto the mattress. Lian hovered above her, propped on his elbows, pausing for a moment.
‘I am a Jedi, we have been trained to set aside attachments, yet my father was able to find balance between caring for another, loving another, and his oath to the Jedi.’
‘If you’re having second thoughts, we can just be together,’ said Nriwe, passing her fingers along Lian’s jawline. ‘As long as I get to spend this time with you, doesn’t matter how we spend it.’ She smiled.
Lian allowed himself a heart beat to reaffirm his decision. ‘This is serene, what I feel. I want you.’
In response, Nriwe wrapped her legs more tightly around Lian’s waist, pulling him down on top of her. She tugged at his clothes, her lips meeting his, and Lian allowed himself to feel all his desire for her as they indulged in each other.
* * *
It felt like it was very late at night when Nriwe woke up in Lian’s arms, as they lay on the cot that was his bed. It was made from several fabrics and was very comfortable. She took her datapad and looked at the chrono. She felt like a young Twi’lek who had not come home on time; though she’d not known such a life, she imagined that’s what it would have felt like. Lian stirred and propped himself on an elbow. He placed his hand on her face and caressed it gently. She smiled, caressing his lekku.
‘Is it still sensitive?’ she asked, coming to the end where it had been hacked off.
‘Not anymore,’ said Lian. ‘I still have sensation in it. The nerves were not too injured, even though many were cut off. It has grown less sensitive in terms of pain, but I feel more from it.’
Nriwe took note of that and caressed it some more. Lian closed his eyes and breathed in deeply. She brought her hand to his face.
‘I hope you weren’t planning on sneaking off,’ said Lian with a wry smile on his face.
She shook her head. ‘Fane and Talyc can wait in the ship.’
‘Good!’ said Lian. ‘Because I have never experienced anything quite like this before and I intend on benefitting completely!’
Nriwe laughed. ‘Then that makes two of us.’
Lian leaned in over her and began kissing her again and caressing her naked body, as they lay together, their warm bodies wrapped around each other, embracing this feeling both were too scared to name, but that she knew he knew was love.
* * *
Fane was startled awake when Nriwe crept into the ship as though she were a robber. He looked about.
‘You two look cute,’ she said.
Talyc’s jaw had drooped open; his head was leaning on Fane’s. As Fane moved, Talyc stirred, yawned and stretched, grabbed him and brought him closer into a hug and snuggled his face into Fane’s neck. Fane moved again and sat more upright on the ship’s cosy lounger. Talyc opened his eyes and blinked a few times.
‘Look who it is! Had yourself a good time?’ He grinned. Nriwe rolled her eyes. ‘You could stay longer if you wanted.’
‘Lian has a meeting with the Jedi Council in a few moments. We extended our time together as much as we could allow. I promised I would visit him again shortly.’
‘And so?’ said Fane.
‘I think it’s safe to say he feels the same way, but we’re both afraid to label it due to circumstances.’
‘Fair enough!’ Talyc put a hand on Nriwe’s shoulder. ‘Lian’s a good man, Twi’lek, Jedi. I’m happy for you.’
Nriwe’s comlink chimed. ‘Yes?’
‘Nriwe,’ came in Lian’s voice. ‘I…I just want you to know that I already miss you and I’ve had the best night of my life.’
‘Woooh!’ said Talyc, then he whistled.
‘Oh, hello, Talyc,’ said Lian. ‘I was hoping by contacting Nriwe through comlink as opposed to through my amplified Crypt voice, I’d get some privacy.’
‘Sorry!’ Talyc turned red and looked down. Fane laughed.
‘I’m joking!’ said Lian. ‘I want to thank you all for helping us set this up and making it possible. Be careful, all of you. The Sith are planning something and Lord Void is not informed about it. Nriwe will fill you in on the details. Just be careful, Lord Void senses much deception in the Force. Talyc, keep Nriwe safe for me.’
‘I promise, I will.’
‘Don’t worry, Lian,’ said Nriwe, ‘I’ve got a good clan who watches my back just in case. I’m in good hands.’
Fane pondered on what Lian said regarding the Sith for a moment, as they lifted off and Nriwe explained. First Vax was spying on them for Wapita, now the Dark Council was keeping things from Void, and the Sith lord sensed deception. And Fane worried for Trylia, who was on Relsor’s ship. If the Sith planned a coup while she was still there, she could potentially be captured by the Sith or get caught in the crossfire. While Fane trusted Relsor wouldn’t let that happen, he could only empathise with Brenum and hoped they would get to the bottom of all mysteries before too late.
“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.