Knarf lunged and caught Perce’s blade right near the hilt. It felt hot. Perce groaned as he felt his skin singe. He kicked Knarf in the chest, using the Force to add momentum, and felt his skin repair itself immediately. He let out a loud gruff.
The Sphere made another pass, sending volleys of fire towards Perce. He let them hit him. They were mere needles, a tiny pinch, that his body was able to handle, even when they were more numerous.
‘I am going to wear you down, Knarf, and you will soon tire,’ said Perce.
‘Is that so?’
Knarf came at him again. Perce sent lightning. Knarf caught it on his blade. Perce sent a storm of lightning. Knarf went flying across the field, landing on his back and sliding as the lightning pushed him a little further. Perce laughed.
‘When I am done with you, you will be begging me to finish you off. You will plead with me and I will carve you limb from limb, kill you in front of your wife, and you will die!’
‘Good luck with that!’ said Knarf. He stood up, and tapped his helmet twice with his index.
Perce snorted. ‘That beskar isn’t going to protect you for much longer!’
He sent more lightning as he advanced on Knarf. He could hear the slicer gargle with pain, as the lightning danced across the armour. Knarf bent over and touched the ground with his hands, but remained on his feet. Perce kept advancing. Knarf stood up and raised his lightsaber, taking a wide stance. Around him, the air began to move and the lightning began to twist like a whirlwind and all the lightning Perce was sending was gathering in the one place now. Perce stopped, but the lightning kept dancing and twirling around Knarf’s lightsaber. Then Knarf sent it back at Perce and the twirling lightning flew towards Perce, sending him to the ground. He rolled and jumped up, using the Force to propel himself high into the air. He landed next to Knarf for close combat.
Knarf was nimble and Perce assumed he was taking some risks given he had his armour. The Sphere flew low and shot Perce enough to send him staggering back. The Sphere took a few moments to hover between him and Knarf.
‘Out of my way, Sphere!’
The Sphere did not obey. He sighed in exasperation. Then he noticed that Knarf was atop the Sphere, sending Force energy of some kind his way. It was weak, it wasn’t even what regular Jedi could send, and it wasn’t enough to hurt him, but it was enough to annoy him. Perce allowed his rage to fuel him and sent a barrage of lightning that caught the Sphere more than it did Knarf. He heard its pain and it jerked. Knarf swayed and staggered and jumped off the Sphere’s top, onto Perce.
Perce was ready. He aimed his lightsaber towards Knarf’s underarms where his armour was weakest, but he missed as Knarf landed sideways, and slashed across the Mandalorian’s stomach, causing nothing more but a mere graze.
‘Hey!’ cried Knarf. ‘Now I’m going to have to get that repolished.’
‘Oh, pity!’ Perce slashed this way and that, letting lightning flow onto his lightsaber and dance across it. He hit Knarf’s blade as it came crashing down on him and they locked blades. ‘I don’t know how your wife tolerates being married to such an arrogant and condescending krif.’ The lightning transferred to Knarf’s lightsaber, blue twisting around the orange blade, and he backed away reflexively. Perce sent another onslaught of lightning at both Knarf and the Sphere.
The Sphere took flight, lightning still dancing across it. Perce aimed a bolt of lightning at Knarf’s leg, lifting his hand and forming a claw with it, working the dark side to corrupt it as he had on Mandalore.
The Mando-Jedi chuckled. Perce scowled.
‘That tactic isn’t going to work this time,’ said Knarf. ‘I may not have regeneration skills as you do, and it might be my prosthetic, over which I have less control with the Force, but Lian is the guardian of the Crypt now, and he is a healer. Since I share power from the Crypt with Shadie, he can heal me. I mean, I still feel it, but more as just a tingle.’
Perce grunted and Knarf burst into laughter.
‘You’re funny, Perce, you’re funny.’
‘Jokes on you, Knarf, or at least it will be when I kill you.’
The two slicers exchanged some more attacks and parries. Knarf twirled around and hacked at Perce. He blocked. Knarf did the move again, and again. Perce blocked it every time. Then suddenly, Knarf came again, but twirling the other way and he hacked off Perce’s lightsaber hand.
‘AARGH!’ Perce cried out in pain, as his hand hit the ground, his lightsaber powering off as it landed next to it. He looked at Knarf feeling much anger, knowing it was reflected through his gaze. ‘You fool!’
He pushed with the Force and Knarf flew a few feet back. Perce quickly called his hand to him using his other hand and placed it on his wrist. He held it a moment, feeling the tingling of the regeneration, as the cauterised tissue began to grow back into place. Then he let go. He looked at Knarf who looked from the ground, back to Perce, then to his hand. He could not see the man’s face, but this one took a few steps back. His stance gave his astonishment away, as one shoulder was kept back, as though Knarf were ready to turn away and run. Perce took another moment before moving his hand, his fingers, turning his wrist, as though he were exercising it. Then he used that very hand that Knarf had sliced off to call his lightsaber to it, and powered on his weapon anew.
‘Yeah, I might have forgotten how effective that was,’ said Knarf.
Perce began to laugh loudly and uncontrollably. His laughter grew and echoed through the darkening field.
‘You cannot win, Knarf!’ he said. ‘You can try, but you will fail every time. I will regenerate again and again. My limbs will always glue back or grow back. Yours will not, that is why I have the advantage in this fight and you do not.’
‘I have the Sphere fighting with me,’ Knarf retorted.
‘Not for much longer!’ Perce cocked his head towards the other side of the arena, where he could see a group approaching. Knarf turned his head towards it too. Perce knew that if Shadie did not want to be captured by the Empire, she would need the Sphere to come to her aid. This opened the door for Perce to fight Knarf with no interference from anything or anyone.
‘It will truly be just you and me now, Knarf! And you will die!’
Perce saw Knarf grip his weapon more tightly. He could imagine his face contort with anger, that face he made with his nose crinkled and his mouth in a closed “o”. He laughed again as Knarf ran towards him. He held his lightsaber up, blocking while advancing and he began attacking Knarf more aggressively.
* * *
Shadie looked on as the duel raged on. The two were skilled in different ways and Knarf had found a way to catch Perce’s lightning on his lightsaber and send it back to him. She felt dread. Shadie had never felt more frightened in her life. She looked down, trying to think of something they could do to get out of their predicament. She had let herself be captured by Relsor and he had almost killed her and yet she was more frightened now, knowing Knarf and Perce would fight until one of them was dead.
‘More Sith,’ said Fane. Shadie turned to look at a group of perhaps twenty Sith approaching. Some of the others who sat in their cage stood at the mention of Sith. ‘And clad differently than those who left with Usharr.’
‘These aren’t just any Sith,’ said Relsor. ‘It’s the Dark Council.’
Shadie focused her attention and searched the group of Sith. There, close to the centre marched Lord Void.
She snickered. ‘What a predicament, eh? Here we are, Jedi, Mandalorians, and you, Relsor, all enemies of the Empire, trapped together in a cage in an arena surrounded by ysalamiri. Ripe for the plucking.’
‘What do you suggest we do then, Shadie?’ asked Relsor.
‘First, let’s take care of these!’ Shadie knew that Lord Void would not hesitate to shroud the fact that he had been working with the Jedi and would conceal their knowledge of each other. She looked up at the Sphere that was helping Knarf in the duel. While Perce seemed unaffected by the Sphere, it did seem to be protecting Knarf at times. Shadie was confident Knarf could handle Perce with his armour, so she cried out to the Sphere instead. ‘Sphere!’ She pointed her arm out from between two bars towards the incoming Sith. ‘Dark Council.’
The Sphere veered and corrected its vector, heading towards the Dark Council members, giving the arena a wide berth.
‘Now, Relsor, you said that while on Mandalore, in the ysalamiri bubble, you were able to still use the Force. How?’
‘Given there were few ysalamiri,’ said Relsor, ‘I was able to find gaps within their bubbles, wherein I could channel the Force, enough to use my powers. I was able to move them aside, and then aided by other True Sith, I was able to make my escape.’
‘Okay, so what if we found a way to find gaps within the arena? You were once master of the Crypt, I am it now, and Fane has a connection with you. Even if we can’t connect with Lian right now, we can still try to connect and combine our powers. Perhaps together we can find gaps. We can create a wave that would allow us to move the ysalamiri enough to create an opening. From that opening, we can channel the Force and get ourselves out of this cage. Then you can use your powers to freeze the duel.’ Shadie looked at Relsor straight in the eyes and she could tell he understood her intent. ‘No one has to die. Everyone can leave alive.’ She thought she saw relief in his expression. ‘You stop the duel and then you and Perce can leave as was established, and we leave with Knarf. Both can survive.’
Relsor nodded. ‘And then I can knock some sense into Perce before he becomes a liability for himself. Yes, I like that idea.’ He took a deep breath. Everyone watched as the Sphere came about and began engaging the Dark Council members who scattered a bit and began running the way they had come. Lord Void pointed away from the Sphere, as it sent attack after attack, and took the lead in the Dark Council’s escape. ‘Shadie, there is a reason why you are a leader among your peers.’ Shadie looked back at Relsor. ‘I’ve told you this before, but… You have my respect, regardless of anything else. You are a worthy enemy for a True Sith to have.’
‘Sounds like a compliment. I’ll take it.’
‘Then let’s begin.’
Shadie sat down, crossing her legs. Relsor sat on both knees. Shadie felt the others attempt to connect to her in any way they could, even if the Force was absent, their friendship and bond were strong enough to withstand this challenge. She focused her attention on Relsor as he searched for gaps. She felt him find her and suddenly she knew he had found one. It was small, it was tiny, but it was enough, enough of a beginning, and from that point, they started to spread their awareness and find more tiny gaps.
* * *
Knarf dodged a slash, rolling forward and through Perce’s legs, which were in a wide stance. He came up behind him, ready to strike, but the Sith turned around quickly enough to block his attack. Their blades clashed, up and down, as they cut from side to side, back and forth, standing in place. Perce struck low and Knarf jumped, stomping the ground as he landed, sending a shockwave with the Force. It wasn’t much compared to his opponent’s attacks but it was his strength, and Perce fell backwards.
Knarf pointed his lightsaber at Perce as the Sith hacked it away, batting it from side to side, every time Knarf returned his blade to position it at Perce’s throat. He advanced as he did so, Perce crawling backwards with every step that Knarf took. Knarf slashed Perce’s face and a black graze of cauterized flesh meshed itself back into his usual peachy tone of skin. Perce laughed. He sent lightning at Knarf. He caught it on his lightsaber.
‘Perce!’ he said loud enough through the noise of the lightning. ‘We can end this; we don’t have to fight. You can still leave here alive.’
‘Hahaha! You think you can hide your fatigue from me, Knarf?’
Perce slowly stood as Knarf took a step back, always blocking the onslaught of lightning attacks that came his way. Perce lifted Knarf into the air and bounced him a few times. Knarf heard Shadie shout in alarm, knowing she was watching, knowing that Perce was right about him tiring out and that if he died, his wife, his love, his lady, would bear witness to it.
Perce came at him with all his might. Knarf slashed at Perce’s legs. He slashed through his clothes and hit flesh, but he knew the Sith would heal his body within moments and the pain wasn’t enough to distract him. Perce kept attacking, advancing. Knarf kept backing up. He lunged and stabbed Perce in the arm, but the hole healed up again. Knarf jabbed at Perce’s legs, trying to get him to fall. Every time Perce laughed, knowing as Knarf knew that even if Knarf succeeded in cutting off pieces of him, he would regenerate.
Perce closed in and grabbed Knarf in a Force choke. Knarf dropped his lightsaber. He heard yelps from several of his friends. He looked over: Relsor was shaking Shadie gently and they both closed their eyes and continued doing whatever it was they had been doing previously. Every now and then the others came out of their meditative trance to look at the ongoing duel, but only Talyc, Nriwe and Alegna remained focused on the fight. His best friend bore a face of deep worry.
Knarf tried to breathe, hoping that whatever Shadie was doing was helping him survive. Finally, Perce released him and he landed on the ground. Perce marched towards him and called the orange blade to this hand and began hacking away at Knarf’s head repeatedly.
Knarf took a deep intake of air. He knew his helmet would protect him long enough, but if Perce wanted him to take it off, he would endure as long as he could. The Sith kept on.
‘Hey, Shadie!’ Perce called out.
He hacked at Knarf with both blades, aided by lightning, and Knarf could feel the dampeners failing, feeling the lightning more intensely. He groaned in pain and curled up, falling forward onto the ground. Perce kept on hacking and the HUD system began to malfunction. Knarf knew that if he wanted to survive he needed his helmet on, but now he could not see very well and if he wanted to win, he needed to take the helmet off.
This was it, it was now, or it was the end. Knarf summoned all the strength he could muster and rose to his feet. He stomped the ground and Perce flew a few steps again but remained standing. Knarf took advantage of the Sith’s surprise and called back his lightsaber to his hand. He took his helmet off.
‘Knarf! What are you doing?’ he heard Talyc call out.
He let the helmet drop to the ground. He looked over and saw Shadie and Relsor move together waving ysalamiri out of the way. Somehow they had found a way to do the impossible. He looked back at Perce, knowing that he could too. He kept his weapon powered off and held it close to his chest. He looked back at Shadie, who locked eyes with him.
‘I love you!’ he called out.
He ran towards Perce who held his blade out, ready to pounce him, and at the last minute, Knarf curled up and rolled on the ground. Perce recognised the attacked and jumped into the air. Knarf cursed. He would have to try something else. Perce sent him more lightning, lifting Knarf into the air. Again he bounced Knarf several times using the Force.
Finally, Perce lifted Knarf and threw him across the field. Knarf groaned, his head ringing a bit, but he remained lying on the ground. He tried lifting his head; he was facing the other way. He could see the arena and Perce coming towards him. Perce looked upside down, and that’s when it hit him. Knarf powered off his lightsaber and brought his lightsaber close to his chest.
He could hear the others shouting to hurry, he could hear shots being fired, prompted by Shadie, as Relsor called out to focus on the tunnel.
‘I just need to reach him, I just need to reach him.’ He heard the Chiss cry out.
‘Bes’laar, get out of there!’ Talyc called out to him.
Perce arrived and stood by Knarf’s head, looking down at him. He smirked, and even from this angle, Knarf could see the satisfaction on his nemesis’s face. Perce lifted his red blade high. Knarf propelled himself into a backwards roll with all the strength and energy he could muster. He came up standing between Perce’s outstretched arms, between Perce’s body and the lightsaber that he held with both hands. In a swift motion, Knarf moved his arm behind him, positioning the hilt of his blade to Perce’s upper left sternum, angling it towards his heart, and he ignited his lightsaber.
* * *
‘PERCE!’ Relsor cried out, as the orange blade ignited and stuck out from Perce’s back. He could see Perce’s face of dismay.
Regret filled Relsor and was quickly replaced by rage. They had not been quick enough to stop the duel.
Perce dropped his lightsaber, which powered off as soon as it hit the ground. Knarf pulled out his lightsaber and moved to face the Sith slicer. Perce’s eyes darted to Knarf before he hit the ground.
Relsor looked down. He could feel Shadie’s relief and Trylia’s sympathy. He looked up at the Togruta.
‘I’m so sorry, Relsor.’
‘I don’t need your pity, Trylia,’ Relsor snapped. Shadie looked at him, looking at a loss for words.
Knarf hurried towards them, staggering a bit as he entered the bubble, but quickly detecting the tunnel they had created of Force energy. He arrived at the cage and quickly began slicing the lock.
‘Looks like you were right all along, Clan Leader Talyc. Knarf had triple the training: True Sith, Jedi and Mandalorian. It seems it made him more powerful than Perce.’
Knarf looked at Relsor. ‘Through power, I gain victory.’
The lock opened and Shadie was on top of Knarf, wrapping her arms around him, as the others poured out of the cage faster than Relsor could take a step forward. Perhaps he was just slowed from this inexplicable chagrin.
‘I am truly alone now,’ he whispered. Perce had been his closest friend. No, there were few others he could trust and confide in, but they were not his oldest friend.
‘Come with us,’ said Trylia. ‘Come and we can go to Tython. Or to the Crypt. Lian could perhaps–’
‘No! Trylia. Stop. I cannot be saved. I cannot be redeemed. You saw the recordings; you heard what Kromus said. This malady cannot be stopped.’
He slowly walked out of the cage. Shadie still had her arms around Knarf.
‘My love, you’re alive, you’re safe,’ she said to him.
‘You’re my one and only love!’ replied Knarf.
They both had tears in their eyes. Relsor cursed their love, the passion that fuelled them, the passion that probably allowed Knarf to be victorious, the kind of passion that Relsor would never be able to experience without killing the very person for whom he would feel passion.
‘Bes’laar, you barvy barve!’ Talyc embraced Knarf.
‘You okay?’ said Fane.
‘I’m a little shaken up, but I’m all right,’ said Knarf.
Brenum and Trylia were looking at Relsor, perhaps the only ones heeding him at this time.
Relsor walked past them, past everyone, and towards Perce. When he reached him, his friend was limp and his eyes were closed. He was definitely dead and not regenerating. The hole in his chest remained.
‘Idiot!’ Relsor said through his teeth.
He reached into Perce’s pocket and pulled out the datapad he had been keeping for Relsor, perchance Relsor was captured, knowing it would be safer with them than on the ship at this time. He looked at it and took a breath, looking up at the others. He waved for Shadie to approach.
He handed it to her as she reached him. ‘You deserve to see and hear for yourself what Kromus had to say. I didn’t know how I would feel about you having this, and I did not know I would see you here today. Perce had this for me in case I did get captured by the Empire. I did not trust it on my ship, for there still were Sith onboard fighting my True Sith. I realise now there was a hidden reason for me to have it, one dictated by the Force. After what we experienced here today, I feel it only fair to give you back this datapad.’
‘Thank you,’ said Shadie.
‘All the answers to all your questions are here on this datapad,’ Relsor added looking at the others.
He bent down and took Perce, lifting him and slinging him over his shoulder. He looked at the Jedi and Mandos.
‘As promised, you’re never going to hear from me again.’ Trylia looked down. ‘I’m sorry it ever came to this.’
He turned and left, without looking back.
“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.