Shadie paced the room in which she and Knarf were staying. She had not heard from Fane and was puzzled as to what could be keeping him. Talyc stood with Knarf near the transparisteel window, talking.
‘I’m going to go see if I can find Fane,’ she announced. ‘I’m worried that all this past that’s been dug up, the relics from Kromus’s ship’s remains, Lahnius’s lightsaber, has dredged up old memories of his fall to the dark side.’
‘I’ll go with you,’ said Talyc. He seemed chipper, but he had not been able to raise Fane via private channel and she knew he was concerned.
‘I’ll stay here,’ said Knarf.
Shadie and Talyc left the room.
‘Did he say anything to you recently?’ she asked Talyc.
‘He mentioned he was conflicted. I took it to mean regarding the dark side. I don’t think he’s considering… What I mean is, I think it’s causing him a lot of turmoil to remember.’
‘That’s what I’ve been thinking too,’ said Shadie.
‘He spoke about Lahnius and killing your master,’ said Talyc, ‘everything that brought him to this point.’
‘”This point?” Shadie echoed. ‘What is this point?’
They turned a corner and saw Master Herl’unik.
‘Ah, Master Eidahs. Clan Leader Talyc. How fare you both?’
‘Very well, thank you, Master Herl’unik,’ replied Talyc formally.
‘The Council and I have just spoken with Fane,’ said Master Herl’unik.
‘Oh!’ said Shadie, puzzled.
‘You must be proud, Master Eidahs. I am very thrilled that Fane has finally chosen to return to the Jedi Order.’
‘Oh, I had not realised,’ said Shadie. She saw Talyc take a few steps back.
‘Yes, his devotion and dedication to the Force and to the Jedi Order has been recognised by us all. We were all in agreement. Well, when the decision was officially made, that is.’
Shadie glanced at Talyc. He quickly put his helmet on. She could sense he was perturbed. She turned back to Master Herl’unik.
‘Fane had not spoken to me about returning,’ she said. ‘I know he had been conflicted.’
‘Conflicted he is no more,’ said Master Herl’unik, nodding as though in approval. ‘I will let him tell you about it. I think you will be quite pleased.’
Shadie nodded to the Grand Master as he turned to go. She looked back towards Talyc.
‘Talyc, I think…’ She stopped, realising she was talking to the air. Talyc wasn’t there anymore. She looked around the corner. ‘Talyc?’ Where had he gone?
* * *
Talyc walked along Coruscant’s duracrete walkways, dragging his feet, shoulders slumped, his heart heavy with woe. He knew Fane had been conflicted, and he had assumed it had been due to his brother Lahnius and due to the dark side. How could he have been more wrong? It all made sense now: Fane was conflicted because of his desire to return to the Jedi Order versus his desire to be with him. Well, he had made his choice. It looked like Talyc wasn’t part of Fane’s future after all.
Talyc walked into a cantina in one of the lower districts, in one of the slummier parts of Coruscant. He didn’t want to be seen, or recognised, he just wanted to forget. He felt like such a fool.
He sat down at a small table and ordered himself a drink. A sleek Mirialan waitress brought him his drink. He took his helmet off. He stared at the drink for some time before taking a first sip. He closed his eyes, holding back tears. He was Mandalorian; he wouldn’t let this make him weak. He took another sip. The signs had all been there, Fane had been truthful enough about it, and Talyc had been unsuspecting. For all his talk of Jedi duties, Talyc felt he should have known that Fane would go back to prioritising those duties eventually.
‘Well, it was fun while it lasted,’ Talyc whispered to himself.
He downed the rest of the drink in one go. He slammed the empty glass onto the table, angry. He balled his hand into a fist and punched the table.
The Mirialan waitress approached.
‘Hey there, Mandalorian,’ she said. ‘Need to release some of that tension? My shift ends shortly.’
‘Sorry, I’m not interested,’ said Talyc, barely glancing at her.
‘Are you sure?’ she said, placing a hand on his arm. ‘I’m sure you could use some help getting out of that armour of yours.’
‘I said, I’m not interested!’ Talyc repeated more firmly this time.
‘Suit yourself,’ said the waitress. ‘Same again?’
Talyc took a breath. ‘Yeah, go on.’
The waitress took the empty glass and returned shortly with two glasses of the same drink. Go figure, he could use the double drink. Though he was certain it would take a lot more than just those two additional drinks to make him forget the gaping hole he felt he had in his chest.
Talyc took one glass with one hand and downed it in one go. He slammed the glass onto the table. He took the other glass with the other hand, and drank that one quickly enough too. Then, he slammed that glace onto the table also.
This was definitely going to take more of these drinks. A lot more.
* * *
Shadie returned to the room to find Knarf chatting with Fane, who beamed up at her as soon as he saw her.
‘Shadie! I mean, Master, I decided to return to the Jedi Order.’
‘Yeah, I heard, I ran into Master Herl’unik on my way to try to find you.’
‘Oh, did he tell you all the details?’ said Fane, enthusiasm in his voice.
‘No, all he said was that you were no longer conflicted, it had been a unanimous decision in the end, and you had returned to the Order.’
‘Oh, well, there’s more to it than that,’ said Fane. ‘I’ve been appointed the new liaison for Mandalore.’
‘Oh, that’s wonderful!’ Shadie gave Fane a big hug. Then she looked at him, her arms on his shoulders. ‘I’m proud of you.’
‘I know,’ Fane said, smiling. ‘I’ve also been granted the title of Jedi Knight. There will be a transition period, but this pretty much frees the two of you up for other missions, missions that require a master and such. I’ll sometimes accompany you, since I am still your apprentice, but not always; my main tasks will be in sectors near Mandalore. That way Talyc can be safe, since we don’t share a Force-bond that could protect us from Relsor’s powers, and I get to be with him all the time, or almost all the time.’
‘That’s great news!’ said Shadie.
‘That’s what I was telling him,’ said Knarf.
‘I told the Masters that I was conflicted because of my conviction towards the Jedi Order, but the clarity that led me to making the decision to return was in part thanks to how I feel about Talyc. There was no way that I would let my Jedi duties keep me away from him, but also no way I would let my relationship with him prevent me from fully committing to or fully fulfilling my Jedi duties. So we found the middle ground that works for everyone.’
‘I’m so happy to hear that,’ said Shadie. She smiled, feeling pride for Fane. ‘I was worried you were conflicted about the dark side and Lahnius.’
‘No,’ said Fane, ‘those are things that simply led me to this point.’
‘That’s what Talyc said you had said.’
‘Speaking of which,’ said Fane, looking around the room behind Shadie, eyeing the door. ‘Where is he? Knarf said he was with you.’
‘He was. He was with me when we met Master Herl’unik in the halls, but then when I turned around, he was gone. I assumed he’d come back here.’
‘Oh, no!’ Fane brought his hands up to his face. ‘What if he thinks I’ve left him and chosen the order over him?’
‘He wouldn’t think that,’ said Knarf.
‘Shadie?’ said Fane.
‘Well, he did back away and put his helmet on,’ said Shadie. Fane’s face fell.
‘He puts his helmet on when he’s emotional or overwhelmed, to hide his face,’ said Knarf. Knarf’s expression grew serious.
‘I know that,’ said Fane. ‘Oh, I should have told him about my plans to find a solution with the Council, but I didn’t know how the meeting would go; I didn’t want to worry him. What have I done?’
‘You’ll find him and clarify the details to him, and everything will be fine,’ said Shadie.
Fane took out his comlink. ‘Talyc? Talyc? Please come in.’ He paused. ‘Talyc, it’s me; it’s your man, Fane. Look, I know you can hear me. I think there’s been a misunderstanding. I’d like to be able to explain everything to you.’ He paused again. ‘Talyc?’
Fane’s face looked painfully worried. Shadie knew the feeling all too well, from all those times she and Knarf had been pulled apart due to circumstances or Sith lords.
‘Knarf, maybe you can reach him via the helmet’s private comchannel?’ suggested Shadie.
Knarf stood from his seat and grabbed his helmet. He held it in such a way so that all three of them could hear the speaker should Talyc respond.
‘Hey, Talyc, you there?’ Knarf said into the helmet’s com. ‘Talyc? Ta-a-aly-y-c. Hey, why do I get the impression you’re ignoring us? Come on, this is important.’ Knarf looked at Fane, sympathy in his half smile, concern in his eyes. He shrugged.
Fane sighed and closed his eyes, sitting down. ‘I’ve ruined everything.’
‘You can’t think like that,’ said Shadie. ‘It’s a misunderstanding, we all have them.’ She looked at Knarf, then back at Fane. She sat down next to him. ‘He’ll be off somewhere getting drunk. He won’t be far. And when we find him, you can set him straight.’
‘I hope you’re right,’ said Fane. ‘I’ve got this strange feeling inside me.’
‘That’s because you’ve just had your first misunderstanding,’ said Knarf. ‘Trust me.’
‘Fane, we’ll find him.’ Shadie took his hand. ‘I promise.’
* * *
Talyc felt like his head was five times its size when he began waking up. He felt like he had the worst hang over he had ever had in his life. He vowed he was never going to drink that much again, no matter how much he wanted to forget. He felt as though his body was in stasis, his limbs were sore, stretched, yet cramped. He tried to move and realised that he could not. He could move his fingers, his head, but the rest of him felt stuck.
He opened his eyes and realised that he was in stasis, floating above the floor, in a dim lit room. On either side of him stood a pillar that flickered with dark purple lightning-like energy. Talyc’s heart began to pound with panic. Where was he? He tried to remember his previous night. He remembered it, he remembered feeling like his heart was crushed as he passed the time drowning his sorrows. He had three drinks, three drinks. He wanted more; he was ready to order more. He remembered getting up from the table and then… Nothing.
He tried to move again. Whatever little movement he could do, it was to no avail. He was in a…Force barrier. It seemed he was suspended in the air by the Force, similarly to how Shadie had been held in stasis during the fight on Tython. Talyc looked about the room, trying to assess where he was; on a ship, he believed.
He was such an idiot. He should have gone to get drunk at the ship, with his clan mates, hashed things out with Fane. Instead, he ran away and wallowed in self-pity where no one could find him. He felt like a coward.
Talyc didn’t know who had captured him, but he thought it was safe to assume the somebody was a Force-user and potentially Sith. He didn’t wonder for much longer, as his question was answered when the door to the room he was in opened.
The tall form of a regal blue skinned Chiss entered the room, his gleaming eyes staring at Talyc, as a smile curled up on the side of his lip.
‘Relsor,’ said Talyc, scowling with disdain.
‘We meet again, Mandalorian,’ said Relsor. ‘Enjoyed your drinks?’
‘Whatever it is you want from me, I’m not going to give it to you!’ Talyc said defiantly.
‘Oh, I don’t want anything from you,’ said Relsor, still smirking, ‘except for your compliance.’
Lightning shot from Relsor’s fingertips and Talyc cried out in pain as he felt hot fire and a cold stinging run through his entire body.
‘Be a good sport, play by my rules, and then we can both get what we want.’
‘I’m not…’ Talyc struggled. ‘Never!’
Relsor walked up to Talyc, his face looming just below Talyc’s. Relsor put a hand on Talyc’s left shoulder. There was a jolt. Talyc shouted in pain.
‘Oh, so this has not fully healed yet,’ said Relsor. ‘Good to know.’
It felt to Talyc like there was lightning or dark side energy coursing through his body.
‘What is it that you want?’ said Talyc, clenching his teeth in anger.
Relsor came in closer, narrowing his eyes, the red Chiss eyes staring so intently that Talyc felt like the stare was boring a hole into his soul. Then, Relsor spoke in a menacing voice of warning, yet with a hint of eagerness.
He smiled and backed away. He stared at Talyc for some time.
‘You’re not going to win,’ said Talyc. ‘You’ll lose.’
Relsor merely laughed, and laughed, and then laughed some more. Talyc could not tell how long Relsor stood there laughing, or if that had been an illusion. He just saw him standing there, laughing, until at some point, Talyc was alone in the room again, the eerie hum of ship parts coming from somewhere, yet Relsor’s laugh still echoed in his mind.
Talyc closed his eyes as anger turned to fear, and defiance turned to despair.
To be continued…
“Seekers of Darkness” is written by Celinka Serre (2020).
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.