Chapter Eleven

The battle was underway and Talyc flew his fighter closer to the Chiss flagship upon exiting the Mandalorian flagship. They had just come out of hyperspace, almost directly on top of Relsor’s ship. Its stealth had been forcibly disrupted upon their arrival, though they could have calculated a bit more room to manoeuvre. The Crypt seemed to have some sort of shield around it, but the superlasers shook it every time they hit it, as far as Talyc could see from the cockpit of his fighter.
            He veered his fighter and took a dive, coming in close and hot right by the hull of the Chiss flagship. The Krayt Dragon came up close behind him, shooting at incoming fighters.
            ‘Talyc, what are you doing? You’re going to get yourself killed!’ came Emerick’s voice through the speaker.
            ‘One way or another,’ said Talyc.
            He flew closer and the superlasers trained on him. A series of Chiss fighters flew close behind him. Talyc waited and at the last second he pushed on the throttle, angling his fighter up sharply; the superlasers shot the Chiss starfighters that had given him chase and these disintegrated into tiny pieces of shrapnel.
            Another voice came on, this time through his helmet, low in warning. ‘Talyc. Careful there. I expect you by my side like you promised.’
            ‘I’ll try not to die before you do, Bes’laar,’ Talyc replied.
            Knarf chuckled but didn’t reply.
            Talyc looked about, bringing his fighter in for another pass around the flagship’s hull. He saw several Republic-make fighters and knew those were the Jedi of his clan. He shot at an incoming wave of Chiss fighters as they gave chase to the Jedi.
            ‘Keep those superlasers busy,’ Talyc commanded his squad. ‘Redirect them away from the Crypt and away from the Jedi.’
            It seemed as though the Krayt Dragon, the Maw, and the Fat Momma were dancing together. The Maw was pulling out many manoeuvres. Mildred must have been having a lot of fun in there. A superlaser barely grazed the hull of the Maw; only a minor scratch was on the beskar hull.
            ‘Careful, Mildred, beskar’gam isn’t superlaser proof,’ Talyc warned into the speaker.
            The other Mandalorian clan leader simply chuckled in reply.
            Talyc noticed the docking area and directed his quad to shoot at its barriers and weak spots. After a few passes, the docking area was no longer shielded. The Jedi and anyone else would be able to board the Chiss battleship.
            ‘The way is clear for your fighters to dock,’ Talyc announced through the speaker. ‘Good luck in there.’
            He made point of keeping his tone neutral. He saw the Jedi’s fighters come about. His turn to board the ship would come soon.

* * *

            Fane’s stomach lurched at Talyc’s military tone. He angled his fighter at an appropriate vector. The Sphere was passing between their fighters and the two flagships. It let Fane know that it would remain available to assist with any last-minute escapes if it was necessary. Fane hoped such an escape wouldn’t be needed.
            His fighter flew into the hangar and was met by many red lightsabers as many True Sith tried to bring it down before it had even parked. Fane saw Shadie, Knarf, Brenum, and Trylia’s fighters arrive behind him. Knarf used the fighter’s guns to shoot at True Sith, while Shadie popped the top of her cockpit and began sending streaks of lightning before her fighter had even come to a stop.
            Fane popped open the top of his fighter and jumped up, landing on a group of True Sith. He ignited his lightsaber, the aqua blade slashing in a circular motion as he turned, bringing down the group in one swoop.
            Another series of fighters entered the hangar, Jedi jumping out of them, as they assisted Fane and the others. Among them was Master Herl’unik. The Zabrak sent an onslaught of whirling energy at the True Sith, all the while absorbing anything they sent him. He lifted his hand and created an umbrella shape from the energy and it rained back down onto the True Sith.
            As another group of True Sith arrived, another small group of fighters entered the hangar. Fane was surprised to see they were Sith, as the dark-robed Force users jumped out of the fighters, red lightsabers and lightning attacking the True Sith. He recognised Lord Void, who drove his blade into a True Sith who had come behind Fane while he’d been distracted by the arrival of their unlikely allies.
            ‘Do not let your guard down, Jedi Fane,’ said Lord Void. ‘It would be unfortunate if Relsor’s True Sith rendered you unable to defeat their leader.’
            Fane nodded in thanks, knowing this was the Dark Lord’s way of telling him to be careful.
            Jedi and Sith fought side by side, taking down True Sith, as though there had never been any war between the two opposing factions, as both strove for the same thing at this very moment, in this very war: to save the Force from utter destruction from a being who could destroy it from within.
            When the room was clear, Master Herl’unik walked up to Lord Void. He held out his hand.
            ‘Master Herl’unik, Grand Master of the Jedi Order,’ he said.
            Lord Void nodded but did not take the Grand Master’s hand. ‘Lord Void, Head of the Dark Council.’
            ‘I am surprised to see so many Sith jump into the fray,’ said Master Herl’unik.
            ‘Relsor must be destroyed,’ said Lord Void. ‘We are here to ensure that happens.’
            ‘Is that all?’ asked Master Herl’unik. Lord Void narrowed his eyes.
            ‘I’m sure we can trust him by now,’ said Fane. ‘He has already helped us a great deal. If there was a more sinister reason for him to be here, I’m sure we would know it by now.’
            ‘Very well, Jedi Fane,’ said Master Herl’unik. ‘I trust your judgement.’
            Lord Void made some sort of snorkelling sound as the Grand Master walked away.
            ‘Your exiled Sith companions followed my fleet and have joined the battle out in space. They asked me to inform you that they will not linger to confer with the Mandalorians once the battle has ended.’
            ‘Fair enough,’ said Fane.
            Lord Void turned and went to join his fellow Sith. Fane looked at his friends.
            ‘The halls will undoubtedly be swarming with True Sith,’ he said.
            ‘We’ll have to find other routes,’ said Shadie. ‘We know the ship, somewhat; we can figure it out.’
            ‘As long as we stick together, we should be fine, right?’ said Knarf.
            ‘Master Herl’unik,’ said Trylia. ‘We need to make our way to the command chamber, which is several levels up. We plan on taking less known routes, but from here all access ways lead to one large room where there is a lift at the far end. That room will most probably be the trickiest to get past, given it’s the only lift we know to be able to take us to the command room’s level.’
            ‘The Jedi are with you and will fight wherever you go,’ said the Grand Master.
            ‘I suggest a different approach,’ said Lord Void, turning back towards the others. ‘Distract the True Sith, fight to clear a path, while Jedi Fane and company make their way through more hidden paths.’
            ‘We can do both,’ said Shadie. She pointed at the door behind her. ‘We have to start through there anyway, then we can figure out the best paths to take as we go along.’
            The two leaders agreed as everyone followed Shadie into the next chamber and were met yet again by a large group of True Sith waiting to fight them.

* * *

            The Mandalorian fighters flew into the hangar where many starfighters lay unattended. Talyc popped the top of his fighter and jumped out, taking a brief look around.
            ‘Looks like the Jedi have done most of the work clearing a path here,’ said Mandalore.
            Talyc nodded. ‘The trail of dead True Sith leads that way. Battle sounds seem to come from all around.’
            Mandalore gestured to the other Mandalorians. ‘Let’s follow the trail and see where it leads.’
            They walked through a few halls before coming to a lift that took them a level higher. There, sounds of battle were raging on. There was a divide in the hallway. Beyond one of the divides, many red lightsabers were clashing together, on the other side, various coloured ones.
            ‘Looks like the Jedi went that way,’ said Talyc.
            ‘Look out!’ shouted Mildred. Talyc ducked as a red lightsaber came crashing down on his beskar helmet.
            He took out his vibroblade and duelled the True Sith fighting him. Mildred shot from the assault cannon, as many Mandalorians used vibroswords and vibroblades, assault rifles and blasters. A few more True Sith poured into the hall, and Talyc recognised Lord Void, who came up behind one of the True Sith, hacking off her head. Talyc nodded at the Sith lord and continued to combat enemy Sith.
            The fight didn’t last long as the Mandalorians and Imperial Sith made quick work of the True Sith. Mandalore walked up to Lord Void. ‘The Jedi Grand Master not with you?’
            Lord Void pointed in the other direction. ‘The Jedi went the other way. We agreed to clear a path for Jedi Fane and his friends, but we also need to search the ship for any hidden valuables.’
            ‘You’re thinking Holocrons and datapads and secret information, aren’t you?’ said Mandalore. Lord Void nodded. ‘Good call. The last thing we need is a repeat of what happened with Darth Kromus and for Relsor to return through the sheer power of a Holocron.’
            Talyc drew his attention away from the leaders and checked in through his helmet.
            ‘Nriwe, how are things down there on the Crypt?’
            ‘Talyc! We’re holding up. Thera’s a bit scared, but she’s meditating with her father. Lian is keeping the Crypt’s shield up for now, but he will need to focus his energy on the Jedi once they begin their fight with Relsor.’ There was a pause. ‘So you’re still alive?’
            ‘For now,’ said Talyc. ‘Listen, I appreciate you coordinating the fleets. I know you would have preferred to be in the fray fighting with us.’
            ‘Honestly, I’m not that fussed. Sure, I’d love to fight the old fashioned way, but right now, I want to be here with my family. There will be other times Clan Kandera will need me in the flesh and I’ll be happy to be present.’
            ‘Glad to hear it, Nriwe. Take care of those two down there, and take care of yourself.’
            ‘You too, Talyc. Don’t do anything stupid.’
            ‘Actually, I’m pretty much ready to make the most important decision of my life, one I should have made a long time ago.’
            He ended the call. He would explain what he meant later; if there was a later.
            Mandalore signalled to follow Lord Void into the next chamber. There was a series of rooms, which they all quickly cleared of True Sith, before arriving at another lift. They went one more level up. As soon as the lift doors opened, True Sith were on top of them. This was probably the main accessway that led to the grand hall with the lift where the Jedi needed to go, but the Jedi were nowhere to be found, which meant the True Sith had no idea they were making their way to that lift another way. This gave the Sith and Mandalorians the advantage of a shock attack, as beskar’gam bounced lightsabers off the Mandos’ armours and red blades met other red blades.
            Imperial Sith fought True Sith in style, as though they were trying to impress the Mandalorians with their fancy techniques, while the Mandalorians cried out in Mando’a and used pure and raw berserker abilities and adrenaline to fuel themselves.
            Mandalore chuckled as he watched Emerick use the assault cannon to drive a hole in the group of True Sith, while Imperial Sith sent lightning into the group.
            ‘I must admit,’ said Lord Void, ‘you make up for your lack of Force abilities in other ways.’
            Mandalore chuckled again. He took a wide stance and took his turn at the assault cannon. It didn’t take very long for the True Sith to be downed. A few Sith and Mandalorians were finishing off the few remaining True Sith. The path ahead led one way, but Talyc knew his path led in another direction: towards the Jedi.      
            ‘We can let the Jedi do their thing,’ said Mandalore, ‘while go in search of artifacts. Which way do you suggest we go?’
            ‘We’ll have to search all levels, so up and down,’ said Lord Void.
            Talyc swallowed hard and marched up to Mandalore. He took his helmet off and held it under his arm. He pointed behind him.
            ‘I’m going that way. I’m joining the Jedi from my clan in their fight against Relsor. It’s been an honour, Mandalore. I reckon I might not survive. In fact, I mean not to.’
            ‘You don’t have to join their fight, Talyc,’ said Mandalore.
            ‘This is something I must do,’ replied Talyc. ‘Either I’ll die finding out the fate of the galaxy, or I’ll live to celebrate.’
            Mandalore took his helmet off. ‘Kelbourn would be proud, Talyc Kandera. I am glad to be able to call you a personal friend. I hope the Jedi succeed, and if they do not, then know that you were an honourable clan leader and you did the Kandera name proud.’
            ‘Thank you, Mandalore, Rich,’ said Talyc, addressing his leader by his name. He saluted him. ‘For Mandalore!’
            ‘For Mandalore,’ many others replied.
            Talyc nodded to many of the others, embracing Emerick and Lashika, and Mildred, along with many others from Clan Kandera, even Wapita gave him a nod and salute. Then, Talyc turned, taking some extra weapons, and left through one of the side hallways.
            He paused and took a deep breath. He put his helmet on and contacted Knarf through their personal comchannel.
            ‘Bes’laar, what’s your location? I’m on my way.’

* * *

            Fane ran across the grand hall towards the lift as Shadie and Knarf barely made it in before more True Sith were on top of them. Fane turned around and began duelling with one of the True Sith. Brenum and Trylia made their way towards the lift, slashing and slaying as many enemy Sith as they could. From within the lift, Shadie sent lightning towards the attacking group of True Sith.
            Fane jumped into the air and landed beyond the group, facing the lift. He turned, pushing with the Force, as Trylia created a whirlwind, Shadie’s lightning fuelling it, and Knarf pounded the ground.
            It was as it had always been with his friends, Fane and them fighting Sith together, only this time was different, for he was here to face his destiny.
            The other Jedi had stopped a bit behind them to fight off any oncoming True Sith from many of the other directions. Fane assumed these True Sith here were the ones who had managed to get through the cracks or find another way to them, knowing the Imperial Sith had taken care of many True Sith from the other way. There was no reason why there should still be this many coming towards them. Then again, the True Sith had every reason to try and stop them, despite the Jedi and the Sith taking down almost all of them before these True Sith reached the grand hall.
            When the True Sith were down, Brenum and Trylia entered the lift. Another group poured out from another room.
            ‘Go!’ said Fane. ‘Start clearing the way upstairs. I’ll take care of them.’
            ‘Are you sure?’ said Shadie.
            ‘I’ll be fine, don’t worry,’ Fane reassured her. ‘There aren’t that many.’
            His friends closed the lift before him, as True Sith ran in front of Fane, cutting his access to the lift. Fane pushed with the Force and the True Sith toppled over. There was a loud noise and an onslaught of laserfire hit the group of True Sith dead centre. Fane took advantage of the situation to slash and lunge at any who remained alive.
            When they were down, Fane looked back to his helper and saw that it was Talyc. Fane swallowed, his heart thumping; he had not realised the Mandos had boarded the ship already.
            The Mandalorian stood in the large room seemingly staring at Fane. He threw the assault cannon to the ground. It made a loud thump. Battle sounds raged elsewhere, but the area here was clear.
            Talyc walked towards Fane and stopped in front of him. He took his helmet off. Fane could sense fear within Talyc.
            ‘Thanks for the assistance,’ said Fane. He turned around and walked to the lift.
            Talyc came quickly by his side and punched the activation off for the lift. He looked at Fane.
            ‘I’ve come to join the fight against Relsor and to be by your side,’ Talyc said at last.
            ‘You don’t have to,’ said Fane. ‘You no longer have to risk your life for me.’
            ‘I’m not risking it.’ There was a pause. ‘I’m giving it.’
            Fane shook his head. ‘I don’t understand.’
            ‘I don’t want you to die,’ said Talyc. ‘I’m scared. I’m terrified. More than I’ve ever been in my entire life. But I’ll face him with you.’
            ‘But if Relsor kills me,’ started Fane.
            ‘Then I’ll die too,’ said Talyc. ‘I don’t want to live my life without you, Fane.’ He looked down. ‘I’m sorry for what I did.’
            Fane swallowed, his heart thumping. ‘I understand why it happened. Who can blame you? That’s why you need to turn back, make sure that you survive, whatever happens. Save yourself.’
            Talyc shook his head. ‘I’ll follow you to the very end, whatever end that may be.’ He took Fane’s hand. Even through the armoured gloves, he could feel the affection. ‘I love you.’
            Fane’s heart leapt. ‘I love you.’ Talyc nodded. ‘And I forgive you.’
            ‘Then I’ll have to forgive myself once this is over,’ said Talyc, smiling meagerly. ‘Let’s go face your destiny.’
            Fane’s heart was racing. Talyc activated the lift.
            ‘Was this your plan all along?’ Fane asked.
            ‘To come here and find you? And join you? Yes.’ Talyc’s eyes burned with resolution. ‘I will forfeit my life and I would do so a thousand times over. I could not let you face him without knowing how I truly felt. It was easier for me to push you away instead of facing my fears. I know I’m going to have to rebuild the trust I broke with you, but my life, like my heart and my whole being, is yours.’
            ‘Same. And…it was easier for me to think you wanted to leave me than to ask you to come maybe die by my side. It was my way of protecting you.’
            Talyc breathed out a laugh. ‘I guess we’re both as barvy as each other.’
            ‘I guess so.’
            The lift arrived and they entered it. Fane looked at Talyc one last time before Talyc put his helmet on. The Mandalorian took out his vibroblade. When the lift door opened, they were on the command room’s level. Talyc stepped out of the lift and shouted out a Mandalorian war cry, twirling his vibroblade, as Fane ignited his lightsaber, looking at the remaining Sith to combat. The others had already made good progress. Fane took a deep breath and jumped into the fray, Talyc jumping in with him.

“The Future of the Force” 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.

You might also enjoy other SWTOR fanficsDragon Age Fan-Fiction short stories,  Mass Effect Fan-Fiction, or Stardust Destinies the High Fantasy Fiction series.

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