Chapter Nine

Talyc and Knarf sat in the Kandera bunker. Talyc had given Knarf a datapad with codes and information.
            ‘You’re going to need to learn some of that by heart,’ said Talyc. ‘I’ll have you visit some of the places mentioned here, and I’ll give you the access codes you need to enter the Mandalorian secret bunker. The rest, you’ll need to slice and code yourself so that only you recognise where to find the information.’
            Knarf looked up from the datapad. ‘We didn’t come here just for clan business, did we, though?’
            Talyc looked flushed and he glanced down. He reached for his helmet. Knarf put a hand on it.
            ‘You don’t need to hide your feelings from me,’ he said. ‘I won’t judge you.’
            ‘I needed to get away,’ Talyc said, his hand still on the helmet. ‘Away from Fane, the reminder of the happiness I am about to lose; away from Vax, the temptation to forget the fear I feel every time I look at Fane.’
            ‘You don’t know that he’s going to die,’ said Knarf. ‘Same way you don’t know that I’m going to live.’
            ‘Bes’laar, don’t. I can’t lose you too.’
            ‘You haven’t lost Fane, you barve!’ Knarf felt for his friend, and he sympathised. ‘But I know that if Shadie or I had done what you did with Vax, even just one kiss…’ He shook his head. ‘We made a commitment, and we defined that commitment. You need to do the same with Fane. You need to decide what you’re willing to give up for your relationship, aside from the drink, and what you need from him. There will be compromises, there will be sacrifices, and those will be different from circumstance to circumstance, situation to situation, but if you define the foundation of your relationship, then nothing will ever get in the way of your love.’
            ‘Easy for you to say, you’re both Force-sensitive and Force-users,’ said Talyc. ‘That barrier of me not being Force-sensitive will always get in the way. I’m just planning ahead for the inevitable.’
            ‘You’re planning for a doom you don’t even know will happen. And if Relsor does succeed, what then? The rest of the galaxy will follow suit in Fane’s death, so think about that too.’ Knarf sighed. ‘Oh, Talyc, I’m sorry; I’m not trying to be harsh. I just don’t understand.’
            ‘You don’t understand my stupidity?’ said Talyc. ‘For so long I would indulge in pleasures and forget how I felt, forget my fears.’
            ‘I know, you did the same when you fell in love with Fane, probably indulged more than you wanted to.’
            ‘Not really, sort of but…I found excuses not to because I didn’t feel like it,’ Talyc admitted.
            ‘And when you thought Fane had chosen the Jedi Order over you, you went and got drunk, and where did that lead you?’
            ‘Right in Relsor’s trap,’ said Talyc. He shook his head. ‘I am a barve, aren’t I?’
            ‘We all are barves,’ said Knarf, putting a hand on Talyc’s shoulder. ‘You need to decide what you will and will not sacrifice for Fane and what you need from him.’
            Talyc’s reply had been quick, but Knarf couldn’t quite make out which part of his statement Talyc was referring to. In any case, his answer was said and he seemed resolute.
            ‘Then you’re going to have to tell him before he meets his destiny,’ said Knarf.
            ‘You know, Vax said the same thing, not in the same words, but pretty much,’ said Talyc.
            ‘Well, there you go.’ Knarf took a beat. ‘Do you know what you want?’
            Talyc nodded. ‘I’m just so scared.’
            Knarf sighed. ‘You and me both. If Fane dies, chances are, so will Shadie, and perhaps the rest of us who have the power of the Crypt. And even if I don’t, I fear for my wife, especially since Relsor is trying to kill her, and the dark side is the only thing sustaining her, more than the light side right now. I fear she might be tempted to turn to the dark side again. But I trust her, and I trust that she would share any thoughts about it with me. I just hope she and I have the future before us we’ve always wanted. A lifetime is not long enough. I will love her eternally, as I know she will love me eternally.’
            ‘I feel the same about Fane,’ said Talyc. ‘If there is anything that seeing Vax again and reconciling our past has done, is it helped me realise how intense my love for Fane is. I know my logic is backwards, but that’s precisely why I tried to throw it all away, because it might be gone soon. He might be gone.’
            ‘Then we need to make sure that he’s not,’ said Knarf.

* * *

            Shadie was sitting at the holomonitor in the guest bedroom at Vax’s apartment. Fane was taking a nap behind her. She was catching up with Knarf, telling him how much she missed him.
            ‘Hopefully, we’ll see each other again soon, my love,’ said Knarf.
            Shadie smiled. She saw Talyc in the holo walk behind Knarf.
            ‘Oh, hi, Talyc!’
            Talyc walked closer to the monitor and waved at Shadie. ‘You alone?’ he inquired.
            ‘Well, sort of.’ Shadie moved to show Fane behind her. ‘Fane’s sleeping.’
            Talyc’s face changed. He stared for a moment; Knarf looked up at him. Then Talyc looked down and muttered loud enough for Shadie to hear.
            ‘I know what I must do,’ he said. ‘And if Fane survives…’ Talyc shook his head. ‘It’s almost better if he doesn’t.’
            ‘Why do you say that?’ inquired Shadie, guessing there was more to this statement.
            ‘Sometimes, having one fear is better than facing another.’
            Shadie nodded. ‘I can understand that.’ Shadie knew all about fears and the power they could have on a person.
            Knarf looked from Shadie to Talyc, then back at his wife. ‘I think I need to go.’ He looked again at Talyc. ‘I hope you’re not planning on doing anything reckless.’ He turned back to Shadie. ‘I love you, my love. I’ll talk to you soon.’
            Shadie said her goodbyes and lovey-doveys, and then switched off the monitor. Behind her, Fane gasped. She turned around quickly; Fane bolted upright on the bed, breathing in deeply and clutching his head.
            ‘Fane?’ Shadie went to him and sat on the bed. He was shaking. She put an arm around him.
            ‘Wow, this headache,’ Fane exclaimed. ‘It’s Relsor, I can feel him, suddenly.’ Fane moaned in discomfort. ‘I can feel his malady.’
            ‘Your connection?’
            ‘Can you reach out to him, sense his whereabouts?’ asked Shadie.
            ‘I’m trying to, but…’ Fane took a deep breath and became instantly calm. ‘He’s shrouded himself again.’ He breathed again. ‘This was very strange, very different.’
            Shadie caressed Fane’s head. ‘How do you mean?’
            ‘I sensed…panic! Relsor was in a sudden panic, and it was so intense, it pulled him out of the shroud he’d been casting on himself. And then he was back in. I suppose he regained his composure.’
            ‘That’s odd,’ said Shadie.
            At that moment, Vax entered the apartment. ‘I’ve just received word from Lord Void that the Chiss have completed their anti-stealth prototype and an envoy is on its way now.’
            Shadie snapped her head back to Fane. ‘Relsor must have just found out as well.’
            ‘Relsor?’ said Vax.
            ‘My connection with his malady,’ said Fane. ‘I sensed him in panic before he shrouded himself again in the Force.’
            ‘He must have an informant then,’ said Vax. ‘Perhaps several. The Empire is aware of this possibility and we will be hunting them one by one. I suggest the Republic and Mandalore do the same.’
            Shadie nodded. ‘Yes, well, first let’s focus on Relsor. We’ll take care of any stragglers after he’s dead.’ She looked back at Fane, feeling worried.
            ‘It’s okay, Shadie,’ said Fane. ‘I am ready this time. I feel more confident than I have ever before.’ Fane nodded.
            Shadie could sense his resolve and determination.
            ‘To think the young man who once tried to kill me, who needed my training, who was lost and did not know his place in the Order or with the Force is about to face his destiny,’ said Shadie. ‘I am so proud of you, Fane. I hope I will have many more opportunities to express my gratitude and love for our friendship in the future.’
            Fane smiled at her. ‘I hope so too.’

* * *

Relsor Contemplates His Fate (S9Ch9)

Relsor contemplates his fate (from The Future of the Force, Story 9, Star Wars Fan-Fiction by Celinka Serre)

            Relsor took a long slow breath and steadied his shaking hands. He closed his eyes and ensured he was well shrouded once more within the Force. He had sensed Jedi Fane reaching towards his malady.
            His passion entered the room. ‘My passion, what has happened. I sensed you in the Force.’
            ‘Maranna,’ he said, ‘the Chiss have completed their prototype. My informant tells me the Empire will share it with Mandalore, and I know that Mandalore will share it with the Republic. They will track us, unstealth us, and attack us.’
            ‘But out here, on the edge of the galaxy, we are safe, no?’
            Relsor shook his head. ‘These anti-stealth prototypes have a wide radius. When they find the armada, I cannot be here. This ship will have to be elsewhere. But eventually, they will find me and the stealth field will be disrupted.’
            He walked up to her and took her in his arms. Then he put his hands on her face. ‘You must leave. Take our son with you. Our enemies must never know about you, no one must know that he is my son. Especially not the Empire. No Jedi is to train him, no Sith is to train him.’ Relsor shook his head. He kissed her. ‘My passion… If I die, then you must be protected. Take the recordings with you, take whatever you need. Flee.’
            ‘My passion,’ she said. ‘If I never see you again, know that you are not the monster the galaxy claims you to be.’
            ‘I am,’ said Relsor. ‘For I am willing to destroy everything in this galaxy in order to live and to protect you.’
            He turned and walked to the cot where slept his son. He took the boy in his arms and kissed his brow.
            ‘Live well, my son.’
            ‘And if you survive and kill Jedi Fane?’
            ‘Then I will meet you where we said. You will know if I have lived or died. You will know.’
            He placed his son back in the cot and walked back to Maranna. He stared at her for a long time. He would help her prepare for her secret escape. He would be passionate with her once more to ensure his full potential, to give her one last memory if he was to die.
            ‘If the Jedi will find you no matter what, then where will you go?’ asked Maranna.
            Relsor balled his hands into fists. He looked down. ‘The prototype will ensure many can find me, and Shadie simply will not die despite my best efforts, thus I cannot reclaim the Crypt and neutralise Lian’s powers nor Fane’s. Therefore there is only one place I can go, there is one more thing I must do.’ He looked up at Maranna, feeling determined. ‘I must destroy the Crypt!’

* * *

            Brenum and Trylia walked down the landing ramp of the Krayt Dragon; Knarf and Talyc, who were accompanied by Emerick and Lashika, awaited them. Talyc observed the two Jedi looked calm despite the coming battle.
            ‘She’s all prepped for the battle,’ announced Brenum.
            ‘Brenum,’ said Talyc, after everyone had saluted each other, ‘you remember Clan Leader Emerick? He’s going to be manning your ship while you’re on Relsor’s ship with Shadie and the others.’
            ‘I trust you know how to fly a ship?’ said Brenum.
            ‘She’s not the Maw, but I’m sure I can fly her well enough to keep scratches to a minimum,’ said Emerick. ‘Still, after this, best we repolish her with a layer of beskar, no?’ He chuckled. ‘Of course, I’ll take care of her, but I am serious about the beskar makeover.’
            ‘I’ll consider it,’ said Brenum.
            ‘Talyc,’ said Trylia, ‘you’re not boarding Relsor’s ship with us?’
            Talyc shook his head. ‘I will be leading a squad of Mandalorian fighters. Mandalore plans on boarding the ship himself.’
            ‘So do we,’ said Lashika, pointing from herself to Emerick. ‘Once we’re ready to join the fight there.’
            ‘Uh, and who’s going to fly my ship while you do that?’ said Brenum.
            ‘She’s going to be docked on Mandalore’s flagship,’ said Lashika.
            ‘Is that safe?’ asked Brenum.
            ‘Safer than anywhere else,’ said Emerick.
            ‘Shadie and Fane will expect us to arrive with the Sphere,’ said Knarf. ‘He turned to Talyc. ‘It’s not too late to change your mind.’
            ‘I know what I must do,’ said Talyc. He closed his eyes, feeling dread. ‘I will join you, Bes’laar, but I can’t start the fight alongside the rest of you. I need to do this.’ Knarf nodded.
            ‘Is this truly what you want, Talyc?’ asked Trylia.
            ‘No,’ he replied bluntly. ‘But I have no choice in the matter. I am losing Fane; either way, I’ve already lost him.’
            ‘There is so much fear within you,’ said Trylia. ‘If he survives though…’
            ‘Then there is a greater fear than that of his death,’ said Talyc. ‘Look, I know what I want, what I need to do, and I’ve made my decision. I don’t want to talk about this right now.’
            ‘But you are joining us,’ said Knarf, sounding confused.
            ‘Yes,’ said Talyc. ‘And it may be the very last time I do.’
            ‘Okay, I’m not following you anymore,’ said Knarf.
            ‘If Relsor kills Fane, he probably kills the rest of you too,’ said Talyc.
            ‘I promise I’ll stay alive,’ said Knarf, putting a hand on Talyc’s shoulder.
            Talyc took a moment, then he turned and left without saying another word. He brought up his comlink and called Nriwe.
            ‘I need you to prepare,’ he told her.
            ‘For what, the battle that I’ll be coordinating from here?’ she asked.
            ‘No. There is a chance that Relsor will kill Shadie and the others, Knarf included. I will need you to be clan leader if that happens.’
            ‘What about you?’ said Nriwe. ‘You’re the clan leader.’
            Talyc bowed his head. ‘I don’t think I’ll be coming back alive, Nriwe. I think this might be the last mission I do.’
            ‘Hey, I hope you’re not planning any heroics or anything rash on purpose!”
            ‘No.’ Talyc closed his eyes. ‘It’s not because I don’t want to live. But if Relsor is victorious, then consider me dead.’

* * *

            Nriwe put down her comlink, tears swelling in her eyes. She felt Lian’s warm touch on her shoulder.
            ‘I had never thought that such a day would come, that it was a possibility,’ she said. ‘I just don’t understand why he’s willing to die, even if Relsor is victorious.’ She turned to Lian. ‘What’s he planning?’
            Lian shrugged. ‘I don’t know.’ He put a hand on her face. ‘I wish I had the answer.’
            ‘Mommy, don’t cry,’ said Thera. ‘Uncle Talyc won’t die!’
            ‘I hope not,’ said Nriwe. Her daughter hugged her leg.
            ‘It’ll be okay. Won’t it?’
            Lian crouched and looked into Thera’s eyes. ‘As long as Uncle Fane succeeds in saving the galaxy from Relsor, then everything will be fine.’
            ‘Then there we go!’
            Nriwe couldn’t help but giggle. It was so simple to her daughter’s young mind. Save the galaxy from the man making everyone sick and then Talyc survives. In that case, Nriwe prayed that Fane would be successful.

“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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