Talyc sat drinking in the cantina, staring at his glass. A slim woman approached him.
‘You are Clan Leader Talyc Kandera, are you not?’
‘What is it to you?’ he asked.
‘Imperial Holo News Network,’ she said. ‘There’s a private party going on in there.’ She pointed at a room behind her that seemed to have an energy shield to keep intruders out. ‘I’d be honoured for an interview. I promise it will be worth your time.’
‘Why would you want to interview me?’
‘You were captured by Relsor, you hang around Jedi, and you’ve survived many ordeals. You are more famous than you know.’
Talyc shrugged. He downed the remainder of his drink in one go. He stood, feeling a tad dizzy momentarily, but he wasn’t drunk enough to his liking yet.
‘It’s probably going to be a lot better than the day I’ve had,’ he said. ‘Make sure to serve me a double in your VIP room.’
‘Oh, wonderful, thank you so much. I promise it’ll be a momentous occasion!’
The woman led him to the barrier. She entered a code and the energy shield lifted. Then she led him into the room and the energy shield went back down behind him. She led him to a table and invited him to sit down.
‘Before we begin,’ she said, ‘you have to meet this fan of yours.’
Talyc looked up to see Awgro emerge from behind a Hutt lounger. His heart sank as it began to beat quickly. This had been a trap.
‘Osi’kyr!‘ He cursed himself for falling for it.
‘So you know my secret then?’ the Sith said. He ignited his lightsaber. The red glowed amidst the dim cantina lights. ‘Tonight, you will die, and I will finally be able to take over the Crypt from Shadie.’
‘Why do you want to be the Crypt’s master?’ asked Talyc. ‘You sure you’re not working for Relsor?’
Awgro shook his head. ‘I work for me now. My Empire has abandoned me. Turned its back on me. But I am ambitious. With the power of the Crypt, I’ll be able to survive anything.’
He took Talyc into a Force grip and Talyc was lifted off the ground. He was choking; he tried to breathe, but he could not find any air. He put a hand to his throat, trying to remove the invisible grip.
Awgro inclined his head. ‘Shadie should have let me die. Usharr would still have put her in contact with Lord Void.’
He let Talyc drop; Talyc gasped for air. Awgro sent him lightning and Talyc flew across the room. He felt the hot-cold sensation and he screamed in pain.
‘Why are you doing this, Awgro!’ Talyc squirmed and jerked on the ground.
‘I am doing this so that I can have the power to eliminate my former master. Once he is gone, once Relsor is gone, I can use the power of the Crypt to gain power and influence in the Empire. No more temporary alliances, no more truces, no more dilly-dallying, no more agreements or tip-toeing around the Republic and taking worlds that don’t matter. The Empire will be mine and the Republic will be crushed.’
‘So you don’t like how the Empire is run and you want to change it,’ Talyc managed. ‘I can understand that, there’s no reason why I have to be the one you kill to achieve your goals.’
The lightning stopped. Talyc panted.
‘Talyc Kandera,’ said Awgro in condescension. ‘Look around you. You’re trapped, you’ve nowhere to go. Everyone has failed you, failed to protect you…this time. Who else would I kill, my mother? I was never close to her. She means nothing to me. But you, we have a semblance of an alliance, or at least we did. If I want to take over the Crypt, you’re my best bet.’
Talyc managed to get up onto his feet, swaying a bit, but he was relatively stable.
‘Had Kelbourn known about you, he would have raised you and done right by your mother.’ Talyc studied Awgro. The clan leader was defenceless, with no armour and no weapons, but perhaps he could talk the Sith out of killing him. He had dodged death in the past; perhaps he could again. Unless he was on borrowed time and was due to die. ‘How long have you known?’
Awgro began doing something from that distance; it felt very similar to the draining he had done on Mandalore but slower. Talyc heaved and fell to his hands and knees.
‘You might think this was impulsive,’ said Awgro, ‘but I bade my time and awaited the right moment to attack, when Shadie was weak, knowing what Relsor was doing to her, because I’d been spying on you all, knowing the right way to infiltrate, knowing how to strike, waiting for Lord Void to make a suspicious move for my story to hold true. But I found out that we were related when you were captured by Relsor.’
Talyc was surprised. ‘That long?’ he managed to ask.
Awgro nodded. ‘I could not kill you while you were in his captivity, but had Shadie killed me, you’d be safe right now.’ He sneered. ‘The name Kandera rang a bell; I had heard it before. I did some digging.’
‘You could do more digging and find someone else to kill to accomplish your goals,’ said Talyc. ‘There’s no reason why we should be enemies, we are related by blood.’
‘Mandalore is the Empire’s enemy or at least should be,’ said Awgro. ‘By killing you, not only do I ensure my claim at the Crypt, but I also ensure that Mandalore and the Empire no longer have any alliances. ‘
‘So that’s why you’re bent on killing me?’ said Talyc.
‘Yes, so quit stalling!’
Awgro lifted him into the air and pulled on him, positioning his lightsaber at the right angle. Talyc was propelled towards him. He closed his eyes and braced himself for the blow. Instead, he felt a body in front of him. He looked up and saw a Mandalorian armoured blur come between him and Awgro and take the Sith’s lightsaber on the beskar, igniting an orange blade and using the Force to push Awgro away from him.
Talyc sighed in relief, falling to the ground again. Knarf used the Force to push a table to its side and Talyc hid behind the table. Knarf pushed the onlookers away, the accomplices, and whoever else was there, towards a corner in the room.
‘Sorry it took so long,’ said Knarf, ‘I had trouble slicing that door.’
‘No worries,’ said Talyc.
Awgro came at Knarf who lifted his orange blade, blocking the Sith and began duelling him.
‘I have to admit,’ said Knarf, ‘I got so used to slicing Perce’s codes, I didn’t expect a challenge.’
Knarf pulled on something in the room and a blaster came flying towards Talyc. The Mandalorian caught it and began shooting at Awgro. Knarf twirled around and jabbed at Awgro, who jumped up, avoiding the attack. Knarf stomped the ground and Awgro fell back, but recovered quickly, slashing at Knarf’s feet, then Bes’laar jumped up, avoiding the lightsaber and hacked down at Awgro, landing next to him. The Sith used lightning to stun Knarf momentarily. He groaned a bit and shook the leg that had the prosthetic. He turned again on Awgro, who blocked his high attack. They both pushed and Knarf was propelled past Talyc, towards the back of the room.
‘I killed Perce, who had regenerative abilities,’ said Knarf. ‘I can kill Awgro!’
Awgro laughed. He prepared to send lightning at Talyc when a bolt of purple dark side energy came at him and sent him flying into the Hutt lounger.
‘That’s enough, Awgro!’ said Lord Void, entering the room slowly, continuing his onslaught. Shadie, Fane and Vax were behind him, weapons in hand, aimed and ready.
‘You’re no longer my master,’ said Awgro. He put up a Force barrier, absorbing the energy.
‘You devised a well thought-out story, Awgro, but there is no reason to take over the Crypt,’ said Talyc. ‘You want to change the way the Empire is run? Protest, become a trusted member, and contribute to the decisions the Empire makes.’
Awgro laughed. ‘And look weak in the eyes of the Emperor? I will do things my way and gain the Emperor’s favour. Then, eventually, I will become his first and most loyal servant.’
Awgro sent back the dark side energy towards Lord Void, as other Sith emerged fighting alongside Awgro. The Sith Master stood his ground, continuing his energy attack as the two pushed towards each other.
A Chagrian advanced on the Dark Lord as Awgro sent a Force attack towards the others, ducking to avoid Void’s attack. The dark side energy bounced back and hit Vax square in the chest. He went flying, but Shadie caught him and cushioned his fall. He held his chest, shaking his head, but otherwise looked all right. Fane ignited his lightsaber and jumped towards Awgro, who sent lightning around the room. He lifted his arms high and it seemed as though a storm cloud had darkened the room significantly. When the light returned, Awgro was gone.
‘Blast it!’ cried Knarf. ‘Sithspawn!’
‘He will not get far,’ said Lord Void. ‘And if he does, he knows he will be hunted.’
Knarf hurried back towards Talyc, who still crouched behind the turned table, and helped him up.
‘Well, I had to live up to my new title,’ said Knarf, taking off his helmet. He had a lopsided grin.
Talyc took his friend into a hug. ‘Then I did well to elevate you.’ He chuckled. ‘Bes’laar, acting like a true Kandera.’
‘As though we were blood brothers,’ replied Knarf.
Talyc sighed. ‘I need my armour.’ He turned to Lord Void. ‘May I have my things?’
‘Your restrictions have been lifted,’ said Lord Void. ‘You may go about as you please, provided you respect our new alliance. The Dark Council was adamant about that.’
Talyc turned to the others. ‘I’ll be returning to Mandalore after this. Knarf’s coming with me, we’ve got second leader clan business to attend to, but the rest of you are not following.’
Knarf looked at Shadie who seemed worried. Talyc took her hand. ‘Nothing against you, my long lost cousin, I just need you to keep those two off my back.’ He motioned Vax and Fane. Shadie nodded. ‘And I don’t want anyone following me now, I need to be on my own.’
‘Talyc!’ began Fane.
Talyc whirled on him. ‘No! The two of you,’ he pointed from Fane to Vax and back to Fane, ‘stay away. I need to clear my head and figure myself out. I’m… I’ve been drinking too much for us to have this conversation now.’
He turned and left.
* * *
Vax discretely excused himself after some time and went in direction of the Ministry of Intelligence’s offices, but when he veered a corner, he changed directions and walked towards his apartment.
He found Talyc sitting on the lounge; the box that had contained his armour was next to him and the Mandalorian had donned his armour, save his helmet and gloves that still lay in the box. Small droplets of rain fell inside the apartment through the shattered window, as a soft cool wind blew in. Vax noticed that Talyc had a bottle of wine in his hands and there was another empty one on the little table nearby. He didn’t seem to heed him.
‘I thought you said you were too drunk to have a conversation,’ said Vax.
‘Then it’s a good thing I’m not having a conversation,’ said Talyc.
His words were not slurred, so that was a good sign. He knew Talyc to be able to handle quite a lot of drinks before being drunk.
‘Was it merely an excuse to get away then?’ asked Vax.
Vax moved from the entrance and closer to the lounge where sat Talyc. ‘I see you found my bottles of Telosian wine.’
‘I’ll pay you back if you’re concerned about the expense. I know it’s a rare kind.’ Talyc drank some more from the bottle.
‘Is this the answer, the solution?’ asked Vax. ‘I’m sorry, Talyc. I’ve been a fool and the way I’ve acted is inexcusable. And then my impulsive behaviour put your life at risk.’
‘It was Fane’s impulsive behaviour,’ said Talyc. ‘You and I were finally breaking grounds, opening up, making amends. And he just barged in and assumed things. Makes me wonder if I should give him what he wants.’
‘Now you are assuming to know what he wants,’ said Vax.
Talyc took another few swigs from the bottle and slammed it onto the table. He stood and faced Vax, staring at him for some time.
‘Okay, fine, I don’t know what he wants, but I know what I want.’
Talyc quickly marched to Vax, placing a hand on him, and pushed him to the wall. His lips were so close to his; Vax’s heart began pounding and skipping.
‘Talyc,’ he said softly. He did not think this truly was what Talyc wanted.
‘I don’t have to leave for Mandalore right away,’ said Talyc. ‘I can stay the night.’
Talyc put a hand on Vax’s face, leaning his forehead. Vax reflexively leaned in, wanting to kiss him, then he retreated. Talyc moved forward, placing his hands on him and feeling him. Vax took him in his arms, holding him and at the same time resisting the urge to take him completely. He clawed his hands, squeezing on Talyc’s neck as he let out a soft moan. Talyc’s lips barely touched Vax’s, but enough and he bit gently. Vax closed his eyes breathing deeply, quickly. He looked at Talyc who finally kissed him, devouring his lips. Vax closed his eyes, and felt a tear run down his cheek. He gently pushed Talyc away, shaking his head.
‘This is not the answer, Talyc, you don’t love me, not in the way I want you to,’ he said.
Talyc moved forward again. Vax allowed him to be close and to touch him, as the Mandalorian put a hand under his shirt.
‘I thought you wanted me,’ said Talyc, his voice husky.
‘I do, you know I do.’
‘Then be what I need you to be and help me forget this pain I feel!’
Vax kissed Talyc and let himself feel all that he had wanted to and to imagine the night he could have with him. After a moment, he pulled away gently.
‘Wait for me in the bedroom,’ he whispered. ‘I need to secure the door.’
Talyc leaned forward, nubbing Vax’s ear, his hand drifting down Vax’s stomach and into his pants. He squeezed him just enough for Vax to let out another moan; Talyc nubbed Vax’s lip. Vax closed his eyes, relishing in the moment, knowing this was all he’d be having of Talyc, wanting more but wanting it to be genuine.
‘Hurry,’ Talyc whispered gruffly.
When Talyc had gone into the bedroom, Vax moved to the door and took out his comlink.
‘Yeah?’ came the voice of the very man he was calling.
‘Agent Knarf,’ Vax said softly, ‘you need to come to my apartment. I’ll explain when you arrive. Come alone.’
Vax took a deep breath. He worried at Talyc’s reaction if he told him he had called his friend over. When he reached the bedroom, however, Talyc was already fast asleep. Vax was somewhat relieved. He had never seen Talyc this drunk, granted he had not seen him drunk many times nor had he seen him in a long time. He sat by the edge of the bed and placed Talyc more comfortably on it, caressing his face.
‘Oh, Talyc, not like this. And I know that in your right mind, you would not want this.’
Vax returned to the lounge area and waited for Knarf. When the slicer arrived, he looked concerned.
‘Is everything all right?’ Knarf asked.
Vax looked down. ‘Talyc is drunk and not in his right mind. I’ve never seen him like this before.’
‘He drinks when he’s scared, hurt, angry,’ said Knarf, ‘and he’s all of those tonight.’
‘I’m not sure how much he’s actually had to drink,’ admitted Vax. ‘From what I know it was a lot, but he wasn’t slurring or anything.’
‘He never slurs,’ said Knarf. ‘So where is he?’
‘He fell asleep,’ said Vax, ‘but before, he wanted to… He kissed me, and told me he wanted to forget the pain he felt.’
Knarf nodded slowly. ‘You turned him down.’ Vax nodded. ‘That’s very noble of you.’
Vax shook his head. ‘I wanted him, and I let him touch me and kiss me before deciding otherwise.’
‘I know that if it were me, I’d want someone to stop me from making a huge mistake, because I know that such carelessness would break Shadie and me apart, and I would never want to lose her for any reason.’ Knarf sighed. ‘Then again, I would express my feelings before it would ever come to this. Talyc has trouble with those, feelings.’
‘Fane is going to lose his mind when he finds out,’ said Vax.
‘Talyc is going to have to be honest with him,’ said Knarf.
Vax led Knarf to the bedroom and motioned towards Talyc. Knarf sighed again.
‘Talyc is going to need to be honest with himself,’ said Vax.
‘So how come you called me as opposed to anyone else?’ asked Knarf.
‘You seem a good person, a trusted friend, you’re his second to his clan, and you saved his life, meaning you know how to look out for him. I cannot trust myself alone with Talyc, not when he thinks he wants me knowing how much I’d want it to be true.’
‘I understand,’ said Knarf. The man’s eyes and voice were soft.
‘I see why Shadie says you have a soothing voice,’ said Vax. ‘And she’s right. You seem to be a good husband to her and a good friend to Talyc.’
Knarf smiled sympathetically. ‘I need to tell her that I’ll be staying here the night,’ said Knarf. ‘While she may want to keep an eye on Fane, I would much rather we all be here, especially given Awgro is on the loose.’
Vax and Knarf returned to the lounge.
‘Please don’t tell Fane about…’ He trailed off.
‘No, Talyc should tell him, or at least someone whom he trusts and knows how to tell him gently should tell him.’
‘Thank you,’ said Vax. ‘I know you’re not doing this for me, but, thank you anyway.’
Knarf looked up at him. ‘The dark side doesn’t affect just Force-sensitive people.’ Knarf pointed at the bottles. ‘It can affect and possess us all. Talyc has his dark side, and like Fane faced his demons once, Talyc will have to face his. Shadie reconciled with Fane their dark sides, I’m sure Fane and Talyc will as well. You are Imperial, but can also be affected by the dark side. I see you are not a bad person; you follow what you believe in, as we all do. The consideration I take in how to approach this situation is as much for you as it is for my friends. I bear no ill will towards you.’ He smiled again in sympathy. ‘Though you might want to hire a better slicer. If ever you need to put something together for the enemy, like say a holorecording, then you’ll need someone who can slice the code more properly. Oh, and make sure it’s not sliceable by me – unless I sliced it.’
‘Then I shall keep your contact information handy, shall I?’
‘Good idea,’ smiled Knarf.
Vax sat down as Knarf made his call. It didn’t take too long before Fane and Shadie had arrived. It was awkward, but Knarf said he would stay in the room with Talyc, while the others would use the lounge and the guest bedroom.
‘Why is Talyc in your bedroom, Vax?’ asked Fane.
‘That is where he fell asleep,’ said Vax.
‘I sense that’s the truth,’ said Shadie.
Fane nodded. They both installed themselves on the lounge. Vax made arrangements for the broken transparisteel. A few droids came to clean up and they quickly replaced the window. When the droids had gone, Vax sat in one of the armrests and rested his eyes, though he knew he would not find much sleep.
“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 fanfics, Dragon Age Fan-Fiction short stories, Mass Effect Fan-Fiction, or Stardust Destinies the High Fantasy Fiction series.
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