A few years after the events on Ziost.

Nriwe stood near the Crypt’s landing platform, which had been recommissioned to be a bit more stable for visiting ships. Thera bounced up and down with excitement as the Republic ship settled down. Nriwe looked down at her daughter and smiled. Lian and Nriwe had named her after his brother Ruther, but had altered the name more appropriately, though the young child preferred Thera to her full name of Ruthera. She squealed with excitement, her aqua coloured lekku bouncing as much as she was.
            The landing platform descended and out walked a tall man, caped in brown and beige Jedi robes.
            ‘Jedi Master Anton! I’m so happy to meet a new Jedi Master!’ The little girl giggled.
            Nriwe observed that the Jedi master seemed much older than how Lian had described him.
            ‘You’ll have to pardon my daughter, she gets very excited when we have visitors,’ said Nriwe.
            The Jedi stared at the young Kloh, looking astonished.
            ‘Is she…Jedi Master Lian’s?’
            ‘Daddy says you’re new on the Jedi Council!’
            ‘A Council member am I indeed, little one.’ The Jedi looked up at Nriwe. ‘I had no idea. I apologise. She must be no more than four?’
            ‘Three,’ corrected Nriwe. She began to lead the master through the chambers to the lift. ‘She’s very bright for her age and has shown much advancement in her learning of…everything. Sometimes I myself forget she’s that young.’
            The Jedi Master looked around as they passed through each of the chambers. ‘Fascinating,’ he exclaimed in a near whisper, staring at some of the details within them.
            The man kept his hood on and his head low, but he bore a smile every time the little girl looked at him. He chatted politely with Nriwe as they descended and walked through the hall towards her husband’s chamber.
            ‘Your face rings a bell,’ the Jedi told Nriwe. ‘You are Mandalorian, aren’t you?’
            ‘Yes. Though I spend most of my time here now. Lian and I married a few years back, and given the circumstances, we settled here as our home. Shadie has done much to help spruce the place up.’
            The Jedi nodded. ‘It must have been hard for you when Jedi Master Lian nearly lost his life.’
            ‘Well, we didn’t really know each other back then. We got together afterwards.’
            ‘I see. The Council really has accommodated many of its Jedi, hasn’t it?’
            ‘It has allowed for many exceptions, yes?’ replied Nriwe. ‘And how about you? You seem much older than I thought you were.’
            ‘I have been recently elevated in ranks among my peers.’ The man smiled in a manner that seemed more sinister to Nriwe.
            They arrived at Lian’s chamber, which they sometimes referred to as their main living area.
            ‘Daddy, daddy, Jedi Master Anton is here for his training with you. He’s going to be a good council member!’
            ‘I’m sure he will be,’ Lian smiled at his daughter, crouching down to her level. ‘Now, run along with your mother, Thera, Jedi Master Anton and I have many matters to discuss.’
            Lian hugged his daughter before Nriwe embraced him, and then mother and daughter left the two Jedi to their discussions.

* * *

            Lian looked back at the Jedi who still wore his hood and had his face turned away from him. He seemed different in the Force than when they had last spoken.
            ‘I sense you differently,’ Lian admitted.
            ‘That’s because I am not Jedi Master Anton.’
            Turning back to face Lian, the man cast off his hood to reveal his face and opened up in the Force; now Lian could sense his true presence and see who he was.
            ‘Void.’ Lian reflexively took his lightsaber from his belt and ignited it.
            ‘I’ve not come to fight, once again,’ said Void. ‘I apologise for mimicking the Jedi’s presence in the Force. Secrecy was necessary.’
            ‘Where is Jedi Master Anton?’ asked Lian, a warning in his voice.
            ‘In his ship, well cared for, unharmed,’ said Lord Void. He took a few deliberate steps forward. Lian powered off his lightsaber.
            ‘What do you want, Lord Void? Why have you come, as opposed to contacting me?’
            ‘It has been many years since I last spoke with you in person, and I needed to avoid being tracked. I went to great lengths to come here. After much delay and debate, the previous Head of the Dark Council has been removed.’
            ‘Removed or killed?’
            ‘Jedi Master Lian, the Sith are not the barbarians you think we are. You and I acted in secrecy as I aided you and your friends aided me. The Empire acted on information gathered, but many Sith were lost on Ziost, no thanks to your friends. Something that could have been avoided had I been in charge, had I known to recall those Sith before they met their doom. Usharr has also been reinstated as Master of the Sith Academy and as a Dark Council member, while I…have become the new Head of the Dark Council.’
            ‘Congratulations, then,’ Lian said formally. He studied the Sith Lord. ‘So are they checking you and tracking you as the new Head of the Dark Council, or is there something you’re not telling me?’
            ‘I no longer trust my apprentice, Awgro,’ said Void. ‘He has not revealed to me all that he learnt from Relsor. I needed to see these chambers for myself.’
            ‘If you think you can take the Crypt from Shadie, think again,’ Lian said defensively.
            ‘I have no intention of doing that.’ Lord Void shook his head. ‘But I don’t know that Awgro is not tempted. I need to track his movements to better assess the situation, just to be on the safe side.’
            ‘You don’t want him to kill you? Fair enough.’ Lian crossed his arms. ‘What else?’
            ‘The Sith Empire needs to begin reclaiming some planets. I wanted to let you know that there will be an attack on Balmorra. The Empire will be establishing outposts there. It would be wise for Republic forces to avoid the place while we do that, keep losses to a minimum.’
            ‘So you’ve come to give a heads-up,’ concluded Lian.
            ‘Yes. Also, the Chiss have re-established their alliance with the Empire and they are working on an anti-stealth device. They believe that Darth Gourd and Relsor used Chiss technology and that may be how Relsor is going around undetected, with many ships in stealth.’
            ‘That would make sense,’ Lian admitted. He put a hand to his chin, rubbing his smooth blue skin.
            ‘Once their prototypes are ready, I may be able to get one or two to Mandalore and the Republic. It is still early days, but I am confident we will find our enemy someday.’
            ‘I hope so, many are still falling ill and dying,’ said Lian.
            ‘Many in the Empire are falling ill as well,’ said Lord Void.
            Lian thought for a moment. ‘I don’t understand. It’s common knowledge by now what the first trial is to reclaim the Crypt. Why did you need to find out what the other trials were?’
            ‘To better monitor my apprentice’s movements. Perhaps you don’t believe me, but I am being honest.’
            Lian extended his senses. Lord Void had bent the truth in the past and Lian could not tell if he was being genuine or disguising the truth.
            ‘By the way, she’s an adorable little Twi’lek, your daughter. The exact combination in colour tone as her mother and father, and very powerful in the Force.’
            ‘Don’t!’ Lian took a step forward.
            ‘Don’t what? I’ve never sensed such a young child so powerfully in my life. Well, except for…a rare exception.’
            ‘If you harm her…’
            Lord Void raised his hands in surrender. ‘I have no intention of doing any such thing.’
            ‘My daughter is being trained by me and she will remain under my protection, and no Sith will ever claim her.’
            ‘Then I suggest you teach her to protect herself, because one day, she will leave this Crypt, and her father will not be there to protect her.’
            ‘Is that a threat?’
            Lord Void sighed. ‘It’s a warning. I have no intention of harming you or your family, Jedi Master Lian Kloh. There is much that is hidden and I am trying to get to the bottom of it. My intent here today was to share with you what I know, to garner trust, because with Relsor still out there and my apprentice keeping secrets, I fear that the Empire will need aid from allies, and there are few whom I trust in this galaxy. I trust you. I only ask that you trust me in return.’
            Lian nodded. ‘We shall see. I will let Shadie know that Awgro might have his eye on becoming Master of the Crypt, but as long as you’re alive, we should be good.’
            ‘Provided he has not yet done anything that the other trials dictate must be done,’ said Lord Void. ‘They do not have to be done in order, if I understand correctly.’
            ‘No, they don’t.’ Lian paused. ‘You’re certain Awgro is preparing to attempt to claim the Crypt?’
            ‘He spent many years aboard Relsor’s ship,’ said Lord Void. ‘I would be a fool to think he did not find out the secrets that Relsor and Perce knew about this place. He has never revealed them to me. It has been my intention to come find out these secrets for myself for some time now. There is a reason Awgro has not shared his knowledge with me.’
            ‘Then let’s hope these are simply suspicions and that he’s not hiding anything major,’ said Lian.
            Lord Void nodded. ‘Again, I apologise for the disguise. Jedi Master Anton has a strong Force presence; it was easy to attach his signature onto my Force aura. I assure you, he is well. I used the Force to knock him out. He will awake with no knowledge of what happened.’
            ‘You walk a fine line, Lord Void,’ Lian said in warning. ‘If you needed to know the trials, why not just ask?’
            ‘Would you have told me?’ asked Void. Lian looked down and shook his head. The answer was no, obviously. ‘Good day, Lian.’
            Lord Void turned to go and left the chamber.
            Lian had many suspicions, yet there was much truth in what he had detected. This was strange, it was frightening, and it was confusing.
            He sent a message to Nriwe, telling her who their visitor truly was and explaining the situation, telling her to keep their daughter safe and to stay in the more secret areas of the Crypt until Lord Void had gone. Lian would not take any chances. Lord Void would have to prove his trust after this stunt. Lian then sent a message to Shadie explaining the situation regarding Awgro.
            Lian sat down and felt Lord Void leave the Crypt, and he hoped that the Sith had been indeed telling the truth, for now Void knew where to find the Crypt and what each trial was. If the Sith Lord was lying, he could be a very powerful enemy.

“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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