The sun above Korriban was blazing hot, reflecting on the sand. Knarf squinted as he and Shadie exited the Sphere. He glanced down at his armour, the blue contrasting with the planet’s blazing orange hues.
Before them stood Lady Gofaylia, looking eager. Knarf bowed politely and Shadie addressed the Sith leader.
‘Nice to meet you in person, Lady Gofaylia. I’m eager to chat with you!’ Knarf was certain Shadie’s words reflected Lady Gofaylia’s own eagerness.
‘Likewise,’ the Dark Council Head replied. They began walking towards the academy. ‘Your stay at Coruscant was pleasant, I presume, though it was brief?’
‘As it is always,’ said Shadie. ‘I took the opportunity to speak with my allies there regarding the Empire. They agreed to hold off on any attacks. The fact that Awgro is at large and a threat was a good reason for them to consider this temporary truce.’
‘That is excellent news, especially given we don’t know what Awgro may have learnt from Relsor,’ said Lady Gofaylia.
‘Those were my precise arguments,’ replied Shadie. Storimbu approached and bowed, following Shadie and Knarf as they spoke with Lady Gofaylia. ‘I also spoke with Mandalore regarding extending the temporary alliance we already had with the Empire, and–’
‘May I interject and ask how Void reacted when you told him of our potential alliance?’ Lady Gofaylia asked eagerly.
‘He was annoyed, incredulous,’ Knarf told her. ‘And he had one of those faces on.’
‘Oh, I know just the face!’ said Lady Gofaylia, looking satisfied.
‘Oh, by the way,’ Shadie turned to Knarf, ‘that massage Talyc gave me really did the trick.’
‘Oh, you weren’t really that achy, you just really wanted a massage!’ Knarf rolled his eyes.
‘Yes, and I insisted for a reason and Talyc delivered.’
‘Only because you never want to give me one!’ Shadie turned to Lady Gofaylia. ‘Knarf doesn’t like that Talyc gave me such a lengthy massage.’
Knarf felt his mouth crinkle into an expression of irritation. What did this have to do with the Empire!
‘Your clan leader?’ asked the Sith Lady. Shadie nodded. ‘He’s marrying Jedi Fane, is he not?’ Again Shadie nodded.
‘I don’t know why Knarf seems so jealous,’ said Storimbu, cocking an eyebrow at him, ‘it’s not like you and Talyc ever had any history or ever will. Not in that department.’
‘Exactly!’ said Shadie. She pointed at Knarf while looking at Lady Gofaylia. ‘That the face?’
‘Oh, yes! Lady Shadie, you deliver.’
‘I told you it was worth your while,’ said Shadie.
Knarf dropped his shoulders shaking his head, as they walked up the steps of the academy. Shadie had done exactly as he might have done in such a situation to be in a potentially dangerous person’s good graces. It amused him as much as it annoyed him.
‘Now, tell me,’ said Lady Gofaylia, taking Shadie’s arm in a friendly manner, ‘what did Mandalore say?’
The two ladies continued further on into the academy, while Knarf stayed with Storimbu, turning into another corridor by the entrance.
‘She does have a way with that woman, your wife,’ said Storimbu. ‘Good on her.’
Knarf nodded. ‘Now listen,’ Knarf spoke at low level, ‘so you know Maranna?’ Storimbu nodded. ‘It appears she is more important than we anticipated. It is imperative that we find her. You see,’ Knarf lowered his voice even more, ‘she has a child. A Chiss child.’
‘Are you saying she was Relsor’s lover?’ asked Storimbu, matching Knarf’s whisper.
‘I am saying precisely that,’ replied Knarf.
‘Could this Chiss be a danger to the galaxy?’
‘Only if Awgro finds and trains the child. Right now, Maranna’s child could be anywhere between one and three years of age. They are both in grave danger if Awgro finds them. Thing is, there is no trace of them anywhere. We’ve got Mandalorians and Jedi alike searching for them and nothing yet.’
‘How did you find out about her and Relsor then?’ asked Storimbu.
‘Holorecording at Lord Void’s safe house,’ replied Knarf. ‘We need to find that child. We need to protect it from Awgro.’
Storimbu nodded. ‘The Protectors of the Force are on it. We’ll help you find Maranna and the child, and we’ll search in all corners of the galaxy.’
Four months after Relsor’s defeat.
Shadie and Knarf’s stay on Korriban was a lengthy one. The Protectors of the Force scattered across the galaxy in search of Maranna and reported back to Shadie whenever possible. Many of them had been planning on leaving the Sith world, though many others remained. The Protectors of the Force were a secretive group and were proving to be very resourceful. While Mandalorians searched Hutt Space and Jedi searched Republic Space, the Protectors of the Force searched Sith Space, Chiss Space, and the Uncharted Territories, as well as the Unknown Regions. However, there was still no sign of Maranna and Relsor’s child.
Lord Void, accompanied by Brenum and Trylia, went to Csilla to speak with the Chiss where the Force-users showed the Chiss how to recognise Force-sensitive Chiss. The Chiss were unsure whether they would want any Force-sensitive Chiss from the Ascendency to be either Jedi or Sith. Lord Void left an open invitation to any who wished to train in both sides of the Force at the Crypt with no ties to any faction, that way they could protect their people with their full potential. Void, Brenum and Trylia also did not find any clues regarding Maranna and her child during their stay with the Chiss before their return to the Crypt.
Alegna had returned to Nar Shaddaa to spread the word to some trusted old friends – dancers and slaves – that she was searching for a woman named Maranna, sending them the human’s image. The Mandalorians were careful not to divulge too much information in their searches. Bounty Hunters who were in contact with Vax had informed him of their non-findings. And the anti-stealth prototypes were not revealing any hidden ships either.
* * *
Lord Void paced to and fro before Lian, breathing heavily. Lian watched him.
‘Being impatient is not going to help us find her any faster,’ said Lian.
‘I’m being impatient, am I? It’s been months! Awgro could be closer to finding her and the child and–’
‘Our network of spies would have told us had Awgro found her,’ said Lian. ‘Awgro would have made a move, no?’
Lord Void pounded the earth beneath the large tree in its large pot with his fist. ‘I need to find my grandchild. I don’t even know if the child has the same illness as Relsor did or not. I don’t even know what I should call my grandchild or if my he or she has a Chiss or human name.’
‘I understand this must be difficult for you, knowing you have a grandchild, one who could potentially be the child you never had, but punching things won’t help. I thought Sith channelled their anger in more productive ways. Do that instead!’
‘You want me to channel my anger how and towards what?’ Lord Void said through clenched teeth, turning to face Lian. ‘The unknown is the greatest enemy of all. To a certain extent,’ he added quickly. He took a deep breath. ‘How goes Talyc’s training? I remember he and Fane mentioned wanting to do their wedding here before moving the after-party to Mandalore. It would occupy my mind to busy myself with some of their affairs. A wedding can be a lot of work, delegating tasks always helps.’
Lian chuckled. ‘Look at you, wanting to be a wedding planner.’
Void narrowed his eyes. ‘I’m not planning anything. I’d write messages to guests. It’s a lot better than waiting to find out more of the same news: no news, no findings, nothing.’
‘Well, Talyc and Fane are training well together from what I’ve heard. Master Herl’unik had an entre regimen planned for them, I hear. They should be done soon.’
‘Planning on leaving Korriban, last I heard,’ said Lian. ‘She’s able to efficiently and quickly enough gather back her own life energy that gets drained out of her, either by her own doing or someone else’s, without affecting anyone else around her. She’ll be off to see my grandfather for the rest of her training.’ Lian walked towards Void and put a hand on his shoulder. ‘You know, you’d do well to do some training yourself. We could spar together, train together, teach each other more of what we know of the other side of the Force.’
At that moment, Nriwe and Thera entered the room. ‘All the plants are well watered and the new garden upstairs has been tended to.’ The little Twi’lek girl looked up at Void. ‘Will you show me more of those abilities you do, Master Void? I want to practice my shield.’
‘Very well, young Thera, but then your father and I need to discuss more about the Force.’
‘That’s boring. Adults are always just discussing. Just do Force things together.’
Lian embraced his wife. ‘You know, Thera,’ he said, ‘discussing is part of it.’
‘Then get on with it already!’ said Thera. He took Void’s hand and began leading him out of the room.
‘Your daughter obviously takes after her mother,’ Void said to Lian. ‘She has yet to learn your patience.’
‘I heard that,’ said Nriwe. She sat down near her husband.
‘Maybe she’s just picking it up from her new best friend,’ said Lian motioning to Void. He chuckled and Void grinned. Then Void left with the girl, leaving Lian and Nriwe for a moment alone.
* * *
Shadie and Knarf landed on Ryloth near a stream. The Sphere settled and nestled itself by some underbrush. The plants were lush and vibrant, flowers taller than Shadie had ever seen.
‘We can sit and have a picnic in one of these, no?’ said Knarf.
‘Pretty much,’ replied Shadie.
They walked down a path towards the coordinates given to them. There was some rustling and a few Twi’leks emerged, holding up lightsabers to block their path.
‘The dark side resonates strongly,’ one of them said.
‘It’s all right,’ an elderly blue Twi’lek said as he approached. ‘They come from Korriban, but they are not Sith. These are Lian’s friends.’
‘Master Kloh,’ said Knarf, bowing politely. It seemed strange to hear Knarf refer to him as Master Kloh, as Shadie had referred to her former Master thus, Lian’s father, Juun Kloh. ‘It is good to see you.’
‘You look well, Agent Knarf. How is your prosthetic?’
‘Still very functional, optimal, requiring little maintenance. I never have to take it off now that it has fully become a part of me.’
‘Excellent.’ The elder Kloh turned to Shadie. ‘Jedi Eidahs, at last, we finally meet. Or do you prefer Shadie?’
‘Whichever you want to use is fine by me,’ replied Shadie. ‘You look well. It’s nice to meet you.’
‘Likewise. You may call me Yuur. Yuur Kloh. My grandson told me about your excursion on Korriban. I gather you learnt what you needed to learn there?’ He motioned for them to follow. ‘I will be able to teach you how to regenerate yourself mildly and to heal the holes in your Force aura. But you will have much work to do yourself. I will be able to guide you, but I am but an old man now, I will not be able to meditate much over you. You will have to meditate on this yourself after a time.’
‘I understand,’ said Shadie. ‘I must do whatever I can to heal this affliction. It’s really annoying.’
Yuur Kloh chuckled. He invited them inside his hut. The other Twi’leks dispersed. They discussed briefly about the potential methods of healing and what they might be able to do. Yuur Kloh placed his hands around Shadie, feeling her Force aura before concluding that rather than focusing on everything at once, she would need to focus on one part only. Once she had done that and healed that, the rest would come more easily. He would help her heal one of the holes from which her energy was seeping, and then she would need to do the rest on her own, but he would lend his power to help her, as would the other Twi’lek Jedi.
Their conversation was long, and when they were done, Yuur Kloh went to rest. Shadie and Knarf returned to the luscious jungle of Ryloth and took a stroll around the area.
Shadie breathed in deeply. ‘Well, one part’s done. Another part left to do. It feels draining to fix the draining.’
‘I understand.’ Knarf took hold of her hand and led her to one of the tall flowers. ‘I’ve always wanted to climb one of these.’
She and Knarf climbed and sat atop the flower. Its petals formed a wall around them and the centre was like a cushion. She leaned on Knarf and closed her eyes.
‘You’re my love,’ she said.
‘You’re my one and only love,’ he replied.
‘I hope I can heal in time before Awgro makes his next move,’ said Shadie.
‘He hasn’t shown any signs of planning anything yet,’ said Knarf. ‘Whatever he’s doing, he’s biding his time. He’s waiting for something; I can just feel it. Waiting for what is another question.’
‘Yeah, well, as long as I can be there to help keep Talyc safe.’
‘As long as I can be there to keep him safe,’ said Knarf. ‘Right now, we’re safe. And cosy!’ he remarked.
Shadie looked at Knarf. She kissed him and he returned the kiss more fiercely. She smiled, feeling the energies.
‘You thinking what I’m thinking?’ she asked him.
‘We’ve never made love in a jungle flower before,’ said Knarf, smiling, his mouth ajar. He was as handsome as ever, here on Ryloth. He was in his new armour, Mandalorian-make with enough orange to match his lightsaber, and he had begun to let his har grow. And for a wonderful few moments, she and Knarf let themselves just be with their energies, in their cosy flower on Ryloth.
* * *
Awgro sat in his meditation chamber, spherical in shape, in the ship he had taken as his own. It had been one of the ships from Relsor’s armada. Someone entered the room. He opened his eyes. He had many on his team, they all worked as equals, and they were the remnant True Sith who had not wished to rejoin the Empire. Now they were calling themselves the Reformed Sith, since they wished to reform the Empire.
‘Awgro,’ said the Sith, Mar Dalkars, a tall Chagrian whom Awgro trusted most, ‘our bounty hunters report that Talyc Kandera is still on Coruscant with Jedi Fane.’
‘That’s fine,’ said Awgro. ‘It gives us more time to put things in place. Any news of Maranna?’
‘None whatsoever!’ Awgro heard the annoyance in Mar Dalkars’s voice.
‘She is very good at evading,’ said Awgro. ‘It disturbs me.’
‘We’ll find her. We’ll get to Talyc, you’ll kill him, you’ll become the Master of the Crypt, and then we can overthrow the Empire.’
‘Yes. We are the Reformed Sith, and together, we will all reform the Empire as it once was, as it should be.’ Awgro stood. ‘Let’s set things in motion. I grow impatient. Let’s ensure our efforts aren’t wasted and our plan goes ahead. Make the preparations.’ Awgro sneered. ‘Talyc Kandera won’t know what’s hit him!’
“Trials in 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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