A group of Reformed Sith led by Awgro entered the room and lowered the containment field. Fane lunged forward only to fall back down, drained of the Force and feeling the drain of life at the same time.
‘You are powerless, Fane,’ said Awgro. The Chagrian was with him, and so was the mysterious masked man, along with several others.
‘With what? Six of you? It takes six of you to ensure I can’t defend myself? That qualifies me as more powerful than each of you.’
‘Make sure he can’t move,’ said Awgro.
The Sith held him down as well as drained the Force from him. Anything that had replenished itself was now being drained anew. Fane gritted his teeth as he lay helplessly, flat on his stomach.
Awgro bent down and held a cupped hand above Fane, draining him of life. Fane felt weak, pained, and he resisted the urge to close his eyes, perchance he might not wake up. He simply stared at Awgro. The Sith began to strain. Finally, he let go, jolting backwards.
‘So the rumours are true, then. I cannot drain you completely of your life because you cannot die. The secrets that Perce had unlocked have now been discovered by you.’
‘If you wanted to kill me,’ said Fane, ‘you’d know exactly where to strike me and I would be helpless to stop you. So you want me alive. Why?’
‘I want to take your life away from you,’ said Awgro. ‘Seeing as we have you and not your Mandalorian husband, I figure why not.’ He inclined his head.
‘You can’t take my life away from me,’ said Fane, ‘as long as I’m alive, you’ve not taken it away.’
‘Don’t be so sure about that,’ spat Awgro. ‘I will take it all away, you will see, everyone will see.’
Fane scowled. ‘What are you planning on doing to me?’
Awgro smirked but did not answer. ‘Drain him,’ he commanded the other Sith. He left the room.
Fane struggled to fight back but pinned down as he was, he was indeed helpless. He could sense the Force Drain being used to keep him from moving, and he could sense amusement from one of the Sith. It came from the same Sith from earlier, the masked figure. Fane heard a chuckle coming from behind the mask.
Now that Fane studied him more carefully, this masked Sith matched the descriptions the other had given him of the masked Sith aboard Relsor’s flagship, and Fane could sense his power.
The Sith surrounding him drained him for a long time, and after a time, Fane could barely feel the pain anymore, it had numbed his entire body, as though subdued, yet still jolting him.
When the group of Reformed Sith were done with him, they left. Fane felt weak, tired, drained. He panted a few times.
‘Is this how you felt, Shadie, when Relsor was draining you?’ he asked himself aloud. ‘Kriffing kark, I understand how you felt now.’
Fane turned over onto his back and took a few deep breaths. He barely managed to sit up; he leaned against the wall. Leaning his head back, he closed his eyes; even breathing was a struggle. He had been thinking about reaching out to the others with the Force before the Sith had entered the room, but somehow he felt so tired, he could not bother to focus. Instead, his mind was boggled by Awgro’s words. It created a headache, but he did not even have enough energy to scowl at the pain, for even that was too taxing.
* * *
Shadie marched into the bunker and stood before the Sith in the cell.
‘You will follow me to the Krayt Dragon. You are our prisoners and our leverage. Once we find Awgro and your Reformed Sith flagship, we will exchange you for Fane. If you attempt anything, you will be struck down. Understood?’
‘We could drain you right now and you would be powerless to even get us out of this cell,’ one of the Sith said with a cocky air.
‘Try me. Drain me!’ Shadie opened herself up. She let the Sith attempt at draining her. Initially, she felt a jolt and drew in a sharp breath. Then, using her recent training, she regained everything they took from her. There were astonished exclamations. ‘I can drain the Force around me,’ she explained, ‘take up life and energy that seeps from me. Such is the way of a Master of the Force.’ She grinned. ‘Just saying.’
‘She likes to show off sometimes,’ said Knarf.
‘That too!’ Shadie giggled in a high-pitched tone. ‘Oh, come, be amused, have some fun, being a Sith isn’t about doom and gloom all the time. Lighten up!’ Then, under her breath: ‘It sure would help lighten the gloom we all feel right now.’
Shadie took down the containment field. Knarf, Brenum and Trylia took hold of the Sith. Talyc stood near Shadie, keeping his distance. Shadie turned and led the group to the ship. She paused before entering, feeling the Sphere speak to her.
‘The Sphere has found Fane! Quickly!’
She could feel Talyc’s anticipation as he followed her into the ship. Her heart was racing. Fane had stood by her countless times and had done so much for them all. This was her chance to repay her friend. She turned to Talyc and took his gloved hand, smiling and nodding. Talyc had his helmet on but she could feel his gratitude.
‘I know you prefer flying in the Sphere these days,’ said Talyc.
‘Hey, someone had to be out there searching while we were still here,’ replied Shadie. ‘The Sphere can follow them while keeping a low profile until we arrive. They’re near the Corellian Run. We just need to hurry and get our Fane back.’
Brenum prepped the ship and it took flight quickly enough. Trylia was at the secondary controls.
‘Sending coordinates to our allies,’ she announced. ‘Any ship able to get there in time to back us up will be there.’ Shadie nodded in acknowledgement.
Before long, they had arrived at the location the Sphere had told them to meet it. It loomed in space before a large flagship. Awgro’s flagship wasn’t as impressive as Relsor’s had been, but it was imposing enough and had enough firepower to wipe out enemy ships.
More ships arrived, some of Imperial-make, others of Republic-make.
Someone hailed the ship. ‘This is the Krayt Dragon. Report,’ Brenum spoke into the com.
‘Hello, Brenum, it’s Cypher Five. My team and I are on the scene. Tell us where you want us to position ourselves.’
‘Move to intercept, hover close by, but don’t get in the line of fire,’ said Brenum.
‘Vax!’ said Talyc. ‘Thank you for being here.’
‘Anytime!’ replied Vax. ‘Brenum, no worries regarding receiving incoming fire. That beskar Mandalore provided the Empire has paid off. My ship has had a bit of an upgrade.’
‘Ah, so has the Krayt Dragon,’ said Brenum. ‘Glad to see we all think alike. And glad you’re on our side for this one.’
Vax chimed out. A few other ships hailed in and positioned themselves accordingly. Then Shadie gave Brenum the signal and he hailed Awgro’s ship.
‘Awgro,’ said Shadie, ‘I have some of your Reformed Sith. I am willing to make an exchange with you.’ Awgro narrowed his eyes. ‘Give us Fane back and you can have your Sith back.’
‘The only exchange I’m interested in is if Talyc Kandera gives himself up,’ said Awgro. ‘Tell my uncle to come to my ship.’
‘Awgro,’ said Talyc with disdain, ‘a Kandera always looks out for his kin, always defends, protects. Kanderas fight for each other above anyone else. The blood that runs in your veins is tainted. You are not a Kandera to me. So don’t call me your uncle.’
Awgro sneered. ‘Is that what my father would have wanted from you, for you to reject his son?’
Talyc took his helmet off and spat on the ground. ‘Chakaar Darjetii! Kelbourn would not have wanted his son to try to kill his cousin in order to claim the Crypt that belonged to his friend and clan mate. Shadie and Knarf are more Kanderas than you.’
‘Then we have no deal, Shadie,’ said Awgro.
‘But I have your Sith,’ Shadie reminded him.
‘Awgro? No! What do you think–’ A purple-hued Chagrian on Awgro’s ship began arguing before Awgro chimed out.
Shadie was shocked. She stared at the viewscreen and then at the Sith.
‘I am not killing you, even if you begged me to,’ she told them.
‘Because!’ Shadie pointed at the viewscreen keeping her eyes on them. ‘You do not squander allies. That Chagrian seems to be a lot more competent than Awgro and understands the value of your lives. Something Awgro obviously never valued. I saved his life back on Relsor’s ship because I felt he could be an asset in our efforts. He cannot even do the same for someone who is blatantly on his side. Is that who you’re following; is that who you’re willing to give up all the power of the Crypt to? I think you’re better off following your Chagrian friend instead.’ Shadie drew herself ot her full height, crossing her arms. ‘Tell him from me that if he wishes to, we can discuss and negotiate terms, so long as Awgro is not included in the discussion.’
Talyc was frowning at the Sith. One of the Sith pointed at him.
‘He could kill us, like he did our friend.’
‘A misguided moment driven by the passion of the dark side,’ said Shadie. ‘He does not possess the Force, he does not know how to channel it and utilise it as the rest of us do, or as some of us in this room do. And a misguided moment like that happens to all Sith before they can truly master the dark side.’ Shadie motioned the others in the room with her. ‘Look around you; none of us want to kill you, not even Talyc. We just want Fane back!’ Shadie paused and looked at Talyc. ‘All right, this is your call. Take charge and decide what you want to do.’
Talyc took a deep breath. When he spoke, his voice was commanding and dry. ‘Bes’laar, take the Sith to an escape pod. Get them off this ship and out of my sight.’
Knarf nodded and led the Sith away from the cockpit bridge. Talyc leaned forward against the wall of the ship, leaning his head on his hands.
‘The other ships are waiting to know what we should do next,’ said Brenum. ‘They wish to know if we should–’
The ship shook. ‘Looks like Awgro gave the first strike,’ said Trylia. Shadie saw the escape pod leave the ship.
Knarf returned. ‘Is Awgro shooting at us?’
‘Yes!’ Shadie said, frustrated.
The flagship trained its lasers on all the ships and began shooting. Many of the others manoeuvred to dodge and to shoot back.
‘Wait!’ Shadie could sense the Sphere speaking to her through the Force. ‘What are you doing?’ she replied to it. ‘No! You’ll be destroyed.’
It is the only way, my Lady. Do not worry; I have defences.
Shadie looked out the viewport and saw the Sphere repositioning itself, approaching the flagship and shooting all its firepower at one location of the ship.
‘What’s it doing?’ asked Talyc.
Shadie stared out the viewport. ‘Rescuing Fane.’
* * *
Fane felt shaking around him, he still felt drained and he could not gather his bearings. Suddenly, the containment field was down and all Fane knew was he had to hurry out of the room. He followed the directions given to him by the Sphere and ran across the halls. He encountered few Sith and slammed them into the wall with sheer force of will and the strength in his arms. He staggered into a room. Many stood in the room, Awgro included. There was a large viewport. It looked like a targeting area.
‘How did you escape your cell?’ asked the Chagrian.
‘I’m not sure,’ said Fane.
He looked out the viewport and saw the Sphere looming, huge and round, shooting everything it had at the viewport.
The Chagrian turned to Awgro. ‘We need to leave the room, Awgro, or we’ll all get spaced. Now!’
Awgro lunged at Fane, he dodged, falling to a sitting position and slid by, hurrying to the other end of the room. The Sphere kept shooting at the ship.
Awgro clenched his teeth in anger. The Sith left the room just as the viewport shattered. Fane shielded his eyes, taking a deep breath and holding it in. He let himself be taken by the wind as he was sucked out of the ship. He landed inside the Sphere, on his back, looking up at a bright white ceiling.
He took a few deep breaths. He felt something soft under him; he relaxed a little. He felt he needed to reach out again, but he couldn’t remember why. He was still panting, but he could not recall why he had been running. It seemed as though all he knew was he needed to enter a healing trance.
Fane closed his eyes, letting himself be taken into a guided healing trance. The Sphere he was in was reassuring him, but he did not recall how it knew his name. He felt comfort and acknowledged its efforts before a deep healing sleep took him.
* * *
Talyc watched as the Sphere took on so much fire. It lingered for a moment and then it stopped shooting at the Sith ship. It began to move away but it was taking heavy damage and was bobbing this way and that. One of its small wings caught fire and it had dark marks all around it.
Talyc shook his head. ‘That Sphere is committing suicide.’
‘It has Fane!’ said Shadie. Her eyes swelled with tears. ‘The Sphere has Fane. He’s entered a healing trance. The Sphere needs to get out of here before it takes more damage.’
Talyc felt relieved yet worried. ‘It needs to protect itself if we want Fane alive after it rescues him. Whatever it needs to do. Can it meet us at the Crypt?’
Shadie seemed to focus to speak to it. Trylia gasped and Talyc knew something was wrong.
‘The Sphere needs to shroud itself and enter a healing trance as well,’ said Trylia. ‘It’s not going to make it all the way to the Crypt otherwise.’
‘Where is it going?’ asked Talyc.
Shadie shook her head. ‘Hyperspace, before Awgro can follow or destroy it completely.’
Talyc watched horrified as the Sphere, battered and damaged, went into hyperspace. It and Fane were gone. He felt desperate; he was still separated from his husband.
‘Lian,’ Brenum called into the comchannel, ‘what can you tell us about the Sphere if it takes too much damage?’
‘It’s telling me it’s safe and shrouding itself,’ said Lian.
Shadie nodded. ‘I can’t seem to sense it anymore.’
‘The Sphere has defences even against the Guardian of the Crypt, secret defences,’ explained Lian. ‘I don’t know where it has gone.’ He sighed. ‘It’s gone, shrouded. It told me not to worry, but how can I not?’
‘What do you mean it’s gone? Shrouded?’ said Talyc.
‘I can’t sense it,’ said Shadie, ‘and neither can Lian. The Sphere must have a way to protect itself from all known sources in the Force and all known possible danger.’
‘So we’re not any closer to finding Fane? Even if we just saw the Sphere rescue him?’
‘Talyc, it’s okay,’ said Knarf, walking up to him. Talyc felt weak and he felt himself begin to shake. Knarf took him by the shoulders before he could fall. ‘The Sphere has Fane safely inside of it, and it will protect him. They both took damage. We know Fane got drained of the Force, we felt it. And you saw the damage the Sphere took. It did that for you, and Fane. To save Fane!’ Knarf’s voice was soothing, yet Talyc could not feel comforted as he wished he could. ‘It’s going to lie low and probably enter a healing trance just the same as Fane. And then when it wakes up, it’s going to call to its Lady and we’ll find Fane and reunite you. It’s going to be all right.’
Talyc nodded, feeling numb inside. He felt dazed, drunk though he was sober. He sat down, his breathing erratic.
‘I just want Fane back,’ he said.
‘And we will get him back,’ said Shadie. ‘Awgro no longer has him.’
Talyc looked up and realised Awgro’s ship had gone into hyperspace and Brenum was speaking with one of the Republic ships.
‘I think we should go to the Crypt,’ said Talyc. ‘I think Lian is who I need to speak with.’
Shadie nodded. ‘I think we could all use a trip to the Crypt.’
“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.