Talyc woke up, his head leaning on Fane’s shoulder. His heart fluttered, sank, and then fluttered again. Fane opened his eyes and looked at Talyc, his blue eyes searching. He smiled.
‘Is everything all right?’ Fane asked.
Talyc hesitated. ‘Mixed emotions.’ Fane lifted his brow, prompting Talyc to share more. ‘Relief, joy, fear, guilt. You’re here, and it’s real. I almost lost you. I thought this fear would go away once Relsor was defeated.’ Talyc sat up. ‘It seems, at every turn, something, someone, is trying to pull us apart, threatening to take you away from me. Now that fear remains, but this time it’s of my own doing, my own fault. Because of what I did, that fear of you leaving me remains.’
Fane sat up as well and took Talyc’s hand. ‘We’re going to get married. I’m your man, and I always will be. Nothing will take me away from you, ever.’
‘I think I’m having trouble forgiving myself,’ Talyc admitted.
‘The dark side takes hold of us in many different ways,’ said Fane, his voice soft and soothing. ‘Mastering your emotions is going to be a lot more challenging than stopping your habit of drinking to escape your fears. But you’ve proven your resolve, not that you had anything to prove to me in the first place. I have faith, and this is a new chapter in our lives.’
‘I’m willing to do anything and everything to make up for what I did.’ Talyc desperately wanted the ache in his heart from the guilt of what he’d done to cease.
‘Rigorous training?’ Fane smiled teasingly.
Talyc nodded. ‘Whatever it takes.’
‘You know, even if we’ve been together for a while, we never defined our relationship. But with this marriage, we are going to do just that, and renew our commitment and promise to each other.’
‘I know that if Shadie or Knarf had done what I did–’
‘But they established exactly what they wanted and needed from each other from the start. We just assumed, but we never discussed these things.’ Fane leaned on Talyc. ‘You know, I feel as though if I had just believed you, I would not have pushed you to–’
‘No!’ Talyc took Fane’s face in his hands. ‘Get that idea out of your head. You are not to blame for my carelessness, for me getting drunk and trying to hurt you by doing exactly what you thought I’d been doing. This is not your fault, Fane. I am to blame for that, and only me.’
‘But if I had believed you–’
‘You did not push me to do it, Fane.’ Talyc’s tone was firm. ‘My inability to deal with the fear I was feeling drove me to it, and that’s on me. I could have chosen not to drink; I could have chosen not to try to forget. I’m the only one responsible for my actions. I have a problem–’
‘Which you are willing to rectify and correct, to which you chose to commit to on your own accord.’ Fane also put his hands on Talyc’s face. ‘Let me remind you that this was your decision, prompted by your recognition of this and then you chose to commit to me, to even die for me, die with me. Few have ever committed to doing that. You have committed to me, and I commit to you.’ Fane’s eyes grew sorrowful. ‘I can’t deny that I feel fear as well or hurt, but our love is stronger than that. I know it’s not my fault, I’m just trying to say that circumstances influenced you and you did not have the resources to resist the darkness.’
Talyc felt his eyes swell with tears. He looked down and closed his eyes. Fane caressed his face.
‘I’m going to be with you every step of the way,’ said Fane. ‘We have now both committed to expressing everything we feel.’ He paused. When he spoke again, his voice was reminiscent. ‘I always thought that my brother would return to the Jedi, come home, that we could be Jedi brothers again. I loved him. But I lost him, and when Shadie killed him, all that hope had gone. Any chance of him returning to the light was gone. I had not realised how far I had fallen to the dark side until it was too late. I tried to kill Shadie.’
His tone grew desperate. ‘I killed Master Juun Kloh, my master, Shadie’s master and friend, Lian’s father. I killed him.’ He drew in a breath. ‘And they forgave me. Lian and I have a friendship I never thought would be possible. Our bond in the Force is greater than the one I have with anyone else, for Lian and I share a Force-bond, one of the strongest bonds two Force-users can ever share. And then there’s Shadie, for whom I care as though she were my family. She chose to be my master and to train me, and forgave me my wrongdoings, recognising my dip in the dark side. Its hold is strong, and it’s frightening. And I did the unthinkable, an unforgivable deed. Yet those most affected forgave me, and I have become a better person for it. I had lost my way, and found it again.’
‘You saved Shadie’s life,’ said Talyc.
‘And you saved mine.’
Talyc looked up at him. ‘How?’
Fane smiled. ‘By loving me. I chose to find the will to live when I knew death was nearly inevitable. Our love makes me the Jedi I am today; it’s as much a part of who I am as the training I’ve undergone. That drunken night you had, kissing Vax, is trivial next to the power we possess together within the Living Force, even if you’re not Force-sensitive.’ He grinned. ‘And it’s certainly less dark side-ish than what many others have done.’ Fane shifted, his smile becoming tender. ‘And you know, if you would not have asked me to marry you, I would have asked you.’
Talyc felt a wave of emotions, all wonderful and some of them frightening.
‘How can you…after…’ He put a hand to his face and began sobbing uncontrollably. Fane held him as he cried, as he let it all out, heaving in lungfuls of air. Talyc held Fane tightly. ‘I almost lost you, he almost took you from me, and I’m so scared I can still lose you.’
‘You don’t have to try to control things that are not in your control, Talyc. You don’t have to try to push me away when you fear losing me. You just need to tell me how you feel when you’re feeling it.’
‘I’ve always been so guarded, even with you.’ Talyc wiped his face and eyes, feeling a bit embarrassed at the flow of emotions. He reached for a tissue and wiped his nose.
‘Let me be your guardian then, your Jedi Guardian.’
Talyc smiled. ‘This is surreal. You’re my man! The night we kissed for the first time, felt wonderful and frightening all at once. So does this.’ Fane nodded. ‘I promise to do everything to be as much your man.’
‘I know, you can stop promising.’
‘Then maybe I can demonstrate!’
Talyc kissed Fane hungrily, leaning into him. Fane wrapped himself around Talyc and chuckled as he kissed him. It had been very relieving to let the darker emotions out, making room for the more pleasant ones.
There was a knock on the door and the two men paused.
‘Maybe they’ll go away?’ Fane mused.
There were more knocks, as though several people were knocking. Talyc heard Nriwe and Lashika calling out.
He sighed. ‘They’re not going away.’
‘Raincheck then?’ Fane smiled gingerly.
Talyc rolled his neck in mock annoyance, as Fane rolled out of bed. Talyc called out that he was on his way. He only had his pants on when he opened the door.
‘Yay! They’re awake!’ said Emerick.
‘Oh, are we interrupting something?’ asked Nriwe.
‘Well, it’s not like we’re going to resume now, so, not anymore,’ said Talyc.
‘Good,’ Lashika strode in, ‘because the others are on their way already.’
‘What is this?’ asked Talyc.
‘Continued celebrations!’ said Emerick. He handed him a bottle.
‘Uhm…’ Talyc lifted his hands. ‘I can’t accept that. But thanks. I’ve quit drinking.’
‘Oh! No worries.’ Emerick nudged Talyc with an elbow as Fane joined them.
‘Uncle Fane, Uncle Fane!’ Thera was bouncing up and down. ‘I knew you would survive.’
‘I know, you said so last night.’ Fane chuckled.
‘But I knew it.’
‘Oh, so we’ve got ourselves a little prophet here,’ said Fane. ‘Let’s find out what else you know, because if you have seen visions in the Force, then your father will want to train you to master interpreting them.’ Thera nodded vigorously and began listing all her latest dreams.
Talyc quickly finished dressing as the others installed themselves in the lounge area. Shortly after, Shadie, Knarf, Brenum and Trylia arrived with some breakfast. They were over all still the moon about Fane’s victory, as well as the engagement. Shadie was proposing a bunch of ideas regarding the wedding. The Life Day Sisters were going on about the decorations necessary and the various places in the galaxy that are the most popular to hold weddings in. Talyc enjoyed their company, though he tuned some of it out, it was all a bit overwhelming. He retreated to another room for a moment. Fane found him.
‘They’re giving me a lot of ideas over there,’ said Fane.
‘Look, I’m not fussed on the decorations,’ chuckled Talyc.
‘I also have an idea about us, and training. I want it to be a surprise, but I don’t want you to worry. We might need to go to Coruscant at some point.’
‘I’m intrigued. Should I be worried, though?’
‘No!’ Fane motioned at the holomonitor. ‘Just let me make a call.’
Talyc nodded as he returned to the others, while Fane made his call. It didn’t take very long and Fane was back, but the look on his face was grave and confused. Everyone fell silent.
‘Fane, what’s wrong?’ asked Talyc.
‘I just spoke with Master Herl’unik,’ said Fane, ‘who has spoken to Lian. It’s about the Holocron found on Relsor’s ship.’ Talyc looked at the others and back at Fane. ‘It appears that Relsor’s father is alive and is human.’
‘Oh, the barvy Sith who decided to create a monster through Sith alchemy is alive?’ Knarf exclaimed. He sounded fascinated.
‘Wait, could this person create another being like Relsor?’ asked Shadie. ‘This could be very dangerous for the galaxy.’
Fane nodded. ‘I don’t know much. The Jedi Council wants a trial, and Master Herl’unik and Lian would like Mandalore to form a council for this trial. And Shadie, you need to contact Usharr.’
‘Okay, but I don’t understand. A trial, does Lian know who Relsor’s father is then?’
Fane nodded. ‘Yeah. That’s the troubling part of it.’ He paused. ‘It’s Void.’
‘What?’ Talyc was bemused. ‘But he helped us! He provided you with the Holocron that kept you alive. Lian trusted him.’
Fane shrugged. ‘All I know is that they want to organise a trial and Lian will lure Void to the Crypt.’
* * *
Lian sensed Void in the Force when he arrived at the Crypt. He sensed the Sith lord was guarded, yet eager and sorrowful. Lian sensed him descend. He took his lightsaber in his hand and stood at the ready. When Lord Void entered the chamber, Lian used the Force to shut the door behind him. It rolled into place and anchored itself at Lian’s command.
Lord Void stood for a moment, staring at Lian. ‘There is no need for you to fight me. I have not come as your enemy.’
Lian studied him for a moment. ‘You lied to me, Void.’ Lian raised his voice. ‘I trusted you; I vouched for you. We had an alliance.’
‘And we still can!’
Lian pointed at the Holocron, feeling his anger rise. ‘We all put our trust in you, and then I find out that you are Relsor’s father. You created a monster!’
Lord Void closed his eyes and bowed his head. ‘I know.’
‘Relsor killed countless innocent lives; Jedi, Mandalorians, bystanders, innocent people dying just from his mere existence.’
‘Sith also died at his hands,’ said Lord Void, raising his voice somewhat, his expression pained. ‘Don’t think I don’t know that. But that was his doing. I did not kill all those people.’
‘I’m not so sure the galaxy will see it that way,’ said Lian.
Lord Void shook his head. ‘It’s not like I just one day decided to create a being who would become what he became. It’s not like I just went to Ziost and created him through a ritual.’ He leaned forward; his tone was indignant. ‘I had a wife, and I loved her.’
He stared at Lian, his eyes intense, and Lian could sense the sorrow within him.
Lord Void sighed and calmed. ‘You know, the Sith are not the emotionless beings Jedi claim we are. We feel, we love, it’s a passion that fuels us.’ Lord Void’s shoulder slumped. ‘I was young and foolish, but I wanted a child. My wife wanted a child. We were desperate. We were simply unable to conceive. We gave it a lot of thought, and I wanted to provide for her what her heart desired.’ Lian nodded, understanding the emotion. ‘We went to Ziost and underwent a ritual, but we also made love.’ Lord Void’s eyes softened. Lian had never seen him so saddened. ‘But the ritual was a mistake. I knew it the moment she was with child; and it drove her mad. I tried to ignore it; I lied to myself. And when Relsor was born, she went crazy with madness from the dark side of his malady. I for some reason was immune.’
‘Could your immunity be from having been the one to initiate the ritual?’ Lian was deducing based on what little understanding he had of Sith alchemy. ‘I mean, did you initiate the ritual?’
Lord Void nodded. ‘Relsor’s malady cost my wife her life.’
‘I thought you said you killed her,’ said Lian, recalling Void’s defence against Awgro’s claims of Void wanting to claim the Crypt.
‘I did. When I realised that Relsor was making her sick, I told her. I thought we could do something, heal him, but she didn’t want to hear anything about it. She went mad with rage and tried to kill me.’ Lord Void closed his eyes again and Lian saw a tear run down his face. ‘I held her in my arms for a long time after that duel. I have never cried that much in my entire life. It haunts me to this day. That’s when I knew that Relsor had to be destroyed.’
‘I’m sorry,’ said Lian. Void’s story was heartbreaking to hear. He clipped his lightsaber to his belt and took a few steps forward. ‘So what happened between deciding to kill Relsor and actually doing it?’ he asked gently.
‘Lord Void looked up at Lian. ‘He was my son. You know what it’s like to be father to a child. I did not have the heart to kill him myself. So I entrusted the task to his uncle.’ Void’s expression grew stern. ‘Another mistake.’
‘Darth Gourd,’ said Lian, understanding.
Lord Void nodded. ‘Gourd lied to me, and lied to Relsor, claiming both his parents had been killed, claiming both had been Chiss.’ He snorted. ‘He probably thought Relsor would be more loyal and devoted to him if that were the case. And look where that led him.’
Lord Void turned to look at the tall tree that stood at the side of the room and walked to it. He leaned forward on the tree pot, bowing his head. He sighed. ‘Darth Gourd hid him, raised him, trained him. Thus betraying my trust.’
‘It must have been a shock to find out that Relsor lived,’ said Lian.
Void turned to sit on the edge of the sturdy pot. ‘A part of me was glad to know it, another part dismayed. I knew what Relsor was capable of, and I feared what he could become. That was why I was so willing, so ready, to align myself with the Jedi who would destroy him. I knew that I could not be the one to do it.’
Lord Void paused. Lian walked to him and sat down next to him.
‘You know, I destroyed everything on Ziost except for the records of what had happened and hid them in one of my many safe houses. Relsor must have found that safe house. I’m not sure why he didn’t announce the news to the entire galaxy.’
‘He must’ve just found out recently,’ said Lian.
‘I sent Awgro on his ship so that someone could keep an eye on him because I wanted to know how my son was doing. Another mistake for which I am also regretful. It seems Awgro learnt a few things from Relsor, which led him on this path to wanting to kill Talyc in order to claim the Crypt.’
‘Well, Awgro’s turn against you and the rest of the Empire isn’t anything anyone could have predicted.’
‘Nor was creating a child who would not be the same as any other child,’ said Void. He sighed again. ‘He looked so peaceful…as he lay there dead last night. I touched him, took his hand. I wanted to take him into my arms, hold him like I had held him when he was a baby. Kiss his brow, like when I gave him up to Gourd. I had already said my goodbyes and mourned the death of my son a long time ago, but I wish it could have been different.’
‘That’s why you went to fight on Relsor’s flagship,’ said Lian, ‘you needed to make sure he was dead, but you also needed closure and to part from him once and for all, one last time.’
‘Through victory, my chains are broken!’ Void shook his head once. ‘Your Grand Master probably thought I was relishing in Fane’s victory, but I was not. My chains to Relsor had finally been broken.’
‘Why didn’t you tell me any of this sooner?’ asked Lian.
‘Would it have changed what he was? Would it have made a difference? No.’
‘It must have been strange to see him when he confronted the Dark Council,’ said Lian.
‘It was unnerving, I admit. But he did not know me then. I would have known if he had.’ Void laughed humourlessly. ‘He taunted us, tested us. I sat on the edge of my seat, doing everything I could to conceal my emotions. To conceal them from him as much as from the other Council members. I was bewildered. An enemy had come to the Dark Council to force us into an alliance and he was my son whom I thought was dead. The news of the events on Coruscant hadn’t even reached Dromund Kaas yet, let alone what had happened on Mandalore. My son, alive, and dangerously threatening.’
‘I’m sorry, Void,’ said Lian, and he truly meant it. ‘I can’t imagine the chagrin you must have gone through. I just wish I’d known before.’
‘I did not want to taint our alliance, and I did not want anyone knowing. I knew the truth, and Gourd had known the truth. As far as I knew, I was the only one left alive to carry the burden of this truth with me. An incomplete truth, as it turned out.’
The two sat silent for a moment. Finally Void stood. ‘What will you do now that you know the full story?’
Lian sighed and winced. ‘I’m under orders to keep you here.’
Void’s eyes grew wide and stern. ‘Who have you told?’
‘I contacted the Jedi Council, who contacted Mandalore, and then Shadie got in touch with Usharr. Did he know? He is your friend.’
‘No, he did not. No one knew.’
‘The Jedi Council, Dark Council and a small council put together by Mandalore have agreed to come together to put you on trial. I am to guard you for the duration of the proceedings.’
‘You do realise that my career as a Sith Lord and master is over. The Dark Council will not take me back. I will be lucky if they don’t try to kill me.’
‘You don’t know that. And you have other options. Tell your story to the Council; let them see the side of you you have finally revealed to me. Let the Jedi see you are more like my father was, than the enemy they might think you are.’ Lian paused. ‘I’m sorry I panicked. I felt betrayed.’
‘I understand. I do not blame you, you did as I would have.’ Void took a step towards Lian. ‘I am sorry, you know.’
‘It’s all right.’ Lian stood. ‘I understand now why you did what you did.’ He smiled in sympathy. ‘You know, I didn’t think that after becoming the Crypt’s guardian, I would be able to conceive a child, and the joy it brought me to know that Nriwe was pregnant… You just wanted to feel that same joy. Look, my anger towards you was caused by the anger I have towards Relsor.’ He pointed a thumb at his maimed lekku. ‘He took much from many of us who still live. But it seems he took the most from you.’
Lord Void and Lian stared at each other. Lian could feel the lord’s emotions swirling and fluctuating, mixed feelings.
‘I sense relief,’ Lian said at last.
‘It pains me to remember, but it comforts me that I have someone with whom I can share what I lived.’
‘If you want you can have a look at the Holocron and what’s within it,’ Lian offered.
‘Thank you.’ Void nodded once, smiling grimly. ‘So, what’s next?’
‘We wait for the councils to contact me, we put you on trial, and hope that the others are as understanding as I am.’
‘All right. That sounds fair.’
“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.