Many clan leaders and seconds gathered in the Mandalorian fortress-bunker. Fane noticed several holomonitors were set up, as he and Talyc entered the room. He assumed each would serve as a lens to the other councils. Each council had agreed on a spokesperson who would ask a few initial questions after being presented with the issue at hand. The only information they had right now was that Lord Void was Relsor’s father.
Once the initial proceedings would be complete, each council would meet separately to discuss the matter further and form new questions. Eventually, Fane assumed, they would each decide on what to do about Lord Void. Given they all knew very little right now, it was hard to judge, but Fane knew that without Void’s help, he might not be alive right now.
Fane closed his eyes and took a deep breath. ‘This is not how I imagined I would continue to celebrate my victory.’ Talyc smiled at him, caressing his hand with his own.
Fane heard arguing in the hall and Shadie’s voice came out loudest. ‘This is my body, my energy, my health. I should be able to decide how to heal it in the way I choose!’
‘But it’s too dangerous!’ insisted Knarf, as they veered the corner and entered the briefing room.
‘Dangerous for whom?’ Shadie looked quite angry.
‘You could turn to the dark side!’ said Knarf. Shadie looked incredulous. ‘Not by your doing, but I’m worried that the dark side could influence you. I don’t like that you need it to heal.’
‘I need both to heal, but I still need to master some of the new dark side abilities I’ve gained in order to recover all the energy that Relsor took from me.’
‘Uh, what’s going on?’ asked Fane.
‘Shadie wants to go to Korriban!’ said Knarf.
‘Usharr has invited me to complete my training with him at the academy and we can watch the proceedings of Lord Void’s trial from there with him. He’s going to stay on Korriban and follow via holo,’ Shadie explained. She turned back to Knarf. ‘The dark side won’t corrupt me. It will help me. It’s a tool!’
‘It’s an awfully dangerous tool.’ Knarf crossed his arms.
‘So you’ve said!’ Shadie sat down and put her head in her hands. ‘I’m just so exhausted and drained. I just want to gain back the energy I used to have. Relsor’s death did not bring back what he took from me. Master Usharr can help me utilise the dark side without me becoming a dark side user. I just need to learn to incorporate it with the light side that I have mastered.’
Fane put a hand on Shadie’s shoulder and sat down next to her. ‘Relsor has taken much from everyone. Devastation is manifested in different ways.’
‘Bes’laar,’ said Talyc, ‘do you trust your Lady?’
‘Then trust her now. She knows what she needs. You’ll be there to protect her, right?’ Knarf nodded. ‘Then if it can help…’ Talyc and Knarf sat down.
‘I’m sorry, my love,’ Knarf said gently. He took her hand. ‘If you feel you need to go to Korriban, then I’ll go with you and make sure you’re safe.’
‘That’s what I’d like,’ said Shadie.
Fane and Talyc exchanged a relieved smile. Fane would’ve hated to see his friends let this brim their happiness together.
Talyc pointed at Knarf’s head. ‘Letting your hair grow?’
Knarf put a hand on his head. ‘Uh, I know, looks awful, right? I haven’t had the chance to shave my hair yet.’
Talyc shurgged. ‘I mean it’s not a bad look. Just a little…inconsistent?’
Knarf cuckled, shaking his head. ‘You know, before I knew you all, I had long hair.’
Talyc perked up. ‘Hey, you could grow it long again. There are some Mandalorian styles I think might suit you.’
Knarf seemed to ponder that in his head.
Brenum and Trylia arrived. They sat down behind the rest of the Kandera group. Brenum leaned forward.
‘We’ve spoken to Nriwe, who spoke with Lian this morning.’ Brenum looked around and whispered. ‘She didn’t say much but she shared that there is a lot more to the story than we originally thought. Apparently, Lian has spoken at length with Void.’
‘And what more did she say?’ asked Talyc.
Brenum shrugged. ‘She wouldn’t tell us what she knew, but she hoped Lord Void would get a fair trial.’
‘Wait, does this mean he’s not Relsor’s father?’ Knarf asked confused.
‘It means that he is not at fault in the same manner we may think,’ said Trylia.
‘Where’s Nriwe now?’ asked Shadie.
‘She didn’t want to leave Thera with just anyone during the proceedings so she decided to opt out,’ said Brenum. ‘She’ll know what’s being said. Lian will fill her in.’
Talyc nodded. ‘I guess having a kid changes your priorities.’ He smiled.
‘Another reason why I need to heal,’ said Shadie. ‘I don’t want that opportunity of being a mother to pass me by. I need to be able to provide for myself and for my child. I can’t even provide for myself right now with such low reserves.’
‘I get that,’ said Fane. ‘Hey, I wouldn’t mind being an uncle to more than one kid, even if it’s not really by blood relation.’
Mandalore cleared his throat loud enough for all to hear and the room fell silent. The Mandalorian leader stood to the side of the monitors, at enough of an angle to see them, with a holocam facing him. Mandalore’s wife stood guard nearby, her arms crossed, as she surveyed the room.
Fane brought his attention to the holomonitors as Grand Master Herl’unik, along with Masters Shargall and Quar’zun, appeared on one of them, with Supreme Chancellor Emain on another. A Chiss woman with the logo of the Ascendency behind her appeared on another monitor, as well as a Hutt on a fourth monitor, and a lean-faced umber-skinned woman clad in black robes on the fifth. She introduced herself as the newly appointed Head of the Dark Council, Lady Gofaylia.
‘They didn’t waste any time replacing Void,’ Shadie whispered.
In a sixth monitor appeared Lian and Lord Void. Lian bowed politely before addressing the councils.
‘Thank you for meeting, councils and members,’ he said. ‘I appreciate you all taking the time to resolve this new issue that has arisen. I also appreciate that, while some of you are enemies, you have agreed to speak as equals during this trial.’
‘We are not all enemies,’ said Lady Gofaylia. ‘I believe there is still a temporary alliance in place, and an exchange, which to this date, has only gone one way.’ She leaned forward. ‘I merely wish to remind Mandalore that the Empire will send a team to collect what is duly ours.’
‘Charming, isn’t she?’ Knarf said under his breath.
‘Yes, of course,’ said Mandalore to Lady Gofaylia, surprisingly keeping his cool. ‘I have not forgotten the Empire’s assistance.’
Lord Void made a sound in his throat. Fane recalled it was Void’s doing that there had been an alliance in the first place, if not Usharr’s. And this Dark Lady of the Sith seemed to relish in Lord Void’s reaction.
‘New information has come to light,’ continued Lian. ‘And it is imperative that we all learn this information. I will let Lord Void explain the full story to you on how it is that he created Relsor.’
Fane listened intently to Void’s story. He couldn’t help but feel sadness for the man. So he wasn’t all-evil after all, as Fane had feared.
Mandalore was the first to ask a question. ‘How do you account for all the lives that were lost throughout the years because of your son?’
‘Relsor killed those people,’ said Void. ‘I did not.’
‘How come you never stepped forth with the truth once you found out your son still lived?’ asked Supreme Chancellor Emain. ‘I understand the secrecy following your tragic ordeal, but surely, once Relsor was a grown and trained Sith, you knew how much of a danger he could be to the galaxy.’
‘I did not think it mattered for others to know,’ replied Void. ‘He was a danger to us all, that was all. But… I had hoped, in my shock upon seeing him alive before me, that his malady might have faded over time. It was foolish of me, I know, and I knew it could not be so. And that hope was killed when he unleashed his might before the Dark Council. But you must understand my dilemma. I judged wrong on how to proceed. The same way I judged wrong when I failed to be strong enough to kill my own child. I am sorry.’
‘Do not apologise for the emotions that make you a more likeable being,’ said Emain. ‘You faced a difficult decision. I commend you for your strength through it all, though I cannot ignore the threat Relsor became and how you still kept silent about what you knew of him and his existence.’
‘I understand,’ said Void. ‘Thank you.’
‘How do we know you or anyone else,’ said Grand Master Herl’unik, ‘will not try to create another being in this manner?’
‘I destroyed everything I had used for the ritual,’ said Lord Void. ‘No one knows how I did it and no one ever will. That is not something I am willing to share; I know some who might try their hand at it themselves.’
Lady Gofaylia scoffed. ‘Is that supposed to earn you favour with the Dark Council you betrayed?’
‘Betrayed?’ Void looked incredulous. ‘I made the Dark Council better! Restored its former glory.’
‘Void,’ said Lian, ‘don’t rise to jabs.’
‘If I may,’ the Chiss woman said, ‘if I understand correctly, once you found out Relsor was too dangerous, you set out to have him killed. Correct?’
‘That is correct,’ replied Void.
‘Then as far as the Chiss Ascendency is concerned, the error and failure was from one of our own, Darth Gourd, whom we had already deemed our enemy and exiled. And he met his punishment when the very being he hid from you, Void, killed him. With Relsor and the threat of his malady destroyed, I don’t see any reason to dwell on the past. We should look to the future now.’
‘Thank you,’ said Void. ‘I appreciate your understanding.’ The Chiss woman smiled.
‘How do you explain Relsor finding out the truth about you?’ asked Mandalore.
‘I kept records of what I did and what had happened, perhaps for sentimental value, partly as a reminder to myself to never fail in this way again,’ said Void. ‘I scattered the information throughout my safe houses.’ He held up his hand quickly. ‘No, I will not reveal their locations to you. But one of them, where most of the information was kept, is where I gave up my son to his uncle. Relsor must have found, once he detected Gourd’s lies, where his uncle had gone and followed the trail. Gourd had been there, records of his hyperspace jumps must have been found. I’m not sure. But it must be the link that led Relsor to my safe-house to find out the truth about his parents.’
There was a pause. Then: ‘Did Master Usharr know about this?’ asked Mandalore.
‘No,’ replied Void. ‘We were friends, but I had not confided in him what had happened. All he knew was that my wife had gone mad and had tried to kill me. He did not know of my son. If he suspected, he never said.’
‘And why should the galaxy not deem you as guilty as Haar’elso’rothmor?’ asked Master Herl’unik.
‘Had Darth Gourd upheld his end of the deal he had with Lord Void,’ the Chiss woman said, ‘we would not be having this trial right now. I fail to see how a Jedi who leans more on forgiveness cannot see the logic the Chiss do.’
Master Herl’unik scowled at her while the Hutt who’d remained silent up until now bellowed a laugh.
‘Grand Master,’ said Void, ‘you and I were there on his ship, you and I fought side by side, you saw me defending your fellow Jedi. We ensured Relsor was dead together. You know, you sensed, that I am not a Sith who wants all the glory, all the power. I achieve my goals through tact and diplomacy. I did not kill all those people that Relsor did. I cannot be made responsible for his wrongdoings. I can only be judged for my mistakes, my lies, my deceit. I understand the position you are all in, but please understand where I’m coming from.’
The three Jedi masters nodded as everyone fell silent.
‘When I took over the Dark Council,’ Void explained, ‘I did not do it by destroying my rivals, I did it by providing the necessary proof that I was better suited, through tact. I had battle knowledge and I was wise enough to lead the Sith to many victories throughout my lifetime. I expect the same from you to determine my future.’
Void stood tall. ‘Please keep in mind that when Usharr informed me he had been in contact with the Jedi, I took risks in order to form a plan with him to expose Relsor to the Empire. Through Usharr, I was put in contact with the Jedi.’ Lord Void paused. ‘The truth? I intercepted the Krayt Dragon and met and spoke with Jedi Master Lian and Jedi Brenum and Jedi Trylia in order to discuss Relsor and the alliance he had with the Empire, in order to form an alliance between me and the Jedi and with Mandalore. That alliance was kept secret for reasons the Empire should understand. When Cypher Five saved Clan Leader Talyc Kandera from my apprentice Awgro after he went rogue, and brought him to Dromund Kaas, I took the opportunity to make that alliance public. I ensured that Talyc Kandera was treated with care and respect, for he was not our prisoner, we merely ensured certain protocols were respected.’
There was a long pause. ‘Should all parents be made accountable for what their children do?’ asked Void. ‘Or children for what their parents or siblings do? How many people would have been convicted of crimes they never committed had that been the case? Had Jedi Fane been as guilty as his brother, he would not have been here to save the galaxy from the malady that was created when two lovers simply wanted to conceive a child in order to complete their lives and fill it with joy.’
‘Jedi Fane would also not be here to save the galaxy had we not forgiven him his dip to the dark side, despite that he killed my father,’ said Lian. ‘Fane’s dip to the dark side is what connected us and gave us each our powers. These combined powers saved Shadie once; it saved Fane as well. It allowed him to defeat Relsor and survive. It allowed me to become the master I am today. I ask that you all consider this when judging Lord Void. I did not have all the information when I first contacted you, but now I see an innocent man living with the guilt of a past mistake that haunts him and breaks his heart every day of his life. I stand by what I said last night. I trust him. I hope you will come to the same conclusions as me.’
‘The Sith lord is difficult to read,’ said Master Shargall. ‘A Miraluka can see a Force aura, yet Lord Void is a master at concealment, it seems. I do not know if I can trust that which I sense, nor that which I don’t sense.’
‘I admit this is a unique circumstance, but Lord Void could be made an ally,’ said Master Quar’zun. ‘He knows much of the dark side and we Jedi vie to fight it. However, we cannot without fully understanding it first. If Void is to atone for his mistakes, why not have him share the knowledge he has about the dark side, so we may learn what he knows of Sith alchemy, so that we Jedi may better understand our enemies in the future? Relsor is defeated, but his followers remain. We would be wise to adopt a more adapted way of fighting them.’
Master Herl’unik took a moment. ‘That would be very unorthodox for the Jedi. It might be more dangerous for us to have that knowledge.’
Master Quar’zun shrugged, then nodded. ‘A fair point. But a better understanding, all the same, would be beneficial.’
‘I would be willing to share my knowledge of the dark side if it is necessary,’ said Void, ‘but I will not share anything regarding Sith alchemy to anyone, for it must never be done. No being should have that knowledge.’
‘A pity,’ said Lady Gofaylia, ‘that such knowledge would go to waste.’
‘A question,’ the Hutt said at last in Huttese. ‘Does this change any trade routes or business deals established prior to this day?’ Everyone expressed that it should not change anything at all. ‘Then what does it matter? Relsor is gone, so is his malady. I am healthy again; my business is thriving.’
‘A simple outlook from a simple being,’ said Lady Gofaylia. ‘But I suppose the Hutts care more for credits than for their lives.’
The Hutt began to grumble, but Mandalore cleared his throat loudly to drown him out. If the Hutt issued any insults, no one heard them.
‘We need to discuss this matter amongst ourselves,’ said Grand Master Herl’unik.
‘So do we all,’ Lady Gofaylia agreed.
‘I suggest we allow each of our councils to discuss at length, debate, and come up with what we feel is the best course of action,’ said Emain. ‘Then we can reconvene and discuss these thoughts together.’
‘I agree with Emain,’ said Mandalore. The Chiss and Hutt echoed that agreement. ‘How about we reconvene next week. That should give us all enough time to process this information and discuss and judge to the best of our abilities.’
‘That sounds fair,’ said Lian. He and the others chimed out and the Holomonitors went dark.
‘That gives us time to go to Korriban and come back,’ said Knarf.
‘I think we’ll be there for more than a week,’ said Shadie, ‘but it definitely is a good time to go. I think Usharr could use our council as much as we can use his. He has not lost a friend, but the man he trusted as the Head of the Dark Council has already been replaced. I hope it won’t affect his position on the Dark Council.’
Fane nodded. ‘I have to agree. I think the Sith’ll conclude he didn’t know anything about it, but if anything goes awry, it’ll be good for you two to be there. He can take care of himself on the most part, but it can’t hurt to reinforce that alliance the Empire has with Mandalore to remind everyone of Lord Void’s involvement in our victory.’
‘I agree with what Lian said,’ said Brenum. ‘I met Void and he was secretive, reserved, but he has always only helped us.’
‘He also protected me when Relsor and I met with the Dark Council,’ said Trylia. ‘He never ousted me. And he informed you about my whereabouts. Only an ally does such things. An enemy does not care for the safety of others, or their lives.’
‘Well, it definitely puts a lot into perspective,’ said Talyc. ‘Part of me feels that without his stupidity, I would not have been… but that was Relsor’s fault. I’m trying to project my guilt and anger towards what I lived because of Relsor to someone who still lives.’
‘It’s okay,’ said Shadie. ‘I do that a lot too actually.’
‘I know!’ Talyc teased. Fane chuckled as Shadie made a mock stunned face.
Fane didn’t know how the other clans would view it, but he had mixed feelings about Void, though he had always had mixed feelings about him. The man had helped him live, had helped him survive by sharing the regeneration secret. Even if Usharr had cracked the code, it had been Void who had searched and wanted it to be found. Both had played a part, and Fane would not forget that. He felt he owed Void much gratitude.
* * *
Lord Void sat down, feeling exhausted. Lian’s full lekku twitched, while the other one merely swayed briefly. He looked concerned.
‘I’m sorry you had to relive all that again,’ the Twi’lek said.
Lord Void waved his hand dismissively. ‘I’m getting used to it. Tsss, Lady Gofaylia. They couldn’t put Usharr as the new Head?’
‘Maybe they judged he might know more than he was letting on?’
‘No, and I know his position in the Empire is safe. He is as calculated as I am. But Lady Gofaylia, she’s not one you want to mess with. Did you see how she spoke to Mandalore? She wants her beskar, and she wants it soon.’ He shook his head. ‘I’ll be lucky if she doesn’t put a bounty on my head. I’m pretty sure the Empire will want me exiled.’ He looked up at Lian. ‘How do you think the others took the truth?’
‘Well, I know that my friends will most likely have the same opinion of you as they did before finding out about you being Relsor’s father,’ said Lian. ‘Fane told me how grateful he was towards you and Usharr for the regeneration ability. That won’t be disregarded.’
‘What about the councils?’ asked Void. He felt discouraged, as though his life purpose had gone. He did not know what he would do after these trials, or what he wanted to do. He had no direction for the moment, but that was all right.
‘Mandalore knows you played a vital part in helping with the fight against Relsor. Many convicts and criminals become Mandalorians, seeking refuge, asylum, or a fresh start. They will sympathise and understand, though I don’t know how they will judge you. Emain sounds like he wants to claim your innocence, but wants to sound as though he is looking at all sides of the credichip. The Chiss and the Hutt pretty much made it clear that they had no qualms with you. I think the Republic might need you to prove yourself to them, which is the best you can hope for and the better outcome. As for the Jedi Council, I need to speak with them, but you showed today a side of you that is no different than how my father was. They will recognise that you are not a monster. You feel, you care, you grieve, you love. You were raised with a different philosophy, that’s all. They know they cannot convert you to the light side, but they recognise that the dark side, as they see it, does not have a complete hold on you. They also know Shadie was Sith before she became a Jedi.’
‘I will not become a Jedi.’
‘No one is expecting you to,’ said Lian smiling. ‘I’m just saying, you are not the Sith they thought you were and you are more like a Jedi than you realise.’ Lian sat down next to Void. ‘I think the future looks very promising. I also think it’s good to have this truth exposed.’
‘I hope you’re right, Lian. I hope you’re right.’
“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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