Brenum had told the Mandalorian spaceport authorities that they were here on business with several offers. Of course, he omitted to mention they were Jedi. To go about more unnoticed once they’d docked, they had dressed into more simple and casual clothes; no obvious robes labelling them as Jedi, though a small jacket hid the presence of their lightsabers.
Searching with the Force was no use here on Mandalore, many used ysalamiri in these dangerous and treacherous times, and many places held many of them, so trying to detect Knarf would be impossible, so they would have to search the old fashioned way: by foot.
They walked about, heads low, getting unwanted sneers of unwelcome. They entered a tavern, only to be kicked out again by a brawl that was already going on and had nothing to do with any of them. A large Tradoshan waved his baton about as other patrons were being pushed or thrown out if they tried to meddle in the fight that did not concern them, yet which seemed to include the whole lot of patrons present. So the three Jedi continued across a field.
‘What does Knarf’s armour look like?’ asked Brenum.
‘I forget. I had more important things to worry about at the time than its details… like when was I going to see him again.’ She paused. She had replied more harshly than she had wanted to. She softened her voice. ‘It has a jetpack.’
‘Great, that’s precise,’ replied Brenum, though Shadie could tell he was purposely exaggerating, to let her know no offence had been taken. ‘What about the colour?’
‘Well Talyc’s is brown and purple.’
‘That narrows it all down…’
‘Stop being so exaggeratingly…’ said Trylia, as they entered a tapcaf. She let her sentence trail off.
It grew quiet as they entered, conversations ceasing and turning into hushed tones and whispers of suspicion as heads turned their way. A green Twi’lek leaned towards a red Twi’lek as they stared at them and began speaking in hushed tones.
‘Something tells me we’re not going to be welcomed here either,’ whispered Brenum.
‘And you’re absolutely right,’ replied a Mandalorian, standing up and walking towards them. He wore a charcoal and silver armour. He inclined his head. ‘Jedi are most unwanted guests on Mandalore. Always cause so much trouble.’ The three of them stirred. The Mandalorian laughed. ‘Don’t think you can fool me, Jedi. I have hunted and killed your kind before. I can smell you from light years away. Why have you come to Mandalore?’
‘We seek a man who goes by the name of Bes’laar,’ said Shadie.
‘Never heard of him,’ replied the Mandalorian.
‘He hangs about with Talyc.’
‘No,’ he said flatly, dryly, ‘doesn’t ring a bell.’ He abruptly changed the subject. ‘Tell me, Jedi, you honour your codes, no?’ Shadie nodded. ‘Well, we honour ours. You are on Mandalorian grounds, you shall honour our codes.’
‘And that is?’
‘A melee! Not against me, of course, the fight would be too unfair.’ This drew laughter from the ”audience”. ‘But against one of my men. No Force powers allowed, and to ensure that…’
He looked at the Mando behind the counter and nodded. Moments later, several ysalamiri were placed around the tapcaf. Shadie felt the Force leave her and heard Trylia gasp as though for air.
‘I don’t trust Jedi to not cheat, you see,’ continued the Mandalorian. ‘Oh, and no lightsabers either.’
Shadie scowled, but did not object. Finding Knarf was her number one priority now, whatever it took. She unclipped her lightsaber from her utility belt and handed it over to Trylia. The Mandalorian, who acted like the leader of this tapcaf, handed her his vibrosword.
‘You fight to disarm. If you win, we help you find your friend. If you lose, you’re on your own.’ Shadie nodded. ‘Do I have any volunteers?’
Several armoured Mandalorians stood and stepped forward. Shadie scanned the room with her eyes, trying to see if she could recognise any of them. There was one with green armour, one with blue and silver, one with blue and black and who clearly looked like he wasn’t human under that armour, one with black and red armour, another with yellow and brown with green, one wore all white, another with purple and red, one with blue and charcoal, but none with purple and brown. And all who stood there wore no jetpacks.
The Mandalorian leader, looked at the Mandos waiting to melee with Shadie. He pointed at one with blue and charcoal armour.
‘You, show this Jedi how the Mando fight.’
‘With pleasure!’ The Mando let his ”r” trail for a while. It was unpleasantly eerie, especially through the helmet’s speaker, coming out tinnier than anything else.
He set aside his repeater rifle and took a stance with his vibroblade. Shadie took a two handed grip on the vibrosword she held. How could she predict this Mandalorian’s moves if she could not channel the Force? Granted her weapon was slightly longer, but she had lost her most dependable weapon, the Force. She would have to rely on skill alone.
Bending both knees, his balance centred, the Mandalorian came at her, ducking as she swiped and twirling his way behind her, surprising her enough to cause her to stagger without even hitting her. He chuckled to himself. Such arrogance. They exchanged some parries and hits, advancing and retreating. Every time, the Mandalorian seemed to be showing off.
‘This amuses you, Mando?’
‘What a pompous prat,’ Brenum said.
They duelled some more, never truly getting any advantages on the other. Finally, Shadie managed to lock blades with him, seizing her opportunity to try and disarm him, but he twisted the blades and hers went flying to the ground. A cheer roared across the room.
Laughing, the Mandalorian advanced on Shadie with his blade in a semi-feint, and Shadie, taken aback by his victory and his quick pretend attack move, lost balance. He caught her with one arm as she fell, holding her while she leaned backwards, as if dipping her.
‘Looks like I win the melee,’ he said. ‘But if you ask me, you won…’ he paused dramatically, ‘…my affections long ago.’
Shadie’s heart leapt. ‘Knarf?’
He let the vibroblade drop to the floor, and while still holding Shadie, took off his helmet.
‘Yes, my Lady?’
His smile was triumphant, amused, his mouth ajar, his tongue gliding across his teeth in the manner he always did. He was so handsome, clean-shaven. His face brought such joy and comfort and Shadie didn’t need the Force to feel some of the strong energies that they were both feeling at that moment. His eyes, deep and brown, pierced her soul as they always did. She laughed.
Knarf kissed her long and fierce, and it felt good, refreshing, a relief. And he kept kissing her, as though somehow he knew she wanted him to continue, and she felt their passion.
‘Oh, come on, get a room,’ said a familiar voice. Shadie stood properly as Knarf took her hand, and she saw Talyc, arms crossed, helmet in one hand under his arm, a huge smile slapped onto his face.
‘Oh, Knarf.’ Shadie took him in a hug and she began to cry, suddenly taken by all her emotions.
Knarf took off his gloves and put a warm, gentle hand on her face. ‘What is it, Shadie. What’s wrong?’
‘Master Juun is dead,’ said Brenum. Knarf looked at him, shock in his eyes.
‘I’m so sorry.’ He shook his head in disbelief.
‘That’s not half of it,’ said Brenum.
‘It was Fane, a former Jedi, who killed him,’ said Trylia, ‘who had defected to Kromus because… his brother was Lahnius and Shadie had killed him.’
‘Wait a parsec,’ said Talyc, ‘you’re saying Kromus’s new apprentice is Lahnius’s brother who was a Jedi and turned evil? The brother of the man who took a leg off my friend and nearly killed him?’
‘Yes,’ said Trylia. ‘He killed Master Juun. We… We infiltrated what we thought was Kromus’s flagship. But… The Jedi and the Republic… We were outnumbered…’
As Knarf stood holding Shadie in his arms, while she leaned her head on his shoulders, eyes closed, Trylia recounted briefly what happened at the battle.
‘Come,’ said Knarf, taking Shadie by the hand ‘sit and have something to drink.’
They sat at a table; he put his jetpack on the ground. It had been sitting there; Shadie could hear the ysalamir nibbling at some food. Knarf sat with Shadie across from Talyc, Brenum and Trylia. The Mandalorian in charcoal and silver who had set up the melee approached and sat down next to Shadie.
‘I heard what Kelbourn did to help you the first time you killed Kromus. Bes’laar… I mean Knarf, had pretty convincing arguments to get Mandalorians involved the first time. I’ve heard a lot about you and your cause, Shadie. But why should Mandalorians help the Jedi again?’
‘I am not asking for help if you don’t wish to give it. We were outnumbered, our plan failed. I simply was here to reunite with my lover.’ She took Knarf’s hand.
‘You don’t understand. I wish to know how helping you will benefit Mandalore?’
Shadie thought a moment. She did not know.
‘It won’t,’ she said at last. ‘That’s the blunt truth. I won’t lie or dress it up. But the Jedi will be indebted to you if you help.’ She shook her head, looking down at the table. ‘But I don’t expect that will be a good enough reason for the Mandalore himself. I’m not sure I even want to try and negotiate with him at all. How can I convince him to join our cause when I’m not even sure I can succeed?’ Knarf stirred, tensing. ‘I’m sorry, but it’s one possible future. And all our efforts will be for nothing if I fail to kill Kromus a second time. And then what? He will conquer the entire galaxy; he won’t stop until he has power over all the worlds. Bottom line is, I must kill Kromus and there will be no victories until he and his holocron are destroyed.’
‘Sincerity and honesty are part of honour,’ said the Mandalorian. ‘And I know what will happen if you fail. As you say, it will not be long before Kromus will conquer each world for his own and rule by fear and domination. And I cannot have that.’
‘Maybe,’ said Brenum, ‘and it’s all good being outspoken as you are, but will the Mandalore be of the same opinion?’ Talyc and Knarf both smiled.
‘Ah, then you are in luck,’ said the Mando. ‘For I am Mandalore.’
Trylia’s eyes grew larger than usual.
‘I watched you fight the melee, Shadie, fight to disarm, not wound or kill, using moves that would not harm your opponent.’
‘Thank goodness,’ said Knarf smiling. ‘Of course, that wasn’t really me fighting you, it was Bes’laar, my alter-ego.’ Talyc laughed at the joke.
‘You fight with honour, and you respect our codes,’ said Mandalore. ‘When I first met Bes’laar, it was by chance, and Talyc informed me of his true identity. The knowledge of Knarf and the distinction between him and Bes’laar changed nothing. He told me about your past, how you grew up as a Sith and remarkably turned to the light and became a Jedi. That alone is quite admirable. I myself grew up with awful parents and ran away from home and came to Mandalore, grew up here from my teenage years. Today I am the Mandalore.’ He paused. ‘I will help you and the Jedi in your fight against Darth Kromus. But you must promise to repay your dept when the time comes that Mandalore needs Jedi by its side.’
‘I promise you,’ said Shadie.
‘Then I shall return to Coruscant with you.’ He stood and left the table.
‘Wow, the Mandalore himself,’ said Brenum.
‘And,’ said Talyc, pointing at Knarf, ‘you’ve got to admit, you’d have never guessed it was Knarf behind that armour. I trained him myself.’
‘It is impressive,’ said Shadie, ‘but I’ve been impressed by his more…’
‘Please, spare us the details,’ said Brenum.
‘Hahehe, you should see me with a repeater rifle,’ said Knarf. ‘A few concussion grenades… I’ve got a lot more with which to impress you, my Lady.’
‘You’ll have to show me then.’
Shadie and Knarf were exchanging teasing smiles, Knarf’s mouth ajar.
‘This is the part where we make ourselves scarce,’ said Talyc, nudging Brenum and Trylia to leave the table. Shadie and Knarf laughed. ‘See you on Coruscant.’
* * *
Back at her Coruscant quarters, Shadie tried to clear her mind of worry and everything else boggling it.
‘You shouldn’t let Kromus worry you so much,’ said Knarf.
‘You’re one to talk,’ replied Shadie. ‘You wear that armour all the time and that jetpack never leaves your side!’
Knarf made a half-smiled shrug. Back on Mandalore, he’d been too frightened to step away from the ysalamir’s bubble, so they’d made love without the sensations of the Force. For Shadie, it was rather strange. She felt their energies, but she longed to feel them fully, amplified, completely. It had not been the same. Knarf had felt it also, which deepened her suspicions regarding him being Force-sensitive. But he was still too scared that Kromus would detect his presence if he was not continuously in the ysalamir’s bubble. Shadie had been a bit frightened as well, but not anymore. If Kromus was going to find out that Knarf still lived, then he was going to find out. Why should they live in fear just to please Kromus?
‘My point is, I’m sure the meeting tomorrow will go well.’
Shadie looked up at him and smiled. She stood from the bed and walked towards Knarf. She felt the Force leave her as she stepped into the ysalamir’s bubble. She was starting to get used to it, though Knarf was somewhat sensing what she had in mind, and looked at her in that serious way he usually did when feeling happiness, yet feeling the seriousness of their intense emotions. It was the same way he’d looked at her during that unexpected dance, the same way he looked at her when he kissed her.
Shadie closed the ysalamir’s hatch and took Knarf’s hand. She tugged on it gently and looked at Knarf. She really could tell he knew her intent. She lead him away from the ysalamir’s bubble, he followed without objections and then his energies swarmed her and they felt so good, so pure. It engulfed them both and he breathed in as if he’d just felt something he had not felt for a long time. Shadie needn’t say anything at all; she knew Knarf was feeling the same way she was. Knarf smiled.
‘My Lady, will you help me out of this armour?’ he asked amused.
Shadie gave him an as amused smile. She took a couple steps back and extended her hand. Using the Force, she lifted Knarf off the ground and slowly pulled off his gloves, his boots, his armour, piece by piece, leaving him in regular clothes and set him back down when she was done. Knarf laughed.
‘I wish I could do that!’
‘You could try.’
He grabbed her face with both hands and kissed her. He lifted her up in his arms as she wrapped her legs around his waist and kept kissing him. Although he couldn’t use the Force, Knarf slowly pulled off her clothes, undressing her piece by piece, before he was on top of her and on the bed, undressing himself. The energies enwrapping them, which they had both longed to feel for so long, felt more amazing than even the first time they’d felt them. Knarf’s warm body against Shadie’s felt reassuring, and the way he looked at her seemed to reflect how she felt: passion and serenity combined.
* * *
His eyes opened abruptly. Anger swelled within him.
‘No!’ he said aloud. ‘This cannot be.’
Kromus sent dark energy swirling around his body as he stood from his meditative pose. The energy danced about him, refuelling him as it went back inside him and out again through his fingers.
‘The Mandalorian lied!’
Kromus screamed. He couldn’t figure out how, but he knew Knarf was alive. He could feel his presence in the Force, along with Shadie’s happiness. Or was it more jubilation. None of that would have mattered had he had the reunion he desired. Had Fane listened to his command, Shadie would be back by his side, and the fact that Knarf was still alive wouldn’t matter.
Kromus could not condemn Fane for wanting to prove himself. He would grow powerful indeed. He would do his bidding. Kromus had promised Shadie he would not hurt those whom she loved, but the condition had been that she join him, which she had not, no thanks to Fane, who had yet to think of a Sith name.
Kromus summoned him through the Force. Moments later, the young man entered his master’s chambers, aboard his newly completed ship, which Darth Gourd had so spectacularly flown into the midst of the battle the last time the Jedi had attacked. Gourd’s Sith had worked quickly to complete the dreadnaught.
‘You summoned me, my Master?’ said Fane.
‘Yes, Fane. We have a problem: Agent Knarf lives.’
‘My Lord, I thought a Mandalorian had taken the bounty.’
‘Oh, the Mandalorians are not to be trusted. I want you to go to Coruscant and kill Knarf.’
‘Yes, my Master. I shall leave immediately.’
‘Don’t fail me, my apprentice.’
Fane bowed and left. Kromus noticed two lightsabers hanging at his belt. He should have known. The young man, although he’d built himself his new Sith lightsaber, had not gotten rid of his old one. Perhaps he was awaiting the chance to gather more crystals and change its colour. It was a powerful one that he had constructed himself. But it was his Jedi weapon, not his Sith weapon. He should not keep it thus.
Kromus thought a moment. One assassin failed to kill Knarf once. He wouldn’t let that happen again. He summoned Darth Gourd through the Force.
‘Yes, Lord Kromus,’ said Gourd upon entering the room.
‘I’ve sent Fane to kill Knarf who managed to elude my previous assassins and attempts to kill him. He must be killed at all costs.’
‘You want me to make sure Fane does not fail you?’ The question was said matter-of-factly.
‘No, I want you to remain here with me, Gourd. I want you to send an assassin. They are to kill Knarf. If Fane arrives first, then the assassin is to let him kill Knarf, but if the assassin is to arrive first, tell them not to wait for Fane. Knarf must die; he has slipped by too many times.’
‘What one cannot do alone, two can do better,’ said Gourd. ‘He shall perish, Lord Kromus. I shall find my most skilled assassin and send them off immediately.’
‘Good. There is no time to waste. I must now meditate; Knarf must be in a dark place before he dies. I want him to taste despair and darkness.’
‘I couldn’t agree more.’ Darth Gourd bowed and left, his full-body robes, glistening in the dim light.
Kromus sat back down. Knarf needed a bit of nudging from the dark side, some goading of fears perhaps. Kromus would use the Force to send him vibes from the dark side. Knarf would perish in a dark mind before he would physically die.
‘Knarf,’ said Kromus, ‘you will suffer before your end.’
“Wielders of Pure Light” is written by Celinka Serre (2019).
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 storylines from the films are used. No storylines 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 FairUse.
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.