Master Juun Kloh had been relieved upon seeing Trylia, Shadie, and Brenum. Although he knew Shadie would not turn, he had feared it, and it was a recurring fear, for he knew Shadie was still vulnerable to the dark side’s influences. For Fane to have actually fallen to the dark side and to know he had joined Kromus was a tragedy beyond any Juun Kloh had known, or at least one of the few tragedies that had truly shaken him to the core.
He sat in a chair at the Temple’s large common lounge.
‘It’s worse than I had feared,’ he said.
Shadie made a sound in her throat. Obviously she knew he had feared she had turned. He looked up at her.
‘It’s one thing to fear a pupil who has already tasted the dark side, let alone grown up with it, to fall to it once more, but it’s something completely different when one least suspected unexpectedly turns.’
‘No one could foresee this, Master Juun,’ said Trylia, in her usual soothing tones.
‘Fane!’ He sighed. ‘His brother had defected long before I knew that Xavier and Lahnius were the same. Xavier had fallen, turned to the dark side, and changed his name to Darth Lahnius. His master did not wish to train Fane, for fear he’d fail him the same way he felt he’d failed Lahnius. I understand that emotion.’
‘Master,’ said Brenum, kneeling before him to be at the same level, ‘you did not fail Fane. He failed you. You are not to blame. He obviously could not accept his brother’s death, despite him being a Sith. Living worlds apart may have suited them and never had they yet been forced to battle each other, but,’ he paused and seemed at a loss for words, ‘if he could not let go and accept that his brother died instead of a fellow Jedi, then the fault for the defection is his and no one else’s.’
‘A terrible loss for a master it is, though, worse than death.’ Master Juun stood and looked at Shadie. ‘I, uh, heard what happened to Knarf. I’m sorry.’
Shadie nodded, Brenum and Trylia looked slightly down without bowing their heads. They hid their deception well. Regardless, Master Juun was relieved, especially after everything Shadie had done to save Knarf’s life. He would not ask the details. A wise decision it was to keep him hidden to protect him.
There was an awkward silence.
‘So,’ said Shadie, breaking the silence casually, ‘any news from the Crypt?’
‘Dead end,’ replied Master Juun. ‘No Sith remain even remotely near the place. Except…’ He let his sentence trail off.
Shadie took a large intake of breath. ‘It’s still there?’ she asked.
‘It awaits you, Shadie. It awaits your summons. It told me it will serve the Lady of the Force wherever she chooses to claim as her domain.’
‘Well, it’s good to know it accepts you’re not entirely Sith,’ said Brenum. Shadie smiled.
‘So what’s next?’ asked Trylia. ‘We go to Nar Shaddaa and seek out Kromus?’
‘No, he will be expecting that.’
‘But how will we know where he’s gone once he leaves?’
‘Trylia,’ said Shadie, ‘I wouldn’t worry about that. He’s hiding in the Force. All we need to do is gather some ships and starfighters, and wait for him to leave the Hutt moon. Then we can battle it out in space. I will not destroy him in person when it is an unfair fight. If I am to win this battle, I will do so properly, fairly, and with all the power of the light side.’
Master Juun beamed at her. ‘You have no idea how heart-warming it is to hear you say that.’
‘Well, I mean it. Besides, killing Kromus now will achieve nothing when all his Sith are scattered across the galaxy. They dispersed for a reason when he fell the first time. We need to win this war once and for all; therefore we need to fight them once they’ve gathered.’
‘Then let us bring our ideas to the Council,’ said Brenum, leading the way. ‘We have a lot of planning to do.’
* * *
‘I’m not so sure about letting Josur fly the Dragon,’ said Brenum over Shadie’s starfighter’s speaker.
‘Relax,’ said Trylia, ‘it’s the best way to board Kromus’s flagship, while he thinks we’re out there.’
‘I just thought his ship would be bigger,’ said Shadie, looking at it, ‘what, with all the work he’s had put on it.’
Shadie adjusted the controls. It was crammed inside the cockpit, but they were well hidden from the fight going on beyond. Perched on the Republic’s flagship’s underbelly, each in their own starfighters, well camouflaged by the battle cruiser’s bulky exterior, they were awaiting word from Master Juun.
‘Maybe that’s not his actual ship,’ said Brenum. ‘Maybe the real one is somewhere else.’
‘I don’t know,’ replied Trylia, ‘the fight’s been going on a while now. Kromus is on that ship that seems to be the flagship. He’s broadcasting his Force presence like a beacon.’
‘Shadie, Trylia, Brenum,’ Master Juun’s voice crackled in through the speaker. ‘I’m going in by the main docking bay. You take the rear hangar. I’ll meet you three inside Kromus’s ship.’
Shadie detached her starfighter from the battle cruiser’s belly and lined up with Brenum and Trylia’s starfighters.
‘Ready?’ she asked them over the com.
‘As we’ll ever be,’ replied Brenum.
Shadie steered her fighter towards the large battle frigate Kromus was aboard and flew passed the Republic ships, passed the fighters, and the Sith starfighters and frigates, dodged laserfire, spun the ship on itself, and finally entered the rear hangar. She could sense Kromus on the bridge; Master Juun was already fighting his way out of the main hangar. Shadie eased her way out of the cockpit.
‘Fane is here,’ said Trylia.
‘I sense him too.’
‘That’s not good,’ remarked Brenum.
The frigate shook and began moving.
‘What’s happening?’ said Shadie.
‘The ship’s moving away from the battle,’ said Brenum
The three rushed to the hangar’s viewport to look out in space. As a sudden rush of life and energy emerged in the Force as many ships came out of hyperspace, among them a large dreadnaught that shot out proton battery power, which could only be the actual flagship.
‘Looks like you were right, Brenum,’ said Trylia.
‘But Kromus is here!’ exclaimed Brenum.
‘And if he’s here, who’s flying his dreadnought?’ Trylia pointed out the viewport. ‘Look, it’s not even complete.’
‘He knew we’d board the ship,’ concluded Shadie, interrupting Brenum and Trylia’s musings. Her heart dropped to her stomach. ‘He planned a trap. And now we are outnumbered.’
A Republic cruiser suddenly welled into a fireball. The three of them sensed the loss of life.
‘We need to get back out there,’ began Shadie, before stars turned into lines and the ship they were on was in hyperspace.
‘What the Kark!’ exclaimed Brenum. ‘Tell me this is not happening.’
‘Kromus planned it all,’ said Shadie, with disdain on her face.
And as suddenly, they were back in realspace. They could see the battle afar.
‘Great, we’re too far to help, but close enough to see ships explode. It will take us half a standard day to fly there.’
‘Well, Brenum, thankfully, we’re not here to fly back to the battle,’ said Trylia. ‘We should make our way to the bridge.’
* * *
They were making their way through the portside corridor when it hit them like a gundark’s horns. The three Jedi looked at each other.
‘Do you feel that?’ said Trylia.
‘Something isn’t right,’ said Brenum.
‘It’s the impending feeling of doom,’ replied Shadie.
‘Why are there no Sith fighting us?’ demanded Trylia.
‘I have a bad feeling about this,’ said Shadie.
They continued to the turbolifts, there were three, and at that moment, all three turbolift doors slid open, revealing at least a dozen Sith standing within, blazing red lightsabers at the ready.
‘Sithspawn!’ Trylia cursed.
‘You have got to be kidding me,’ said Brenum.
Instinctively Shadie used the Force to press down the close button on the turbolifts and sent them moving upwards.
‘That should buy us a few seconds,’ said Shadie. ‘Any ideas how to take on over thirty Sith?’
‘Hey, I’m worth fifty Sith, me,’ said Brenum.
‘Good, that’ll leave less for Shadie and me,’ said Trylia.
‘Trylia, you’ll need to stun them,’ said Shadie, ‘Brenum, you distract them by flying your lightsabers through them, leave the rest to me. But first,’ she looked up, ‘up there, so they’re lured out of the turbolifts.’
‘Now, here’s what I don’t get:’ said Brenum, ‘she asks us for ideas, but she comes up with the plan herself.’
‘Be thankful she does,’ said Trylia. ‘Her plans have kept you alive thus far.’
‘Oh, and my skills haven’t?’
‘If this is the part where you make reference to your charming good looks, don’t bother. Togruta don’t consort with humans.’
‘Not true, but I’ll debate you on that later.’
They used the Force to jump up to the vents and crept into the shadows beyond some big conduits and ducts.
The turbolift doors opened again, and three dozen furious Sith slowly emerged. When they had all walked into the hall, Trylia used the Force to create whirlwinds and waves of energy, stunning the weaker Sith, causing a slight unbalanced misstep in others. Brenum ignited his blue and yellow blades and sent them spinning in the crowd of Sith, who began meleeing the spinning blades. When enough chaos had been wrought, Shadie jumped down and spread out both arms forward, sending large blue arcs of lightning from her fingertips into the Sith. Many were downed within moments. Some used their blades to capture the lightning.
Shadie gathered the Force within her, and sent lightning in even bigger arcs that danced about this way and that. When she could no longer sustain the workout of such intense energy without causing any damage to her body, she stopped. Brenum and Trylia jumped down at her sides. The Sith had been reduced to less than a dozen.
‘Easy pickings,’ said Brenum, catching his two blades and spinning on his heels to block a blade here and slash there.
Trylia and Shadie ignited their staves and began to fight the remainder of the Sith as well. A purple flurry downed one Sith, a green jump attack killed another, and a blue and yellow blur slashed two at once. Brenum jumped in front of two more, brought his blades at a criss-cross in front of him, waited for the perfect moment and opened up his arms wide, as he had just done with the previous two Sith, but these two Sith blocked Brenum’s blades. However, they had not anticipated having a purple or green staff come down on them in a flurry, drawing an eight in the air.
Three remained. One for each of them. Shadie went after the Sith with a staff of his own, swiping in a high arc. Trylia took the one with two blades, blocking up and down, back and forth, moving her lightsaber to stand diagonally left to right, then diagonally right to left, backing up until she saw an opening and sent her staff spinning in the air slicing the Sith’s legs. She took her blade and stabbed him. Brenum was left with the Sith with one blade. However, he used the Force a lot, as did the Sith Shadie was fighting. She had no more energy with which to send lightning. Dark energy came her way; she absorbed it, but could not sustain it for long. She managed to bounce it back the way it had come.
Brenum was caught in a grip, and suddenly, he was staggering back. Shadie pushed with the Force, only to discover she was being equally drained of the Force by the one bladed Sith. She went wild. Battle Rage was a Sith’s power and she had used it seldom, but it was one power that relied mostly on strength and less on the Force. Any melee warrior could go into a frenzy without the use of the Force.
The one bladed Sith was struck by both Shadie and Trylia, whilst Brenum finished off the last Sith, joining both his blade at the centre of the Sith’s body, most probably touching the tips of his lightsabers together, by the sound it made.
They stood breathing heavily. Brenum was dripping with sweat, Trylia was panting, and Shadie could feel herself sway with fatigue.
‘These are very well trained Sith,’ said Trylia. ‘Kromus’s new army seems to be even better than the first.’
‘He’s got to be getting help from someone,’ said Brenum. ‘Did you see all those ships that came out of hyperspace? He’s got to have found an ally somewhere.’
Shadie put a hand on the wall as she powered down her lightsaber.
‘Only that feeling of doom hasn’t gone away,’ she said, thinking it had been about these Sith they’d just battled. Brenum and Trylia caught on and nodded.
‘You okay?’ asked Brenum softly.
Shadie closed her eyes. Only one person could really soothe her nerves, knew how to soothe her truly, but he was not here, and she supposed Brenum’s efforts would have to do.
‘Shadie, you’re shaking,’ said Trylia.
‘Do you not feel it?’ asked Shadie. Obviously not as intensely as she was feeling it. ‘We must go up to that bridge before we are too late.’
* * *
The turbolift took them up, the doors opened up on the scene before them.
‘What better way to prove your loyalty and fealty to your new master, Fane, than by killing your former master.’
‘Don’t listen to him, Fane! Search your heart…’
‘My heart is dark, Master Juun. You cannot save it.’
‘Well, well,’ said Kromus, ‘look who joins the party. Shadie, I took your lover’s life, I will take your master’s, I will take your friends’, and then I will take yours, unless you join me.’
The hum and clash of Fane’s lightsaber with Master Juun’s had been loud in the echoing room as they exchanged preliminary moves, testing the other’s strengths and weaknesses. They paused now and looked at Shadie.
‘I am a Jedi, Kromus. I’m not your little Sith puppet anymore.’
‘Then so be it,’ said Kromus. ‘Kill him, Fane.’
Several things happened at once: Fane and Master Juun resumed their duel; a large energy field appeared before them, separating Shadie, Brenum and Trylia from the part of the bridge that contained Kromus, Fane and Master Juun, and more Sith emerged to fight the three Jedi.
Shadie leapt up and tried to see where the energy field was being powered, to find a way to destroy it, but the Sith were upon her before she could detect anything, and she was fending off three Sith at once, just blocking this way and that, using the Force to predict their moves. They were overwhelming her. She gathered what strength she had left and projected a bubble with the Force, a Force Barrier. She took a moment.
Brenum and Trylia fought several Sith at once, but seemed to fare better than Shadie had. Whereas Master Juun seemed reluctant to cause any harm to Fane as he blocked and attacked. Fane was being aggressive and sent dark energy towards Master Juun, who absorbed it and sent it back; every time, Fane cried out in pain, until he finally learnt to let that fuel him ever more. Shadie could see on his face, the same contorted expression Lahnius had when letting her lightning fuel his power. Fane sent dark energy to Master Juun, who sent it back and he reabsorbed it and Shadie could see the circle that it created. Finally, Fane seemed to begin to float in the air, and dark energy around him exploded. Master Juun was sent off his feet. Since Fane was shocked, it gave Master Juun time to come running towards Fane, and attack him high and low, and slash and lunge. Fane was quick, though, and blocked every blow.
When Shadie’s protective bubble faded, she used the one power she knew would kill the Sith and give her the energy she needed to survive: Life Drain. She targeted one Sith and drained him of his life, then another, the red orb of life energy lingering above one’s thorax, the other, above his abdomen. She drained one more Sith’s life before feeling sick to her stomach because of what she was doing, using dark side powers, though she had not done so in anger. She still needed to come to terms with her dark side. These powers could be honed for good and she now had the energy to duel another Sith, blocking quickly and slashing high left to low right. He was last to fall after Brenum and Trylia’s final victims.
None of the three Jedi gave a second glance at the bodies on the ground; their eyes were already on the intense duel going on beyond the deflector shield.
Master Juun sent an orb of energy towards Fane, who caught it and absorbed it. He gripped Master Juun, who pushed with the Force, sending Fane to the ground. Then he pulled on Fane and came to strike him down. Fane, still lying on his back, blocked, swiped Master Juun’s blade away, rolled to the side, and bounced up beside Juun, striking at shoulder level, Master Juun blocked. They both held their blades locked.
‘Fane, you don’t have to do this,’ cried Trylia. ‘Your brother may have been a Sith, but you’ve ever truly been a Jedi, pure of heart. Don’t let grief over cloud your…’
‘Shut up!’ Fane sent Master Juun flying across the room. ‘You’re not the voice of reason!’ he shouted at Trylia.
‘Fane, she is right,’ said Master Juun, getting to his feet.
‘Fane knows he will become a much stronger Sith than his brother, Lahnius, ever was,’ sneered Kromus. ‘I can sense it in the Force, Fane will become one of the most powerful in the galaxy.’
‘Fane, listen to me,’ said Shadie, ‘I was a Sith once. It’s never too late to turn to the light. You can leave Kromus and return to the Jedi. You can do like me.’
‘Ha-ha, sure,’ laughed Fane as he dodged and parried, after having attacked Master Juun again. ‘And look at how such a failed acolyte you became: dwindling between light and dark, at the same time both, yet at the same time neither. I will not become a failure like you did.’
Shadie blinked back tears. He had missed the point completely.
Master Juun pushed Fane away from him and took a few steps back.
‘Come on,’ said Brenum to Shadie and Trylia, ‘let’s find a way to get this shield down.’
‘Fane!’ cried Master Juun, as Fane leapt up and came down hard on him, causing Master Juun to stagger back as he blocked. ‘I don’t want to kill you. Can’t you see Kromus is using you for his own purposes and gains? Don’t fall into his trap.’
‘Oh, and I presume he’s using me to fill the void that was created when Shadie left his side?’
Kromus’s face changed, and he looked up at Shadie and they stared at each other for a long while across the deflector shield, across the duel, and across room, as the fight went on. It hurt. How could he look so sorry for losing her, yet have caused her such grief. A part of Shadie wanted to forgive him, but how could she?
Fane had been right on point, though. Kromus’s apprentices since her departure were only a temporary means. Shadie knew that Kromus hoped for her to return to his side, as his apprentice and sister. She knew that, in his own twisted way, Kromus loved her. When she killed him the first time, she laughed internally to think that, she had believed he was using his brotherly emotions to spite her. He had told her, at the moment of his death, that the dark side was absolute. Now, she realised, although there may have been some manipulation involved, there was at least some emotion and sincerity.
In order for her to destroy him with the light side with no risk of falling to the dark side again, she had to come to terms with everything that had transpired between them, had to forgive him, had to kill him for the love she bore for him and he for her. And for that, she needed to know, for sure, the truth of his emotions, and if that meant sacrificing herself in order to save Master Juun, to save Trylia and Brenum, to save Fane, then she would…
‘Kromus,’ she shouted out. Her voice rang out with such sadness, the duel ceased almost immediately.
‘If… If I join you anew, and stand by your side as I once did, as a loving sister would her adoptive Sith brother and master, if I become a Sith again, can this fight cease? Can Master Juun, Brenum and Trylia return safely to the Jedi?’
Kromus’s eyes grew wide and his jaw looked clenched. He walked passed Fane and Juun, towards the shield, towards Shadie, an arm instinctively outstretching towards her.
‘Are those your terms, Shadie?’ Kromus almost sounded as though he would do anything for her. Had he become that desperate? If she had said she was sacrificing herself, he would undoubtedly be cruel, but speaking as she was doing so, perhaps…
‘Shadie,’ whispered Brenum harshly, ‘are you out of your mind? A monkey-lizard has more sense.’
Shadie ignored him. She was saving more than just lives; she was saving Fane from the dark side, perhaps. She was sacrificing… everything. She closed her eyes; she could see Knarf’s smile in her mind, his eyes beaming at her behind his glasses.
‘Those are my terms, Kromus,’ she said, opening her eyes again, with all the sincerity she truly felt reflected in them. he looked directly at Kromus, and only at him. ‘You must stop hurting those whom I love in order to have my love by your side once more.’
There was a tense pause. ‘Fane,’ said Kromus, ‘you may step down.’ Shadie sighed in relief and grief.
‘What?’ Fane asked in a slow and calculated manner, through gritted teeth, his voice level but menacing.
‘You have proven your worth already. You, Shadie and I will be able to—”
‘No!’ shouted Fane, clearly angered. ‘I have not proven myself stronger than Lahnius.’
‘You will step down, Fane,’ Kromus repeated more forcefully. ‘We shall let these Jedi go. They will no longer bother us. Shadie has promised—’
‘Lies!’ cried Fane. ‘She has promised you nothing but lies! Whereas I give you my unwavering loyalty, and to prove to you beyond any doubt, my new Master…’
Fane lunged himself at Master Juun with such violent speed.
‘No!’ shouted Kromus in anger.
Fane and Juun exchanged a few more strikes and parries.
‘Stop them!’ cried Shadie.
Kromus looked at her. He stood right on the other side of the field, but he felt even closer.
‘Will you join me, Shadie? Will you stand by my side?’ he asked only loud enough for her to hear.
‘I will, Kromus, my brother.’
Kromus smiled, not a sneer of malice, but of genuine joy. He raised a hand while turning towards Fane. Shadie could only assume he was about to send dark energy to stop the fight, but before he could do anything, Fane leapt into the air and came down on top of Master Juun, somewhat behind him, and penetrated his aqua blade deep into his back; the blade stuck out his chest.
‘NO!’ shouted Brenum and Trylia in unison with, surprisingly, Kromus.
Master Juun fell to his knees and looked at Kromus.
‘If you honour your love for Shadie, you will let them go.’
His words were struggled. He looked at Shadie and smiled the same smile he always did when proud of her. He had once said that a selfless act such as sacrifice was the purest and lightest of all acts. He was telling her now through the Force, that beyond any doubt, she was of the light side, pure light.
And then Master Juun fell to the ground, dead. Fane, looming over his body, powered down his weapon and kneeled before Kromus. Kromus looked at Shadie who was already backing away with Brenum and Trylia, tears streaking down her cheeks. She knew Kromus would understand she would not join him now, for her terms had not been honoured.
Kromus looked down and away. ‘You will meditate, think of your new Sith name.’ Kromus looked back at Shadie, as the doors to the turbolift closed.
‘What were you thinking?’ shouted Brenum.
‘I was trying to save you and Master Juun and Fane from more darkness and death.’
‘We know that,’ said Brenum more calmly, ‘luckily. Though anyone else would have thought you were truly joining him again. And then what? Kill him on the spot right after and kill Fane too?’
‘I would have figured that part out later.’
‘Well, I think what you were ready to do and sacrifice, what you did, was very brave,’ said Trylia, ‘and Master Juun knew it.’
‘It was karking barvy! That’s what it was. What would Knarf have said!’
‘That I was acting as pure light,’ said Shadie.
‘No, he would have told you to snap out of it.’ Brenum sighed. ‘Next time you pull a stunt like that, I’ll kill you!’
‘And who’s going to save your neck after that?’ said Trylia.
Shadie looked up at them, tears in her eyes. She truly missed Knarf. And she grieved for Master Juun, and for Fane who had been lost to darkness. Brenum shook his head and took her and Trylia in a hug.
‘We should head back to the battle,’ said Trylia, ‘to the Krayt Dragon…’
‘And then what?’ said Brenum.
Shadie looked at them. ‘And then we go to Mandalore.’
“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.