Relsor sat in his command chair, watching on several screens of the large viewport monitor the battle that raged outside his ship, as well as footage from security cams from inside the ship. He sighed in anger, a long sigh. The Jedi had gotten inside the ship, the Crypt’s natural defences were holding up, and the war raged on. Relsor considered escaping, but he was not a coward. He would face his fate, which the Force dictated he could not escape, and fight Jedi Fane. Nothing else had worked thus far, hence he would have to ensure he killed Fane.
Relsor thought back to Maranna and his son. They were far away now, having made their escape in a stealthed shuttle before the True Sith armada had been found. Relsor had made love to his passion one last time before she had gone. That passion fuelled him even more when he thought of her. He let it fill him, refuel him, and ignite his full might.
He extended his senses and knew his enemies were close. He closed his eyes and focused on them with everything he had.
* * *
Shadie swayed and gripped Knarf’s arm. She failed to block an attack. Her husband quickly stepped in front of the True Sith before the enemy’s blade could touch Shadie, and deflected the blow, bringing the enemy down.
‘I don’t feel very well,’ she said, feeling queasy. ‘It’s Relsor.’
Knarf nodded. Shadie could not tell what face he was making, but by what she sensed in the Force, she reckoned he had received a wave of malady as well. He held his ground in a wide stance, holding his lightsaber with both hands, tightly. He looked down for a moment and then rolled his shoulders back, shaking his head. Shadie guessed he was refocusing his energy outwards to deflect as much of the malady as possible.
Brenum made a strange sound but kept on fighting. Trylia looked like she was fighting pain. Fane on the other hand seemed unphased.
Talyc staggered and leaned against the wall. He breathed as though heaving.
‘Illusions?’ she asked. The Mando shook his head. She joined him at the wall, sending lightning to whomever got close to them, but let the others take care of the True Sith while she and Talyc took a brief break from fighting. ‘You don’t have to follow us in there.’ She pointed at the room ahead, glancing to her right.
Talyc shook his head. ‘I do. I’ve made my mind up, Shadie. Nothing’s stopping me. I’ve got to be there with Fane, for better or worse, until victory or death determines our future. I’ll always be there from now on, no exceptions.’
‘You really did clear your mind and find yourself, didn’t you?’
Talyc nodded. ‘I found more.’
Shadie smiled. She sensed much resolve in her friend. She didn’t know what he had learnt in his time away, clearing his mind from everything that had happened, but she sensed something in him that was new and it felt nice. It was a kind of purpose that could lead to happiness.
‘I’m happy to hear that,’ she told him, wincing and clutching her stomach. ‘Oh, I hate this. Relsor knows exactly where to hit me.’
Talyc put a gloved hand on her free hand and turned his helmeted head towards her.
‘Thank you for always being there for me,’ he said. ‘I’ve said some things in the past that I regret. I know I’ve apologised before, but let me saying it again. I’m sorry. You and Knarf entering my life were the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Knarf is my best friend; you are like a sister to me. We are after all related by blood; no matter how distant, that matters to me.’ Shadie smiled. ‘Fane is my man and my love.’ He looked at the others. ‘I couldn’t have asked for better friends, or for better clanmates.’ His voice cracked. ‘Whatever happens today…’
He didn’t finish the sentence, but instead bowed his head suddenly, and Shadie knew he was sobbing; she had a sense of him shutting his eyes tight. She nodded.
‘I know. Same thing with me.’
She took a deep breath and sent more lightning towards the True Sith to help her companions, protecting Talyc as he continued to recover. The Mandalorian didn’t have the Force, but he sure was resilient.
When the True Sith were down, Brenum and Trylia leaned on each other, Fane crouched, closing his eyes, and Knarf bent over breathing heavily.
‘He’s trying to slow us down, trying to stop us,’ said Fane. ‘He should know better by now.’
‘It’s all he has left,’ said Trylia, sadness in her voice.
‘That’s on him,’ Brenum said harshly. ‘You offered for him to come with us, for the Jedi to try to heal him, perchance it might have helped.’ Brenum shook his head. ‘Despite knowing the truth and what lay ahead in his future, he chose his fate.’ Trylia nodded.
‘Then it’s time for him to meet his fate,’ said Fane, standing again.
He reached out a hand towards Talyc who took it. Together they walked to the command room’s door. Knarf worked briefly at its controls, slicing it open. Hand in hand, Fane and Talyc walked in first, Brenum and Trylia next, with Shadie and Knarf last.
The door slid closed behind them.
This was it. If Fane failed, they would all die.