One of Thousands
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kirkwall/The Free Marches
Current Game: Dragon Age II
Soldat v Mire? ("Soldier of Peace"?)
(Author's Note: This is the "lucky 13th" part of my "Vremya" series!)
After gathering our wits (and the Ebon Hawk's newest crewmate) on Lehon, we all decided it was time to pool what we knew so far about Revan, the True Sith, and where we should venture to next in our search for both. The six of us--I, Basta, the Jedi Shadow Operative, Jolee Bindo, Rodion, and even T3-M4--sat in the main part of the ship around a large holo-imager. This was our typical reconnaissance and meeting place, where everyone aboard commiserated upon the latest strategies. Basta began our discussion, eager to share what she thought we ought to do next. Rodion and I, sadly knowing what we knew about her and about ourselves, let her do so.
"This is, of course, Lehon," she began, gesturing to a glowing globe on the holo-imager, "previously known by the nondescript moniker of the Unknown World. It is an indescribable disappointment," she said rather coolly, "that none of us found anything pertaining to the True Sith or the former Dark Lord in the Ancient Temple of the Rakata." Liar! "Even though our captain's suggestion was a good one, it was not an altogether profitable one. Since we have found not a trace of physical or Force evidence of what we are looking, for, then we must continue our search somewhere else. I personally would like to concentrate our efforts on locating Revan, for as far as we know and have seen, the True Sith are nowhere to be found. Perhaps Revan knows of them." Basta seemed to be taking a lot of time rehashing the obvious. Why?
"Basta, you and I traveled with Revan," commented Jolee Bindo, "but neither of us ever really knew him. We thought we did, but as we discovered, there's far more to this former Sith than any of us suspected. Wherever he is or could be at the moment, all we can do is guess. Besides, what if Revan doesn't want to be found? For all we know, he might be somewhere beyond the reach of the fastest starships, on another uncharted planet. He might be dead. He might even be somewhere within the Force, trying to contact us." Jolee scratched his chin, thinking for a moment. "I suggest that we try to find out if the True Sith are more than a myth by going to Korriban or Ziost."
"Bad idea." Rodion shook his head. "From what I've heard, those are two Sith homeworlds. I can't use the Force, but even then, the Dark Side is strong there. Even those who don't wield the Force, like myself, are sensitive to its power. In my experience, the more that you're around someone or something evil, the harder you have to try to resist them. In the end, if you stay around too long, the evil corrupts you unless you're really strong-willed." He sighed. "I'm a Mandalorian, yes, but I can't say I'm that strong, that noble and invincible. Mandalore might be, but he's at least twenty years my senior."
"The Mandalore?" Basta raised an eyebrow and smiled. "From what I've managed to learn about this consummate warlord and his present activities, he's working on uniting all of the Mandalorian clans under his own banner. I wouldn't mind paying a short visit to his encampment on Dxun, if it's still operational." After pausing for a moment with a bemused look on her face, she continued, "He once traveled with us--with Revan, Jolee, and myself. Perhaps he'll be willing to help us again, now that the stakes are even higher than they were before." No doubt, I thought to myself ruefully.
Jolee and Rodion seemed to agree on this plan of action, at least for the moment. As for the Shadow Operative, he said not a word, wearing his best and most unreadable pazaak face. It wasn't long before we set coordinates for the jungle moon of Dxun, which orbited the massive planet of Onderon. Lush and humid, this was where I'd first met the warrior called Mandalore, who to many was more myth than man. He had been one of my closest and most trusted companions on my journey with Darth Traya. Basta wasn't the only one who had known him, for Force's sake! I was glad of that. Maybe I could tell him what Basta was up to. He might not believe me, yet still...
"Who is it?" asked a gruff Mandalorian in blue armor when we first landed. "I'm Quartermaster Kex, but I don't know any of you. State all your names and reasons for business, or else I'll be forced to shoot you down like one of the many cannoks that roam this jungle." When I informed him of whom we all were, Kex looked (I thought, though I couldn't tell through his thick armor) like he had just seen a ghost. "I'll present you to Mandalore immediately." When we reached the center of camp, the Mandalore stood tall and proud, and I instinctively knelt--yes, knelt--before him. He placed his hand on my bare head, touching my hair with his metal-plated gauntlet. I quivered.
"Tysyacha Dvyx," he began. "It's been years since I've seen you! Have you come on an official mission, or do you simply want to visit an old friend?"
"Both," I said. "We're looking for Revan and the True Sith, and in all honesty, we could use your help locating him. So far, we haven't found anything to suggest that either of them still exist. Would you be willing to assist us?"
"As long as the battle that's coming isn't a futile one," he replied. "I may be Mandalore, but I know which fights are worth the pain and the sacrifice, and which are just exercises in false and destructive pride. Which is this, Exile?"
I didn't quite understand. "Revan--Traya--the Sith--I can't--please, help!"
Mandalore helped me to rise. "I've been a warmonger all my life," he replied gravely, "pushing myself and my men to even greater extremes on the field of combat and conquest. I've always said I've done it for the honor and glory of battle, but there are times when I must admit that our efforts seem like nothing more than the turning of sentient soldiers into dead meat for the reptiles to claim. There comes a point in one's life, or at least there should come a point, when one has to choose between survival and suicide. Which fights prolong life, and which fights just end it? I've sacrificed myself for what I personally called honor, but more importantly, I've sacrificed others as well. I'll help you, Tysyacha, but there's a price you'll have to pay. All of you."
"What's that?" I asked, wondering if we should pack up and leave Dxun.
"Promise me that, for now and always, you'll fight for peace instead of more war. Even Mandalorians need time to raise families and make their ancestors proud by more varied means than smashing each other's skulls. I'm a soldier of peace now, Dvyx, and even though I'll continue to fight all my life, it won't be for the cause of pointless violence. Also--when this is all over, if you have any conscience left, promise me that you'll agree to serve honor, not hubris."
We took the Mandalore aboard, as I agreed. I would willingly pay that price.