REVENGE OF THE SITH
If there were any unlikely people to be together in the universe, it was them. Originally bound by one man in, what would essentially be a quest for revenge, there was no other reason for them to be in the same spot, period. But — and Canderous had always liked to roll his eyes when he thought it — the Force sometimes guides people to those like them, to those that can help them along the way…
Searching for those that wanted to be lost was a tiring business, not to mention ridiculously hard. But it was something that Canderous Ordo had been doing for quite some time now. He needn’t look any further than the cantinas of those desolate worlds to find his people working as bouncers or mercs.
He had been rather successful, so he thought, in gathering the Mandalorian clans back together. It had been hard at first, sure, but he never did like doing things the easy, not when he could work for it and have some fun.
He remembered a time, when he was still with Davik Kang and they were aboard his ship, surrounded by the massage girls and how the Jedi Princess had looked at Revan with jealousy…
His grin turned into a grimace right then. Damn him! Damn him and damn her! He hadn’t been in the right frame of mind since leaving the Ravager in order to continue his work for Revan. Bah! That sounded as though the kid actually had him on a leash or something. But when it came down to it, didn’t he?
The man who had been known as Canderous of the clan Ordo hadn’t been able to get the old crone Kreia’s words out of his mind and the fact that she could see what having to gut around and look for bounty hunters and mercenaries had done to him.
And all because Revan had asked him to.
Sometimes, he would lay awake and wonder why he was even doing this, why he was still doing this. He should’ve stopped once he hadn’t heard from the former Jedi in a standard year and then two, but no…nearly five years later, he was still looking for those like himself, for those that still remembered what it meant to be a Mandalorian. And sometimes in the dark of night, the man formerly known as Canderous of Ordo questioned if he still remembered what it meant to be a Mandalorian.
Perhaps he just couldn’t admit that what the old woman had said was true; that the clans were broken, that he was broken. That he had wasted his time for someone who was using him, was still using him. Mandalorians didn’t make many friends, but when they did, they were loyal and unfailing.
Perhaps that’s where his problems lay. They had followed Exar Kun and according to Revan, they had again followed the Sith until there were hardly any of them left. And now, he followed blindly for a man that could very well be dead now.
And for what?
The old crone had been right; his fight was useless and he worried if all of this was for nothing. However, Canderous had never been one to give up and he would rather die than to admit the fears he had in his heart, the fears he locked away as he locked his body up into the armor of the Mandalore. He hid his heart as he did his body and face.
So no one would see the toll he took.
She didn’t know what to do now. She had no idea where she would start her search, only knowing that it felt too soon for her to return to her world. She wasn’t prepared though when Mandalore had said she could seek shelter here for a few days.
Apparently, he would be going on his routine trips and figured she might as well come along and he could drop her off along the way. She had nodded her thanks and began to meditate within the small hut that was provided for her.
So many things had happened and she found it hard to let herself feel the Force as she once had. Being the slave to a Sith lord, just to end up as one to another Sith lord troubled her, especially when she could still feel the stirrings of love whenever she thought of Ellis Yoly.
It was foolish, she knew, to love a man who clearly was in love with someone else, but she couldn’t help it. He had awakened things within her, even before she had boarded his ship. He had been nothing but kind to her, to them all, even when the crew themselves trusted no one but this young man.
It was easy to fall in love with him.
But now…now that his presence was far and away, she wondered about things. When she thought long and hard, she began to wonder on how his actions truly affected her. And when she thought upon, the resemblance to her former master terrified her.
She tried to erase those thoughts — Ellis was nothing like him! — the parallels stared her in the face and she couldn’t deny that path of destruction was the same. And instead of seeing hope, as she once thought, she saw the same lifeless and empty galaxy that Nihilus had shown her years ago.
The days turned to weeks and then a month. For Mandalore and Visas Marr, it was a long month of searching and coming up empty. The two of them had left the moon of Dxun and had traveled through the galaxy, hitting planets like Tatooine, Ryloth, Roon, Ando, and even Nar Shaddaa before making their way to the barren wasteland known as Katarr. Visas nearly fainted, overcome with both grief and the emptiness of how the planet felt to her. It was as she had left it, though now the bodies that lingered were all skeletons.
Mandalore wasted no time in contacting a few of men for a clean up, a proper burial for those that had died. It was a ritual he remembered as a boy, one that spoke of honor to those that had died in battle, whether against them or for them. That was why he could never hate Revan, nor the Exile for their parts in the Mandalorian War. They were to be respected, not hated, just as these fallen on the planet deserved.
Visas didn’t know what to make of the gesture, but she offered her thanks. The Mandalorians even helped her scour out a location for herself, so she could perhaps return to live here once more.
At the time, she felt as though that was long in coming, but she again thanked them for their help. It would be several days later when she would return the favor and assist the Mandalore in his mission to find those of his clan.
And it was only when the next month began that things would change for their prospective causes and for the two of them.
Canderous Ordo was not a man to be confused or rendered confused by anyone. He may have had bouts of unknowing in a situation, but he had never come across a situation like this. He had no idea how it began or when it began, but slowly and surely he found himself in a…well…odd predicament. Canderous Ordo was feeling something he hadn’t felt in a very long time.
Canderous Ordo had a crush.
It had hit him suddenly when he found himself heading towards the planet, that he was there to see her and not in a strictly professional way. He could see her face in his dreams, smell her scent when he drifted off in to a daydream — and Mandalorians didn’t daydream — he often wondered about her, her well being.
She had spent a month on Katarr by herself and Canderous never hastened to check in on her. The last visit, he even had Zuka set up a communication computer so she’d be able to alert them if anything had happened. Perhaps after that, he knew that the Miraluka had caught his attention.
Canderous wasn’t a stranger to women; hardly! In his day, he’d been a right rogue and had bed his share of attractive and beautiful women. And certainly as the hired hand for Davik Kang allowed him some of the crime lords ‘attractions’ but he had quickly dismissed these flings as anything real.
Maybe it was the hunt for his clansmen that triggered this longing, this need for someone to share something, anything with. Looking back, he remembered how slightly envious he had been watching Revan and Bastila pant over each other without acting on their feelings. Bastila was a fairly attractive young woman, however her Jedi upbringing had put a definite stick up her backside.
He had heard the two had finally gotten together and while he outwardly felt pity for Revan — unless the former Jedi could remove the stick, the Mandalorian didn’t think anything could be fun with the Jedi Princess — he inwardly felt something within him churn.
He couldn’t believe it, tried to deny it, but it was staring back at him.
He had a crush on Visas Marr.
She was alarmed, of course, when he had stumbled — battered and bruised — on her doorstep. He was barely conscious, mumbling about some surprise ambush he had received via some rogue bounty hunters and mercenaries. She had managed to carry him inside and to her bed. She could tell he was in pain, even with his armor on. She healed as much as she could through the Force and proceeded to think of another way to heal the cuts she was sure were there.
When he awoke, his body only ached slightly, but he was disorientated. After a few blinks, he realized he wasn’t where he should be; either in his ship or in his dwellings on Dxun. That bothered him. Then he realized he was without his armor, dressed in only the bottom portion of his thermals. That’s when he panicked.
Well, if his captors wanted to get the secrets of Mandalore, they would be seriously appointed. The former bounty hunter thought quickly, wondering he could best his captors and escape, with little or no damage to himself. He had just formed a reasonable planned that consisted of breaking the neck of one captor when he was asked a question.
‘Planning on attacking me?’
The Mandalorian let out a rather loud sigh of relief. ‘Woman,’ he growled. ‘You should never surprise a Mandalorian.’
‘Is it because you get all twitchy and violent like?’ she teased, wringing out a cloth over a nearby basin.
Canderous gave a low chuckle, before sobering and looking at her. She had short brown hair that went slightly over her ears and she now sported a black blindfold that covered her eyes. Her skin looked soft and he wondered if it felt as creamy as it looked.
Suddenly, Canderous didn’t like the fact he was so exposed, the heat of the room seemingly rising. He managed to croak out, ‘What’re you doing?’ when he saw her raising the cloth to him.
‘I had to remove your armor due to the abrasions you sustained,’ she said, using the cloth to clean a wound above his eye. ‘I know that’s probably an error in my part; the great Mandalore shouldn’t be exposed, however I needed to make sure your ribs weren’t totally broken.’
‘You didn’t use the Force?’ he asked, laying back and letting her tend to him.
‘I did,’ she said. ‘It healed most of your wounds, but I wanted to make sure you’d be alright.’ He was sure he imagined because there was no way she was blushing. Wasn’t she madly in love with the exile? He wanted to tell her that of course he was fine; he was Mandalorian, but her words stopped him. ‘I know you’re a Mandalorian, but sometimes outside help is required and often needed.’
‘You’re reading my mind.’
‘If I was reading your mind, Mandalore, I’d be blushing right now.’
Why he blushed, he didn’t know.
The third month of the year entered with the base on Dxun growing with more and more members of his clan. There were many men of course, but he had managed to find those with wives and children, whom he offered a better life than being a bounty hunter or a merc.
These men remembered what it was like to be Mandalorian; remembered their traditions and customs; who had taught their sons and daughters the same customs. And while he watched his clan grow, he noticed his feelings for one Visas Marr grew as well.
If people wondered why he didn’t take a wife, they never asked, nor speculated. That wasn’t the way of the Mandalorians; however seeing the women and children made Canderous think more about their traditions of family and in that, he thought more about Visas.
His mind thought back to when she had cared for him, watched over him while he was injured. It was only for a few days, but they were days he enjoyed and cherished. They often talked about their goals reforming their people and their ways, though Canderous had more of a culture and tradition within his background. He had never openly talked about this before, even with Revan, who he felt was the closest non-Mandalorian friend he had.
She told him about her life, before meeting Nihilus; how she had learned the Force and was taught to see. He had asked her what she saw when she looked at him and she replied, ‘Probably more than others do.’
He didn’t know why, but that statement touched him deeply. Others usually saw him as Davik’s brainless, but deadly kath hound or a Mandalorian brute. Visas didn’t see any of that and he was greatly thankful. Suddenly, he had a mad desire to learn about his culture aside from their view on battle; to learn what their weddings consisted of, what he should look for in a suitable wife…actually, he thought he knew what he would like in a wife and his mind always conjured up her.
He was smitten…there, he admitted it.
He had flowers sent to her, telling himself it was to thank her for helping him, healing him. And when she invited him to dinner, he could not refuse. His culture forbid it. So he headed out once more to the planet of Katarr, dead set on straightening out these feelings he was having. It wasn’t like him to be shy or beat around the bush, but being around Visas made him – oh frak — giddy, elated, horny…and not always in that order either.
He was going to do something. Possibly something stupid, but something none the less.
It wasn’t hard to understand Canderous Ordo, at least not to Visas. He craved what she did — their people once again in the galaxy and not having the fear that they were the only ones of their kind. Maybe that’s why she was attracted to him, why she thought of him.
She was just as surprised when her thoughts stopped revolving around Ellis Yoly and began thinking about the tall Mandalorian leader who had accompanied her to this planet. She enjoyed their talks, the ones where she talked about her world, he about his culture…it seemed fairly easy when she asked his real name and just as easy when he gave it.
He had stopped wearing his armor when he came to see her, instead opting for black pants and a muscle shirt. She wasn’t sure if this was his way of teasing her, testing her to see if she openly admired his profile, but as her eyes existed behind a veil — as well as the Force — he wouldn’t be able to tell that yes, she did gawk at him when he was there.
She had been pleased when flowers had arrived for her, the card attached saying Canderous was thanking her for helping him when he was injured. She didn’t know what possessed her, but she had immediately contacted him, asking if he wanted to have dinner with her.
And now she was nervous. She had made a modest dinner for two and had fretted about the state of her home for about thirty minutes. She knew Canderous had been to her house more than just once and the state of it wouldn’t bother him, but she was hoping to make it clear to him that she was interested in more than just his helpful presence.
Canderous was just as nervous. He had told Kelborn he would be gone for the night and possibly for a few days. His friend just nodded, though if there was one person who knew where and why Canderous was leaving, it was certainly him.
The second in command had only met the Miraluka while she stayed on Dxun, but while her stay had been short, he had been one of those that Mandalore had called upon to help the young woman rebuild her world. The impression he got was of a formidable woman, one who could hold her own and someone who was as determined to keep her traditions and people alive as Mandalore was trying to do.
Mandalorians were not people who wore their hearts on their sleeves — in fact, they found that to be a sign of weakness — but Kelborn was observant and he could see this young woman was having an effect on his leader.
And Canderous had been aware of that as well. His traditions dictated certain people could be taken into the Mandalorian fold and that’s what he wanted for Visas. He had been telling her of his people and their history, their culture…however he didn’t want her just as a fellow Mandalorian…he wanted more.
‘Credit for your thoughts, Mandalore.’
The former bounty hunter chuckled, only slightly startled at her approach. ‘I was thinking that I should come to dinner more often,’ he replied, thankful for the night that hid the blush he could feel coming. Was he flirting with her?
‘I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing more of you, Canderous,’ she answered honestly, causing the Mandalorian to smile. With a nod, he followed her inside. Their dinner was filled with stories from their lives and before either of them knew it, two hours had gone by.
The more they talked, the more Canderous knew he was in trouble. Mandalorians didn’t beat around the bush and he knew he couldn’t afford to let this dancing around continue, especially not after she place her hand on his during their talk of childhoods.
‘Visas,’ he began, looking her straight in the eye. ‘There are several things about Mandalorian culture I have yet to teach you.’
‘Mating rituals,’ he replied, bluntly. ‘We Mandalorians aren’t complex individuals; we like things nice and simple. And one thing is that someone is to never make a pass at a Mandalorian of the opposite gender, unless they plan on becoming a part of Mandalorian culture.’
‘Who says I’m not?’ she retorted, a small smile on her face.
At first, he was stunned. She was doing this on purpose? Then he laughed, loudly. He leaned forward, shortening the distance between them. ‘You really are something,’ he chuckled. ‘I didn’t know you could be so cunning.’
‘It’s the Sith in me,’ she murmured.
‘I bet it is,’ he whispered, his hand lacing behind her head and bringing her lips to his.