Back to Mandalore
After leaving Jilrua, the group made their way back to Mandalore. The trip was mostly a silent one, but they knew they had finally taken down one of the most heinous creatures in the galaxy. They stored the Hutt’s head in the cargo hold, in an airtight container. Even after the death of their common enemy, the tension between Kel and Varo was palpable. The Sith wandered the ship, studied their datapads, and generally tried to stay out of the Mandos way.
Kel alone was on the bridge when he decided to call the Mandalore and give him a full status report.
“Ah, General Alaris, I understand you’ve dispatched Azalus?”
Kel then gave the details of the battle to the Mandalore.
“Well, then, it’s nice to see that the Sith proved useful in this situation. It finally makes sense too how Azalus was able to take down multiple Mandalorian warriors.”
“I guess so…”
“What do you mean, General?”
“Even with the EMP weapon, we dispatched him fairly quickly. And besides that, I remember, all too vividly, the night my parents were killed by this monster. He was not alone.”
“I remember you telling me that.”
“The droids I saw weren’t there this time, Mandalore.”
“Perhaps they broke down? It has been several years, Kel.”
“That’s the thing though there were stacks of droid parts all over the place.”
“I see. So you think those droids are still out there?”
“There’s no way to be sure. They could have been in his lair when the whole sinkhole imploded.”
“We’ll be sure to send word out.”
“Thank you, Mandalore.”
“You also mentioned that you retrieved three helmets?”
“Yes. Neither myself nor Varo could identify what clans they belonged to.”
“Do you have them with you? Or pictures of them?”
Kel then uploaded the pictures to the console and sent them to the Mandalore. Kel watched as the Mandalore opened the files and the pictures came in front of him. The look on the Mandalore’s face softened. He almost looked pained.
“Is something wrong, Mandalore?”
“I recognize those buy’ce…”
“Then we can give them back to their clans when we arrive.”
“It won’t be that simple, my friend.”
“Those three helmets belong to three of my generals that fought with me in the Hutt Wars so many years ago. They were not conventional Mandalorians, the same as I was back then. They were an oddity, in fact, when it comes to the Mandalorian way of life. They were never actually a part of an established clan.”
“How is that possible?”
“Like I said, they were and oddity. They each had the idea that together they would form one clan. To do that though, they felt they needed to make a name for themselves. In fact, one of them did try to marry into the Fett clan, but the clan elder wasn’t about to let a Mando with no clan name or heritage into his fold.”
“But, then, how were they considered Mandalorians?”
About that time Varo walked onto the bridge. Kel gave him a mournful nod and turned his attention back to the holo-feed.
“Well, you see… Captain Taan… Varo, I’m sorry to hear of your loss. At least you were able to exact revenge.”
“That Hutt messed with the wrong clans.”
“Indeed. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the three generals. They were Mandalorians by the decree of the Mandalore, even though they had no clan. In fact, it was the Mandalore’s decision that they could start their own clan.”
“I see… was that the Mandalore that you defeated?”
“No… I was the Mandalore that made that decree. They were three of my closest friends, if you can call them that, from when we were gladiators in the arena. For several years they were the closest thing I had to family.”
“But… since you were already part of a clan, then why not simply adopt them into your own clan?”
“I tried, believe me, but they didn’t want my pity. They were still warriors, and felt they had to prove themselves first. They were also Draethos, so we had that common ground. I felt it was my duty to give them their opportunity, so I sent them into battle. As the war carried on, they proved themselves. Then one day they just disappeared. I had no idea what happened to them. They led the assault on one of the last Hutt strongholds, and they never came back. I figured they had just died in battle, but their armor was never recovered.”
“At least now you have some closure.” Varo offered.
“Yes, I suppose I do. I know the Mandalorian tradition is to just have a burial of the bodies, but given the atrocities this Hutt has commited, and against the several clans it has affected, I’m going to change things. We are warriors, and our dead deserve a warrior’s funeral and remembrance.”
“What do you have in mind?”
“Mandalorians will take two days to remember those lost in battle, or worse. We will tell their tales, so that they never truly die, and we will remember them for the strong warriors they truly were.”
“What of the Sith?” Kel asked.
“They helped defeat Azalus, they can join us, if they want to.”
“I’ll ask them.”
“Very well. I’ll see you in a couple days then. I have much to prepare. Rakno out.”
Kel turned off the projector and looked at Varo.
“Do you think the Sith will join us?”
“Stranger things have been known to happen.”
They left the bridge and found the three Sith in the mess hall. Varo got their attention and told them about the plans that the Mandalore had laid out. He then asked them if they wanted to go to Mandalore with him and Varo.
“I think I speak for the three of us,” started Zentaris “That although we are honored by your invitation, it should probably be a Mandalorian only affair. You could drop us off at Korriban, and then pick us up on the way back. I can delve into the archives there and try to get a fix on that picture my master was able to find on the holocron.”
“Sounds like a good idea, Zentaris. I’ll be sure to turn Azalus’ head in for you when I see the Mandalore. And don’t worry, I’ll be sure that he splits the money five ways, like he promised.” Kel stated.
“I have no doubt you will honor your word. If you can’t trust the word of a Mandalorian, who can you trust?”
A sly smile made its way onto Zentaris’ face.
Kel nodded to Zentaris and headed back toward the bridge. Varo stood there for a moment, looking at the Sith.
“Is there something we can help you with, Varo?” Zeik asked.
“No. That smile just reminded me of someone I know.”
“I’ll be sure to change the course headings to Korriban. We should be there in a couple days. Enjoy the rest of your trip.”
Varo turned and left the Sith alone.
“Zentaris,” Torik started “have you been able to reach Master Slyfer?”
“No. My communicator is scrambled on this ship. I did try when we were on Jilrua, but I had no luck getting through.”
“When we dropped out of hyperspace… did you feel a disturbance in the Force?”
“Indeed I did.”
“Almost as if your master had disappeared from the Force?”
“That would be a fairly accurate description.”
“What do you think has happened?”
“I’m not sure. I will try to contact my master, and I suggest you do the same, when we arrive at Korriban.”
The Sith disembarked from the pod that Varo piloted down to the surface of Korriban.
“We’ll be back in two days, so don’t get lost, killed, or anything else that I might have to explain to your High Council.” Varo said dryly.
“Not to worry, my Mandalorian friend, we’re perfectly safe on Korriban,” Zeik said.
Varo said nothing. He just shut the hatch and took the pod back into space.
“Come, we need to contact our masters.” Zen finished his sentence as he was making his way off the landing platform.
Both Zentaris and Torik tried for several hours to reach their masters, but to no avail.
“What do you think is that matter?” Torik asked.
“If I had to guess, I would say they are delving deeper into the holocron. When we were on the ship, it was as if only seconds had passed when I tried to access the holocron…”
“You tried to access it yourself?!”
“Someone had to try and figure it out, in case the renegade Sith lords found us. I was not strong enough in the Force at the time though.”
“I see… so you think they are unlocking all its secrets, and that’s why we can’t contact them, or feel them in the Force?”
“It have been a very long time since anyone tried to unlock a holocron. Who knows what happens. It’s not even recorded in the archives.”
“Speaking of,” Zeik interjected “are we going to try and figure out that picture your master gave us?”
“But of course. The archives are this way.”
Zen led them toward the archives, all the while trying to figure out what his master might be up to.