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Twenty more minutes later, the last few people had boarded the escape shuttles which now began lifting off, headed for the safety of the Jedi ship formation, and then to hyperspace. Aidan was back on his own shuttle, having received orders to escort the shuttles. In the back of his ship, he began meditating, reaching out as best he could, subtly tying the minds of the shuttle pilots together so they could more easily function as a unit. It wasn't easy, but by now Aidan was used to struggling over his Force abilities.

Minutes later, the shuttles flashed into hyperspace, winking out of the system. Aidan's group was safe.

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As the orphans began to be evacuated to the outer frontiers of Chandrilian space, and as one by one the shuttles and capital ships departed, the Jedi began their withdrawl. 

((Kel make your way to Nar Shaddaa with 20 orphans. I will give you another mission when you arrive there))

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A thousand eyes watched as the pearl white blade crashed off grey mandalorian armour in a horrendous electrical discharge. The shock of the impact rattled up her arm, jarring her entire body as she hurled herself into the swing. She could taste blood in her mouth, sudden and bitter. The reward for biting her tongue on the slash.

She concentrated on pulling the lightsaber up to the thin neck of the Mandalorian even as a blaster bolt from her tore open the armour over her left breast.

And there they were.

Lightsabre to neck and blaster to exposed flesh.

A draw, in its conclusions, that caused a roar from the Mandalorians surrounding them in the circle. A smile passed between the women and they stepped apart. Both having accomplished their goals. With the departure of any familiar presences in the force, the Jedi Fleet had made its escape, and with them the provisional government and the occupants of the orphanages. And Chandrila was open for conquest.

She stepped away, saluted with her sabre and winced at the burned flesh below her collarbone.

Within the hour, Sandy Sarna had departed for Nar Shaddaa and the Mandalorians had conquered the last vestiges of the Core.

((Arranged three day with Chris over text. He is completely wiped out by clinicals/finals))

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Tros lowered his head after he watched the defending fleets and remaining ships pull out of the space area around Chandrila. There was a great amount of disappointment that arose within him. He could feel the eyes of Vrax upon him before he heard him speak the words.

“We will follow your command al’verde.”

Tros adjusted himself and looked directly into Vrax’s eyes. His own eyes revealing what he was really thinking. The exchanged look provided enough of what was needed, as Vrax suddenly lifted within his hand Tros’ buy’ce. He wasn’t sure where Vrax got the time to pick it up, but he didn’t question it. He instead extended his own hand and retrieved it from the man. He put his buy’ce on and then turned to see that Vrax had also put his on. He understood what his purpose was now, at least for this battle. 

“In the name of Kad Ha'rangir… burn Chandrila to the ground. All turbolasers may fire at will. Glass the planet.”

Tros walked side by side with Vrax towards the front of the bridge of the medusa-class Star Dreadnaught to watch the destruction of the planet. 

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Everyone was always leaving. Turning pages of life to newfound quests and emotions. Dying and leaving her behind.

 

Damn them. Damn Roar Roar and his loving smile. Damn his replacement that had died of his wounds a few days ago. Even all of her squadron mates from the battle of coruscant had died. She was the evermore survivor, and even rumours had penetrated the ranks about the tie of the Jedi master and Mandalore. So they took out their passions on the peaceful planet of Chandrila. Casualties were light, and they remained that way.

 

Anyone that held a weapon or defended their property or women were put to the sword. And in the aftermath there was silence. There was the honour of hellfire. And ash fell from the sky of the crystal world like a heavy snow. There was little honour in the deed. There were no great fighters in the rank and file of the core worlds. The Jedi had all fled and with them any backbone this system had left. There was no honour in gunning down civilians who cowarded behind their children under the guns of the Crusading Mandalorians. Rose had been raised Dar'manda, outside the law of the Mandalorians under their weak ruler. But her and her men were not monsters. Much of the planet and its military installations were glassed as they should be.

 

“Chaff to the Wind.” She whispered to Lix Tetrax as they made their way to the Mandalorian super dreadnought. The fleets were assembling, the fleet now numbered three battleships, a cruiser, and the dreadnought. Far and above enough to take on the Arasuumite Mandalore. It was their destiny. And Terra had decreed the invasion of their ancestral homeworld to be the justification for their crusade. 

 

They would find honour. They would find Glory. 

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And just like that, Chandrila's footnote was claimed, a mere stepping stone toward a greater honor. The battle had been but a blur for me, my actions not of my own, but the guiding hand of Kad Ha'rangir, an instrument within its grasp. I was merely along for the ride, a passenger meant only to bare witness. And when I regained control of my form, I sat there, floating among the stars as I gazed into the abyss of infinite.

 

Then I felt a tug upon my waist, my harness disturbed by Hati's awakening form as she came back online. Reaching out and grabbing the line, I slowly pulled myself toward her. My muscles ached, my flesh burned, and my mind grasped at unattainable straws as I tried to piece together what happened.

 

I managed to reach her and climb upon her saddle, my blinded gaze looking about into the debris and mutilated forms that surrounded me. But no life existed, only death. But that held no surprise for me. For death was one of my oldest companions, always there to claim everything i cherished and constantly remind me of who i was, a Dar'Manda, foremost and forever. Only now, I was a Dar'Manda of Kad Ha'rangir, a cursed and soulless being forged from the fires of death its self. Patting Hati, we headed toward the Dreadnaught that laid ahead of us, and when we landed, both of us fell out upon it's cold durasteel plating. Rest was what I needed, but there was no rest for the wicked in my singular case.

 

Moments would pass us by as we laid there, finally a few of our kin coming to our rescue as I felt the tug upon my form as my armor was discarded and bandages soon adorned cuts and bruises. Laying there in silence, unaware of what had transpired, I began to wonder upon the horizon of what my life was beginning to unfold. Was I truly the voice of Kad Ha'rangir?

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Tros closed his eyes as ships from the surface began to return back to the fleet. He could feel something stir deep within him. It was something small, yet so very familiar to him that it was almost impossible to ignore. He had felt it before, many times before. His own eyes opened to observe the planet before him behind his buy’ce. The fire from the planet below was evident even from space. He let out a very loud sigh, which must have caught the attention of Vrax. 

 

“Is everything alright al’verde?”

 

The million-credit question was asked. To answer simply, no. But how could he even begin to phrase that to the man next to him. To the man who was older and had seen so much more. The man whom Terra had personally recruited on Dxun. There was nothing he could say to him that would convey what he felt stirring deep below. With a slight head turn towards the man, his voice became softer than what it had been since they were paired up upon the ship. 

 

“It could be nothing… It’s not worth bringing up at the moment. We can talk later. For now, prep the ships for departure from this this system.”

 

Tros held his stance at the viewport for a few seconds before he turned abruptly on his heels and left the bridge, leaving Vrax to stand there alone. He for now he had to get himself alone to think. So the best place for him to that was the commander’s quarters. He quickly walked in and shut the door behind, tossing very casually his buy’ce to the side. It bounced off the wall and landed upon the bed where it rested. But he ended up sitting at the table that was offered up for the quarters. He sat and stared out of the viewport within the room and allowed for his mind to run wild. He reached for a drink that was on the other side of the table, which was bottle of Whyren’s Reserve, to which he quickly poured himself a full glass of it to drink as he was left alone to his own thoughts. 

 

But his time alone was rather short, as only after his third swig of the drink did he hear a knock at the door. Tros shifted himself slightly and shouted come in, which was followed by Vrax entering the room and shutting the door behind him, which was a clear sign that the man wanted to talk privately. Of everything that Vrax was, subtle wasn’t one of them. Perhaps a trait almost too common with all Mandalorians. His own comfort with Tros went on display as he walked right up to the table and sitting down while pouring a glass of whiskey himself all within a shift motion. 

 

Al’verde, you can be as dangerous as a Trill beast and twice as cunning as the next man. But something that you are not is subtle.” Tros let out a very quick laugh, followed by him taking another swig before responding. “Yeah, I just had the same thought about you. I guess being subtle isn’t a trait amongst us.” The comment drew a soft laugh from Vrax before he took a swig himself. There was about three seconds that passed before either of them spoke. “I know your face very well al’verde, as I have been in shoes before when I was much younger. You’re beginning to doubt Kad Ha'rangir.” 

 

Tros turned and looked the older man in the face. His own eyes searching for the right words to say, but all that could come out was something that sounded like an attempt to find more air to inhale. Vrax could feel some sympathy for him and placed his left hand upon Tros’ shoulder. “There’s no need to defend yourself. Doubt is natural. Even more so from someone in your shoes.” Vrax then took his own eyes off of Tros along with his hand and stared out of the viewport before continuing. “You’ve been betrayed by your dar'buir, raised by no one. Went to war with a Mand'alor who wasn’t prepared for it. And now, served with one who is the complete opposite. Life hasn’t given you the best hand.” Vrax took a large and hard swig and then almost slammed the glass on the table. He then turned to directly look at him. “But you’re stronger because of it. And trust me, your gut is the best thing to follow, more so than any god that has ever existed within our culture.”

 

Tros slowly nodded his head and took a much smaller swig this time to finish off his own drink. He then pushed himself up from the table and offered up an arm to help Vrax stand. Upon the older man accepting the offer, Tros pulled him up and locked eyes with him. 

 

“I must resign my position then and return to my roots.”

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Days passed as I laid upon a bed within the medbay, not much to do but stare up at the ceiling with the occasional wander around the room with my sight to hinder the onset of madness as my wounds healed. Most were minor, scratches, cuts, bruises. But the seared flesh of my thigh was what kept me bed ridden and from walking out that door. But in truth, even if I was capable, a part of me enjoyed the moment of solace. It gave me time to quiet my mind, gave me time to think on things that had been happening as of late, of Kad Ha'rangir, of my purpose in his name. And so I did in those moments that I laid awake after each bacta dressing was changed for fresh ones.

 

I was Dar'Manda. I was soulless. I held no place in the afterlife, in Manda. So why did he constantly call to me, invade my thoughts and control me at his every whim? I hadn't thought much about this since i accepted the offer on Tatooine during its invasion and the loss of Rose and Rru. I simply acted without thought, forever forward into his holy crusade as his hands because it gave me hope, it gave me purpose. I am Canderous Bralor, last of my clan, a lineage that dated back millennia. And I was the last due to our belief and ability to wield the Force. After all, any true warrior knew that you were supposed to use every weapon in your arsenal in order to gain victory. So why was my clan wiped out and I labeled Dar'Manda simply based upon such a powerful tool?

 

As i laid there, i occassionally looked over toward the ancient armor that my clan had passed down since the years of the Old Republic, nothing left save for the Beskar Chestplate and Pauldron that bore our emblem, the only pieces left of it, my own blood now staining it. I knew I would repair it with parts I could find, but what would be the point? Rumors had been beginning to circulate of Manda'lore's disappearance and that the Crusade was all but in shambles after this last fight. And for a singular moment, i felt Kad Ha'rangir had forsaken us.

 

"Rise Canderous." I heard the all too familiar voice speak, its otherworldly tone echoing so deeply in my head that I flinched in pain. "I have not forsaken you, only the leaders who led you down an unrighteous path."

 

I gripped the bridge of my nose to quell the pain of my head, removing the covers from my form and sitting up on the bed's edge. "Unrighteous path?" I questioned, my thoughts upon the crusade having brought honor and chaos in his name. How could it be unrighteous?

 

"They grew weak and complacent, fell to the allure of Arasuum, the allure of sloth." It spoke again, I finding myself confused even more by its words. We had won back Coruscant, rid the Galaxy of Kain, and defeated the Jedi here at Chandrilla. We were almost at Mandalore. So how had they fallen to Arasuum? "Have you recieved any orders Canderous? Have my followers left Chandrilla yet? No. For your leaders have none to give."

 

There were truth in his words. Aside from the gathered Forces, no new orders had been issued, no movement in days now, and an ominous mood had beset the men for days now. I had even begun to notice that there were less and less footsteps walking the halls. Even with my blinded sight, fewer and fewer caught my gaze. It was if they were scattering to the wind. But if that was the case, what could... or should I do? That was the question that had been plaguing my mind for days now.

 

"Rise and gather what remains of your armor and weapons." It spoke again as I rose from the bed to do so, almost buckling from the pain of the nearly healed leg as I did. "Go forth and preach the law of my word with your blades. Remind those of Arasuum that even through me, a Dar'Manda can regain his Manda."

 

Never did I suspect that my next mission (@saberforce) would pass by that very door the moment I exited it.

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Tros simply held out his hand to shake Vrax's, but found himself staring blankly at the man's face who held no such expression. After a long moment passed between the two of them, Vrax broke eye contact and looked at the doorway and allowed for a small smile to come to his face. "You are my al’verde. That means I will follow you, as I am sure that others will as well." He looked down at the floor to consider exactly what Vrax had just told him before looking back up. There was no need for more words. It was understood what was about to happen, so the two then put their buy'ce upon their head and walked back up to the bridge. Things didn't take very long for the word to spread that al’verde was resigning his position. Some had quickly shown their own disdain for the move, but there were some, a select few besides for Vrax who wanted to stay pledged to Tros, and so then also followed suit and resigned their own positions.

 

Tros had given them instructions to meet him in the hangar bay at his personal ship, Swift Justice. Then him and Vrax took a moment to make sure that the security and safety of the Crusaders were set with a solid commander to the rest of the crew to follow. Once everything was settled, Tros and Vrax headed off the bridge towards the hangar bay themselves. It was then that they had come across a Mandalorain who wore very old armor. It made Tros eye the warrior before him and come to a complete stop. He looked him over for a long second-which forced Vrax to speak up rather bluntly. "Tro’solus- you have but a single spot available on your ship. This one seems a little too damaged to fill that seat."

 

"Vrax-never call me Tro’solus again. And if you don't have a memory... I'm more damaged than anyone else that's already on that ship. What's your name?"

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It was a common occurrence, to be viewed as less than. I was a painful sting that I had bore my entire life. My clan had been wiped out by our very own people due to this, yet I had long let go the hatred I held for its stigmata. But as I stepped forth from the door in nothing but standard issue armorweave, the chest plate and pauldrons of my ancient armor in my arms along with my blades, I found myself face to face with its brunt realization once again, the sting never lessening as my blinded gaze fell upon the two before me.

 

"Canderous Bralor." I spoke as my face shifted to the side, the empty sockets of my Miraluka bloodline uncovered by the disguarded helm I could no longer hide beneath. "But most call me Dar'Manda."

 

His companion was like so many of our kin, their distaste for the tainted blood that coursed through my veins long considered a curse upon my Clan. I could never understand why some Mandalorians feared the Force, but we of Clan Bralor had always accepted it, another weapon of many within our ever filled arsenal. But this man before me, the one called Tro'solus, he reminded me much of Rose truth be told, and yet, there was something different about him even compared to her. Even though I was blind in the typical sense, I could still hear and see this as clear as day. "What did he mean by your ship, 'vod?"

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