Tower of Time: Long Ago and Far Away
   

The Road to Rediscovery
Part 17 - Calling Mandalore

Another day, another archive. Banking off of Carth's clearance, Ev returned to the navy headquarters to dig further through their seemingly endless collection of materials on the Mandalorian Wars. Today, Ev sent her cataloger droid after materials containing information on the final battle at Malachor V. It was a terrible day for both sides, that much she knew already, and the Republic emerged victorious at last. What she did not understand was the Revanchist's reaction to it all. Instead of a victorious speech or allegorical lesson from it all, she simply called her fleet together and pressed deeper into the unknown.

Ev selected one of the data cards in the pile brought to her by the cataloger droid labeled 'Battle of Malachor, Duty Log, Second Lieutenant Krevar Froszki.' She slid it into her reader and began to scan over the text.

'The Revanchist sought out Mandalore and engaged in one-on-one duel with borrowed vibroblades.'


“Mandalore, at last we meet face to face,” she said, approaching him across the dusty ground.

“Revanchist, you have fought honorably and with great valor,” Mandalore replied. He stood still waiting for her, golden armor shining in the dim sunlight and red cape flapping in the wind. Like her own face, his gaze was obscured behind a dark mask. “You have earned the glory of a thousand victories.”

“And you deserve death for what you have done,” Revan replied darkly.

Mandalore did not flinch from the threat. “I see you wear a mask of our people,” he observed.

“I wear the mask of a dissident,” Revan declared, “I wear the mask of the billions of tears cried for the billions you have killed. I wear this mask until those victims have justice.”

“And what of this justice of yours?” Mandalore asked.

“Today is the day you will die, Mandalore,” Revan said darkly.

“So it shall be,” Mandalore nodded. He shrugged out of his cape and brandished his long halberd.

Revan cast off her own cloak, but did not draw her lightsabers. Too many good Jedi had fatally learned that Mandalore favored only cortosis armor and weaponry, and had learned too late. Contact with the volatile metal would short out any lightsaber and leave a Jedi defenseless. Two soldiers standing by did have vibroblades in their possession. That would do. She reached out with the Force and pulled at them. The weapons sprung from their startled owners' hands and flew into her grasp. “On your guard, Mandalore,” Revan said.

“May the greatest warrior have victory,” he replied formally, then launched towards her, halberd cutting through the air.


Ev let out a long breath and rubbed her temples, blinking furiously. That would be the first time when a memory returned to her when she was still fully awake. The veil between herself and who she was before was wearing thinner and thinner. She took another deep breath and let it out, then continued to read.

'The duel lasted nearly one standard hour, but the Revanchist emerged victorious, decapitating Mandalore. The Revanchist took Mandalore's mask and ordered that all surviving Mandalorians be stripped of their armor and their weapons be destroyed. Few Mandalorians resisted after the decisive defeat of their army over Malachor and the Revanchist over their leader.'


Revan held both vibroblades crossed over Mandalore's neck. He knelt before her, all-but-defeated. So this is what victory tastes like. Mandalore the Ultimate was at her mercy, and how she hated him for what he had done.

“Revanchist, you are the greatest warrior of our time,” Mandalore wheezed. “It was an honor to do battle with you.”

Revan glared down at him through her mask. There were no words to express the hatred she felt for him.

“But are you a great enough warrior to hold off the darkness that is yet to come?” Mandalore asked.

With a scream, Revan drew her blades together and sliced his head clean off. The body toppled over and the helmeted head bounced twice before it rolled to a stop on the ground.

Revan discarded the two vibroblades, disgusting and tainted with the blood of a murder. She stepped over his body to where the head lay and bent down to remove the helmet. Beneath the mask was the face of a proud man with a thick, black goatee. He had been just like any other man, only he was Mandalore, the destroyer of systems.

Revan clutched the brassy mask in her fist and shook it into the air. “So long as I live, no other Mandalorian shall wear this mask and reign terror on the galaxy again,” she declared loud enough for everyone around the duel to hear, “By acting as they did, the Mandalorians have given up their right to honor and to their leader. Take their armor. Take their weapons. They will not be allowed to exist as they had.”

Soldiers moved immediately into motion to carry out her every command. This was power.

She wasn't satisfied.


Ev shook her head sharply and blinked off her daze. Mandalore had warned her of the Sith, cryptic as he had been, though it seemed that she had expected that all along.

Mandalore.

The Revanchist's work was not finished with the death of the leader of the Mandalorians. Somehow, it seemed that the Revanchist's work was not finished even yet. No one would finish it for her, either.

Urgency, fear, and hesitance all gnawed at Ev's heart. If there still was that danger out there, she knew only she could face it, and yet, she could not bear the thought of leaving all those she loved behind. She could even less bear the idea of the galaxy falling into another destructive war, costing trillions more lives. The Revanchist was famed for casting off her identity in favor of service to the galaxy. But, could Ev Pell do that again, in this life?

She did not know.

She knew even less of what threat she faced. Her memories were fragmented, scattered. She did not have an army. She had only herself. Did she even have sufficient control over the Force and herself to strike out on her own?

Ev sighed and continued reading the log again.

'We destroyed most of the Mandalorians' gear, but some was taken into storage to the Ruac II Military Outpost to be cataloged and studied. We never know when the Mandalorians will rise again, and this will give us an edge over them next time.'

“The mask,” Ev realized.

She abruptly ejected the data disk and set it on top of the stack on her small table. She had read enough today.

Ev pulled out her comlink and clicked in a familiar code. “HK,” she started, “Find Canderous. I want to meet with him again.”

“Promise: It will be done, Master,” HK-47's mechanical voice replied menacingly over the comlink.

“And, before you even ask,” Ev amended, “No, you may not use force. He can come on his own time. Just report to me when he is ready.”


Not far from the Jolly Mandalorian tap caff was a dark cantina called Raxo's. It was the respectful sort of cantina where there were no cameras, no hidden microphones, and all due privacy given to all the patrons. This is where HK-47 told Ev to find Canderous. He was already seated in a particularly dark corner, watching warily for her arrival.

Ev slid into the booth across from him.

“That droid of yours said you summoned me,” Canderous started gruffly. “This had better be good.”

Ev snorted, “HK would phrase it that way, wouldn't he?”

“So what do you want?” Canderous asked. “I've got a job for Krekk tonight.”

“Have you thought more about bringing the Mandalorians back together again?” Ev asked. Canderous was not in the mood for small talk and neither was she.

“Hmph, that,” Canderous muttered, “Gathering Ordo together again, that might be possible. I still have a good name among them, but the other Mandalorians, it would be impossible. Without a new Mandalore, we will remain fragmented. Without Mandalore's mask, there will be no new Mandalore, and you saw to that at the end of the war.”

Ev nodded appreciatively. So he has been thinking about it after all. She waited for a moment, debating on how to phrase what she would say next. “Canderous, I think I know where the mask is,” she said.

A spark ignited in Canderous' eyes that Ev had not seen in a long while. “You remember?” he asked, “Where?”

“I am fairly certain it was placed, with a number of other Mandalorian war spoils, in the Ruac II Military Outpost,” Ev explained.

“Is it still occupied?” he asked.

“Yes, though not heavily guarded,” Ev replied.

“So they think we're gone for good, do they,” Canderous chuckled.

“The trick would be to reclaim it in such a way that does not alarm the Republic to a rising Mandalorian presence,” Ev cautioned.

“This sounds like the sort of challenge I have been looking for,” Canderous said with repressed eagerness. Ev saw it in his eyes: this kind of challenge was what made him Mandalorian. “I'll get Kex and Bralor to come with me. We'll get it done.”

“And you will be the new Mandalore,” Ev added.

Canderous started at her and nodded stiffly. “You have given me the honor of fighting against you and fighting with you,” he said, “Now I will have the honor of fighting for you.”

“I don't know what's out there, but I do know it is dangerous. It is a silent threat to the galaxy we know,” Ev said quietly, “I need you to gather the clans and prepare for battle. I can't tell you when it will happen, but I need you to be ready. Can you do that?”

Canderous nodded, “The Mandalorians will always take honor in fighting under your banner, Revan. In this age, there is no greater warrior than you.”

“Thank you Canderous,” Ev said with a sigh, “The Republic is going to owe you another one.”

“And so you're going then?” Canderous observed.

“I don't know,” Ev hesitated.

“Yes you are,” Canderous affirmed, “I can see it in your eyes.”

Ev swallowed hard. She was as torn as ever.

“If I get Mandalore's mask,” Canderous asked. “Where's yours? Revan wasn't Revan without her mask.”

- Next Part -


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