Posted 11 February 2018 - 12:33 PM
The red ships of Clan Rekali spread through the debris field like claws. On the cloaked monitor's tiny bridge, Ember Rekali listened to the dead and found them wanting.
His granddaughter's voice permeated the airwaves with all the straightforward authority of the clan chief she'd been for half a decade. Her side of the operation comprised salvage and defense. Hundreds of Iron Empire vessels had died here, an entire interstellar government's worth of naval assets, dozens upon dozens of Star Destroyers. The enemy had reduced them to rubble: not a single vessel was repairable. But that made them an unusually rich debris field, a fortune in wasted hullmetal. Heavy cruisers watched over tractor tenders and net ships and freighters fitted with huge electromagnets. A staggering treasure awaited.
Ember's side of the operation was radically different. On separate subspace channels, a hundred voices chanted in a patois of Mando'a and Vahla and Paecean. The Dark Side of the Force woke up in the back of Ember's mind, and he got to work.
Posted 11 February 2018 - 09:09 PM
As gravity wells and tractor webs collected the debris, maybe a quarter million bodies came along. Electromagnets pulled the hullmetal apart from the bulk. Turbolasers torched the bodies in a growing pyre visible all across the system. Pragmatism would have suggested feeding those bodies into fuel/ration converters or molecular furnaces, but Clan Rekali could honor even the foolish in death.
Posted 12 February 2018 - 07:14 AM
A ship sat on the edge of the debris field, close enough to see what was happening, but not so close as to be regarded as a threat to the salvage operation, most of its operating systems were still. it wasn't trying to hide, more like it didn't want to intrude. The operation was impressive, but she'd expect no less from the Rekali clan. Talia was surprised it had taken anyone this long to mop up the Iron Empires naval remains. Was she in anyway salvage inclined, she might have swooped in herself but she was here for other reasons.
Lex, her ships AI, was scrolling through subspace channels at the mandalorians request, listening in. Bone chilling chants raised hairs on the back of her neck and something unsettling in her stomach. The Rekali clan was a force to be reckoned with, Vahla and Witches made mandalorian, for Talia, the first two were problem enough without adding mandalorian culture to the mix. They'd stayed very clearly out of the war, save for one or two individuals. Until she'd met with Ijaat, she'd not given them much thought. In fact she'd not even known that the former Warmaster Ember Rekali had even been alive, never mind in the next room on Canto Bight. Since then, she'd done her homework, caught up on Empire affairs, though not without some complaint.
"Would you like me to translate?" Lexa's cool voice caught her off guard, she'd been so drawn in by the ebb and flow of the chants she'd almost forgotten why she was here. "No, something tells me I don't want to know."
She watched them gather the dead and burn them in the biggest pyre Talia had ever seen. Its glow filled her screen and she found herself sitting a little straighter in her chair. How many thousands have been left here forgotten. "Fools that led them here. But who is more fool, the one who leads or the one who follows?"
"Is that a question that requires an answer?"
"No, Lex, its not. I already know the answer. I think its time we find out if the Rekali's are going to be any help to us."
"Bringing all systems back online."
Her fingers closed about the controls and she eased he ship forward gently into debris field. "Lex, see if you can identify the lead ship, send them a friendly ping."
Posted 12 February 2018 - 11:18 AM
The lead ship, visibly, was the Skira-class battleship CRS Like Hell, Clan Chief Alec Rekali commanding. The man who answered the comm was an old Vahla with long gray hair, just as scarred as the ship: Oren Beorn Rekali, the pelko seer.
"Welcome to Rhigar, vod," Oren said. The old man's deep voice reverberated over the comms. "My name is Oren Rekali. I speak for the aliit'buir. What's your business with Clan Rekali?"
Ember's focus remained on the chant, to which he contributed. Witches lived on all of these ships, combat and non-combat alike. They raised their voices while they worked, as was the Rekali way: no graceful robes and pristine meditation chambers for them. The Dark Side bore down on the debris field in an intangible way. It felt like anger, frustration, contempt, and malevolent intention.
Edited by Ember Rekali, 12 February 2018 - 11:20 AM.
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Posted 12 February 2018 - 11:36 AM
Talia wondered for a moment, as Oren's form flickered to life in front of her, if their existed a mandalorian now that did not bear scars, visible of otherwise. Probably not. She tipped her head in thanks for the welcome.
"Well met, Oren. My name is Talia Fett, I speak for myself and myself alone. My business is two parts curiosity, on part diplomacy. You've been skirting around the war of our people for some time as a clan, yet sources tell me that Ember Rekali is back from the dead." she managed a small smile. "Not much can stir a warrior from a grave except anger. I'm curious about him, the chanting and where Rekali stands in a war we both know isn't finished. None of these are discussions I'd like to have electronically."
Posted 12 February 2018 - 12:07 PM
Oren nodded fractionally. "I know your name, Talia Fett. I'll pass along your request." His gaze flicked offscreen, then settled back on Talia. "A light frigate will decloak near you and dock with your ship. Go aboard, alone or with friends, and you'll find the conversation you need."
CRS Defiance appeared half a kilometre from Talia's ship and approached. Its massive guns, cruiser-rated, stayed offline. Its equally overpowered shields vanished as it made its final approach. The Defiance was a Seroth-class, one of only two the Lords of the Fringe had ever built. Isley Verd had the other. The Defiance moved to dock with Talia's ship.
At the airlock, a pair of armored Tamith Force warlocks ushered Talia aboard without hostility. One even nodded to her.
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Posted 12 February 2018 - 12:34 PM
"Vor'e, Oren. Good luck with the salvage." Talia let out a low whistle as the Defiance de-cloaked. There was always something a little awe inspriring about cloaking devices. Once upon a time they were a rare commodity but with the right amount of money and connections anyone could get hold of one. "Lex, remind me to look into a cloak for the ship."
"Its already on your list."
Of course it was.
She left her helmet behind, and all of her weapons too. Save the beskad. If her guesses were correct, she had nothing to fear. Even if they weren't she could have entered armed to the teeth and it would have done nothing to help her. Still, she liked the weight of it at her hip, it was a comfort. She returned the nod the the warlocks nods, habit making her count the weapons and gauge the strength of the armour. It was a small reminder of just how powerful Clan Rekali was. Maybe one day, she thought, my own clan can come together again and be just as strong.
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Posted 12 February 2018 - 02:18 PM
A good ritual moved like a boulder embedded in a hill. You started with a whole lot of work, and then let momentum take over. As the chant swelled in the Defiance's narrow corridors, Ember left off participating and went back to meet Talia Fett near the airlock. The guards took up his part in the chant, leaving them alone. The nasty little monitor cloaked again and moved on.
"So you're her."
He pulled off his helmet and the HUD's overlays fell away. The tattoos looked vaguely Kiffar; he made a mental note to pay attention to what she touched.
"I'm Rekali. You're right about why I'm back."
Posted 12 February 2018 - 02:58 PM
Talia raised an eyebrow. "You say that like I've a reputation that proceeds me. I'm a nobody." The chant put her on edge, her hand dropped to her sword, not to draw it, but simply to remind herself it was there. The energy here seemed to swell, dancing along her skin in waves of hot and cold.
"I know who you are, Warmaster." Former perhaps, but he was the only one to hold the title that was truly worthy of it, she tipped her head in respect. "My sources tell me that you struck a deal with the brat that's calling herself Mand'alor. Should I be worried?"
Posted 12 February 2018 - 03:06 PM
"I taught Yasha Mantis for a while, after she threatened to let Vilaz Munin destroy Dathomir. I found her young, impetuous, in love with her own voice, and prone to grandiose mistakes. I also found her relatively reasonable once talked back from various ledges. Her main problem is that she's never learned to lose; all she wants to do is escalate. Could she become a decent Mand'alor? Possibly. But she's now spent some time as a leader of a government that criminalizes Force-sensitivity - while her own close associates are Force-users. She's asked me repeatedly to support her and become her counselor, but that would mean betraying my clan and every other Force-sensitive Mandalorian. It would make me a collaborator. So yes, I struck a deal. I'll strike whatever deals need striking to keep her from torching Dathomir."
Posted 12 February 2018 - 03:08 PM
The Elder Warlock returns.
It had been years since Ember Rekali drew his last breath and left the world to the field of blades. But for Caspian it felt like it was yesterday since he last saw his grandfather. A young warlock his training incomplete he ventured through the Warlock's Gate and braved the Netherworld right to the Rekali Castle in the Field of Blades where the Ex Warmaster fought in an eternal war against the foes he spent his life destroying.
But unlike the other souls fighting in that eternal war he didn't have the luxury of coming back if he was struck down. Just one of many trials he was put through by his grandfather while in the Netherworld: Survive. When he finally did leave the Netherworld and return to his sister's side the galaxy had changed, the Mandalorians had changed. Now? They were almost unrecognizable from what they once were. The legacy of the Rekali name thrown in the mud because of the force they were gifted with. No one bled more than his family in the name of the Mandalorians, no one sacrificed more and yet it felt it was all for nothing.
We'll see about that.
Caspian stepped away from the ritual to check in with his sister and her work in the area salvaging before heading out to make his way back. But a newcomer drew his attention and he made his way in her direction. A helmet was tucked under his arm as he entered into the doorway to be greeted by the sight of his grandfather already talking with the newly arrived. "Everything is proceeding as planned, grandfather." He said respectfully.
Edited by Caspian Rekali, 12 February 2018 - 03:16 PM.
Posted 12 February 2018 - 03:42 PM
"All well and good saying she can be talked down from ledges when there a wise mouth to talk her down from it, which she doesn't. Now add into the fact that is a child and shouldn't need to be talked down. She is not Mand'alor, not to me, nor a handful of others. But we could go round and round in circles discussing the ifs, buts and whys of Yasha Mantis. She is only part of the problem, the shiny jewel on the top of the mountain of crap that is the Empire."
Talia inclined her head at the newcomer. "Su'cuy."
Her attention slid back to Ember. "There are some of us who've joined forces. Broken clans and equally broken people, but we're together all the same. The war isn't over. Where do you stand, Warmaster?" her eyes slid to his grandson. "Where does your family stand?"
Posted 12 February 2018 - 03:48 PM
"Thank you, Caspian. Talia Fett, meet my grandson, one of the clan chief's lieutenants. Like Yasha and me, Caspian has spent time in the Netherworld, if that interests you."
He mulled over her question as he sat on a pullout bench, one of many simple little foldup conveniences. One could safely describe the CRS Defiance as 'cramped.'
"Caspian has no criminal record in Mandalorian space. If Caspian set foot on Manda'yaim, naked and unarmed, with the best intentions and the clearest forewarning, he'd still be imprisoned for life unless he submitted to a crippling medical procedure. If he'd been on Manda'yaim or Dathomir a few months ago, he'd have been hunted, possibly killed, maybe napalmed or knifed like entire villages I could name. All for an accident of birth. I've told Yasha Mantis to her face that we're enemies, primarily because our interests don't align. The Empire would happily break my family if it could. And that's not paranoia - that's proven fact."
Edited by Ember Rekali, 12 February 2018 - 03:49 PM.
Posted 12 February 2018 - 03:59 PM
"They can certainly try just like all the rest who have tried to break our family." He said looking towards Talia Fett. "The return of Ra Vizsla from death infected the Mandalorian people like a festering wound. They become more and more like the Sith with each passing day that they continue to follow his vision even after his disappearance yet again." He added. Something happened to the Mandalorians that day, something changed in the Mandalore since his return and whatever it was infected their people along with him. They were all twisted now.
"The fish rots from the head."
Posted 12 February 2018 - 04:38 PM
"I admire your solidarity as a Clan." Envy it, was the right phrase. "I was on Manda'yaim for the war, stood against Death Watch and my own clan, so I know the rot all to well." she seemed to relax a little knowing at least that the shared the same enemy. "The only way we'll defeat this is if we stand together. Too many people that should have fought simply walked away. I know Mia wasn't much better, but I believe she would have submitted to whatever punishment we saw fit if..." saying if they'd won seemed wrong, like they had already lost.
She chewed the inside of her cheek for a moment, trying to find the right words. They'd come to her, but for the moment they evaded her. So she changed the subject, snatching at the straws Ember had offered. "What's the draw to the netherworld?" she asked "I know many people were pulled there by Akala a few years back, pretty sure thats half the reason that Yasha is the way she is, but why did she go back?" She didn't need to ask why Ember was there, his death wasn't a secret. "Why did you go there?" she asked Caspian.
Posted 12 February 2018 - 04:45 PM
"People see the Netherworld in any number of ways. The Netherworld of the Force is a partial answer to existential dread. It's also one of the few true frontiers left. And of course, there's the draw of those left behind. I have a home on the other side where I spend time with what's left of my family, and I'm only one small example." Ember raised an eyebrow to his grandson. Caspian's story was his own to tell, and Ember opted not to speak to the Mia Monroe issue. In part, because he still hadn't determined what course of action to take toward Ijaat Mereel.
The chant hummed through the deck plates and Ember's boots, a tangible vibration. The invisible torrent of energy converged on the Defiant. Talia and Caspian might feel it in any number of ways, but they'd be in no danger.
"If you're asking us to join a shooting war against the Mandalorian Empire, the time isn't right. But we're willing to talk."
Edited by Ember Rekali, 12 February 2018 - 04:45 PM.
Posted 13 February 2018 - 11:17 AM
There was a palpable energy sweeping through the halls of the ship that only grew stronger in part to the ritualistic chanting deeper in the ship. There were a number of reasons as to why it didn't phase Caspian. For starters he had been allowed to review and approve of the ritual ahead of time as one of the chief lieutenants of Clan Rekali. But the overall one was simple: trust in his family.
"I made the decision to go to the Netherworld for a number of reasons, there were questions that needed to be answered. At first I came to seek the guidance of my grandfather but the further I traveled there the more I realized I also needed to reinvent myself. I was able to do that in a way that wasn't possible in the mortal world. I found answers through the trials I faced, the battles fought alongside the long dead on the Field of Blades." He replied. Ultimately it was the best decision he ever made to journey into the Netherworld. Caspian came out an entirely different person. Something better than what was before and directly due to the guidance of the Warmaster that sat beside him. The Young Warlock was shaped by the Elder.
Posted 14 February 2018 - 09:35 AM
Whats left of his family? It took a moment for her to understand he meant those that had passed. Sintas's face flashed before her eyes alongside the disappointment she imagined on that of her parents. The dead don't want to see me, she thought. She moved her gaze to Caspian as he spoke. "Gives a whole new meaning to soul searching." she quipped with a small smile. The chant seemed to be reaching its crescendo, either that or whatever it was meant for was building. The energy felt familiar, like a reflection of her bad moods and that in itself made it dangerous.
Eyes slid up the corridor, the where Ember and Caspian had come from, where the chanting hummed from, travelling down the ships insides. "The netherworld would hold nothing for me but contempt. I make a living from killing people, and if my family is there? Well...lets just say they won't welcome me with open arms." She couldn't tear her eyes away. "What are they doing?"
Posted 14 February 2018 - 02:53 PM
If Alec was the future of the Clan's business and military strength, Caspian was absolutely the face of its power in the Force. Ember wasn't one for endearment, but Caspian's dependability had made an impact on him. Few others had stayed the course; few others had shown that tenacity. And now that Caspian had grown from Rach's by-blow to a skilled witch in his own right, with half a decade as alor'ad under his belt, Ember didn't much fear for the clan's education.
Then again, the clan had a powerful, entrenched tradition all its own. That tradition, in some form or other, would endure.
"They're combining two things that they do well: physical enhancement and Witch arts. The Mandalorian Empire loves to hide behind ysalamiri, Bral vehicles, Mircin prison ships. Inside their influence I'm just another Mandalorian. But I know of one way that the Force can make an impact inside a ysalamir bubble: if it's bound into something. Sith swords don't lose their edge around ysalamiri. Amulets may lose their powers, but not their resilience. And the Nightsisters of Dathomir have old, strong ways of binding energy permanently into a sentient body - until death, anyway. Have you ever heard the story of Savage Oppress? He and his brother took over Mandalore a thousand years ago. The Witches augmented Oppress, made him larger, stronger, faster, and more aggressive. When he died, it's said power flowed out of him, he deflated. We've done similar things here and there. Now we'll do it to ourselves.
"Force-based physical enhancement. That still works in proximity to an ysalamir."