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Dented Iron

- - - - - Old Man/Woman Get off my lawn Touch of Grey

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#1
Nicair Claden

Nicair Claden

    The Iron Heart

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It had been twenty five years since he'd been here, how it had changed. How he'd changed. Neither for the better. This part of the city used to be clean, relatively. At the very least he could walk the streets without feeling like he needed to scrape every part of his body until he drew blood to get the muck off. Then again, a man like him used to be able to walk the streets safely. A man like him, a warrior by name and by visor. Once respected, now hunted. Concord Dawn had changed, so too had the Mandalorians.

 

With more members meant more expansion opportunities. One planet after another joined the ranks and declared themselves vod. Their warriors, indomitable that they yet remain, stretched themselves thin. The ones that were still alive anyway. Some Nicair didn't have any idea about. In this day and age he knew there was no retiring. Mandalorians were either fighting, or they were dead. In this day and age, even if a Mandalorian wasn't in the middle of doing either of those options, their hearts might as well have already stopped beating. Better a swift death.

 

In that case.. a dead man walks into a bar. Almost sounds like the beginning of a joke. The Sociph don't make it a habit of interfering with the outer galaxy, especially when it is being overrun by a regime more violent and ruthless than theirs. And Nicair, Nicair had no desire to play catch up. He abandoned his Mandalorian surname a long time ago. Changed it to Gyyll after his Sociph "family". On his planet he didn't even use his first name. It was either just Gyyll, or the title his people gave him around twenty years ago, Qer'sut, the Iron Heart. He didn't much have a preference.

 

It had taken him some time to learn how to properly manage his planet, which essentially meant there weren't revolutions every few years, or months as it was in the beginning. By his fifth year in power he'd put down more than his fair share of uprisings. By his tenth there hadn't been one for three years. The Sociph either got used to his iron fist as well as his heart, which he told himself was in the right place, or they died in an uprising. Few left. Twenty five years he'd been in power, the longest one Sociph had been in control for a long while. So far he was averaging one assassination attempt a year. Something he let himself be proud of. At least it kept him on his toes, however many he had left.

 

Not many of the patrons noticed his entrance, those that did didn't care for very long. To them he looked like nothing more than a tired warrior in foreign looking armor (on my to-do list). Around these parts those weren't rare sightings. He hadn't worn his old beskar'gam for many years. Part of him wondered if it still fit, part of him didn't want to confirm it doesn't.

 

His helmet was removed and held in his hand. The once nearly black eyes that scanned the room had tints of steel decorating them now. Bags rested more under the eyes of their host than he did himself. Gray steadily crept up on the previously ebony black hair of his beard and head, now long and almost wild. A metal, bronze in color was used as braid decoration in his beard. Most Sociph don't age as quickly as he did, constantly being on guard and holding together a planet that was once intent on killing him will do that to a man, no matter how apathetic he let himself become. The substance abuse certainly didn't help anything. He'd passed the midpoint of a Sociph lifespan many years ago. Like the saying went, it really was all downhill from here. Soon enough the encroaching madness that plagues his people will begin to show in full force, provided an assassin's blade doesn't find his heart first. The thing about iron is.. it rusts.

 

The wood beneath him groaned as he walked, as did his knee. The thing had been shattered recently, too more metal than is in his armor to keep it together. Part of him truly considered just amputating the leg and getting a cybernetic replacement. It would be easier. For now the brace and rods would suffice. The Sociph had relatively advanced bioengineering. An implant here, increased hormones there and his body regenerated slightly better than most. Granted, mostly they used such practices on berserkers, beings so twisted and broken they could barely be recognized as Sociph. Practices which he may or may not be letting continue. They went mad years ago, might as well make them useful. Give them a death in battle rather than wasting away until they forget how to eat or drink.

 

His vod helped where they could, but keeping control of the planet was a full time job. He got too busy to fight in their wars, and most who had joined his clan left for others closer to their home. The far outer rim was not a welcoming place, so far from proper civilization. So far from help.

 

The trek from the doorway to his seat was a relatively slow one. The booth he chose, while not vastly high class, was one of the better ones in the establishment. The bartender eyed him nervously as he built up the courage to shout his inquiry to what the stranger would have to drink. People that work in a place like this have a sixth sense for danger.

 

There was something in the old warrior's gaze. Or, perhaps it was the lack of anything behind his eyes.

 

Marvik Dathu | Keira Verd


Edited by Nicair Claden, 14 January 2019 - 08:35 PM.

"What have you become when even nightmares fear you?"

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"Hullcracker"Beskar'gam

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#2
Marvik Dathu

Marvik Dathu

    "Galaar'e n'cetar"

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They say that time is the thief of joy - and as water through a canyon, time had helped the flow of alcohol erode away the bedrock of Marvik's life. But had it stolen, forever, his joy? His happiness? His grip tightened, fingers lacing through the cold, steel appendages that were lain palm-to-palm with his own hand. Glancing away from the skylanes over Concord Dawn, he rested his eyes on the beautiful woman who'd drug him through blood and mud to be here today. 

 

Keira Dathu-Verd was as perfect now as that drunken day in her bedroom. Try as it might have, time had never stolen her. 

 

His twinkling eyes stayed on her for a moment, then turned back to the traffic. The windshield of the speeder signaled him to turn and, swinging the speeder around a corner, his eyes wandered the streets and buildings. What hadn't been changed was still blackened by fire or toppled by the same. Fifteen years since the war and some buildings still had rows of scaffolding and labor droids lining their walls. The ones that didn't could barely be recognized - gone were the sharp edges and defensible layers of polygonal walls. Everything was sleek now, shiny and flawless like some Coruscanti opera house. Open and easily charged in a fight.

 

Integration of so many worlds had started to change vode for the worse. The warriors may still have been as hard and blooded as they always were, but their numbers were few and the culture was becoming softer. Too many artists and not enough fighters. Maybe that was his fault. Hell, he knew it was. 

 

"You think-" he turned his head to Keira and paused, words catching in his throat. With a sigh, he turned back to the lane "Nevermind"

 

He knew better to bring up the past. As much as it always haunted him, he hated to pain her with it. She had moved on in her own way, she needed to...he wanted her too. He'd keep those thoughts to himself now like he always did.

 

Besides, she seemed happy to be here after so many years. They didn't get to travel Mando'ade space much anymore. He thought he'd enjoy it too but...he could still smell the smoke and the flames, no matter how much the vode tried to cover it up with fresh paint.

 

"Ori'skira" The Great Score, was what the Dathu Clan had called it. To the rest of the vode it was little more than a Second Disgrace of the Dathus. Marvik had made things work with Yasha, for Keira's sake, but as the clan grew and the weapons became more plentiful - he knew what he had to do. It had cost the Dathu Clan everything, but the Ori'Skira had given them back their honor. At least in their own eyes. Maybe it wouldn't be so hard being here if they hadn't lost in the end. 

 

The guidance system chirped, shaking him from his thoughts. In the distance, a small bar was encircled with a ring. Really? This was the place they were going? He hadn't drank since Evelyn was born and he was quick to throw the bottle from Keira's hand whenever she picked it up again. 

 

"You sure this guy is going to be here?" he cocked his brow at his wife, "or are you just trying to sneak a drink in on me?"

 

Nicair Claden | Keira Verd


Edited by Marvik Dathu, 13 January 2019 - 03:10 PM.

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#3
Keira Verd

Keira Verd

    The Iron

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What had begun as a discussion ended in an argument.
 
It had been some years since Keira had worn beskar’gam properly, and when it came about that they finally had an excuse to return to familiar territory she’d jumped at the idea of getting to wear it again, and who could blame her? Armor was a second skin to their people, and as a younger woman she had practically lived in it, removing her iron shell only when in the presence of her family. Now, though, it had been decades since she’d even looked at it, but he’d insisted that she wear anything but that.
 
She couldn’t really blame him. After what he’d been through, what they’d both seen, the armor meant something different now. Maybe they were wrong to fight about it, but it was too late for that. He’d forgiven her, it seemed, or at least he wasn’t in the business of acting too upset. Or maybe age had worn him down like it had her.
 
Regardless, her hand remained in his, fingers intertwined and the strength of her grip never wavering. “If I wanted to drink, I wouldn’t have brought you with.” Dark eyes cut sideways to meet his own, and she flashed a smile, squeezing his hand gently as if in reassurance. “He said he would be. I don’t know. I haven’t spoken to him since the vode were...well, since we were united.” Of all the infighting she’d witnessed, this had been the one to fracture them in a way she hadn’t seen before.
 
When he put the speeder into park she sat there for a moment, wondering to herself just how she’d ended up here and deciding after a few moments she didn’t want to think about that right now. Before stepping out, she spoke one final private word to her husband, “I can tell when you’re not saying something, you know. You’ve never been a good liar.”
 
Stepping out, she took a deep breath, relishing in being back in what had once been undoubtedly friendly space for the first time in years. When he followed suit she reached out to interlace their fingers again, considering the establishment before them. “If he tries to kill us, I get the first shot.”
 
And with that positive note, they stepped inside.
 


#4
Nicair Claden

Nicair Claden

    The Iron Heart

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To Nicair it seemed ghosts walked through the doors of the bar. Keira's armor brought a rush of memory to the forefront of his mind. The bartender, upon seeing now three warriors, two of which he could assume to be Mandalorians or Mandalorian affiliated, visibly tensed. The armor bore a far different meaning than years past. Once upon a time, decades before they had fought as Crusaders, Nicair still had his tomahawk strapped to his thigh. It was the first civil war he hadn't bothered to take part in. With time it soon became a habit. With even more it became almost compulsive, save for his own planet. On Antisoch, the civil wars had been relatively frequent and eventually the goals of the revolutionaries blended together. Mandalorians were never ones to fight among themselves, to kill each other at least, for small reasons. When vod killed vod, there was brutality, and enough bad blood to drown entire armies. Could be why he didn't necessarily mind it on Antisoch, at least there the Sociph were fighting more for the chance to kill something than for a true purpose.

 

They wanted to kill each other. So they would. Unification, for the most part came when he gave them something else to kill. His "empire" wasn't large, they hadn't gone much farther than their own system, but it gave them something to do. The Sociph, whether they knew it or not, were being used to monitor the outer reaches of the galaxy. They were right on the far outer rim, if he had to transplant enemies on other planets just to keep the army moving and patrolling, he'd do so. The memory of learning about the Yuuzhan Vong and the devastation they caused were in his mind. They'd taken the galaxy by surprise, not again. He didn't fight for them much anymore, but none could say he wasn't loyal to his vod. He just showed it in different ways.

 

He'd never served directly with the Dathu she entered with, though Nicair knew he was a decent enough man. Regardless, of course, with what happened in the war. Part of him was pleased to see the pair still together. Most attempts at some sort of long lasting relationship ended in disaster, which was before he came to Antisoch. There, what was seen as the weakness of needing attachments could get him killed.

 

Perhaps it was the mounting stress, or the Sociph Sickness of mind that decays the brain with time, but he'd begun to dream very clearly his first and only love from his teenage years. She'd sit by his bed side and allow him to put his head in her lap, gently stroking his hair and the scars on his face. She'd talk to him in the dream, things a wife could only say to her husband. Through most of his life his dreams haunted him and sleep was to be avoided. Anymore, it was where he found relief. Then again, the dream could simply be a hallucination. Which was something he didn't like thinking about; stress and excessive violence speeds up the process of madness, only one of which could be avoided even with all the meditation practices of a life long martial artist. For whatever reason no matter how hard the biological engineers worked on Antisoch there was no truly stopping the disease.

 

The primary reason he picked a booth was the ability to lean on something that wasn't a movable chair or usually unbalanced table. His armor was heavy and thick, so too had become his body. While not by any means a behemoth, he'd grown from his Mandalorian days, the toned martial artist was slowly giving way to a brawler. His knee didn't help matters of standing and weight distribution. A look came over his face, almost sad in appearance. The scars and the memories in his mind and body of days long past flowed. The smallest of twinkles peeked into his eyes; well, eye. The other he'd lost along the way.

 

As was his way, he gave a nod. A salutation to the younger versions of himself and the Mandalorians before him he sometimes didn't believe had existed.

 

Keira VerdMarvik Dathu


"What have you become when even nightmares fear you?"

Qf1uViN.pngQWukf80.pngXKqZSBU.pngW4K5leF.png

"Hullcracker"Beskar'gam

Nicair_Sig.gif