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How I learned to stop worrying and love the Dib

Coopers Cooler
Writer
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Dathomir System - Present Day

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Kaine Australis, aboard his flagship, had been on an inspection tour of Dathomir and the defence arrangements. After a quick exercise with the planetary defences against his vessel, the crew were winding down, fighters and other craft were now returning to their hangars, and watches were being changed, as the new duty crew came on shift.

The General was looking over some reports, while he waited for notification that his visitor had arrived. Kaine had chosen to meet him here, aboard his flagship, both as a sign of trust, and to show what his Clan and Mandalore had to offer the Mando'ade. After all, clan chieftains should try to be on good terms, for the troops' sake.


Kaine fiddled with the datapad he was holding, then handed it off to a naval lieutenant, who made himself scarce, leaving the General to wander the bridge, waiting for the guest to be shown from the landing bay to the main command bridge.

Stashed away in a locker at the rear of the bridge, unbeknownst to all but Kaine and the chief petty officer who'd stowed it there for the General was a bottle of 274 year old tihaar, pre burn, as they called the vintages that survived from before the cataclysms. Very old, very powerful, very expensive Tihaar. Only the very best would do. This was a meeting of men who had shed each others' blood, and gained mutual respect.

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[member="Muad Dib"]​
 

Muad Dib

Paragon of Virtue
Writer
He rested in the shuttle, the Devil's Flame, as it slowly entered the hangar bay. Rising slowly he glanced to his cargo bag, his beskar'gam safely stowed within. While he was a mando'ad, this was not a meeting to end in violence, well, most likely not. A chuckle crossed his face as he headed for the ramp, his armored boots ringing dully as he descended.

An honor guard waited to escort him to the bridge for his meeting with [member="Kaine Australis"]. Dressed in khaki pants festooned with pockets and a long sleeve, tan shirt with the sleeves rolled up he gave a slight nod of acknowledgement to the vode of Clan Australis. He felt their eyes on his beskad over his shoulder, his protector revolver strapped to his right thigh, and the mythosaur kal at his waist.

Grinning lightly he motioned with his left arm, his hand holding a small case, to the turbolift in the distance.

"Shall we?"

Moving for the lift the honor guard circled him and they entered. Glancing around at them he smirked.

"Nice ship, but you definitely need some turbolift music."

He began humming an obnoxious tune he had heard elsewhere. One of those songs that annoyed you and stuck with you for hours afterwards. A grin crossed his face as the turbolift doors opened. Moving onto the command bridge he scanned the many stations and officers and let out a low whistle of appreciation.

His glowing blue eyes fell on Kaine and he felt conflicting emotions. A flush of commraderie between vode, and a slight phantom twinge in his nutsack. Shaking his head slightly he moved toward the other mando'ad.
 
Coopers Cooler
Writer
My R&D chief decided the music was superfluous. I'll have him overruled.

Kaine was relieved to see the man he'd once done his best to kill, now aboard his flagship, and here for a discussion between men who'd only recently tried to shed each others' blood, and now gained understanding and respect from the conflict of equals.

The General discarded his datapad and approached Muad as he entered, offering his hand to shake.

Welcome aboard. I've got something appropriate for the occasion.

Following the obligatory handshake, and after pretending to draw and aim at Muad's groin, then re-holstering his weapon with a grin, Kaine wandered over to a hidden storage compartment and withdrew a dusty bottle.

Two hundred plus years old. Let's put it to good use.

Kaine waved the bottle of pre-burn Tihaar.

This, is the good stuff.

[member="Muad Dib"]
 

Muad Dib

Paragon of Virtue
Writer
Gripping the other man's forearm in a traditional warrior handshake, he grinned. Battle tended to forge bonds of brotherhood. Though they had been on opposing sides trying their damndest to kill one another, the day ended in an alliance of their people and a respect between warriors that had grown into commraderie as they shared drink on the scene of their conflict. He raised a hand to slightly brush his cheek at a remembrance of sticking his own finger within the hole in his face to stem the liquor from escaping.

At the mock gesture aimed at his groin by the other man, Muad gave a rueful grin and shake of his head. Following [member="Kaine Australis"] to where he rummaged momentarily in a compartment the mando'ad turned with a rare bottle. A smirk crossed his face as he tossed the small container he had in his hand to the Alor.

"Well your bottle is more appealing then my gift. But that's a gift. A Protector revolver with a twist. You make recognize it from our initial meeting. Now, where is the glasses ner vod?"

He let out a chuckle as he looked around with exaggeration for these greatly needed glasses. But a serious look crossed his face.

"I heard about the attack on Myrkr. You have my sympathy and condolences for your loss. If I, or my House, can assist in anyway, all you need to do is say the word and I am ready to stand by your side."

Their governments were allied, yet he offered on behalf of himself going beyond the allegiances of their respective people.
 
Coopers Cooler
Writer
Kaine caught the gift in one hand, managing not to drop it, or the expensive shebs bottle he held. Kaine handed the bottle across to Muad so he could look over the fine revolver, which he took out and admired.

I recognize this, a fine piece.

He turned, and reached into the compartment... and found the glasses the chief had left without being asked.

Kaine wasn't the most cultured or forward thinking of people, and had probably just assumed they'd drink from the bottle. Lucky the chief was a sensible bloke, as most were, and had provided.

Kaine came out with the glasses, and stashed the revolver in the safe place.

Come on, view's better up here.

He led his guest to a small access way that lead up to an executive bridge, and suite, just above the main bridge itself.

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Kaine indicated the table, chairs, and the rest of the bar, as well as the panoramic transparisteel viewports.

There was no one else in the suite, the guards were elsewhere. Private and well appointed, close at hand to the bridge in case of trouble, but far enough away so as not to be bothered.

Make yourself at home, ner vod, and let's have some of that good stuff. Your words and your deeds are honourable, and i'd be proud to stand alongside Clan Dib.

[member="Muad Dib"]
 

Muad Dib

Paragon of Virtue
Writer
Following the man to executive bridge and suite he released a low whistle of appreciation. Turning slowly to take in the view afforded by the transparisteel views he nodded to himself as he faced [member="Kaine Australis"] once more.

"You know how to live. Very decadent. But I expected a hot tub."

Chuckling he reclined back onto the sofa and cracked the seal of the bottle. He had heard rumors of a ship in the other man's fleet that sported such a tub and couldn't resist the urge to poke at him. The other rumors were the ship belonged to one of his women, yet Muad cared little for another person's personal life choices. Live and let live. If it brought him happiness then let the shabuir who whined go stick there head in the South end of a Hutt.

Raising the bottle he brought the neck to the offered glasses and poured a generous amount into each before setting the bottle on the table. Collecting one of the glasses from Kaine he raised it in salute.

"To friends living and dead, may they live on in us. Nu kyr'adyc, shi taab'echaaj'la." Raising the glass he tossed back the liquid and felt the fiery burn down his throat, heating his core immediately. Tears came unabashed in his eyes as he let out a sigh of enjoyment.

"Ori jate"

Clearing his throat Muad looked at the other man. A meeting of vode was not unheard of. It happened on a daily basis. Yet this was more. Peace between the Confederacy and the Mandalorian Empire was now a legitimate treaty, allies between governments. But he knew that to strengthen the alliance would help both their people. And Muad was in a precarious position. He was a mando'ad and a member of the CIS, even if he had no literal role within the government. And so he had come to foster the brotherhood.

"Sometimes honor isn't always as fun as being roguish and a rebel. But I digress. I may not have the honor of being able to call Manda'yaim home, nor do I serve your Mand'alor, yet I am mando'ad. Recently I adopted a son, a big ole bouncing boy of an aqualish. And as I began to explain what we are, I realized that I was not honorable. I am not keeping the tenets of the resol'nare."

Frowning he looked out the viewport to the planet Dathomir. So many places he had been, so many things. And yet he had never know acceptance until cin vhetin, and even then it was a difficult path to trod. Yet he had. Then everything changed with the reemergence of Ra the Undying. The resol'nare had been torn asunder, a civil war erupting, a breaking of honor on Dagobah.

But that was not the Mandalorians who the Confederacy had reached out a hand of friendship with. It wasn't the mando'ade he looked upon now, throughout the ship. It wasn't the same regime nor even the same Mand'alor.

"Honor ... Tis a flighty thing. Aliit, vode, yaim. All wrapped up in who we are. How can you serve when you still have rage and hate in your heart for the very thing you desire?"
 
Coopers Cooler
Writer
Kaine silently returned the salute, letting Muad speak his mind.

Kaine himself enjoyed the extra fiery burn of this magnificent old drop of Tihaar. Between the burning sensation throughout his throat and sinuses, and Muad's words, and the depth of meaning behind them, his own eyes were wet.

He went to speak but the Tihaar had scorched his throat, and he got a cough instead, which left him a little redfaced, some from the choking, some from embarrassment, which was mild, good luck to anyone drinking 200+ year old tihaar.

If you ask me, a Mando'ad's honour is between him and Kad. There are no half-time scores in this life. In the past, i've acted with convenience, with the quick and easy path, without regard to honour, mercy, or even the resol'nare when it got in the way.

Kaine cleared his dry and scorched throat once again.

But it cost me in the end. My wife, my children, the first Clan Australis. I won't sacrifice another life for my pride, or my ego. There is a special joy in the honour of simply embodying the resol'nare to the supersedence of all else. To be honest, it keeps things simpler. Maybe that's just age and experience talking.

It was more than that, and despite his words, Kaine knew it. Most beings learned through screwing up badly enough to resolve never to repeat the mistake, and to maintain the vigilance necessary to avoid such consequences again.

Any Mando'ad can be redeemed in his own eyes, no matter how black the crimes, or how dark the deeds, nor the depth to which one has sunk. Cin Vhetin. Kad, and even our feisty Mand'alor gives second chances. Third chances, well, they're a lot harder to come by, ner vod.

And Muad's own words about his own adopted child had given Kaine the answer to Muad's own question. Were all Mando'ade not brothers? Could they not all help one another to be redeemed in their own eyes, and the eyes of Kad, to take their place in the Manda upon death?

You redeem yourself, and your past, with your children. They're a large part of the resolnare, and the part that brought my own focus back to where it should be. Trying to pass on to the younger generation what we learned. That's how you regain your honour, and find a focus for your rage. Honestly, I think the six rules are really the answer to everything for a mando'ad.

[member="Muad Dib"]
 

Muad Dib

Paragon of Virtue
Writer
Pouring them both another hefty and generous portion of tihaar, he leaned back and listened to [member="Kaine Australis"] speak his mind on the subject broached by the Mad Man. It was true, honor was not something that could be taken from a man, but it was something that a man could lose of his own accord. And family was a blessing, one Muad had never considered before hand. Immortality, true immortality, was attained not by manipulation of the force through the Darkside by powerful beings in the force, but by simple beings who embraced their family, immortalized in memory by word and deed. And redemption through your aliit was one of those gifts, letting the next generation learn from your own mistakes.

He tossed back the drink and again was inflamed by the fiery liquor trying it's best to melt it's own path down his esophagus. Swallowing with a slight grimace he shook his head and exhaled, his breath feeling hot enough to slag durasteel. His eyes were suffering the same affliction as he noticed Kaine was sharing his pleasurable pain of the centuries old drink. Tossing his head back he gave a loud laugh before pouring himself a third round, yet he held the glass as he cleared his is throat.

"Vor entye, ner vod. For the drink and the advice. Sometimes it's difficult to get your thoughts in order until you have the opportunity to share them. One day, soon perhaps, I need to meet the Mand'alor myself. I can't give my sword to a leader who's rules confine who I am, what I am. I can't offer my strength to someone who stands by laws of her predecessor that restrict not just myself, but my entire Clan and House. The difficult position [member="Yasha Mantis"] finds herself in is not one I envy."

He tossed back the third round and swallowed. The burn wasn't quite as bad as it was, yet the potency was very apparent. He coughed lightly into his hand as the alcohol began spreading it's warmth through his body, pleasant effects relaxing the man and making him happy he was seated at the moment. Stretching his legs out in front of him he sighed.

"Rumor has it you just had a wedding in your clan, and maybe another upcoming for yourself. You are crazy mate, why would you marry a second woman? Either you are karking crazy or you are a glutton for punishment. Perhaps it's you who should have taken that sonic blast graze to the groin instead of me."

Muad laughed again as he aimed his own hands in a mock simulation of guns at the other mando'ad's own groin.
 
Mand’alor the Infernal was finished inspecting her fleets and defences based in this sector. Docking with [member="Kaine Australis"]’ ship, the heavily pregnant Mandalorian walked alone through the ship toward Australis, being told in her ear that he had a most peculiar guest.

[member="Muad Dib"], the man who fought him near to death on Concord Dawn. The man who once challenged Ra Vizsla, when none else would. She knew of this man through one more whisper. One more tiny source. [member="Ginnie Dib"].

“It’s a harsh position to be in, but for the wisdom of my council and the hard work of my compatriots and aliit. Muad Dib, Alor. You are known to me, although I doubt you would recognize the little girl who followed your challenge of Ra Vizsla in the Death Watch meeting, directly with yours.” Yasha smirked, a small bit of joviality in her amber eyes. She was all but 8 when she threw up her own challenge to Ra, picked up by the scruff of her neck by Johanes Quez and ‘rescued’ by her uncle [member="Silas Mantis"]. Yes, she remembered Muad Dib.

“If you want to ask, do. This is a wonderful opportunity.”

He was his own, and thus this turn of events was curious at best. Yasha stepped into the room without knocking, or question. Australis was her trusted General, her confidante and the most aggressive of her friends. As she trusted him, so she expected the sensation to go both ways.

“Your new clanswoman was at the wedding, Alor Dib. Two of your own, in fact… one you thought dead, who Manda’yaim resurrected. My old friend, Ginnie Ordo. Now Dib” Setting her buy’ce down on the table, Yasha shrugged. “Forgive my intrusion, Kaine, but I wanted to tell you how many times I whistled at that impressive naval tech you’ve poured into our skies. You’ve done well, I’m glad you took the protection of our people so keenly.”
 

Muad Dib

Paragon of Virtue
Writer
The woman speaking in the doorway drew his glowing eyes. Her height and features, not to mention distended belly, gave silent exclamation to her identity. The Young Wolf herself, [member="Yasha Mantis"], the Mand'alor. Maybe it was the company, maybe it was the truce, hell maybe it was the liquor, but Muad didn't feel the stir to leap to his feet prepared for confrontation.

Eyes did narrow as the revelation that the two had met, ever briefly, not too far in the past. Yet the child he remembered dis not match the woman standing before him now. Brows furrowed at the conundrum. However he had seen too much in his time to be completely surprised at the event. Though the curiosity did itch at the back of his mind.

When she mentioned that Ginnie was alive he sat up, his mind aflame at the questions now assaulting his senses. Young Ginnie Ordo yet lived. The kid he knew and stood beside in her pink beskar'gam. A little warrior in her own right. One he had reacquainted with ever so briefly at the Verd reunion, now a grown woman. Frowning at the implications given him Muad's ears were deaf to the words she spoke to [member="Kaine Australis"]. Taking the bottle by the neck je bypassed the glass and raised it, taking several deep swallows before breaking the seal with his lips with a gasping cough.

Red rimmed eyes focused on Yasha.

"How? She died for the Confederacy, at the hands of an enemy. What sorcery returned her from the manda? Why have I not heard? And how is she a clansman? I've not heard of any of my aliit taking a new riduur!"
 
The pyrokinetic Master jarred before Yasha’s eyes, face growing in the hollow trails of grief.

“It was certainly not the enemy who killed her, Alor Dib. Darth Metus committed fratricide after her duel was over. I have seen the footage from Ginnie’s buy’ce with my own eyes and can play it for you, although it is not a delightful experience. Ginnie fought bravely, the enemy picked her up and tended her wounds, carrying her out of danger when Metus attacked as a Wraith of the Dark Side. Metus killed her… but in what I can only call mercy, Rhaegar shattered his soul to place a shard with her, so he could follow her into the Manda and reclaim her.”

Yasha’s hand lingered on top of her belly, and she sat near the two men. “The Netherworld is a curious bastion. In hazarding its’ voids and chaos, Rhaegar Dib experienced the divine Manda side by side with Ginnie. They lingered together in the timeless eternity of our unique paradise, and thus he brought her back, reborn out of the soil and water and fires of Manda’yaim. They fell in love, Alor Dib. Rhaegar Dib bowed his head and repented his crimes, petitioning for Cin Vhetin, so he might do right by his new riduur. I owe Ginnie a debt I can never repay for her father Jasper’s death at my father’s hands. I am compelled to protect her… she spoke well of you. Gin’ika wishes to reach out, but feared your reaction to her husband.”
 

Muad Dib

Paragon of Virtue
Writer
"Rhaegar ...."

The name was a snarling sneer upon his face. The last time they had met the man had made him an offer. Join him, stand at his side. Together they would sway Derek and stand united as the few remaining Dib living in the galaxy. He was tempted for a mere moment, yet Muad was not a joiner nor a follower. And at that point in his life he had broken from the Sith roots. Battle had been joined yet neither were willing to give the final blow to end the other.

"Little Gin'ika .... Not so little anymore. And married to ole Nemo himself ... Everything changes, and yet nothing changes."

His eyes turned to the Manda'lor and narrowed.

"Let us dispense with titles. Call me Muad. As for giving you the honor of Sole Ruler .... You aren't my Manda'lor. I was on Concord Dawn when our governments were aligned. I know the stipulation given. It's where I met ner vod."

He grinned over at [member="Kaine Australis"] with a wink before turning back to [member="Yasha Mantis"] .

"I've served my Manda'lor, answering their calls. I brought my Clan to Manda'yaim where we built a home. I am mando'ad, lived the resol'nare. Yet I was spirited away for a time and came back to my home devastated, our people scattered, a civil war brewing. I did not answer the call of Mia, for she was one of those responsible for our world being in ruin. I answered the call of Ra, who chose to attack me for questioning him. He broke the tenants of the resol'nare and outlawed force users. Not only wasni exiled, but my entire clan. All because of the chance of our birth."

He took the bottle and tipped it back again. Perhaps the liquor have him courage to speak his mind. If he was anyone else then there would be truth in that statement. But for the Mad Man, he never conformed to others expectations.

"I can't give you my beskad. You have changed much that Ra the Undying had done, yet a force user is still restricted to not being able to use one of their natural abilities upon their homeworld. Every member of my Clan is force sensitive, yet you would have me not allow them to train their ability, feel comfortable in their homes to be true to who they are. You would stand by this law if one of my people were to unthinkingly use an aspect of who they are."

Coughing into his hand from the liquor he shook his head lightly.

"You see the amended law being just, I see it as a mockery. If we can't be ourselves in our yaim, then Mandalore isn't home, and neither my people nor I will call you Manda'lor."

They were hard words, yet he felt the truth in them. He believed the righteousness of his decision. He couldn't swear allegiance to one who upheld a stigmata upon his entire House. Not how things stood at the moment.

"I can't, no, I won't ask my adi'ka or clansman to be untrue to who they are on a world that will not only judge but persecute them for who and what they are."
 
Coopers Cooler
Writer
Kaine listened quietly. It wasn't his time to talk. He smiled when he was paid a compliment, or at a particularly light moment, but otherwise, he sat and listened, as Yasha and Muad, together, were open and honest as vode should be, speaking what was in their minds and in their hearts. Finally, it was his time to speak.

He got up, carefully, this was good tihaar, and took the bottle from Muad.

My turn vod.

Kaine grinned, and took a sip, savouring the burn. He gave Yasha an apologetic look, nodding at her belly, just to be the unsubtle goof he could be around those he trusted.

Kaine looked first to Muad, a man he'd met trying to kill, and yet had come to trust as a brother.

The rule of law can change. To us, there's truly only six shabla rules, and none of them mentions the shabla Force.

Kaine pointed to Yasha, using the convenient bottle as an aid.

When I first came to Manda'yaim, to Sundari. The first thing I saw was Darth kriffing Carnifex, karking lord of the barvy Sith Empire, kneeling to her. I've never seen anything more magnificent in my life.

He smiled wistfully. It had been a glorious sight indeed.

Then of course it all went to osik. But i never forgot that moment. Not long after, the laws of Ra began to change, and change vastly, in a short space of time. I feel as you do about the law. But it doesn't change my loyalty, not one bit.

The loyalty is to the Mand'alor. As a vod, you must rally, or challenge the rule. There is no third course but exile.

We are all one aliit, Mantis, Dib, Australis, it makes no matter. United, we are kandosii.


He took another swig while the getting was good, looking from Muad to Yasha, and back again.

Kad, but this was good tihaar, he was getting all preachy.

[member="Yasha Mantis"] [member="Muad Dib"]
 
“He was quite animated, when I saw them last… alone in my father’s abandoned house… wrapped in a sheet, you know I’m still trying to forget I saw them… especially… yeah I couldn’t give them clothes fast enough.” Yasha stared at the wall, before shaking her head and rubbing her eye with the back of her crush gaunt.

“Your criticism is well earned. I know the shadow upon me which remains from the Undying’s time, Alo— Muad. And I’ll say the same thing to you I’ve said to my other Mandalorians, including my adopted father, [member="Gray Raxis"], a Master of the Force. Repairing the hurt caused by Force Users, who have harmed us takes time. It’s why I started by relaxing the law and began to allow Force Sensitive Mandalorians the right to come home… yet Mandalore wasn’t ready for the law to be revoked. There was too much pain and hurt, and for the law to be revoked, I first had to prove to the Mandalorians left on Manda’yaim that the Force itself was not the gigantic danger they all believed. I had to prove that the people who are gifted with the Force are Mando’ade first, and gifted second. I hope someday it is proven, I hope someday the Mando’ade realize that the Force is merely a tool on our belts, not the guiding presence of our lives. Yet, I can only do what my people require of their Mand’alor. Whether you give me that honour or not, I am still Mand’alor the Infernal, and I will still work to bring plenty and peace to our People, even if that peace comes at a gradually decreasing cost.” Harsh words, but honest ones. She could give him no less respect than that: to speak with truth of her past and future plans.

“Right now, two of your clan are being protected by my Yalilyr and my Spymaster at all times. Ginnie is terrified. She could use a friendly face, especially yours. She wants desperately to come to you, but fears you'll try to kill her riduur without hearing them out. Call me what you want, I am still going to work to provide for you and your Clan the best I can.”

Yasha watched [member="Kaine Australis"] bumble up to his feet, tipping the tihaar to his lips. She couldn’t help but smile and chuckle at her General, all the while rubbing her belly. No tihaar for her. “Someday you owe me a karking good bottle of tihaar, Austr’ika. But that’s all you owe me. The rest I give you free of charge. Australis is right. The Mando’ade are never going to survive unless we can make peace with each other, and help forge a new direction.

If you don’t like the law, which you don’t, come home and help change it. You have the chance, Muad, to help dictate the future of our People. Will you yet again walk away and leave the Mando’ade where we are, when you could come home and help fix the fissures and broken lines? If the law is one you dislike, come help change it. You and your Clan are welcome. All of you. Wholesale. Name the planet in my Empire you would settle in, and I will give you what resources I can to see it done. I welcome your difference of opinion. How can I work to change the law further if all of those around me would keep the old? Come home, Muad. If there’s something about the Empire you don’t like, I am giving you the chance to help fix it.

And that is much more than Ra ever gave you. I know because I was there.” [member="Muad Dib"]
 
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