Hello peoples. New chapter and a new arc of events. Now we are getting into Mando stuff and Robert's Rebellion. Hope people enjoy it
"This was an absolute success. Events played out exactly as we needed them to. And so far the reactions of the nobility and commoners alike is playing out like I expected." It was only a matter of time before Rhaegar made his move. I had two Nightsisters follow him and Lyanna at all times now and even a week after both of them had left my city they were playing their parts perfectly. The prince was as deluded as ever and Lyanna was scared out of her mind.
Sitting in the meeting hall with Quinn, Pierce, Fay, and Rathari we were discussing the aftermath of the Tourney. Not all the guests had left, the Tullys being the biggest one, but most had. The reception was generally positive. People's minds were of course overshadowed by the Prince's actions. A married prince declaring his love for a daughter of a Great House betrothed to a Lord of another Great House… that was a massive scandal. But overall people when they did talk about the Tourney itself had nothing but praise, the only complaint might be that it was too short.
"When do you think all of this explodes? People are nervous and the tenson is growing." Pierce pointed out and I shrugged as I didn't have a clue. Not only because the exact timing of Lyanna's kidnapping is fuzzy in the lore with it being only around the time of Brandon's wedding, but also because the changes I have made are starting to pile up. The more and more I change to things the more I lose sight of what could happen. I could start asking Talzin to try and divine events but Force Visions are unreliable and have a nasty habit of biting one in the ass.
"Within the next two months. Could be soon could be later. Watch for Brandon and Catelyn's wedding date. The Nightsisters working with Talzin on our save Brandon plan will alert you guys if it's mentioned at all." We've all gotten a little too used to me knowing things. The few unexpected surprises have kept us from going totally softy but at least on Terra we've gotten lazy. Once Robert's Rebellion is done, we're going to need to step up our spy game. Over relying on my meta knowledge will only lead to failure in the future.
"So you plan to leave soon?" Fay asked with a small glare. I knew why, she had taken to Lysa like a mother hen protecting a defenseless chick. It wasn't hard to understand that Fay disapproved of how I was handling the Lysa situation.
"Tonight actually. Cipher Nine has reported that the True Mandalorians have been hired by the local government of Korda. If I'm going to be able to make it in time I need to leave now." It was going to be cutting things close. It was only thanks to the fact I was traveling by a fast and sole ship to meet up with already prepared Dragoon elements and the True Mandalorians had to mobilize their small fleet. They were also delayed by contract negotiations and logistical matters. "While I am gone, Rathari, you are in charge of Barad-dûr and Dol Guldur while Talzin has been given operational oversight of things while I'm gone. I have given her greater knowledge of the situation and so listen to her when the time comes."
"Yes my lord." Rathari bowed his head I understanding. He was what I wanted out of the future Sith in terms of loyalty. He didn't scheme or plot against me but had true respect and understanding of my vision. No more constant backstabbing and self-destructive infighting.
"Quinn, Pierce. The Acolytes are to be kept here. I don't want any heroics on the battlefield. No little kids sneaking off to join one side or the other. You have my express permission to sick the Neophytes on. By that I mean you can have Grayjoy and Nathar be your attack dogs." Both of the men chuckled at my words. The risk was low that the Acolytes would actually try and run off and join the Rebellion but if even a single one was seen on either side the shit I would get would be enormous. The fallout of ruin everything and so the precaution had to be made. "You three are dismissed, I want to talk with Fay alone."
"My lord." The all said before standing up and leaving me with the former Jedi. I slouched back in my seat and sighed deeply as the door closed behind them.
"You've been taking care of Lysa for me… thank you for that." I didn't want the girl to be miserable. She didn't deserve any of this. Lysa wasn't the jealous craven bitch that she was in canon. She had deep rooted self-image problems and an inferiority complex but given her upbringing… I couldn't fault her for that. "I don't want to be cruel to her. But… just being near her unsettles me."
"I understand your reservations and know you mean well. But Lysa is a girl that dreams of love and her first real experience with the process, even if parts of it were skipped over, has not been a positive one for her." Love… it had to be love. Why couldn't' Lysa want money or power? Then at least we could have a much better working relationship. I wouldn't be feeling so grossed out being closed to her if I knew all she wanted out of me was my fame and status. That I can deal with. "She broke down when she learned of your children and is still very upset at the idea that there are other women closer to you than she is. I know there is potential in her to be a strong and intelligent woman but the one thing she needs to achieve that is support. And right now the most important person in her life is a disapproving distant figure."
"We don't always get what we want or need." I know that's rich coming from me. But fuck it, I don't care. Hypocrisy was a sin I was willing to bear because I knew I was right.
"Now you're being cruel. The least you can do is be civil. But I know you aren't going to change on this." I didn't react as she stood up and walked to leave. But she stopped at the door and turned back to me. "One day that girl is going to come to you, heart open and vulnerable. I can only hope that you won't be cruel then." She shut the door behind her, leaving me alone. God damn this is getting sad… I'm starting to hate this room.
"Come on Lysa, you have to tell me. We're leaving tomorrow." Her sister begged once again, it was strange being on this side. Usually it was Lysa that begging Catelyn for something. Let alone the details of her wedding night.
"No I don't have to tell you. That is a matter between me and my husband." Sitting in the hotel room where her family stayed, Lysa felt more at home here than in her new home. Lady Fay had done her best to make her comfortable. Showed her around and introduced her to many of the servants of the keep.
The more important people like the Governor and captain of the guard were respectful but Lysa could feel that it was a bit forced. People like the Sith Rathari just scared her, he didn't even look at her when they met. Lady Fay had told her of a woman in the shadows to be weary of, that being Darth Nagash's apprentice. Maester Qyburn was pleasant enough, but he felt like everyone around him was just passing on by while he focused on his work. But throughout all these introductions it felt like Lady Fay was trying to avoid something, and Lysa knew what it was.
When they entered the keep's library, they found a young boy engrossed in a pile of books. The moment that he was in sight Lady Fay tried to shoo Lysa away but it was too late. The young boy looked so much like her husband, it was undeniable. But Lysa had forced herself, she never was going to amount to anything if she was just going to run away like that. So, she pulled away from her caretaker and new friend and walked over to the young boy. That had been a mistake.
"You shouldn't be here, go away." The young boy had never looked up from his readings but the tone and intent were so pointed that Lysa knew exactly what he meant. There was just this sense of foreboding that she got from the boy that caused her to slink away. Lady Fay tried to explain that the boy was just like that with everyone as he was a very serious and standoffish child but Lysa knew the truth. The family that she had joined already didn't want her there.
"Your sister's right Cat, stop with that." Their father said as he entered the room with Petyr behind him. It did not look like the young man that she still held out some feeling was too happy. A sinful and black thought entered her mind at the sight of Petyr though. That she had been told expressly, that if she wanted to find love elsewhere then she could. "Such things are not be discussed, even with family. Now, I entrust you two to watch this little troublemaker for a few hours. I have one last meeting with Darth Nagash before I retire and I rather not have to go running off to find my ward again."
"I wasn't doing anything wrong." Petyr crossed his arms and pouted as her father gave him a stern look. He looked so cute when he did that. And Lysa was sure he hadn't been doing anything wrong as he said, her father was just overreacting.
"Hmph, you didn't do anything wrong that you got caught for." Things between Petyr and Lysa's father had been doing well lately. Leading up to their arrival at Harrenhal… or Dol Guldur now, he had been increasingly snipy as her uncle called it. Lysa just thought that Petyr was making good or maybe some less than well timed points. "Catelyn, your uncle is going to escort you to find a wedding dress. I have received a letter finally from Lord Stark that sets your wedding date in one month's time." Their father left after that and Catelyn gave a small scream of joy.
"Yes! I know it won't be as big as your ceremony but I'm so excited to finally be wed." Lysa just nodded along, not really paying too much attention to her sister now. Even she had begun to see the cracks in that betrothal. Brandon Stark had spent his entire time at the Tourney avoiding Catelyn. The younger Tully sister had a small part of her happy that she wouldn't be alone in having a loveless marriage.
"I still say Brandon is not right for you Cat. He is only a slow thinking brute that did not but drink and flirt with other women his whole time here." The bitterness from Petyr's voice stung both the girls. Lysa held back as Catelyn walked up to their childhood friend and slapped him across the face. It was a hard one at that, sending Petyr who was not expecting this to the floor. She gasped that her sister could something so cruel but Catelyn was out the door before either her or Petyr could respond. Lysa quickly rushed over to the young man's side to comfort him. "All I said was the truth, and she hurts me like this."
"No, you're right. You said nothing wrong, you were only looking out for her." Lysa spoke gently, thinking of all the times when she was younger when she would dream about Petyr and her. Was it so wrong now? Clearly her husband didn't value the vows that they made so why should she. "I'm here for you, you'll always have me."
"Come on, this isn't like you." Lyarra knew that she and been acting cold to her love and master, maybe unreasonably so. She knew of the work he and been doing to save her son from his fate, on top of the work he already had for the tourney. But she hadn't forgotten the sting of hearing him say that he was going to do nothing to save her children.
"I know that, you know that. Doesn't make me feel like I'm not walking on thin ice around until Brandon is out of danger." He shadowed the door to her room. She and Joanna had been given their own personal quarters very close to his own. Their own space and place to retreat should they desire. Lyarra had initially protested the very idea of ever staying anywhere but in his room but… it proved useful.
"And will he?"
"His getting a shaved head and a dumb tribal face tattoo so that he's unrecognizable but he'll be alive. Ship him off to Essos with the threat that if ever sets foot on Westeros he'll be sent to beyond the Wall next." That was acceptable. She knew that her eldest was the wildest of the bunch, and one that would happier off in the east as opposed to living his days a lord here. Lyarra sighed as she stood up from her bed and then dragged her love out of the edge of her door. "Mmm… I just wanted to tell you I'm leaving and won't be back by the time the Brandon thing is resolved."
"I know. You haven't smiled for real once since we last spoke. And I know how much you enjoy the final moments of a plan coming together." He was a scheming manipulator, the culmination of so many plots should have been a joyous time for him. But instead, he had been running himself into the ground trying to both accomplish her wishes and to keep all of his plans intact.
Lyarra knew her love put so much on his shoulders, believing that it was all on him to ensure the correct future. A future that would see many prosper and an entire galaxy set right after thousands of years of conflict. It was a lot for a single man to hold as his burden, the stress of which often manifested as eccentricity or a need to have absolute control over his own life or those around him. If fate had given her any purpose in life it was to keep this vital man as sane as she could.
"I could st-" She kissed him, telling him that action that all was well. He had proven that he did care, if not for her other children than for her. Enough to where he would expend such effort to accommodate her wishes.
Little else was said between them and Naraiz left her, likely to say his goodbyes to Joanna. This left her alone, her children were being cared for by their off worlder nanny or left to their own devices while under the secret watch by a Nightsister. The only reason why she had secluded herself from her precious children was to give Naraiz the opportunity to come to her. But now the Stark was without much to do… a nap sounded good. But with a sigh she knew that the responsible thing to do was not that. Something she had been avoiding was the matter of her love's new wife.
Looking out at the dim red of the setting sun, Lyarra supposed that Lysa Tully would be in her assigned room. Her cover story of just being the servant that cleaned Darth Nagash's chambers was something of a joke among the actual servants. They had no idea as to her real identity as Lady Stark but they sure as all hells knew she was Naraiz's lover. Same to Joanna whom despite being officially the Chief of Staff of the keep, was well known to be a member of the lord's lovers. It was only a matter of time before Lysa would be become aware of them, even accidently as Lyarra doubted any of the staff would purposefully tell her.
So, donning her Mask, Lyarra left her own room to find Lysa's. It was a level down and nearly as far as one could put a room from the lord's wing in the tower. The northern lady stood at the door, nervously righting herself. It was a strange feeling, normally she was so sure of herself and never this anxious. But the idea of meeting her love's official wife… even as much of a sham the marriage was, stuck out as wrong to her. But this needed to happen. One way or another an agreement and understanding needed to be made.
Quietly, Lyarra opened the door. A part of her hoped it would be empty and she could put this off a bit longer. But no, the room was occupied. The sound of crying could be heard, and two sides of the Stark woman fought each other at hearing it. The urge to close the door and pretend she never came and the need to comfort a distraught girl. Would the lover of her husband made it worse, or perhaps maybe a good impression and meeting could help alleviate some of the girl's fears and pain? In the end Lyarra went with the latter seeing this as a inevitability and putting it off could only make it worse. Pushing the door open a bit more, Lyarra walked in and saw the young woman curled up on her bed crying. Motherly instincts grew stronger and overrode any remaining reservations.
"Lady Lysa, are all right?" Lyarra asked as she came to the foot of the large bed that had been given to the new resident. The young woman was startled by the sound of another's presence in her room. She looked up but was disarmed a bit by the genuine look of worry on Lyarra's face. The Stark worried that she would yell or demand that she leave. It would be right, and she wouldn't hold it against Lysa.
"No… I don't think I am." The young woman picked herself up off the bed but tucked back in, holding her arms around her knees while sitting back on her bed. This was good, Lyarra hadn't so far been thrown out.
"Is there anything I could get you?" A moment of doubt had crept into her, a small attempt to maybe leave.
"No." Lysa said simply and the room was silent after that. An awkward silence came and Lyarra was unsure as to what she should do. Perhaps this was a bad idea after all.
'I should be going then."
"No wait. Stay" Just as Lyarra had started to turn Lysa spoke. There was a desperate need for help in her voice. Anything, anyone to come and comfort her. Lyarra knew that there was no turning back now and walked over to the side of the bed and sat down. "I haven't seen you before. Are you a servant for the keep?"
"Yes, I keep to the lord's wing above. My name's Lyarra." It was a perfectly common name in the North. Just going by it wouldn't immediately link her to the publicly dead Lady Stark. Given the amount of immigrants to the city, it was far from impossible. "Have the servants been treating you well?"
"Yes. Everyone has been so friendly. Well… not everyone." She pulled herself in closer as her eyes went straight down to the bedding. The northern woman knew she was going to have to address her love's coldness to this girl. Joanna and her had already spoke about this, Naraiz reaction to the wedding and his tendency to shove anything he disliked but couldn't ignore into the farthest corner he could. "I had always known that my husband would not be as I wished. But I don't think I ever was ready for it."
"Is there something that he said to upset you?" Lyarra was aware of everything that he had already done. It was what she had expected out of him and wasn't particularly bad. Running away and having Saarai handle her was not the best move but better than doing nothing.
"No. I haven't spoken to him since that first night." Yes. Lyarra was going to have a talk with her love about that. Gods, this surreal. The idea of scolding her love and master about neglecting his wife who wasn't her but a fragile teenage girl. "He was probably with the women he actually loves."
"…" Lyarra remained silent as this wasn't the best time to tell that truth. She was looking for it but her gut feeling told her that it had not come yet.
"I understand him. I too want to find that someone I could not live without. The politics of the realm simply prevented that from being my husband." Now was the point where Lyarra was getting even more concerned. The tone in which Lysa had said this was… unsettling. The kind of way that had been said over and over again in a person's mind to an unhealthy degree. But then the girl's face lightened just a bit before it would eventually darken again. "However I was blessed with a husband that while would break the vows of our marriage, would let me do the same."
"And did you?" Lyarra knew it was a naïve question given the state in which she found Lysa.
"I thought I did. A boy who made my heart flutter every time I saw him." Her smile was forced, or perhaps misplaced. Memories that were in the process of being forgotten or stained playing in her head before finally tears formed in her eyes again. "I went to comfort him. To show that he still could have love. I invited him to a bed, so that he could be my first. It never happened." She began sobbing again, but then time moved over to cry into Lyarra lap. Seeking the warmth and support of another. The Stark woman could do nothing but sooth the poor girl.
"Hush now, it's alright." This another other sweet words came along with gentle caresses until Lysa calmed back down. "Tell me what happened. I promise you I won't judge."
"He… we were kissing. My first kiss. And touching… things I had hoped that we would do as wife and husband. But as it happened, just before he could take my maidenhood… he said my sister's name." Oh dear.
"What is the current status of the Mandalorians?" I asked once pleasantries with Major Ingall had been dealt with. Flying through hyperspace on my own one man ship, I was racing against a clock. If I got there too late then plan B would need to be implemented, leaving me with a much more difficult job ahead of myself. These long periods of nothing and then sudden bursts of activity was getting tiring.
"They have entered the system, and have begun speaking with the local government." The major reported clearly. The time frame for action was within days now. I could make it. It just all mattered on how fast things got dicey for the Mandalorians.
"Keep watch and if things escalate… I trust your judgement." With that the short update from the major concluded. Jaster Mereel was my current objective. I didn't just want Jango for my clones but I wanted the Mandalorians as a whole. Jaster was the key to getting them as he was a genuinely suitable Mandalore. It was only a matter of resources and time that would keep him from uniting the clans and the people of the Creed. My plan to save his life would be crucial in getting sway over his people.
The Imperials of Dromund Kaas and the Esstran sector, the Kaminoans, the people and clans of Mandalore, and hopefully the Chiss once I finally make contact with them. These were the four corners of the Empire I hoped to build upon. The highest echelons of my Empire's society. I did not wish to create a free and fair democratic republic for the galaxy. A strong and absolute imperial elite was what I was going to craft. A society where the intelligent and cunning could rise to rule and those that squandered their positions would be cast down like the trash they were. The groups that I was gunning for all held a deep-rooted sense of discipline in one form or another, the hope was that this common trait would play off each other to form a greater sense of civic duty. A shinning example to the rest of the galaxy to emulate.
Ironic, while I was going to make sure that personal freedom was more accessible than in the current republic… it would be under an authoritative militaristic Imperium ruled by elites. The masses would be allowed free speech, freedom of religion and overall would be allowed to do as they pleased… so long as they abided by their betters. That was always the catch, someone somewhere got to decide if you were in the right. Difference between me and the Republic was I at least wasn't going to be lying to the masses.
Two days would come to pass before I arrived in the Korda system. A medium sized fleet of Mandalorian ships was orbiting the fourth planet in the system. I ignored it and flew to the smaller collection of Imperial Dragoon ships that hid itself in the shadow of an asteroid belt. The fact that the Mandos were still here was a good sign.
Flying to the roughly two dozen ships ranging in size from a small cargo ship to a small, retrofitted freighter I had to chuckle. Such a ragtag image for a group that had access to a shipyard that could belt out top of the line ships from star matter. The Infinite Shipyards were at this very moment nearing completion. In fact much of the brainpower of Huldrak's burgeoning Machine Cult was being focused on bringing the plans my Star Destroyers into reality. I had given them my ideas and various concept pieces for them. At first, they kinda scoffed at me doing this but then they actually looked at the rough draft plans I had and silently grabbed them all up and started running with them.
The Imperial Dragoons for now had to remain with the scraps of the galaxy as we couldn't draw too much attention. Officially they were a logistical company, and it helped that they did what they were on paper supposed to do. Ferrying around goods and all the sorts of things my network of Pre-Empire assets needed. Only thing was they were exactly going where the paper trail said they were. But this cover prevented them from arming their ships any more than to make themselves too spiny for pirates.
I landed in the sole hanger that the entire small ship group had on the largest ship among them. The second market freighter that had been made into a mobile base of operation was definitely only a little bit above a junker on the outside. On the inside it was as clean as any military vessel and in secret rooms filled with highly advanced comm and stealth tech. A team of soldiers came running to escort me to the command bridge, activity going all around as they prepared for one of the biggest missions since the creation of the Dragoons.
"This way my lord." One of the men escorted to the bridge where a makeshift central command had been built. A wall was lined with advanced communication equipment that I assumed was monitoring the situation.
"Lord Nagash, I welcome aboard." Major Ingall was standing around the central holo-desk with his command staff. With looks of deference and a little awe in their minds I joined them. The major however was more used to me and so was straight to business. "The Mandalorians have been aboard the orbital capital of the planet. The landside one had been abandoned once it was proven that the pre-spaceflight natives were capable of being a true threat. Negotiations are underway and being finalized. The Mandalorians have even done a few scouting missions to the world."
"And the Death Watch?" The savage side of Mando culture was here, the plot was playing out similarly to it did in canon.
"They have been very good at hiding their presence. Had you not told us of their involvement, we would have never seen the signs." The holo-deck changed focus from the station orbiting the world to a large swath of land on the south western hemisphere of the world. Then focused on a single region with some of the few forests of the planet. "Here, there has been some unusual activity here. Spikes in energy and we even captured footage of a small craft landing."
"Excellent work. Keep the men on high alert as our window of opportunity is extremely small and failure would result in possibly losing a great boon to the Empire." Staring at the image of the possible base of the Death Watch on Korda Six, I had to wonder if I shouldn't just land there myself and slaughter them all. The Death Watch were Mandalorians but I was a Sith, and it had been many-many generations since a Mando had fought my kind. For now my plan would continue, and I'd just have to hope this… nope. Not even gonna jinx it.
"This is unacceptable! Does the prince really think that you would go along with this insanity!" Lyanna was shocked and heart warmed that her father would get this upset for her sake. Her and her brothers had feared that their father's heart and completely gone cold after their mother had been murdered. For years now Rickard had been barely present in their lives as he was always at the Wall or trying to get support for the Night's Watch. Many considered him to be a black brother already.
"Eddard sent a letter saying that Jon Arryn is speaking with his vassals more often and that the Vale is with the North and Stormlands in whatever we decide to do." Brandon held in his hand the letter that had just arrived from the Vale as their father gripped in his fist the letter that a rider had given her from the prince. Lyanna hadn't even read it before handing it to her father who and returned to Winterfell when he and gotten word of what happened down south.
He read it aloud to his son and daughter and both of them were disgusted by it. The insane assumptions that the Dragon Prince was making, that Lyanna feared Robert and in love with him. That Rickard would obviously bless their union and support the prince in whatever mad scheme he had for the Iron Throne. That was another whole thing. Rhaegar was planning to dethrone his own father and was assuming that the North would go along with it. It wasn't like the North loved and adored Ayres but neither did they love and adore Rhaegar.
"Lyanna, if any more letters come give them to me immediately. We won't let this stand and I want to make sure that every lord knows where to place blame." Her father's fists were shaking in rage at this. War was coming. It chilled her to think that maybe she was the cause of it. It was unfair, what had she ever done to gain the attention of the Prince?
Lyanna had spent years now being very publicly happy with Robert, the irony of her original feelings were not lost on her. But how could the prince think that she loved him. None of their interactions could be taken that way. But now war was being talked about and lords were being called. At the very center of it all was her and all Lyanna could think about was how and what she could have done to avoid all of this. As if knowing what she was thinking, she felt her father's hand on her own.
"It's madness Lyanna, that's all it is." Brandon said as both him and her father looked to her. By the gods did she love her family, as cold as winter they were to their enemies but as close as a pack as wolves to family. The comforting smile that was on her fathers face faded a bit as with a cooler head he looked to the letter in his hand.
"I will send a letter to Lord Tully and Lord Arryn. The North, Riverlands, Vale, and Stormlands together might be enough to put an end to this madness. Dorne would surely join us once they knew how the prince has treated his wife. And I'm sure the Lion would love to take a swipe at the dragon." He spoke with such lucid clarity and certainty. It was so unlike him to be so knowledgeable; both his children were impressed.
"And whose going to sit on the Iron Throne after? The other prince? He was a little brat during the festival." Brandon scoffed but the question was valid. Who would rule after all was said and done. After the disaster at Summerhall, there were no more Targaryens other than the royal family.
"Perhaps it is time to end the monarchy. Go back to independent kingdoms. Clearly the rule of the Dragons has not been good to Westeros." That was a shocking concept but not a impossible one. The two younger Starks mulled the idea over, knowing that the one thing that kept the Seven Kingdoms as one realm was House Targaryen. If that House were to die out… what would be keeping the realm together? "Lyanna, stay within your chambers for the time being. Everything will be fine… I promise."
As the wild she-wolf of House Stark walked back to her room, she could not escape the sense of dread that came once her father had made that promise. More so, she was completely unaware of the shadows that had been listening and would report back every word spoken.
He should have listened to his instincts. As Jaster took cover behind a large stone he cursed how complacent he had become. The mission to deal with a large group of rebellious natives had been a slaughter, the locals of the world had advance training and equipment beyond what he had been expecting.
"I'm going to skin Montross alive after this." Jaster grumbled as he fired at a Death Watch soldier. They surrounding him. And Montross, his bodyguard and trusted ally had turned his back and retreated once the Death Watch showed up. Now the rest of the True Mandalorians on planet were being ambushed by their once thought to be dead enemy. It had all been a set up.
More blaster fire came from the distance. Jango was trying to save him. Pointless, he knew that he was outnumber and out gunned. Vizsla had been seen and the Death Watch had the leader of the True Mandalorians cornered. Like the rapid dogs they were, they would bite down harder now that their prey was bleeding. All he could do now was take out as many of the bastards out with him. The blaster fire was getting louder now, it was now or never.
Flying out of the cover that had been saving his life up till now, the Mandalore hovered in the air and even being surprised at the sight of Death Watch backs didn't hesitate. What could have possibly made them turn away from their prey and objective… someone firing at them. Soldiers that Jaster did not recognize were on the nearby ridgeline and firing down into the squads of Death Watch. Precise sniper fire and a suppressing fire of a heavy gun was raining down on the savage kin of Mandalore. He wasted no time and began firing onto the stragglers while making sure to fly defensively in case these newcomers were here for him as well. However, not a single shot was fired at Jaster.
"-Mandalore, we incoming. What is your status?-" The comm static that had come with the Death Watch was clearing up as he heard Jango's voice. Loyal kid… he had raised him right.
"-Unexpected company, two forms. One is the Death Watch led by Vizsla, the other is unknown and fighting the barbarians.-" His helmet's HUD locked onto Jango's signal and placed him near minutes away. Jaster however was focused on finding his foe and rival for the soul of Mandalore, Vizsla. He knew the Vizsla clan's markings by heart and so far he could only count lower ranking members as the corpses. With the last body being dropped by his hand, the battle died off though there was still sounds of fighting in the distance.
Landing on the ground, he looked up to the unknown soldiers that had saved his life. Wearing armor that was made of something a pirate would wear but all were far too well maintained to be simply parties. Their skill was also above common rabble, and the discipline that they displayed in fighting the Death Watch was impressive. A group who not unlike his own years ago was only getting by on scraps but had the will and ability above their conditions. Something he could respect. Jaster gave the signal to his men to not fire upon the newcomers, who stayed were they were as Jango rejoined Jaster.
"Sir, all remaining teams are reporting assistance from unknown parties. What should we do?" Under the safety of his helmet, Jaster allowed himself a worried smile to form. Perhaps he had raised Jango too well. A thanks you're still alive would be nice from his adopted son. But maybe that was best left once they were truly safe… though Jaster doubt it would ever be spoken aloud.
"Mop up whatever Death Watch or native threats are left. Vizsla has escaped, until we see a corpse on a slab the Death Watch threat will continue." The news that their foe was now in the grave meant many things. Jaster would need to hunt down Vizsla before anything else. He imagined this might be why some of the clans were still distant with him, that they knew the Death Watch was still alive. But for now, he would need to deal with the immediate. Looking up at the ridgeline position that had saved him, the Mandalore flew up with the rest of his followers behind him.
What he found was what he hoped and expected, a hastily created camp that while small and showed signs of being made in a hurry, was spotless and well crafted. A heavy auto-gun encampment along with snipper boxes and a dug out comm hole. As he landed, three dropships flew in to land, the soldiers quickly began packing up with the ease and practice of highly trained men. The side dropships opened and more men came out to assist in the collecting of the camp. While the central one opened to reveal a man in a armored great coat and a custom helmet, the most odd things were the two sheathed swords at his hips. He stepped off moments before the ship had actually landed but the drop was so causal to him that it had to be a show of power. Only one thing came to Jaster's mind when he saw that.
"Only Force Users do stunts like that." Was this a Republic Black Ops? No, they weren't equipped with Core World weapons and gear. As any true Man of the Creed, Jaster knew his guns. And all of the unknown soldiers used ones made in the outer rim, the most common makes seemed to be Kaasen. A picture of what he was dealing with was getting close to being complete, and he wasn't sure if he liked it.
"Greetings Mand'alor, I hope we didn't interrupt anything important." The man spoke as he approached them. The fact this man knew he was Mand'alor was suspicious. The affairs of the Mandalorians were not widely known and only those assigned to the sector or high ranking members of the Republic would even need to know he was who he was.
"Who are you and why have you come?" Jaster wasn't in the mood for jokes or light conversation. He had just nearly faced his death and had been betrayed by one of his own. The man stiffened and readjusted after Jaster had broken his mental stride.
"I am Naraiz Rhyhall, others know me as Ulysses." He spoke with a cadence of a person of nobility, used to giving names and titles. "And you Jaster Mereel, are a honest man. I am not, I plot and scheme, but even one such as me should know when dealing with one such as you it is better to as you no?"
"Get to the point." He knew Jaster's name and was talking in circles. Already the Mandalore was getting very irritated by this stranger's presence.
"We similar, both are fighting for our people. To return to more glorious days. You, to bring back the time of the Creed of honor and triumph. Me, to rebuke the shackles on my people and stand on our own." The was a nagging feeling at the back of his head. Not Force Persuasion, he knew what that felt like. A run in with some Jedi hunting down some renegade that had sought protection among those of the Creed. But the ominous feeling was telling him that the man in front of him was not someone to overlook. "I have been watching you for a long time. And thought now would be the best time to come in and offer a hand in friendship."
"Bantha shit." One of his super-commandos cursed out load by the solid mask of Rhyhall gave no indication as to how he took that. By now Jaster had gotten a good idea as to what he was dealing. A rebel group from the Esstran sector wanting independence from the Republic. Kaasens were in Jaster's opinion a respectable group for their ridged adherence to authority and order, but only their own. They were disciplined and exceptional soldiers… but not warriors. There was a difference.
"Kaasen, we have no desire or means to take on the Republic. Your men are skilled and recognize that. But I also know when the enemy is simply too numerous and has all the advantages." He cut to the crux of what this man was after. An alliance between the True Mandalorians and his group. To possible revive the Empire of old even if just the home sector of his people. The Republic was too strong, and it would not be in his lifetime that it would fall.
"I'm shocked, you speak without knowing all the facts." He made a feint shocked expression, a man that likes his dramatics. But then his entire stance changed and Jaster could feel a dread aura fill the air. "Understand this Mand'alor, I have saved your life. By right you have to hear me out. So let us speak under better circumstances." He turned his back and walked to his dropship, stepping onto its floor as it started to lift off. The rest of the camp had been packed up and now all three drop ships were hovering off the ground as Rhyhall looked back to the Mandalorians. "The riches and glory of the past will return and create a new future Mand'alor, it is up to you to decide what sort of future that would be." And like that they left.
Jaster stared at the departing Kaasens, unsure of what to do. His gut that he should have listen to was silent, both choices were equal in their benefits and risks. Ignoring this man was dishonorable as what he said was true, he had saved the life of the Mandalore. Such a thing needed to be recognized. Clearly Rhyhall thought he had something to offer the True Mandalorians, his certainty wasn't arrogance but felt genuine. On the other hand, the aims and goals frightened Jaster. The Republic was a foe that could not be taken lightly. And even he knew that it would have to be a future successor to eventually pull his people out from under the boot of the Republic. But maybe not? He would listen to Naraiz Rhyhall, but for that was all he would do.
"Not a single letter? All of my riders have returned empty handed." Rhaegar paced in his quarters with a growing worry in his mind. Lyanna was obviously trapped by her family. The poor girl was all alone in the cold North and was being denied the link to her one true love by her foolish father and brother. That was the only explanation that Rhaegar could come up with.
"It would seem that the North will not be joining us." The prince seriously considered striking his friend for saying such a thing. Jon had been his pillar of support, but such disobedience could not be tolerated. It was only the worry and panic now grasping at the prince's mind that kept his hand. "And we have reports that the Vale, Riverlands, and Stormlands are all preparing for something. I believe that once Brandon and the Tully girl are wed, they will revolt."
"Traitors, my father is a rotten madman but he is right that far too many of our vassals have traitorous thoughts." Was it always like this, the lesser lords continuously undermining the authority of the crown? Something would have to be done once he sat on the Iron Throne. A new world order for Westeros. Because clearly this system of Seven Kingdoms was broken. Aegon The Conqueror was a fool for keeping such power in the hands of lords that could easily plot against the rightful rulers of this land. "Something needs to be done."
"The Crownlands and the Reach are the only ones we can count on. The Iron Islands will never be a reliable ally and the Lannisters will side with whoever looks to be winning. Dorne is also likely to side against you specifically." His fists were shaking with rage. How could all of this happen? Didn't people understand what was right and wrong, apparently they didn't. His ancestors had it so easy with their dragons. He had to keep these brutes and cowards corralled without the fire of beasts. "Your grace, what are your orders?"
"Have Elia confined to her room. And send word to her brothers that should they do anything… disloyal… she will be executed in their stead." That would keep one of the problems under control. The Martells as sinful as they acted valued family still. But that still left several other kingdoms to deal with. Then aN idea came to him. "The Iron Born, oaths mean nothing to them but plunder will bring them to our side. Send word to the Grayjoys that should war brake out, they will side with us and the entire Riverlands can be theirs to do as they see fit."
"My prince… are you sure?" This time Rhaegar did strike Jon. A loud smack echoed in his office as a gloved hand struck across his most trusted confidant. Silence followed until Jon righted himself and bowed his head. "Yes, your grace, it will be done."
"Good. And lastly, I believe that my love needs some time away from her family for her own wellbeing."
The meeting between me and the Mandos would be taking place in the main hanger of the Dragoon's flagship. Normally that would be dangerous for the other party to board the other side's ship but these were Mandalorians and they also had the bigger and more armed fleet.
"Were you able to handle it?" I asked the Major who had been leading a team to carry out a side objective on Korda Six. If he was successful then great, if not then it would be a problem for future Jaster.
"Yes my lord, we lost a few men but managed to capture the target." Good, I leaned back in the seat that had been set up for me. Two tables across from each other for both sides, my men were behind me and standing at perfect attention. Not even flinching as a Mandalorian ship entered the hanger and landed in front of us. The doors opened and squad of super-commandos exited and secured the immediate area. Following them was Jaster and Jango behind him.
While it was true that I wanted Jango as one of Clone Templets, Jaster was the real prize. I had saved him and thus probably set the Mandalorians on a totally different future. True, Jango was a amazing warrior but Jaster had more respect and clot among the Mando clans. Only he could truly unite them against the New Mandalorians and their pacifist ways. Death Watch would need to be handled but so long as Jaster lived they would be a minor threat. Cipher Nine was already smoking the Death Watch out and had mercs and assassins harassing them with untraceable payoffs. They were now shattered due to their failure to kill Jaster and now thanks to my interference they would never recover.
Jaster sat down at his table with Jango and two others joining him. Helmets off, I didn't recognize the other two but I had long since learned that there was always people that my meta-knowledge didn't account for. I could sense in the Force that they were cautious, overly so. One of the strangers and Jango both did not want to be here while the other stranger did. Jaster was undecided or at least I couldn't feel him pull one way or the other.
"Welcome honorable Mandalorians, I thank you for coming to meet me and hear out my proposal." The time for jests and jokes was over. Now I needed to be absolutely on my game for this. Jaster continued to be unmoving in his neutrality towards everything and the rest hadn't moved from their positions. Force Persuasion was out of the question given that it didn't work and would be taken as an insult. I had to rely on my own charms to win this. "I think we should begin this meeting off with a gift."
With a snap of my fingers a side door opened and the Mandos all stood up in shock as Tor Vizsla was walked out in chains and stripped down to a basic jumpsuit. The major had been given one task in his part of the operation and that was capturing the leader of the Death Watch. With this those barbarians will be easy to pick apart and reduced to nothing but a black stain on the history of Mandalore. The once proud raider was brought before Jaster and forced to his knees by the strike of a shock baton.
"Is this the power of the Mand'alor? That he needs outsiders to beat his foes?" Tor spat as he glared up at Jaster. I know this wasn't exactly doing things by the Creed, but the Death Watch needed to die a non-glorious end. If they did have a final last stand then it might draw future Foundlings to their ways. Hopefully Jaster would see this as more important than tradition.
"I have beaten you Vizsla, you should have stayed in the ground where you belonged. You are nothing but the ghost of a bygone era." Surprising me, Jaster immediately took out his pistol and shot Tor dead. I guess being nearly killed had made the Mandalorian quick to end such a present threat on his title and life. The body of the brute Tor Vizsla slumped over and was dragged away by my men. I gave a signal to my men to hold off and the other gift I had for Jaster. They all sat back down and we resumed our talks. "I thank you Naraiz Rhyhall. You have prevented much bloodshed with what you have done. I have no choice now but to seriously consider your proposal."
"Don't worry Mand'alor, I'm not asking much for this. Just that you give me and my group safe port in the Mandalore sector. And maybe I hire you to do a few things that don't involve the Republic directly." I had to word everything I said carefully. Make it sound like I wasn't asking for anything serious but leaving the door open for something big later. Safe harbor and contract work were easy to shallow, and allowed for a relationship to form between us. "In fact. I have a job that requires a level of skill on your people have. The pay is good, both in credits and intel I have on the New Mandalorians."
They looked to each other and began discussing what I had said in Mandalorian. I only knew a few words and phrases but the vibe I was getting was positive. Jango had apparently turned his opinion on me around. It was still one the strangers that was against me. I'm guessing he was one of the more traditional of the bunch and didn't like an outsider interfering with their own business. Minutes passed by until finally Jaster looked back at me to address his decision.
"I accept your hand in battle Naraiz Rhyhall. You and your people are respectable by our own standards and I understand your desire for independence. That being said I can not join that fight." I wasn't asking him to do so yet. First I needed to prove to him that the fight was winnable. And to make sure Jaster's own position wasn't a tenuous as it was now. Sure he had the title of Mand'alor but that meant little if Mandalorians weren't united behind him. But he continued as I knew he would. "Your terms are fair and once I have control over the Mandalore system, you and your group are unofficially welcomed. Patrols and my people will not report your activity to the Republic."
"Thank you, which means I'm now invested in making sure that you end up in control of the Mandalore Sector." He give sly chuckle as I knew that Jaster was fully aware of that fact. But that was fine as it meant I would be given the chance for more influence over him.
The New Mandalorians currently held power over the Mandalore sector and Mandalore itself. They had avoided any of the conflict between the True Mandalorians and the Death Watch. In canon the Death Watch won out and would fight the New Mandalorians in the Great Clan Wars. That would not be happening now. The Death Watch were beaten when Satine was able to convince clan leaders to their side. But Jaster was different, he was a harder image to villainize and his reforms were far more appealing than either the Death Watch's barbarity or the New Mandalorians' pacifism. Also there was me thrown in there now.
"As for this other job that you have offered. We will need to look over the details after we have fully regrouped and accounted for ourselves." With a nod of acknowledgement, Jaster and his advisors stood up and returned to their ship. I leaned back in my seat as their vessel left the hanger, happy with that outcome. Everything was going as planned… though there had been one part we had to skip.
Leaving the hanger I and Major Ingall walked to a nearby room that had been set aside for a new prisoner. This had been the second time I had bene in here today. Before was for a rather nice little chat with our other guest. There sitting on a bench was the Mandalorian Montross, former second hand to Jaster and rival to Jango Fett. He looked up and smirked, the man had been waiting for my men to bring him out to Jaster. A little play would carry out ending him getting exiled from the True Mandalorians. But with Jaster being so quick to pull the trigger on Vizsla, I thought it best to avoid that little reunion.
"Told ya, old Jaster would not have been happy to see me." He laughed as he leaned back against the wall of his cell. Capturing him had been easier than Tor Vizsla, hacking the Mando comms and offering a substantial pile of credits and safety from Jaster's wrath was all that was needed.
"No he would not have been. But it changes little in the end." I smiled as our agreement would continue even if his punishment from the Mandalorians would be ignored. "As agree on, you will be the new Clone Template for the Twentieth, the Unknowables and effective immediately are now the Primarch of the Twentieth Legion."
Things are starting, Robert's Rebellion and the new second half of the Mando Civil War. What Job does Naraiz have for the mandos and how will things play out.
Secondly, the first Primarch and Clone Template has been found. They are not the same thing by the way. In Naraiz's army, the title of Primarch is the leader of one of the clone legions numbered between one to twenty. These will be made up of 1000 Astartes level clones and a support army of normal clones. Meanwhile there will be more legions numbered with three digits that will be purely normal clones, IE the 501 made up of Jango clones. I have currently five Clone Templates planned, Jango, Montross (though he'll be exclusive to the Twentieth Legion) and Oberyn Martell are the confirmed ones.
Lastly, the Twentieth Legion. I'm not sure on the name. If anyone has a better idea, keep in mind this is the Black Ops Legion.
RonaldM40196867 - a reason yes but not the main one
ZhaWarudo - fair
Golden Grin - evil writer laughter
Ahtu - I don't know what you were talking about. That was the end. Now we are moving forward.
Harbringer27 - no
Eighty9 - Naraiz pension for doing stupid things is partly because he doesn't take this life too seriously. This is a power fantasy for him and a second life, so sometimes he treats it like a game subconsciously. Though there are highly emotional moments that bring him back down. I like Shounen so there will be more of that later on. Yeah... the stuff with IG-99 was a little forced I will admit.
Monkeylikespie - oh yes. There will be Bolters. The Clone Legions will be outfitted with slug throwers for when they face Jedi as they are highly effective when fighting lightsabers