The whole platoon paraded down the streets of Mandalore. Confetti was flying and cheers erupted from all around. The group returning was one thing but seeing the extinct Mythosaur returning was another. Upon the back of this great beast, was the heir, Din Djarin. It was he who waved the dark-sabre for all to see. It was he who defeated the crazy heiress and brought her back to the city alive. And boy, did the word of his strength reach every corner of Mandalore.
The heir arrived at the parliament, who met Karsac Barrott and his advisors. The shadow of the beast loomed behind him as they entered the building.
"Well, well, well. Din Djarin. You have succeeded in bringing in 80% of our soldiers back from battle." Said Karsac.
"Yes." He removed his helmet, sensing Jennbar Addasan becoming nervous.
"Perhaps, we will not need a second test to confirm your worth after all."
"A second test?"
"Ha! Yes. But no."
Ernshe Autwest butted in. "93% of inhabitants of the united clans whole-heartedly believe you are ready to rule." Silence came.
"Is that so? Well then," Karsac evaluated. "Perhaps, we should begin coronation plans, and building that public image you have so cleverly made for those on the mission." Mando shifted uncomfortably, itching the back of his head. He pulled away with blood.
"No matter." Karsac turned away. Mando quickly hid his hand. "You had better get yourself cleaned up. After all, what's a successful mission without a successful banquet?"
The night came. He only had one night rest. One night. After that, he would be coronated based on a survey taken by all the inhabitants of Mandalore. Most of them anyway. Things were incredibly rushed on Mandalore. So far, Din had managed to keep his feet on the ground and follow through with the common etiquettes of becoming royalty. He would begin more training after his coronation, which seemed daunting and surreal. The fact that he was given his own manor as a "temporary stay" until his palace was built seemed even scarier. How come he wasn't scared when faced with a huge ancient beast, but couldn't accept real-estate?
The banquet was held at the government building. Mando was tasked with conferring with the leaders of the clans, important persons of the New Republic, the 38 members he rescued and his own guests. Easy. Get through the night without ruining the reputation he fought so hard to build. I can do that.
Outside, numerous people began entering the building whilst he waited outside. The Mandalorian was dressed in a silky green tuxedo coat, black pants and boots. It was probably the first time he wore attire other than his beskar amour and undercoat, in what…? 25 years? The figure of a woman stepped out of cab. She wore a silky blue garment, with a flowing lace design, fashioned with white shoes and gold jewellery.
"Mr Din Djarin." The woman beamed, whilst long glossy hair spilt over her shoulders.
"Omera." He bowed slightly, before returning the smile. "Will you join me?" Din held out an arm.
She linked into his. "I shall!" And together they walked up, into the grand structure where the sound of a moonlight cantina filled their ears.
Cara Dune received an invitation to a Royal Banquet on Mandalore. She accepted and joined the New Republic travelling party, including some famous freedom fighters during the destruction of Alderaan. They wore the finest garments in the galaxy, hoping to appeal to the high expectations of the Mandalorian people. The Mandalorians had strong beliefs in fashion.
She was beginning to wonder what had happened to her friend, whom she had left many, many weeks ago. The Marshal was glad he was alive, but generally concerned about the rumours which had left the planet. Word spread fast when the new leader came to take the throne, now appearing to wield the force! That was probably why Senator Leia Organa was so keen on this meeting. When the party arrived, they experienced the sanitisation chamber, which seemed to be placed on a less speedy setting in the presence of those so important. After getting changed from their travel clothes they arrived at the doorstep of the parliament, in which many distinguished guests met their searching glances.
"Din Djarin, this is Senator Leia Organa and her accomplices. One, I believe, you have already met." Karsac introduced.
"How do you do, your majesty?"
"I am well and you Senator Leia Organa?" Came the reply. Cara made a mental note of the sudden personality change in the Mandalorian as she stood beside the princess. He seemed confident in the presence of so many people. Even without his helmet. Wow.
"Please, Leia is fine." She paused before flashing a smile. "Congratulations on your recent victory on Saxon territory."
"Thankyou. Unfortunately, at the expense of a few good Mandalorians." He took a sip at his drink. "Hopefully, their efforts were not wasted." Yes. Very sensible. He glanced at his accomplice. "This is my good friend Omera Wilks."
"Omera." Leia nodded. She continued. "We have heard many stories from our end of the Galaxy…" This received a smile. "…that of a force wielding prince, bearing the legendary darksaber."
"Indeed?" He raised his eyebrows humorously.
"And the surprisingly positive reaction from the Mandalorian inhabitants, who, did you know, were the ancient enemies of the Jedi?" Her tone increased, becoming faster by the second.
"I was aware."
"You may or may not know Din Djarin," Organa was getting irritated. "That the new republic openly promotes the positive practise of the force, and a Mandalorian Ruler would be a great ally against the reign of the empire. We could use you on our side." Mando's eyes bore into hers and she stopped suddenly. "Thank you for your time." She muttered before walking off, dragging a tall, lanky fellow behind her. Cara came forward.
"That went well." She began.
"Hey." The three continued staring at the short figure of Leia Organa as she conversed with the tall young man. Obviously, she was getting annoyed and started pointing in Din's direction, before pointing out the door. The tall man scowled then sauntered off. Mando smiled before suppressing a laugh.
"Sir Djarin and others." A man in a black tuxedo met the giggles of the company, who immediately returned to a more formal disposition. "The feast will begin." He eyed them curiously. "Allow me to direct you to your seats…"
The banquet room consisted of 3 long tables. One at the top, where the Mando and the clans sat, one on the left, where the platoon sat and one on the right assigned to distinguished guests. In all, there was 250 people, including the multiple Mandalorian guards at all corners of the room. For security reasons, Karsac had told him. After a few minutes, huge meats were carried into the room. Strange dishes from a range of different planets were laid on the table. To say the Mandalorian was surprised was an understatement. For Cara Dune, even more so. After quick prayer to bless the future of Mandalore, every party began tucking into their food. Although a former bounty hunter, Mando seemed to eat quite politely in the presence of others. Noted. Cara thought as she too feasted after a long, long wait.
"I would like to make a toast…" He called, standing up. There became a silence. Din cleared his throat. "…aside from the rumours, I hope to dedicate my life to the prosperity of Mandalore…" I can't believe he's doing this. "…In an effort to unite, I will achieve what is necessary and what is required of me, by the Mandalorian people. To the prosperity of Mandalore!"
"To the prosperity of Mandalore!" Came the reply from the crowd, as they all raised their glasses. He took a huge gulp of his drink, before sitting and continuing his food. Well, that was rehearsed.
"Cara." Said Leia Organa sitting next to her. "See to it that Mr Djarin considers our request. I expect the utmost speed with his response." She began vigorously cutting into her roasted Porg.
Nearing the end of the feast, the small company sat near the bar, sipping wine and other drinks.
"No. Ok. Wait. Let me get this straight. You can fly?" Cara asked, humour outweighing disbelief.
"With the jetpack on, yes."
"But without the jetpack on?"
He paused, before flashing a grin. "Maybe?" They laughed, but quickly shushed as some prestigious leader walked past.
"You're face deceives you, Mandalorian." Omera smiled.
"Yeah. Honestly, what's it like without the mask?"
Din paused, ignoring their searching gazes. "I feel . . . naked." He began with a smile. "I find it hard to shield my emotions. The helmet protected the outside world of what I thought of them. But, in a way, I am glad I do not feel obliged to wear it anymore."
"I figured that once I took it off in front of more than one person, what was the point? The Watch is mostly gone. And besides, not many people know I am the same person. The same bounty hunting gun-slinger I was on Tatooine."
"Excellent bounty hunting gun-slinger." This received a smile smile.
After a moment of silence Omera started. "I don't think I have heard you speak so much." Din smiled awkwardly. She thought so too!
"I wouldn't if I didn't have to. 'Building public image' the Carrott told me. You didn't hear this from me, but every night for the past few weeks, I dreamt that Mando was huge hideous beast. But now, when I dream, Din Djarin is a weak man. I don't think I can choose."
"Um, wow" Cara laughed. "Din Djarin, wielder of the dark saber and famous poet!" He returned her smile as the mellow music suddenly changed into a waltz.
"Will you take this dance with me?" Asked Omera as the moonlight cantina chose a softer tune. Other pairs began taking their place on the ball room floor.
Mando chuckled. "I can't dance. Spent 20 years of my life as a hired bounty hunter. What can I say?"
"It'll be easy. I'll show you." She replied, dragging him out onto the marble floor and away from the company of Cara. This oughta be good. She thought as any female security began stiffening around her.
"There you go, you got it!" Omera said as Mando awkwardly waltzed to the pace of the song. "More or less…"
"Yeah…" He smiled. "more or less."
"You're quite the charmer without that armour on." She began, staring into his deep, brown eyes.
"Am I?" He raised his eyebrows, staring back.
"You've changed, from what I remember. Less guarded, perhaps."
"A lot has happened since then."
"I see you no longer have your small green friend. Winta will be upset."
"I returned him to his kind. He should be happy." His mood seemed to change. They stopped speaking for a while.
"Would you have stayed on Sorgan?" She asked, eyes suddenly glassy and sad. The music seemed to slow and all others melted into oblivion "Would you have stayed with me?"
"Perhaps." He paused. "I'm not even sure I belonged here." Omera sighed. A small tear rolled down her cheek. Din Djarin gently wiped it away, holding her close. They stared into each other's eyes for a few
moments, searching for something. Then the song ended, and the noise of the busy banquet filled their ears once again. Cara Dune watched this all from behind unsure of what to think. Here was this man. This strange mysterious man. Who sacrificed everything for the love of another. It was he who was now moving to a different direction in life but possibly having to face that torment all over again...
"I have to go." Omera said, breaking loose from his hold and walking towards the exit. Mando tried to follow her, but stopped. He stopped where he was and faced Cara. Something was wrong.
Then a flash of pure fear swept across his face. "Get down!" He shouted. Just then, the glass windows behind him erupted in a glittering display. Screams and cries were heard as a mist filled the room. Several dark figures were seen entering through the shattered holes in the walls as the lights suddenly blinked out. Cara took out her blaster. People ran in a confused flurry of noise and chaos as blaster fires were shot all around. Where's Mando?
After trying to head for the exit, the sight of the doors closing met Omera's gaze. A haze filled the room, whilst the sounds of blasts erupted in her ears. Some man in black fell down unconscious on the ground in front of her. Quickly Omera picked up his rifle and scanned the room. She couldn't see more than 2 feet in front of her, especially with the power out. Where's Mando? She thought in a panic. Someone bumped into her.
"Hold onto me." He said, voice deadly serious. Before she could question, Mando pulled her close and suddenly Omera's feet no longer touched the ground. Mystified, she turned to face him. His eyes looked towards the ceiling. They ascended up, where he stopped at a wooden beam.
"Stay here until I come and get you." He said, helping her towards the pole whilst he floated gently across from her. Up here, the mist ceased, and she could stare straight into his eyes. He nodded reassuringly at the scared woman before sinking back down to the ground. How?
The intruders were elite, with sharp reflexes, whose only intent was to kill Din Djarin. Unfortunately for them, they had underestimated the large Mandalorian security group whose only intent was to protect Din Djarin. Karsac Barrott knew this would occur, so he had hoped to lay a trap for any traitors to the throne. Only at the expense of the distinguished guests, of course. That's why he had advised the heir to wear beskar under his garment.
BANG! That was another. Where in Gorgon's name do these guys come from? Din thought as another went for the attack. BANG! Soon, four figures advanced. He activated whistling birds as they lunged. PEW! PEW! PEW! PEW! They dropped down. He was approached by Mandalorian security.
"Sir, we need to get you outta here–" But before he could finish, the guards were collectively grabbed from behind and dragged into the mist. Cries were heard as light from above lit up the room. The intruders dropped on the ground. Din looked up to see Omera aiming into the mist.
Meanwhile, Cara ran into view "Who the heck are these guys?" As she fired to her left. Something dropped.
"Saxons." He closed his eyes and scrunched his forehead, before opening them. "There's about ten left in the room. On your right!" BANG! He fired, then heard the thump of a body falling on the ground.
"Thanks. That's nine." BANG!
"That's eight!" Omera called. Four more jumped out from the mist but were quickly taken by the Mandalorian security.
"Four." Cara and Mando went back-to-back as they fired multiple rounds in the dark. Three intruders dodged and came in for the attack but were knocked down before they could get even close.
"One left." Silence. Then the sounds of punching and blasting could be heard. A figure moved out from the mist, expertly climbing over the tables and towards the heir. BANG! BANG! BANG! Multiple blasts shots could be heard from above. When it stopped, the intruder was gone, presumably escaped through the window. Mando looked up at Omera before gently floating towards her. When back on the ground, Din sighed as he caught Cara's stare.