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Mandokar, part 2 // Mid session 45

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Rook Beroya

  • Chief Mechanic and Droid Specialist
  • 2
  • I adhere to the Resol’nare.
Mandokar, part 2 // Mid session 45
« on: April 29, 2019, 01:49:19 PM »
Mid-session 45, later in the evening the day they shot the angry Sith Sword into the nearest star, and it yelled in their heads as it died. Same day as Sifting for Secrets.

Yeah, emotions were funny.

The holovid was down, of course. No school work, no studying, no research could be done. Rook glanced towards the Galley, but she couldn’t cook to save her life, and pretty much existed on MRE’s when left to her own devices. Which left crafting. The Mandalorian needed to figure out a few safety features for the next time a hull breach occurred; what if she hadn’t been able to reach it, before Kesvo had lost her grip? A low growl of protest threatened. But that sort of research required the holonet, which she and Ashley and the Captain had deliberately disabled.

So Rook wandered the ship, her path somewhere between aimless and deliberately learning every nuance of the vessel. Just as she both had too much to do, and nothing to do. She wanted to talk to Kesvo. She wanted to talk to Venn, Ashley and Tal. To have the team lounging around the Galley and celebrating their general alive-ness, grieving their losses. Embracing Aay’han.

Shereshoy. Aay’han. Mandokar.

Tucking her meditation beads back in her belt, Rook collected her data-pads and tools, before slipping out into the common areas of the ship. She’d find Tal, and see about a few lessons in fighting. That was something she could do, here and now, if he had the time. Maybe it was time she helped him rediscover the wellspring of a Mandalorian’s strength.

« Last Edit: May 03, 2019, 10:15:48 AM by Rook Beroya »

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Tal Vodax

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Re: Mandokar, part 2
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2019, 12:47:38 PM »
Tal was never a hard man to find. If he wasn't catch some rest, then he was staring out of the nearest viewport at the spaceways. He was doing that now, even as he thought about the Sith weapon that they'd cast into the sun. He sighed. He didn't really need it, did he? He hadn't made a mistake by not taking it, right?

He sensed someone approaching and turned to find Rook.

"Hey. What's up?" he asked, trying to bring his mind back to the present. 

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Rook Beroya

  • Chief Mechanic and Droid Specialist
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  • I adhere to the Resol’nare.
Re: Mandokar, part 2
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2019, 02:29:14 PM »
It seemed to Rook that Tal was a man of vast stillnesses. Quiet to the point of frustration, immobile when nearly anyone else would be driven to frantic action. She hadn’t quite figured out if he really could sleep as easily and dreamlessly as he seemed to, or if he simply preferred his own company to anyone else's. Either way, she offered him a bright smile when he turned to face her.

Me’vaar ti gar? Her head angled to the side, and she studied him a moment longer, clear gaze a little concerned, a little curious, a little sad. ‘How are you’ could be a meaningless pleasantry in Basic. In Mando’a, it was a serious inquiry into one’s state of being, neither asked no answered casually.

Copad ol'averde? A mark of the Mandalorian’s normal mindset was how they invited themselves into someone’s presence. Not Basic’s timid ‘hey, do you mind some company,’ but a rather more insightful ‘are you ambitious for company.’ After all, no Mandalorian was going to put up with simply being tolerated. If they didn’t want you there, why stay?


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Tal Vodax

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Re: Mandokar, part 2
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2019, 11:14:31 PM »
Tal returned Rook's smile but the expression didn't reach his eyes. He wasn't really in a smiling mood, but Rook was a good person and she was making an effort. Tal needed to honor that effort. He could still hear that Sith in his head, whispering those promises of power and matchless potential.

"Naas." Tal said simply. "Yeah, feel free to join me."

He gestured to a nearby chair and dropped down into it, then sat back and reclined.

"That sword spoke to me, Rook. It said that it could make me superior to the Mandalore." Tal said, shaking his head. It was crazy, right? No one could reach the level of that powerful figure. The sword had played him and preyed upon his fears to get him to pick it up. He'd nearly given in, too. Tal hated guilt and shame, but both were welling up at the edge of his consciousness.

"I nearly took it. Do you think I should have?" Tal asked.

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Rook Beroya

  • Chief Mechanic and Droid Specialist
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  • I adhere to the Resol’nare.
Re: Mandokar, part 2
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2019, 11:58:09 PM »
Tal’s smile fell a bit flat, failing to reach his eyes. It wasn’t so much that he failed to project any kind of cheer, as that Rook couldn’t detect any true emotion within him at all. When people were deeply tuned to their inner self, they could look like that. Or when they were about to break.

There was no way to tell, from the outside.

Eyebrows rose in mild disagreement to his claim that nothing was going on in his mind, heart or soul. That was the last word of Mando’a he spoke; he did not return to the beautiful native language they shared, and with a sigh she nodded in acceptance of his choice. Rather then settling within a chair, she perched atop its back, the better to see out the view port. Rook’s attention snapped back to Tal as he spoke of the sword, and it’s promises. His dual questions silenced her for a bit, while she thought it through. Her eyes closed for a moment, concealing a hidden shame, unaware that such feelings dwelt within Tal as well.

“I don’t know enough yet, to know if you should have taken it. I ...” Rook flushed, and looked away. “My first instinct was to study it. That blade was made of Cortosis, Tal. Do you know how rare that is?” A touch of sorrow, of that sense of opportunities missed ghosted through her voice. She yearned so badly to restore her people. To forge the armor, defend the Clan, face off all adversaries.

Kill the slavers.

Yet Shroud terrified her, and that blade ... it disturbed her, deeply.

Would she have resisted if the Blade had simply offered to kill off the Zygerians for her? A shudder rippled through her. She rubbed at her forehead, shrugged and slowly returned her attention to Tal, a storm of emotions and purpose burning in her gaze. “But was that my greed, my curiosity, anger and ambition speaking, rather than an analytical mind? It’s never a good idea to ignore the advice of your experts. And Venn is our expert on Force-imbued artifacts.”

Her hand extended parallel to the floor, making a weighing gesture.

“How would it even know, Tal?” Rook mused aloud.

“How would it know how or why a Mand’alor is chosen by our people? Or how fierce a fighter you already are?”

“Was it forged by a Mandalorian, and then turned to the Sith’s purposes? What did it offer, do you recall?”


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Tal Vodax

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Re: Mandokar, part 2 // Mid session 45
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2019, 10:26:59 PM »
"Given the way you're talking about it, I'm guessing it's rare." Tal said, regarding the Cortosis. He wasn't an engineer. He knew about Durasteel and how strong that was, but when it came to Jedi and Sith magic, he was lost.

"It offered me the power to stand up against people like Shroud. The guy who nearly killed Venn. He ran, yes, but he almost killed all of us anyway." Tal said. Rook hadn't been face to face with the barve. They'd wrecked his lightsaber, sure, but he'd overcome that and still nearly taken them down. Even if they were ready for him next time, it meant that Tal would have to fight more defensively in the next encounter.

"I'm not comfortable with reacting, Rook. Not when life and death are on the line." Tal said.

He sighed.

"It offered me the ability to channel my rage to stop Shroud and others like him. If there's one like him, there are probably more." he said.

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Rook Beroya

  • Chief Mechanic and Droid Specialist
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Re: Mandokar, part 2 // Mid session 45
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2019, 12:08:27 AM »
“Hey, I’m all about planning ahead. It’s the only way I can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a warrior like you.” Rook stood suddenly, and began to pace.

“I plan to get better at fighting; what do you plan to do?”

“I suspect that you hate feeling like you couldn’t take him in single combat. I think you could have taken every other foe we’ve met, even without the team.” Her gaze challenged him. “Is that right?” She awaited his response before continuing.

“But would the power and glory be worth it you killed a dozen Shrouds, then went crazy and killed us? It does no good to have strength without honor.” Rook’s frustration and longing was written clear in her expression, her voice.

“For entirely selfish reasons, I wish the team might have made use of the blade. We might well have been able to bring down the Zygerrians, if you held that cursed blade.”

“Do you fear not insisting upon taking it up will make you responsible if one of us dies?” she paused again, to listen to his answer.

She made an abrupt dismissing gesture with her hand, more at herself than him or his words.

“We can’t make this decision based on fear, or anger. We have to make it based on things we value. You spoke with it; have a sense of the person within. How would it affect you, to have that angry spirit murmuring in your ear the way Ashley’s Holocron does for him?”

“Would taking that blade have made you a better member of this team? A better son? Father? Brother? Would it have sworn its honor to the Clan, when you regained your soul, and joined us? How would you be remembered, if you’d taken it?”


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Tal Vodax

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Re: Mandokar, part 2 // Mid session 45
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2019, 12:40:51 AM »
Rook was trying to be comforting. Tal understood that even if it was hard for him to accept just now. Tal believed that anyone could be a good warrior if they put in the work to become that. He'd never known anyone truly to fight, not the way that most people thought about it. Every warrior was formed on the battlefields he fought upon and from the things that he learned between battles. Those who learned well lived to fight another day.

Those who didn't learn died. Sometimes, they died well.

"I'm going to do the only thing that I know how to do, Rook. I'm going to work harder." Tal said.

He put his hands up, palms out, indicating that she slow down. Her estimation of his fighting skill was flattering, but inaccurate. "No, I needed the team as much as they needed me. Now and again, I remind people that overlooking me is a good way to get dead, but..."

He paused, looking for the right words.

"That thing was full of rage, Rook. The same kind of rage that I've been holding on to since Captain Tarno, my former commanding officer, called for an orbital strike on a town where my father and many of my people worked." he said.

"A couple of Republic diplomats were there on a secret mission, but we got wind of it. I knew what kind of man Captain Tarno was, Rook. He liked to make statements. He liked to make people afraid. In the back of my head, I knew what he was capable of. But I thought I could keep the peace. I thought...I thought I could be the hero because I was a Mandalorian working for the Empire." Tal said. His tone grew low, deadly. It wasn't quite a snarl but it wasn't a friendly tone, either.

His hands grasped the armrests of his chair while his mind walked back across the years to that day.

"I did everything right, Rook. I found our targets. I got the locals to cooperate. I talked my father into letting me take the lead on things, even when he told me I was being naive about what was happening. I just wanted to prove him wrong, Rook. Just once. All I had to do was prove him wrong one time and then we'd finally be equal." Tal said softly.

"I did everything right...except account for just how petty some people could be. I should have killed him before that, Rook. I should have killed him and left long before I did. Instead, a lot of people ended up dead because I didn't make the hard choice." he said, looking to her.

"And now, because I didn't do it again, it could end up being one of you pay the price for it. Venn nearly did. What happens if we run into Shroud again and he gets lucky? Strength without honor isn't any good. But the guy who dies with the most honor is still dead." Tal said.

Rook was approaching the matter like one of her machines, something to take apart and examine. Tal found a strange comfort in that. Break it down, look at it in pieces, then decide.

"I'm angry all the time, Rook, but I don't know what it's like to live with that kind of rage. I can turn it on when it's time to fight. I can turn it off when I don't need it. But living with it every minute of every day? That's what that sword was offering. And that rage was supposed to be a weapon. One that I could use to protect the team and, someday, Clan Awaud." he said.

"Now I have to find another way. I'm not sure how that's gonna happen."

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Rook Beroya

  • Chief Mechanic and Droid Specialist
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Re: Mandokar, part 2 // Mid session 45
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2019, 02:08:16 AM »
“Captain Tarno is dead now, right?” Rook zeroed in on the most actionable part of that painful history. The only thing any of them could do anything about, at any rate. Rook was a bit unsure as to how or why he thought his parent would ever stop being his parent, even once they were brothers-in-arms as well.
“It sounds like you made several hard calls. One of them you feel was wrong, or at least ... came too late.”

Survivor’s guilt she understood. This more paralyzing, deeply horrible guilt Tal carried was something more, she judged. Her gaze grew deeply troubled, a flicker of defiance in her gaze.

Rook moved to stand before him.

“You help us survive when we face danger. That’s what a team does. Traat'aliit gar besbe'trayc. ‘The Squad is your weapon'” Rook repeated it in basic, for the slightly different, more encompassing meaning it had when phrased in both languages.

“To paraphrase my father, unless you are the one shooting at us, you won’t be helping us to die. So even if we die to Shroud, it won’t be your doing. It will be his.” She held his gaze a moment longer, hoping he understood, even if he couldn’t yet believe her.

Emotions were funny that way.

He spoke of his anger, then; of what it might be like to have that blade pushing and prodding at his rage all of the time. Her eyes narrowed in thought.

“Let’s talk about the anger, for a second.”

“You’re both angry all of the time, and can turn it off? But the Sith in the Sword couldn’t be turned off, right?”

“Could we even have a talk like this, with not merely a Mandalorian’s typical prickly-ness or ready anger, but a true battle-rage simmering in you?”

For the first time, the questions in Rook’s own mind were coming into focus.

To his final question, she responded like the Mandalorian Engineer she was.

“We’ll start with better gear. Everyone into armor that can be sealed against vacuum, at least, right?”